Forty light years from Earth, Commander Mary Kree and the XSS Cousteau made First Contact with an alien race. They did not know their discovery would lead to an interstellar war. They did not know the Vrene were planning for hundreds of years for the humans to fight that war.
Or, what Humanity had to do to win.
“What can I expect to find in the charts?” asked Vrene Chancellor Sevairne.
“The humans have explored to within thirty light years of Chzek space,” said the Rool ambassador to the humans as he explained their Exploration Service’s rapid expansion of star systems they have visited. He was impressed with their commitment.
“So soon?” the Vrene asked, concerned.
“Yes, Chancellor. They have an aggressive exploration program.”
“How much longer then, do you think?”
“Estimates are no more than twenty revolutions,” the Rool replied.
“How far from Earth will that be?” asked the chancellor, starting to believe the humans may be worth their cost for the last three hundred years of protection the Vrene had provided to their protectorate.
“Sixty to seventy light years.”
“Excellent. And, how long will it take for the humans to transition to a war economy once they engage the Chzek’s proxies? How many ships will they be able to deploy per revolution?”
The Rool took a moment to consider his answer before replying, “Within a year, but it will take time before they fully understand they are in a fight for their continued existence enough to make a full transition to a war economy. They currently have a modest manufacturing program for spacecraft they will be able to expand upon when the time comes.”
“That could be acceptable. With a sixty light year buffer, they will have time. The humans may gain us an additional twenty revolutions to prepare before they are exterminated.”