“Another big zero.” Philamena punched a few keys in the console and looked out the cockpit window. It wasn’t glass but some kind of steel-hard polylaminate. Some techie had called it transparent aluminum and snorted out his Coke.
“You sound disappointed.” Her copilot Lamar leaned back, his feet up on his inactive console.
Philamena stared through the window at the planet spinning below them, a crescent of light against a field of stars, three moons in varying degrees of states of wax and wane. “I am. You think I’m doing this for my health?”
“Sure, we all appreciate the paycheck,” Lamar said, “but you don’t care about exploring new worlds? We’re only the fourth team sent out, this can’t be boring for you.”
“No, it’s not.” She sighed. “There’s just so much promise to finding the right planet, the fact that no one has yet makes me kinda…”
“Yeah, it would be really nice,” Lamar said. “You sure about those readings?”
“Dead sure. Artificial EM fields, night-time light patterns, all the standards. This world’s inhabited.” They shared a moment of silence. “Well, maybe we can use the next one. Prepare for translation.”
“Translation, aye.” A moment later, they weren’t there.