Pilot X dropped put of transit on the day after he had left for Tiel as Ambassador and about a day’s travel through space. He knew his failure with the Progons was several months in the future and he wanted to prepare the Diplomatic Department for what was to come.

He was about to give Verity commands to take a medium speed and swing by the gas giants for some sightseeing on the way when proximity alarms blared out of every speaker and the ship shuddered in the grip of some outside force.

It sounded like rain.

“What is that?” he asked.

Verity displayed a visual of a fine mist of particulate matter. There were no known debris fields this far out of the systems. They were even outside Allenda’s home system’s Oort Cloud. So what was that.

He zoomed in and analyzed and a very disturbing result told him it was micro cellular sentient pods of life.

“Sensaurions,” he said aloud.

A Sensaurion battleship loomed into view off Verity’s starboard bow and hailed him.

“So damned dramatic,” muttered Pilot X. Then answered the hail. “This is the Allendra ship Verity on a return diplomatic mission. Kindly stop raining on me with pieces of yourself and let me go about my business.”

The ship answerd. “Ambassador X. I am aware of your business with the machine people. I have learnt it from the future. You cannot be allowed to continue. This path will lead to destruction for all. You must be killed for the greater good.”

This was standard patter for the Sensaurions. They were a unified mega organism that could split up into smaller bits down to the cells they used to send communications like they were now. They could also send thoughts back in time to themselves. Well to itself, strictly speaking there was only one mind.

“Yes, yes. If you didn’t threaten the destruction of any organism that wasn’t you for the greater good, I might be flattered. And I’m not an Ambassador anymore, so I guess future you garbled the message. Perhaps it’s best to leg me finish what’s left of my diplomatic mission while you get that sorted with your son.”

“I am not my son I am me forever,” the Sensaurion battleship said pompously. “You must be destroyed not because of your threat to my mind, but because of your threat to all.”

Well that did seem to be a new twist. Sensaurions generally didn’t care about anyone not Sensaurion. Also they didn’t work well with plurals, so “all” was a heady and unusual concept for them.

“What do you mean by all?” Pilot X tried, hoping to confuse the Sensaurion with its own words.

“I cannot be confused by this. All is everything. And you will destroy everything if let on this timeline. I have seen it happen.”

“You mean you will have seen it happen, ” he countered.

“Yes. Tenses are malleable. Destruction imminent.”

“Oh stop you’ll start a war.”

“No, you will. And this will stop it.”

The battleship was charging a massive forward burst of fire targeted at Verity.

“Verity skip–” but the ship had already anticipated this and skipped forward one hour. Moving through such a small amount of space time was tricky and difficult to do precisely. The hour turned out to be three days. And a half day closer to Allendra.

“Or that,” said Pilot X. “Where’s the battleship?”

Allendra showed it on course to Sensauria. It had believed Pilot X destroyed.

“The bigger the hive mind, the dumber they fall.” Pilot X chuckled. “Set course to–”

But Verity had already plotted a medium course to Allendra swinging by the gas giants on the way.

“Well done, Verity. Well done.”