Gernsback’s Fables: The Probe and the Armada
A Sentient probe was exploring the potential benefits of a newly-mapped star system when a Xenic Armada entered the system, filling radio space with encrypted but aggressive-sounding signals. “Dear me,” said the probe, as he hid behind a moon, “I never saw an Armada before. What a terrible creature! Its signals makes me tremble.” It slipped through the void to the next system.
In the next system the same Armada was there and its ships appeared dormant, with only brief stellar location data pinging between them. The probe steered high above the ecliptic plane and logged “I wish this Armada would not make such a noise!”
In the third system, the probe encountered the Armada and was not frightened at all. It signaled the Armada: “What are you roaring about?”
And the Armada was so taken by surprise that its signals went silent and it let the probe slip away.
It would not be safe for little probes always to follow the example of this one; but it is often true that what our fear makes seem an Armada in the way has no danger in it if we meet it bravely.
Adapted from THE FOX AND THE LION