Welcome To The Future
No-one expects to find alien life in NGC 2419. But when the first probes encounter a dirty, industrial planet somewhere no human is known to have been, the race is on to be the first to welcome its inhabitants into the galactic community. Will it be two poker-playing starships, or The Future, for whom pretension is a vocation, not just a way of life?
A 5,500 word science fiction short story.