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When we started losing time-travellers all hell broke loose.  Everyone started to lose their bottle, and the appeal of space exploration took a big dive with it. The planets and exo-planets that had so far been explored had turned up nothing of immediate human importance. No life had been found out there, intelligent or otherwise, and nobody had identified any planet worthy of any kind of permanent base. So with the Hanson Report came the witch hunt against pretty much all non-necessary science. The damning conclusion soon followed: all time travel and space exploration was suspended indefinitely. Our giant leap had hit a brick wall.

We were grounded, powerless, left without balls. The strict conditions laid down by Hanson were made hard Law. All inevitable appeals failed. Skarpton bets were off, at least as far as manned exploration was concerned.

The only avenue left open to us was Earth-based research. We could still use Skarptons to get a radio or visual fix on other worlds. Time travel was a complete no-no. But we could at least still use our Skarpton networks to have a bit of a fish around. Our astronaut days were done. We were right back to looking up, hopelessly, at the stars.


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