Earth astrophysicists discovered radio transmissions from a planet 130 light-years away at about the same time aliens on that planet discovered Earth transmissions. After much effort humans and Fofogos learned each other's languages and began joint research into starships. Eventually, something usable (at significantly below light speed) was developed along with cryogenic hibernation techniques. An expedition was launched by each planet to meet at the halfway point for a summit. Earth's expedition was led by Louise Donner while the Fofogo were led by Pahk Tschapp. The two leaders met at a space station constructed jointly between the two starships.