Originally Posted by Forrestfire
Am I reading it right that the exchange of information was obfuscated by the "attacks?"
The Necron lord and the Culture are pretending to attack each other, but they're actually trading tech. A monolith and a few warriors for the Culture to study, against the political galatic map and intelligence engineering.
The Culture want to establish better relations, so they're willing to go along with a blind tech trade (they get something related to the warp).
The Necron Lord wants to study their intelligence engineering in hopes of finding a solution to their degradation problem. The ship that just left this week is following the first one to transmit the Culture's data on galactic politics to the core worlds of the empire he's with.
(the drone stuck in his world is being analyzed to work out effector and mirror shield principles)