Jess paced back and forth in front of a giant monitor on the wall in her office. She was receiving live reports on the status of her campaign in addition to data from Firewall about the unidentified spacecraft near Lunar orbit.
Camay appeared in a window on the monitor. "We have confirmed that the beacon matches a segment of the pseudo-random noise collected from the sphere while you were all on NEA726," said Camay.
Jess sat down in her large, executive-style office chair. She had been so busy running her campaign for regional governor and managing Crest Corporation that she had become almost a prisoner in her office. Her husband, Atlas, routinely patrolled the mansion and visited her in the office every couple of hours. Jess was content to work from her mansion and had some trusted people handling operations at Crest's headquarters.
"Dr. Thameh," said Jess, looking back up at the monitor, "We need to have a team get aboard that spaceship."
Jess stood up and continued, "The beacon match indicates that the sphere is likely up there. It's clear that it was one of Crest's black projects and I never heard anything from my father about it. It is a matter of deep personal interest to find out what was in development and whom among our employees were involved. Of course, more than personal interest, the ramifications of its sudden re-appearance could affect the entire solar system."
Camay displayed some images in another window on the monitor, overlapping some line charts of Jess's poll numbers and other statistics. "We have some low resolution images of the spacecraft but the two probes sent from the L1 colony were destroyed by some kind of gravity manipulation field," said Camay. "I am working with Duncan Sorenson to identify a way to circumvent its detection systems."
Jess heard a knock on the door. "Dr. Thameh," said Jess, "Please do everything you can to arrange a safe mission to that ship. I have to attend to some other matters. Thank you!"
With that, Camay closed the video call and Jess answered the door. It was Atlas.
"Hey, Atlas!" said Jess, "Would you please come with me to the sub-basement? I need some help finding something."
"Yeah, what are we looking for?" replied Atlas. The two of them headed down the hallway to the stairs, taking them down to the lowest level of the mansion.
"Firewall has confirmed that the ship around Lunar orbit is sending out a beacon that matches something in the data that was taken from that giant sphere on the asteroid..." said Jess. She stopped herself, knowing that bringing up the asteroid would also bring up painful memories for the both of them.
"Sorry, dear," said Jess. "I know it's not a great memory."
Jess and Atlas entered the dark, musty sub-basement. There were shelves and shelves of old folders full of paper documents and blueprints. It was here that physical, hard copies of some of Crest's most secret information were kept. The sub-basement was like a bunker; it was fireproofed and made to protect its contents even in a nuclear war.
"So, what are we trying to find," said Atlas.
"You know that sphere was a top secret project run by my father," replied Jess. "I need to see if there are any plans down here related to it. There's absolutely nothing in our computers or servers related to it. I know because I had Shell and Duncan both scour our systems looking for it."
"I know they are our friends," replied Atlas, "but isn't that strictly against company policy to allow outside freelancers that level of access?"
Jess laughed. "Ha! Atlas! It's not like they couldn't gain access any time they wanted anyway!"
Atlas and Jess both laughed as they rummaged through moldy old folders and documents.