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003: The Oddity Principle Pt. 1

Two survey teams had been sent down and three had failed to return.

It was… concerning.

NG366 had been discovered very late in the game, it’s odd orbit literally kept it out of the focus of interest; placed firmly in the too hard basket. So it was not until it passed through the ecliptic, eight years after they’d planet fell on Phoebus, that it was decided to investigate.

It started with the standard Glaup drones dropping into the atmosphere doing what they did – scanning, mapping, analysing. But unlike the data that had streamed in from Phoebus, what came back was something different. Forget minerals and mining, someone had been there before.

The question then asked was ‘what’s the point?’.

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Being miners, being profit driven, if there was nothing to dig up, box, and send back to system for a profit, what was the point? So it took time, a lot of meetings, graphs, projections and speculations framed as fact to convince the boards. But eventually the idea that there could be something to grab, and box, and sell at a profit margin, one that would blow their collective minds, if who was there before was more advanced than ‘us’, became too tantalising to ignore.

So a mission was hastily put together and sent off to put eyes on ground. The only problem was that it didn’t come back. Mining crews on Phoebus, they could be replaced, they were cheap enough; except for those damn prospecting crews. But intersystem crews, they were not cheap and worse still, hard to come by; they were very busy in this age and System 2 was not an attractive place to be.

Worse still, loosing teams, expensive, hard to come by teams, would make the Company look bad, and that was something deemed rather unacceptable. After all, the corporate image was everything. So another team was put together, this time with a larger crew and a larger ship. One with a Quantum Rope Drive, because time was not on their side.

The problem was, it too vanished.

Those that did the convincing were feeling more than nervous. Their data told them the planet was dead, devoid of active life, so what was going on?Yet oddly, the Company men, usually quick to point fingers and apportion blame, were getting excited. Their reasoning being, if the missions were vanishing, then there must be something down there wanting a secret kept. And that was more than enough to get them a little more than motivated, because secrets were valuable.

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