Recorded Conference Meeting: Hermes Satellite Mission Control Crew
Peterson: I’m telling you, the data’s corrupt. It’s impossible.
Andrews: And I’m telling you that we have a signal. It’s not impossible.
Davis: Are we really doing this again?
Carr: Apparently. I’ll go put on more coffee.
Peterson: Yes, sir. I understand. Listen, all I’m saying—
Andrews: We know what you’ve been saying, you just haven’t been saying anything new.
Peterson: —All I’m saying is that it can’t happen. We know this. The Hermes Satellite couldn’t have been taken three light months out.
Andrews: The signal begs to differ with you.
Peterson: It’s corrupt. It has to be.
Andrews: Nothing in the signal has turned up any kind of corruption.
Peterson: Are you blind?! Look at the degradation.
Andrews: That’s exactly the kind of signal degradation we’d expect at this distance.
Davis: It’s actually very clean for that kind of distance.
Peterson: Exactly! It’s too good. It should be more degraded when we factor in the background radiation.
Andrews: You’ve got to be fu—
Macomber: —The absence of proof is not proof. We can’t speculate that there’s a failure just because there isn’t more degradation. Until we have evidence otherwise, the signal degradation is legitimate. Now, if the signal degradation is appropriate, what are we looking at here?
Peterson: Intermittent contact. She’s in an uncontrolled tumble. That’s why Hermes isn’t responding as often as we want. It’s not until we send several signals that she happens to be in the right orientation to get the signal from us.
Carr: Might want to reconsider that. We just got photos. No blurring. No rotation at all. We even have successive photos with the same star pattern.
Peterson: That can’t be. It just can’t!
Andrews: I’m telling you, it is. Something happened. Some kind of event after the last received transmission. Somehow during that time, Hermes ended up 87 light days away from our solar system. Hermes is the first vehicle to go faster than light. We did it!
Macomber: I’m willing to entertain that idea. Now, tell me how.
Andrews: We, uh, we don’t know, Chief.
Macomber: Well, you’re the brightest minds at ISA. Figure it out. I want theories by tomorrow. We’re sitting on the greatest discovery of the human race, people.