The plan had been simple, send up the Odyssey satellite. As it crossed through the bow shock, it would deploy a simple, square sail made from the same platinum and cobalt metal as the mesh on the Hermes. After one hour, it would cut the sail free, which the team expected would drop the Odyssey back to normal speeds.
All of the telemetry showed the sail deployed as expected, but then, nothing. Odyssey didn’t have the capacity for continuous transmissions because of the power necessary and its size. It could only burst transmit once its capacitors charged.
The team had been expecting a signal from Odyssey less than thirty days after it exited the solar system. Iasa had waited, the Congress had waited, a large part of the world had waited. No signal. At 45 days, the media had given up. At 60 days, Congress was ready to scrap the larger Magellan project. At the same time, IASA pushed the Odyssey control team to one of the smallest control centers, where Ed Carr now took his shift. Where before the Odyssey team had swelled to over 50 people, now it was down to the people who had first discovered what happened to the original Hermes Satellite.
Ed played a game on his slate while the computer displayed ordinary background signals. The particular frequency and protocol for Odyssey remained silent. Ed sighed, and debated, for the third time, if he should order a pizza from the all-night joint, when the signal display on the computer lit up. The glorious signal wave was filled with noise, but Ed could filter it out, and the text type message came through with amazing clarity: Odyssey 1 Phone Home.