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26NASA probe's true purpose: X-COM

This entry was posted in News on October 08, 2015 by OXCMods.

The probe telemetry lab is perhaps one the least care for buildings. Many just think that if you transfer the antennas and dishes elsewhere, yo can move the whole operation. They are wrong, oh so wrong. Most of the workers there beg to be sent elsewhere, they cannot stand the monotonous and mind numbing work of readjusting telemetry and positioning for various satellites and drones like Spirit.
The big boys are the ones that get all the praise, for everyone else the probe telemetry lab is just a punishment for pissing off a manager. You get stuck there and all you do all day long is stare at screens filled with numbers, and make adjustments which the computers already crunched for you. For the slackers is great, no real job being done, just collecting a check and punching in hours. But for the real engineers, its a big pain.
Jason Anderson was one such an engineer, he had fought tooth and nail for his Master's in Spectrum Analitics. He could tell you what a planet was made out of just by looking at the return feed from infrared, and his multi-spectrum camera design (if it ever took off) would tell you so much of the current planets, but no one was interested in that because he had spilled coffee all other Jerry O'brian director of communications. And so his long term stay in the 'dungeon' had started, he did not know when he would get out if ever.
Taking a sip of his less than spectacular stale redbull Jason noticed a weird pattern in the signal strengths and timecodes for the probes near Jupiter. The timecodes could not be correct, they were too close together and the signal strength was too low. At the very least a signal from Jupiter should have arrived with a 34 minute delay from the adjustment period. But they were returning with an 8 minute delay. Had no one caught this?
He quickly checked the time tables for all probes under his care, all 540 of them. Each employee was given approximately about 250 probes to care for, and Jason was given way more because Jerry was an asshole. But at least he as able to find another probe with a strange timecode arrive time. Probe: X-343-POC-21, Pluto's Orbital Coms satellite number 21. Just one, the the other satellites seemed to function just fine.
The signal strength was too low, like it was trying hard to not be detected. He tried to call up the logs and get some information on what was being transmitted but the system called up that he needed clearance from administration to know. Jerry had to be behind it, But Jason could not let this mystery go away. He got up and walked over to Fabrizzio's console, a short and pleasant looked up.
"I assume this is about Jenna's party, look I just don't think-" Jason cut him off, "No this is about a big issue, some probes are behaving bad." Fabrizzio looked at him puzzled, "Well report them for maintenance." He said, a joke since what really happened is that there would be some troubleshooting and if nothing could be done remotely they would get taken offline and put in for replacement sometime later when congress approved a budget.
Jason sighed, "I tried to do a reboot on one, i have no access, I tried to see where the information stream is going, or what it contains, no access." Fabrizzion looked at him carefully, "which ones?" The man asked. Jason gave him the identifiers and Fabrizzion looked them up, but the system told him they were currently offline due to XCOM.
"Well there you go, x-ray burst damage, probably from the power core. It happens, and it messes up telemetry all the time. now about Jenna's party do you think I should go? I don't think I should."
Fabrizzio seemed to not pay attention to the issue, And Jason wanted to know more. "Sure, come with us, it will be fun." Jason did not wait for any sort of response and went directly to the coms center two floors below, an young engineer named Massaf Al Kalif worked down there and knew pretty much everything you needed to know about where all the data was being moved to.
"Hey Kal!" Jason started as he entered the room, "No, I am not lending you my quadcopter for your insane tests." Jason looked hurt, "No man this is about something actually serious. I need to know where the data for a certain probe was going the last bits of telemetry are caught in a buffer after the probe went down and I can't route it properly." Massaf looked puzzled, the system should have handled that, and he had seen no strange probe lost of data.
"Which one?" He asked, Jason gave him the information for the one in Pluto. Massaf looked it up and seemed to stop for a second, as if recognizing something. "Well man that stuff is routed to Antartica for the crazed ice researchers. Tell me the buffer that has the data and I'll transfer it over." Jason had some old data from another Pluto satellite, he gave Massaf the information.
As Jason was leaving the the elevator doors opened with two men in uniform. "Mr. Anderson, come with us." Said one of the uniformed men. The Elevator and the stairs up where the only way out, he had done nothing illegal, so Jason went with the two men. Once in the elevator A guard swiped security badge and a hand-print thermal analyzer popped out of the paneling. The elevator started going down, fast. When the doors opened the first thing Jason saw was a logo with the word 'XCOM' on it.

This short story was written by RaceHard on the Reddit Writing Prompts thread named "NASA has been hiding what their probes have been doing for the last decade. What are they truly up to?".


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