“Oh, we understand a great deal more than you realize. We possess highly classified information that you aren’t privy to. It appears that now it’s necessary to share it with you; and your circle of conspirators. We know what it is. Despite your optimistic speculation on its purpose, it isn’t some sort of communication line to the alien species that left it here. It’s a doomsday destroyer of worlds.”
The NSA chief paused a moment and paged his personal guard. “Bring in the members of Dr. Baxter’s code breakers. They need to see this too. Maybe we can still avert this global disaster while plugging the never-ending stream of leaks.”
Chu, Sung Li and the other members of the underground team were escorted into the conference room. Bill and Jeff were relieved to see that they were physically unharmed. Sensing their relief, the chief joked. “What did you expect? Thumb screws and rubber hoses? We aren’t some bare-knuckle torture squad. We are an intelligence agency, not water-boarding interrogators like the CIA. I was just kidding about the: ‘bury you in the desert’, thing.”
No one laughed at his poor choice of levity. He continued undeterred: “The second Mars rover mission discovered an identical one of these things near its landing site; about twelve years ago. NASA found substantial evidence of a once thriving Martian civilization before they made the mistake of activating their ‘beacon’. What you are about to see is highly classified. I am taking personal responsibility with my superiors for exposing everyone in this room to the footage.”
The security guard pressed play on queued up, classified NASA footage. The film showed a nearly identical object partially buried in the reddish Martian soil. The rover slowly drove around the boundary of the object and then stopped to focus on one of the glyph inscriptions. By all appearances, it was identical in every way to the one outside in the desert.
“That’s actually quite fascinating but none of it proves that either object has a nefarious purpose.”; Bill stated. “We could argue that it proves a universe-wide attempt by the aliens who built the beacon, to reach out to other developing species and worlds.”
“We have only scratched the surface of the revealing data that the second and subsequent NASA Mars missions uncovered. Data that was deemed too controversial and troubling for the authorities to declassify. Thousands of people complained about the high cost of those space missions compared to the ‘modest’ benefit. If they only knew the truth, they would finally understand why we keep going back there. Keep watching please.”
As the occupants of the room watched in rapt attention, the footage showcased things that none of them could have even dreamed possible. Entire Martian cities were in ruin as the rover explored a crumbled civilization that no one else on Earth was even aware existed.