The ball had been found mysteriously orbiting Callisto in 2239. How long had it been there? No one knew for certain. Ball 42 had only been found by happenstance when a mining probe had stumbled upon it during a routine survey. The disquieting thing about the discovery was that a very terrestrial “B42” was stenciled on the exterior but no human knew anything of its existence, nor were there any historical breadcrumbs shedding light on its origin. Equally disturbing was that there might be forty one other balls hidden somewhere in the Solar System . . . or more.
B42 had been scanned, poked, prodded, and then gingerly hauled back to Mars orbit where it was now ensconced in an orbital fortress waiting to be researched. Now I find myself inside that fortress, standing on a gangway that creaked quietly in the thin atmosphere of the pressurized holding area. But the most frightening aspect of B42 is the door that silently opened of it’s own accord as I walked down that creaking gangway.