New Rourke Unmasked
An Interlude of Cosmic Deductions

Noor stood in the doorway to one of the complexes large chambers. This one was usually devoted to tracking stock exchanges and other economic transactions on a global scale. The amount of connectivity and computing power needed to keep track all this as well as project future trends meant most of the floor space was taken up by server stacks with one wall kitted out with a collection of monitors. Normally such a room would be freezing and loud but the employment of an intricate liquid cooling system left the room feeling comfortable without excessive white noise. The cold wouldn’t have bothered Noor, as she was effectively dead, but still she was covered from head to toe in drab clothes. The only part of her body that showed were the tendrils of kinked hair, tinged from a dirty violent red to white at the tips, which snaked out from under her hood and around the moldering papier-mâché face mask.

“You asked to see me?” she said, in a raspy voice.

“Yes. Come in.” said the man known as Professor Peligro. His massive, eight-foot, bulk towered in a bespoke, black, suit. He pointed at a monitor with one ashen grey finger and asked, “What do you make of this?”

Noor examined the screen closely. “While I have a slight fascination with astronomy, astrophysics is outside my field of study.”

“Mine as well, however I would like a second opinion.”

Noor cocked her head at the man; a curious mannerism, especially when one has to look straight up. “You want me to give analysis on something I have no grounding in?”

“Come, come, Noor. How often have you lauded about your extraordinary mental recall?”

“So, it’s another test then.” Noor said flatly, while turning back to the monitor.

“Yes.” Peligro grinned. “Show me how well you can think on your feet.”

Noor studied the scrolling numbers and the cycling replay of a tracking parabolic arc. Calling up long-disused equations from text books she had only flipped through in passing, she ran calculations through her head. Then she did so again. Still, she couldn’t be entirely sure of her findings without further study and more information to reference. But that wasn’t the point. They had played this cat and mouse game several times since she had arrived. Peligro had minor interest in whether she was correct, as he had probably already found the correct answer or gotten it from elsewhere. What he was more interested in were the limits of her ability. Then again, the data itself could have been fabricated and whether or not she could determine that was the real test.

With her findings in hand, she needed to state a conclusion that was both accurate to the data she was presented with, yet did not make any long-term claims that could be proven wrong.

Noor turned to Peligro and quite confidently stated, “Meteors don’t move like that.”

Peligro nodded.