I have completed the transfer of the metrology equipment from the repair facility to the arranged transport heading for my studio. The units have been thoroughly tested for functionality where possible and I performed a visual check of all the pieces that could not be checked electronically. When I was examining the internals of the atmospheric scanner I came across an odd thing. Since none of the repair reports mentioned it, I assumed it was not something noticed or instigated by the repair crew. Inside the unit, located next to your manufacturing label was a strange mark. It was not etched into the titanium casing but appeared to be integrated into the material itself. Almost as if it was a flaw in the raw metal used to produce the casing. The symbol tickled some memory in the back of my mind. Hidden away in one of the dark recesses of the Louvre in Paris there was once a grave marker on display. A macabre skeleton over two meters tall bearing a shield before it. On the shield there was an inscription engraved in some ancient language and below this was a symbol. Until this day, the meaning of the inscription has not been successfully translated and the symbol remains a mystery. That symbol was clearly visible inside the casing of the unit sitting in front of me. I question if this is something you did since we were both fascinated by this item when we viewed it during one of our frequent explorations of the museum. I distinctly remember you mentioning it several times over the next several years after its discovery, and you even suggested delving into the mystery ourselves.
I have copied the symbol as it appears on the unit at the bottom of this letter. When I return to my studio I will compare it to the research notes I have from my time at the museum. I created a graphite rubbing of the original shield and I believe a digital copy of this is somewhere with my past research. It could be only something you did as a unique identification marker for your patented equipment, but since you did not mention this before and it is not on any other pieces of your equipment, I wanted to let you know what I found. If it was not put there by you, I can only conclude it was done by the repair facility or the person who sabotaged the units.
And yes, I am now convinced after a close look at the damage to the units, that it could not have been an accident during transport. The units that were inoperative not only had components that were tampered with, some of them had parts that were altogether missing. This could only have occurred if the cases had been opened to access the internals, as not even pieces of the missing components were present. None of the outer cases showed any type of damage other than scratches around the couplings. A cold chill travels down my spine when I think of this in combination with the trip from Earth. I do not know if it is possible to remain out of stasis for part of the trip here, but if there had been a saboteur aboard the Derringer, all the inhabitants of the ship were at risk lying helplessly in stasis. The damage was more than likely done after the equipment left the Derringer, but just the thought is disturbing. With this discovery and the additional disappointment of the meeting with the Flynn Foundation this afternoon, I am on the edge of panic trying to get a grasp on the situation.
There was no message waiting for me from Dr. Falton when I arrived at the Delphi headquarters. Only a low level public relations representative who gave me a cold prearranged overview about what the foundation wants to accomplish with their research. She had no medical statistics available for me and no information on when, or if, Dr. Falton would be in contact. I will have to find another way to communicate with him as I now have little confidence that working through the foundation’s official channels will be successful. Hopefully tomorrow will bring me more success when I visit the planetary metrology division again. I am not holding my breath but I at least must try before I involve the Louvre. At least I will have the promised musical performance tomorrow night to pull me out of my despair if this also produces no results. The historical data of the solar flares over the last few years will be a unique source of comparison to my future data , but will not be necessary for my own observations. I only hope to get a longer time frame to study than my research window on New London allows, and this seemed to be the only avenue to obtain this information and the data from the solar episode on the Phycodurus-8. In all probability, I will once again run into a brick wall.
I have now returned to my lodgings on the high street, half a block from the music center. The hotel has an excellent restaurant on the ground floor and I have just finished my dinner before I return to my room to change for an evening in the city. Since my arrival in Delphi, my thoughts have frequently turned to Nikolas. I passed many places we visited together on the boat ride to the hotel and the meal tonight was reminiscent of the dishes Nikolas often described to me. It made me aware of how much I miss his company and the promise I made to visit him. For now I will have to make due with my memories and distant correspondence as there is still so much to achieve before you arrive from your long voyage.
I will leave you for now. I want to lay out my things for tomorrow in anticipation of the concert before I go out for the evening. I only hope my required events during the day do not dampen the entire evening.