Chapter 1: Discovery
The house was quiet, only the soft footfalls of three people broke the silence. They were searching, for what they did not know. But they had done this before, many times. They were trained to spot the unusual, the out of place, the alien. This time it was Gwen who found it.
"Jack," she called into her comms, "there's something here."
"Where are you?"
Jack and Owen climbed the stairs, still alert for anything out of the ordinary. They reached the front bedroom and Jack moved up beside Gwen who had her gun trained on a small, silver globe. It sat on the floor by a dressing table that held the detritus of female daily life: cosmetics, hairbrush and comb, two half-empty perfume bottles, jewellery, some loose change, a watch and a small furry teddy bear. The globe was glowing a soft blue but was otherwise inert, or at least it seemed that way.
Jack looked at it intently, not moving. He scanned it using the controls on his wrist strap. "This is it. The readings are stable at the moment."
"Jack?" questioned Owen. He too was looking at the object, but with only half his attention. He was opening a containment box ready for use if deemed appropriate. The box was large for the object, which was only about 10 centimetres in diameter.
Jack holstered his gun. "I'd do it," he said, moving forward a pace. He stopped before advancing another. "Hand me the box," he told Owen who complied wordlessly. Jack took another pace; he was now within reach of the globe. He held the box in both hands and leant down, placing it on its side, open end facing forward, behind the object. He slowly pulled it towards him, the tapered edge of the box met the object and Jack placed his booted foot to force the object inside. It rolled into the box, clattering loudly in the unnatural silence of the room before the lining contracted around it holding it in place. Jack lifted the box and closed it in one movement.
All three let out a collective breath. The object looked harmless but they'd been fooled before. Sometimes the most innocuous items created more mayhem and even death than the most alarming. They looked at each other and smiled, another job done.
"Let's get this back to Tosh, see what she makes of it." Jack led the way from the room as he spoke, descended the stairs and went out of the front door. Gwen stopped on the way to give the police the all clear and to let the owner back into her home then followed Owen into the SUV. Jack was already in the driving seat having secured the containment box in the boot of the vehicle. The SUV accelerated away.