For twenty-three years a dozen space-alien refugees from have been hiding out on Earth, living inside various human hosts. When they arrived they hid their spaceship in the mud at the bottom of Lake Ontario, and when the "come home" call finally came, they happily prepared to get their spaceship and go home.
However, about that time someone spots a very strange sonar image in Lake Ontario, on the Canadian side. Both American and Canadian intelligence agencies send someone to check it out. At the same time, a member of Alien Hunters International is closing in on a couple of the aliens.
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Chapter 1: September 13
The story opens in mid-September on an overcast day with a cool wind and the occasional shower.
Four days before Button Day (The day that the aliens press the button that starts the re-activation of Professor Nothing, their spaceship)
Headquarters of Wind Turbines Foundation, just south of the Region of Waterloo International Airport.
It was a sonar scan that first picked up the object in Lake Ontario off High Bluff Island. A couple of geologists and a limnologist were called in right away, sworn to secrecy, and shown the pictures. The Wind Turbine Foundation company had a fair amount of money riding on getting seventy-eight large wind turbines installed on the bottom of the lake, and nobody wanted any problems.
But, right where there was supposed to be nothing but a bit of mud or sand on top of good solid limestone, there was an odd-shaped object in seventy feet of water.
"What the hell is that thing?" the younger geologist with the red hair asked no one in particular.
"Looks like an odd-shaped submarine," the older geologist with no hair noted. "Really odd-shaped." The others just pursed their lips and contemplated the awful prospect of some historical association getting involved. It wouldn't do WTF any good. Worse, there'd been a ban on putting wind turbines into the waters off mainland Ontario since some premier of the province, a little desperate for votes before an election, had listened to an ecological group. This was to be the first offshore wind farm since the ban was lifted, and nobody in the company wanted any problems. None – or at least none they couldn't hide.
It should be explained that the name of the company had started out as "Wind Turbine Farms," with the senior officials blissfully unaware of the use that their grandkids were making of the initialism, "WTF." It also turned out that any use of the word "farm" brought derisive laughter from the farming community, most of whom seemed convinced that wind turbines reduced their wives’ sex drives. It was agreed among the officials of the Wind Turbine Foundation that since they’d made up a lot of letterhead, business cards, and some giant letters to go onto the little building they owned in an industrial suburb of Kitchener, “WTF” had to stay, and since the founder and CEO said “foundation” sounded nice and stable, they’d keep it as “WTF." Besides, he noted, every other text message on the planet helped advertise the company, one way or another.
The older geologist with no hair, the sexy blonde limnologist, and the younger male geologist with the red hair looked carefully at the sonar, and at the underwater photographs that had been taken by a camera lowered from a fishing boat.
"At least it's not the wreck of the Speedy, the limnologist noted. She got a bunch of blank looks. "In 1804," the scientist told them, "the Speedy was carrying important people who planned to make Presqu'ile Point the capital of the local district. It was also carrying one of our first nations brothers, whom they planned to try and hang to mark the occasion."
"And it went down here?" a voice asked. Everyone turned, to see the CEO, who had a habit of arriving quietly. Meeting the Dilbert Requirement for managers, he was tall, and had good hair, unlike the younger geologist who had spiky hair and the limnologist who had blonde hair tied in a ponytail.
"Went down off High Bluff Island, with the loss of all lives," the limnologist continued. "The governor of the province moved the capital to Cobourg and the wreck of the Speedy was supposedly never found, although one fellow in Trenton thinks he spotted it out near Weller's Bay. I'm pretty sure this isn't it."
"It doesn't look like any wooden boat I've ever seen," the older geologist with no hair said. " He paused. "Looks a bit like the American Civil War boat, Monitor – the ironclad boat." He looked up to see the expression on the others' faces. "Oh, it couldn't be, of course. It looks like a submarine with no conning tower and a single large round hatch in the middle. And besides, it seems to have no magnetic component at all," he added.
"Ever seen anything like it – other than the Monitor, of course?" The CEO looked over his reading glasses at the limnologist.
"Never. Ever. There's no record of any submarines in Lake Ontario, aside from a wild rumour in World War Two that a German U-boat was seen there. That's impossible, and this doesn't look like a U-boat anyway. You can see it's settled into the mud until it's hardly projecting at all – not even any fishing nets caught on it."
"So what do we do?" the older geologist with no hair asked.
"We ignore it," the tall CEO with good hair said. "Build the foundations beside it. Don't mention it to anyone."
The others nodded, but after the meeting, the limnologist placed a phone call to a number in Langley, Virginia.
In another part of the building, the CEO sighed, got out a little book of regulations, and placed a call to an arm of the Canadian government. At least, he figured, that group might be able to keep the find secret.