The NASA transport jet banked high over the Atlantic.
Onboard, Administrator Lawrence Ekstrom took a last look at the huge charred rock in the cargo hold. Back to the sea, he thought. Where they found you.
On Ekstroms command, the pilot opened the cargo doors and released the rock. They watched as the mammoth stone plummeted downward behind the plane, arcing across the sunlit ocean sky and disappearing beneath the waves in a pillar of silver spray.
The giant stone sank fast.
Underwater, at three hundred feet, barely enough light remained to reveal its tumbling silhouette. Passing five hundred feet, the rock plunged into total darkness.
It fell for almost twelve minutes.
Then, like a meteorite striking the dark side of the moon, the rock crashed into a vast plain of mud on the ocean floor, kicking up a cloud of silt. As the dust settled, one of the oceans thousands of unknown species swam over to inspect the odd newcomer.
Unimpressed, the creature moved on.