“A crystal has been created by NASA using newly discovered particle combinations from Mars, the details having been relayed back to Earth via the Odyssey Probe. It is pure black, cold and surprisingly light to the touch and any light that falls onto it is absorbed in a peculiar way. Its most interesting property, however, is that when a focussed laser beam is shone through the crystal, anything it hits has its mass neutralised to light particles and waves.
“This crystal, nicknamed 'Black Ice', is subject to great interest throughout the scientific industry in America, as it provides vital information for the research into Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
“Unfortunately, soon after transmitting the crystal's data back to Earth, the Odyssey Probe came across a violent sandstorm and has stopped responding to signals. Scientists can only assume it has been destroyed. Consequently, it would be a tragedy if either the crystal or the vital particle construction data was lost.
“Ordinarily, MI6 would not concern itself with matters outside of the United Kingdom. However, the NASA Scientists operate closely with some of the leading space research organisations here in Britain and we have been called upon to investigate reported suspicious activity.
“A silent alarm was tripped at the Ames Research Centre in Calif where the crystal's data was kept; NASA believes that that the burglar's aim was to make a copy of it. Luckily, night patrol staff at the centre were able to gave an accurate description of the trespasser, which has matched up with the appearance of George Harland, a man who was a known American associate of a company called Ionova. However, it is unknown whether Ionova still employ him.
“Ionova is an English company which designs and manufactures optical devices such as CD ROM drives, optical mice and cameras. It also specialises in equipment for laser eye surgery and sells to opticians and hospitals around the world. Its administrator, Julian Vanesh, became an entrepreneur at the age of 21, developing a new type of computer processor which transmitted data as light and was capable of revolutionising the computer industry. Unfortunately, a large fire destroyed Vanesh's laboratory, the cause of which is still unknown, and all the research was lost.
“MI6 have been investigating Vanesh's movements since the January of 2006, when he held a conference for his company in Germany; 5 investigative journalists died on a plane headed back for America when its GPS system malfunctioned and the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The journalists had criticized Ionova at the conference for being “Environmentally unfriendly” when disposing of their products.
“Another man named Michael Nortan was fired from his job as Ionova's Chief Public Relations Executive after allegations were made to him about an affair with Mr. Vanesh's wife, Caroline. His body was found two weeks later in Scotland inside a mangled car, although his family insist it wasn't his.
“Recently, Ionova has announced that they will be holding a press conference in London to show off their newest piece of equipment, the Threadcutter. Apparently it is a microscopic laser designed for keyhole surgery and is set to speed up operations, make them safer and less painful. Bond, we would like you to attend this conference under the cover of a rich businessman and try and keep tabs on Vanesh. A CIA agent, Miss Briant, will meet with you there.
“Bring back any information you can on Vanesh's next movements, but don't lose your cover. Good luck, 007.”