Snippet: Virgo, Inc.
The first thing we did when the wyrmhole opened past Pluto was send probes, which were destroyed and sent back. Looked like that damn' things'd been chewed on. Second thing we did was send more probes. Ditto. Third thing we did was...you get the picture.
Enter the entrepreneur Silas T. Barnum, founder of the space exploration company Virgo, Inc. Either he was the heir of the circus guy or he'd changed his name after he was released from a mental institution. All sorts of rumors. His probes went out. His probes came back. Like I said, all sorts of rumors. Squeezed his billions out of it, though, with the regularity and immensity of an elephant on laxitives.
Until the special agent sent by the IRS infiltrated the place. Those weren't unmanned probes Barnum was sending out, but they weren't manned probes, either.