The International Space Station. Once a shining beacon of progress, hope and international cooperation, the lack of funding and complete disinterest in science has reduced it to a complete derelict, floating precariously on the edge of Low Earth Orbit in a cloud of space garbage. Down to the last two members of the crew. Tommy Sanchey, a kind, cheery American astronaut. Also completely incompetent and careless. And Grisha Gurevitch, the moody Russian genius, selected for the ISS because he’s a genius. Aside from the fact that he’s a mathematician and therefore completely useless for space exploration, or anything else practical.
But thank immortal alien deities for The Orb. A mysterious alien object floating just next to the station, and the probable cause for many alien, magic, and time-travel related incidents in and around it. Possibly the only reason the station is still in orbit. It would be scientifically investigated and probed, if only there was a budget. And someone competent to do it.