(The Silence of Ancient Light, continued)
After several trips to ferry their meager belongings through the water and up the shaft to the departure chamber, they used the suit helmet lights to illuminate the dark, dank, musty interior, surveying the ancient desks and panels, overgrown with lichens and long-undisturbed dust. How many years had this room lain empty? How many centuries? With a bit of shock, Anna realized this high-tech chamber had probably gone unvisited even longer than the primitive temple they discovered on Ar-Velen. She crouched down to brush the growth from the slanted desk by the elevator cab door that faced back into the room.
“I wish Tak was here. He’d have figured this all out in no time.” She ran her hand over the flat desk surface, then around the sides, looking for any sign of a switch or control.
“We all miss him, Anna.” Laxmi peered intently at the lichen on another desk, then scraped a small sample into a plastic bag, sealed it up, and put it into her pouch.
“You’re still taking samples? After all this time?” Jaci glanced back from his position at the elevator door, where he had been trying to figure out how to open it.
Laxmi shrugged. “The science never stops. Just because we’re separated from our ship is no reason to ignore the reasons we came here. Besides, we haven’t encountered anything like this lichen growth before. This is new to us. I’d like to make sure it isn’t toxic, for one thing.”
“Toxic?” Anna coughed as the cloud of dust and spores she brushed off the side of the desk settled to the floor.
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(1,973 words; 7 min 53 sec reading time)
The science never stops! No matter how desperate their straits, Laxmi is always the consummate exobiologist, gleaning as much as she can about this new world they find themselves upon. She remains fascinated with all the life they have found, while Jaci remains fascinated with the alien society they’ve encountered.
Anna just wants to get back to her spaceship and fly it somewhere. Home would be nice, but mostly she just wants to be off the planet’s surface and back in an environment where she feels in control. Events seem to be overtaking them all at breakneck speed, and she just careens from one emergency to the next. Definitely not her happy place.
She is a bit happier, however, as they have discovered an ancient piece of significant technology left over from before the local Dark Ages a millennium ago. The only problem is, the whole site has been powered down for centuries, and much of it remains underwater.
She needs to find a circuit breaker and switch it all on, but that may be easier said than done with alien tech so old it lies under multiple layers of possibly toxic dust and spores.
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