Zor's Experiments Web Site

 

Part 2

In another part of the galaxy, the archaeologist Samantha Hadius was conducting an archaeological dig. Her team had already found the remains of 3 ancient leaders’ tombs from an unknown civilization. In each tomb, they had uncovered hieroglyphics containing the account of each of the rulers’ time. This was the first time this culture had been discovered! She and her team were very excited. They all hae many questions to answer. "How and when did they disappear?" She wrote in her journal. They had been onsite for 3 months now, but they had only found this new site 3 days ago. They had done some dating on the finds and found that the oldest items they have found have been from around 550 years previous.

As she sat in her tent writing in her journal, she couldn’t help but recall the tremendous coincidence that led her here. It was as if fate had been hiding this site for only her and her team. She sat in her tent and recalled the reassignment to the Ruins of Trigam. "How boring," she remembered thinking. "No progress had been made here in years on the translation. It was like a punishment or an insult to be placed here. Why my team and me? We were doing good in the new Stryn site." These feelings changed only within the last 3 days.

Three days ago, the fateful earthquake hit. The hill that she was in was unharmed but it was the valley to the West that had been completely filled in by a landslide. In her boredom and lack of desire to try translating, she examined the landslide from afar. It was then that she noticed the pillar sticking out of the top of the leveled hill. Excitedly, she and a few other members of her team traveled to investigate. They figured that the landslide would have loosened up the dirt for excavation of the piece.

When they arrived, they found that indeed the pillar had been part of a new site. It was likely that these findings could be related to the Ruins of Trigam, but they were not sure. Major excavation began at daybreak the next day. This had been the find that she had been wishing for her whole life!

"Samantha!" he shouted, "Come take a look at this"

"Just a moment." Her reminiscing was interrupted. She finished the sentence in her journal and left the tent to see what James had discovered now. "What is it?"

"Grance and I have been looking at these maps that we have made. Look, the structure and layout are very different in style than the design of this Stryn site or to any other site discovered. They seem to be unrelated. This is our first proof of a new civilization!"

"Great! Who would have thought that we would have been assigned to this area when this happened? "

"No doubt about our luck. This is the best find that I have ever heard of!"

Lynna stepped out of her tent. "We have to report this by tomorrow. The regulations state that we have three days to contact the Institution after any major finds."

Her dull voice ruined the excitement in the air. She was good at doing that. Her meticulous ways had made her unpopular with the group. Despite this, her talent as a data analysis made her a necessary member of the team.

James sipped from his cup. "That means that every hot-shot archaeologist is going to be her crowding our work."

Samantha stood up straighter. "Well, let’s wait until the last moment to call so we can see what else we can find before our space is violated. I’m going to go over there and check out the site some more. Anyone with me?"

James looked over at his maps. "Sorry, I’m going to study these samples some more to see if I can find any more about the site. I also need to find out if any of our records show anything like those pendants that we saw pictures of in the tombs."

Grance stood up. "I’m with you. Let’s go"

"Thanks girl."

It was obvious that Lynna wanted to go back to her work, so they were not surprised when she did not volunteer. Palus was running more tests on the samples that he had found at the site, so he was also unavailable.

After they packed up some freshly charged energy packs and the flood lights, the two headed over to the site.

The sunset was beautiful and made them both feel happy to be alive. They were both eager to tap into the vast amount of data at their fingertips. After they arrived, they set up the flood lamps to light up their selected site. It was on the edge of the new opened area and was quite a distance from the major site. Samantha and Grance decided on the way over, that they would see if there were any new discoveries still in the hill.

They soon found evidence of a rock structure that was of finer quality than the tombs. They carefully dug around the area. As they did, they discovered more and more items in the dirt. After a half an hour, they had so many different items; they had to get a box container from their vehicle.

"I’ll go get it." Grance volunteered with a smile. They were both in a good mood. She ran off to the transport. It was a good distance down the hill.

Right after Grance left, Samantha continued to dig further. Soon after, she punched a hole into a new passageway. She cleared away the dirt until she had a big enough hole to climb into. She turned on her personal light and found a hallway. Her excitement led her down the hall and made her forget to wait for Grance. The walls were filled with writings and pictures. She did not take the time to try to decipher them though. Instead she followed the dirt floor to the end of the hall into a large room. This was a throne room. She had entered from behind the throne. She supposed that she had found a secret entrance or exit.

On the floor in front of the throne, she found a badly decayed skeleton that still had clothing on it. She could see around its neck there was a necklace. Carefully, she unfolded the cloth that covered the neck area. As she moved the cloth, she noticed that the necklace was attached to something heavy. She removed the cloth further and noticed what it was. It was the pendant that they had seen in all of the pictures in the tombs! She remembered each depiction of the rulers. They all had a definite emphasis on this pendant when it showed them on the throne. This must have been a ruler that she found.

The pendant was about 3 and 1/2 inches in diameter and about of an inch thick. In the center was a perfectly round bump that was 1 inch in diameter. Around the bump was writing that she had never seen before. It was not even similar to the writings that they had recently discovered.

She detached it and noticed that it was fairly heavy. "Wait until I show everyone this place." She headed for the exit. As she was entering the hall again, she noticed that there was a light emitting from the pendant. She stopped to look where it was coming from. The round bump was opening up to reveal a crystal. The light was coming from the crystal. The light was so awing that she failed to notice that the pendant suddenly became light in weight. The dust on the pendant had also disappeared to reveal its intense shine. She was mesmerized for a few moments.

Outside, Grance was halfway back up the mountain when she noticed that Samantha was not where she had left her. She also noticed the passageway that Samantha had found and hurried up to see what it was and if that is where Samantha had gone. She made it up the hill and looked inside to see Samantha way down at the end of the hall.

"Samantha! What are you doing?"

Samantha suddenly awoke from the trance. "I think I found the throne room."

"Cool! Get out here. We need to go back. James has discovered something that he wants us to see."

"O-Kay. Wait till you see what else I found!" She proceeded down the hall.

As she was about half way, they both noticed that the earth was starting to shake.

"Samantha hurry!"

"Oh no! The ceiling is giving out!" She continued to run.

Grance was thrown to the ground as the earth jolted violently. The floodlights came crashing down recreating a blanket of darkness. When she got up, she could barely see through the dust cloud with her personal light. As she investigated further she noticed that the passageway was gone. The huge boulders above hallway had caved it in! She knew that Samantha had not had time to make it outside.

 -----

"He is the best that I know. I think that he is worth hiring. Besides, how many cat burglars do you know that are halfway honest." Keith stood in front of the desk trying not to show his nervousness.

"What does he usually demand?" Charcin leaned back in his reclining chair.

"It is usually a few hundred thousand and he requests the equipment he will need. Plus he demands to keep all the equipment."

"Well, I know that his is a small price compared to the artifact. Contact him and find out what his price is."

"We’ll take care of it immediately." He left the room and closed the door behind him.

 

"This mysterious buyer is willing to pay me a ton of money for this measly piece. I can only imagine why it is so valuable to him. The museum claims that it has only historical value. Only a collector would want it, but not for the price that I have been offered." Charcin could not help to wonder this. But he knew that this would be a good investment for his ‘Business’.

A few hours later, Byrem Fessman, a.k.a. ‘The Panther’, strolls through the loading docks in the dark. He seems to know were he is going. Soon he approaches his contact.

"I was told that the cuffs can be broken", he stated to give the pass-phrase.

"Yes, but its better to own all the keys." Keith responded.

"You Keith, the one I talked too?"

"Yea. You the Panther?"

"Yup. So what did you call me here for?"

"We’ve decided to hire you for a job." Keith looked around to scan the area.

"What kind of a job?"

He drew a few pictures from his pocket. "We need you to retrieve this artifact from the Dutning Museum. It was just placed on display the day before yesterday."

Byrem examined the photos. "Is it heavily guarded?"

"Not sure. The details of how you get it, are up to you. We will offer you any equipment that you need plus 500,000 in bills. We need it four days after you receive the equipment. You can e-mail the list to this address." He handed him a sheet of paper with an address on it. "Use this address to notify of us of your success."

"I need the equipment by tomorrow night. And I need 50,000 up front." He said in an inexpressive tone. "It must be only you that I get it from. Let me see your hand."

"I’ll be here." Keith looked around and took off his glove.

Byrem ran the beam of an LMD (laser marking device) across the back of Keith’s hand. "This will let me know if it is you or not tomorrow. Don’t lose this hand in the meantime." His humor wasn’t reassuring to the already nervous Keith.

"I don’t plan on it."

"Then I’ll see you tomorrow, here, at 10:00 sharp." With that Byrem turned and casually strolled out of the dock.

The next night, the meeting went as planned. Byrem packed the equipment into his car and drove away. When he arrive home to his apartment, he came in through the back entrance. Earlier that day he had taken a tour of the museum to scope out his prize. He had never broken into this place once before. He suspected that it would not be too hard.

He spent most of the night checking out his new equipment and processed the pictures that he had taken with his hidden camera. He had taken pictures of the artifact and of the surrounding area. He needed the pictures of the artifact so that he could mold a fake. It would not take him long. He had done this many times before and had become efficient in his style of work. He did need to hurry because he only had four days.

He was up until dawn carving out a plaster replica according to his photos. It was a round medallion that was exactly 3 and 1/2 inches in diameter and about of an inch thick. In the center was a perfectly round bump that was 1 inch in diameter. Around the bump was writing that he carefully replicated. He wondered what was so special about something like this. The museum had told him in the tour that it was not very valuable. Oh well, it was of value to the person that Keith worked for and he was getting paid for it. That was reason enough for him not to wonder anymore.

-----

At the museum, the director and one of his archaeologists are discussing that same artifact.

"Why did you let them display it. We haven’t even studied it yet. We don’t even know what type of writing it is."

"We needed it to help fill up the glass display case. It has only been empty twice in the twenty years that I have been here. Both times, major disasters occurred. Call me superstitious, but business and donations have never failed since that display case has been always occupied with something."

The doctor still did't care. "Why that piece?"

"It was the best one to fit the current display. The only other thing that could fit into that small case was the ring set. I shipped that off to another museum halfway across the territory three days ago. Everything else has already been loaned out."

The doctor snarled. "I am the one who found that piece! You took it from me before I could find out exactly what it was."

"Please be patient. It has a low profile. I don’t think we have anything to worry about. We haven’t had trouble here for years. Besides, it will only be on display till the end of the week. We are getting a shipment with some pieces that we can use to replace it. Then it’s all yours."

"I hope your right." The doctor stomped off as the director headed to unlock the doors.

-----

Byrem slept half of the day and then finished the plaster replica. He would take it to a friend today to get a mold made and from that, a metal replica. It took him a few more hours to carve it and sand out the last rough edges. When he was finished, he showered and got dressed for the cold weather.

It took him only 45 minutes to walk to his friend’s factory. "Byrem! It’s good to see you again! What can I do for you today?"

Byrem shook his hand then took out the plaster replica. "Good to see you to Hank. I need you to use this to make a metal replica. It needs to look this color." He showed him two pictures of the piece. The pictures were zoomed in so that no one could see the display case that it was in.

Hank looked closely at the pictures. "It looks tarnished. You know how silver gets. I can do that. It won’t take too long. When do you need it by?"

"Tonight at 11:00. I need two."

"What? I can’t do it that quick!"

Byrem slipped out 5,000 in bills. "I hope this should cover the trouble."

Hank counted it with eyes wide open. "You always were a great help to the business. I’ll call in one of my part time workers to cover the slack. I’ll have them done by 11:00. You know where I’ll be in my shop. Just knock on the back entrance and I’ll let you in."

"Good. Thanks Hank. I appreciate the help. See you tonight." They shook hands and Byrem left.

Later that night, Byrem got suited up and loaded up his equipment. He put on his trench coat and hat then left out the back entrance to his car. He hurried to Hank’s shop. When he arrived, he knocked on the back door. Hank looked out his peephole and unlocked the door. "I finished them. They look marvelous"

"Good. Can I see ‘em."

"Sure. I did notice that the back had no markings. Does the original?"

"I don’t know. But I’m not too worried about it. It won't be noticed up close for a while. As usual, I just want one for a decoy."

Hank showed him the piece and showed the picture as comparison. It was an excellent resemblance.

"Thanks Hank. They’re perfect."

"It was not much trouble at all. May I ask why two?"

"I like to have the luxury of a spare in case something happens."

"Good thing, the material I used is not the best at handling rough treatment. Be gentle with them, Okay?"

"Of course I will. Thanks again."

Hank followed Byrem to the back door and let him out.

Byrem left and got into his car to take care of business.

To be continued...