24. Return to Mechatropolis, Part I   2 comments

Meanwhile in Space…

Episode 24: Return to Mechatropolis, Part I: Hidden Treasure

Sundance and Timmy raced along the New Earth desert landscape in their trusty hovercar. Timmy was holding three cups of coffee in his lap uncomfortably. They were very hot and in the process of burning his thighs something awful.

I don’t see why we couldn’t have gotten a cup carrier,” Timmy complained. “And who drinks coffee in the desert? It just doesn’t make any sense!”

Shh, we’re almost there!” Sundance accelerated the car unexpectedly, causing Timmy to almost spill the coffee. “Astralyn will be happy to see us.”

What is the deal with you two?” Timmy asked. “Ever since we got back from the Venga System, you two have been acting weird. She said something about you and some maidens…”

I don’t know what you’re talking about, Timmy.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

Sundance continued to drive until they reached a remote archeological dig site. People were gathered around a large crater that had to span for several thousand yards in diameter. At the southern most rim, Sundance parked the car and climbed out. “Come along, Timmy.”

Without any assistance from Sundance and some creative juggling, Timmy managed to hold on to all of the coffees and climbed out of the car.

Astralyn, wearing a pair of khaki shorts, a faded blue button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and what looked like a fishing hat with misters all along the rim; all of them dirty, walked over to them and smiled.

You found us, great job,” Astralyn said. “I was afraid you’d get lost coming from Citadel City.” Timmy offered her a cup of coffee. “I’ve got some, thanks.” Timmy rolled his eyes. “Come with me, I’ve got something really great to show you.”

Astralyn led her two friends down into the crater and passed several people on their knees picking away at the dirt. Timmy offered the people they passed Astralyn’s coffee; they were not interested.

A couple of days ago, one of our interns found an ancient tomb that we believe to have housed the leader of the village and their family.” Astralyn informed.

I am so over tombs and temples at this point in my life,” Sundance replied. “Tell me we’re not going to a tomb or temple.” Astralyn didn’t say anything.

She continued to lead them towards a large hut that was close to the rim of the crater. “We are pretty excited about this find. This could give us a glimpse into the life that existed here before the Old Earth Colonists arrived.” She stopped at the hut and insisted they go inside. They reluctantly acquiesced.

Inside was a thin man with short, spiky, blonde hair, fair skin, wearing gold rimmed glasses, bent over in a the farthest corner staring at something. He didn’t acknowledge their entrance.

Kjartan, this is Captain Sundance Starmont and Lieutenant Timmy Falken,” Astralyn said. “What are you doing?”

Kjartan stood up and brushed the dirt off his knees. “Oh, Ms. Winner. I didn’t hear you come in.” He wiped his hands on his green button up shirt and extended his hand to Timmy. Timmy only placed Astralyn’s coffee cup in it. “Thank you?”

Don’t mention it,” Timmy replied.

Did you find something?” asked Astralyn, staring into the corner.

I think so.” Kjartan stepped aside and let Astralyn access the corner. On the floor was a raised rectangular mound of dirt with a couple of pick holes in it. “As I was digging, I came upon this. I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I think it’s a box.”

Astralyn reached into her back pocket and pulled out a mini pick and chisel. “Let’s find out, shall we?”

She got down on her knees and began to pick away at the dirt.

Sundance grabbed his cup of coffee from Timmy and sipped as he watched her.

Astralyn kept tapping away until there was a lot metallic thunk. “Kjartan, I think you might be right. Come and help me with this.” Her assistant got down on his knees and helped her excavate a large silver box from its earthen prison.

This is unlike anything we’d seen before,” Astralyn noted. She held the box in her hand. “Everything else we found have either been bones or pottery. This is something else.”

It’s a metallic box,” Sundance scoffed. He took another sip of his coffee.

Actually, Captain, I think it’s a book.” Timmy said.

Astralyn turned the box about in her hands and noticed that there was a clasp keeping the metallic pages within bound. “Good eyes, Timmy.” She wiped the remaining dust off of it and tried to read what was inscribed on the front. There were jagged symbols etched all over the book, nothing legible. “I can’t make out what it says. Some ancient language no doubt.”

I don’t think it’s human,” Kjartan added. He yearned to hold the book. “May I?” Astralyn handed him the book. “I’ve seen something similar to this during my work as an undergrad at Citadel University. If I could see inside, I might be able to tell you more.”

Kjartan tried to undo the clasp, but it refused to open.

May I?” Sundance reached to his utility belt and pulled out his laser pistol.

Sundance! You can’t do that!” Astralyn shouted. “It’s a relic of the original civilization!”

Sundance sighed and placed his gun back on his belt. He sat down next to Kjartan and examined the book. “Oh, I see it.” He pressed a little silver button on the spine and the clasp popped open. “Shooting it would have been more fun though.”

Kjartan opened the shiny book and instantly the tomb began to shake. Everyone braced themselves against a wall. The wall Astralyn was leaning on suddenly opened and revealed itself to be a door. The tomb stopped shaking. Mist flowed out of the room and collected at their feet. Timmy and Sundance dropped their coffees and pulled out their pistols, waiting for something to come for them.

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2 responses to “24. Return to Mechatropolis, Part I

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  1. Hahaha! I love the bits with Timmy and the cups of coffee! Really well done. I also loved how Sundance’s answer is to shoot the book open. 😀 Yay for Astralyn as well! I’m curious why this arc is called Return to Mechatropolis – have our heroes been here before? Can’t wait to find out!

    Either way, I’m so glad Meanwhile in Space… is back again! I was missing it so much.

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