alien, archaeologist, bones, discovery, Earth, fantasy, fiction, flash fiction, human, planet, scifi, short story, space shift
Last weeks FFF – Zombiesapien
The haze in the atmosphere was dissipating, revealing the alien, purple sky. This planet’s axis was tilted ever so slightly more Earth’s, causing the light waves to refract at an angle just different enough to create the taffy hue. The red and dusty terrain contrasted sharply against the sky, with a layer of dirt still kicked up all across the horizon.
Xander’s team worked through the storm. They did their best to protect their dig, and managed to not lose much ground. He watched them as they worked furiously to redo the mornings excavation, and at last, make new progress. He longed to be down in the ditches with them, but he knew it could never be.
“Xander, come look at this!” Charisse yelled.
He hurried to her site. She sat several feet down, in a square hole marked with string. She didn’t look up as he approached. She kept to her task, softly brushing dirt from something in the ground.
“What did you find?” Xander asked.
“Take a look. Let me know if it’s what I think it is.”
Though she made a statement, her voice was full of question and hope. He zoomed in on the object.
“While I cannot assess with accuracy what you are thinking, I can confirm that what you have there is a mandible. And a preliminary scan suggests that it is not consistent any Earth born fossil record that we have on record.”
She jumped out of the hole and stood near him.
“Xander! I could hug you,” she said, then ran to tell her team the news.
If only, he thought.
The crew gathered their gear and widened her excavation area. Within hours, they had unearthed the remains of nearly twenty intact alien skeletons.
Charisse, brimming with glee, took a break. She stood above the workers and stared at her discovery.
“Just look at it, Xander. We couldn’t have asked for better specimens.”
“It is quite the treasure trove.”
“When can we let Earth know?” she asked.
“Our satellites should be in position to transmit in about two weeks,” he said.
“Think about it. We can now say, without a doubt, that we are not alone in the universe.”
As she said this, the smile faded from her face. Xander didn’t notice.
“No one deserves the discovery more than you,” he said.
“Thank you,” she replied, her tone saddened.
Picking up on it, Xander studied her. Nothing in her face or vitals could tell him what troubled her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing. I mean, I’m overjoyed at this discovery. Really, I am. But, we came here looking for evidence of life. And I suppose we achieved that. But all of this, this is evidence of death. We know that these beings once lived. But what happened to them?”
“I don’t follow. This is what we came here to find.”
“Perhaps. It just raises so many questions.”
“We can’t get all the answers in one day. These bones, this site, it will be studied for years, decades, to come.”
“I can’t wait that long. I want to know what happened here. These bodies, that’s all their is. There isn’t any evidence of food or tools or anything for that matter. It’s like they all came here to lay down and die. And I want to know why. I want to know how they lived. I want to know what they looked like with their skin on.”
Xander pondered this as he noticed something in his field of vision. He looked up at the sky. Without the dust, the double suns shined brightly, making it difficult to see much of anything.
Then he saw it again. Something metallic in the air, reflecting the sun from either side on and off. He watched it’s trajectory, and realized that it was headed towards them.
“I fear you may find the answers to your questions sooner then you expected,” he said, pointing to the craft.
A shrill whine emitted from the ship as it neared, growing louder and higher in pitch. Charisse and her team stopped and stared. She was filled with excitement and terror.
The craft came to a stop a few meters above the ground and hovered. A blinding beam struck the ground like lightning, depositing two beings in it’s wake.
“Purple,” Charisse mumbled in disbelief.
Seven feet tall and bipedal, the newcomers surveyed the humans. Their reptilian, maroon skin gleemed under the suns. They appeared to be both wet and dry at the same time. They wore long robes of deep blue, that draped down their bodies and covered the overly long arms.
“Why are you here?” one asked in a thundering voice.
“You know English?” Xander asked.
“We’ve long known of your kind, your world. When that one spoke at our arrival, we detected which variation of your species you were. Now, I have answered your question, answer mine.”
“We are just curious explorers, here to learn about life in the universe. Our kind longs for contact with other intelligent beings,” Charisse offered.
“We do not long for contact with you,” the other being said in an equally large voice.
“We would have initiated if we did,” the first finished.
“Why?” Charisse asked.
“In our experience, humans are little more than beasts. Destroying much in their paths, even themselves. And now, we find you desecrating our most holy of places. Our suspicions are validated.”
“We didn’t mean any disrespect. We didn’t know,” Charisse pleaded.
“You are saying you happened upon these bones while doing something else? And accidentally kept digging after you found them?”
“Well, no. Discovering bones is kind of our job. But we didn’t know it was holy.”
“It is of no consequence. You have shown us that mankind is just intelligent enough.”
“We are?” she asked.
“Yes. Just enough to be dangerous to everything else. You must be eliminated for the safety of the galaxy.”
“Please, don’t kill us,” she begged.
“Not just you. All of humanity must pay for the crime you committed here.”
“But,” she started.
The creature didn’t let her finish. A burst of light struck from the ship, incinerating all but the aliens and Xander. They looked befuddled.
“How have you survived?” the first being asked.
“Because, I’m not human. I’m a hologram. An artificial intelligence made of light.”
“Intriguing. Warn your kind or not, it won’t help. We shall visit your planet and destroy it shortly.”
They turned to leave.
“Please,” Xander said, “take me with you. I can’t leave this planet of my own will. I can’t communicate with the Earth for two weeks. And as you said, it won’t matter.”
They ignored him. He watched as the flash of light took the two away.
He stared up at that alien sky, and cursed that he couldn’t cry.
“Please! I don’t want to be alone!” he yelled as the craft disappeared from site.
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