Anomaly, Anomala

Episode 2: “Ancient Ones”

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The next few days were peaceful, if a little unnerving, on the planet the locals called ”Jaroom.” The beings who’;d found Geelek and Yoldri were members of a humanoid tribe. Apparently, they inhabited several hundred thousand acres of land from the shores of a distant river to the foothills of a faraway mountain range.

They called themselves the “Fajaroom.” Or did that name apply to every humanoid on the planet? Geelek and Yoldri found it hard to sort out the details. The two reptilians were simply too distracted by their hosts’; manic enthusiasm. “Welcome back from Eep Ace,” said nearly every Fajaroom they met.

In fact, for three straight days and nights, they were forced to accept the locals’; non-stop adulation. Starting at dawn, there were gifts of trinkets, clothing, or baskets of fruit, followed by prayers, poetry readings and athletic competitions.

These led to lavish banquets, steeped in heavy courses of buttery meat, purple vegetables and pungent tubers, washed down with fruit wines.

“We’;ll never achieve lift off, with all this extra weight we’;ve put on,” said Yoldri.

Fortunately for the probe ship’;s thrusters, the festivities ended on the fourth day. That morning, the woman with the skull crown appeared at the visitors’; camp, accompanied by three male, and three female soldiers. As they’;d learned during the festival, she was known as “Upalnal.”

“It is time, Ancient Ones,” she said. “We will lead you to the Mand Enter, which our people have preserved down through the eons.”

Geelek glanced at Yoldri, who shrugged at him, before flashing a broad smile at Upalnal.

“Yes, we’;d love to see it,” she said.

Upalnal gave the reptilian female a quizzical look, but said nothing. Instead, she swept her right arm out behind her.

“This way,” she said.

Geelek and Yoldri followed her surprisingly brisk steps and tried not to be unnerved by the clomping feet of the six soldiers, who brought up the rear. Upalnal led the two reptilians through a patch of forest, along a pebbled path that paralleled a sparkling stream.

As the morning light filtered through a varied array of tree leaves, they were filled with an ethereal calm known only to those who live exclusively on the land.

Yet, when Upalnal led them into the next clearing, their ecstatic mood was shunted aside by a jarring sight. It was the remains of a military command post, the kind of dome put up in the throes of a raging battle.

While neither Geelek nor Yoldri were soldiers, they recognized the style of the dome from archival footage they’;d seen in school. Adding to the eeriness of the moment, the six soldiers threw down their weapons and knelt before it, their heads bowed.

“This has to date from the Crelindaz-Dholvitra War,” Yoldri whispered.

“I know,” Geelek whispered back. “But that was around seven hundred cycles ago. What’;s it doing all the way out here?”

“Step in, please,” said Upalnal. “Unless you are dissatisfied with our efforts.”

Geelek’;s heart melted at her misguided reverence.

“You’;ve done well,” he said. “Let’;s have a look.”

Upalnal grinned and clapped her hands.

“You will conduct a Spection Tour?” she said. “You do us great honor.”

“Remain here,” said Yoldri. “The Spection Tour must follow regulations.”

“As it is written,” said Upalnal, meekly

The two reptilians nodded as serenely as their racing hearts would allow and approached the gleaming white dome. Not lost on them were the deep scars in its surface, most likely inflicted by a type of ancient particle rifle that had fallen out of use.

Once inside, the two visitors found an assortment of antique sensor equipment and an archaic targeting system. From the look of things, the Fajaroom had carefully dusted each device and polished it with glistening animal fat. Perplexed, the reptilians’; bright red eyes next settled on the two coffin-like structures that hugged the far wall.

“Tell me those aren’;t temporal stasis chambers,” said Geelek.

“They’;re museum pieces, but you’;re right,” said Yoldri. “Do you think they’;re actually functional?”

“Craters, you’;re the engineer,” said Geelek. “But don’;t you see the blinking blue status lights?”

“Smarty scales,” said Yoldri. “Of course I see them. Only it’;s not logical.”

Geelek tiptoed up to the two gleaming, cylindrical chambers and wiped off the thin layer of condensation on their polyglass covers.

“You want logic?” he asked. “Take a look at this.”

Yoldri hurried over, peered into the chambers and gasped. Inside were two reptilians, one male, one female, who looked strangely familiar, as if ... but it couldn’;t be, could it?.

“It’;s us!” she cried.

#science_fiction, #sci-fi, #aliens, #space_travel, #stasis_chamber, #temporal_stasis

#science_fiction, #sci-fi, #aliens, #space_travel, #stasis_chamber, #temporal_stasis

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