I’m Doctor Jane Harlowe, I’m a Xenoarcheologist. I dig up Forerunner trash. Most of it is. Worlds that intelligent life arose, peaked and then crashed with a mighty thud. And I dig through the pieces, looking for the Forerunner gold in the dross.
Today, I’m part of a group that’s looking at something that’s either massively dross… or it’s the motherlode. We’re on HG-W3115-W01889 c. It’s a nice world, 22% oxygen atmosphere, 77% nitrogen, 1% assorted gases. Plants photosynthesize, animals exhale carbon dioxide, eat plants, yada yada. It’s a garden world.
With effing big tombstones for the previous inhabitants. Like this one.
Based on our dating methods, it’s over 10,000 years old. Relatively recent in terms of age. Just yesterday for intents and purposes. Yet there’s no sign of whoever built it. None whatsoever. Did they all ascend to a higher form? Or commit mass suicide in their crematories? We don’t know. And what it is or what its purpose is, we haven’t the foggiest.
What I do know is that Doctor Belarius is fidgeting too much with the scanning equipment. I walk up to him, looking over his shoulder at the readouts. “Hubert, what have you found?”
Startled, he gives me a guilty look. “Jane… Doctor… I…” Shutting his mouth, he takes a deep breath. “Doctor Harlowe,” he said turning to look at the ruins, “whatever that is, it’s generating power.”
I look at the scanner’s readouts. “My god, it’s still turned on…”
It’s the return of Dr. Harlowe, Xenoarcheologist. What have they found? Are the inhabitants still about, just not in physical state? Or is this a “great machine” that doomed the inhabitants of this world? Or is just a very well made power generator still operational 10,000 years later? How would you continue this story?
Written by John Reiher
Ruin of Metal @2013 Quentin Mabille