500 years from now, an archaeologist accidentally stumbles on the ruins of your home, long buried underground. What will she learn about early-21st-century humans by going through (what remains of) your stuff?
Angela blew the whistle with so much excitement and threw her hands up in the air, ‘Guys! Guys! I found something! Quick, come and be I it out!’ As she waited for the others to stop what they were doing and come over, Angela pressed a button and a small drone began to levitate over one area with a small brush to start gently brushing away layers of dirt from the partially uncovered object.
As her excavation team gathered around at the top of the hole, they gasped and grinned from ear to ear with pure excitement. For them, this was like being a kid on Christmas Day. They’d uncovered something, and we’re excited to discover just what it was.
One by one they climbed down the ladder and stood around this object, and one by one powered up their own drones to begin the dusting. Angela threw a handful of small spherical objects into the air, and they flashed orange a few times before flying to the cold, damp walls of soil and unleashed a net of lasers – scanning through the soil and around this object. They beeped a couple of times and the brushing drones beeped and began to power up, brushing faster and more rapidly than before. As the hole began to fill with a giant dust cloud, Angela and her team climbed up the ladder and stood around the top of the hole eagerly watching until everything disappeared under the dust.
They decided this was the perfect time for a break. They walked through the entrance of their decontamination tent, and removed their suits. Angela walked over to a wall of small vials, pulled out a box and selected a vial with a thick brown liquid in it. She walked over to a nearby seat and pulled back a small flap of her exoskeleton before slamming the vial onto the small mount. As the thick sludge-like liquid drained out of the vial into her system, she exhaled heavily, ‘mmmm just what I needed’. Angela then swallowed a couple of food capsules, moaning with delight as the flavours danced around in her mouth briefly. As she sat there talking to her colleagues, the small screen on her wrist flashed. ‘Great! Drones have finished, let’s go check it out!‘
Her colleagues wolfed down their food capsules and made a last minute grab for some caffeine vials, put on their hazmat suits and headed back outside. As they reached the pit, the standby lights of the drones flashed through the cloud of dust slowly clearing. Once the drones were removed they stood gaping at what had been uncovered – bodies. Several of them.
‘I thought they were all destroyed in the Extinction?’, one of Angela’s colleagues whispered. ‘Apparently not all of them!‘, she replied. They stood there staring at the bones of these historic humans – uncertain as to how old they potentially were. ‘Shannon, get down there and see if hang of them have memory chips or something that will identify them?!‘, Angela ordered with a somewhat hesitant voice.
Shannon climbed down the ladder, and the drones lasers turned to light to illuminate the dark pit and put the skeletal remains on display. She crouched down to begin counting the number of skulls she could see. ‘There’s nine of them! NINE!‘ Nobody had ever seen this many skeletons together since the Extinction, so this was somewhat of a rather significant discovery for them. As Shannon began to investigate, she realised that their skeletal structure was quite brittle; fragments of bone disintegrating upon contact or minor force. They needed to preserve the bodies before any more none transformed into dust. Before she had even climbed back out of the pit she heard the noise of the restoration crew flying towards them.
The craft soon appeared before them, hovering over the pit. Some words were spoken, but couldn’t be understood over the noise of the engines, and without warning, a siren sounded and a giant dome began lowering into the pit. It surrounded the bodies, and then a clear liquid was pumped into the dome, encasing everything within a clear liquid which rapidly turned solid. Another siren sounded and the dome began to lift out of the pit, taking the resin-embalmed bodies with it back to the Hub for analysis.
Angela and her team soon arrived at the hub, and after a full decontamination process, proceeded to the lab to inspect the bodies. As they passed through the airlock, into the lab, the dome was releasing the resin dome onto a bench. “STAND CLEAR FOR LIQUIFICATION!” A computerised voice advised, and then an electronic humming filled the room. The floor and walls vibrated, and the resin returned to its liquid form, draining through the holes on the lab bench and into a drain in the floor.
‘Run initial diagnostics‘, Angela commanded, and an array of metallic hoops unfolded from under the bench, their lasers covering every single millimeter of bone. ‘SCANNING, COMPLETE.’, replied the computerised voice.
‘Initial analysis concludes human remains. Confirming… Pre-Extinction. Confirming… 9 skeletons. Confirming… Five male and four female. Correction… Analysis confirms nine bodies. Five male. Four female. Including three children. One male. Two female.’
‘Thankyou, Mala.’ Angela walked over to a large screen, and it filled with an array of lists and tables and charts, documenting all the diagnostics of the bodies. ‘According to these reports, these bodies are from the early twenty-first century. This can’t be right, surely? Mala, re-run diagnostics!‘
‘Do not doubt my intelligence!‘
‘Mala, this says these are from the twenty-first century. This cannot be correct.’
‘My diagnostics are correct. My information is undeniable. Carbon dating and bone density scans place them between 2010 and 2020. Bone density confirms high traces of a mineral called Calcium. According to historical records, these ‘beings’ consumed large quantities of this predominantly bovine-sourced mineral in the belief that it would make their bones stronger, which was in fact a lie, and proved to be of no physical benefit whatsoever.’
‘Thank you, Mala.’
‘Additionally, evidence suggests that this species regularly consumed unnaturally occurring food-sources. Their bodies only seemed to be capable of processing naturally occurring food sources, much like their primate ancestors.’
‘Very interesting, thank you Mala‘.
Angela began to study the reports n detail, in comparison to some of the limited historical information that was still available. ‘It says here they were convinced they were some kind of ‘advanced race’, but I don’t see how that is even feasible if this all happened ‘Before Extinction’.’ Angela read further, ‘It also says that they carried devices called ‘mobiles’ which were some kind of communication device. I don’t really understand it, how were these devices all different sizes and not hard-wired into their brains? What kind of ancient technology was this? Mala, do you have any more information on these communication devices?’
‘It also says here they would travel predominantly in vehicles called ‘cars’. Some kind of ancient transportation contraption. From what I can tell, they seemed to have come in all different shapes and sizes, using some kind of refined petrochemical, which ultimately led to the destruction of their ozone. It says here, ‘theorists believe that it was the excessive use of these chemicals into the atmosphere that depleted and eventually destroyed the protective ozone layer, which in-turn increased the phenomenon referred to as ‘global warming’ which caused the melting of the polar ice caps and major catastrophic flooding of the lands. The flooding caused an outbreak of disease and famine, ultimately wiping out over one-and-a-half billion people within a matter of months.‘
Angela took a step back shaking her head, she was flabbergasted. ‘What was wrong with this species?‘
‘They were also a species that didn’t seem to believe in equality or harmony. They were segregated and divisive. Various nations were involved in political conflict, which regularly escalated into warzones, killing millions of innocent people. They were barbaric, and somewhat primitive.’
‘Thanks, Mala, that’s an interesting analysis. Commit this information to file. Upload to historic database, and encrypt all source information to date pre-Extinction. DO NOT include any findings of these bodies. If they find out what we have discovered, they’ll take the bodies and kill us all. We cannot let them find out. Advise best course of preventative action.‘
‘I suggest re-tombing and deep space deployment.‘
‘Thank you, Mala. I second that decision.‘ Angela looked around at the other members of her crew, ‘Do you all understand this decision and the ramifications if we decide otherwise?‘ They all nodded in understanding.
‘And do you all agree to subsequent erasure of your memory modules as a result of this decision?‘ Again, they all nodded. ‘Right then. I’m executing Executive Order Forty-Seven-Dash-Bee-One-Niner. Mala, please perform re-tombing procedure and deploy into deep space. Subsequent to this, please erase all knowledge and information, including imagery and other media associated with this discovery from all crew of this ship. Crew are connected and standing by.’
‘Affirmative. Request confirmed. Executing Executive Order Forty-Seven-Dash-Bee-One-Niner as commanded by Captain Angela Reed. Commencing in five… four… three…‘
Angela and her crew stood in their pods, hooked up to Mala’s mainframe and stood by watching their potentially life changing and life-threatening discovery get re-entombed in amber, and sent into space.
A single tear rolled down Angela’s cheek at what had just transpired, and felt the burn inside her brain as the memory erasure procedure commenced.