Ammerra, Deep Space One, Chapter Two
Thirty Thousand light years from Earth, Ammerra quietly spun on it’s axis in nearly an identical orbit around a nearly identical Star as Earth. Located in the sparsely populated Sagittarius Arm it is a mere 12 light years from the Galactic Bar. Most scientist agreed, a few light years closer and it was improbable any life would would have ever developed. The Radiation from the Galactic core would have been simply to much.
But situated where it was it had developed in an amazing parallel progression of Earth. It had just done it several Million years earlier. It was indeed, the closest copy of Earth the Federation had ever found. You could have carried a crop of almost any plant from Earth, planted it in moist field on Ammeraa and it would have thrived. And while there was an abundance of plant and animal life both on its continents and in its oceans, there was no intelligent life.
So the question was, had there ever been? And if so, what happened to them?
A year after DS1 was operational the scientific team, lead by Professor Andrew Maffory, made its first discovery. It was at once cause for celebration, and mourning. A vast glass field with traces of residual radioactivity had been found several hundred miles from a coastline, buried under fifty meters of soil. It did not take long to realize how close Ammerra had mirrored Earth. It just had not survived the Nuclear Holocaust that nearly wiped out Earth in its Third World War. The best estimate was Ammerra had destroyed itself at least five hundred thousand years ago.
The Captains yacht from DS1 dropped thru the clouds in a leisurely arch, Robert Snow taking in one last look at the ancient landscape. Crossing the Carthien Mountains, he flew down a long valley to Science Base Zulu. Lines of plasteel buildings radiated from a central landing zone and off to the west a couple of miles was Maffory’s last dig. Like Snow, Maffory was scheduled to depart with the Excelsior.
As the shuttle gently touched down Maffory shielded his eyes from the dust that had been kicked up and approached as the hatch slid to the side.
Robert grinned and jumped to the ground as Andrew took his hand. Over the last few years they had developed a friendship neither had expected. Maybe it was their closeness in age. Or being in charge of several hundred men in a remote corner of the galaxy. They didn’t share religious beliefs, or politics. They didn’t even share a taste in drink. Robert was a Star Fleet Academy graduate, after earning PhD’s in Astrophysics, Spatial Mechanics, while Andrew was a Yale man with his doctorates in History, and Alien Archeology.
They stood there, for a long time, before Robert slapped Andrews shoulder, “Well, you going to show me? Or what?”
Nodding, grinning. “Yes…yes come on then.” Andrew lead them to a land rover and together they set out for the dig.
As they bumped along the ruff road Robert breathed in deep the smells of the forest that carpeted the valley floor. “Sure you want to go home?” he asked his friend.
“Hell no.” Andrew laughed. “You think it’s my idea? I’m no different from you. Got my orders.”
Robert nodded. “Yea. Orders. Honestly though. I think I’m ready to go home.”
“Go home and do what?”
He shook his head. “You know, I really haven’t’ given it any thought.”
The rover came to a stop amid a gathering of men and women wrapping up the mornings activity. They climbed out and Andrew pointed the way.
“Exactly my point. Retire? Why on Earth retire?’
“We’re not on Earth.” Robert replied, even though as he looked around he really could not be sure.
They came to large cut of soil a mile wide and at least two miles long. Deep in the excavation lined in neat rows were houses. A subdivision right out Earths 1950’s. With the soil removed and the roofs and walls carefully sweep clean one would expect a door to open and some one to to come out and thank them for cleaning the street.
“How is it they survived so well?” Robert asked in amazement.
“We’re not sure. We’ve taken just a few material samples from the walls.”
“Just what you would expect, Wood, metal nails, some plastics, some aluminum.”
“Then they should not be here after 500 thousand years.”
“No they shouldn’t. And if it wasn’t for this they wouldn’t be.” Andrew handed a glass vile with a sample of clear material in it.
“What is it?”
“No idea. But whatever it is, it coats everything.”
Robert looked at it, holding it up the mid day sun. “They didn’t put it there did they?” He handed it back to the Professor.
Andrew took the vile and pocketed it. “No…they didn’t.”
“Then we’re not the first to visit here.”
“No….No we’re not.”
“Have you entered any of the buildings?”
Andrew grinned. “Just waiting for you.”
The pair made their way down a steep staircase to the street level. They walked past a couple of houses, not sure which to pick. Robert made an impulsive decision and walked up a side walk to the fourth house on the right. They walked up to the door and hesitantly Robert tired the door knob. It wouldn’t move.
The odd material coating the structure felt slippery in his hand.
“What do you think?” Andrew asked.
Robert pulled out a small hand phaser, set it at its lowest power and took a step back. A dim red beam touched the door knob and the clear material fell away, the door popping open into the house.
“Shall we?” Robert motioned for his friend to proceed.
The men took a step into what was a living room. The furnishing, while not exactly familiar, indicated a human like form must have lived here. On a bureau across the room were placed several picture frames. The images were startling. The man and woman in the picture could have walked the decks of DS1 and no one would have given them a second look. Robert tried to pick up the photo, but it was glued to the top of the bureau, coated in the same clear material.
“A clear confirmation of paralell development.” Andrew sighed.
“Do doubt.” Robert looked around. “This must be a suburb of a city.”
“Twenty miles to the East. We found evidence of great molten mass of material.”
Walking into the kitchen Robert looked around. It wasn’t adding up.
“Andrew, what do you notice.” he asked.
The professor looked around, taking stock. “You’re right. It’s to clean. Nothing out of place.”
‘Have you found any evidence of bodies?”
“No. Nothing. But its been 500 thousand years. Even bone may have disentrageted by now.”
“Yea, but the building didn’t. Someone preserved them. Why not the bodies?”
Andrew stood in the front door frame, looking up and down the deserted street. “Either we just have not found them, or….”
“The same people who preserved the street, cleaned up.” Robert finished his thought.
“Wonder where they came from?” Andrew asked as he stepped out .
Robert now felt very uneasy. Stepping out to the street he took a few steps away from the Professor. Taking out his communicator he opened a channel to DS1.
The computer instantly made the connection and the young officer appeared on the tiny screen.
“Any change Marks?”
“Yes Sir, I was about to notify you. Sir…its speeding up. And changing course directly for us.”
“I’m on my way.”
In the background Robert could hear the sound of the station going to Yellow Alert.
“Yes, Sir, Onara just called an alert.”
Robert didn’t respond, he just looked up at the sky, framed by the outline of the pit. Now, for the first time he felt he was standing in a grave.
The Reboot Series
Da-Kuv t’Yoshuhlnak- The Dragon Circle
|Part Two, On a scientific mission to return ancient relics to Vulcan, the crew of the USS Adventure find some things will not stay in the past.|
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