Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Boneyard


“Too many bones, no... far too many for a grave.”

Reynard sifted the fine sand through a second screen. It was so thin, almost powdered. Wens had already done the first layer. For a barbarian he did wonderful work.

“I think we've found a battleground. Recent, maybe five hundred years. No weapons... dammit.” Wens looked up from his hovel, throwing the spade behind him defiantly.

“Three months we've been at this Reynard. Can we finally put this behind us? It was only a joke!”

“No.” Reynard's eyes narrowed, opening a hatch in the rover to grab a Phillips screwdriver. Lightly, he etched a faint indentation in the earth and, taking a pair of tweezers, lifted up a corroded piece of metal. “No, not until we find it.”

Reynard Olfsson's journey to the winter North was unexpected. Always he carefully weighed his options. Entropy was high in the heat of the summer. The people would emerge again, to forage and skirmish for petty things. Winter was nice though. Nothing much happens in the winter time. He prided himself as man's last archaeologist. At least, he liked to think of himself as the last.

Reynard had seen it all, though he never spoke of it. The harrowing cries for justice were simply too much for him to stand. Every night he would wake up next to Wens, covered head to toe in a cold sweat. Worse he would have to hear about it in the morning, from Wens. Having a man in his life was novel, figuring he'd try it out. When you've been alive for almost 600 years, you gain particular, spastic appetites and curiosities. Why the hell not? We are only so young once, and then never die.

His search for an oscillating power cell was key to his latest project. It was the crown of the age of man. He had been there, floating in a vat of embryonic fluid watching them celebrate for the momentous occasion. When the end dawned, he was released, prematurely. He almost died even. Born into the world without caregivers, he felt isolated and alone. He had the nanomachines, but they didn't have much to say. It was all one's and zeros, pounding against the walls of his major arteries and capillaries that never aged or clotted. His memory was blank, without language or motor skills. All he could remember was the cell, how it glowed so brightly, so beautifully.

The prospects of pure unadulterated technology, harvesting the power of the sun, with a snap of your fingers,was marvelous. So much so that he searched 50 years for it, only to find that the EMP had fried the memory foams responsible for energy absorption. If he found something salvageable, the best he could get was 13 seconds of operation, no more, no less.

One day Wens, told Reynard about the weapons though. He had never thought about them. The autocannons were shielded with lead, at least the ones still operational. Just one in a lucky few could save him years of research. The gun was his key.

“You told me that there was a riot here,” Reynard turned, scowling at Wens. “What in god's name is a bunch of bludgeoning weapons doing here?” Wens looked insulted. Firmly planting himself in the ground he pointed at a data read out, fluctuating with sounds and colors.

“That's what I'm trying to tell you! Sensors indicate anomalous signs of erosion, dating towards the early millennium, but there is no trace of caustic residue on any of the key structures. Most of it was scuffling, and some swordplay.”

“Gah! Son of a bitch!” Reynard spat, throwing his tools to the ground.

“So we go now? It's getting cold...”

Reynard Olfsson stood silently, powerless in the frigid twilight air. Another wasted day. And again, he was alone.

So alone. 

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