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Emily
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“Emily!”

“What?!”

“Hurry up! We’re going to be late for your flight if we don’t leave in the next few minutes.”

“I’m coming, Mom”, Emily said as she came down the stairwell and into the kitchen. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to make one last check of everything before we left. It’s not like I’ll be able to head to the corner store and get some toothpaste once we get to the dig site.”

“Don’t worry so much. You’re going to be with a lot of people who have done this before and will help you out if you forgot anything. Now let’s go, your dad is waiting in the car.”

Once they were in the car, Emily allowed herself to relax a little. “I hope this trip isn’t for nothing. I’m missing out on some summer activities that would look great on my college application”, she said aloud, but not having meant to.

“Look,” her mother began, “we’ve been through this before; you need to relax and stop worrying so much about college. You’re sixteen and have two years of high school left—you should enjoy them. You’ll be fine. You’re a great student. I’m sure you’ll have your pick of colleges. When your dad and I were kids, most alien schools wouldn’t even think about taking human students. You have a whole galaxy of colleges to apply to.”

“I know you keep saying that but it doesn’t make me worry any less.”

“You get straight As, honey.” This comment was from her father.

“Yes, Dad, but so does thirty percent of my high school. And with a last name of O’Riley, I’m pretty far down the list when you put all of the 4.0 averages alphabetically. I need something extra, something to make me shine more than the other kids once we start applying to college.” Emily made a small snort. “Some of my classmates actually already have applied and received early admissions to their first choices.”

Emily’s father punched in a few commands to the car’s dashboard and let the autopilot take over. He swiveled his seat around to face the rear passenger compartment. “Honey, a long time ago some colleges did care about extra-curricular activities and how much you filled out your resume on their applications, but that’s not so much the case anymore. With so many different species applying to schools throughout the galaxy, it’s pretty difficult for them to sort out those sorts of things anymore. They really tend to rely more on the placement exams, psych exams, and all of the other admissions testing they do. They look at the data in those results more than the person or applications themselves.”

“Maybe, but you never know. That’s why I decided to do this trip. It might make history and that would make me look good.” Emily crossed her arms and tried to look as if she was sulking.

Her mother took over. “Oh sweetie, I wish you had a different attitude about this. Aunt Janine wouldn’t even be going on this dig if it weren’t for you.”

“What do you mean? Aunt Janine loves these things. She’s always telling stories about how they are the greatest adventures of her life.” Emily thought her mom was trying to throw in a guilt trip to get her attitude to change.

“She did love them, once. She’s been teaching for the last five years and really enjoying it. When they called her to head up this dig, she initially refused. They told her to think about it some more and that they would call her back in a couple of weeks. They really wanted her to go.”

“Why wouldn’t she want to go? This is right up her alley. They found the ruins of a completely unknown alien species. It’s her chance to make history. Again. For like, the sixth time or something ridiculous like that.” Emily was now sitting forward, obviously more engaged than before.

“Janine has been comfortable for the last five years. She has been sleeping in her own comfortable bed. Eating warm food that wasn’t from a dehydrated pouch. She hasn’t had to pick alien fleas from her hair.”

“Eww! Mom!”

“Exactly. And that’s why she wasn’t going to go on this expedition. She’s been comfortable and she’s also satisfied with her previous adventures. She’s even dating another professor, so she’s happy with where she’s at.”

“Then why is she going?”

“Because of you.” Emily’s mom let that sink in for a moment before she continued. “Look, we didn’t tell you any of this stuff because we wanted you to want to go on this trip for yourself, for fun, for adventure and not for other reasons. Janine called me a few weeks ago, just our normal sister talk time, and she was telling me about what’s going on with her and stuff. When she got to the part about the dig and how she was going to turn it down, I mentioned that it was too bad because when you were younger, Janine had always said that when you were old enough she was going to take you on a dig. You used to get so excited about that.

“We talked for a little bit more and she decided that she would take the job if you wanted to go with her. She thinks it’s very important for you to get out as a young woman, see for yourself what adventures you can have and open yourself up to more than what your little corner of the galaxy has for you.”

“I didn’t know. I’m sorry, mom; I’ll have a better attitude, I promise. I really do want to go. I’m actually pretty excited.” Emily started to feel better as she allowed herself to slip her self-applied grumpy shackles. “I was just a little down because Shelly called me this morning to wish me luck and she let it slip that she got early admission to her father’s alma mater. But she is one year ahead of me and she deserves it. I’m letting it go, though, all of it. If Aunt Janine is doing this for me then I’m all in, no more attitude.” Shackles gone.

The family reached the airport and took the transorbital shuttle to the spaceport. Once they found Emily’s flight, they said their tearful goodbyes and Emily boarded, feeling more excited than ever, now that she allowed herself to.

Two days later, she was onboard another transport, this time with her Aunt Janine and the rest of the expedition’s crew. This transport was so much better and faster than the first. It was a private craft and a fairly expensive one at that. Janine explained that the expedition was being staffed by people from ten different universities and had at least four wealthy private backers.

“Thank you so much for having me along on this trip, Aunt Janine!”

“No problem, dear. I’ve always waited for the day that you could join me on one of my adventures.”

“You should have your own kids. You’d be a great mother.”

“I never had time, and I always had you to pretend you were mine.” Janine smiled warmly at her niece.

“Mom said you have a new boyfriend.” Emily smiled back. “Maybe you two could have kids?”

“Ha! You’re worse than your mom is!” Janine playfully pushed Emily’s shoulder. “He has a son already, eight years old. Great kid, we have a lot of fun together. He was very jealous that he couldn’t go on this trip. I think I’ll be happy with them as my family. But if Steve wants another kid, I don’t think I’d be opposed to it. I’m just not going to be the one to push for it.”

“Well, they are both lucky to have you. I know I am.” Emily finished eating her lunch while she and her aunt caught up on everything going on in their lives.

~

Three weeks later, Emily had all but forgotten about college as she immersed herself in her work. Aunt Janine kept her close by either herself or one of the four other senior specialists. Emily was learning so much from each of them and was thankful she was given a daily assignment rather than having to decide for herself where she’d spend her time; she didn’t think she’d be able to choose between her five mentors if she were forced to.

Janine was a woman of many talents but she focused her expertise in the area of predictive xenobiology. She would be able to build a profile of a species based on what she found at the dig site. She could determine, to a fairly high degree of accuracy, almost anything you wanted to know about the physical and mental make-up of the species that left the artifacts behind. Though on this mission, Janine was sought out for her leadership qualities along with her vast experience in handling many other similar finds. Doctor Hillstep, a human who taught at a Nortes university, was filling Janine’s role as the predictive xenobiologist.

Janine had tried to stay away from Doctor Hillstep because she didn’t want him to feel crowded or as if she were going to take over any part of his work from him. So she was delighted when he asked her and Emily to join him today with a new chamber that they had just yesterday finished making safe for cataloging.

“Thank you again for letting me tag along, Doctor.” Janine was holding on the guide rope with one hand as she followed Hillstep and her niece through the corridor.

“My pleasure Doctor, er, uh, Janine. I don’t think I’ll get used to that. The Nortes are extremely traditional people and I’ve been with them for quite some time now.” Hillstep looked back over his shoulder to give a slight smile.

“Yes, well, with all the doctors around here, it would get confusing if we didn’t interject a little individuality into things.” Janine had told all of her staff to call her by her first name. She felt that it engendered a sense of openness that would make them more comfortable to approach her with problems or needs.

“Aunt Janine,” Emily spoke up from the middle of the group, “Lance let me help set up the decontamination area down here yesterday. We also were able to get four stasis crates tucked away in an alcove nearby in case we find anything we need to haul out of here.”

“Good girl. Everyone has told me that you have been a great help, especially Lance.” Janine gave her niece a conspiratorial smile and a wink.

“Aunt Janine! Stop it!” Emily protested. “He’s almost twice my age and I’m only sixteen anyway. I don’t think Mom or Dad would like the idea of you trying to set us up.”

“Oh, dear, stop being so dramatic.” Janine enjoyed teasing Emily. “I’m not trying to set you up with anyone. I’m just saying that Lance is pretty damn handsome. He sure doesn’t look thirty-two, especially with his shirt off.”

Hillstep stopped and turned towards the two women behind him. “Janine, Emily is right. She is much too young for Lance.”

Janine was taken aback; she was worried that Hillstep didn’t know her well enough to be a part of this kind of teasing. She began to feel very embarrassed for her behavior. “Well Doctor, I’m very sorry if…”

Hillstep hushed her with a finger in the air. “And Janine, you are correct about Lance. He does look good with his shirt off, and I’m only five years older than he is. If you’re going to be a matchmaker for anyone…” He let the comment and its insinuation linger in the air between them.

“I’ll see what I can do!” Janine and Emily were now laughing together as Hillstep turned and continued to lead them to the new chamber.

Once they reached the decontamination area, they entered the enclosed room where they donned their work suits. Emily had to stifle a giggle when Lance, who had been waiting at the chamber, asked whether any of them needed assistance getting into their suits. Janine had thought, Maybe out of them!, but as the project leader she knew that was a step too far for her to voice out loud.

After their suits were on, they left the decon room and approached the door to the alien chamber. The suits provided them with their own air, some protection from abrasions or slight falls, and communications between suits and other members of the team in other locations. If they could figure out how to open the chamber door, they didn’t know what kind of atmosphere they’d be exposed to so they were playing it safe, as Janine always did.

“Now,” Hillstep began as he pointed to several areas on the doorway, “you can see that these markings don’t have any similarities to writings from any known species that we have records on. Even our translation software showed nothing in its comparisons. But, Emily pointed something out to me yesterday that I think you might find interesting. Emily?”

“Uh, yeah, right over here. See that in the corner, at the bottom there?” Emily was pointing to the lower left.

“You mean that tool mark in the rock?” Janine was kneeling, looking closer now. “Well now, this little guy is kind of interesting. It’s meant to look like a stray tool mark but if you look close enough, it seems to be purposeful. Nice catch, but what else have we got? I don’t recognize that from anything I’m familiar with.”

Hillstep nodded to Emily to continue. “Well, who would make a mark or symbol on purpose but try to make it look like a stray tool strike? Slaves. Just like an artist signing his work, some slave workers in other cultures have been known to leave their mark on their master’s work as an act of defiance or as a remembrance to future generations that a slave made it and not the master.”

“Yes, I believe I have read that somewhere…” Janine was smiling.

“I believe you wrote that somewhere.” Hillstep was playing along. “In your doctoral thesis when you were, uh, just a tad younger.”

“Nice save, Doctor. Go on, Emily.” Janine was now looking around for other clues left behind by the potential slave workers of the past.

“Okay, so I’m looking at that mark and I decide to call it purposeful, but it’s only one line. Granted, that could mean something huge to another species but most species we know of don’t use such simple symbols for anything important.” Emily then pointed to six more tool marks in the cave wall. “I found these other marks after a few hours of searching every inch in this area in front of the door. Doctor Hillstep had to take over after that.”

Emily turned the reins back to her mentor. “I don’t think I took over; you still helped me arrange the markings, dear. You still helped solve, or possibly solve I should say, what we found.”

“So you know who made this place?” Janine was excited but at the same time disappointed. Solving a mystery was always fun but if they knew who built these ruins then that meant it wasn’t a new species; it was someone they were already aware of. “Don’t keep me in suspense here!”

“I think I do, sort of, and it’s as exciting as finding a new species! Bear with me while I walk you through it. I don’t want to give you our conclusion without you seeing the steps we went through to get there. It will be easier for you to find problems with our theory if you see our work leading up to it.”

Janine just nodded in agreement. Hillstep pulled up some images on a tablet. “Once we had all of the tool marks put into images we could play around with on our tablets, it was like trying to figure out a puzzle where you don’t know what the pieces are supposed to look like. But together we decided that this was the best shape for the marks to make when put together.”

Hillstep showed Janine the end result. “And why is that?” she asked as she viewed the tablet.

Emily stepped up and pointed to areas highlighted on the screen. “Based on those intersections, they look like purposeful points where other marks would come together to form a shape, a letter in their alphabet or possibly a whole symbol for a thought or phrase. We found those spots on each tool mark and determined that they were put there for a reason. We then told the computer to use those points to fit with each marking we had. It came up with only one possible geometric shape that could be made by connecting all of the points on all of the tool marks. The computer thinks that all of the tool marks make this one symbol.”

Janine looked at it and cocked her head. “Why does this look familiar to me?”

“Ah ha! I was hoping you would say that.” Hillstep took the pad from Janine so he could tap in a few more commands. A new image was pulled up next to the one they had been looking at. The new image was almost exactly the same but much more refined and pristine because it had been formed by hand on a computer screen and not secretly carved into rock a few hundred thousand years ago.

“That mark is from the Unwutine tribes in the Delaz system. But that’s impossible; they are barely out of their stone age yet. They don’t even have basic metal-working abilities. Their written history is maybe a thousand years old.” Janine was amazed but thought there had to be some mistake, somewhere, somehow.

“Well, what if they were used as slave labor by some other species and then dumped on that planet to rot? Or they were visited by aliens who showed them that symbol?” Emily had taken to sitting on a crate while Janine just stared at the tablet.

“Possible but not likely”, Hillstep started. “For a couple of reasons. One, these tool marks were made with advanced metal implements. It looks like these ruins were once a mine and then someone more advanced came in and turned them into a base of some sort. The tunnels were definitely created with different tools and materials than the chambers and hallways we’ve found.

“These marks you found were made with the advanced tools that came after the mines were built. So we have to assume that whoever made the marks had access to advanced tools, slaves or not. The Unwutine don’t have those tools and nothing in their short history indicates they ever did or that they were visited from other species.”

“Refresh my memory, Doctor, what does this symbol mean?” Janine was racking her brain but couldn’t remember what it was.

“This is their symbol for two things, actually, just depending on the context.” Hillstep pulled up another image, this one of a very deformed alien that Emily wasn’t familiar with. “When the Unwutine have a baby deformed with this genetic mutation, they use this symbol to describe the baby. You’ll forgive me for not trying to speak their actual word for it but I can’t even come close to pronouncing anything in their language.”

“No one can”, Janine added.

“Quite true.” Hillstep smiled. “So we have no idea why that mutation occurs but when it does, the baby is branded with that symbol and then killed. We have no idea why but it seems as though they fear the mutated babies.”

Emily looked disgusted. “Why don’t we save those babies if we see them doing it?”

Janine looked at her niece. “Because, dear, they don’t know we exist. We observe from secret and don’t reveal ourselves. We don’t want to interfere with their development. It wouldn’t be right. Just like we don’t stop a mother lion from eating her cubs if that’s what her instinct tells her she needs to do.”

Hillstep looked at Emily. “It’s a hard pill to swallow and to tell you the truth, I know I wouldn’t be able to if I were there on the research team. But, to continue with what we do know, the research we’ve done on the corpses show that the babies wouldn’t have survived more than a few days after birth. They’re not contagious in any way; it’s not a disease process. It’s an extremely odd piece of DNA that we haven’t been able to map yet or understand, but it does a tremendous amount of damage when it gets turned on during incubation. It happens to about one in every twenty thousand infants.”

“What’s the second meaning they have for the symbol?” Emily wanted to get away from the talk of killing babies.

“Ah yes, the second use of the term is for their labor force. Whether it’s their version of an ox or horse plowing a field, or a group of men tasked with moving a fallen tree or large stone. They use this term to describe heavy laborers of some sort. You might even say ‘slave work.’”

Emily looked at the alien word and pressed the text-to-speech button on the tablet. The word the computer spoke sounded almost like Hurlkaferncherta. “Oh my, that is a difficult word to say. Please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but is there any possibility that this symbol is just coincidentally similar to the one from that tribe?”

“I forgive you.” Janine teased Emily. “We have found evidence that more than twelve hundred sentient species have existed in our galaxy at some point. We currently can verify that just over four hundred of those species are still around today. To this day, we have never seen the letter A in any other species’ written dialect, not to mention any other letter from any human alphabet. With the exception of species from different planets that we can genetically link to each other as having a common ancestry, no matter how distant, no two species of different planetary origins has ever had coincidentally similar shapes in their alphabets or markings.”

“So, no then.” Emily got affirmative nods from both doctors. “Okay, so if we know it’s statistically improbable that these two species aren’t genetically linked somehow, then we need to find the link. And how do we know that the tribe is indigenous to that planet? That they evolved there?”

Hillstep put his hand to his masked chin. “We have something called the ‘flushed goldfish’ theory. It’s when a spacefaring species visits a planet and leaves behind an animal of some sort, whether on purpose or not we, of course, don’t know. But in time, that animal either becomes part of the biosphere or doesn’t and we find it thriving, evolved, or dead. Regardless of the state we find it in, we can check its DNA and see that it didn’t spring up from the same primordial ooze as everything else around it. The Unwutine tribe has been researched enough that we know they evolved on the same planet we found them on.”

“Okay, so how do we know they weren’t visited by another species that gave them that symbol or they saw the symbol and used it for some reason?”

Janine liked answering her niece’s questions. Going back to the basics helped to get her mind working in ways she wasn’t used to. “First off, when we say we know they weren’t visited by someone else, what we really mean is that we’re pretty damn sure. A good scientist realizes that even the things they know are true, those things can be disproven later. Keeping that in mind, we know they weren’t visited because if they were visited during a stage of their evolution in which they had developed some form of documentation, as transference of a symbol would suggest, then they also would’ve documented that encounter as well. A visiting species would’ve been seen as a major event by a primitive species and they would’ve done at least a cave drawing or something. We have yet to find any evidence of that. And in order for them to take a symbol or word from a visiting species, they would have to have had extensive contact with the visitors, not just seen a UFO in the night sky. That extensive of a visit would’ve been detectable by our researchers.”

“Worms and goldfish…” Emily muttered.

“You lost me on that one, dear.” Janine put her hands up in the air in the universal “huh” gesture.

“Worms. Specifically, flatworms.” Emily was pacing in a small circle and moving her right arm in the air as though she were conducting thoughts through her brain. “We just did an experiment in school where we tested the age-old theory of genetic memory in flatworms. Results aside, what if the Unwutine tribe has genetic memories from a failed attempt at cross-species breeding? You said they have a genetic deformation that we don’t understand yet, a weird piece of DNA. We’re pretty good at mapping DNA. I think it odd that we would find a piece of DNA in a species that we classify as ‘weird’ and we can’t figure it out. What if it doesn’t belong there or even belong to them to begin with? Maybe that weird DNA is from somewhere else and is also responsible for passing down some genetic memories that have helped shaped their written language development.”

“That theory deserves some attention. I’m pretty impressed, honey.” Janine pulled up more information on the Unwutine tribe. “But you also said goldfish. Why?”

“Just going back to the flushed goldfish theory.” Emily was pumped up with the praise she had received from Janine. “What if the species that created these ruins were flying out in the galaxy one day and decided to stop on a planet. Maybe to refuel, maybe to take samples, maybe to make repairs, maybe to take a family photo and have a picnic—who cares why, but the point is the stop wasn’t for the purpose of staying any length of time. And because the stop was just a layover, future explorers would never find any evidence of that relatively short visit.

“So while they’re on the planet, their slaves or workforce species escape. Who knows how many, but some get out. Or they were left on purpose. Regardless of how or why, they are now on the planet and does what every species does: attempts to survive.”

Emily was back to pacing. “Okay, so now you have an abandoned species on an alien planet and they aren’t doing so well. There aren’t enough of them to ever create a civilization of their own; the gene pool just wouldn’t be deep enough. There are probably less than a hundred of them to start with in the first place. But they still try to survive and breed; it’s instinct. And because there are so few of them to begin with, once they do die out, it would be pretty hard for future explorers to find evidence of their existence because they didn’t have time to really leave anything behind.”

Emily looked at Hillstep, who just encouraged her, “Finish it, keep going, don’t stop now.”

Emily took a deep breath. “They aren’t from this planet but they’re close enough to a developing species, the Unwutine, that they can sort of integrate and not be seen as god-like or whatever, you know, if they had come down in spaceships and stuff in front of everyone in some grand display of technology. So they were accepted.

“It’s kind of like when Trizites visit Earth and swim in our oceans; the dolphins and other local life welcome them and play with them, act like they belong. The Trizites are so close in their physical make-up to our ocean life, they just kind of fit in. So that’s what these castaways did, they just fit in. Maybe the Unwutine thought the castaways were just a different tribe that were not exactly the same as themselves.

“The castaways either brought the Unwutine their first symbols or just added to what they had already started. Either way, the castaways referred to themselves using this symbol we found on the wall. They were laborers and that symbol started to be used by the Unwutine to refer to anything having to do with laboring.”

“But then the breeding attempts failed.” Doctor Hillstep shushed himself to let Emily finish on her own.

“Exactly!” Emily’s beat wasn’t thrown off by the interruption. “The castaways could only breed so far within their own group so they tried to mix with the Unwutine. Neither species would be nearly advanced enough to understand the problems with trying to breed between the two different sets of DNA.

“So the breeding attempts started and of course failed. Maybe there were some successful attempts even though the chances of that occurring, without advanced medical intervention, are astronomically improbable, it could’ve happened. In the end, somehow, the castaways’ DNA did get added to the DNA of the Unwutine tribes and when it gets turned on, it causes the horrible mutations we’ve seen. That’s the reason the mutated babies are called Hurlkaferncherta. It’s both the laboring castaways and what their breeding attempts create.”

“Wow.” Janine was almost at a loss for words. “If I hadn’t seen you being born, I’d swear you were my daughter and not your mother’s. I think I need to get a DNA comparison between us.”

Emily just smiled broadly at her aunt.

“There are a lot of holes in that very long and complicated theory”, Doctor Hillstep threw out without any preamble.

Emily’s face sagged and her eyes actually begin to tear up just a bit.

“Hey, jerkface.” Janine was addressing her colleague. “You and I are used to having our theories shredded to hell by our contemporaries but she’s not. She’s only sixteen and she came up with that theory without all of the combined decades of education that you and I have put together.”

“It’s okay, Aunt Janine, he’s right. There are a lot of holes in it. Like timeline issues, biology issues, DNA stuff. I could probably make an easier argument for why I’m wrong rather than why I’m right.” Emily took a seat on a nearby crate.

“Oh, honey.” Janine sat with Emily while still giving the evil eye to Hillstep. “There are holes in your theory but there are a lot of solid pieces, too. In fact, I need you to write that theory up so we can include it in our notes and you can get credit for it.”

“Really?” Emily was embarrassed that she had almost started crying over what Hillstep had said.

“Yes, really.” Hillstep tried to redeem himself. “I apologize for attacking your theory like that. In my defense, I have a valid point, but I should be encouraging my protégé and not attacking. I was really just thinking out loud about what we need to do to validate as much of your theory as we can. I really do like where you are going with it.

“In this field, it’s best to come up with your theory, detail it out as much as possible, and then attack it with every brain cell you have. Once you’ve broken down all of the weak points, those are the areas that you give your attention to in order to prove them with more research or disprove them in order to change your theory to a more correct working model.”

“I understand. I shouldn’t have been such a baby about it.” Emily had regained her composure. “One thing we forgot to point out, using the working theory that the slave symbol we found here was somehow tied to the Unwutine language, we checked the other symbols against every character we know from their writings. There isn’t even a slight match between the two languages. Another dead end. And we are no closer to finding what they mean or how to open the chamber.”

“Well, you have only three weeks left before you go home.” Janine was standing again and examining the door. “You have two choices. You can work on shoring up your theory or stay with Hillstep and work on the door some more.”

“I’ll work with Hillstep, if that’s okay.” Emily took the pad from her aunt’s hand. “I can work on my theory from home or any terminal with Net access. But while I’m here, I want to keep learning from the other researchers and maybe rooting around the ruins will give me more clues to add to my theory before I leave.”

“Sounds like a plan to me. But you will go back up top and sit down at a proper terminal away from distractions and write your theory up. I’ll take you up there and show you the templates we use on these digs.” Hillstep wanted to redeem himself to both Janine and Emily, if he hadn’t already. “We’ll come back down here later tonight if there’s time; if not, then first thing tomorrow morning.”

As the three stepped back into the decontamination chamber, Emily realized they hadn’t even needed the suits they were wearing. “Well, this was kind of a waste. Getting into these suits is a pain in the ass and it was for nothing. We didn’t do anything but talk at the door. We didn’t even try to get in.”

Janine just laughed. “That’s the way it is sometimes with these digs. You plan your day one way and end up following a lead or a hunch in a completely different direction. You did good.” Looking over towards Lance, who was still working near the chamber, she added, “Besides, it’s better to have protection and not need it than to need protection and not have it.”

“Aunt Janine!” Hillstep and Emily said in unison.

“What?” Janine said with a failed attempt at coyness.

~

Emily wrote up her theory and added it to the official record of the research team. Over the next few weeks, she scoured the ruins for new clues to help her theory and also advance the project’s understanding of the other writings that were left behind. They never did find a way into any of the sealed rooms they found at the site.

Eventually Janine turned the team over to Doctor Hillstep and she went back to her university to continue teaching. Not too long after returning to the university, she was joined by Emily, who was granted early admission based on the research she had helped with at the dig. Ultimately, Emily used her original theory as her doctoral thesis and was able to prove a lot of what she had originally put forward, though the chambers were still never opened.

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