It seemed clear that he would indeed need help, but should he bring them here? No, at least not at first.
First of all they probably wouldn’t risk a long ride to a really out of the way place with a total stranger. Second if it didn’t work out or they turned on him he could simply leave with only the knowledge of the discovery known, but not the location. Much better at first to take a few pieces to them (whoever “they” might turn out to be). That would convince them of his authenticity and safeguard some of the secret. Jown went to the repair shop and retrieved a sample of tools to his ship, then headed back to the supply room. He had gathered a sampling of the individual parts into a mesh bag when he decided to look again at the spheres, might as well take a small one at least. He tied his bag onto the pipe stand of one and was about to lift it when he notices one of the blocks in the bag had lit up. Very carefully he untied and opened the bag. It was a relatively flat solid rectangle that was translucent, but now it had a pink glow and a symbol on the lower right corner of one of the large sides. After examining it all over Jown touched the symbol.
The face was instantly filled with blocks and symbols (icons?) and something like small writing. Now there was a different symbol on the bottom right. Again he looked at the whole piece, but the only display was on this one side. Jown was afraid to go any farther, not knowing what it would do. It might be a controller for the spherical assembly and who knows what would happen if he started it up accidentally. Jown pushed the new symbol on the lower right corner, and the block returned to the glow with the original symbol. Jown examined all of the blocks and found the same case with several of them. He carefully repacked them so that they wouldn’t accidentally rub against each other and activate.
At this point he was ready to go and start his quest to find help, but something had been nagging at him this last hour. Finally it came to him. The blocks hadn’t lit up until he gathered them together. Maybe one of them was a power source that the others needed to be close to in order to function. What if he found that block and took it into the control room? Would the control panels respond like the other blocks? He had to try it. He went back to the supply room, grabbed on of the thin blocks of the shelf like the ones that had lit up and walked along the rows until it activated. Then he took the nearest block in the racks and walked along the rows with it. Blocks light up all along the way. This must be a power source of a command block that tells the others to start working. Jown headed for the corridors. Fearing unknown results he decided to start with the smallest and furthest control room. As he entered the room lights came on. Then all of the panels began to glow faintly, green this time. And they had the symbol on the bottom right. Jown touched each one. Screens came to life. Again they were filled with symbols and writing and blocks and lines. Then he remembered the flat blocks in the cabinets below the screens. They were also glowing, but when he activated these they filled simply with writing. When he touched a new symbol on the upper left a new page was instantly displayed, but cleverly the initial page could still be seen very faintly beneath the new one. He touched the page change button again and the initial page sunk deeper into the block, still visible, but now beneath the second page which was sunken and faded beneath the third page. This was good stuff, stuff a good linguist might be able to use to decipher some of their language. Well worth taking. But a linguist would need lots of material, so Jown took all of the control room blocks.
He was getting quite tired now, but again the thought of sleeping in here didn’t appeal to him. Gater lifted slowly and slipped out of the cave entrance. Near the Bruton jump gate Jown stopped and powered down. But he took one last precaution before sleeping, he downloaded the location of the asteroid to a memory wafer then permanently erased all memory of it from Gater’s computers. He kept a digitized record of the probes surveys inside, but erased everything in their memories that hinted of location. Then at last he slept. It had been a very noteworthy day in his life.
Posted by strailon Friday, December 07, 2012 @ 00:00:00 UTC