I was calm. I was so calm. In fact, I couldn’t possibly be any calmer, despite the fact that I was solely responsible for this conundrum of an invention and I was trying very hard not to blow it up into a fiery mess.
I yelped and banged my head against the eyepiece I was looking through. Ok, I was not calm.
“You’re so tense.” Dirk strolled in, yogurt in hand and completely indifferent to the fact that he had just given me a mini-heart-attack. “So does that thing control people’s minds or what?”
“I highly doubt it, but-Dirk, what are you doing?” I watched as my dark-haired colleague leaned close to the thin blue elliptical object on my desk and poked one of the golden hieroglyphic buttons on top. A high-pitched beep rang from the device, and then silence.
“Huh. Think it’ll react to yogurt?”
“Wha-don’t drop yogurt on it!” I snatched the device off my desk and glared at Dirk with all the intimidation my five-foot-frame could muster. “I have no idea what this thing does. For all I know, it could be a bomb that someone buried in the desert and one wrong move could set this thing off! So no. Yogurt. Near. The thing.”
Dirk raised his hands in surrender and plopped down on a chair on the other side of my desk. I gingerly placed the device back onto my observation pad. The archeologists here at the Institute had discovered the strange device on an Egyptian dig a couple weeks ago, and as protocol had stated, had brought it to my lab for observation.
It was my job to figure out exactly what this strange device was and whether it was dangerous before we catalogued it in the Archives. So far, I had been able to conclude that the device was safe to touch and breathe, and was comprised of a bright blue limestone exterior which I had never seen before. A variety of dazzling golden hieroglyphics were attached on one side by a sticky, wax-like resin. In addition, it had a thin metal interior which was somehow responsible for the beeping sounds whenever a hieroglyphic was pressed.
Other than that, this device could be alien toilet paper for all I knew.
“You are frazzled out, my friend.”
I blinked and looked up at Dirk as he spooned the last remnants of his strawberry yogurt into his mouth.
Jerking his plastic spoon at himself, he said, “I can help with that.” He took out his phone and pulled out the hologram of a report, holding the 3-D image with his fingers. “This is from an email I got while I was on my lunch break. The archeologists reported sporadic rumblings, like mini earthquakes, in the site where that blue thing was found. I checked all the times that the earthquakes happened and they corresponded with all the times you pressed a button. Frazzy, isn’t it?”
I grabbed the hologram from Dirk and expanded it, scanning the report, the familiar dates and times jumping out at me. Turning my gaze back to the device on my desk, I saw in my mind images of hot lava spilling out from the cracks of an earthquake, and lightning crackling around the edges of a tornado.
“This is it, this is it.” I jumped up and rushed to my computer, my fingers flying over the keys as I accessed my observation logs. “I think I know what this thing is.” I pulled out hologram logs after hologram logs from my monitor and scattered them in the air around us. “And I think I know where the other four devices might be.”
© Jade M. Wong 2016
Participated in my first Grammar Ghouls Writing Challenge…and this story was voted first place!
Reposted from 2015; I’m tidying up on the blog.