The Old Homestead
by George T. Philibin
"It's a language!" said Dr. Donalson, a tenured paleontologist.
"That's impossible--no intelligent life existed during the
Cretaceous period!" Professor Collens said. "Those markings can't be
writings from that period. No languages, written or spoken, existed
then! No intelligent life existed!"
Dr. Donalson stomped out of Professor Collens' office and
stormed down the hallway. He was sick of looking down into the beady
little eyes of Dr. Collens. He almost tripped as he descended the
stairs. A good hot cup of brewed coffee would be a welcomed relief in
He sat down after getting his coffee. Thoughts stormed over
him, thoughts that can't be accurately worded concerning beady-eyed
Collens, a department head with a pea-brain...
"It's a sign!" Professor Cramer said. And as near as we can
decipher it--it says "Danger Radiation."
Donalson's head jerked up--he shot a sharp glance up at the
young, dark-haired Dr. Cramer, "What?" Donalson asked.
Cramer repeated his statement, and others in the cafeteria
started tuning their ears to his loud voice.
"The excavation site in Mongolia is uncovering so many strange
artifacts that they're piling up, and the undergrads can't keep up with
the cataloging," Cramer said. "We need help over there--we also found
what looks like a planned grave site. All the fossils of raptors are
placed in rows and columns and at the same depth with granite stone
marking their locations, and the stones have chiseled inscriptions on
Silence waved over the cafeteria as many turned towards
Donalson and Cramer. Donalson half rose then dropped his coffee on the
table. It splashed on his hand but his mind didn't register the burns.
He then said, "A cemetery?--I'm flying over there!"
High above Earth, the starship Krustacea
was in geosynchronous orbit over Mongolia. Tudlow, the royal
paleontologist smiled. His large eyes and green skin now radiated
joyful pride, as he stared at Crtuon, a sharp critic of his work.
Raptors had to depart Earth since no protection would have
saved them from the asteroid. That was true of raptors. But all life
wasn't eradicated, as Crtuon so passionately had argued. No,
warm-blooded animals might have survived. And by the time the raptors
aboard the asteroid-escaping fleet woke up from suspended
animation--millions of years later after a suitable planet was
detected--a species of the warm-blooded animals just might have become
intelligent. One did!
Crtuon lowered his head, turned and walked out of the bridge,
his tail dragging heavily and his skin tone now bland. And yes! The
Order of Rashia would surely be bestowed upon Tudlow for this
unparalleled achievement. All that Tudlow predicted had come true. The
analysis of the radio signals detected from this planet and the results
of extensive geological analysis conducted by probes sent down, had
confirmed Tudlow's model for this once home planet--that the
warm-blooded bipeds now called Earth. The bipeds were intelligent with
nuclear and limited space exploration capability.
Crtuon returned to the bridge, and approached Tudlow. Crtuon's
friendly smile and tail waving were noticed by all and his skin now
glowed with pure green. He neared Tudlow and spoke loud enough for all
to hear "I wanted to be the first to put your name in for the Order of
Rashia. You deserve it."
"Many thanks, and you will be mentioned in my acceptance
speech. As you know I used some of your earlier work when developing
mine," Tudlow said.
Crtuon nodded his head; his skin projected a very friendly,
pleasant green hue.
"The landing signal has been transmitted for an hour now in
the four Earth languages you requested. Is it time to land at our
ancient departure site as you have dreamed about for so long?" Captain
"Yes, it is time we meet the warm-blooded bipeds. I'm sure
we'll have much to talk about," Tudlow said.
Krustacea started a controlled decent
Inspecting so many artifacts and fossils and other finds not
natural and very interesting to a trained observer, Donalson moved
judiciously from one to another, his movements very slow, his hands
holding each object like a surgeon holding a human heart, and his eyes
appearing more like x-rays. The large finds too big to handle, became
awed monuments, his mind washing over them like the ocean washing over
every detail of a sunken treasure ship.
John Trebbs, an undergrad that looked like a walking tree when
moving, ran over to Donalson and said, "Something's going on. Some of
the Mongolians are so hyper... one has a cell phone and he must have
gotten news about something. They're talking so fast and in this
strange dialect that me and Smithy can't translate correctly. We don't
know what they're talking about!"
Donalson's brow frowned. He looked towards the group not far
and, yes, Trebbs was right. Something must have happened. Then a
thought: all I need now is some political crap or maybe a religious
riot at this dig site! I can just imagine Buddhist picketers marching
back and forth in white robes!
A young Mongolian ran up to Donalson and Trebbs. He bowed
three times then started speaking with the speed of an excited sports
announcer broadcasting a 70-yard run from a quarterback sneak--and
making the touchdown. Trebbs motioned him to slow down a bit and the
Mongolian did, a little.
After listening, Trebbs turned to Donalson and said, "Some
type of shuttle is returning to Earth as far as I can tell. He says
it's radioing something like 'We come in peace.'"
"I bet it's the international Space Shuttle New
Probably some technical malfunction in re-entry... and the Chinese
agreed to let it land at Chinggis Khaar airport, not far from here,"
Donalson turned back towards an artifact, but then looked up.
As he scanned the sky a thought washed over him: I wonder
surprises will meet me today?
© 2014 George T. Philibin
Bio: Mr. Philibin says: "I've been writing for about
ten years, and enjoy every strike on my keyboard. I'm not sure why I
write--it's fun, I'm sure about that--and I intend to continue and
learn. I've retired from a generating station in Western Pennsylvania,
and served in Vietnam, attended the University of Pittsburgh for
Mechanical Engineering, worked in a coal mine, a steel mill, and a
dairy once. My favourite authors are Charles Dickens, Theodore Dreiser,
and Kurt Vonnegut, but lately have been studying the writings of
Emerson and Thoreau!
I ride bicycles, enjoy reading very much--all genres--love to walk the
trails here in Western Pennsylvania with my wife and, of course, the
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