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Little Green Men

"…We hope you're gonna' stick around
Maybe to save the day…"
"Little Green Men" 
by Steve Vai



22 years earlier:

The stone walls of the cavern seemed to movebreathein the flickering light from a torch held high overhead. It had only been a few days since he had discovered this cave, hidden by years…decades…possibly centuriesof forest growth. That he was in an area considered cursed, forbidden in myth if not by law, made his heart pound all the harder against his chest. He stumbled, almost fell over the large, wooden chest. He knelt down, shaking hands reaching for the latch on the lid. He opened it slowly. He was a researcher, not a scribe. Even so, he recognized the contents immediately. Inside were scrolls. At least a dozen.

He looked around. What other treasures waited to be discovered? He stood to his feet, held the torch aloft once more. Was that another…room? Yes, it was! His pulse was racing, sweat dripping off of his dark face, he inched his way forward…terrified…excited…beyond words. His brown eyes widened. Oh Mystic One, what was that? He stepped closer. A monument of some sort! It was so big! It was…incredible! It was…it was magnificent! His eyes moved around the large circle, taking in the markings that covered the amazing circumference. Something told him that he had just made the discovery of a lifetime. And one that must never fall into the hands of the Conciliators. He sat down on the dirt floor and just stared at the huge, round monument. He wished that it could speak, could tell him of the past, of its own origins, of the people who had so carefully constructed it. Of the mysteries for which he sought answers


A  A  A  A  A  A

7 months earlier:

It was a poor field. But it was his. At least it was now. The Conciliators had granted him usage when he was finally able to convince them that his own land was suffering from overuse, and needed to lay fallow for at least three seasons. That his crop of tobacco was not considered a 'necessary' commodity, that it was used only by those who could afford it, although he saw very little of the money that the brown leaves would earn, had resulted in him being assigned to this rocky, dry terrain. It would be easy enough to irrigate, there was already a ditch of water that flowed to other fields, all he needed to do was dig a trench that would divert a bit of that water to the rows of growing plants. But the tobacco couldn't be planted until the ground was ready. And that meant the backbreaking labor of digging out stones and boulders. There would be no tractors, no backhoes available to him. He would do the work by hand, or the crop would not be planted. He cursed the Conciliators with every breath he drew as he labored in that field.

It was late afternoon when his spade struck what appeared to be yet another buried boulder. He bit back a curse, and began to dig around it. His eyes widened at the size of the stone. He might wind up leaving this one in place, and planting around it. When the rock began to take on a peculiar shape, curiosity had him digging with renewed enthusiasm. He was too interested in what he had found to worry about nightfall or the fact that he should return to his dwelling for food and rest. No electricity nearby, and he certainly wasn't about to go into town to try and buy batteries for his flashlights…the paperwork for such a purchase would cause more questions than he was willing to answer…right now. Whoever had been assigned this particular plot before hadn't stuck it out, although they had left some lovely torches at the edge of the field. So he lit the torches and placed them along the edges of the hole where he worked. He continued to dig, clearing dirt away, until he had it completely unburied. Whatever it was, it wasn't a boulder. It was made of stone, no doubt about that. It was a box, more or less, long and rectangular in shape. It had markings on the top. Along with a palm-sized stone of deep red. Thinking that the stone might be valuable, he reached for it, began to twist and turn it in an attempt to work it free of its setting on the top of the lid. The sound of stone grinding against stone filled the air. Terrified, the man clawed his way to the top of the crater he had dug. Fell backwards, his eyes wide with fear when a man sat up, looked around him, then stared at the poor farmer with eyes that glowed from within.

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