When peace came to Earth, when need ended, when differences were applauded and encouraged, the Great Sphinx of Giza is lifted into the sky. All 856 tons of megalith carved rock wrapped in a polycarbonate foam, thought to be where it was forever, but instead dropped on a platform connected to a hook meant to catch a ride on the atmospheric elevator when it made its next pass.
The gathered crowd applauds as the monument to ancient human capabilities disappears into the bright blue desert sky and the man who now can do his job smiles.
His name is Harold Lembecks, Ph.D., Archaeology and ancient artifact preservation. Picked to survey beyond the entrance they found under the Sphinx because he is an expert at doing no harm.
“Hard to believe fourteen days from today it will come to stand on its new home,” his assistant says goading him with what had restarted a heated conversation just hours before.
He doesn’t respond. Yes, he has mixed feelings, but that won’t stop him from going into the cavern, or the Sphinx from finding its new home.
The lunar Desert outside Artemis was soon to be home to many monuments, mainly to encourage tourism and growth, but also to protect Earth’s legacy. Human pollution due to energy consumption was still Earth’s greatest concern. The Great Sphinx of Giza was disappearing to the ravages of weather, centimeter by centimeter, year after year. Soon it would be like the Coliseum in Rome, void of its former self and really just a modern reconstruction.
His reservation comes from wanting to preserve what was and not destroy something that can never be remade. It’s sensible and he fought against the plans because as an archaeologist preservationist he felt that was his duty- that is until he was promised to be first into the cavern that sat undisturbed under the Great Sphinx of Giza for millenniums.
And now that the Great Sphinx of Giza is gone, “Let’s get to work,” he says clapping his assistant on the back.
They grab their packs and headlamps and move off to the cavern entrance.
The entrance is wrapped in a marble casing carved with a warning.
The warning is in eight ancient languages. It’s really simple to translate and understand.
It says; please, do not disturb the place of all knowledge, or all will end.
Endings are new beginnings, he thinks. It was the last line of his proposal to the grant committee and he firmly believes it as he takes his first step beyond where humans have not dared to tread for far longer than any thought possible.
A week after ignoring the warning they arrive at a chamber that takes twenty minutes to find the center of.
In that exact middle is a golden engine.
“What do you think it is?” Gerald asks and the engine whirrs to life. For a brief second it disappears in a blur that holds the visible spectrum of colors and when it stops a small white tile clinks to the ground in front of them.
Gerald bends down and picks it up. His eyes widen in shock.
“What is it? Harold asks nervous.
Instead of answering Gerald hands the tile over.
It’s lighter than he would have thought, smooth and slightly warm. He turns it over and written on the opposite side is a single word of English written in a modern font.
It says simply, answers, and after Harold reads it, the tile disappears from his fingers.
He thinks he smells cinnamon on the air as it does.
He makes eye contact with Gerald who says, “Why do you think they locked it away down here?”
But Harold doesn’t answer because he knows some questions don’t deserve one, but a tinking tile provides one anyway.