General Fiction posted December 12, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
Palm-sized with latent magnetic properties


by Allezw2

Future archeologists Contest Winner 
The overall site was a dreary depression on a sere plain that extended to the horizon. An old one; only the latest Centennial Overview, manpower available and the cursory aspect of the earlier survey flagged it as eligible for a more detailed inspection.

"Site Etta Four, Gtan Three in the Tandar System. Coordinates for the record, A.00034; B.02310. Mean elevation above nominal, ^*Ti0. Inspection site Grid E4^^: F21*. Inspector A-67: 00:23S local, *<<*H Universal."

After the oral note for the record, using the ship's console he reviewed the previous expedition's data log again. He still found nothing of note there. The Sounder was already out and surveying the grid for a more comprehensive assay. For now, he adjusted his diurnal cycle environmental control to the local zenith and went to sleep as the explorer module reset for NIGHT.

Breakfast done, he reviewed the sounder scan. Several new sites were noted and he marked the ones with the highest concentration of artifacts. One was an unusual sighting in the G^ block. It was a short pass on the stand-up traveler across the flat surface to the depression. Then by foot with the marker guiding him to the proposed site of interest.

The sounder had detected the metallic presence that had caught his attention. It was discovered in what had been a small room with the floor beneath aeons of dust compacted to near concrete. Obtaining a more discrete image, he invoked the Director's consideration.

"Got a metallic object here with an intriguing configuration."

The programmed AI Director Ken-ten's curiosity came through the data comm program. "Mm, yes. Symmetry appears to be deliberate craft. Proceed. Inspector Ap-67: Insight authorized, funds remitted - QQU-510."

The form emerged slowly from the matrix with the strokes of the soft brush after the molecular agitation loosened and vacuumed away most of the debris for later analysis. The hovering flitter recorded the process as he carefully exposed the object. When clear, he lifted it onto the scanner bed for the detail content analysis. Scanning the data, the preliminary entry accounting for configuration and material composition indicated that the probable function was presently unknown.


Nominal measurements are: width ^^*/, length ]""*, depth ].6*. The outer element is formed from a circular profile rod *^1 diameter and forms an arc of R^^ before both ends bending outward with a radius of >, to form two parallel elements _"> separated by N^ ^. The second element is attached at the median point of the arc and extends past the outer element ends in the same plane for >>6./ before a *"" bend for //". Reflective: ANG*<.

After cleaning, there is the noted inherent brilliance in the larger component's finish quite apart from any artificial surface treatment. The flexible inner element is a darker color by the composition of the material, ANG<:. Super-treatment is indicated by nature of its ability to deflect at the rate of UU^ per // and return to its original position.

Report by: Inspector Ap-67. 00:01P local, *<<*E Universal."


::The Director's Omnibus Archive has no image matching this artifact::

::Supervisor Overscan has no image matching this artifact::

"Well that's that. It's free issue as to what this thing is," Mrt-23 said.

"Maybe an ornament, a decorative brooch. It's shiny enough, with that darker piece in the center for contrast," Mrn-102 said, bouncing it in his hand. " Though, I think it is too big and too heavy to wear around a neck. It would need a dark background to set off the shiny surface of the major element, too, don't you think?"

"Hm! That center part could be a clasp I suppose," Mrt-23 said. "If its actually jewelry."

Mrn-102 pursed his lips. "I wonder though. There were other, also catalogued though unidentified, artifacts nearby in that room. That affinity harks to particular activities by the entities using these artifacts in unison. There is one device with plates perforated in a coherent pattern. Another has bits of a fine wire wrapped around what appears to be a thumb screw. It must have been designed to perform some specific function."

Mrt-23 shrugged. "That's up to the terminal disposition group in Antiquities anyway. Put it away for now. I don't want to be late to the Larkin Three bon voyage party. We need to leave now or we'll miss the introductions," she said.

Future archeologists
Contest Winner

The object is a Jaw Harp, only one of several names in common usage.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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