Friga’s Day Flash Fiction: The Beacon

klhjvkhgckhgckhgckhc1Aloysius Hawthorne McGrath looked at the capsule, which blinked and beeped ominously, uncovered from seventy-seven million year-old geological strata in New Mexico. He wondered what it was, and what it had been doing in such an old rock layer, obviously some sort of artifact, but built by who…no, built by what? It had not been properly dated, and it might have been simply planted by hoaxers, but the pieces of evidence for its authenticity were increasingly steering away from that conclusion.

While McGrath puzzled over this, and performed further tests, another, just over his dig site and in orbit, was watching as well.

The Mirus, in his starship and home, the Emulael Enza, glanced at the readout of his hypershard, tapping the onboard sensors of the beacon far below, a device meant to pinpoint the location of this reality in superspace, a homing device whose signals would allow access to this universe to his vessel, and his alone. Such beacons were deposited in any given reality randomly in time or space. They are a secret that must not be revealed, or he was in deep trouble. This was technology he had stolen from the Giants of Tokmolos, and he did not wish to gain their notice or incur their wrath. He considered simply destroying the dig site and those present from orbit and cutting his losses, but he was loath to kill humans, his favorite species. He hatched a plan, and called for a teleport jump to the surface.

The universe went blindingly blue, then things became real again, and he braced for the nausea teleporting often gave him. He was surprised that this time his stomach didn’t lurch. He took quick stock of his surroundings, and clearing his throat, stepped forward.

McGrath was suddenly less surprised by the artifact, and more so of the stranger in odd dress who appeared so suddenly, with a flash of blue light and a loud *pop*, seemingly out of nowhere. A paleontologist and ecological studies professor of some note, he coolly stood up and strode over to the Mirus while the rest of the excavation team, most barely postgraduates, stood back.

McGrath and the Mirus sized each other up, and it was McGrath who spoke first.

“You’re not from around here, are you? In fact, I’d say not of this Earth, judging by your clothes…and those do you get them to shine like that, in daylight, and without blinding yourself if you were only wearing weird contact lenses? Never mind. I don’t think that matters. This is yours, isn’t it?” He glanced at and nodded toward the beacon, still active after tens of millions of years of service.

“Yes. This is mine. I’ve come to dispose of it before it’s found by the wrong people, people I don’t want coming after me once they locate it. It was a mistake to randomize its arrival. Let me take care of that, and I’ll be off.”

Two men, one human, the other wavetouched, paused momentarily. All went dead quiet. McGrath motioned to the excavation team to step away from the beacon, as the Mirus walked over and tweaked its interface, then closed the access panel. He stood back, as the beacon shimmered, then vanished from sight, sent to another place and time less easy to discover.

The Mirus smiled as he signalled his ship for a teleport recall, saying to the humans, “Don’t be so disappointed. I’ll make it up to you. The ship’s located some beautiful fossil deposits about six kilometers south-west of here that I’ll bet you haven’t uncovered yet. Lots of new species to be identified, and relatively well-preserved too. They’ll lead to a lot of new research and interesting shakeups in the current thinking, just what good science thrives on. Have fun.”

Then the world went blinding blue, and he was gone.

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