by Mary Ruth Pursselley
Robin dropped his pencil into the pile of paper on the table and sat back in his chair, rubbing his tired eyes and stubbled face. He’d taken the disk translation as far as he could. He was no linguist or angel expert, so most of the finer nuances and references in the inscription would have to be figured out by someone else, but he had understood enough.
Enough to make him laugh as he sat, face in his hands, exhausted and ecstatic. Enough to assure him that this was the find of a lifetime—maybe several lifetimes.
“Unbelievable,” he said aloud, referring not just to the disk and its writings, but to his own fortune in being the one to decode it. God was, as always, watching out for him… though His watchfulness and favor were surpassing even Robin’s wildest imaginings. He couldn’t possibly have deserved this.
He said a brief prayer of thanks, then looked at his watch. Doing so made him laugh again—he’d been sitting here for almost twenty-four hours. No wonder he was starving. He stood up and stretched, already working on a mental to-do list: Arrange for the disk to be taken to Trinity University. Get a crew of interns assigned to Adagio to help him. Look into renting boats and diving equipment for an expedition to Funder’s Cove, where the fisherman had found the disk.
Oh—the fisherman. Robin remembered his promise to tell the man what the disk said. He rifled through the blizzard of papers on the desk until he found a blank sheet, grabbed his pencil again, and jotted down a basic outline of the translation.
As he wrote, he considered a few of the stranger points in the account. Strangest of all was the reasoning given for the angels’ decision to abandon their city, Light: an invasion that caused the loss of several lives, as well as considerable damage to the city itself. It wasn’t an invasion of humans—references to the Founders were very distinctly worded—but Robin was sure either he or Hanks must have mistranslated the symbol describing what the invaders were. It was too random, too bizarre. An invasion of crazy bugs, so crazy they nearly destroyed the city? Robin had no doubt that the linguist assigned to the disk would get a good laugh at his expense over that one. Oh well. He’d never claimed to be a linguist.
He was curious to find out what or who the invaders really were, though. Especially since the disk explained the angels’ realization that the event would take place again, because “such is their nature”. Whatever that meant.
As he headed for the bathroom to get a much-needed shave and shower—the last one he was likely to get for a while, if he set out on the expedition to Funder’s Cove as soon as he hoped—he suddenly stopped and grimaced. He’d promised that girl from the school in Zirconia that he’d contact her sister, the archaeologist, while he was in Adagio.
Well, he decided with a sigh, that shouldn’t take too awfully long—a day, at most. He’d get that out of the way, give the fisherman his rough translation of the disk, and then he’d be free to get to work.