“I said, I want your identifications!!” Yelled the robber who waved the pistol back and forth between the two.
“Yeah, about that. We don’t have ours.” Ruby told the man.
“Don’t have them?” The robber asked, confused.
“Yeah we…we must have left them at home, that’s right!” Mizu smiled weakly, both of them completely unsure what that pistol would do to them.
“Do you take me for a fool?! No one can leave their home without their identification packet. It’s impossible! Even if somehow you did, there are packet scanners at every corner of the street and at every door to every building. Without your packets, you would be arrested on the spot, and depending on your excuses, you could end up serving six months to twelve years of community service. So give me your packets!! Now!” The robber was growing very impatient.
Mizu got to thinking, “Excuse me, but what happens if you get caught?”
“I won’t get caught, I’ve never been caught. Now shut up and give me your packets or I’ll shoot you both!”
“We already told you, we don’t have them!” Said Ruby, but the second the robber pointed the pistol at Ruby, Mizu slugged the guy and he dropped to the ground. “Jesus… nice right cross.”
Mizu shook her hand, “thank you, ow.”
“You okay?” Ruby asked.
“Yeah, but we got some investigating to do and quick.” She knelt down and started with the man’s pistol. “Oh my god! Look at this. It looks like an old western colt revolver but it has a dozen cpils where the cylinder would be and there’s more coils that connect the barrel and the frame.” She picked up the pistol and examined it before laughing.
Ruby tilted his head, “The heck are you laughing about?”
She held out the pistol to Ruby with her hand on the barrel and the handle free for him to grab. “It’s dead. That’s why he didn’t shoot us from the start. It had no power or charge or however the pistol worked.” She pointed at where the cylinder would be. “There is some kind of glass tube inside, I haven’t figured out how to open it so I don’t know if you reload it with a freshly charged tube or plug it in or stick it in some… charging chamber or whatever. Wow, that explains why my hand hurts… his skull must have been thick.”
Ruby examined it some more before handing it back to Mizu, knowing she would want to keep it, which she did take it back and stuck it into one of her inside pockets. Then she searched the man’s pockets and found his identification packet. “Here we go, time to get some answers.” She stood up and opened up the packet. “Let see, photograph, name, date of birth, eye color, hair color, weight, height, city of birth, address of birth, hospital of birth… good lord… home address, city of living, state, ha… they even have area codes… oh this is interesting…there is some kind of code here under the bracket called currency. Bank of Flushstorm.”
Ruby knelt down and grabbed the device that was in the man’s other hand but had clattered a few inches away. He stood up and turned it on, “Huh. Maybe you use this?” He asked and then scanned the square looking code and the device beeped. Then a bunch of numbers popped up on the display. “Fifteen thousand, eight hundred and twenty four shillings. What’s a shilling?”
Mizu gasped and grabbed the device right out of Ruby’s hand. “They’re using an old Victorian currency! Then that means,” She paused to do the math. “He has seven hundred and ninety one pounds and four shillings! That’s quite a bit of money, unless… does this thing have… yes!” She managed to press a couple buttons and find a history. “These are the previous scans he took and look, he charged a bunch of people for nothing… he stole people’s money with this thing.” She then took another look at the ID packet and found one thing she missed. “Occupation: Sandwich-Board.”
Ruby frowned, “What is that?”
Mizu snapped her fingers, “This man walked around with an advertisement board on his back. If I remember correctly, it doesn’t pay much. No wonder he resorted to robbing people. All right, I think we found all the information we need but what kind of occupation should we have?” She tapped her chin.
Ruby sighed, “Does it matter? We need to get this information to the Centaur before the main away team gets into trouble.”
Mizu sighed as well. “I just wanted to make sure they got all the details, I don’t want any mistakes.”
Ruby shrugged his shoulders, “Nothing we can do about that. We can’t keep walking around without these identification packets, or we do…community service…that makes me wonder actually…”
Mizu raised a brow at him. “About what?”
Ruby shook his head, “Later. Inform the Centaur already.”
“Right, right.” Mizu reached into one of her pockets and activated the badge.
Styles sighed heavily, “I don’t have all day, I’m just going to shoot you and call the authorities.”
Ryker then heard a faint transporter beam, reached towards the bottom and felt four objects that felt leathery. He grabbed them and yanked his arm out of his backpack. “Here they are!” Ryker laughed as he stood up and held them out towards Styles. “I am so sorry for the wait, sir. I told you they were in my bag, I just…buried them by mistake.”
Gomez swallowed the lump of fear in her throat before clearing it. “Pardon me but…were you really going to kill us?”
Styles took the packets from Ryker before looking at Gomez with pure shock on his face. “Lass, I know some women can be dumb, but that was an incredibly stupid question.”
Ryker cleared his throat, “Sir, I apologize for my lady’s question that may seem absurd to you but you see, our last project had a uh…accident and she suffered a blow to the head which had caused her to lose some memory. It was one of the other reasons why we saw your ad for this expedition a bit late. We had to tend to her first. She’s fine now, obviously since she’s standing right there, breathing and all. Plus before we came here, she seemed to have recovered remarkably well! Except we weren’t quite sure what exactly she forgot and well…now we know that she forgot about how the um…that is a beautiful pistol, sir. Mind if I examine it?”
Styles frowned at Ryker’s question about his pistol and then sighed with a shrug of his shoulders. “I apologize for the insult, lass, I had not known.” He said, which Gomez accepted his apology, as he handed the pistol over to Ryker who held it out before everyone else to examine it. It was much like what Mizu and Ruby had found, it looked like an old western colt where the cylinder is replaced with some sort of tube with electricity in it, and that cylinder was surrounded by coils where there was another set of coils that connects the barrel and the frame together. This puzzled Styles. “You all act like you’ve never seen a Hedersett Revolver before.”
Ryker smiled as he handed the pistol back where Styles went and holstered it, which the holster was indeed attached to what looked like suspenders, and he closed his jacket which concealed it well. “We don’t get out much, sir. But could you perhaps explain to my lady here of how the pistol works and the laws as well? I mean, you’re a brilliant professor and who better than to refresh her memories?”
Styles raised his brows and shook his head as he couldn’t believe what was being asked of him. “For one, sir Ryker, enough with the flattery already, I get enough of it from my own colleagues. Two, Hedersett Manufacturer is the weapons manufacturing company that has replaced all weapons in the world and for a good reason. Weapons we had in the past, they were bloody and just outright savagery. Hedersett weapons changed everything, as they do not kill, they only stun. And because Hedersett himself had gone and changed the way we fight each other, the nations began to come together to figure out a way to end the savagery system of dealing with conflict and dealing with those who break the law. After several decades, the whole world is one nation and there is no longer a death penalty for any law that is broken. Depending on what law was violated, the person who violated it will serve a certain number of days… weeks… months… or years of community service. If the crime they committed was far, far worse, like murder, they get a life sentence in a single prison. Crime rate has dropped, but the death rate dropped incredibly. Of course we had to resort to population control, since we didn’t want to overpopulate our world, over-tax our resources and starve ourselves to death. But there are scientists out there that are trying to find better ways to reach the stars and hopefully explore our solar system.”
The four of them looked at each other and smiled before looking back at Styles. “Well I do hope that day comes soon.” Said Gomez.
Styles smiled, “Me too lass. But I am afraid it won’t be in my lifetime. I mean… I have theories… but I’m just not ready to share them just yet. Not until we find out what is inside this pyramid.”
The team looked at each other again before looking back at Styles. “You’re trying to get inside the Pyramid?” Vakai asked.
Styles nodded his head. “Of course. We just have not yet deciphered the language. Once we do, I am absolutely certain that we can get the door open.”
“I think we can help.” Said Sivol.
Styles frowned, “What do you mean?”
Ryker cleared his throat, “What she means is, a new set of eyes could help speed up the process of deciphering the language.”
Styles chuckled, “Ah yes, of course, of course. I just need to scan your packets and add you four to my crew. Excuse me.” Styles walked back towards his tent.
The four of them turned to face each other, “They have already gotten inside the pyramid.” Said Ryker. “Well, the first layer anyway. Like a lobby, perhaps?”
“We don’t know until he takes us to it,” Gomez told him. “But that could be quite possible. I mean, maybe the Tkon left something for these people. Maybe they were hoping that these people would evolve to a level of intelligence that would allow them to figure out the puzzle and let them inside, maybe to a treasury or-”
“Library of unimaginable knowledge.” Sivol’s voice jumped in, she gave Gomez an apologetic look for her interruption before she continued. “It may be possible that the Tkon had influenced these people.”
Vakai sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know about that. From what I’ve read about the Tkon, what we know anyways, I don’t think they’re the kind of Empire that would have contaminated a primitive culture.”
“Like they had their own Prime Directive?” Ryker asked.
Vakai nodded his head. “I would like to believe that the Tkon Empire would have allowed civilizations like this one to grow on their own, and just observe, like the Federation does. That could have been what that space station was all about…observing a primitive species.”
Ryker folded his arms across his chest and took another look at the Pyramid before looking back at them. “What about the Pyramid? We have a few of those on Earth. Were we influenced by the Tkon Empire too?”
Gomez shook her head, “I doubt it. Pyramids are just one of the most common geometric shapes in the galaxy. It’s just a mere coincidence that we see one here, on this planet, hiding a Tkon Beacon. In fact, it could very well be possible that the Pyramid was here long before the Tkon Beacon was.”
Sivol frowned, “You think that the Tkon people built or placed the beacon inside the Pyramid?”
Gomez shrugged, “We don’t know the vast technologies that the Tkon Empire had. They could have built it or transported it in or I don’t know…phased it in. Used some technology that created a stable interior of the Pyramid and a stable cavern below the sand and ground before popping that beacon right inside. We just don’t know.”
Ryker sighed heavily, “Boy I wish we could find an actual city of the Tkon people with a lot of Tkon people, alive and well…and then maybe Starfleet can finally get some answers.”
“Or just a single archive that has recorded and cataloged everything.” Said Sivol.
Vakai and Gomez nodded their heads while Styles came right back up to them and handed their packets back to their respective owners. “There we are. All done. I do say, all four of you sure have accumulated a lot of funds. But I suppose that would be the case for researchers like yourselves.”
Three of them opened and looked at their occupations, while Ryker stuffed his in his back pocket. “Exactly, Professor Styles. And our work has gotten almost nowhere. But we absolutely believe in exactly what you believe, Professor.”
Styles raised his brows, “And what exactly what that be, Doctor Ryker?”
Ryker chuckled, “Please, just James, Professor.”
“Well, just James. You can just call me Gilbert.”
“All right, Gilbert. We believe that there is something inside that Pyramid that will change our lives forever. That is why we are here, because we want to help you get inside. Because we need to know, we need the answer to the questions everyone is asking. Have we been visited? And if we have been, who were they?”
Gilbert smiled, “Damn right, my boy, James. Come on. I would love an extra set of eyes on our conundrum and get this damn mystery solved.” He said as he led the four of them over a dune that revealed an opening, like a doorway, that led inside the Pyramid. Or at least, the ‘lobby’. “You see, Doctors.” Gilbert began as they went through the doorway into the chamber. “This chamber encompasses all the way from one end to the other end, but only on this side of the Pyramid. And there are glyphs and letters all over. We have been here for almost a month and we only got a few letters figured out.”
The four of them stopped and looked down each passageway, all lit up by torches on the walls. Both Ryker and Gomez said ‘wow’ together before looking at each other and smiling. “This is incredible.” Said Sivol who then had a hand placed on her shoulder. She looked at it then over her shoulder to see Vakai smiling, “It truly is, isn’t it?” She smiled back and nodded her head.
“Yes, everyone, it is incredible. What else is that this is the only Pyramid here, on this planet. What we figured out though, that is truly, truly astonishing.” Gilbert suddenly turned around and faced them. “This pyramid is over seven hundred thousand years old. Maybe add a couple ten thousand to it but it is so old that we can’t even get it down to the exact number. But that’s from examining the exterior of the Pyramid. The interior of this chamber…is about six hundred thousand years old. Again give or take.”
All four of them looked at each other before looking back at Gilbert. “So you’re saying that someone…carved all of this…this chamber and the writing…into a Pyramid that has been here longer than they have been?” Sivol asked.
Gilbert nodded his head. “Precisely. I wish I could get it down to the exact number, but we just are not there yet in such technology. Now,” Gilbert turned around and headed for the main door. But this gave Sivol a chance to open up her jacket, pull out her tricorder and hid it behind the left part of her jacket as she did some scanning of the interior…then she quietly but quickly walked outside to do the same of the exterior before returning to the team. While Gilbert was rambling about the mechanics and how they had tried everything to open the door, Sivol had everyone facing her and listening in closely.
“He’s correct. The scans indicate that the exterior of this pyramid is around seven hundred and twenty thousand years old. The interior is six hundred and eighty thousand years old.” She whispered to them.
Gomez frowned, “I don’t know how that makes sense. I mean, didn’t Command say that the beacons were older?”
Vakai shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t think Command ever said anything about how old the beacons were. Just that they needed to be repaired.”
Ryker shrugged one of his shoulders. “Hey, this just means your theory was correct. This Pyramid was here long before the Beacon was. So someone else built this Pyramid.”
“Hey… Doctors, are you listening?” Gilbert’s voice pierced into their private discussion.
They turned to face Gilbert and Ryker stepped forward. “I apologize, Gilbert. We were just going over how amazing it is that someone came here, took a structure such as this that was obviously built by someone else, and used it to hide something.”
Gilbert smiled, “Precisely. And I believe it was these people.” Gilbert took a step back and pointed at a green looking symbol on the large door. All four of them froze in their place as they knew exactly what that symbol was. The symbol of the Tkon Empire.
“Well, if anyone had any doubts, that just blew them away.” Vakai spoke softly for only the four of them to hear.
“Mind blown.” Said Gomez.
Ryker imitated an explosion sound with his mouth.