© Copyright 2001 by Tracey Maine
In the twenty-first century, military officials designed a weapon, destined to revolutionize the practice of chemical warfare. Tragically, once news of the weapon reached the masses, a mob of angry demonstrators stormed the laboratory where the project was being developed. During the riot, the lab was destroyed, and the protesters unknowingly unleashed the chemical-an advanced form of bio-weapon-into the atmosphere. There, the weapon mutated into a virus that proceeded to exterminate the human race. Forced to abandon the Earth, what was left of the human race sought hasty refuge in a recently completed, fully operational, military base, located on the moon called "Olympus." However, as the population of these survivors increased, overcrowding forced the colonists to construct a second city, dubbed "Asgard." Then, in later years, the most esteemed scientific minds among these colonists, managed to develop a vaccine to neutralize the deadly virus, making the possibility of humanity returning to Earth, a reality. This is the story of one of these such colonists….
Entries From the Journal of Carolyn Carter-- May 12, 5022
My goodness, do I have rotten luck! Today I got caught cheating in history class-again-and my teacher just had to go and tell my Uncle Samuel all about it. However, what I'm really upset about is the way he plans to punish me. He's forcing me to go next week with him, to Earth,of all places! Why no one has lived there for thousands of years! I don't know what my uncle expects to find on this little expedition he's leading. From what I understand, it all has something to do with seeing if that crazy planet is safe to live on again. For the past five years, he's been doing all this research to back up his claim that, one day, we will live there again. I think he's just wasting his time. He went there last year, and didn't find much of anything. Why should this time be any different?
In class, we learned that way back in the twenty-first century, there was this major plague that wiped out billions of people-that's when what was left of the human race headed for the moon. Then, the moon got so crowded that they built Asguard, the city where I live. I guess, things here really are getting a little crowded. There's been another "Ban On Births" statement issued-but no one ever pays any attention to those anyway. I know there are many people who are interested in living on Earth, so they can have children-but not me!
And, as if forcing me to go with him wasn't bad enough, he's going to make me work! I'll be the expedition's official journal-person-or "Keeper" as he calls them. Who Cares? I certainly don't! All I know is, I have to find some way out of this mess-and soon!
May 13, 5022
My Uncle is being such a major slug! No matter what excuse I give him, he still refuses to let me stay here on Asgard while he wastes his time of Earth. I tried to reason with him, and explain that they simply won't need a journal keeper. Because, absolutely nothing interesting is going to happen there! As far as I'm concerned, Earth is nothing more than a big, dead rock floating through space. Why can't he understand that I simply have no interest in going? His big argument for me coming along has everything to do with what he calls my, "Family Heritage." According to Uncle Samuel, we're direct descendants of this guy named, Howard Carter. He was some sort of famous archeologist back in the twentieth century who dug up the tomb of this guy named "King Tut." To this I say, "So What?" But, Uncle Samuel insists that we have this stupid obligation to follow in the footsteps of this guy. Can you believe it? Just what is his problem?
May 14, 5022
I could just spit! Before we even go to Earth, my stupid uncle is forcing me to do all this research about this dumb Howard Carter guy! I was really shocked at all the stuff he found, especially since our research library is pretty limited here. I guess, when the first colonists came, they were in such a hurry to get off Earth, they really didn't have much time to collect a lot of historical information to bring with them. In fact, even my uncle admits that because of this, there's really not a lot we really know about life back then. So, don't ask me how he found all the stuff he gave me, but he did! Why, he even found some copies of a journal Carter kept way back when. Anyway, he's been forcing me to read everything he can "dig up," Ha Ha! I'm hating every minute of it! Though, I did find out something interesting. It seems that when Howard Carter was only seventeen, he left his home, someplace called, "Britain," for the very first time. This seems kind of strange, because last week, I just turned seventeen, and I'm also leaving my home for the very first time. What a coincidence….
May 16, 5022
I've been spending a lot of time reading over Howard Carter's diary-not that I'm enjoying it or anything-I'm just reading them to get my uncle off my case. From what I understand, it was a pretty big deal when he dug up that King Tut's tomb. I guess, the person who was funding his search almost bailed out. No one thought he could really find the tomb. But, Howard was given one last chance to find the tomb, and he did. Carter must have been a very persistent kind of man-just like my uncle! This certain trait obviously runs in our family.
I was kind of spooked by this "Curse" that many people believed haunted the tomb. No one seems to know much about it. Though, this one article my uncle gave me pointed out that by 1929 eleven people connected with the discovery of the Tomb had all mysteriously died. Oh well, who really believes in that sort of stuff anyway? Though, it all really does sound sort of creepy.
Well, tonight, I need to get a good night's sleep. Because, tomorrow, before we head for Earth, the lady who is funding Uncle Samuel's trip-some old hag named, Mrs. Galloway-is throwing us a little party. Then entire crew, all seven of us, have to show up. I'm sure I'll be bored to tears! I'm just glad that we're leaving as soon as the party is over!
May 18, 5022,
Can you believe it! We Crashed! No one has any idea where in the world we are! I just knew something like this would happen! My Uncle seems to think our shuttle had some kind of mechanical malfunction, or something. Anyway, about the same time we started to experience trouble, we got caught in something called a "Storm." There were all these strange noises coming from outside the shuttle. It was really scary! All I know, is that we were completely blown off course! We're doomed! I just know it!
What's worse, our shuttle was damaged in the crash. I'm not sure how badly, but Rogers, the ship's pilot, keeps reassuring everyone that he can get us back home-in a day or so! My uncle has confidence in him. I sure don't! I might feel better about the whole situation if we hadn't lost our ability to communicate with Olympus and Asgard. Seriously-What else can go wrong?
May 19, 5022
Uncle Samuel insists that, even though we've run into a bit of bad luck, that we should still go ahead with our mission. I told him he must be crazy-but, it didn't do any good. He's making me go with him, and three of the other crew members, to check out our surroundings. I just hope Rogers finds a way to get us back home-pronto!
To my surprise, stepping foot on the Earth for the first time was kind of weird. I had trouble walking, and not just because of our protective suits. My uncle kept wanting to take hold of my hand, to help me along. I told him to "Get Lost." I also said, "If you thought I was old enough to come with you to this crazy place, then you should treat me like an adult-Not A Baby!"
The surface below us was strange. It was hard and gray colored, with cracks in it where some green stuff was growing, that looked similar to the plants in our oxygen plant. I looked up, hoping to see the sun, but, the sky was full of these white puffy things Uncle Samuel called, "Clouds."
However, the thing that really got my attention, was this old building that was set in the middle of the space where we had landed. You couldn't help but notice it, because it was so unusual. It looked long, and was broken into sections of different rectangular shapes, that somehow seemed joined together. Right away, my uncle made us walk around it. He asked me to write down that it appeared to be about 590 meters long, and about 10 meters high. He also asked me to write down that it seemed to be composed of something called, "Iron Rods." These things were apparently being reinforced by different types of light colored stones. To me, it just looked huge!
As we kept walking around this building, I kept noticing these strange sort of boxes, with circles on them. They were all just wasting away. One of the crew men thought they were once some type of device people back in the twenty-first century used for transportation-anyway, the space surrounding the building was just filled with them.
And, the area was covered with the remains of all these long metal poles sticking out of the surface below They were the same color as the boxes with circles, except that they had these funny boxes on top of them. My uncle thought that they were, perhaps, once some sort of primitive light source.
From the look of things, this building was also a very important one. Because, on the opposite side of it were four other buildings, that were far enough away from one another to form an odd sort of semicircle-kind of like they were keeping some sort of watch, or guarding the building.
Then, Uncle Samuel drew us back to the other side of the building. He directed us to this opening that was arched, and had a sort of triangle shape on top of it. So, we carefully walked inside this apparent doorway, and I somehow got stuck bringing up the rear. Just past the doorway was this massive, wide open space, covered in the remains of what might have been furniture. This area was surrounded by pillars, some of which had crumbled.
I looked up, and noticed that there must have been some sort of huge window in the ceiling. Now there was nothing there but a big hole. I would have thought that with that big hole in the ceiling, that the air would have been easier to breath. But, the place had a horrible, musty smell to it that almost made me sick. And, there was more of that green stuff growing everywhere.
Next, Uncle Samuel directed us to these strange booths that lined a wall along one side of this big open space. They seemed to be divided into several different, but equal, sections. He then drew our attention to the one furthest from us. What caught his eye was a section of fragmented glass tubing that was shaped like something he called a "Bird."
Now, my uncle acted as if he was really on to something. He stepped away from us for a moment, and then came back with a big smile on his face. He said, that he was very sure of where we were. He called this place, "The UN Building." He said it stood for "United Nations," and that he had read about it in some book of Earth history. Apparently, this was a place where people of different countries used to come to talk out their differences. And, about the, "Bird" figure, Uncle Samuel said that, back then, different political parties were often symbolized by different animals. So, according to him, these booths were where people voted on issues and such, according to what ever political party they belonged to.
As for me, I was more curious than impressed by all this. But, since I was stuck here for the time being, I tried to just follow along behind them and take notes. And, since Uncle Samuel did most of the talking, that made it less complicated.
I couldn't believe how dark it was in there. Thank goodness we had our flashlights! But still, even though having them made me feel a little safer, this part of the building was just plain creepy!
Suddenly, I guess I got caught up in the moment, or something like that. I felt kind of amazed by the things I was seeing. There were all these different enclosed chambers lining both walls on either side of this huge hallway. Uncle Samuel said, they were obviously the headquarters for different branches of ancient Earth's government.
Then, another member of the crew named, Andrea, asked us to turn around. I saw her race back the way we came, to this wall. I guess what got her attention was this big broken letter "J," that was on the floor. Oddly enough, she began pointing to something above her, to what seemed to be part of a broken letter "C." She started yelling that she had found what must have been an old-fashioned church, and that the "J" and the "C" obviously together stood for "Jesus Christ."
Uncle Samuel looked upset. He thanked her for her help, and insisted that we move on. Although, I think he would have reacted differently if he had found it first!
As we kept walking, we would occasionally look through one of these different chambers. One of the guy crew members, Charles, kept noticing these odd pieces of pottery that seemed to be shaped like parts of a human body. Curious, as to what these were, Uncle Samuel finally made us stop in this one chamber while he tried to reassemble one of the pieces of pottery back together. It didn't take him long to come up with something that kind of looked like a woman.
Once again, my uncle looked at us with a certain gleam in his eye. He said he suddenly had a better idea of what life in the twenty-first century was like. He said, since these pieces of pottery were in almost every single chamber we entered, this meant that Earth was then completely ruled by women, and that these "Statues," as he called them, were made in the images of the most powerful female leaders of that day and age.
"So?" I asked my uncle, "What you're telling me is, that we've gone to all this trouble, just to find out that-way back when-the Earth was ruled by a bunch of powerful, and religious women?"
Uncle Samuel just sneered at me. I guess he didn't think my comment was all that funny?
Moving ahead, we came to what seemed the center of the building. Strangely enough, this part of the structure had a wide open space in the middle where we could look up and see where another window in the ceiling must have been. Standing in the middle of this space we could look to our right and see a chamber that was much bigger than any of the others lining the hallway. To my left, down another narrower hallway, was a second dark chamber.
At Uncle Samuel's suggestion, he, Charles and I, entered the chamber on the right, while Lucas and Andrea checked out the one on the left. All I remember is, walking through the seemingly gigantic archway that stood out side the chamber. Right away, I got the impression that I had just entered someplace sacred. The place was full of rotted counters, and fragments of what must have been mirrors-I think? No, they looked like some sort of display cases-as if some things that were really valuable had been placed in them, perhaps even somebody's treasures? I noticed that all the remains of the counters were aimed in a certain direction, pointing towards a tattered wall in the center. Broken fragments of pottery, just like we had seen in the other chambers, was everywhere. Except, here they seemed to have placed the statues in some sort of special order. I stopped to pick up a piece of a broken head, when I noticed something hanging on the wall. I aimed my flashlight to shine at a higher angle. Then I saw something. It was some sort of metal wall hanging with something written on it. I think it was someone's name.
Suddenly, I thought of Carter's diary, and a special line that talked about how he felt when he was looking though Tut's Tomb. It went, " It soon became obvious that we were but on the threshold of the discovery. The sight that met us was beyond anything one could conceive". Then and there, I put "two and two" together, and finally figured out what this whole building really was. Why this was not the UN Building-It was someone's tomb!
Then, a strange sound frightened me. It was a loud banging noise I didn't recognize. I was suddenly very cold, and the air had a horrible smell to it. I was ready to get out of there! So, I stuck the piece of metal I had found in my pocket, and went to look for my uncle, to tell him of my discovery.
Out of nowhere came a scream! It sounded like Andrea! My uncle, Charles, and I ran out of the chamber to see what was the matter. When we met the others in the center section, Lucas seemed to be hurt. He was on the ground, screaming in pain. Andrea said that, something long and thin had crawled out of some of the green stuff. When Lucas tried to catch it, it bit him on the leg. Uncle Samuel said it was something called a "Snake."
Then, I thought of the "Curse," and remembered how Carter had used something called a "Canary," to lead him to the tomb. The poor thing was later eaten by a snake! Can you believe it?.
More bad noises seemed to be coming from the direction of the ceiling. I looked up to see that the sky was dark and scary. Even Uncle Samuel looked suddenly pale!
I said to my uncle, "I think we've broken into someone's tomb-and it must be cursed! Just like that King Tut's Tomb! Remember, you had me read all that stuff about Howard Carter? Well the same thing is happening to us that happened to them! It's the "Carter Curse," and we're it's keepers!"
At this point I was hysterical! Uncle Samuel ordered me to help Lucas back to the shuttle. Believe me, that was one order I didn't mind following! So, while Andrea, Charles, and my uncle looked around some more, I helped Lucas to the ship. Don't ask me how, but I did it! Though, just as we stepped outside this strange building, the bad noises in the sky got even louder. Some strange force made the air seem thick, and hard to walk through. Water began to pour out of the sky, just as we made it to our destination. Boy, was I relieved!
Inside the shuttle, Rogers, who knew a little about medicine, examined Lucas. I asked Rogers about what was going on outside. He said this was just another sort of "Storm," and that it was nothing to worry about. I also asked him about my uncle and the others- if we should go back after them? Once again, Rogers thought we should wait till everything outside quieted down. He thought I might take a nap till then. I told him I wasn't tired. But, once I stretched out on in my chair, and pulled a cover over my head, I immediately fell fast asleep.
May 20, 5022
I know I had to have been asleep for several hours, before the sound of Rogers, tinkering around with our equipment, woke me up. Rogers had the ship all fixed, and had already sent a message to Asgard. That was news I was really happy to hear! But, when I looked around, I didn't see my uncle. Rogers told me that Mackenzie had gone to look for them-but, that was over five hours ago.
Suddenly, there was a panicky banging at the shuttle door. It was Mackenzie, and boy was he a nutcase! He was screaming about these things he called "Serpents," and how they were every where, and had trapped him in one of the chambers. Rogers asked him about my uncle and Andrea-but even after he calmed down, he swore that they were nowhere to be found!
I tried to fight my way out the shuttle to look for them, but Rogers stopped me. Then, the shuttle began to shake. The sounds in the sky seemed to be shaking the entire Earth. We looked outside, and were shocked to see this gigantic funnel-like thing coming out of the sky. No one had any idea what it was! I just know, whatever it seemed to touch, it destroyed-and we were right in it's path!
Rogers immediately made us get ready for lift off. I was too spooked to disagree with him. Oh, we made it off the ground all right, but all the way home I thought about the original Carter Party, and that "Curse" they violated. I was positive that the same sort of thing had happened to us. I remembered my uncle telling me how coming along on this trip was all part of my "Family Heritage." However, I don't think he realized that part of my "Heritage," was this awful "Curse."
I wanted to go back and search for Uncle Samuel and the others. But, Rogers said that would be too dangerous now, with that big thing in the sky floating around and all. He promised me that another party would go back to find them. But, I didn't believe him.
All of a sudden, I thought to myself, just whose tomb had we been trespassing in? Then, it dawned on me, to pull that piece of metal out of my suit pocket. Once we were safe in space, I managed to clean it off, so I could read the name of who ever was responsible for the curse. It was a strange name, one I had never heard of before-"Calvin Klein."
Later, Rogers showed us a little something he had brought back from his own hunting expedition around the building. It was a big sign he found that was broken in two. When he put the two halves together, they read, " Outlet Mall."
When he asked me what the words meant, I told him, "I don't have a clue." Then, a thought occurred to me. I said, "Maybe, since that place was a tomb with a curse on it, the words must be some kind of ancient warning-like, "Enter At Your Own Risk?"
Rogers thought I was crazy. Anyway, in a few hours we'll be home. Though, something tells me that, if a crew really does go to look for my uncle, I should go with them. Then again, maybe I should just stay put! Although, there's always the chance that the search party might be in need of an experienced journal-person. Yes, if anybody should be "The Keeper" of that expedition it should be me....
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