‘Tis Charity to Show
It wasn’t the furnishings in the small cramped room that gave it its clutter; there was only a desk, a chair, and a slender cabinet in the whole area. Boxes of artifacts and specimens sorted and unsorted, knapsacks of tools, and a plethora of digital devices, were what crowded what was fairly small space. No expense was spared in that every corner of Dr. Ellis’ office was being utilized for all they were worth.
But in spite of the orderly compartmentalizing of items in the room, Rand had a difficult time navigating through the narrow pathways created by all the stuff. Clearing what she could so she could create a clear space for herself at the desk, Rand sat down, took the wafers out of the leather envelope and spread them out onto the desk in fan-like formation. She pulled out all the wafers that have been dated and placed them aside, taking the undated wafers and replacing them back into the envelope.
“No need listening to wafers with nothing on them,” she quipped.
Rand sighed and looked out of the window that was right over her desk. The sun was not as high up as before, and the sky was a slightly darker shade of turquoise as was characteristic of the afternoon. She gazed onto the warm- hued, darkly sanded landscape and thanked God there was a window in this miserable little closet of a room, or she’d have to burst a hole in the walls just to stop from feeling like they were closing in on her.
Rand put the leather envelope aside and pulled Dr. Ellis’ recorder towards her.
“At least she left the thing on the desk so I wouldn’t have to fish for it,” she thought.
The recorder wasn’t portable like Rand’s, but a bulky, cumbersome, rectangular block of as device that resembled the old recorder of 20th Century Earth, except that the insides contained flat silver plates that operated wafers. Rand picked up the wafer with the earliest date, pressed the open button which flipped up the hatch to the recorder, and placed the wafer inside.
Closing the hatch to the recorder, Rand pressed the ‘on’ button, slumped in her chair and waited while tapping her feet to the floor. As a result of her yeoman training at the Academy, Rand was familiar with the various jargons used in many professions, but because her father was a professor of Anthropology and because she herself had a degree in the same field, she was especially familiar with the jargon that Dr. Ellis would be using in her logs, like grid, in situ, debitage, test pit.
Having a working knowledge on anthropological and archeological terms wouldn’t mean a damn thing if the Good Archeologist mentioned nothing that might give her leads on their disappearance.
“This is the log of Dr. Adrienne Ruth Ellis on the date of…”
“Oh, boy,” thought Rand.
The voice of Dr. Ellis wasn’t going to make this task any easier, since it had a flat, drone-like quality to it that made Rand recall many a heavy-lidded period where she fought mightily to keep her head from thudding on her classroom desk. Recounts of a new found artifact, what it might have been used for and the minute detail of its physical characteristics, coupled with that voice, was enough to send Rand into a tailspin of a stupor.
“Always fun to revisit my college days,” she groaned, throwing her head back in mock self-pity.
This was going to be a long one!