Fiction Fragment Friday

This week’s story was inspired by an image I saw of a robot holding the head of a baby doll. Obviously my main character of this story is not a robot, but sometimes the inspiration goes very wild from it’s source. This certainly was a case of that.

                Analyzing……. Composition is a synthetic polymer commonly known as plastic.  Shape fits into acceptable variations to represent the head of a species that was known as humans.  Item has a 92% probability of being the remains of a toy.  

                “Human?  That can’t be.  I’ve heard of them, but not in a long time and never in this part of the galaxy.”  I just shook my head at the analysis my environmental suit’s onboard computer had given.  I thought about having it run the process again, but the percentage of certainty was far too high for it to end up returning any other result.  The only question is if this lost colony had been human, had a human with them, or just had artifacts. 

                I turned the creepy relic around in my hands.  It had two eyes that looked like they were staring back at me.  A stringy substance came out of what I assumed was the top of the head.  I could only assume it represented some sort of fur.  My onboard computer started highlighting parts of the face in my display showing me what was supposed to represent a mouth, nose, and two ears.  They didn’t look like any I had ever seen on an organic being and the skin was a strange color I didn’t have a word to represent.  If humans really look like that thing did then I’m glad I’ve never met one. 

                “Upload images of the artifact to the file for this planet.”  I tossed the thing over my shoulder to the ground.  I know it is an artifact and I should have treated it with more care, but the thing was just so ugly I didn’t want to see it anymore.  If this really was a human colony, I should find something else that would be a better representation of the culture.  I thought about asking for a summary of known human history, but that would have been far more information than I really wanted while in the field. 

                What I knew of humans at the time was that they had spread throughout the galaxy twenty thousand years ago.  About ten thousand years before my people developed space folding technology their empire collapsed.  We still don’t know why it fell apart or how they went from colonizing most of the galaxy to the verge of extinction in under a thousand years.  We don’t even know what planet they evolved on.  Some of the surviving colony ships after arriving at their destinations had massive failures leaving the colonies without technology.  I have heard of instances where after thousands of years they no longer even realize they are not natives. 

                The mystery is what drives most archaeologists.  I just want a pay day and the fastest way to get that is lost tech.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll look for culturally significant artifacts on dead worlds as well, but I don’t do it out of curiosity.  If you find something new you can get a good price at auction for it.  Especially if you can get a couple species to bid against each other for it.  Usually, remnants of a species will pay the most, but there aren’t any humans out there with enough money to pay my rates. 

                The remains of the building I had been in was made from a form of brick, but stepping through the crumbled remains I found myself in a building of completely different materials.  It appeared to be a type of black metal with curved edges that had withstood the elements far better.  My biggest surprise though was the skeleton of a Camorian.  They are a four-legged, two-armed reptilian species with a barbed tail.   Like humans I had never seen a report of them in this part of the galaxy.  I couldn’t come up with any reason they would be on the same planet as humans.  I pointed the scanner on my left rear tentacle towards the body and started the scan. 

                Analyzing….  Remains of a male Camorian.  Cause of death unknown.   Specimen expired fifteen years prior to the current date with a two-year margin of error due to unknown environmental variables. 

                “Wait did you say fifteen years ago?  I thought these ruins were a century old at the least.”

                Negative.  The exact time and nature of cataclysm this site experienced cannot be determined based on current data.  Current deterioration state of trace organic materials indicates an active site as recently as two decades. 

                 “What trace organic materials?”  I was starting to get very annoyed with my suit’s onboard computer.  It should have been providing far more data without being prompted.  I made a mental note to run a full diagnostic when I returned to the ship.  The last thing I needed was to find myself on a dead planet with a failing environmental suit. 

                Bacteria has been detected from over thirty known species as well as multiple habitats using timber not found natively on the same planet. 

                “Wait did you say habitats?”

                Unknown query. 

                “Initiate file integrity check now.” 

                Sixty percent file corruption by unknown code uploaded to system upon arrival on the planet surface.  Sixty-five percent file corruption by unknown code uploaded……  Welcome to Habitat, the galaxy’s first planetary zoo.  Exhibit designated number one your personal habitat is now ready for occupation.  I am so excited to have you as the first step in my rebuild.