Uh oh…it was starting to look like I had become the monster of which I decried in my first blog post. After a fifteen day hiatus (almost twice as long as our dear fruit fly’s tenure as “The Angry Writer”), I’ve finally gotten around to making my second blog post. And all of three people rejoiced! I know I said I wasn’t into posting my writing writing here (not a typo…I mean my work writing), but I’ve decided to write a novel on the side. It’s a major Sci-Fi Epic which would never get sold as a spec script (at least until I start blowing up as much stuff as Michael Bay) so I figured I’d go the novel route. Here’s the first 5 pages of “Exogenesis.” (The subsequent 250-300 will be quite different).
Prologue – The Discovery
Chicxulub Crater, Mexico. 2012.
Professor Hubert Farnsworth bent over in the massive digging well as he picked up a shrapnel sized piece of quartz. His dignified silver beard glimmered in the basking apricot sunlight as it reflected off of the pre-historic sliver of stone. Hubert turned the rock over in his fingers, as one does a prized possession. He studiously examined the piece of ancient history with great intrigue. Graham looked over dismissively at the elder statesman of the group as he wiped beads of sweat from the short blonde hair matted to his sticky brow.
“I’m telling you Hubert, you’re stubborn as a mule. It was the volcanoes all along. The Deccan Traps deposits occurred over the course of several decades each. And the entire sequence erupted in less than ten thousand years. That alone would have placed ten times more climate-changing emissions into the atmosphere than this blasted asteroid ever could have.”
Paying his dissentious young pupil no mind, Hubert continued to inspect the piece of quartz in his hand. Without even looking at Graham, he shook his head dismissively. Hubert knew kids like Graham. Kids that thought the only real fossils out there were him. Forty years as the Smithsonian’s lead archaeologist and this is how they treated him? Kids today, Hubert thought.
“No…no, you’re wrong, Graham. Alvarez had it right all along. You baby scientists today come along with this volcano nonsense to try and make a quick name for yourself.”
Graham scoffed as he kicked back the top of his flask and took a long swig of bourbon. It was 104 degrees in that sweltering hell-hole of a pit, and the grating tone of Farnsworth’s lectures wasn’t doing his head any favors. Neither was his hangover.
“You think that just because you received a fancy piece of paper from Harvard and read the latest Jared Diamond book that you’re suddenly an expert and can refute decade’s old research at the drop of a hackeysack,” Professor Farnsworth chortled.
Oblivious to the squabbling argument between his two co-workers, the last member of their trio, Gerald, chipped away expeditiously at a piece of rock blanketed in recalcitrant, hard red clay.
“Explain the iridium spike. Massive spikes of iridium in clay layers all around the world from the K-Pg extinction. There’s hardly any iridium in the Earth’s crust. But asteroid…asteroids are teeming with it.”
Graham took another long swig of bourbon before acknowledging Farnsworth’s bullheaded refusal to get onboard with the 21st Century.
“No one plays hackeysack anymore, Farnsworth. You and your outdated theories are what’s holding science back.”
Gerald’s long hippy locks continued to bob up and down in a fervor with his apparent mission to dig a hole straight to China.
“So why did the dinosaurs in India survive right up until the final volcanic onslaught? The sulfur produced by those volcanoes was far more potent than what any asteroid collision could have ever generated,” Graham said.
He gestured toward the sky to drive home his ensuing point.
“Even without that big SOB, Dink truly was the last dinosaur. And not a whole lot more. Only difference is, we might be working on a tropical island, examining Blue Holes in the Bahamas, instead of digging in a God forsaken sweltering pit in the middle of nowhere, Mexico.”
Truth was, Graham had a friend who was doing exactly that. All the Piña Coladas he could drink and all the beautiful women he could drink in. Lucky son of a bitch, Graham thought. And here he was with a cantankerous old mule and a dirty hippy who thinks that aliens built the pyramids.
Professor Farnsworth stared at Graham with incredulity. Never in his life had he heard such utterance of disrespect toward a scientific behemoth such as the Chicxulub Crater.
“Nowhere, Mexico? You’re serious?”
Graham nodded his head slowly. Smarmy smirk plastered across his smug young face. Kids today…
“Serious as the heart attack you’re destined to have by sixty-five. Nowhere, Mexico.”
Hubert shook his head with nothing but disdain for his disrespectful young peer.
“You impetuous little boy,” he scoffed.
Professor Farnsworth threw his hands into the air as he spun about in a circle. Arms spread wide into the sky. Andy Dufresne imitation at its finest.
“This is the Chicxulub Crater. This is the birthplace of life.” Words spewing from his mouth with more than a hint of vexation.
“Sorry pops, I guess you fell asleep on the ride over. We’re in Mexico, not in Ethiopia,” Graham retorted sarcastically.
Professor Farnsworth picked up a lump of clay as he watched it crumble between his fingers.
“Without the extinction of the dinosaurs, no humans. Without the asteroid, no extreme climate change. So yes, this is the birthplace of life…” Hubert eyed Graham up and down with contempt. “Which, at times, is truly quite regrettable.”
Graham watched as Gerald’s head continued to bob up and down like a dipping bird as he chiseled away at the stubborn clay. Almost as stubborn as Professor Farnsworth, Graham thought to himself. Before the argument of old versus new school scientific theory could go any further, Gerald at last spoke. His voice slow and methodical like the enlightened savant he fancied himself, or at least how Graham thought Gerald fancied himself.
“Man, you guys both don’t have a clue. You wanna know how this shit really went down?”
Graham and Hubert exchanged a knowing look as they both donned sheepish grins. They knew all too well what was to come next. “Oh boy, here we go again,” Graham uttered with great chagrin. Hubert echoed the sentiments of his previously argumentative colleague in a rare show of agreement. If there’s one thing the squabbling pair could concur on, it was the unwavering outright dismissal of Gerald’s asinine beliefs in pseudo-scientific nonsense. “Not this again, Gerald. E.T. did not build the pyramids.”
Gerald did not raise his head from his fastidious task as he responded to his dismissive comrades. He knew what they thought of his purportedly outlandish theories, and quite frankly, he didn’t care. He knew that he would prove them wrong one day. That was, after all, why he became an archaeologist.
“Ancient aliens are no joke. They’re a scientific reality. Look at the evidence, man.”
Gerald’s chiseling became increasingly expeditious, as though synchronous with the increasing animation of which he spoke.
“9620 BCE, an abrupt and major change to the climate occurs worldwide. Fact. A large trace of volcanic debris in the Greenland ice cores exists. Fact. A sudden two meter drop in sea levels worldwide. Fact. All occurring at the same time. Plato knew it. He was way ahead of his time. People love to embrace Plato’s thoughts on philosophy, yet flat out ignore his dissertations on advanced civilizations. It’s cherry picking, man. And you’re all guilty of it.”
Hubert rolled his eyes dismissively.
“You’ve been reading too many books by that charlatan Erich Von Daniken. The man was a hotel mogul, not a scientist!”
Graham raised his eyebrows as he mimicked inhaling of joint.
“He’s been doing too much of something, all right…”
Gerald shook his head with a subdued chuckle. He knew nothing that he said could possibly convince these men, so entrenched in their preconceived notions and beliefs.
“You guys are so close-minded, you know? The Piri Reis Map, the Antikythera mechanism, the pyramids at Ankor wat. The proof for the existence of an advanced alien race on this Earth is overwhelming.”
Just as he finished his sentence, a heavy clank resonated from the ground. The familiar sound of metal upon metal. Gerald stopped digging. He cocked his head in puzzlement.
“The only thing overwhelming is your psychosis. This is what happens when you consume copious amounts of salvia while reading Carlos Castaneda,” Professor Farnsworth smirked with satisfaction at his quick-witted quip. Not bad, for an old man, he thought.
Graham walked up behind a statuesque Gerald and playfully tugged on his ponytail. For all of his jabs and jokes, he still liked Gerald, and seeing as he often took his side in debates with Professor Farnsworth, he could ill-afford to risk alienating his similarly aged cohort.
“C’mon buddy, we’re just messing with you,” Graham pleaded innocently.
Gerald did not budge. His face transfixed upon something. His eyes frozen wide like saucers, as though he gazed upon Medusa herself. Hubert joined Graham as the two peered over their entranced friend’s shoulder.
“What do you have there?” Professor Farnsworth inquired with an inquisitive frown.
Gerald held an oddly shaped black metallic box in his hands. The box looked like nothing of this Earth. The metal unidentifiable. It was roughly two feet long and one foot wide. Cold to the touch. It appeared heavy, yet felt light in Gerald’s clay stained palms. The metal shimmered beneath the gleaming Mexican sun, absorbing the light as though it were some sort of element in and of itself. A conduit of some unseen gods in the sky. All three men stared at the box in sheer and utter incredulity. Shivers ran down Professor Farnsworth’s spine. Not because the box was unlike anything he had ever seen in his forty-five years in the field, that much was true, but rather for the single word which flung from Gerald’s mouth like a dagger to everything he believed in.