In times passing, we as a race, have lost much of the knowledge obtained throughout the Eons. Some of this knowledge was more important than we ever knew. The time has come in which this knowledge will become the very last hope of humanity. Only very few have obtained the understanding necessary to attempt such an undertaking. Only time and light will show whether we will survive.
With a warm ripping sound the third match finally caught, and then sputtered out. "Dark. Always Dark! Why didn't these people invent electricity instead of PI!?" Emmett Farnsworth never really got tired of crawling in the dungeons of the lost forgotten worlds. His professors always told him he was too tall to go crawling around in caves. This running joke seems to have caught on. Now all of his closest peers jibe him with jokes of his two plus meter frame getting caught in a passage only one meter away from the Holy Grail, or using his own stature to lift his crew up to the next tier on the face of Cheops. This had always been his dream, to have an adventure for a life, no work, not ever. Though he never thought he would discover anything of value, let alone to be allowed to research the tunnels of Cheops. Now it appears that they all would have to find something else to joke about. Fumbling for a new box of matches he finally gets the Coleman lit again. "Thank God! Haven't I told you I really really hate the dark!?" He picked up the habit of speaking to himself quite regularly, working alone causes this most often.
This tunnel is almost too small for his not so slender build. He had been putting on some weight these last few years, but had always thought, "Tomorrow I will go to the local boxing club and find myself a weekly match." Of course this never came to pass, but what had come to pass was yet another ten years. His hopes for finding something of value on this (possibly his last) excursion to the valley and plateau were nearly at an end, when he found it.
As Emmett was counting the year markers in the great hall, he noticed something of a crack where there shouldn't have been one. His first thought was that some tourist had decided to engrave their timeless mention in the ancient walls. This he had seen before, "Steve N Lisa forever" or some other lovable tripe that usually indicates some insecurity within the very message. Those things never last anyway, it would have been nice if he had someone to care about, but not since . . .
This crack was different though, and from the looks of it extremely new! Although he would expect some new cracks and the occasional fallen stone, this was a very regular line. Following the separation between the normally tight stone work, he discovered a two-foot by three-foot section of rock was definitely loose! He decided to proceed on and try to remove the stone even though he knew if he found nothing, he would never be allow back on the Giza plateau again, even as a tourist himself.
The usual pushing and pulling brought forth no results. After two hours of trying to even budge the rock, he began to come to realize that this stone must weigh at least two tons. "Might as well get the curators" He began, as he slid a metal flat bar deep into the right side crack. "Better leave a marker..." The flat bar activated some kind of mechanism behind the stone, for as he pushed the bar into place, the stone moaned with thousands of years of angst, and retreated into the wall, as if to run from him. "Damn!"
The sounds of the stone moving away continued for some time as Emmett stared, his mouth hanging wide, at the newly formed opening. As he finally came to his senses and leaned forward to peer in, the noise ceased and a rush of ancient cold air came down the tunnel. Remembering his most basic field lessons, he ran towards the incline of the great hall. Many explorers and grave robbers succumb to the "bad air" left within a tomb, luckily he had remembered that this air would most always be colder than the air outside the opening. Running four or five meters away, he was thankful that the Great Hall was actually a stairwell. The incline would allow for the air to seep downward and away from Emmett.
As he waited for the pressures to equalize he couldn't help but feel a very strange cold chill climb up his back, and around to his chest. At first he thought it was his nerves, then he thought he had gotten a breath of that bad air. Then it was off of him, it felt almost like something had touched him and pushed away. A vague but discernible fog crept down the hall towards the stairs to the entrance below. Blinking his eyes and grabbing at his bag he searched for his camera. He hoped what he felt in his bag was not his camera, of course it was! What other time would it pick to pop open and spew its film out into bottom of the bag? Alas, he must now go on without any documentation, apart from any handwritten notes he might chance to make. Isn't this just the way these things always turn out? He thought the situation kind of reminded him of the old expeditions, with all of the risk and guesswork. "I hope I don't die of some mosquito bite!" He laughed nervously. Now with the chamber open, and with no film, he must enter before contacting anyone. There would be no way for him to leave now, what a chance! He smiled as he entered the hole.
Now here he was with a Coleman lantern that has after twenty some odd years of dedicated service, decided to sputter out again, and this, apparently for the last time. He checked again to ensure that the kerosene didnít just let out. After running down all of the possible problems, he decided that the lantern had breathed itís last. He backed out of the opening and rooted through his bag. Grabbing his Mag-light, he quickly re-entered the opening. After crawling for about twelve meters, he became semi stuck. Looking ahead he could see the opening widen into a black vastness before him as he pushed the Mag-light ahead of him, and only a few feet from the end of the tunnel! At least he wouldn't have to worry about dead batteries; he had just replaced all of the five cells that make up the power generator for this particular model. "Bloody Americans", he thought, "Couldn't come up with anything larger or heavier could they?" Sarcasm seemed to be the only vent at this point. He was still making progress, just very little and extremely slow.
Now the claustrophobia started to move in. This is the part he hated the most, it wasn't the bugs, snakes, or the rats, but the uncertainty of a stable roof. That, mixed with being stuck, really got him scared, not to mention the fact that after he was dead they would have to pull him out ass first. Just as he was thinking these things, his final reach forward tore his jacket free, and he found he could again move. "Damn, that was my best vest!"
He quickly arrived at the opening into the chamber. He could see that this was the opening to a grand chamber of some kind. The roof was vaulted and the stone that until very recently blocked the passage, now became the lowest step in a small flight of stairs leading up to something that looked to be a control panel. This really stunned him, as he never saw anything like this in any ancient Egyptian location. His beam shined on each of the walls, then on the ceiling and the floor. There were glyphs everywhere, in fact, there was a mural on the ceiling. He saw a small hole in each corner of the room where the ceiling met the wall. These holes looked very similar to the now famous air holes in the altar room. Looking around the floor he noted not only writings, but also crystals lain in piles near a round hole large enough for a man to descend into.
He directed his beam into the hole, and still he could see nothing. As he dropped one of the crystals into the black nothingness, he shuddered at the thought of what his peers would say. He waited. The crystal hit bottom after a full 20 seconds. "This is too scary". He began to catalogue the writings on the walls, all looked normal for what had been found within Cheops prior, until he came to the wall in which he entered through. Upon this wall was etched what could not be denied as being a definite alphabet conversion between at least four languages.
These drawings seemed to show that the Egyptians were being taught a new language or that an older language than the glyphs was being translated for them. Then there was a third language that looked vaguely familiar, like Germanic runes, but not quite there. It was the last language that really gave him shivers! This one was completely different from all the rest. There was no flair to the writing, no wasted ink, almost as if it were printed on the rock, not drawn. The text itself was not pictorial, the runes should have been enough to send his mind into a fury of thought in itself, but here before him were words written in Roman Standard English! The words didn't all make sense, but the characters were there. He could pick out an "A" and an "F". He gently brushed away the dust and found he could make out a whole sentence. "To the race that will follow: HEED OUR WARNING!"
His heart raced, the sweat began to pour from his body, as he tried to rationalize. "Must be a hoax! It's got to be... " As he read on, it became apparent that it could not have been, for even the most astute trickster could not have gotten so much correct about the Egyptian past, as was written here, but could never have created these glyphs in any amount of time and secrecy. So he read on and on, his eyes wide with the knowledge of why. Now he darted for the passage back to where he was before. Sliding along the tunnel he found what his vest had gotten caught on. A small piece of metal protruded from the wall about five centimeters. He looked at it with confusion and fear, he realized this was a misfired trap. He was not supposed to have made it to the chamber, but it looks like something had gone wrong with the mechanism. He reached out to touch it, and it drew blood. He shrieked in pain, hitting his head on the roof of the tunnel. At first he thought it was just in his head, then it became apparent that the rumbling was indeed coming from behind. The stone was starting back! Apparently the vest he was given at the beginning of this trip would provide more than just warmth, the material (the kind used for parachutes) is excellent for sliding on. Lying on his vest, he started to use his feet to push away and slide out. This would have worked fine, except that the floor seemed to give from the added pressure. The bottom of the tunnel was now moving away, leaving only a twenty-centimeter wide track on either side. Still the rock continued on, Emmett watched as his vest fell into the unknown, and he knew he would have to try to reach the end of the passage on his own and quickly.
Pulling himself along, he edged along the runners that now were the only rock keeping him from finding his vest and other belongings. He cursed himself for not being more attentive; he should have been able to find the telltale signs of the drop-away floor. His arms were getting very tired as his legs finally slipped off the ledge that supported him. Swinging down, and trying hard not to imagine himself plummeting into the depths unknown, and as if on a pair of very high parallel bars, he managed to catch the edge of the exit with his sandaled feet. Thinking to himself "This would be the only reason I would ever want to wear these damn things" as he quickly flipped them off and curled his toes on the rock. Just as his knees passed the edge of the wall, his hands gave way, and he swung down into the darkness, head slamming into the wall of the chasm below. Wincing in pain he looked up to see that the rock now was only one meter away from the opening. Now he was definitely wanting for those missed boxing lessons!
It took every last bit of his power, but he edged his way up the walls of the chasm and managed to grab the ledge. As he swung his head up and forward, the rock pushed his body out onto the hall floor. The rock behind him sealed the chamber with a swoosh that echoed throughout the pyramid.
After regaining first his consciousness, then his wits, he looked at the wall behind him with utter horror. The hole not only had closed, but the slight crack that allowed him to activate the mechanism was no longer a visible opening, the friction of moving the rock back into place must have loosened enough of the surrounding stone to seat the stone perfectly. "This will not be too difficult" he murmured, "All we have to do is prove the existence of the passage by ground penetrating radar. All I need to do now is get my notes together." He started slowly, then began to really get scared, the notes had been in his vest the whole time he was in there, but what happened to them after the bottom fell out on things? Then remembering his wonderful habit of placing almost everything into his trouser pockets, he reached in and pulled out a big pile of sweaty pages. Smiling to himself and shaking just a bit, he began to make his way to the bottom of the corridor. After two hours had passed Emmett was well out of range to hear what was now happening at the site of his wondrous discovery. A low rumbling started, growing louder and changing into a whooshing sound, the kind of sound that sand makes when it fills a hidden room.
As he left the pyramid, he glanced to the pinnacle and frowned. Running now he headed for his Hummer at full speed. The excitement has taken over his instincts to get to a computer, this is the most important discovery that has been made since the dawn of ancient history! Getting into the vehicle he grinds the gears a few times. Then he realizes that he would never make it back in the shape he is in now, takes a long drink from his backup canteen and his thoughts go to how even a desert like this has been beaten and civilized. As he looked around he saw only a few cars in the lot, but the fact that there was a lot here and an amphitheater in the not to far off distance gave him a feeling of despair. Most of the cars were parked here for overnights, as with most any lot, you will find some amount of vehicles left behind due to lack of gas or lack of courage to bring them back to life, he chuckled to himself and felt better and calmer. Taking a final swig from the canteen, he noticed one figure outlined in the parking lot's mercury lamps. "A tourist in absolute awe no doubt." He smiled as he turned the engine over, and slowly pulled away. Leaving the lot he entered the park's main drive and headed towards town. Still trying to sort out all that he had taken in, in the last few hours, he didn't notice the figure get into the car and start out behind him. Trying desperately to keep within the limits posted by the local government, he was sweating and getting more and more jumpy about what he was going to say to his colleagues. He must form a plan to take the time and get it all organized. He would first write a note to Cynthia in England. Boy, did he wish that she were here. She would be much better at dealing with this than he would. "Maybe she will come down, I will send her all the raw information first, then sort it out with her as to where to go next." Thinking back to when he first met her, he never thought he would consider her anything but a wistful inquiring student, but she grew in his heart and in her field with little difficulty. If only she knew how much he cared for her, maybe this will give him the opportunity to tell her.
Arriving at the hotel (if you can call it that), he slammed the Hummer into first and killed the battery. Forgoing the usual ritual of locking everything down and getting his gear together, he raced across the lot to almost get run over by a car that looked amazingly like the one in the lot at Giza. Shouting his apologies he continued into the lobby and up to his room. When he got to his room, this presented yet another anxiety for him, usually he was so meticulous, and careful. He opened the door after sliding the key-card through, forgetting that he had setup one of those remote control room alarms. The siren blared for almost eternity while he searched for the remote. Chirp, and the room was silent, unfortunately the hallway wasn't. He spewed apologies over and over again, redder than a beet, he retreated into his room to get the first step done.
Waiting for the laptop to boot and connect to the net felt longer than the eternity it took to get into the chamber he had found. Now, finally he was able to start pouring out his words into the Email. His eighty words per minute were not quick enough for him now, especially since he had to stare at the keyboard through the whole thing. He never had to master typing to get into this field, only know the basics of how to type a request for more money.
Ending the letter with his usual "Yours always, Emmett", he sent the letter off to its destination. He knew that some of his old self was returning when he automatically deleted the message out of his "sent mail" folder. Now realizing that he had not had a chance to empty his long overloaded bladder, he made a dash for the bathroom. Of course Emmett was not back to his complete old self or he would have remembered to lock and bar the door. This area wasn't the best, no where near the worst, but not the Ritz in any case.
As he started to relax and let things flow, a dark shape entered the room. Looking towards the bathroom it was obvious where Emmett was and what he was doing. This man looked as if he should have been in a much better part of town, if in this town at all. He wore the traditional fez and red robes, these only covering his three-piece suit underneath. He did not look at all happy, as he drew a long curved blade from his waist. Wasting no time he crept up behind Emmett. While covering Emmett's mouth with a rag soaked with some kind of liquid, he thrust the blade deep under his left shoulder blade, twisting to ensure a lethal blow.
As Emmett started to sink to the floor the final sounds he heard were of an apology to him. "This is for the good of all humanity, the secrets of the ancients must not be disturbed!"
Emmett wondered why everything was getting dark, wasnít there supposed to be a tunnel or something? And then there was nothing.
As the man let Emmett slide quietly to the floor, he quickly trashed the room. Overturning everything he could find. Noises started in the hall again, looking at the bed, he grabbed the laptop, and ran to the balcony, and swinging over the railing he easily made the twelve-foot drop to the ground. By the time the first guests entered the room, he was well away, and Emmett was very dead.