“This is most definitely not an Orlon site,” reiterated the Amatharian. “Their technology never reached anywhere near this level.”
“I wonder what else these shapes do.” I said, stepping around to the cube.
I placed my hand on the side of the cube, which felt warm to the touch, and marveled as another giant image appeared opposite the first. This image was of a beautiful green field, obviously cultivated. In the distance, to the right was the edge of a great forest of extremely tall coniferous evergreen trees. At about the same distance but to the left, one could see the edge of a strange and marvelous city. It was made up of ivory colored buildings with reddish roofs– each roof topped by a craved animal figure. In the foreground, as well as around the city, were the inhabitants.
The people living in the strange city, playing around it, and working in the fields looked remarkably like a child’s teddy-bear. They were covered with light brown fur, had very large round ears on the top of their heads, and large expressive eyes above their small snouts. They came in a variety of sizes, probably males, females, and children. Some of the small ones seemed to be playing tag just outside the city. Larger ones were working in the field, pulling up green vegetables of some kind. Still others, of several sizes, were busy within the confines of the city, though just what they were doing was impossible to tell at the present magnification on the image. They were probably doing the same things that humans on Earth did in their own cities.
“I do not know that race of people,” said Malagor. “I wonder who they are, and where in Ecos that place is.”
“Or when,” I offered. “For all we know, that may be a stored image of the ancient Orlons, or even their ancestors.”
Norar Remontar and I were both fascinated by the images, and we began moving around the shapes, placing our hands here and there and watching the scenes produced on the three blank walls of the room. Most were of wild places with nothing but plant life and an occasional animal, though the locale of each was noticeably different. There were scenes of deserts, of forests, and of jungles. Finally I placed a hand upon the sphere at a point as yet untouched and a picture of a hillside replaced an earlier scene on the wall opposite the door. Standing on the hillside were two Amatharian men.
“Bentar Hissendar!” Shouted Norar Remontar.
“You know him?” I asked the obvious.
“He is a friend and kinsman of mine,” the Amatharian replied. “He works within my uncle’s trading group.”
The two Amatharians did indeed look to be kinsmen of Norar Remontar. They were both handsome, with straight black hair and dark blue skin. They both wore black body suits and white tabards with crests upon them, marking them as knights. The first one, whom Norar Remontar had identified as Bentar Hissendar sported the crest of a flaming sun held by a stylized hand. The other’s crest was that of a flaming sun raining light rays downward. They were picking up rocks from the hillside and examining them. Since there was no sound in the images, it was difficult to figure out what was going on. The other man said something to Bentar Hissendar, who laughed and punched the man playfully on the shoulder. Then the two walked off the edge of the image, leaving nothing on the screen but the side of the hill.
“That image at least seems to be of the present,” said Norar Remontar. “though I cannot say where that place would be. Bentar Hissendar looks just the same as when I last saw him, and if I am not mistaken, that other fellow is Tular Maximinos, though I have not seen him since he became a knight.”
“It seems amazing to me that there is no one here keeping an eye on this place,” I said.
“Indeed,” replied the Amatharian. “This is an important find. I am sure that my people will wish to have this chamber under Amatharian control.”
“I think that the Ancient Orlons must have found this place long ago. That is the message in the little room,” observed Malagor.
“They may have found it, but they did not create it. This is definitely far beyond any technology that they possessed.”
“Then who did create it,” I wondered, all the while continuing to press points on the geometric shapes.
I put my palm once again up to one of the shapes, this time the dodecahedron, but this time no image appeared on the wall. Instead a section of the wall disappeared, creating a doorway to a small anteroom. This room appeared to be a smaller version of the room we were in, with similar walls and similar lighting, but with two exceptions– there were no large geometric shapes on the floor, and on the wall there was a black panel with a frame around it, opposite the doorway. The framed panel looked very much like a window.
I stepped into the room followed by my two friends. Crossing the small chamber, I pressed my face up against the black panel, but could discern nothing beyond the glass, if it was glass. I was about to ask if Malagor or Norar Remontar had any idea as to the purpose of the room, when the opening behind us disappeared, sealing us in. A fraction of a second later, I felt my stomach shoot upwards, as though I were standing in an incredibly fast elevator going down. There was no vibration, nor any other sensation of movement, but I knew that this must be what this was– a highly advanced and very fast elevator.
“Ummph,” said Malagor, as the air returned to his lungs.
“We are going down…fast,” said Norar Remontar.
“Yes,” said the furry fellow. “but where are we going down to?”