23 March 2009

The Temple

22 February ….

Our British friends were impressed with our troops, fort and its fortifications. They visited the temple site as well and asked if we mind if they sent some British archaeologists to help with the exploration, as there are six on the planet. The British headed back to their colony on Tuesday. They departed one day too soon, it turns out.
This past Wednesday, Lady V and I were at the temple site when it experienced an amazing step in exploration. As always, Drs. Caruthers and Palmer were looking for an entrance into the temple when Lady V was playing with one of the military working dogs and accidentally triggered a door mechanism, opening the northern archway facing the highlands. As the door opened, there was a crashing sound, as if a boulder had fallen from hundreds of feet in the air. A cloud of green dust rose from the entrance and from four holes near the top of the pillars by the altar. I have to admit I was startled and did not know what to think; initially, I dropped to the deck and looked around the area for any movement. Lady V was unaffected and seemed to be amused by the sounds and commotion. The doctors were extremely excited and so was one of the reporters; he was last seen holding the bottom of his pants and walking into the woods. We never did figure out what got him, but he disappeared pretty thoroughly. No cloth left, no signs of a struggle - just gone. Good riddance, says I, except that I don't like that something can just disappear a fellow like that this close to our campsite. Anyway, I am sure history books will say how the doctors found the door mechanism through careful calculations and studied interpretation of the hieroglyphics. I know it was a puppy.

The doctors entered the chamber like excited schoolboys going into their first saloon, but I was by no means going to enter the temple at that moment. The doctors were in there only a few minutes before they came back outside with the remaining reporter in tow as they realized it might be helpful if they had some light. The rain that afternoon was light and constant, as it has been every day for the last three months, so there were no torches or lanterns present. Our policy is to leave the site well before dark, as the jungle is still very dangerous, and especially so when the evening predators are out stalking for food. So we all returned to the fort and called it a day. With much pleading from the two doctors, the Black Legs sent a squad to post watch that evening around the temple site.

Thursday morning, the doctors explored into the temple with the remaining reporter and with the officer community. There was only a tunnel that led down forty feet below the temple and an open chamber with another door on the northern wall, once more with four guardians similar to the ones topside. The door of course has no handle or windows and is inset in an archway. The walls are covered in hieroglyphs of assumed battles between the Lizardmen and the Parrotmen. I am only going by the tales I have heard from Mr. Griggs, and, of course, the rumors around camp are anything but far fetched. One of the stories around camp is that the four guardians are moving their heads, watching the explorers as they walk around the chamber. There is now a constant guard detail around the temple and most people have already forgotten that we are supposed to be preparing for an attack from the Hun.

I have not been able to return to the temple due to the preparation of the defenses, which have mostly been left to Lieutenant Landowski, Mr. Griggs, RSM Taggart and I. The cooks have been busy as well making Grillag jerky and salting or smoking fish and sausages. I am hoping when the RTS Santa Fe returns we receive a road crew so we can utilize Spot a little more efficiently. Sergeant Garcia’s men are doing a great job; however, they are carpenters and stonemasons, not road crews. The Black Legs are hoping for an additional 2.5” howitzer if not a 3” Whitworth cannon. But we will see what the War Department sees fit to send. I know Mr. Griggs has requested the road crew and some additional equipment. We still have our catapults ready to use, as we have found somewhat round boulders for ammo. Let’s hope we will not have to use either.

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