Origin Of The Species

"Do you understand it?" asked the Neophyte, peering over the Archeologist's shoulder. "It's in a very archaic language," the Archeologist told his star student. "I'm not sure even the Linguist will be able to decipher this."

Many artifacts had been found, but this was the first instance of anything containing text. The Archeologist hermetically sealed the manuscript. It was in excellent condition even though it had been buried for centuries.

"I wonder what the inhabitants of this place were really like and how they evolved," pondered the Neophyte as they returned to the Laboratory. "That's what we hope to find out," said the Archeologist. "Sort fact from fiction and legend from truth."

The Archeologist handed the package to the Linguist. "Can you translate this?" he asked. The Linguist carried it to his workbench, where he was joined by the Historian. "It won't be easy," he said, scanning the surface with the transcriber connected to the archives on the home planet. The screen laboriously scrolled a few words.

"Elements of the Frankenstein Formula, wouldn't you say?" he asked the Historian. "Not my field," she replied. "A Cultist would have to answer that." The Archeologist viewed the monitor. The displayed symbols told him nothing. "Frankenstein Formula?" he queried. "The doctrine of the defunct Shelley Society? That belief died out eons ago!"

"The theory that living entities could be created from segments of dead ones?" asked the Neophyte. "Correct," replied the Historian. "Never considered as the primary source of creation, though...the concept is totally illogical."

"I suggested the document exhibited such factors," interrupted the Linguist, becoming defensive. "I never implied it was proof of anything." A few more symbols rolled across the screen. "Mention is made of creation and a reference to the existence of two genders," remarked the Linguist. "I spoke of the Frankenstein Formula as an developmental example, nothing more."

The Historian rolled her eyes. Linguists could never take criticism in any language. "That's nothing new," she said. "We've always known there were two distinct sexes."

The Linguist frowned. "The interpretation is complete," he said, "but it will take a Lexiconologist to make sense of it. Most of these words are childish gibberish to me, and there are no known synonyms of which I am aware. The meanings must be modernized before they can be understood."

"It is an important discovery though?" queried the Archeologist. "Most certainly," said the Linguist. The Historian agreed. "That's evident in the reference to origination," she continued. "Plus, it must be significant or it would not have been recorded on indestructible polyethylene...primitive as the material and method used might be."

"Could I have a copy?" asked the Neophyte. The Linguist printed a facsimile. "The words not yet decoded are, of course, in phonetic form," he warned. The Neophyte nodded, "Of course."

The Archeologist and his star student returned to the site of thedig. "It would be wonderful if what we found today established a key link in the chain of progression, Professor," reflected the Neophyte. "Maybe even the evolutionary blueprint from which those who once lived on this planet...our ancestors...originally evolved."

"I find it curious," said the Archeologist, "that it appears from the document that the two genders of the Ancients were created from different forms of matter...whatever those forms may prove to be." The Neophyte agreed and unrolled the facsimile.

"Males from...," the Archeologist's tongue struggled with the alien pronunciations, "...snakes and snails and puppy-dog tails." The Neophyte also had trouble with articulation, "Females from...sugar and spice and everything nice."

The Neophyte paused for a moment. "You know Professor," she mused, "the words are really quite lyrical...an ancient form which I believe the Librarians refer to as...," she frowned and probed the depths of her memory. "Ah yes, now I recall...it's what they refer to as a rhyme!"

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