Sleeping Giants Page 6

—Quite a few established linguists have already looked at the markings and come up with nothing. What makes you think the outcome would be any different this time around?

—I can’t tell you why it would work now. I do have a pretty good idea why it didn’t work the first time around. They were looking for something that wasn’t there.

—And you now know what it is we are looking for?

—I haven’t the faintest idea. But I think that’s a good thing. I think those who looked at it before failed because they knew too many things, or so they thought.

—You will have to be a little less philosophical.

—I’m sorry. Generally speaking, people tend not to question what they’ve been told was true. Scientists are no different; they’ve just been told a lot more things. As a physicist, it would never occur to me to question the four fundamental forces, for example. I take them for granted, like every other thing I learned, and I try to build on that. We always look forward; never look back. But this thing…it’s different. It challenges us. It spits in the face of physics, anthropology, religion. It rewrites history. It dares us to question everything we know about ourselves…about everything. I must sound pretty philosophical again.

—A tad.

—I’d like to try someone not as well trained, some hotshot student maybe, someone who doesn’t need to throw the rule book out the window because he hasn’t read it yet. We need to look at this from a whole new angle. I’ll contact the linguistics department and see if they have someone to suggest.

—It is an interesting concept. You want to find someone who is more or less unqualified because the people that were actually proficient have all failed.

—I wouldn’t quite put it that way, but yes, someone who’s really smart and who’s less encumbered with preconceived notions. It sounds a lot better when I say it.

—It does. I suppose there is little to lose by trying, but you will forgive me if I do not exude enthusiasm. Did you receive the forearm from Turkey?

—Yes, it arrived two days ago. We couldn’t figure out if and how the hand was supposed to attach to it. Both parts have smooth, solid endings, nothing that would resemble a mechanism or a fastener. The end of the forearm is slightly concave, the wrist a bit convex but there’s nothing to hold the pieces together.

—It was my understanding that both pieces were now joined.

—They are. My point is that I have absolutely no idea how it works. We just moved them close to one another to see how they would fit and they were drawn together like magnets. My assistant almost lost a hand. I can’t talk intelligently about how the parts attach except to say it made a very loud, and very cool…swoosh sound…when they did.

—Can you take them apart?

—We haven’t been able to. It’s clear the amount of mechanical force required is more than what we can handle. I didn’t want to risk damaging anything. I’d rather concentrate on finding the other pieces. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the body looks like. We can try to take it apart once we finish building it.

—So you think there are more of these things buried somewhere?

—Oh yes. It’s killing me not to have it all right now. I may be getting ahead of myself, but I can’t see how there wouldn’t be. I could understand these being some sort of monuments or art forms if we had found another hand, a head, even a foot, but a forearm doesn’t seem like something you would build for its own sake. It’s not my area of expertise, but I can’t see a forearm playing a strong part in religious beliefs. And if I read the report correctly, there was no chamber surrounding it in Turkey either; no walls, no markings. It’s much too large to fit in the chamber the hand was found in, so it must have been buried elsewhere on purpose.

—I agree, but they could have built just one arm, in which case, all we could hope for is another piece.

—Maybe. I still think there’s an entire body out there, just waiting to be found.

—I hope time will prove you right. I really do.

—I can tell you that if I were able to build something so magnificent, I wouldn’t stop at an arm.

—Based on what you now know, can you devise a process for detecting the other parts, if they exist?

—If the rest of that body is out there, I’m fairly certain I can come up with a way to find it. I just have to figure out how to make a lot of argon-37 and how to disperse it efficiently. It might take a while to find all the pieces even once we have a method in place.

—How long?

—Impossible to guess. Months. Years? If the body is divided along the major articulations like we’d expect, there should be at least fourteen pieces; three for each arm and leg, that makes twelve, a head and one or several pieces for the torso. I can only hope that piece in Turkey was the exception and that the rest of the body parts are closer to where we found the hand.

If I’m correct, and they want us to find these things, they would have buried the pieces on land, where we can get to them relatively easily. I hope so, because searching the ocean is a completely different story.

I’ll have to request more funding from the NSA. I’m not sure how long this might take, but I’m absolutely certain I can’t do any of it on our budget.

—Forget the NSA. Just tell me what you need.

—Forget the NSA? Remind me whom you’re working for exactly? Wait. Don’t answer that. I’ll send you a list of equipment. We’ll also need a delivery system, possibly an airplane or a helicopter that can fly long distances. We’ll need a crew, I guess, and a team to recover what we find. This part might get complicated. As far as body parts go, what we found were the smallest ones. They’ll only get bigger.

—We have teams that can handle the recovery. I will see about finding you some pilots.

—We’ll also need a bigger room if this works.

—How big?

—Well, if the proportions are normal, or human, he, or she, would be over two hundred feet tall. We’ll need a warehouse even if we lay her on the ground.

—You still believe it is a girl?

—More than ever.

FILE NO. 009

INTERVIEW WITH CW3 KARA RESNIK, UNITED STATES ARMY

Location: Fort Campbell Army Base, Kentucky

—You again. What do you want now?

—I only want to ask you a few simple questions.

—What if I don’t want to answer?

—You are free to leave whenever you want, but it would be wise of you to stay.

—Why do I feel like this is a test?

—Because you are very perceptive. I am initiating a project to which you might be able to contribute, in one manner or another. You have, on the one hand, witnessed certain events and demonstrated certain skills that might give you a significant advantage over other potential candidates. On the other hand, your impulsive nature and your inability to work well with others are of concern to me, as they are to your superiors. With your permission, I would like to ask you a few simple questions and for you to answer them honestly. Is that something you feel you can do?

—Answer questions? Isn’t that what I’ve been doing already?

—I was not questioning your ability to answer questions. You have already shown great skills at eluding any inquiry of a personal nature by answering with another question. I am asking whether you believe you are able to answer honestly.

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