Unearthing The Treasure Of Zealandia – Will Curiosity Kill All The Cats?
Nicole whispered, ‘I think I’ve found it, Doc!’
The Doctor whirled around in the sand, ‘Where?!’
‘Here, here,’ said Nicole, ‘just under here!’
‘Okay,’ replied the Doctor, raising his hands in the air, ‘just be careful, let me see.’
Nicole backed slowly away across the sandy floor outside the huge stone door of the central chamber of Ball’s Pyramid, the last vestige of the lost continent of Zealandia.
Scott steadily stood up, brushing the sand off his long coat, ‘Well done, Nicole, I thought we’d never find it.’
‘Just wait,’ said the Doctor, ‘yes, yes, this looks like it,’ he went on, working with the delicacy of an archaeologist at a dig for priceless relics.
As the Doctor swept the sand away a solid brass lever was exposed.
‘Is that writing?’ asked Nicole, leaning over the Doctor’s shoulder.
‘I think it’s the instruction manual!’ joked Scott.
‘You’re right, it is,’ said the Doctor, pulling out his magnifying glass and peering down at the tiny lettering, ‘this is old alright,’ he mused, ‘seriously old…’
‘How old is “seriously old” Doc?’ asked Scott, ‘what are we talking, 1000 years? 2000 years?’
The Doctor laughed, ‘No my dear fellow, we’re talking 20,000 years, or more, this is older than the proto-hieroglyphics that we found in the land down under, this predates anything ever discovered before!’
‘Wow!’ said Nicole, looking across at Scott, ‘that’s amazing.’
The Doctor was pulling the lever back and forward, inching it from side to side in a seemingly random order.
‘What’s he doing?’ asked Scott.
‘It’s a code,’ said the Doctor, ‘if you get it wrong then that door will lock for another 500 years, and something bad is very likely to happen to whoever made the mistake!’
‘Shhh,’ hissed Nicole to Scott, ‘let him concentrate!’
‘Okay, okay!’ replied Scott.
In the shadows of the huge stalagmites, Brad and David had been sweeping the sandy cove with a metal detector and discovered giant wooden boards, held together with strong iron bars under the surface.
‘Right,’ said David, ‘you got those hooks in place?’
‘Absolutely,’ replied Brad from within the hole they had dug around the large wooden chest, ‘it’s all set.’
David pulled the ropes across the shore and attached them to the motorboat.
Brad climbed out from the hole, ‘Take it away, David!’
David throttled the motor and the boat lurched out into the cove, bounced on a wave and then came to a stand still.
‘Keep going, don’t stop!’ shouted Brad over the noise of the screaming engine echoing around the walls of the cave.
Suddenly, the motorboat leapt out across the water as the lid of the wooden chest broke off its hinges, narrowly missing Brad who ducked just in time to stop sustaining a direct hit.
‘Holy Moly,’ said Brad, laying on the sand, ‘that was close!’
Brad watched the chest lid skid across the sand and splash into the surf, ‘You okay, David?!’
David spun the wheel on the boat and brought it back into the shore, ‘Absolutely, you?’
‘Sure,’ said Brad, before his voice tailed off as he looked over the edge of the hole, ‘you’re not going to believe this…’
David came running over, ‘Wait,’ he cautioned Brad, breathlessly, ‘it could be booby-trapped!’
The pair looked down into the lidless chest in awe.
‘How big do you think that chest is?’ asked David.
‘Not sure, maybe 12 by 15 feet, what do you think?’
‘Yea, maybe more…’ replied David.
‘Stand back,’ ordered the Doctor, ‘ready?’ he said, as he pulled the final sequence on the leaver.
The vast stone door shuddered, dust falling off from around its tightly sealed edges as it inched open to reveal a small pitch black room.
Nicole shone her torch into the gloom, the thick stale air bluish-grey in the beam of light.
‘There!’ said the Doctor, over there!’ pointing towards the back of the space.
The torch played over the smooth dark objects in the corner where the Doctor was pointing.
‘Careful, don’t touch anything though!’ said the Doctor, as he crept into the room, ‘keep the light steady, Nicole.’
The Doctor approached the 3 capsules which had a topaz tinge to their dark hue. Reaching out nervously, the Doctor touched the center of one of the capsules. Instantly it hissed, blowing a cloud of dust into the air as the Doctor sprung back on his feet.
The center of the capsule clicked as a mechanical humming broke the silence of the room. Suddenly, a soft blue light emerged from a crack in the middle of the capsule which gradually widened to expose its contents. The Doctor stepped forward to look inside, the glow of light casting strange shadows across his brow.
Nicole and Scott moved into the room behind the Doctor. The three of them looked into the now open capsule, the blue light strengthening to flood the entire room.
‘What is that?’ whispered Scott.
‘That,’ said the Doctor slowly, ‘is one of your ancestors.’
‘What the..?’ gasped Nicole.
‘Indeed,’ continued the Doctor, ‘quite the shock, isn’t it!’
Inside the coffin lay the remarkable skeleton of a bizarre humanoid, with a vast, domed head, huge empty eye sockets, overly long arm and leg bones and small narrowing chin.
Just then, a loud creaking sound shuddered through the room as the stone door rolled shut behind the trio.
‘Oh no,’ said Nicole, looking over her shoulder in the dim blue light, ‘that can’t be a good thing, is it, Doctor?’ she added hopefully.
‘I wouldn’t imagine so,’ said the Doctor, looking back into the capsule, ‘but nonetheless, we’ve just made history, or, more accurately, changed it forever.’
‘But Doc,’ explained Scott, ‘that won’t mean much if we’re trapped in here with it!’
Back on the ship’s bridge the Captain and Jay watched Kyle kick in the small door at the top of Ball’s Pyramid on the cameras of the drone which was parked up next to him.
‘That was great flying, Jay,’ remarked the Captain.
‘Thanks, but we need to get him back too!’ replied Jay.
‘And the rest of them, come to think of it,’ said the Captain, ‘still no word on the comms system?’
‘No, Sir, afraid not,’ said Jay, looking over the vast panel of controls, lights and keyboards, ‘no word yet.’