It took us a couple of days to pack up our things. When you’re a field archaeologist, the problem is not to pack things but to actually leave the digging place. I find it quite annoying that, on the history of archaeology, nothing remains so long as virgin as when you found it. To the academic committee that visited us a week ago, I didn’t give information about the Watch, but about the strange alphabet that we were trying to decipher, I was forced to. It was too omnipresent to hide it, anyway, the interesting question was why was it not mentioned before. Was the System hiding us some information? Do they have another teams working on the same subject, somewhere else on the Yellow Earth? Time will say, but if this is the case, I want to be, we want to be, the first on being able to read it.
So two of our bags were filled with transcriptions and carbon copies of broken iron wheels and shattered marmor friezes and columns. If we manage to understand the language transcripted carefully and lovely by Hiro, we will have reading for a couple of months, and material for a couple of books. Not that somebody is publishing this kind of book at this side of the universe, but if they were. Our third bag was carrying lab equipment that we considered too rare to throw away or leave, like our optical microscope (analogic, by the way), our collection of precision scrapers, carefully cleaned and sharpened after the last use, the brushes, the cleaning liquids, the camera and the portable photo lab. Hiro was very curious about this aspect of my research method. The truth is, for some reason, in some circumstances, pictures taken by my Kodak from the XX century were revealing more than what meets the eye. I found out this phenomenon during my first days here, and since I didn’t find any reference to it (nobody was taking analog pictures here or what?) I dubbed it phantom aberrations.
Phantom aberrations pointed me out the place to dig to find the Watch. When I first arrived here, sent by the System, I took a picture of the almost abandoned kernel from the top of one building. Some white shadows appeared on it once I managed to get a positive B&W picture, and under the third one I chose to dig out we found it. The Watch. The other shadows were also having interesting remnants, but nothing like it. Anyway, to get to the Watch I think paid off already to carry an old analog camera with me, together with all the liquids.
I pressed the start button of our mecacar the morning of the third day, after having a last look to this kernel from the very top of the building I took my first picture. We were carrying 5 bags in total, and the mood was great. We were sure to get it. Whatever it was at the end of the road.