“For the last time Alvis; the world is 11,000 years old, all fossils are nasty fakes, and DINOSAURS AREN’T REAL!” Mankasar thundered across the classroom. Alvis slumped in his seat. He was an affable boy, not given to nastiness or rebellion, and had asked his teacher the question in good faith. He wasn’t trying to disobey, or create strife, he simply had an inexplicable obsession with these dinosaurs, and with the mysterious bones recently unearthed. It was a fascination he couldn’t seem to let go of. And though he didn’t know it yet, he wasn’t the only one.
Some distance from the schoolhouse two figures stood on a ridge observing the landscape below. An opaque dome was being erected in a depression a good ways from their encampment. Though they could no longer see it’s contents, they each had a concrete image of them in their minds eye, and an unambiguous understanding of what they meant for the nation of Atlassian.
In a chamber high above the conurbation’s capital, a cadre of masked individuals were urgently discussing the site. “This is very, very bad” said a gorilla. “If this gets out, everything could come out; the war, the winter, everything.” The assemblage muttered in concern, knowing full well what this would mean for their masquerade. “Worry not, my brethren, the Jasiel boy is the only one to have seen the raptor!” cried a lizard. “The only one foolish enough to conceive of what it means, also… and if he does care to share his findings, then we’ll silence him” came a voice from the back. The group swung to look at their scaly, Tyrannosaurus shaped leader.
Back on the ridge, the two observers turned away from the dome. “They covered that up quick” muttered one.
“Shame” replied his partner. “But don’t worry, Alvis is an exuberant child; he won’t be able to keep this in” she continued.
“Correct, and we’d better be there when he talks. Come now.” The pair slithered down the ridge towards the metropolis.
Back at the schoolhouse, the day was wrapping up. “We will resume with the next chapter tomorrow, so be sure you complete these protocols” said Mankasar. He then stared pointedly at Alvis. “Finally, anyone discussing that awful, synthetic abomination will have a very hard time of it indeed. I’ll make sure of it.” he told the class, as they powered down their desks and streamed out the door.
Alvis had discovered the outline of the ancient creature the previous evening. Immediately excited, and recognizing it’s form from the stories his grandfather had told, the corticosteriods in his bloodstream spiked. This was registered by the implant installed robosurgically in every Atlassian’s pituitary at the second trimester, and within seconds municipal drones were en route to shoo the child away.
Atlassian society valued neither novelty nor exploration, so the fact that Alvis’ parents allowed him outside the city walls did nothing to help the family’s stance in the community. And with this discovery, instantly obscured by the community’s elders, the Jasiel’s were finding themselves in quite an awkward place. After all, when the truth is considered fully established, with every data point constantly updated, verified, uploaded and processed, anything that lies outside this constant chain of authority gets excluded. The Messrs Jasiel knew this full well. One an info architect, the other in city maintenance, they were well acquainted with the gaps that Atlassian’s preferred invisible. They’d reminded Alvis of the taboo nature of these gaps the night before, and he’d promised to tread carefully. There was no danger, or so his parents thought; Alvis had only been seen with the skeleton by drones, and nobody would believe him if he did bring it up. It wasn’t as though he had any proof.
Little did they know that, as Alvis ambled home recalling this promise, he was turning a strange, smooth bone over and over in his pocket.
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