“Well, I think we should just forget about archeology.” Crimson Hen was digging rather furiously around the edges of the wall. About twenty feet had been exposed. “This is clearly not archeology any longer, and I think you know that.”
“But, my hen, this wall is still worthy of careful, scientific study,” Nebraska said.
Crimson Hen nodded thoughtfully. He had a point. Still… “Whatever is going on with this strange wall, we’re bound to find a door at some point, and that’s when the real adventure begins.”
“But Crimson, this is a scientific endeavor, not an adventure.”
“Dearest rooster, I promise you I can tell when an adventure is afoot, and this is most certainly the beginning of an adventure.”
Nebraska Rooster sighed. For once, he thought, I’d like to take things slow, document what happens, and not get chased by maniacal pie-throwing robot clowns. “Alas,” he said out loud. “I fear you’re right.”
Crimson Hen stopped shoveling and looked at her partner. She was bull-headed sometimes, but she did care about Nebraska deeply. She could tell he wasn’t as enthusiastic about the prospect of some weird and dangerous adventure. I have to remember, she thought, he doesn’t have the kung-fu like I do. Crimson thought back to a few years earlier when she had fallen into the secret cave in the highlands of China where she had discovered secret ancient stone tablets which held the key to learning a nearly invincible form of kung-fu.
Because she had access to the stone tablets, she had learned the form, but the tablets had been destroyed before her companions had the chance to learn it. Her kung-fu abilities had saved them more than once, but it also gave her a confidence going into adventures that not all of her companions over the years had. Sometimes she became over-confident, and this landed her in trouble. I should remember that, she chided herself. When she went back to digging, she promised herself she would take it slow, for if nothing else, it would make Nebraska Rooster happy. And that’s important, she thought with a sincere smile.
Days passed. More of the wall became visible. They settled into a routine: Up with the sun and a quick pot of coffee, then a few hours of shoveling before a break for breakfast and tea. Then shovel until lunchtime. After lunch they usually took a walk around their work to make sure they didn’t miss anything – any sign that they were coming to a doorway or any kind of change in the surface of the strange wall. Then they’d work until tea-time, when they’d break for a cup of tea and a butter and cucumber sandwich. After tea-time came another several hours of work before stopping for a late dinner.
Twenty feet, then thirty feet, then forty feet, then fifty. The wall seemed to stretch around the entire hillock they were camped at the base of. Two chickens with shovels seemed hopelessly slow, until one morning, just after breakfast, Crimson Hen struck something different.
“What do you think it is?” Crimson Hen asked.
“I . . . well, I don’t know,” came Nebraska’s response.
They spend the day uncovering a ridge in the wall, a kind of ledge or small outcropping. Crimson was sure it was a door to the inner chambers of the mound. Nebraska remained resolutely unmoved in his speculation for, as he was wont to say repeatedly, “A scientist never prejudges a situation.”
But by evening, Crimson’s analysis seemed the correct one. When they had all the dirt shoveled away, it was clear the ridge was probably some kind of opening or doorway. It was only a one or two inch ridge in the wall, but it was about three feet by three feet square, and looked an awful lot like a door or window.
“But how does it open?” Crimson Hen voiced out loud the question they were both thinking. They carefully scanned the surface for any sign of a lock or knob or any kind of way to open it and found nothing. Stumped, they went to bed, exhausted from the day’s work, but excited to find a way inside the mound.
In the morning, after coffee, Crimson Hen and Nebraska Rooster found themselves elated that the day had something different in store for them other than digging. They quickly got to work, but immediately found it wasn’t clear what their work was.
Nebraska tapped incessantly on the outside of what they were calling “The Window.”
After around an hour of careful tapping, he declared, “I don’t know sweet hen, The Window doesn’t seem hollow.”
Crimson Hen looked The Window over carefully, screwed up her face in deep concentration and concluded finally, “let’s get some dynamite and be on with it.”
Nebraska Rooster was appalled. “I’m appalled Crimson, we can’t blow up an ancient archeological site. This could be the most important find in a century!”
“Think, my rooster, we don’t recognize the material the wall is made of.”
“Yes . . . so . . . “
“So it’s not ancient.”
“But it’s clearly ancient.”
“No, it’s clearly not ancient.”
“I must disagree, dearest Hen, the layers we dug through clearly demonstrate the ancient nature of the wall.”
“I must also disagree, dearest Rooster, the nature of the material the wall is made of means it isn’t ancient.”
“But surely you agree it’s old.”
“Yes,” Crimson Hen was thoughtful. “It is old, but not of the ancient world.”
“But if that’s true, then what world is it from?”
“That’s the million dollar question, Nebraska.”
They went back to tapping on the wall and examining it without success. Finally Nebraska gave up and sat down. “What we need,” he said. “Is an ultrasonic transducer.”
“It’s a device that uses sound waves to show a picture of what’s behind a solid structure.”
“Do, um, you know anyone with a uh, ultrasonic thingy?”
“Transducer,” he corrected, but then immediately wished he hadn’t. Crimson Hen gave him a withering look. “As a matter of fact, I do,” Nebraska said, trying to recover. “And you do too.”
“Excellent!” Crimson Hen exclaimed. “Who is this lovely character, and how do we get them here with their gear?”
“Well, they’ll have to come the same way we did, and it will be a long journey for them. I don’t know if they’ll want to make the trip.”
“Stop being coy, Nebraska, who is it that we both know and who also has an ultrasonic transducer?”
Nebraska smiled mischievously. “Why, Mr. Rabbit, of course.”