The summit of the planet offered the greatest single clue to the demise of the human inhabitants that once lived there. The mountain itself, unlike like the rest of the planet had remained a preserved, icelandic museum whose treasures had thus far eluded me.
I was determined to make my name in this however, inscribing me forever as the premier planetary archeologist of this era of exploration. The discovery of the brown black planet less than a galaxy away had alighted scientist throughout our home galaxy. Most of the remnants of its denizens and the markers of its people had been destroyed, marked by extremely high levels of radiation and buried under tons of rubble and debri that may take decades to rummage though.
Up here however, where the air is crisp and thin, lay frozen 200 or so specimens of humanity, each bearing a plethura of symbology in both their attire and their well preserved body parts. I was overjoyed with the prospect.
As my companion, I chose Vat of the Beta Signari Charter planets to join me. Vat was a highly qualified forensic scientist who had accompanied many an archeological excavation. Xe was over a thousand years old, having the capacity to live much longer than our own species and had experience with more diverse life forms and biological systems than I could even fathom to explain.
Moreover, I could not escape the fact that xe had proved to be an extremely amicable companion on these deep space explorations given xe’s polymorphic sexual tendencies. Already xe’s heavy musk was perpetrating through the air and a mixture of salt and sweetness mingled in the back of my mouth remembering the last time I had laid with xe so many moons ago.
But I digress…for this I had to put up with xe’s most flippant disregard for the intelligence of the humans of the planet who had, for reasons we had not yet uncovered, simply disappeared under a cloud of radioactive debri about, if the carbon dating technology developed by Strami Laboratories is correct, about 10,000 of the solar systems’ cycles ago.
Vat and I examined the markers left by the human bearing a pair of green boots which must have protected his feet from the blistering cold of the mountain top. 10,000 solar cycles ago, the mountain top was believed to have been even colder than it is now. The specimen, which we had been charmingly referring to as “Green Boots” had been left in tact and in place on the mountain top. Vat and I argued the ethics of removing the specimen despite the delay of our partner planets to determine the legalities of our exploration let alone any restrictions for the blue black planet.
I carefully examined the symbols on a frozen rectangular thin artifact that had been extracted with great care from a small square rectangular enclosement on the back of Green Boots’ pants. The artifact appeared to be a frozen parchment of some sort with symbols scribbled on it in.
I found the round script enticing. It was one of the few specimens of writing that had been uncovered from the actual surface of the planet. From the many satellites that orbited the planet dozens of artifacts had been collected, however, I prized myself with the discovery of the first on planet evidence of human script.
“Backwards, you say?”
“Yes. Left to right. Idiots human subset write also top to bottom.”
“Surely the preferred direction of writing is arbitrary.”
“Gods say not. See also stupidities your other. Zones time many. Nouns follow descriptors. System measurement adequate but universal not. Flow electricity plus to minus. Humans backwards ways many.”
“Well, we don’t have a single planetary government to set or enforce standards.”
“Problem also. Gods like not. Humans sloppy. Query: we fix.”
I considered Vat’s words. In truth I did not find the script to be “sloppy” at all. It was beautiful in fact, moreso than the horizontal and vertical lines of our script – or the circular series of dots of Vat’s. The language of Green Boots’ people swirled in mysterious curves and interconnected lines.
“Remove you will? Violation your actions may be.” Vat frowned at me. Even so, I could still feel xe’s animal heat which sought to drown me in its seduction. I turned away from Vat, determined to remain focused on the task at had.
“Vat, the greatest discoveries can sometimes be found regardless of political protocol. You and I will go down in history and everyone will be so far fascinated by all that we will reveal that no one will bat a follicle.
I envisioned my great thesis laid out for the intergalactic counsel. Daydreams began to run through my mind thankfully replacing the series of sexual forays with Vat that kept intrusively invading my mind. Ambition has always been my greatest vice.
The theories wrestled within me and I struggled between my belief that at one point the great Gods of this blue black planet dwelled in the clouds as they do on our planet, on Vat’s planet. And this great questor had been attempting with all of his might to reach that those Gods in search of the answer to save this dear planet on its last days of death.
My other competing theory was that Green Boots was seeking to escape the noxious gases that had consumed this bleak planet on its last breaths as the fires below swallowed the planet whole, the Gods angry as Vat believed, breathing fire upon the entirety of the planet, punishing it for whatever wrongs it had inflicted upon the planet.
Whichever of the truths it was I would find it here in the script of Green Boots own hand. My heart swelled with excitement.
Vat reached across from me, a small smile creeping into xe’s face, sharing this moment of discovery with me. It was then that ambition failed me and the only thought I had in my mind was allowing xe to take me right her, right now, right near Green Boots, right at eve of my greatest discovery.
I laid the rectangular artifact gently in the ice beside me and turned to look at Vat expectantly.
“Take you now I will…”
Tsewang Paljor lay feeling the slow mummification of his body in the coldness of Everest, the summit and the dream of it still evading him.
He still was the first member of the First Indian team to reach the summit of Mount Everest and for that he would die knowing that he had reached the single most important goal in his short life – to bring his the quest of his countrymen to the forefront of the history of Everest – which he knew would live long after he and any other creature on earth would.
His descent had been harrowing. The blizzard had attached their team as they descended the summit. The blizzard had knocked the breath out of him, causing him to stumble, barely able to crawl the distance of the descent.
It was May 11, 1996. That will be the day that will remain his forever. His and everyone else that had climbed Everest on this fateful day when the mountain had decided to reach down and choke him and his companions.
Everest was his and will always remain his. His remains will forever be a marker of his success.