TRAVELER
by Matt Rohn

He went to Boise, Idaho, here and there, all over—and he also went nowhere

     Tyler looked around at the vast plain that was once a city.
     It was interesting, he thought, that such a human-like race could ever have perished in this way. They had the same names for themselves, they had called themselves humans. Just like us. Their rulers had many of the same names, even. Their religions were almost exact doubles of ours. But they couldn’t have been related to us. Our expedition teams didn’t exist until a little over a century ago.

     He stepped down from his perch on an elevated, sulphur-stained rock. His spacesuit boots crunched on the ancient dust.

     “Thousands of these humans must have walked the streets here every day. Just like us. I wonder if Earth was anything like this after the great wars and before the Rebuilding.”

     A glint of light caught his eye. He turned to look at where the distraction had originated. To his surprise, there was a small piece of what appeared to be glass in the ground. He stooped to examine it, then took it in his gloved hand.

     “Amazing.”

     The shard of glass was indeed glass. It appeared to be from some sort of cylinder, which, from the shape of the shard, would have made it about two to three inches in diameter. The glass sloped and formed beautiful curves in the places it was not broken, and looked as if it had been a great work of art. He turned it over and examined its other side. The edges were sharp where they were broken, so he was careful not even to slightly damage his suit when he turned it over and picked it up. There was a small inscription on the shard that may have been an early type of hieroglyph or, more likely, a word of some sort of these “human”’s native language. Tyler clicked on his data disc recorder and spoke into it, using the air in his helmet. “It appears to be a fragment of some sort of glass cylinder, and, if the future generations aren’t going to mind my speculating, it looks mysteriously like an early soda-pop bottle, although it appears that their refreshments do not hold the same parallels that our civilization otherwise did. The object has the letters R and C inscribed. Interesting.”  He packaged the shard in one of his suit’s pockets and turned to walk back to the ship. An announcement came over the radio.

     “All personnel report to the ship immediately. Take-off commences in five minutes. Repeat.”

     Tyler jogged back to the ship quickly, in time to get a seat near the window and watch the planet fade away as the ship flew. He gazed in wonder as the blue planet gradually went out of view, and pondered these amazing “humans” and their ultimate demise.

     “Amazing.”

     He swiveled his eyestalks away from the window and began to type in a record of his findings, his three purple tentacles moving at high speed across the keyboard.
“Amazing.”

CONTENTS