USS Medea NCC-74796

On chisels and brushes

Posted on Sun May 19th, 2019 @ 9:53pm by Lieutenant JG Luke van Goens

A few months ago, somewhere on the plains of Texel VI....

He moved the brush ever so gently over the surface of the amphora. Grains of sand made soft scraping sounds as they were picked away by the brush. Dust floated through the air in small clouds, playing hide and seek with the burning sunlight. As the layer of dust and sand was cleared away stroke by stroke, hints of a painted pattern started to emerge. Luke held his breath. Amphora's were commonly used as simple storage units. Hundreds of thousands had been uncovered, but to find a decorated amphora...well, that was a rarity. Moving the brush from side to side the pattern took shape: two black figures facing each other, each holding a spear and shield, between them, in the middle, what looked to be a maiden, hands pointed out towards the warriors.

Already Luke's mind was rolling with different scenarios: perhaps the maiden was trying to prevent these two men from fighting, or perhaps it was a lovers' quarrel? Guessing about all the possibilities really brought history alive for Luke. Someone, a few thousand years ago, had, for whatever reason, decided to paint this particular scene on this particular amphora, perhaps to be placed in someone's home for decoration? Or perhaps it had belonged to a wealthy family who would only drink wine from elaborately decorated amphora's. Answers to those questions no one may ever get, but to be able to ask them, to wonder and fantasise about them, was wondrous nonetheless.

But then Luke froze suddenly, down his brow he could feel a tiny trickle of sweat, slowly running down his face. He quickly dabbed his face dry with his scarf. He wouldn't want a salty drop of sweat to drop on an ancient artefact like that, god knows how that might affect the ancient earthenware...

After what had seemed like hours, Luke had uncovered 5 other amphora's, all decorated and all showing different scenes with the woman and two warriors. Perhaps the decorations told the story of an event, or some sort of ritual. For that Luke needed to look at his surroundings, where was he? What did the ruins around him used to be? A house? A marketplace? An Inn? The more Luke thought about the amphora's and what story they told, the more questions Luke had to think about.....

"An actual brush and a tiny chisel? What is this? The year 2019? You know we can just lock on to them and beam them straight out of the ground right?", a teasing female voice said behind him. Luke sighed. Laying down his tiny tools, he got up and faced his superior officer. "But what am I to do then? How am I to connect with an artefact if it is just beamed straight into the lab? Look and stare at it? There's no passion, no emotion behind such cold automated procedures... Uncovering it here, amidst the ruins in the blazing heat of the sun, places it in a unique context a lab could never reproduce."
The female lieutenant frowned. "Waste of time can also not be reproduced, and I see plenty of time wasted over here." She pointed to the left of her. "Look at Ensign Perkins, he cleared an entire room whereas you only got to do a single corner. Not to mention you are covered in dust and sweat..."
Now it was Luke's turn to frown. He started to speak but was cut off. She said: "No, I don't want to hear it Ensign van Goens, you tag those pots for transport right away and then you go find yourself a shower. Remember, you have to present our findings of today to the local authorities in an hour."
Luke clenched his teeth but eventually answered with: "yes ma'am" and went back to work. Had she really just called them pots? They were clearly amphora's.... Luke sighed in disgust. Sometimes he felt like he was the only one who actually cared about what they were doing. Clearly his commanding officer wanted this over with as soon as possible. Luke wondered why, perhaps it was the heat and the blazing sun that were plaguing this planet. It was murder for your skin and he definitely felt his hair had bleached a bit due to the sun... No wonder she wanted to leave as soon as possible, Luke could understand that, but that didn't mean he really cared about that either.

He cared about those amphora's, and what their presence here meant. He did not care much about what his commanding officer felt. With these thoughts running around in his brain, he transported back to the city and his quarters, and started preparing for the speech he was going to give to the city magistrate... He did not care much for that either.... He'd rather be back there in the blazing sun with his tiny chisel and brush, surrounded by sand and stone instead of by people.