The Zenith and Other Wonders of the Ancient World


The Council members sat stoically at the dais as Doctor Drew DeMarco steered the heavily laden hoverboard into their chambers.

“What have you brought us this time, Drew?” asked the Chairma’am with a pronounced nasal inflection in her tone.

Drew DeMarco bowed his head respectfully, “We’re not quite sure what to call it, your honor, but the markings inside indicate that at one time, it may have been called a Zenith.

“With your permission, I’ll have Lynette prepare a demonstration while I provide details on how and where we found it. What we believe its purpose was.”

The Chairma’am nodded her head and Drew leaned over to whisper instructions to his assistant, Lynette. She nodded, took control of the hoverboard and set to work.

“As you know we have been excavating around the site of an old volcano in the northwest corner of the continent. The locals there call the mountain ‘St. Helen’. About a month ago we uncovered an old wooden cabin buried beneath several hundred feet of dirt, ash, and debris. Said cabin has yielded a fascinating array of artifacts, all wonderfully preserved and this was there, pushed up against a wall.

“The cabinet, itself is wooden and inside there is a communication device. It is somewhat puzzling because it is incapable of transmitting. It can only receive but it can receive along a broad but low frequency band. Our engineers have analyzed the circuitry and they suspect it may be a functioning example of what the ancients called ‘Radio’ in their texts.”

Drew lifted one side of the cabinet top and showed the Council the AM radio mounted inside.

The Chairma’am tapped her chin, “We have heard of such things,” she said, “what makes you believe this one is functioning?”

Drew nodded his head to Lynette who had connected the device to a mobile fusion power source by means of a tail coming from the back of the cabinet. She reached in and turned a knob. The Council members all sat back slightly when there was a click and the AM dial lit up, but as there were no explosions, they soon leaned forward again. Drew grinned to himself, he knew he had their attention now. He nodded again to Lynette who turned the knob a bit further and gradually the room filled with the hiss of static. White noise. Dead air.

“The sound you hear is the result of the circuitry working, the amplifiers are attempting to amplify a radio signal but as there is no broadcast there is nothing to amplify.”

Lynette turned another knob and a red line moved across the green glowing dial. The static would come and go as she tuned across the entire spectrum.

“We are intrigued by your artifact, Drew,” The Chairma’am said, “You are hereby instructed to donate it to the institute. Our engineers and technical people will take over the investigation from this point on. You no longer need be involved.” she stood to adjourn the gathering but Dr. DeMarco interrupted.

“If I may continue, your honor, there is more here that I would like to show you.” Apparently intrigued, the Chairma’am nodded her head and sat back down. Lynette was flicking switches and turning knobs inside the cabinet.

She handed Drew a large envelope which he showed the Council members. There was a depiction on the envelope of a group of people and some smoke or clouds. Across the top was written “Led Zeppelin II” Drew spread the edge of the envelope and withdrew a large black disc. Lynette lifted the other side of the cabinet top and revealed a thin metal post on which Drew set the disc, sliding it down to a spinning platform. The disc began to spin and Drew moved a pivot arm over it. He set the arm gently on the spinning disc.

From the cabinet came wailing sounds and then someone shouted, “Oooooooohhhhh, wanna whole lotta love.”

Drew looked at the Council. Without exception, they were flabbergasted. The Chairma’am’s mouth hung open. He lifted the arm from the disc and the room was silent.

“A primitive musical instrument, your honor; that only my team and I know how to play, it requires additional study.”

The Chairma’am snapped her mouth shut then spoke, “Upon reconsideration I would like to request that you and your team work in conjunction with our engineers on this project. The administrator will instruct you on how to proceed. This gathering is adjourned.” She stood and quickly left the room, visibly shaken.

When they were alone Lynette and Dr. Drew high fived, packed up the old Zenith and went to find the Administrator.


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