Antarctica Without Ice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Wrote this back in 2007 and it was the winning short story in a science competition. It's also one of the most risky - in terms of its ideas - stories I've ever written.

Submitted: July 25, 2010

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Submitted: July 25, 2010

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Sénarmont Research Centre, Paris, France ,  29th of December, 2100

 

French archaeologist Dr. Célestin Sénarmont pored over a 16th century map of the southern land with gusto. If the research from his recent undertakings was true, then there was a possibility that somewhere under the melting ice lay the remains of a lost ancient civilization. According to Célestin's studies, the society existed roughly at the time of the birth of the Sumerian and Egyptian civilizations, and possessed technology more advanced than the other societies of the time.

 Célestin also believed that after a climate change saw the decline of these people, the few who survived had fled to places such as Egypt and the Americas where they had left behind some incredible structures still existing today.

Célestin placed a modern map of Antarctica next to the one from the 16th century and made a comparison whilst scribbling notes onto a scrap of paper. The newer map showed Antarctica with all of its ice whereas the medieval version portrayed an almost iceless continent and Célestin found the map's detail astounding. Every single detail was portrayed in a series of intricate markings and...

RING!!!

Célestin hurriedly dropped his pen and picked up his mobile. It was Pierre Poirot, one of his colleagues, who had rung to inform him of some recent discovery in the Antarctic excavation.

"Bonjour Monsieur Sénarmont! Ve 'ave some urgent news…"

For the next ten minutes Célestin's eyes widened and widened in bewilderment as Pierre announced a remarkable finding. It had been months since the excavation had commenced, months of bad luck, and now luck was finally back on their side!

"I'll be there in two days!" replied an uplifted Célestin before hanging up with a smile across his face. This was an opportunity he couldn't afford to miss! He had been thinking the excavation team's efforts in vain but Pierre's call had him convinced otherwise. Lady Luck was on their side!

 

Wilkes Land, Antarctica, 1st of January, 2101

 

Garbed in a fur coat and hauling a heavy load of equipment and research notes, Frenchman Dr. Célestin Sénarmont could not have been in a more joyous mood as he trekked through the melting ice of Antarctica. Global warming had taken its toll on the place in the last century and the effects were noticeable as the temperatures had risen and the ice was slowly but surely disappearing. A decline in wildlife was also becoming more prominent.

The Wilkes site came into view making Célestin anxious as ever. Wilkes Land had been chosen by the team as the ideal location for the site due to its thick ice, which in accordance to their beliefs was a likely place for anything of relevance to be found.

 

The site resembled a large manhole and didn't look very impressive though Célestin gazed at it as though it was the greatest thing since colour television.

"Bonjour Monsieur Sénarmont, ve 'ave bin expecting you." Called the familiar voice of Pierre Poirot.

Blushing at his colleague's greeting, Célestin shook the man's hand and followed him down a ladder and into the depths of the great icy hole.

Eventually the two arrived in an enormous ice cavern. The ice here was still rock solid compared to the ice above ground and the temperature, colder.

"'ere ve are!" Announced Pierre to his companion who stared wide-eyed at his surroundings.

Men and women of the excavation team dashed to and fro as Pierre ushered Célestin toward a frosted structure in the far corner.

"Ve only discovered it two days ago," he explained. Célastin nodded and urged him to continue. "Ve believe it to be remains of an ancient peoples who occupied zis land millenniums ago. A sample of ze rock reveals it to date back to around the start of Sumer and Ancient Egypt. Ze edifice is built from limestone and somevot reminiscent of ze pyramids."

Célestin could not contain his excitement. The information he was hearing could be vital in confirming his hypothesis of the Antarctic peoples.

"How long?" he asked. "Until ve can clear avay ze rest of ze ice?"

"About a week," said Pierre.

 

Excavation Site, Wilkes Land, Antarctica, 8th of January, 2101

 

All the ice covering the structure had been removed in the duration of a week exposing an impressive limestone construction. It was several hundred meters in height and almost identical to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and the Mayas. Yet despite its similarities there was one difference: its condition. Having been buried under ice for thousands of years it had been preserved and remained almost completely intact.

"Moi Lord!" exclaimed Célestin grinning. "It does exist!"

After years of hard work on what was turning into a wild goose chase, the truth of the Antarctic had finally surfaced!

Pierre Poirot, who had been in charge of supervising the mission, stood beside Célestin, he too wearing a grin as he gazed upon the product of their efforts.

Both men were rapt in their admiration of their work that it took a shift in the structure's bricks to return them to reality.

The pyramid's bricks folded outward revealing an opening leading inside the structure.

"It 'as opened!" Pierre exclaimed as if Célestin did not realize that for himself. But Célestin had realized the fact even before Pierre could open his mouth and had made a dash for the entrance in a jovial fashion. Pierre was about to call him back but made a last minute decision not to before following suit.

 

It was dark inside, requiring a flashlight, but it didn't take long for Célestin to find something of interest.

"Pierre! Look vot I found!"

Pierre rushed to Célestin's side and could not believe his eyes as he gazed upon mountains of gold and treasure. It was hard to believe that all of this had been lying dormant under ice for thousands of years! Yet harder to believe was the fact that this pyramid was only the beginning of an even greater discovery….


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