Of Things Dug Up

Artifact #19,246: the Sapphire Sphere

Unearthed during the Iniscail excavations, located in a central position in the third lefthand side room of chamber seven. The Sphere is a dull matte sphere two spans in diameter, a pale blue in color and emitting a constant glow of the same color. The Sphere weighs five stoneweight.

– Excavator Taris Veran-ith-Vere



Artifact 19,248, located nearby, is an ornate brass stand which may be intended to hold the Sphere.

– Excavator Taris Veran-ith-Vere


Intended usage: a light source, perhaps? Or given the position of respect it was found in, possibly a religious symbol?

– Academician Halir Muetry-ith-Mirari


A light source? Of which we’ve found no others of its kind in the entire rest of the complex? Are you seriously suggesting that we’ve found a Precursor ornamental lamp?

As for a religious symbol, if we called everything we dug up and couldn’t understand a religious symbol, we’d have nothing but. And there’s no reason to believe the Precursors even had religion.

– Academician Iridal Selequelios-ith-Serris


Whatever temperature the surrounding room is in, the Sphere maintains a constant temperature, around blood heat. Intense heating or cooling can change it locally, but it returns to its normal temperature unnaturally fast.

– Academician Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian


The Sphere cannot be opened by any method familiar to us, nor does it possess any discernible power source.  Exposure to sunlight or common chemicals effects no change or reaction.

– Academician Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian


The Sphere is unresponsive to attempts at verbal or telepathic interrogation.

– Academician Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian


In light of the inability to open the Sphere with conventional methods, drilling, or chemical erosion, I have submitted a request for explosives.  Perhaps careful blasting will let us investigate the interior.

– Academician Isif Larathyr-ith-Lyrian


Academician Larathyr-ith-Lyrian has been dismissed from the Initiative. Firstly, Precursor artifacts are very rare, and while permission may occasionally be granted to perform destructive testing on those of which we have multiple examples, no such testing is to be proposed on unique examples.

Secondly, blasting? After what happened to the Penjel facility, a researcher proposes blasting?


– Supervisor Kendrian Cyprium-ith-Reyne


With today’s better measurement instruments, the constant temperature of the Sphere is recorded as 307.54 degrees. No variation in this was observed over a half-year period. Nor has any previously-undetectable variation in the intensity of the glow been identified.

– Academician Excellence Hieras Octarthius-ith-Octian


The Sphere doesn’t just emit blue light. It emits monochromatic blue light of wavelength 464 nm along with thermal radiation appropriate to its temperature.

– Academician Sinté Quendocius-ith-Quendocius


Under new scanning series, the Sphere appears to be opaque to neutrinos. It’s another datum, I suppose, but still no progress in identifying anything that might be in there.

– Senior Technician Vivalíé Peressin-ith-Peressin


The Sphere may be the device referred to in sections 91.4 and 93.2 of the damaged inscriptions from the Mazir asteroid site. Relevant translatable phrases include its description as a ’resonant monoluminor’, as an ’automorphous facilitator’, and ’the purpose of noetic energy-conversion for dynamic change’, although, per 33 above, it remains opaque to mental interrogation.

While this in itself provides little insight, it is hoped it may provide some possible directions for future research.

– Linguist Excellence Ciriath Essenye-ith-Estrey


No, clear it for shipment to the Museum. It’s been sitting on the supervising researcher’s desk as a paperweight for nearly 1,400 years at this point. If it wasn’t a danger then, it’s not going to start being one tomorrow.

– Administrator Excellence Antar Calaris-ith-Calir


Oh, for the love of –

It is a lamp. Of course it’s a lamp. ’Resonant monoluminor’ – makes light of one color via resonating electrons. As for the rest – ’automorphous’, ’noetic’, ’dynamic change’ – it’s a light you think by, or rather, a light you learn by.

Five millennia to discover that we’ve found a self-powering Precursor library lamp. We’re the best in our field, ladies and gentlemen.

– Academician Excellence Iridal Selequelios-ith-Serris


One thought on “Of Things Dug Up

  1. I love the idea of this story. Precursor artifacts are “normally” earth-shatteringly significant things – stargates, superweapons, power sources. But 99.99999999% of what a society makes is going to have to be normal, everyday sort of stuff. Lightbulbs, furniture, plumbing! This story underscores that fact marvelously.

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