No Higher Ground – an excerpt

Now available in print and for Kindle here

A few moments later the display resolved itself into a mustachioed face with black eyes squinting beneath a tussle of black hair. Sam had always thought that Pierre Pacquelier looked like Salvador Dali with the ends of his mustache cut off.

“Sam? This is you?” A thick French accent came from Pierre’s image which broke into a smile as soon as he was sure it was Sam. “It is good to see you again, my friend.”

Even though Sam had been expecting a different call, he smiled. He liked Pacquelier. “How are you? I heard you’ve been trying to reach me. When was the last time we saw each other, the sci-fi convention about a year and a half ago?”

“Yes, my friend we were on some panel that I don’t remember what it was. But I do remember drinking and talking afterward. Anyway, I am calling to apologize and to receive your thanks.”

“Huh?” Sam grunted. Pierre’s habit of translating French word for word into English often confused him. “Pierre, I don’t understand what you mean.”

“Of course you do not because I have not told you. But when I tell you, you will have to forget, or at least pretend it is a surprise when they contact you.”

“What’s a surprise?”

“Okay, I am sorry. I am putting the cart before the oxen.” He paused for effect. “Let me begin again.” Pierre took a deep breath. “We have found something. An artifact.”

“Yes, go on…”

“An alien artifact. Something made by aliens. Do you see what this means?”

Sam sighed, “Pierre, I’ve heard this a dozen times before. People think they’ve found an object that didn’t come from the Earth and it always turns out to be some natural or manmade thing.”

Pierre smiled and shook his head. “I do not think this is one of those cases. For one thing, the artifact is much too big and regular to be a natural object. And it is as large as a big building, and it appears to be very, very old”

Sam frowned. “How old?’

Pierre took a breath. “First estimates date it to be about sixty-five to seventy million years old.”

Sam did a double take. “Pierre, what on Earth are you saying? Where is this thing?”

“Not on Earth. We found it in the Fermi crater. It is on the far side of the moon.”

Pierre suddenly looked to his left and then back at the screen. “O-la! I go now. See you soon.”

The screen went blank as the call ended.

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