The Fantabulous Nanomorphique Adventure
of M Hardoon Rotman
[Previous Week Plot Review]
Last week we saw Dr. Catherine Denver and daughter Cassandra Law both searched the dome ceiling and Catherine did not find anything unusual on the surface of the coffer, so they returned to the 1st level basement where Catherine’s office was located.
The basement had a sunken centre. Framed by a one-centimetre high, one-centimeter wide walkway alongside the four walls and equipped with 18 electronic surveillance poles installed all around the inside of the perimeter, this sunken area served as a secured storage space.
Catherine’s small office was at the south end in the sunken area. She descended into her office to take another look at a strange amethyst.
But Cassandra remained on the walkway and went directly to a mosaic mural; it was a replica of Jacques-Louis David's “The Coronation of Napoleon.” She was interested in the coronation mantle Josephine and Napoleon was wearing, it was covered with golden bees.
[ Amethyst - As it's alive! ]
[TWO – A Mosaic Mural Replica of “Napoleon’s Coronation”]
This amethyst could be the most difficult ancient object Catherine had ever encountered in her life so far! From the beginning, she would not want to include this piece in the exhibition, but her suggestion was vetoed by Alphonse de Baux. Now, Alphonse de Baux mysteriously disappeared. She consulted with Dr. Tertois, and requested again, he agreed, this piece was withdrawn.
As museum’s resident archaeologist, she had to face public scrutiny, a piece like this with so many uncertainties to its origin and its material, certainly could cause the downfall of her and the museum’s reputation and credibility!
To begin with, it ‘looked’ like an amethyst, but the minute she touched and held it in her palm, she immediately sensed something different and very strange!
It had the red-purplish translucent color, but under the microscope, Catherine began to believe there could be something alive inside! Because every time she examined it, she thought that something inside had changed or shifted, as if it was an amber hosting a live insect! Unfortunately, she never could catch the actual moment its insect was active!
She unlocked a safe box from the drawer, and took out the amethyst. She stared at it, immediately opened her eyes wide, shaking her head in disbelief, she believed its irregular contour somehow was even different than the last time she examined it!
Several times the idea of seeking mineralogist’s help came up, but now she doubted that would solve anything!
She raised her head and saw that Cassandra was still standing in front of the mural, she called out: "Cass, don't stay outside on the walkway, come to the office."
She pushed a button to temporarily release the alarm and let Cassandra descend into the office area. She gave her some of the archaeological magazines to read at one of the assistant's desk and then returned to the amethyst.
Minutes later, they heard the faint echoes of the museum's closing announcement. They could not hear the exact wording, but the routine procedure had trained their mind to recognize it. After the announcement, there were even fainter echoes of the gate closing, and after that, footsteps of the patrolling guard passing in front of the elevators by the rotunda, and walked into other exhibition rooms. Then came from the north side of the basement, the echoes of opening and closing doors, the guard’s checking of the Fire Exit. After that, the entire basement submerged in silence.
Cassandra raised her head from the magazine, then walked to her mother and stood beside the desk. Catherine was so involved in examining the amethyst with a magnifying glass did not notice her daughter at all.
Staring at the amethyst, Cassandra said: "Maman…"
Catherine jerked up: "You startled me!"
"Maman, you can ask daddy to help you."
Catherine turned toward her Cass, caressed her head and adjusted the little green ribbon knot tied at the end of her pony tails. Cassandra's facial features revealed that she was half Chinese. Cassandra's father, Dr. Hennessey Law was the number one geologist and mineralogist in China.
"Cass, I, I don't know where he is now."
Actually she knew, but she could not tell her daughter that their marriage was falling apart, officially they are separated, and she was going to file for a divorce soon.
"Last time, he said he is going to China…, Gee!" Cassandra suddenly stooped toward the desk.
"What's wrong, Cass?"
Cassandra was getting a closer look at the amethyst, because as she was talking to her mother, her eyes were still fixed on the amethyst; but at the moment of speaking, the amethyst bounced itself once, as if it burped! And then threads of light flickered throughout its interior.
Realizing her daughter was looking at the amethyst, Catherine turned her head quickly, but found the amethyst the same as seconds ago! She picked the magnifying glass and looked at it closely.
Cassandra whispered: "Maman, l'homme sur le plafond…”
Right at that moment, one of the freight elevators began to move, Catherine turned her head toward the north end corner, wondering who would moving things down here at this hour!
Cassandra also turned her head and looked upward, toward the opposite direction, toward the rotunda and the domed ceiling, where a man, she had claimed, was lying on it.
[Continued on next week]