“Let’s say for argument’s sake that’s what’s going on here. Is it dangerous?”
    “No more so than the cosmic rays that constantly bombard us from outer space.”
    Dorion ’s slight hesitation before answering was just enough to make Jade wonder what he wasn’t telling her, but Professor nodded. “If they exist,” he repeated.
    Jade considered the hypothesis. “You say that we can’t interact with the WIMPs at all. How did the ancients manage to do it? How did they make all of this?”
    Dorion shrugged. “They may not have understood what they were observing. It must have seemed like magic to them.”
    Professor playfully elbowed Jade.
    “It would not be the first time an ancient civilization made use of physical forces beyond their comprehension,” interjected Sanchez. “But let’s not overlook the fact that this is an astonishing model of the heavens. It reveals an unprecedented knowledge of the astronomy.”
    “ Speaking of which,” Jade said. “Have you noticed that something is missing?”
    “ We haven’t finished exploring the cavern yet. I’m sure we’ll find more planets as we move out.”
    “ I’m not talking about the planets. Where’s the moon?”
    The other men stared at her, dumbfounded and slightly embarrassed at having missed something so obvious.
    “The moon was almost as important to the ancients as the sun. It was their clock for measuring the seasons. Are we supposed to believe they just forgot to include it in this map?”
    “ Perhaps they weren’t able to make a functional Moon stone,” suggested Dorion.
    Jade thought even he sounded doubtful, but given the astonishing properties of the model, it was a possibility that couldn ’t be ignored.
    “ Maybe someone took it,” suggested Professor, jerking a thumb over his shoulder at the mummified remains of the Spaniard.
    “ Why take the moon and leave behind the golden sun?”
    “ I can think of tons of reasons, literally.”
    “ It’s a big ball,” said Jade. “They could have just rolled it to the door.”
    “ Maybe it wouldn’t fit.” Professor looked down at the Earth stone. “Maybe it’s not as easy to move these things as it looks. Maybe the WIMPs or whatever makes the solar system model work is also holding them in place.”
    “ Now there’s a hypothesis we can actually test.” Jade took a step forward and placed her palms against the exterior of the sphere. She thought she felt a slight tingling through the padding of her gloves, but chalked it up to her imagination.
    “ Jade, are you sure that’s a good idea?”
    “ No,” she replied grinning. “So maybe you should—”
    Darkness swept over her so quickly she didn ’t even have time to cry out.
    Professor rushed forward and caught Jade before she could fall. He braced himself for a hit of whatever had knocked her out, but nothing happened. He pulled her back several paces before easing her unresponsive form to the ground and checking for a pulse.
    “ She will be all right,” Dorion stated, confidently. “The effect will last only a few seconds at most.”
    “ Effect?” snarled Professor. “Are you saying you know what this is? You said it was harmless.”
    “ It is,” Dorion insisted. “She has not been…harmed.”
    There ’s that pause again, thought Professor. This guy knows more than he’s telling.
    Jade ’s pulse and breathing were strong, and there was no sign of injury. To all appearances, it was a simple fainting spell, but what had caused it?
    Professor took the radio from his belt. “Brian do you copy?”
    There was a long silence— too long , Professor thought, but maybe that’s just because I’m worried —then his partner’s voice came back. “Copy, Pete. I was just helping Dr. Acosta with the rappel. He should be heading your way in just a few.”
    “ Acosta…? Jade just collapsed. We need to evac her and shut this place down.”
    “ Shut it down? Pete, what’s going on down there?”
    Professor bit back

Similar Books

Screens and Teens

Kathy Koch

Rogue of the High Seas

Cynthia Breeding

Ten Little Wizards: A Lord Darcy Novel

Michael Kurland, Randall Garrett

The Dive Bomber

L. Ron Hubbard


Stephanie Pokorney

Stone Arabia

Dana Spiotta