Author : Jacob Lothyan

When the box was finally opened, it was assumed by some that it had been tampered with beforehand. After all, there was a fairly explicit warning that stated: ANY ATTEMPT TO OPEN THIS BOX OR OTHERWISE INSPECT THE CONTENTS BEFORE THE INTENDED TIME WILL RESULT IN IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE TO THE CONTENTS. That warning had always been enough to dissuade any attempts by the current generation of scientists and politicians to prod any further than curious glances and wild speculation. It is well known, however, that over the centuries many attempts had been made to destroy the box before it could open. Different groups throughout history had sprung up declaring that the box was a super virus or mega bomb that needed to be suppressed instead of guarded. At least a couple of those groups actually came into possession of the box for brief periods of time. It is unknown what type or level of tampering took place during those periods, but it is speculated that it was enough to irreversibly damage the contents.

Another group believes that the “box experiment” had simply failed of its own accord. They figured that whatever the point of the experiment had been, it had lost its meaning and significance over the centuries that it had taken for the box to open. Many in this group argue that the timer was either damaged during mishandling, or that it had been set wrong from the beginning. Either way, they argued, it had been foolish to focus so much time and energy, and so many resources, on an irrelevant artifact from a lost civilization. In these circles, the “box experiment” is commonly referred to and understood as the “botched experiment.”

I, however, am of another school of thought. I believe that the box was intended to convey a very significant message. Simply because none of the greatest minds of our time can comprehend the message does not mean that box is without a message; it is just, as yet, not understood. I believe that once the object contained within the box is finally identified, every question from even the most outspoken of skeptics will finally be answered. I believe that understanding the box is our only and final opportunity if we hope to save the world as we know it, if we hope to save humanity. As it is now being asserted in some groups, ancient knowledge is knowledge none the less.

Of course, I accept that I may be partial; I was the only one lucky enough to see it live and in person, the only one to smell it, and it seems to have made a greater impression on me than any of my colleagues. I was alone in the box chamber when I was startled by a very audible click as the unknown timer expired. I turned just in time to witness the whistling mist of decompression. Despite warnings about possible airborne contaminants, I approached the box. Peering over the edge, into the depths of the box, I was not immediately awed, more confused. All that lied inside was a strange, thorny, green stick with thin, red, feathery pads overlapped at one end. It was the most beautiful and intricate biological specimen that had been witnessed in our time, but seemingly nonsensical. Just as a rich, earthy aroma reached my nostrils, the thorny stick began to turn brown in the feathery part, the pads beginning to curl. Before I could summon my colleagues to my side, the contents had reduced to dust, leaving us all to wonder and debate.

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