Author: Deborah Shrimplin
Dr. Trieste, a cultural anthropologist, was hovering over her latest data. She and the crew of the spaceship, Daiedales, had completed their findings on five of the six dead planets in the Milky Way.
A planet was designated “dead” if it had been inhabited by humans at one time and was no longer able to sustain any form of life. Her mission was to analyze any and all evidence of each planet’s mythological history. What were the mythologies on each planet? Was there a myth common to all of them?
Dr. Trieste’s findings on five of the planets suggested a theory. All five had the same set of mythologies. Her thoughts turned to the last of the six dead planets.
“Show me the same evidence or my theory will be thrown into a black hole,” she said to the image of the old planet Earth on her computer screen.
She glanced at the spaceship chronometer. It was 45:36 in the year 4506 by TDR measurement. She was millions of miles from home and hurtling through space at double light speed. In a few hours, they would be at the dead planet Earth.
Dr. Trieste boarded her space shuttle, told the pilot she was ready, and powered up her investigative tools. They took off and circled the planet several times. All devices worked without a glitch.
When she returned to her lab, she began her interpretaion of the findings. There was evidence of all major mythologies found in common with the preceeding five planets. But, there was one strange phenomenon that troubled her. She called in some experts.
The geologist said, “They are definitely not made of the planet’s natural soil.”
The engineer said, “They were definitely not created to hold a structure in place.”
The philosopher said, “They were placed all over the planet. They could be the sites of a worldwide cult or religion we don’t know.”
Dr. Trieste was beside herself. Her theory was in jeopardy. She called in an archaeologist.
The archaeologist said, “Hmmmm. Arches were used in many ways. They were used in churches and building construction. These don’t seem to have been constructed to support any building. Maybe the gold color is significant.”
Dr. Trieste pleaded with her co-workers. “What are they? What was so attractive to the humans that they worshipped them everywhere on the planet? My myth theory won’t hold up here.”
All four co-workers agreed. It was strange. She needed their help.
“Now, let’s get to work on this. We will title this investigation: “The Golden Arches”.
How interesting. This feels like it was written by an AI. I wonder if the author would comment on that…
On what basis do you accuse accuse someone of using AI to write their stories? A “feeling”? And you present no evidence to back your feeling–just demand an author defend herself. And what is your experience in identifying AI-generated works?
I am a personal friend of Deborah’s. We often exchange drafts to critique and I have read multiple drafts of her stories. She also has publication history on this site and others showing a similar writing style. Plus Stephen Smith and other editors selected this story for publication. Perhaps they should monitor the insults to the contributors a bit better before submissions start to decrease.
Perhaps you should apologize.
Note I have used my real name. I’m not hiding behind some pseudonym.
Brilliant. I am curious why the religion of ‘over a billion sold’ didn’t transfer to the other planets; sounds like a marketing failure!