Week 2 Word: SOIL
Word Count 493
By Michael S. Jones
Daedalus Base Camp
Minos Dispatch 9.14.2219 E.C.
Dispatch Six 
The tunnels are just that. They were dug! Rich is “Blown away.” There were intelligent beings on Minos. But how many “people” were needed to honeycomb this mountain? Does tunnel height indicate stature?
We have ventured One Hundred  meters into each alternative maze of Tunnel A. There were Twenty-Nine  choices; Six  of those are stub ends. Divergent paths range from twelve  degrees to thirty . “Ramps” are a uniform Fifteen  degrees.
Rich devised a way to sample Tunnel A. When given a choice he suggested that we always angle right. Utilizing Bear Right Only [New designation BRO: see below] we found three dead ends. Rich says we would have entered tunnel B if digging had continued only a few meters further.
Why dead ends? Religious reasons?
Rich hypothesizes that tunnels are interwoven; perhaps braided.
“I am right,” he says. “I think in 3D. I can smell Tunnel B from here.” Yep, that’s Frankie.
Still, we are lost in possibilities.
There is no soil inside tunnels except for decomposed centilizard scat, and that only meters from sunlight. Hope springs eternal for carbon datable materials.
There is no torch soot. What was their light source if not fire? Did they use echo-location like bats in a cave? Flashlights? Occam’s Razor is useless on an alien world.
I saved best for last. The tunnels were dug with stone tools! Imagine at most two beings side-by-side at a tunnel head. Even with “soft” rock digging must have taken eons.
Chief Engineer Paige Rutter confirms Rich’s discovery of a broken Dolomite chisel in one of the dead ends. The chisel, according to her, has an an ergonomic handle. She says that we might be able to reverse-engineer the shape of the alien hands.
[Chisel 3D photographed & archived.]
Rich was bitten by a centilizard yesterday. His hand swelled and turned a pretty vermillion. EMT Edwardo Gonzalez treated it successfully, though it still stings. Ed told Frankie that it serves him right for petting the creatures.
My training is inadequate. We need an Exo-Archio/Anthropologist.
If you ever throw our support satellites up there please include a Ground Penetrating Global Positioning System. [GPGPS].
It would also be nice to have warning of Frog Drowning Rain Storms. [FDRS]
Change the order of lifeline ships. Strip a manned space-folding ship to make room for both materials and somebody who has better guesses than me about this civilization. Send supply drones later.
Biospecialists Bartlett and Wang thank Central for the discovery credit.
They say that Scolopendra Lasertilia Menus will be just fine.
Keeping to our Cretan imagery, these were the Theseus People.
Ginny says thanks for the Peanut Butter, but “Where is the jelly?”
Family greetings follow.
W. A. Sloan, Commander
[BRO] Bear Right Only
[BLO] Bear Left Only
[PU] Passage Upward
[PD] Passage Downward