January 13, 2018
‘The Artifact’ had been discovered by a small child. The African sun beat down mercilessly upon the young boy as he played. Sweat trickled down his burning forehead yet he was not fazed having spent his whole life under the sun’s harsh rays. Briefly, he looked up, shielding his eyes, and gazed around as if something ominous had caught his attention. Seeing no sign of dangerous predators, the boy wiped the moisture from his brow and continued with his game. He had played the pirate game many times without success, digging into the dry earth in search of buried gold and jewels his brother told him pirates hid countless ages ago; but today his treasure would be found.
He had only dug his fourth hole, the dirt soft and easy to break due to the unusual earthquake Kenya had experienced recently. Using his hands as shovels, the young boy scooped the soil from the cracked earth. Dirt sifted through his fingers onto the growing mound beside him. Suddenly, when he was not two feet down, a metallic object cut open his finger. Crying in pain and clinging to his wound, Ankimgie ran to his mother. The cut was not deep, but ever cautious Ankimgie’s mother had the boy show her what had hurt him.
What she saw scared her to death. She immediately called local authorities. When they arrived, they could not believe their eyes. In no time, word spread throughout the country, and everyone eventually knew what was going on, what had been found.
A new technology.
Though not new at all. The metallic box-like object shown blindingly in the sun. The yellow, blue, and reddish colors melted together like an alien oil floating over a puddle. Faded numbers covered the object; only a few remained legible. It was small, about the size of a breadbox, and it appeared scorched along the sharp edges. Time had taken its toll; a million years at least according to future tests. Afraid to remove the object from its current location and risk damage, scientists studied the strange contraption as is. Surprisingly, they were able to open it with little effort. Like opening a safe, scientists unlocked the combination and carefully lifted the top-portion of the object. Inside, it looked like a modern computer with circuits, chips, and diodes. This discovery made the people of Africa, and the world, shudder. A million year old metallic object with twenty-first century–like technology opened the world’s eyes to the possibility of alien life in the universe.
But they had yet to discover what was locked inside the memory banks of this new device. It was thought that the task would take months, even years, yet it only took two weeks to make one more shocking discovery. The contents, downloaded into a computer, revealed the device’s secrets. It was not an alien computer-like technology left behind by some unknown being, it was our own!
A probe. Its purpose was unmistakable. The object was built to travel the far reaches of space. But for what purpose?
The answer was soon unlocked from the disturbingly familiar technology. An unearthing that shook the very foundation every human life on the planet stood on. It was a realization that would ultimately challenge every creationists’ and every evolutionists’ beliefs. A nightmare that would question every scientific discovery ever made.
Blueprints. There were blueprints for building a human being, namely, genetic codes and anatomical data.
Inside a million year old newly found artifact.
In the heart of Africa: the very place where modern man was said to have originated. Suddenly, it made unimaginable sense.
We were not born: we were built.
But built by whom? And why? A probe mimicking our own Voyager spacecraft was found to be our beginning. This colossal scientific breakthrough would mean millions to whoever deciphered its origin.
But whom did it belong to: the American scientists who better understood it, the Kenyan government whose country it was found in, or all of mankind? The argument triggered a dispute between the two countries. The United States saw ‘The Artifact’ as an opportunity to study life. Extensive research needed to be done, according to scholars. On the other hand, Africa viewed the find as a meaningful religious icon, which should remain intact and kept in a museum or church. Thus, the anger began to boil. Peace talks at the United Nations commenced and all the countries in the world debated what should happen with this huge discovery in the small city.
What officials did not yet realize was that ‘The Artifact’ had another affect on those who came in contact with it.
People were getting sick. The young boy who first found the craft, Ankimgie, had fallen ill almost immediately. His mother and the first few officials on the scene soon followed. The symptoms began with lesions and progressed to chronic sickness. Doctors who examined the ill were unwavering in their diagnoses, however impossible the fact may be.
Four scientists, African police and the boy and his mother had a disease of unknown origin. Before doctors’ very eyes, the infected deteriorated at an alarming rate. Their bodies were so distorted by the time they finally died that they were barely recognizable as human.
Now the struggle for possession became a deadly game against time. This problem had to be solved quickly before more people fell sick. The probe had to be contained, and the only way to accomplish this was for America to have control. Voices rang out from both sides louder then ever. Because of the major health threat pending against many innocent people, the UN was ready to allow the United States to investigate in order to save lives. But before any decision could be made, the unthinkable occurred.
The first shot was fired on a Wednesday. No one really knew or would confess who shot first, but within an hour, a small field on the outskirts of Machakos was littered with the bullet-riddled bodies of both Africans and Americans. A Kenyan terrorist group calling themselves the Black Lions broke through a protective barrier around ‘The Artifact’ and took it hostage. The group demanded that the United States relinquish control over the device or else the Black Lions would unleash its contents onto the unsuspecting populace. Acting under their religious beliefs, the group cited grievous offenses that America had committed toward Africa’s people, dating back to the time when slavery was an American institution. Their arguments were extremely persuasive with the citizens of the outlining areas of Machakos, and soon the Black Lions’ influence spread to other parts of Kenya and Tanzania. Public outcry sided with the ideals of ‘The Artifact’ liberators, as some began to call them, and the governments of the two countries were soon pulled into the web of supporters. By overwhelming demand, Kenya and Tanzania soon publicly announced their support of the Black Lions.
Three days later, the American President declared war on Kenya and Tanzania. Diplomacy with Africa had failed, and there was nothing anyone could say that could persuade the terrorist group to surrender ‘The Artifact.’ The Black Lions acted under the full protection of the Kenyan and Tanzanian governments.
Within hours of the declaration, thousands of troops of Navy, Army, and Marine soldiers were sent to the front. In a day that would be forever recorded in the history books, the United States touched down on the eastern shores of Africa and raced into the jungle. Two hundred thousand went in, but only one hundred fifty thousand would make it to the other side. The interior, infested with dangerous wildlife and the deadly poisons of arrows shot by expert snipers, would claim the lives of many men and women throughout the duration of the war.
* * *
Within months, almost one hundred thousand people, Africans and Americans, were dead, and the battle for possession of ‘The Artifact’ and the meaning of life on Earth continues to be fought on the soil where it all began. The disease that killed the scientists, police, Ankimgie, and his mother had spread to onlookers at the discovery site, and before they could be quarantined, they had already infected much of the surrounding populace. As near as scientists could figure, approximately five hundred deaths could be conclusively traced to the contagion. However, it was suspected that these numbers would continue to climb along with the war casualties.
But hope shines bright through the death and turmoil being left in the war’s horrifying wake. As always, love survives. It is the only emotion left for terrified soldiers to hang onto. It flourishes in the hearts of lonely men, away from their homes and families, and keeps them alive when all else seems lost. From the high ranking officer fighting on the battlefield, to the technical supervisor relaying coded messages, and to a dying private in a POW camp, love can never make a man a prisoner. And it is this that keeps them fighting for the truth of their existence.