Skip to main content

FAR-T1 (3), Serbian Kryptonite

"It's white!"

Arty kneeled to better focus on the mineral surface. "I mean, I knew it was white when you first told me about it.. I did all the online research I could, but even so I would expect at least a shadow of a greenish glow within the ultraviolet and visible wavelengths combined... Perhaps if I could use my UV-A sensors for black light and scan it from below..."

Behind the mineral glass and Arty, Vicks gave the inquisitive glimpse toward the curator of the Serbian Natural History Center. The tall bald man welcomed them at the newly built drone pad behind the museum where they landed half an hour ago. Ever since it was founded, just couple of years after the discovery of Jadarite, one of the rarest minerals on Earth, the museum hosted unique collection of rocks and minerals with Jadarite showing off from the special shelf. Nowhere in the world the same mineral was ever found. It would be another of those newly discovered ordinary sodium based minerals if it wasn't for the simple fact that ... it had that superpower of taking superpowers from superheroes. At least the ones coming from Krypton in comic books and movies. Back in the day, there was a debate whether to call it Serbian Kryptonite or to give it a new name. Sadly, the name Krypton was already taken by some noble gas so they named it by the name of the mine it was first found.

Curator nodded, produced the key, unlocked the showcase, took out the round shaped rock and gave it to Arty. "Behold the Sodium-Lithium-Boron-Silicate-Hydroxide with Fluorine." Obviously, the man was also the fan of the DC Comics from previous century comic book history. The line was from the movie "Superman Returns" and the scene when supervillain Lex Luthor stole the Kryptonite from similar museum and almost the same showcase only instead of the bulky name, in front of Arty the chemical formula was shown. "Well, almost..." He continued. "There's no fluorine in Jadarite. Apart from that, the mineral is the same as the Kryptonite from the movie."

"There's nothing I could find." Arty handed back the mineral after thorough inspection. "All the wavelengths I used with my sensors came back transparent or white. Maybe it's the missing fluorine that could produce the color change."

Shortly after, they moved to the museum cafeteria outside, just next to the dinosaur exhibit. It was Sunday afternoon and the museum garden was filled with children despite of the winter time in December that only decade ago could give real chills to the people in Serbia. Not anymore. Beside the slightly windy weather it looked more to the early autumn. Arty and Vicks found the empty table in the garden but they were soon accompanied with a class of children. Before he left, the curator gathered the visitors and publicly welcomed Vicks and Arty to the museum. Being a Serbian, Vicks was sort of a scientific celebrity in the country, especially in recent years and many knew him from National Geographic articles and documentaries about his attribution in the fields of medicine, robotics and artificial intelligence. His popularity tripled after last month and violent events in Boston and MIT's datacenter in Cambridge.

But, here in the amazing Jurassic park of dino-models occupying an acre or two of the museum outdoor exhibit, Arty was the real celebrity. He talked to everybody who approached in fluent Serbian, pose for photos and encourage everyone to download mobile app and hit the invite button. He was especially gentle with children and even took the class around the park and gave them a dinosaur tour.

After an hour he went back and sat next to Vicks. The crowd settled enough for them to continue the mineral conversation. Arty met Vicks' inquisitive and obviously impatient eyes.

"Show me again."

Vicks lifted his backpack and pulled out a small container. He unlocked the combination and placed a green mineral on the table. Arty took it and started to do the same examination as with Jadarite earlier.

"And?" Vicks asked with anticipation and little excitement in his voice.

Arty looked him into eyes, obviously trying to copycat Chris and his close eye-to-eye conversations when he wanted to emphasize something important.

"Well, Mr V, you were right to the money. With only optical observation by my suit's sensors, I can definitely confirm that this is Sodium-Lithium-Boron-Silicate-Hydroxide." Arty lifted small mineral toward the December's sun and looked through.

"With Fluorine."


After they returned to the main building to check out the latest exhibit about volcanism in this part of the Balkan peninsula in the time of Pliocene epoch and before, they boarded Vicks' cargo drone and finally took off, but not before Arty answered more questions for the local news feed. His travel to Serbia was widely announced in media as his first trip outside his new lab. Open Horizons established and equipped the warehouse in Lynn's industrial park - the same one John Williams used for his raid. It was as close to the home as he ever imagined. His OSS layer remained within MIT cloud and he started to learn and upload data rapidly. Almost one hundred thousand instances of FAR-T1 existed on the world by then and rising rapidly. Most of them ofcourse within the mobile network and small devices but in recent days he started to accept invites from other hardware modules. Nothing too interesting so far and mainly in the realm of transportation and prototype machines, but Open Horizons themselves were working on new, state of the art, vehicles and soon Arty will be sitting behind the test driving seat of all of them. One was particularly promising - the amfibia vehicle design for explorations of icy worlds, such is Jupiter's Europa and the test 'drive' was scheduled next summer near the McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

In the aftermath after all what happened, Chris decided to accept the offer for the dean position at MIT and to take Adam's seat but for the time being he moved outside the city for additional months needed for rehabilitation. He was lucky - the bullets missed the vitals by only inch and a half, but still surgeons advised him to take the longest vacation he ever took before. The rest of the team dispersed back to their original labs or moved to new projects but in the nutshell, the initial FAR-T1 development was officially over. They all were on standing by, waiting for Chris' call - Arty was meant to receive regular updates over time. In software industry, things are changing rapidly and development of one successful project is basically never over, only sometimes goes into 'idle' mode.

Arty's only suit he was wearing ever since the datacenter incident, when he took several rounds of bullets aimed for Chris, started to behave itchy and non-responding to some inside and outside inputs and diagnostics are showing more and more red warnings every day.

Travel to Serbia was initially his promise to Vicks' older son to visit their family for some R&R time but it was also a good opportunity for the suit repairment and Vicks was the only one who understood all the systems and complexity of it. Vicks own state of the art lab he designed for himself in the mountain village here in Eastern Serbia was something even the big corporations would not be ashamed off. This was where they were heading to, but first they had to come by the 'Constantine The Great', the nearest international airport and load the second drone with spare parts and raw materials Open Horizons sent with Arty in the private jet he used to travel here.

Flying the small jet by himself and being the AI in the same time didn't help much to get all the flight permissions and to receive the flight plan itself. Many countries were not eager to allow the flyover over their airspace and Arty needed to acquire the strange route and to get to Serbia he needed to divert to northern Africa and Mediterranean with one landing in Morocco for refueling. Almost all European Union countries refused the flyover due to non-regulated laws. On the other end, Serbia, among small number of EU countries were more than happy to welcome the first artificial intelligence in the world. Vicks call to ministry of science helped a lot and the only request by the government was for him to sign some sort of legal guardian paper during Arty's stay. He didn't bother to even read what it said.

Week or so before he took off, Melissa Bryce visited Arty several times, updated the Serbian linguistic module and helped him a lot with pronunciation and fluency, but somehow, when he exited the cockpit and said his greetings in perfect Serbian, he never expected that many people would come to welcome him. Terminal were too small to accept all the people and many more were waiting for him outside the building. He was completely unprepared for this and the only proper words he could find at that very moment came after long moment of silence and disbelief.

"I think I now finally learned why people cry in moments like this ... I probably have the largest vocabulary database in so many languages but ... right now ... I simply have no words ..."

For the long moment everybody waited for the robot to recover and finally he came back with the most simple and the most honest gratitude Vicks heard for the first time only month ago.

"... Thank you guys ... Thank you so much."

There was also more formal welcome party waiting for him, including the mayor, the government representatives and some other city officials, but finally two hours later the airport came back to normal life, the crowd scattered away and Arty and Vicks went to the museum while waiting for the airport personnel to secure the jet into rented hangar.

Of course, their short trip to the Natural History Center to examine Jadarite immediately after he landed was the third reason for his travel here and Vicks and Arty were extremely excited about the discovery and the next step they were about to take.

The next step they were planning for weeks.


The twilight was rapidly approaching when Vicks and Arty took off with two cargo drones and left the airport. Some fifty minutes later they approached Vicks' home in the base of the mountain they flew over from the south. The family estate was big enough to host a small drone pad barely fitted to accept two cargo drone and when they landed less than a foot of space were between them. Only decade ago, the sight and sound of the Vicks' drones was an extraordinary event but today the villagers got used to it and after initial years more of them appeared. Agricultural drones of various sizes soon became mandatory tool and when Vicks' was spending time in the village, many hours he devoted to the education of the villagers and agricultural drone inspections and repairment.

The welcome party was entire Vicks' family and Philip already launched his own flying cameras to record Arty's arrival from many angles. Just like with Arty, people was also able to maintain their own digital cloud layer of data. If you wanted, nothing can be unrecorded and partly, the FAR-T1 project only used this relatively new feature launched by social engines and applied it. It was so perfectly developed and secured and best of all also open sourced. Whatever sensor you acquired it can be added to your private cloud and it will start filling the data 24/7. The more input you add, the more accurately the software can analyze the owner and be able to, for example, give early warning for upcoming health danger or to give predictions for the best course of action in given moments.

Philip already had more than hundred sensors plugged in, including two dozens of 3D cameras. His both public and private network channels and live streams were extremely popular among his friends. Many of them at that very moment were, no doubt, watching arrival of the cargo drones arrival and his father and Arty jumping out of pilot seats. As it seemed, history events no longer belonged to History channel. They moved to social networks instead.

"Hey buddy!" Arty lifted ten years old boy and throw him in the air. "I bet you filled more data in that cloud of yours than me. Have you reached a zettabyte by now?"

"I did! Last month! I was second in school who did it!" Philip's eyes went into proud mode. "And I have two hundred thousands followers already!"

"I can't compete with you Phil.. You beat me by far.." Arty lowered the boy to the ground and kneeled to level their heads. "But, when your father fix me up, you and I will play some ball. I did some practice. I am getting better and better. Be afraid! You can't win me easily in that one, kid!"

It was really a special moment for all of them. Vicks' wife and their second five years old son were thrilled to have him in the house. Vicks' parents came to welcome Arty as well as couple of more of their guests and even though his network of FAR-T1 instances are growing every day around the world and by then he met lots of different people already, it was that night that engaged his emotional self to the level he didn't know he had inside.

That entire day in the museum, at the airport and here among Vicks' family engraved one large foundation in his digital personality. He learned that night the true meaning of one new word.

Meaning and Existence.

Ok, that's two words. Three if you are a stickler. But for Arty there was no doubt anymore. With being the first artificial intelligence on the world, only tonight he understood his potential and the very reason of his existence. And not just for himself. Ever since the November 11th, he was trying to find the meaning of the world he joined into. The realisation of it finally formed in his circuits and he knew.

It is Now.

This very moment. The present. This is why we live. It's either good or not. It's up to single person to make it good and being the celebrity only brings another dimension to it. The responsibility to make it good for others as well. At that instant, he made a mental note to do his best to act upon it. With no exceptions. Always.

Suddenly, another realisation came. He knew he already heard it somewhere. So he checked the movies he watched in previous days (and nights) and browsed the subtitle archives. Couple of nanoseconds later he found the one-liner wisdom in an old animated movie. To the letter it said: 'Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.'

After tonight he couldn't agree more.


Tomorrow morning, with first December's sunshine Vicks went to unload the drones and lift the equipment into his 'penthouse' workshop. The auxiliary house of his village estate were large and almost fifty years younger than the main house that originated just after the second world war in the middle of twentieth century. Ground floor was reserved for the the usual village auxiliary needs - old fashioned garage and small storage room along with guest apartment, while Vicks occupied entire first floor where he spent most of his freelance time before the FAR-T1 project. In recent years it was also the favorite space for both of his sons - and slowly, corner by corner they were claiming the space for themselves. Vicks couldn't be happier about it and even allowed them to spend nights there with him on his busiest days.

Southern terrace, with tremendous view to the 'Black Peak' mountain was built with heavy cargo elevator and along with round stairway exited directly to the drone pad. As soon as Arty heard the activity, he stormed outside and helped with heavy boxes.

"Come on Arty..." Vicks tried for the third time to interrupt his tales about old cartoon movie and 'living in present' philosophy.

"Look, I don't want to spoil the excitement for you." He finally got through the gap in his enthusiasm and all the master Oogway stories and quotes, who apparently was one smart ... tortoise, with tremendous kung fu skills. "But, you can't mount your entire existence based on the 'turtle wisdom' from the children movie. Life is too complicated to be generalized like that."

They pushed the final crate inside and Vicks started unpacking and classifying the content onto shelves and into drawers along the entire western wall of the workshop.

"But I agree with you. Living in the moment is way better than thinking all the time of all potential outcomes." He turned toward the large boxes. "Could you please help me with those?"

"Outcomes?" Arty opened the first box and started unpacking nanotubes especially designed for specialized 3D nanoprinter they needed to manufacture replacements for the malfunctional strings in Arty's left arm.

"Well, I am not master Oogway, but you know.. Expectations. If you set them too high, potential disappointments are also high. If you set them too low, the danger comes in form of small satisfactions."

"So you are saying that along with living in the moment, the life is also about balancing things out?"

"More or less.. Ok, let's get to work." Vicks turned the main server on and started working the keyboard and two screens. Soon after he initiated 3D nanoprinter calibration it started humming with familiar buzzing noises. When the gauge started counting percentage, he looked Arty into his curious eyes. "One thing is for sure though - too much philosophy leads directly into laziness. I experienced it myself... It was my worst year in the university... Don't ask."

Three hours later printer finished and reshaped nanotubes for Arty's arm design. On the other side, electroactive polymers were too complex to be built in great precision with Vicks' workshop industrial tools but thanks to Open Horizons shipment they were in possession of everything they need to assemble them. By lunch they manufactured everything they need and the 'surgery' was scheduled for the afternoon.

"How exactly you will replace the muscles?" Arty was curious. "I guess the only way is to remove my whole arm and let that robotic thingy to do all the work?" He pointed toward the lab's corner equipped with four artificial arms inside large vacuumed table, smaller version of the 'surgeon' how the team nicknamed it back then in MIT lab and which was frequently used as the EAP assembling and testing tool.

"Nope. I have real surgeon in mind. And there will be no need for the arm removal. Don't worry.. You'll be fine. He is extremely skilled."



Vicks turned, motion him to follow and left the lab for lunch.

"Okidoki." He stared after him for couple of seconds. Realisation followed soon after.

"Wait... What?"

Family lunch events with Vicks' family, under the heating umbrella in the garden was always special. They were always more than sharing a good meal and Arty quickly fitted in with his collections of jokes and one-liners. The village provided excellent background silence, the mountain offered great air and view and the company did the rest. Nobody but Vicks noticed Arty's frequent glimpses toward Philip's hands. He couldn't help himself and gave Arty little enigmatic smiles every now and again.

But there was no reason for any alarm. Arty loudly relieved later in the lab when Philip's tiny hands reached under his metallic armour with ease. With only couple of clicks and safe gyration he removed old muscles and attached the new one. Wiring were even easier job with electrical modules that were supposed to be inserted into skeleton in their recesses between nanotubes and EAPs. Vicks powered the new muscles up and most of red diagnostics icons went to green immediately. Without Philip's small and skilled hands they would need to disable and dismantle entire left arm, program the repairment robotic tool and loose the rest of the day in the process.

Arty lifted small boy again and this time with his newly healed arm only.

"I owe you one, little chef. Thank you."

"It was nothing Arty.. Really." His smile was full of happiness. And not entirely because of what he just did. There was something more with this boy. In Arty's short life up so now, he learned about lots of people who were able to give more than ready to receive. But within the last month he simply didn't have the time to meet many of them. He kneeled to pet Philip's hair and in the same time, exactly 7167km in the distant cloud server in MIT datacenter, one counter labeled with iGreatPeopleIMetInPerson incremented by one.

Replacing damaged fuel cells, silent motors and several parts of Arty's armour, including the entire back shield were even easier and couple of hours later they both exited to the terrace and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

They wanted to discuss more about the minerals and to went through the plan for tomorrow but somehow the conversation never took them there. Arty stood up and leaned to the fence. Just below him, two boys were playing soccer against their grandfather with two ground drones as goalkeepers. The flying drone with large screen was floating above them and acted as the referee. More drones were flying all over transmitting the match to the social cloud. The score was currently changing into 3:2 when Philip passed the ball through his grandfather's legs and scored the third goal for the boys. The cheering and hugging followed and Arty and Vicks joined the ovations from the balcony.


The rest of the evening, Arty and Vicks loaded the hiking equipment in the cargo drone along with strong flashlights and some more speleology tools needed for unearthing the rocks and minerals and went to rest for tomorrow.

The next day was even more non-wintery day, to say the least, just like they anticipated. They took short flight toward the mountain formation to the south and the sight was amazing. It looked like they took the trip throughout the history of the planet with every kilometer they passed. Still under heavy suffering from last summer's forest fire, the northern plains and massive rock formation that looked like the entrance into underworld gave impression like they belong to some other planet. Burnt forests and black fallen trees didn't survive despite large efforts by local residents and several waves of firefighting choppers and jet planes.

"These formations are hundreds of millions of years old, probably from Late Jurassic or even older. Back then, the most of the continent was covered by Paratethys - the large sea that over eons retreated living only couple of smaller seas and numerous lakes all over." Vicks explained the geology of the terrain.

Arty engaged all his visual aids and video recording tools and recorded timelapses from different angles. But, the natural disaster, even with its devastated aftermath, didn't give him the eeriest impression of the mountain. This peak wasn't anything like the most of neighboring mountain tops. When they flew over, the large mountain plane revealed the terrain not usual for ordinary mountains, that more or less found the necessary equilibrium with its residents, the plants and wild animals. Instead, dozens of strange looking ravines, small and big spread along the south accompanied with dozens of miniature gorges with round shaped coombs and gullies.

"Here!" Vicks pointed toward the second peak and the large gorge between their current position and the next mountain peak that was shaped like a broken pyramid top.

Shortly after, they hovered above the secured pit hole that almost ten meters below the surface went into complete darkness. There were no place to land so Vicks activated the automated pilot to maintain the hovering position. Cargo drone with its quadruple silent motors were extremely stable. Four propellers angled enough to avoid airstreams to go directly down the pit.

"So, this is the place?" Arty asked. "Where you found the mineral?"

"Yep. I was sitting in the same spot like we are now and controlled one of the Philips's social drones."

"Like these?" Arty pointed to the cargo container to the back where they stockpiled four of them last night.

"Yes, only I added a small robotic arm from the lab and was lucky to chop out that only specimen."

"Okidoki." Arty opened the hatch, hook himself to the towing cable, mounted the backpack with additional tools and lifted down couple of meters below the drone.

"I am ready." He shouted and produced the thumb up.

Vicks, powered the monitors, mounted the remote control for the drones and execute some fast diagnostics of all the systems they were about to use. Arty's view came live on the central monitor. Left one shown four video feeds from the social drones and right one was busy with various data coming from sensors from Arty's suit.

The towing cable started rolling out and soon Arty disappeared into blackness. The drones followed from the safety distance. He turned infrared torches and visually processed feed converted into visual light appeared onscreen.

The pit was widening with every meter and the hollowness of the mountain became factious for strange explorers. Hundred meters later, the walls started to glow reflecting the infrared. Arty stopped  and with ease chopped out a rock. The raw chemical inspection revealed quartz glued all over the igneous grayish rock with black spots here and there.

"It's quartz accumulated over the silicon dioxide based rock." Arty moved the view toward the large cave wall. "Lots of it." He took the sample into backpack.

"Looks like andesite." Vicks voice came from the comms. "It's sort of volcanic rock, made by crystallization of the magma especially in the vicinity of old and extinguished volcanoes."

"What was the depth where you found the mineral?"

"About two hundred meters from your current position. More or less at the end of the cable."

The site of the cave continued to change and for the experienced geologist, it would be like traveling millions of years in the past. Vicks and Arty, on the other hand, even though they both did extensive research before they took this endeavour, were far from being trained rock scientists. But the beauty of the site was tremendous and every now and again, Arty stopped the cable and took samples from the walls. The drones Vicks operated spread more from the cable and took amazing photographs within different lightwaves.

Twenty minutes later, the view started to change. There were less and less volcanic rocks and glowing quartz layers and for a while there was nothing to detect. Just bare rock walls. Ten meters later first signs of water were evident. Not by much but small streams of transparent fluids were forming as it seams out from the thin air, and flowing foot or two. Then the tiny stream disappeared into wall again.

"Almost there." Vicks said. "I got the sample not far beneath the wet walls first appeared. I think the pit hole ends soon after."

Arty slowed the descent a little and tried to focus the view from the walls and directly under. He took out the radar tool from the backpack and mounted it on his torso. The moment he turned it on, the detailed image appeared on the sensor screen. Vicks initiated the detailed wireframe image analysis and the result were beamed back to Arty. The pit hole bottom was nearly thirty meters ahead and in almost horizontal direction a small stream appeared from one wall side of the pit and flowed within shallow hallway further inside the mountain. This was something he completely missed last time with the social drone.

The radar analysis took his focus from the main screen with Arty's infrared feed and in the meantime Arty reached the bottom and started to record the surroundings.

"Crap the noodles!"

Art's disembodied and loud voice echoed from the main screen. Vicks turned in the instant and his jaws dropped wide to the fairytale sight he saw on the monitor.

The entire stream hallway was vividly colored and the water widely sparkled and reflected the most beautiful greenish color he ever saw in nature.


Despite every logic and rationality, Vicks' mind was warning him at this very moment, he hurriedly check the fuel levels for the cargo drone, inspected all the vitals and then hooked to the cable and started descending down. The hiking gear was motorized and the tiny platform he hooked his leg to, descended him next to the bottom only ten minutes later. In th meantime, Arty fixed the cable to the ground and along with three social drones entered the green hallway. The remaining drone climbed up and then followed Vicks the entire descent.

As soon as he arrived he joined Arty inside the hallway.

The sight seen with his own eyes were even more amazing than what he saw onscreen. The walls and the roof of the natural hallway was made of the same rock he luckily chopped two weeks ago just twenty meters above the main pit hole floor. The real greenish kryptonite with fluorine was all over the place, along with other minerals with bluish and magenta glow in smaller quantities but just enough to give this place unearthly scene.

It took Vicks several minutes to restore his talking abilities. In his wildest day dream he couldn't anticipate that something like this exists at all. He glimpsed Arty who was equally amazed, although after only a month or so after his birth his amazement with various things was nothing new. But this was indeed something even he was not seeing or learning about every day.

"Crap the noodles?"

Arty looked him with somewhat puzzled eyes.

"It was from your old YouTube video. You said it yourself when you first saw huge sea waves... Don't you remember? From your video log and your first travel to Crete. I wasn't sure whether you were more amazed with large waves or the sight from the airplane window you saw for the first time in your life."

"How old was I?"


Vicks remembered. He was right. This was the same feeling. When you see something extraordinary for the very first time, the boy or the girl inside you is the first one who reacts.

"You're absolutely right." The boyish expression was still there. "Thanks for the reminder. That trip was one of my favorites for years. But this..."

The scientist inside Vicks slowly took over and eventually they both resumed scanning the minerals and the water. He sent one small drone along the hallway to follow the stream and they anxiously monitored the returning feed without knowing what to expect. The hallway was curved and the drone didn't travel far - only fifty meters ahead, it stopped at the small waterfall. The water was reaching the hallway end and at the edge was falling into abyss.

Arty and Vicks came to the spot by following the shallow water and instructed all four social drones to follow the waterfall but the abyss was too deep and the water was never reaching the next bottom. After another hundred meters, humidity and temperatures rose and the water halfway evaporated and dispersed. The water drops that hitted the cave wall, formed the tiny wall streams like the ones they saw on the pit hole walls earlier.

Both being amateur geologists, Vicks and Arty, decided that exploring the large abyss was at this point way out of their league and equipment so they decided to send four drones to record the wide cave for a while before the return. The end of the hallway where they stood were only the small entrance into enormous cave that was spreading above, toward the mountain surface as well. As it seemed, the large portion of the mountain was hollow and Vicks expected that the size was enormous.

Two drones that were exploring upper half of the dome filmed two swarms of flying giant bats. They were big and their appearance were little odd with their bodies shaped not quite like the bats he knew off and he was sure the locals never reported this kind of animals.

Two remaining drones returned from the lower half of the cave. It seemed that the abyss was expanding down from all direction into sort of reversed funnel shape and the bottom was perhaps large enough to host two football fields. The recording showed larger water flows, the scattered bones of large animals here and there and in one corner even a family of a sleeping bears. Strange as Vicks knew for sure that the largest animal around this neighborhood was a red deer and the only predator, beside illegal human hunters were small packs of wolfs. He never heard about bears before. In fact, the sightings of bears within the entire easter Serbia were rare, especially in latest decades.

More waterfalls were filmed and four drones managed to record exactly twelve dome entrances like the one they were standing on. Not all of them were colored with mineral walls, but several were. When they left the pit hole and entered the hallway, they also lost visual of the cable and with it, the internet access that was relaying to them via cargo drone and soon after all social drones filled their memory banks. With that fact, Arty suggested to took all the samples they could from the stream and the hallway walls and return to the cargo drone for cloud memory upload.

"We have enough samples." Vicks said when they climbed up back into cargo drone. "But I am still curious about the bones. Maybe we could try positioning the small drones on the way, one at the bottom of the pit hole, two inside the mineral hallway and the last one we could control over the first three. With the drone chain, the feed could be beamed directly to us and then to the cloud. We could explore the abyss floor in much more details."

He looked toward Arty for approval, but there was no need. Arty already took the remote and started deploying the drones on their way inside the pit. Five minutes later the main screen came to life and they saw the exploring drone flew over the bears and headed toward the wide stream where large bones were lying. Vicks didn't say anything but he thought he recognized one skeleton. When the drone slowly approached he was sure - it was the bones from a creature known as Plesiosaur - a marine dinosaur from the Mesozoic era. It was clear to him when the drone confirmed perfectly preserved all four flippers and the short tail of similar size. Its long neck were almost five meters long. Only two days ago he saw the model of the skeleton of this creature within the Natural History Center.

He saw that Arty recognized it too and they followed the drone further toward the next one. More flippering skeletons were lying around. Probably, once in the prehistory of the planet this cave had open entrance into ocean and this place was either the home of these marine creatures or their graveyard. Or both.


"I am speechless..."

Marko, the Natural History Center curator arrived immediately when they sent him the feeds from the cave. Now, only one day after, he stood with Arty and Vicks in the same spot - at the end of the mineral hallway and watched the live feed from the laser mapping drones his team of museum scientists deployed in order to create fully detailed 3D image of the cave interior.

"The brown bears! I thought not a single one exists around here.." They make sure the lowered mapping drone took position carefully in order not to disturb the animals in the middle of their hibernation. "And these bats... It's almost like they never live this cave..." He started to pace nervously. Then stopped in sort of eureka moment. "Is this even possible?"


"It's almost like these animals developed entirely independent underground ecosystem." He pointed into darkness. "It's the wildest thought.. But.. It could be that this underworld is their whole habitat. We definitely need to tag these bats and especially the bears..."

"Do you think the global warming caused this?" Arty asked the question all of them are thinking about at this moment. "But it became the issue only fifteen years ago. Twenty maybe."

"For humans maybe." Marko looked Arty with almost apologizing expression. "We are arrogant and ignorant species. Animals are different. They might be aware of the climate changes for a long time. Most likely for centuries. This cave could be just a tip of the iceberg. If I'm right, we could witness rapid evolution at work."

It was hard for Marko to hide the excitement. It was obvious that for him, this find was a lifetime achievement. He could only imagine the amount of scientific work and all the connected sciences that should start acting upon.

"Thank you very much guys!" He shook Vicks' and Arty's hands with enhanced boyish enthusiasm. You gave the people not one, but three discoveries today. The marine creature skeletons preserved like these were never found in Europe. Possibly nowhere else and I can't hide the excitement that our museum will finally display the real skeleton of this size... Hmm.. We will probably have to erect another building just for this."

He paced to the very edge and Arty followed the man, clearly worried about him. The stream and its wide entrance were definitely beautiful, almost like the scene from the Alice's adventures in the Wonderland, but it was pretty slippery and slightly dangerous. Marko pointed into darkness.

"... and these could be the breakthrough discovery. The one even Darwin would not be ashamed off." He make the full turn and faced them both again. "But this.." He theatrically produced the green mineral from his pocket. "... is something that will finally put our museum on the map."

Arty and Vicks looked each other but that didn't puzzled the curator at all.

"Gentlemen, behold the Sodium-Lithium-Boron-Silicate-Hydroxide with Fluorine." He looked closely the mineral and continued. "... and this time when I say with Fluorine, I will mean it."

Only then Marko saw Arty's raised arm and stopped talking.

"Ahem.. I brought with me additional geological tools and last night we analysed the minerals in Vicks' lab in great detail and..." He tried to find proper words. "As it seems, well yes there's fluorine inside, but it's not the element that is giving it the green color."

"There's another element in this beauty?"

"Actually three. Iron, copper and chromium. All these incredible glows in this hallway came from actually almost the same mineral." Arty continued the lecture. "It's more or less the same as the Jadarite from your exhibit, only the additional elements are reflecting the light differently due to the chemical impurities."

"Chemical impurities?"

"Yes, growth imperfections happened during the crystal creation, probably at the time when this mountain was one violent volcano or during the rapid tectonic movement. Or both combined." Arty explained and continued. "But even that was not exactly what was giving the colors all the intensity and super glowness."

"There are more elements in this?"

"Not really. We couldn't verify this, but we are ninety percent sure that there are free electrons in the mineral. Lots of it. They are responsible for the glow and color shades."

"You mean like in gold?"


At this very moment Marko's eyes received the superglow as well. He tried to say something but the words didn't come out. He stared for a long time and finally came to his senses.

Well, he almost did.

"Even better ... Ahem ..." He coughed the excitement out of his chest. "We will definitely need another wing in the museum just for this ... And this time we will insist on the name ..."

He paused, reached his other pockets and pulled out all the samples he took earlier.

"Guys - behold the one and only ... "

He then proudly lifted a bouquet of differently colored rocks that happened to basically be only one mineral.

"Serbian Kryptonite!"

Birth « FAR-T1 Chapters Navigation (Serbian Kryptonite)

© 2023 Milan's Public Journal