Pointing to a white object in an otherwise desolate landscape, Inark activated his comm device. “Go investigate,” he ordered Gdon.
Gdon transported himself to the object Inark had pointed to. “It appears to be some sort of artifact,” Gdon said.
“Initiate a scan,” Inark ordered.
Following orders, Gnod performed the scan. “It’s organic,” he reported.
Inark transported himself to where Gdon was standing. “Model a reconstruction,” he said.
Gdon removed a device from a bag he was carrying, aimed it at the object, pressed a some buttons, and within a few seconds, an image appeared on the screen. “I don’t recognize that life form,” Gdon said. He pressed a few more buttons on the device and the word “Bovine” appeared.
Inark looked at the screen and read, “An animal of the cattle group, which also includes buffaloes and bisons.” He looked at Gdon and said, “This is not the species we were sent to find,” he declared. “We are searching for humans.”
“How long has it been since the human species was last accounted for?” Gdon asked.
“The last indication of human life on this planet was 15,363 Earth rotations ago, in the Earth year 2061,” Inark explained. “The species failed to heed the signs of the deterioration of the critical environmental factors necessary to support most life forms.”
“I thought it was the famine and the wars that destroyed the humans,” Gdon said.
“It was,” Inark said, “but it was the degradation of the climate that led to the catastrophic storms, famine and the resulting survival wars, which ultimately proved to wipe out most of the species.”
“And our job,” Gdon said, “is to determine, once and for all, if there is any humans life remaining on this planet.”
“It’s unlikely,” Inark said. “The real human frailty was its focus on the short-term while choosing to be willfully ignorant of the long-term implications of their actions upon the environment and the resulting calamity.”
“But ultimately, their lack of foresight was good news for us,” Gdon said.
“That’s correct, Gdon,” Inark said. “It’s been 42 Earth years since the planet was last able to support life, but I am confident that we can report back to home base that the planet, in another two Earth decades, will have fully regenerated and should be suitable for colonization by our own species. Gather your scanning device, harvest this bovine object, and let’s transport home.”
Written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt.