Peppermill Why

Exploration 4000_054 (E. Japers)

Date: 21 June, 2012

Subject: Dr. E. Japers

Panel Members: Drs. T. Lindquist, R. Klutch, H. O'Sullivan, and M. Burchard.

Foreword: The following is a post-exploration interview taken with Dr. E. Japers after his 8th successful exploration of earth's envied over-lands. The accompanying transcript segments are taken from Dr. Japers' exploration records and field notes.

[Begin Log]

Dr. Japers emerges from his homeward wellspring. It is early morning. No sounds can be heard other than those created by Dr. Japers. He takes a soil sample and begins

EJ: Right from the beginning, I could tell something was different from my previous missions. Normally I would expect to hear the sounds of forest life, especially in the early morning when all the birds and creatures are stirring from their rest. On this occasion, though, the world was quiet, not even a breeze.

RK: Do you believe this was a response to your arrival?

EJ: I hadn't done anything differently from my previous trips. No, it felt as though I had walked in on something that I wasn't supposed to be present for.

MB: Why didn't you abort the mission?

EJ: I dismissed my first impression as the product of anxiety. It seemed important to investigate the change in atmosphere.

Dr. Japers proceeds down the silent waypath. No sounds or movements are observed in his surroundings. The trees become taller and closer together as he travels deeper in.

After roughly half an hour of walking, he reaches a widened section of the meander-line laid for him that surrounds a stone structure jutting from its center. The structure resembles a large human head, approximately four feet in diameter at its widest point, submerged in the dirt at the bridge of its nose. There is a large opening at the top of the head filled with small seeds. Dr. Japers scoops a handful into his expedition pack.

The next few minutes of travel bring a notable shift in environment. The amount of undergrowth is greatly reduced, leaving unbroken stretches of grassy hillside between the trees. The size and frequency of the trees themselves create a canopy that blocks out all direct sunlight, and the area ahead is obscured by a light mist.

HS: Standard Exploration Protocol discourages the gathering and acceptance of natural resources.

EJ: While it's true that I could have been punished for taking the seed, I could have just as easily been punished for not taking the seed. You have consider context. The absence of birdsong in the area led me to think the seed might be needed elsewhere.

RK: The flora, fauna, and climate observed in nature's home with eaves of leaves tends to change frequently. Did you recognize the environment that appeared after you took the seed, either from experience or record?

EJ: No. It was new to me.

Running water can be heard further ahead. Dr. Japers rounds a corner and sees that his guiding ground is interrupted by a wooden bridge and resumes on the other side. The bridge travels over a long, black mass that extends up the hill the left and down the valley to the right. No endpoint is visible in either direction.

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