The rise of the fallen e.., p.1
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       The Rise of The Fallen Empire, p.1

           Gowtham Gurunath
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The Rise of The Fallen Empire


  Contents List

  *

  Acknowledgements

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Epilogue

  Author's Note

  About The Author

  Acknowledgements

  The Rise of the Fallen

  Empire

  "The Rise of The Fallen Empire" is a work of fiction. The places and incidents

  written in this novel is either the product of the author's imagination

  or are used fictitiously.

  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is

  entirely coincidental.

  *

  The technical details regarding the Archaeological procedures and practises & the inclusion of usage of various related equipment's and artefacts

  mentioned in the novel are all accurate and verified using various

  sources from the Internet and data from the libraries.

  *

  This work of fiction would not have been possible

  without the continuous support of family and friends.

  Love Y'all. Keep supporting.

  *

  Dedicated To My Family,

  Dear Friends

  &

  Beloved Readers

  *

  The Rise of the Fallen Empire

  Chapter One

  The view of the sky was enormous as the shining sun slowly peered out of the horizon, from the ground below. The entire sky was scattered with the radiant colours of the rising fireball that perfectly blends into each other closely mimicking a prism.

  Things were functioning exactly as it was supposed to be; right from never-ending sirens of automobiles on the near reflective tarmacs to the ear-piercing chattering noise of the people on streets; it just another fine day at Baltimore.

  As for the John Hopkins University, or JHU, as they are popularly called, the place was infected with a mere silence, or at least the rule of maintaining Silence was strictly adhered across the campus.

  Towards the south of the main campus building, was the block that was famously known by the students of JHU as 'the dig site', or 'the excavation site' because that's where the department of Archaeology established their base, a few years back. Of the entire campus blocks of JHU, the excavation site or the dig site always had some special focus.

  Many long years ago, probably in the mid - nineties, when the Archaeology department was initially proposed at JHU, there stroke an argument among the authorities in naming the block.

  Some members suggested that it be named after 'William Cunnington', the father of Archaeology. But apparently in the early 80's, 'William Flinders Petrie' was allegedly called as the father of Archaeology, by the Archaeological community, upon the discovery that led to the uncovering of The Great Pyramid.

  This posed a huge disagreement among the various members of the Baltimore's Archaeological community; finally after which they were able to find some common ground; both had "William" as their first name, so with each passing days, people eventually started calling the southern block, as the "Williams Memorial."

  Dusted inside the William Memorial, was a large glass casing enclosed by an ancient Brazilian ebony wood, which was stacked with a large number of priceless artefacts and pure medieval stuffs belonging to the Egyptians and Incans tribe that included the Staff of Horus, The Chalice of Fortune, Hieroglyphics Engraved Golden Coins, and even The Great Statue of Viracocha - almost all discoveries pre-dated to the 300 - 500BC.

  Most of those discoveries have been excavated and discovered by a group of researchers and students of the Archaeology department, led by James Gilroy, an Egyptian Arts & Anthropology professor at the JHU; the remaining discoveries were anonymously donated, sources of which are still unknown to this point.

  These priceless artefacts and ancient discoveries attracted more attention among the other Archaeological communities and universities, especially the media, after which the ground floor and the one above it were dedicated for a public visitation, which was later called as the William Memorial's Medieval Museum.

  Directly two floors above the Medieval Museum, was where the Lecture Hall was situated.

  A spectator capacity of around one - hundred, a high-end projector equipped with an efficient performing speakers of 87dB capacity in every corners of the hall, a wide fibre pull-down screen for the projector display and a small indoor library stacked with hand - picked collections of scriptures and medieval maps - with all these facilities, the lecture hall made an unique impression amongst any other lecture halls in any other universities.

  The entire class room was struck with complete silence with a few students occasionally taking notes and the rest just yawning and stretching and even snoring, as the professor stood in the middle of the hall, lecturing on his sessions, on the techniques being used today to identify the mummified remains.

  '. . . . . . . but today, without loosening a single linen bandage we can examine the carefully preserved bodies of the mummies . . . . .' he said, and continued, after pressing a keystroke that fired up a new slide on the wide screen, '. . . . And the skeletons with exactly the same tools used to diagnose medical problems in modern patients.'

  James Gilroy was still a teacher at JHU after all these years. He was a man pushing towards his fifties. The thin copper rimmed glasses on his face and the grown white beard below his chin literally made his face. As for his hair, there was nothing to talk about. He was bald.

  He was the kind of professor who takes interest in specifically hand-picking the students for his excavation projects and tours. Even in his fifties, Gilroy had a unique talent of identifying unique minds, like his.

  Like minds think alike.

  Finishing his lecture, Gilroy pressed another keystroke for the final slide. The wide fibre screen showed four separate and distinguished images that were enlarged to fit the screen, and it was pixelated.

  On the right end of the screen, the slide displayed a lateral view of a mummified body with crossed hands, wrapped in a tainted green and a torn linen bandage; on the left was the top view of the same mummified body's Computed Tomographic images, revealing the rib cages and skeletons. Below that was a three - dimensional CT scan of the abdomen region with partial flesh and drained blood; the last one was a simple skull.

  The professor turned towards his students, closely observed everyone's face for a moment, studying their reactions and thoughts, 'Male or female?' he asked, pointing at the images, flashing on the screen.

  For almost two longest minutes, there was continuous chattering and murmuring among some of the students, and a few others were just pointing at the picture and discussed among themselves.

  Gilroy stared at everyone, annoyed.

  'Male or female?' he shouted again, 'I'm still here, waiting for an answer! Not goin' anywhere anytime soon fellas.'

  Gilroy could sometimes be vicious and even dorky. He was always a man who expected people to have at least a little self - respect for themselves and also for others. He always said, 'Discipline starts right from home, kids.'

  'It's a male.' A sudden voice erupted from the back.

  The voice belonged to a girl; a bit of rough and fragile at the same time.

  Gilroy lifted his head and opened his mouth in an attempt to say something but gave up. Every ones attention was focused towards the last bench.

  'It's the mummified body of a man.' She said again. She was patting her head with a pen in her hand. She wore a pair of thick rimmed glasses that were large for her face, but those glasses practically look
ed perfect, on her face.

  Just within a few seconds, Gilroy identified her from his previous lecture sessions on Material Culture and Anthropology, Melissa Porter, third year class of Archaeological Sciences. He was not surprised.

  Melissa was an attractive and an independent girl; she was in fact a Forex student, [as in foreign exchange] from London's Cambridge University. She was a girl who lives with certain principles, which she often keeps within herself. The fact that she was single buggered many guys around her.

  While most of the guys always glue around her with the only intention of flirting with her, John proved himself unique, which made their friendship also unique and with Katrina and Tobias around, the gang became invincible and even more fun to hang out with.

  '. . . . Well, how do you explain it?' he asked, looking at her.

  Without any hesitations, she pointed towards the second image on the left using her laser pointer. 'Ummm? There we can see that the body structure has a relatively shorter pubic bone and a narrow sub - public angle . . . .' in between she shifted her pointer positions on various parts of other images, as she spoke, '. . . . . Uh, a triangular pelvic inlet and . . . . . . A narrow sciatic notch.'

  'So?' asked Gilroy, expecting an explanation. 'How does this prove your point?'

  'Those are actually some of the features that prove with a higher degree of certainty that the mummified body could be a male.' She said, in an authoritative tone.

  He nodded with a satisfying smile. 'Anyone else, except Melissa?' he asked

  Another girl from the front row raised her hands. 'Prominent brow ridges, big cheek bones, sloping fore head and a squared - off projecting chin.' She said, pointing at the image of the skull.

  Without giving the opportunity of another question being raised, she continued, 'These are also some of the distinguishing features indicating that the mummy is of a male.'

  Gilroy nodded with a proud smile and began with his own version of deduction.

  'Kids . . . . When this mummy was received it was partially unwrapped.' He said. 'As I mentioned earlier, we used 2D and 3D computed tomography's and deduced that the brain and some major organs were removed and that the rolls of linen used to wrap the body filled out the abdominal cavity.' He pointed at the image on the screen with partial flesh and drained blood.

  The students carefully observed and some of them even took quick notes.

  He continued, 'So, The crossed arms, as you can see . . . . .' he pointed to the lateral view of the wrapped mummy, '. . . . . And the tainted green wrappings were usually a common mummification practises beginning about 500BC.'

  'As for the gender of the mummy . . . . ', He pointed at the skull of the mummy, '. . . . . . We used casts and images of male and female pelvises and skulls to compare.'

  He clicked off the projectors display. 'That's all for today's session kids.' He said, waving his hands, as the screen slowly faded to black. That concluded that day's sessions.

  He turned away and started wrapping up his table. 'Class dismissed. Y'all can leave.'

  Gilroy slowly walked out of the lecture hall and disappeared out of sight.

  * * * * *

  Across the lecture hall, near the cafeteria was a man with a mouthful of his early brunch of the day; a grated cheese topping double margarita pizza. He was wearing a thick black leather jacket on top of faded flannel shirt and a navy blue denim jean.

  His gaze was fixed on Melissa and her gang as she exited the lecture hall. He looked at her through his cold grey eyes, till she disappeared out of his sight. He had a completely grown peppered beard below his rounded chin and a dark fluffy hair, on top of which he wore a JHU cap and a distinguishing thin frameless glass; altogether he looked Enigmatic.

  The adventure is about to begin my dear, play along - those were his exact thoughts, as he saw her slowly fade away from his sight.

  He quickly grabbed his small cellular device, pressed some key strokes and finally hit the 'send' button and put it back in his jacket.

  * * * * *

  Melissa, John, Katrina and Tobias were on a long and casual walk across the campus lobby as they discussed their assignment, assigned to them by Professor Gilroy, a week before; something to do with a passive remote sensing, for an excavation site, few miles up North. Their deadline was almost up close but no progress so far.

  Just as their conversation was getting heated up, a sudden vibration was set in motion, followed by a short tone.

  A text message.

  They exchanged looks for a brief moment. 'Melissa! It's probably your phone.' Katrina said.

  With a puzzling expression bugging her face, Melissa opened her backpack and peeked inside; grabbed the big brick shaped PDA. One New Text Message, it said.

  'It's not my phone.' Melissa said. 'Someone must've slipped it or accidentally dropped it in my backpack.'

  An awkward silence enveloped the thick and warm air as Melissa swiped the flat, wide screen of the PDA.

  Tobias broke the silence. 'What's it Mel?'

  She held the PDA, so that her friends could see.

  They all looked at the screen, expressionless.

  The faded display showed two separate combination of alpha - numeric; Latitudes & Longitudes, indeed.

  39.1891o N and 76.7639 o W

  Melissa immediately hit a few key strokes in her own smart phone's real-time mapping application and entered the co - ordinates which triangulated the exact location.

  Bingo.

  They had a hit.

  Chapter Two

  'The Meadowridge memorial park?' asked Katrina.

  Melissa nodded, still puzzled. As soon as she entered the co - ordinates, Melissa's mapping application triangulated them to the Meadowridge memorial park, across downtown indicating it with a small blue dot on a specific spot on the satellite map.

  She stood motionless, not sure what to do next, neither were the others.

  'So, the Meadowridge memorial park.' An assertion; this time it was Tobias.

  'Guys! It's like what? A seventeen mile ride, at the least?' asked John. 'We should definitely go, check out the place; it'll be totally fun.'

  Katrina was totally opposed. 'Check out for what? We don't even know for sure what we're gonna be looking for and in fact, like Melissa said, someone must've dropped the phone accidentally.'

  'Or someone must've have slipped it in purpose, also said by Melissa.' John said, with a sarcastic intonation. 'Maybe their intention was to make sure the message reaches us.'

  Katrina and Tobias looked at each other and turned towards Melissa.

  'You watch too much movies.' They all said in unison, pointing at John. 'This is not anything even remotely close.' Tobias concluded, as John sighed in a complete disappointment.

  'Guys just stop.' Melissa shouted. 'Let us think.'

  Every single word they spoke shot back at them like a boomerang; they echoed through the walls of the campus' lobby. The air outside was thick and warm.

  None of them had even the faintest idea as to what struck Melissa's mind as she spoke again, with the carefully chosen words and thoughts. 'Guys! I guess we should take this to professor Gilroy.'

  Dumbest idea, Melissa ever came up with, they thought.

  'That's lame and insane.' John screamed. 'I feel bad for you, coz' this idea really sucks and for a fact I know it isn't gonna work.'

  John was completely pissed off with the thought and, Katrina and Tobias agreed with John for the first time in a very long time. He had a point.

  The heated up conversation lasted for another ten longest minutes, by the end of which, they all came up with some common grounds.

  'Okay! But . . . . . . .' Melissa paused, looking directly into each other's eyes. '. . . . . We don't do anything stupid. Just observe and survey.' She said, and continued with the same tone. 'Is that perfectly clear?' she asked.

  John dropped his jaws, in an attempt to say s
omething but hesitated, and they all stared at each other for a few moments and at last everyone nodded their heads in agreement.

  'So we have a deal.' Melissa said with a wide smile with her teeth popping out. 'That's great.'

  * * * * *

  A few miles away, the man in the thick black leather jacket with the Enigmatic looks was listening to the conversation on the other side thru' his hidden microphone that was transmitting the audio directly to the wireless earphones plugged inside his ears.

  'Okay! But . . . . . . . . We don't do anything stupid. Just observe and survey.' A few seconds of complete silence and the voice continued. 'Is that perfectly clear?'

  A few static disruptions, but still the voice was perfectly clear with no mistakes in identifying them.

  The voice of the woman from the other end of the device trailed off, but not before saying this. 'So we have a deal . . . . . That's great.'

  The man finally threw a crooked smile with a complete satisfaction lit in his face; after all the kids are playing the game exactly the way it was supposed to be played, the game started by the man himself - The game for which the climax was already written.

  * * * * *

  The Chevy 67' Impala swept the road ahead, at an average speed of around sixty miles an hour, fighting off the mighty wind. The Impala's paint was rusted and scratched on the outside but on the inside it was new and untouched. The rugged construction of the suspension system and the side skirts protected the vehicle from mild bumps as the tires hit rough tracks on the narrow road.

  'We need to hit the highway before it's too dark.' John said. 'I guess we would never make it in this old piece of junk.'

  Tobias looked back and shrugged, in frustration and let-down. 'I prefer calling it Vintage, rather the old.'

  The Chevy 67' Impala was a kind of a sentimental value, used by the Tobias' family for generations, over almost five decades, and its previous owner was a fine old man, who went by the name of a, Luke 'Tobias', Tobias Jr's granddad, before it finally ended up with Tobias Jr. The family was a weird kind of sentimentalists; they Chevy was never even allowed for a paint remodelling or any other reworks for that matter.

  A few minutes passed by in an awkward silence and when the clock ticked 0645 hours, they already crossed a milestone that read, Meadowridge Memorial, 5 Miles North. It was just a few more minutes until they would finally reach the destination.

  Things were going just fine until suddenly and quickly, Tobias hit the worn-down brake pads, so hard, that the tires squealed for a few metres ahead, leaving clumsy tire marks behind. The rest of them lurched forward and then back again, as the Chevy finally came into a resting position.

 
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