Meeting Mars Teddy - Part 3
The strange collections at the museum.
It didn't look like a museum from the outside. It was a grand glass building with seemingly impossible architecture on a wide boulevard full of grand glass buildings with equally impossible architecture. After wiping a patch of dust clear with the arm of her spacesuit, Penny found it to be a lovely soft gold colour.
"That's a nice colour," said Teddy, "we haven't seen one like this before, have we?"
"No, I don't think so," replied Penny thoughtfully, "maybe it's important? Government building perhaps?"
Penny, as was so often the way, found that she was musing to herself. Teddy was already inside exploring.
Unlike some of the others, this was a building worth exploring. Standing in the entrance hall, Penny looked around in complete wonder. Vast hallways spread out in every direction. Massive stairways led up to floors hidden far above the domed ceiling and down into levels deep below. With Teddy nowhere in sight, Penny started exploring, seeing all of this building could take some time.
"It's gigantic!" declared Teddy enthusiastically over the suit communicator some considerable time later.
"It sure is," agreed Penny, "where are you, Teddy? I can't see you anywhere."
"I'm on the seventh floor, I think, or maybe sixth. You need to come up here now to see what I'm looking at!"
Penny grumbled to herself quietly. She had spent all this time exploring the ground level and had no idea where the nearest stairs were. After a few wrong turns, she found a small spiral staircase discreetly carved into a column. It looked like the type of staircase that whoever once worked here would have used to get between floors. They were plain, simple, and, as Penny had never quite felt comfortable with, completely open. Hugging the column to stay as far from the edge as possible, Penny started to climb.
The ground floor was a grand statement, a beautiful array of slender columns and sweeping arches. Even with dust hiding the gold of the walls, it was magnificent. As she climbed higher and higher, Penny kept her eyes resolutely fixed on the stairs just in front of her. She had learnt that she didn't want to look down.
As she reached the second floor, all vertigo suddenly disappeared. Spreading out as far as she could see in all directions were displays of every kind of alien creature imaginable. She saw fantastic beasts, creatures with too many legs, even more tails, distressing numbers of eyeballs and amazingly coloured fins, fur and scales. The distinction between animal, vegetable, and mineral blurring, intertwining and inverting. Sometimes all in a single display.
"Where are you?"
Penny snapped out of her amazement, "I’m on the second level. It’s incredible."
"Oh yes, it is, isn’t it," enthused Teddy, "have you seen the thing that looks like the lump of granite with teeth? It was such a shame it wasn’t called a crocodile rock. Someone really missed an opportunity there." Teddy ignored Penny’s groans, "just hurry, I have something you really HAVE to see."
Penny sighed. There would be plenty of time later to look over the collection later, "On my way."
Penny continued up the spiral staircase, each floor different from the one below. Creatures were replaced with objects. Objects were replaced with tools and technology that looked vaguely familiar, like distant cousins of everyday items from Earth. The higher she climbed, the further the items diverged from Earth-like, and the more they began to look like they belonged to the city. Teddy had obviously been a bit too excited to count accurately because Penny counted at least 12 floors before they found each other.
"Finally," exclaimed Teddy as Penny climbed onto the landing. If Penny had not been so out of breath from climbing all the stairs, what she saw would have taken her breath away.
"Are these…" began Penny.
"All from Earth," confirmed Teddy with a nod. "I've been through most of this floor already. As far as I can see, there are specimens from every continent. This is what you'd probably call the pre-history floor. Human history starts a few floors up."
"A few?!? How many floors are there?" asked Penny incredulously.
"I went up another twelve, I think. I lost count. There may be more."
Something Teddy said earlier made no sense to Penny. "Wait, how do you know that there are specimens here from every continent? Some of this was before there were even humans on Earth. I've never seen anything like them in museums!"
Teddy looked at Penny sadly. "I've always wondered how you poor humans cope without the Knowledge."
"The Knowledge of the teddys," replied Teddy. "It comes from the entire teddy history, every teddy adds their part to it, and we all get to know it."
More questions than Penny knew how to ask tried to get out of her mouth at precisely the same time.
"So, how long have there been teddys?"
"How did you get here?"
"You saw Dinosaurs?"
"Who is Guardbot?"
"Where did teddys come from?"
"How do you fit the Earth entire history into your heads?"
"How do you remember other teddy's memories? Does every teddy in existence from now until the end of time know about that accident I had that time when I was little?"
"No," smiled Teddy kindly. "We don't remember everything that ever happened, just the important bits that a teddy saw and added to The Knowledge. That accident was definitely not important. What is important is two floors up."
Without giving Penny a chance to ask the next thousand questions that were exploding in her head, Teddy bounded away up the stairs.
End of Meeting Mars Teddy Part 3
Meeting Mars TeddyPart 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4