There’s a whiteboard at the office where someone has jotted down a few “Friday Facts”. See the pic above for some of them. After the first few, they went dormant for a few months. Then someone added the google ‘fact’ (which is, of course, false, as a googol is still what it has always been, hence the rubbing out). And then some wisecracker made the ORSA comment. At the risk of alienating those faithful readers who don’t know what an ORSA is, here’s a little story about how you might go about it…
Carl hated the jungle. It was one thing doing the planning for the hunt with the clients beforehand – the endless meetings and interminable discussions – but when they dragged you along, it was decidedly worse. The best kind of hunter to work with was the one that wanted help in setting everything up, but left you out of the final step so they could bring home the prize themselves. True – you made less money out of them, but the compensation of significantly less chance of things blowing up in your face more than made up for it.
But no chance of that with this one. Jon was the worst sort of this worst type of client. All swagger and self-importance, full of know-it-all quips and hefty opinions. With the additional annoyance of demanding a hand-hold at every baby step decision. And of course, he’d insisted on Carl coming along for the hunt.
Which was where he was now – trying to judge the distance to the ruined temple up ahead, where the trail they’d been following for hours seemed to be leading. A quick check on his iMap confirmed that it wasn’t much more than 30 minutes away. It was a familiar location for the orsa, and Carl had led hunters here before. It was the second of the two temples in this part of the jungle, both of which were dedicated to Soluvencia, the native goddess of sufficiency. The first one had been discovered years ago, and all the wildlife in the area had been eradicated within a few years. Nobody hunted there anymore. There had been a hiatus while explorers slowly worked their way deeper into the jungle before finding another fertile hunting ground. Carl’s colleagues had been the first to find it, and had quickly started leading hunts to the area.
He was brought back to the present by a word from Jon – he’d seen a second line of prints leading off to the right. Delighted by the chance to get a bit of space, he suggested that Jon try to follow the second line, while he would validate the first line. It didn’t take too long to verify that the trail led directly to the temple, as he’d suspected. He sat down on the steps leading down from the first pillar, and waited for Jon to arrive.
It didn’t take too long for Jon to trundle out of the undergrowth, and traipse up the steps. He was out of breath and clearly not impressed by the ease with which Carl had made a similar journey. He limped over to the second pillar and sat down. After a few minutes rest, he proclaimed that he’d be heading into the temple to have a look. Carl stayed behind – the first entrance into the temple tended to overwhelm most people. He was right. It wasn’t twenty minutes before Jon dashed out, frantic, distraught and jabbering. The model had freaked him out.
The model inside the temple was admittedly one of the strangest things Carl had ever seen. At first glance, it was just a model of the temple itself. But looking closer, it seemed to expand in meaning and significance, until you felt that you were looking at a model of the whole history of the temple. You knew the history of it, and could sense its future. As though the model builder had anticipated everything that would happen over the lifetime of the temple, and somehow endowed the model with the ability to portray all this. The longer you stare at it, the more you get drawn into the details, and if you don’t break away, there’s a real danger of insanity.
But there was still an orsa to shoot, and so once Jon had calmed down, Carl suggested moving around the back of the temple. The spoor led due east, towards a clearing in the jungle, where, as they drew nearer, they could see two of the reclusive orsa grazing. This was where Carl’s role was largely over, and he let Jon take the lead, carefully inching forward to a position where a clear shot could be made.
The rest of the trip played out without any problems. The call was made to the local helicopter operator, Falling South Aviation, to send in a chopper. While waiting for it to arrive, Carl helped Jon gut the carcass, and prepare it for transport. They winched the orsa up first, and soon joined it in the helicopter for the flight back to the base.
It was only later that night that Carl, over a gin & tonic, realised what had been bothering him. He was sure that the carving on the third pillar had changed – there was something different about it on the second level. He’d have to go back and look into that soon.