Coffee Break Read – Genetic Archaeology

A flash fiction by E.M. Swift-Hook. You can listen to this on YouTube.

“What’s this one?” Shaldre picked up one of the vials of genetic material which had rolled out of the old storage cylinder and ended up by her feet.
Hepestin shrugged. “Just because I’m a researcher in ancient genetics doesn’t grant me magical powers to read ancient DNA.”
Shaldre picked up the vial in her servo-gauntlet. Of all the things they had found in this long-abandoned human colony, this collection of genetic samples which the labels hinted might even come from Earth itself, was the most exciting discovery her archaeological team had yet uncovered.
Churn Hepestin had been assigned to the team at the last minute to explore any interesting genetic variants in the traces they might discover from the crops these colonists had been growing. Which considering this find of a sealed cache of genetic samples, was serendipity. Originally, Shaldre had not really expected to have much use for her.
“Might they be viable?” she asked, still peering into the vial.
Hepestin was packing the other vials into a secure portable containment chamber and held out her claw for the one Shaldre was studying.
“Unlikely.”
“But you could try?” Shaldre asked, as she parted with the vial despite an odd reluctance to do so.
“The funding could stretch to that.”
Some rotations later Shaldre was looking into the eyes of the sweetest creature she had ever seen, holding it carefully in two of her arms. They had done some research in the colony database so she had some idea of what this was and what its kind had meant to long lost humanity.
“Hello Dog,” Shaldre said gently. “I think you and I are going to be good friends.”

E.M. Swift-Hook

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