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CLUE: Papers in the Trash Can

The anthropology team was investigating a place where the Arctica crew camped after their ship was wrecked. A crumpled-up piece of paper summarizes what they found.

 

THE MAIN CAMP SITE
The ash pile is small, indicating a camp time of less than a month. Aside from the usual waste, the midden held some manmade items:

  • four empty 1-fluidram apothecarist's vials circa 1830. By shape and residue, I believe each held about 3.5 milliliters of James's Powder (antimoniated calcium phosphate), a fever reducer.

  • The remains of about 50 lead-soldered tin-plated iron cans. These were of standard Royal Navy issue, probably containing meat, potatoes or fish. The cans are similar to those used on Franklin's third expedition. They appear to have been of indifferent quality: many were poorly soldered, and several were bloated.

  • An unusual bottle and stopper, very small and sturdy, as if to hold a very heavy liquid. Bottle volume: about 7 milliliters. Purpose unknown.

THE QUARANTINE CAMP
Since this camp was apparently suddenly covered by ice, it is complete -- although many of its contents were crushed in the cataclysm or by subsequent movements of the ice. A rock cairn alerted us to the presence of this camp.

The ash pile was unexpectedly large, and the ashes were seen to contain buttons and bits of bone. The cataclysm collapsed the triple-canvas tent onto its wood plank floor. Inside the tent we found blankets, tinned food, a firepit, firewood, cooking utensils and personal effects. The tent also contained a stone that appears to be a meteorite (Object 51).

Subject 1 was discovered wrapped in blankets, apparently killed in his sleep. The body was crushed and deformed by the ice. Subjects 2 and 3 were spared this fate by a protective pocket formed by the ice sheet.

Subject 2, a man, suffered a fatal head wound in the cataclysm. A blood trail, still visible, shows he was dragged into the pocket by Subject 3, a woman, before she died. She was found with her arms wrapped around him, both lying in the collapsed tent as if asleep.

 

An Access Excellence Science Mystery sponsored by Genentech, Inc.
Copyright © 1997 Genentech, Inc.; all rights reserved.

 

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