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Tememtim
or,
the Saurian Path

Dreamed 1995/3/3 and 3/16 by Chris Wayan

PART 1: THE SWORD IN THE RUINS

An archeological site. The massive stone walls of the foundation still half-stand, forming a maze buried now in sediment. Where to dig? We have a new instrument to tell us--a short sword, standing stabbed into the earth, like Excalibur in the stone. But this sword's sunk in time, in dust-strata going back eons. It's a prototype; the hilt and wide guard are crude, forming a rough silver cross. The sword quivers, like a dowsers' hazel wand. It tilts to show where to dig! Picking up vibrations from underground? Nothing so simple--it's made of "tememtim", a high-tech alloy that's temperature-sensitive. It holds a latent shape remembered in the metal, and bends between its worked shape and the remembered one as the temperature varies during the day, and at different depths in the time-strata, the dust of warm times and cold.

The name stands for "temperature, memory, time." Or maybe "temperature-memorizing titanium," since that's the dominant component of the alloy.

Tememtim, a sword made of temperature-memory metal.
NOTES NEXT MORNING NEXT DAY

I have to drive through Silicon Valley, and the engine smells hot--even scorched. At last I have to stop and check the oil. Pull out the dipstick--and there I am, holding a temperature-sensitive metal rod like a miniature fencing foil!

It is indeed hot, and I watch the engine temperature uneasily as I drive home, as gently as I can...

While I wonder if the dream was subtly predictive.

PART 2, TWELVE DAYS LATER: THE SAURIAN PATH

I'm in the future. Our archeology class is exploring a site on the south slope of a hill above the sea. The Marin side of the Golden Gate? Looks like it, but the water's higher, and the great bridge is gone.

Below the hill, a little ridge with an ancient road and eroded tower-bases along its top, like old molars. Steep slope to the sea below. The humans gravitate here, to these towers. The natural place to dig.

Our one nonhuman classmate is a bipedal saurian/avian, like a shy vegetarian velociraptor, but with a long feathered tail and crest.

A saurian being with a feathered tail and crest
S/he and I gravitate more to a ditch on the downhill side of the road, 1-2 yards wide and deep, weedy and unimpressive. Tells me "My people would travel along here, not on the ridge. Too visible up there. Here, your head can see out but you're sheltered from the wind--and from others' eyes." I share my saurian classmate's feelings, but couldn't articulate them.

At last our human classmates give in and follow us and dig off the main road. Right under the surface, we find ruins much older than the human ones above! They built around these much more ancient foundations.

The human experts never dreamed that saurians lived here first.

Green saurian with rainbow crest and tail
NOTES NEXT MORNING

LISTS AND LINKS: dream beings - dinosaurs - birds - archeology and paleontology - unburying memories - swords - psychic dreams - precognition - The Sword Tememtim alive and swinging, in Thief of Dreams - meet my classmate's Saurian Sisters - pure digital art

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