The artifact stood before her. It was round yet sharp with cut wires reaching out for unknown places around the ruins of the past-future. It was technology too complex for Janette to understand and too old to possibly work the archaeologists told her. A mirage of what once was—Janette decided. The metal was garnished with moss and crevices with crawling bugs, bugs with too many legs and too squishy of bodies.
When she reached the base, it started, the thumping hum. It pulsed for two seconds, rested for four, then pulsed for three. Then another pause—awkwardly longer—held itself like a fog around them. It was waiting for a response.
“I still can’t understand you,” Janette said to the artifact, “But I brought something that might help.” She fished out some off-white string attached to a tin can. It seemed silly to merge such rudimentary tools with such a technological behemoth. The archaeologists had laughed at her. It hadn’t been the first time.
Yet she gathered together the loose wires. Her curled strands bounced in front of her eyes as she bent forward. She didn’t much care what they said anyway. The pulse that resonated through her hand as she picked up the wires confirmed her theory. The wires were sending out sound waves, not electrical pulses. How they could didn’t matter.
Janette’s fingers twisted the wires into one, at least all the ones that could reach. Then she tied on the string and can contraption. The pulse came again.