Raynes probed the soil, checking the radiation levels.
“Well?” Barron asked, his voice scratchy through the Comms system. “What’re the readings?”
“Approximately five million rad. We’re taking a risk just standing here, even wearing these Hazmat suits. Maybe we can try again in another few thousand years?”
Barron stamped his feet impatiently. “Damn it. I was hoping we could be the ones. The first people to dig here. Perhaps even unearth a few artifacts.”
His companion shook his head, his grief palpable, even through the thick material of the protective suit. “I’m sorry, Doug. We were never going to be the ones. Even if the levels had been a million rad, anything we found would have still been too hot to bring off planet.”
The two archaeologists stomped back through the dust, resigned to returning home empty-handed. Maybe their descendants would have more luck.
Planet Earth would have to remain off-limits for at least a few millennia more.