Chapter 24

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I watched as the model car made its way through the maze. It got from start to finish with no wrong turns. No exploration.
“It really works.” I picked up the car, analyzed it. It used to be a normal RC toy car, but Alex and Zack had rigged it up to be controlled with magic. Without even looking at the maze, Zack had made it solve the maze without a single mistake.
“Pretty neat, huh?” Alex smiled. “There are all sorts of maze-solving algorithms, but they all rely on exploration–and sensors–to find the obstacles. But with magic… it can find the right path on the first try.”
“Incredible.” First a sentient AI, and now this? “You did all this, just the two of you?”
“We had some… preexisting research,” Alex admitted.
“Preexisting research?”
“Would you believe… alien technology?” Zack asked.
“Ancient technology created by the dragons?” Alex offered.
“Hmmm… maybe.” Nobody was sure exactly what the dragons may have accomplished. Most of the evidence of their civilization had been destroyed along with the dragons themselves, but from what has been recovered, it’s clear that they created technology–and magic–far beyond what we have now. It wasn’t much of a stretch to think they might have figured out how to combine the two fields.
“Remember the story I told you about how The Lab found my egg?”
“The one that supposedly ends with you being rescued by a dragon?” The one I don’t believe at all, since dragons are extinct.
“The cave was once home to a dragon,” he explained, “We returned to the site later, and recovered artifacts. Including a few things that we realized were using magic and technology together.”
I wouldn’t have believed it, but… I could feel his mind, and it felt honest. Mostly. There was something about it that he wasn’t telling me, but… he didn’t seem to be lying. Then again, the feel of someone’s mind isn’t always a good indication. Some people learn to fake it.
“I can show you some of the artifacts if you don’t believe me.”
“Sure. If you’ve got proof, let me see it.”
“Back in a minute.” Alex walked out.
I sighed. Dragons. They’ve been extinct for hundreds of years, but it seems I still can’t get away from them.
“So you don’t believe in aliens?” Zack asked.
“I realize it’s possible that there’s something else out there,” I admitted, “But if God had created some other planet with life–with intelligent life, no less–the Bible would mention it.”
“Unless we’re supposed to figure it out on our own.”
“I suppose that’s possible.” I shrugged. “What does it matter, anyway? Even if aliens do exist, why would they ever come here?”
“I’ve been asking the same question for a long time,” Zack said, “And I think it’s probably for science. To find out what’s out there–or down here, to us–and… just to know.”
“Just to know if theirs is the only planet with life?”
“Yeah. If we got some kind of evidence that some distant planet held intelligent life… wouldn’t we be curious?”
“You think they’d travel thousands of light-years away, just to answer a question that has no relevance to their own lives?”
“People are always looking for answers.”
“Except when they think they’ve found them,” Alex added.

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