By then, the earth had recovered; but the ravages left an indelible mark on the populace. The great thinkers, the idealists, the dreamers had given themselves up in the cause for peace, and with them their favored pursuits had died out — history, poesy, rhetoric, philosophy. What remained was concern only for facts observable with the eyes. These were the books maintained through the ages; the frivolous works found second life as wrapping paper, as kindling.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

On the day in question, a strange light fell from the heavens and crashed into the ocean. One of the few extant legends spoke of a capsule sent to the moon millennia ago — was this it? Were the lunar colonists sending it back? Had it never reached its destination, instead hovering in orbit for untold years? Only one person dared ask, the daughter of one of the planet's governors.

"Father, may I see?"

"I suppose so. We didn't understand it." The old man held one of the artifacts from the find, a deteriorating book in faded print. The girl opened it to a random page and recognized faint writing in the ancient alphabet. Placing their Earth-English scientific dictionary flat on its spine, she began translating.

"It speaks of global warming. Fluctuating temperatures."

"Ah," exclaimed her father. "Even back then they had that problem."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Why did the report haunt her so? She had no answer. Slowly she read it aloud, guessing at the pronunciations. The first eight lines she mostly understood — "thee" wasn't in her dictionary. Was it another season, like "summer"? Was "thou"? Then the ninth stumped her completely:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

BrevityQuest11 (299 words)

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