Even Carl Sagan thought he was off his rocker... Grandfather, polymath, and fringe-theorist, Arthur Halley spent his entire life seeking the fabulous Lost Inca Hoard, the ransom demanded by infamous conquistador Francisco Pizarro in exchange for the release of Emperor Atahualpa. Insisting it must remain in a single trove, Arthur-with the aid of a plucky young intern named Caroline Masters- trekked the breadth and length of the vast Andes Mountains in search of the tiniest morsel of information. For him, merely finding the trove would be his life's achievement, but what he found in addition to a "room full of gold" would challenge everything he thought he knew of the universe.
General Physical Condition
Arthur enjoyed relatively good health through most of his life, having a bit of an academic's gut. In his late 70's his health started to decline sharply, requiring use of a cane to move around the house. Rather than seek out the mysterious being shown on the tablet and prolong his life, he decided to spend his final days with his grandchildren.
Arthur was known to have high, round cheeks and peaked eyebrows. He looked like a cross between J.R.R. Tolkien and Grandpa Munster.
As a child, Arthur had a deep avid love of classical science fiction and archaeology, always asking "what if". He studied the unexplained in-depth and believed if a terrestrial explanation could not be assigned to a particular artifact or structure, then surely there must be an extra-terrestrial one. He worked odd jobs here and there, interning for older professors before saving up enough through the years to employ an intern of his own and undertake his first expedition. Desperate for whatever job she could land at the time, a young Caroline Masters accompanied the absent-minded professor into the depths of the mountains. The two spent more time fending off mosquitoes and wildlife than interviewing locals and chasing down leads. Their search took them to ever more remote villages until one of the elders saw something in the two and on his death bed imparted a secret to Arthur. Following this clue, Arthur and Caroline searched for days for the given landmarks, finally arriving at a mountain face. Thinking their search had been in vain, Arthur prepared to leave until he noticed a tiny stream issuing from the mouth of a cave hidden among crags and vines. The two lit their lanterns and made their way down winding passages, worrying their light would give out every step of the way. Caroline noticed a source of light up ahead and a faint breeze wafting fresh air into the passage. The two exited the passage into a vast vaulted chamber with a partial skylight hidden by trees. Arthur could not scarce believe what he saw. The tales stated Atahualpa promised Pizarro a "room full of gold", but several small homes could fit in the cavern stuffed with gilded odds and ends. The hoard contained not just jewelry, but tablets crowded with inscriptions. One in particular stood out: a tablet of solid gold mounted on a decaying wooden pedestal. To anyone else it would seem like the image of a god of the underworld, but the markings indicated something far different. According to the inscriptions, the Inca had made contact with an entity who promised them renewed life in exchange for blood offerings: by accepting the life of another, it would prolong the lifespan of an elderly individual. They had constructed a crude portal to allow for passage into this beings realm, where it kept watch over a fabulous tree that would produce fruit that once ingested would -depending on the translation-revert the consumer into a more youthful state or cure all ills and extend their lifespan considerably. In order to produce fruit, however, the tree required a blood sacrifice. The translation had Arthur shaking. Everything he'd spent his life seeking to validate, proven on this small gold tablet. Instead of seeking awards and accolades, Arthur determined the tablet must remain secret, dreading what would happen should such knowledge be exploited for ill. He and Caroline settled on sifting out as much small coins and ornaments as they could carry without drawing attention then made their trip back out of the country, with Caroline being awarded enough to fund a move to Europe to enroll in Oxford and Arthur bringing home the first of many nest eggs he'd build over the years. Although Arthur was able to make successive trips alone thanks to the gold map hidden in the statuette, he never confided his findings with anyone other than Professor Koji and Caroline. He spent the greater part of his latter years enjoying the company of his two sons and five grand children. He passed away of a heart attack, never living long enough to see his life's work vindicated.
Arthur spent most of his youth bouncing around the college circuit in the United States, presenting his theories and subsequently getting run out of campus by the stuffy alumni. Ultimately he decided to move to Japan, which while the recognition he sought still eluded him, his theories found more fertile ground. He never acquired major doctorates or masters, but he honestly felt he never needed them to begin with.
Towards the latter days of his life, Arthur enjoyed a modest stream of income from speaking at events at various universities. In addition to the treasure he smuggled through his expeditions, this allowed him to purchase a small ranch in North Dakota to provide a permanent residence for him and his family.
Accomplishments & Achievements
According to his former intern Caroline Masters, Arthur did indeed find the Lost Inca Hoard and an immeasurable wealth of not just gold and jewels but priceless artifacts such as inscribed tablets and idols depicting incomprehensible creatures. One item stood out from the rest: a golden tablet referencing contact with an otherworldly being. He returned home seemingly empty-handed with nothing to show for his efforts, but in reality managed to extract a small amount of treasure to begin planning for the future. Chief among them the statue of a king on a litter, which hid a gold plate inscribed with a map to the hoard.
Failures & Embarrassments
The vast majority of academia labeled Arthur a nut, kook, and fringe theorist, drunk on the concept of "ancient aliens". His reputation had been so battered and bruised no one thought anything of it when he retired quietly to his ranch to spend his final years with his family, or that he would periodically make trips to the Andes, supposedly on a last quest for glory.
With the exception of Professor Koji, most academics felt Arthur had a brilliant mind squandered on dead-end theories. Had he lived but a few years longer, alien races, mystical armors, and other realms would have been as a feast to him.
Morality & Philosophy
Arthur staunchly believed "impossible" artifacts such as the Phaistos Disk, Voynich Manuscript, and Antikythera Mechanism were actually alien artifacts: left behind by extraterrestrial visitors as a sort of "cosmic travel brochure" should Humans prove themselves clever enough to decipher them.
Spoiler Warning: Unpublished content!Spacequake Ch. 6
"Arthur was a huge proponent of the whole 'ancient aliens' theory. He postulated artifacts such as the Phaistos Disk, Antikythera Mechanism, and Voyneich Manuscript were actually alien artifacts, something of a galactic travel brochure provided Humans were clever enough to decipher them," Caroline explained and pressed her knuckles against her cheek. "Did others share his beliefs?" Dais asked. Caroline flicked him a look and shook her head. "Absolutely not! They laughed him out of academia! Even Carl Sagan thought he was off his rocker! Well, Arthur ended up getting the last laugh. He found the treasure and all those snobs have to their name are worthless diplomas and plaques. Mia's grandfather was the only one who believed him, so much so he funded part of Arthur's first expedition. Oh, if he had just held on a few years longer, the things I could have shown him!" Caroline lamented and sighed and sagged back in her command chair.
Mia remembers him as a nutty professor, telling her about visitors from across the stars. He insisted the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter is one of the earliest references to alien contact with ancient Japanese people.
According to Mia he smelled of mint and cigars all the time.
Contacts & Relations
Professor Koji, Mia Koji, Caroline Masters/Captain Caroline Wendell
Two sons, one daughter-in-law, five grandchildren-two grandsons and three granddaughters
Wealth & Financial state
The exact dollar estimate of Arthur's accumulated treasure remains unknown. The Hoard itself could be valued at several billion dollars adjusted for modern day, but the amount Arthur himself smuggled out likely is in the range of $900k-$2 million.
“Show me the location of Arthur Halley’s children.” Following her command, the ORACLE program pored through news articles, birth certificates, apartment leases, a flurry of documents flew across the main screen. Finally a map of North America surfaced and zoomed in on a small secluded ranch, blinking text displaying a route and address. Caroline’s lips spread in a giddy smile and she clenched one fist and shook it slightly. “Delete query”, she said and the entire pile of documents vanished.
“So, where Arthur these days? Out of the country on another one of his trips?” “He’s dead.” Caroline glanced at the young man sharply. “He had a heart attack last year.” Dais noticed his mother looked visibly rattled by the news. She blinked several times and bit her lip. “I’m very sorry to hear that...I would’ve liked to have seen him one last time...to help vindicate his life’s work...”
blue-gray, narrow, bright
White, whispy, slightly balding
Tanned, wrinkled, freckled
"If anyone deserves to find the treasure, it’s me. You see, I tagged along with Arthur Halley on his little expedition. When I was fresh out of high school with not even a penny to my name, willing to take any internship I could to work for a pauper’s salary from a third-rate archaeologist. I know what Arthur found in that cave: something he didn’t think humanity was ready for at the time. Something I didn’t think I’d need back then but I know I need now."-Captain Caroline Wendell
“No wonder she was turning Toyama inside out...this guy, Arthur Halley? He wasn’t just living off the grid, he was living under it! According to ORACLE, he’s a...a fringe theorist! He had a brief career on the lecture circuit before leaving academia to pursue an individual venture in archaeology. He used to live in the city decades ago before buying a patch of land out in the middle of North Dakota and building himself a farm. There’s two children and five grandchildren. He’s listed as deceased but the family still lives there...they seem to be pretty well off considering the guy had a pretty modest income,” Rowen explained as he studied records on a side screen.
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