Gilligan's Island ~ "That Which Can Eternal Lie"
by Dash O'Pepper
Disclaimer: Gilligan's Island is a registered trademark of Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Gladysya Productions and MGM/United Artists Television. This work of fan fiction is not meant in any way to infringe on copyrights already held by these companies and/or their subsidiaries.
Author's Note: While not a sequel, this story follows my first Gilligan's Island fan fiction, "The Road Not Travelled". Though there are references made to the previous story, you don't need to have read that story to understand this one.
A Scientific Conundrum
Roy Hinkley frowned at the face in the mirror, as he ran a comb carefully through his sandy brown hair, surprised, though not entirely displeased, to discover no additional facial wrinkle or errant strand of grey. It wasn't vanity that made him examine his image so closely. He was actually looking for, and would have been ecstatic to discover, any tell-tale signs of an age difference between the man he was five years ago, when he and the other six castaways washed ashore on this deserted island. Yet, there was nothing.
A lack of pollution, pesticides, chemicals and food additives might have accounted for some slowing in the aging process, but not by this much. Despite the amount of sun exposure they had all experienced, none of them was excessively tanned. Even their hands, which had become accustomed to manual labour, weren't overly calloused. It was as though time had inexplicably slowed where their physicality was concerned, and it was something that had no logical explanation.
Blushing slightly in confusion, he looked up from the food he had been pushing from one side of his plate to the other. It was apparent from the stares he was receiving from his dinner companions that they had been attempting to get his attention for some time.
"I'm sorry, Skipper," he looked at the big man seated at the head of the community table, "my mind was elsewhere."
"I'll say it was," teased the dark-haired young man seated at the Skipper's left, "it was like you were a million miles away."
The Professor sat bolt upright in his chair, as he responded, "I couldn't be a million miles away from here, now could I, Gilligan?"
The first mate gulped. Ever since the incident with Doctor Hinkley, the castaways had been very careful in what they said to the Professor in fear of dredging up memories of events that were best left buried in the past. While Gilligan had no idea how far or near a parallel universe might be, a million miles didn't seem out of the question, and from the Professor's reaction, he worried that he might have hit a nerve.
Quickly trying to change the subject, Gilligan turned toward the Skipper, "Do you think the new lobster traps I made are working better than the old ones?"
The seaman was caught up short by his little buddy's sudden change in tangent. Spluttering for an answer, he looked at the millionaire for help.
"Oh, I'm certain they are, Gilligan," said Thurston Howell III quickly. "Now, if you could just build something to get us all off this island."
His wife squeezed his arm, afraid that her husband's last sentence might have gone too far.
The Skipper breathed a sigh of relief that the Professor seemed to relax again. Whatever had made him react like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car seemed to have passed.
"I have no doubt we'll get off this island—eventually—Mr. Howell,"
"You have a plan, Professor?" asked Ginger. Perhaps a bit too quickly, she worried.
"Not at the moment, but science has to work within certain parameters." His tone was level. "If it fails, then some other forces are at work."
"What kind of forces?"
The Skipper didn't wait for the Professor to answer Mary Ann's question, as he had his own theories about the islands within the area. "Supernatural ones."
The Professor smiled indulgently. While he disagreed vehemently with the Skipper, his time with Hinkley had given him a much higher threshold in accepting the burly seaman's beliefs: "I wouldn't call them supernatural, Skipper. Just things that science hasn't discovered—yet. In the same way a television set would have been considered sorcery during Henry VIII's reign."
"Call it what you like, Professor, but you haven't seen some of the things I've seen over the years in the South Pacific."
Afraid that the Skipper was treading on dangerous ground, Mary Ann piped up: "Is there anything I can help you with, Professor?"
Lately, he always had a smile for her. Especially since he realised that she was one of the hardest workers in maintaining their little community: Mary Ann Summers was always willing to lend a hand in whatever way she could. He was surprised it had taken him five years to figure out something that Gilligan, the Skipper, Mr. Howell—and even Hinkley—already understood.
He nodded in response to her question. "There are some things I'd like to discuss tomorrow regarding how the crops are presently doing."
"Oh, I see." Her smile didn't waver, as she stood to begin clearing away the dishes, but he had a feeling it wasn't exactly the response she had hoped to hear from him.
"Professor, if you need my help, too, you just have to ask." If there were any ill feelings between Ginger and her roommate, the actress did her best to hide them.
"I'll let you know," he replied, as he excused himself and returned to his hut.
"The crops seem to be doing reasonably well, this season." He stood, wiping the dirt from his hands and brushing the loose sand from his trouser legs.
"Well, since we've started rotating the soil and what we grow on it, there has been a change in the speed and quantity of the harvest." She stood up, the merest smudge of dirt on her nose.
He held her chin in his hands, and pulled out his handkerchief to wipe it away.
"Is it off?" she asked.
He nodded, as he took the linen with her fragrance on it, and inhaled deeply before putting it in his pocket.
"Professor, is there something wrong? Something you're not telling us?"
He shrugged. "I don't know if I could explain it clearly enough for you to understand."
She stopped him. "All right, I know I don't have the book smarts that you do, but I'm not completely out to sea, either."
He had not expected his comment to cause her to be defensive. Too many times he would simply forget himself, and talk over the heads of his compatriots without realising it.
"It's me; not you," he said apologetically, "I've been attempting to decipher those ancient writings I recently discovered, and they've led to more questions than I presently have answers for."
"Are they that mysterious?"
"Well, the writing is not hieroglyphs, like the other pieces we've found. It more resembles some of the earliest root languages we know to exist: Sumerian, Finnish and Basque; yet its structure is unique in itself."
Mary Ann shuddered. She recalled what some of the hieroglyphic translations the Professor discovered had revealed, and those were none too pleasant: ritual sacrifice, tortures, and other horrific means of death. "Are they related to the hieroglyphs?"
He shook his head. "That's what's been puzzling me: they don't seem to be. It's as though two distinct—and very different civilisations—may have existed on this island at various periods in history."
"And both just ceased to exist?" She hugged herself; that outcome didn't bode well for their own little community.
"I don't think so. From what I can gather, the people who made the hieroglyphs likely dispersed to other islands, and those remaining may have, unfortunately, eradicated their civilisation via ritual sacrifice."
She thought of the countless lives lost to gods whose hunger might never have been assuaged. "And the other civilisation?"
"I don't know—and without the ability to perform Carbon-14 tests I may never know—but they seem to have been a much older and more highly developed people."
"That sounds like the reverse of everything I was taught. Don't civilisations usually go from primitive to advanced, and not the other way around?"
He nodded. "That's what has me stumped. It just doesn't make sense from a scientific perspective."
"I'm sure you'll figure it out." She smiled. "If there's one thing you enjoy, it's a scientific mystery."