Inquirius had a favorite old scroll. It had become light brown, the edges crumbling, middle parts cracking from use. It told a tale of a crew sailing around Qwortar, documenting coastlines, sea creatures, and anything edible they discovered along the way.
"Is this Scroll O-135?" Dreck asked while tapping on the glass.
"Yes." Inquirius narrowed their eye and slapped Dreck's tentacle away from the glass.
"Well," Dreck shook out the tentacle which had been hit. "It’s next for digitization."
"Let's run it through the scanner then."
"No!" Inquirius waved their tentacles and shook their beak quickly. "It would be ground to dust!"
"I have Plan B." Dreck reached for a little L-shaped device strapped at their side. "This is a portable scanner. It uses lasers to create a digital image. I promise Scroll O-135 will be perfectly fine." Inquirius held out a tentacle. Dreck contemplated for a moment before handing it over.
Inquirius inspected the device, even shooting the lasers at the ground to test for heat. "And why didn't we use one of these for the other delicate pages?"
"Because it was still in development." Dreck crossed their tentacles. "This one just finished all the tests."
"I want to see the picture before you save it and forget it."
"Fine by me." Inquirius gave the item back to Dreck before unlocking the glass case.
"There is writing on both sides, but I will flip it over." Inquirius waited until Dreck nodded before lifting the glass top away and allowing Dreck to scan the aged parchment.
"Flip please." Inquirius finished studying the first side before using eight tentacles, two on each side, to carefully flip it over. The red lasers scanned away and Dreck pointed to one of the library computers. "Let's take a look."
Inquirius stood just behind Dreck as the images were loaded. They appeared slowly, the words much clearer than Inquirius expected, but he didn't say anything about that.
"You see this?" Dreck hit a couple buttons, zooming in on a corner of the scroll. Behind the clear words, was even more faded letters.
"Yeah." Inquirius bobbed their beak up and down. "This is a palimpsest, and I can almost see what was once erased to fit this document."
"All right, well, then I can help with that. I'll save these images, make some copies, and see if I can manipulate them to make the old stuff clearer."
Inquirius stretched their eye stalk closer to the screen. “Then I can translate and save that in the same folder as Scroll O-135.”
“Exactly!” Dreck did a bit of typing, saving some things before dismissing the closeup of the scroll on screen. “You know how to do all that?”
Inquirius rolled their eye. “I’ve been paying attention in those tech classes.”
“Right.” Dreck cleared their throat. “Then I’ll let you know when the file is ready for you.”
“Thank you.” Inquirius busied themselves with replacing the glass over Scroll O-135 while Dreck left the library.
Word count: 498