Clara put her foot down, accelerating away from the darkened science complex and excavation site until it disappeared from her rearview mirror. Instead of going the cliff-side route, she opted for the slightly longer mountaintop highway which allowed her to focus a bit less on her steering. Clara shuddered, her breath escaping in frightened gasps into her spacesuit.
Fumbling with the holo-disk she still held in her left hand, she inserted Thebe’s AI core into the slot at the back of her helmet. “What were those things?” She panted, relaying the comm line on her suit’s external speakers so Loken could listen in. “I don’t know ma’am. I’m looking through UWG structured databases now but can’t find anything that quite matches this description. My droids detected biological lifeforms inside those armoured suits before they all got trashed. It's possible they learned UWG standard from the data pads lying around, but some of the glyphs on their armour look oddly familiar.”
Clara thought of Dr Gao and the rest of her team. They had vanished almost without a trace or sign of struggle. They could still be alive inside the structure, but then she thought of the demented guards. Had they said they’d been asleep for millenia? Who put them there…
She was still on edge when they raced into RX3248. Clara noticed Loken barking orders on multiple comms channels and there was a lot of movement around the spaceport and habitation units. People were all streaming towards the landing pads, toward the Scythian probably. “What's happening?” Clara asked Ogilvie, to no answer. “Director! I need to speak to you!” No answer. Clara set off at a jog, leaving Loken and his marine escort behind at the vehicle pool. She made her way through the chaos to the Col-Ad building and forced her way to the Director’s lift.
“Did you feel that? What’s with these tremors? Did someone forget to mention a volcano or something when they sent me here?”
Ogilvie had several different comms channels open and was on his tenth cup of coffee in 24 hours. “I don’t know Miranda, i’ve lost Clara and Thebes. Everyone is fucking about and nobody is telling me shit! I can’t leave my office, these spooks have got me locked down. I can smell the Article 88 up here!” He took a sip of coffee just as Clara burst into his office.
“Where the hell have you been Clara? I’ve been trying to reach you.”
“The dig site. Something has woken up. Dr Gao and my team are gone, James. We've got to get out of here, we all know how this ends.”
“Wait, lets not be hasty. What do you mean something has woken up?” Is that why we’ve been getting these tremors?”
“I don’t know James, it all happened so fast. Thebes bring him up to date." She unplugged the AI from her suit and put the holo-disk into the Director’s desk. Clara walked over to the window and tried Loken. Busy, or her communicator just wasn’t working anymore.
Clara checked RX’s intranet - it was alive with chatter which made it impossible to pin anything down. She was still shaking, she put a hand on the plate glass to steady herself. Something on the outskirts of the colony caught her eye; Clara leaned forward and squinted, trying to bring the flecks of orange into focus...@starlance