"Gray...you there? You sleeping?"
Allan snapped awake, ready to launch into action, hand already going for his rifle, which he'd settled in between legs. He glanced around. Packed-earth, sun-baked wastelands were still rolling by. It was still night, though the rain had settled down to a thin mist. A muted starlight drenched the area, struggling to break through the overcast skies. Allan checked his chronometer and saw that little over an hour had passed.
"Yeah, I'm here." It was Montgomery.
"My boys have been doing some more digging at Obsidian Station. We found some information that I thought you deserve to hear," she said.
"The target was created based off of ancient technology. We already knew that. It seems like he was...grown."
"A cloned body?" Allan asked.
Cloning technology had long been around, though it was only used for growing new limbs, skin, and vital organs. When the ability to grow a full cloned human had come about, there had been a frenzied uproar with everyone asking the hard questions of 'who was who?' and 'how can we tell the difference?' Luckily, the problem had solved itself pretty easily. No one had ever figured out how to make a clone but not make it obvious that it was a clone. Allan wasn't too sure on the details, but he knew there was an incredibly simple scan that basically anyone could run that would reveal if the person in question was a clone with one hundred percent accuracy.
"No, not exactly. We're still trying to figure out how they did it, but it looks like the body and the armor were grown together. They're fused. But here's the extremely interesting bit. The technology they're using isn't Cyr."
Silence for a long, long time. "There's another race?" Allan asked finally.
"It's looking that way. Even older than the Cyr. A lot older."
"This is insane," Allan muttered.
"Yeah. Tell me about it."
"So where did his personality come from then?"
"What do you mean?"
"He talked to me. He taunted me. Carved a message into a metal wall for me. I've seen him do strange things. And...I guess, most importantly, where is he going?"
"Whoa, wait a minute. He spoke to you? And what do you mean, 'where is he going'?"
"When we first found him, he was about to kill me, but then he just stopped, turned and walked away. He's been walking in a straight line ever since."
"This is...news. I don't know. We're still digging and-"
Allan stopped paying attention as he heard a sound behind him, coming from the cargo area of the truck. It was a dull but powerful thud. Someone began screaming. Allan glanced over at the driver, who looked back at him, fear dawning in his eyes.
The radio link erupted. "He's coming awake!"
"We're hitting him with the-"
"-uck, it's not working! He's-OH GOD!"
More thumps coming from the back.
"What the fuck is going on up there?!" Montgomery demanded.
Allan grabbed his gun, but as he brought it up, a black-armored fist punched through the back of the cabin. It shot forward like a piston, grabbed the steering wheel and ripped it sideways, then tore it off completely. The truck swerved. Chaos consumed the cabin. Allan tried to get his gun into play but then the truck completely lost balance, going sideways and yet still maintaining its forward momentum. It began to roll violently.
YOU ARE READING
The fifth novel in The Shadow Wars. Sergeant Allan Gray has just suffered the worst defeat in his fourteen years as a member of Security-Investigations, a branch of the government that offers protection to both the colonies and isolated outposts of...