Jennifer was trying to keep her attention focused on scanning the area for hostiles or any kind of signs of life, but her eyes kept getting drawn to the horizon and the things that occupied it. They were like something out of an insane horror novel. They'd been driving for just about a minute now, but it felt like much, much longer. Behind them, the ship had faded into the distance. Greg wasn't going very fast, as if he didn't trust the terrain, despite the fact that it all seemed flat. Jennifer didn't blame him, she didn't trust it either.
What made her most nervous of all was the fact that there was something on the horizon ahead of them, something low and broad and fast approaching.
It wasn't the colony, it was too soon.
"What is that?" Greg muttered.
"I don't know, looks like a structure," Keron replied. "It shouldn't be there."
Jennifer continued studying it, but it just seemed like a low, dark thing.
"Whatever it is, we're going to be on it soon. We might want to think about investigating it," Greg replied. Jennifer and Keron remained silent, leaving it up to him. She had the idea that he didn't particularly like that, but she didn't want to lead this operation. Things were insane enough as it was. She looked again to the horizon.
And the strange, dark monolithic giants that shifted occasionally. Maybe it was just an optical illusion. Was it even physically possible for something that large to exist? Wasn't there some kind of law of nature that kept beings from getting that massive? Even the largest creatures they'd ever discovered, either still alive or through their buried remains deep in the earth of newly discovered planets, would be utterly dwarfed by these things, like a minnow alongside a whale or a gnat beside an albatross.
"Be ready," Greg said. "We're almost there."
Jennifer made herself focus. The structure was about a hundred meters ahead of them and quickly approaching. She made sure her weapons were ready and tried to calm herself down. There may be survivors around, they had absolutely no idea what the situation was going in. As they drew closer and she got a better view of it, Jennifer realized that it wasn't a structure at all. It was more a very strange collection of rock formations.
They didn't seem natural.
Besides the layout of them that seemed somehow planned, the rocks themselves didn't exactly look like rocks. Or, at least, not like any she'd seen before. They were dull, black, misshapen things that looked like they had been slammed into the earth from somewhere high above. As they made the final approach, Greg slowed the jeep.
"What do you make of this?" he muttered, staring at it. This close, the shape of the rocks almost resembled abnormal, angular crystal formations. They were packed closely enough that they did almost seem to form a kind of maze between them.
"I don't know, but..." Jennifer hesitated as she scanned the rocks. Something, a shadowy shape that was a shade darker than the rocks around it, shifted, disappeared from sight. "I saw something."
"I saw it too," Keron said.
"Shit," Greg muttered. He reached out and played with the dashboard controls. "Hold on, running a BioScan, I'llsee if it can pick anything up."
"We should investigate," Keron murmured, his voice low. He was staring in between the two front-most rock formations.
"Maybe," Greg said hesitantly. He sighed. "Something's interfering with the scan. Of course it is, I don't know why we even bother with these fucking things anymore."
"Should we investigate?" Keron asked. He seemed almost eager.
"Yeah..." Greg replied. "I suppose so. One of us needs to stay with the jeep and watch our back," he added.
YOU ARE READING
The thirteenth novel in The Shadow Wars. At the edge of explored space sits a desert world known only as Ash. It supports a minuscule population of miserable soldiers, technicians, and scientists. Why are they here? A year ago, a deep space governme...