Lost Colony Ch. 13-5

“A flower?”

“I’m sorry,” Brielle said. “I don’t know the word for it.” She repeated the hand gesture. “In a heartbeat.”

What foundation, Sparr wondered, did he possibly have for imagining what alien technology might look like or how it would behave? He was in a room with the Originals and still had no idea. There was no machinery within sight, no clue how they would even interact with it if there were. And yet something stuck in his brain, something long neglected in the frantic blur of survival that his time on Kaybe had become.

“EMP,” Sparr muttered.

“I’m sorry… what?”

“Fuck,” Sparr said. “Yes.” He stood abruptly, charged with new energy. Another piece of the puzzle was falling into place. The colonists had at some point minted tokens, each a physical key for fabricating parts. He had long wondered why. A single memory cartridge could have held all of the part designs. Why bother producing cumbersome physical copies?

“You said we didn’t heed their warning?”

“Right,” Brielle confirmed. “Not for long.”

The Originals had used something resembling an electromagnetic pulse, an EMP, to scramble the colonists’ computers. Sparr tried to imagine the panic it must have caused in the colonists. They had no idea they were in the company of the original inhabitants of the planet, sentient beings trying to warn them off of a dangerous course. The colonists must have scrambled to produce tokens as a hedge against future attacks. The mining had continued.

“Okay,” Sparr continued, afraid he already knew the answer, “what happened next?”

Brielle kept her eyes locked on his, her expression dark with worry. “Something worse,” she said. “Something much, much worse.”

—————

Author’s closing note:

We’re almost to the end. Chapter fourteen, unless it runs much longer than I plan and needs to be split in two, will be the final chapter.

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