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‘Rats! It’s just what’s left of the ship,’ Yelina complained. ‘Wow. They sure took it apart fast. There’s hardly anything left.’

‘I’m still getting a temporal reading,’ Kiko said. ‘Looks like it’s just north of here.’

‘Me too,’ Carly added.

‘Ho-ly!’ Yelina breathed, looking in the same direction. ‘Whatever it is, it’s not all that far from here.’

‘Still wanna have a look?’ Carly asked her, sensing her reticence.

‘Yeah . . . but let’s be extra careful, okay? They might be able to see us.’



As they drew near, Kiko said wonderingly, ‘Where the heck is it? There’s, like, nothing here that I can see.’

‘Me neither,’ Carly seconded. ‘But this whole patch here seems to be “hot”, like maybe it’s underground or something.’

‘I don’t like this,’ Yelina muttered as they landed in the centre of the “hot” zone. ‘Hey, it really is hot! Look- the ground is steaming.’

Unnoticed, Boom-Boom Kitty landed nearby and began nosing about.

‘Try concentrating on your sensors,’ Kiko ordered. ‘I know they’re hard to use . . . you really have to focus to make them work.’

‘I’m getting something underneath us,’ Carly said, an ominous note in her voice. ‘Something big, and hollow.’

Yelina knelt down and tried to push her super-vision to the limit as she stared into the earth. ‘I’m not seeing much on infra-red, but the radio-resonance-imager is picking up a big hollow space right underneath where we are . . . hey! I think I see some of those things, like the ones that came after us! A whole bunch of them!’

‘I see ‘em too,’ Carly said. ‘They’re all lined up on the walls . . . I guess that’s how they store them.’

‘“They”?’ Kiko demanded. ‘“They who”, or “they what”?’

Something got their attention, then. It was Boom-Boom Kitty, who was growling at something.

Then, as they watched, like evil-looking larvae emerging from a subterranean cocoon, three of the alien probes began emerging from the earth.

------
You are the alien.


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