Tense moments pass on the shuttle. As Dr. Mors prepares a tranquilizer hypo from his med-kit, Harv scrutinizes the sensor readings on the holographic instrument display before him. The two life-forms, a Pé Chói and a human, are still moving slowing toward the ship, now just over 400 feet away. Little data concerning the station is clear. Fragments of duranium are littered across the crater, apparently the remnants of the base.
Perhaps with an alien look of frustration, Harv turns from the display and attempts to open his mind to the psionic vibrations inherent in all life, focusing on the image of two beings on the cold blasted plain.
The image quickly fades and other scenes fill his mind’s eye. Darkness, a distant blue star, ice crystals exploding, primeval forest, the Garden…The Pe Choi Garden of Death.
Disoriented, Harv stumbles, gripping an acceleration couch for support. Although he cannot reach the minds of the beings on the ice, Harv knows with absolute certainty that the female Pé Chói researcher is dead. Her atoms are scattered across the wastes, her consciousness dissolved.
On the shuttle intercom, Commander Nek reports that the warbots are prepared.
Meanwhile, back on the starship orbiting the icy world… Falyai’s fingers dance across the controls at her station. Two words appear on the screen.
Flashing, text and images flow, in rapid succession, across the display; library data pages on the identified species…
the Mihálli of Dorsum.