The sunlight scattered, defused and weakened after forcing a sluggish path through the rich atmosphere, after pushing down, deep into the bottom of this gravity well. The ship’s computers worked on overdrive, frantically compiling data sets, building profiles of the planet’s known intelligences, scrubbing the artefacts of its flaming descent from computer memory banks. Concealing itself, protecting its crew from the depredations of the natives, from any potential threats. A hive of von Neumann probes flow outward (swarming, swirling, learning.)
They will make themselves known, when the time is right.
Welcome to the Second Great Expansion, the second wave of explorers to leave their planet on pillars of fire, the first to leave their solar system. They know nothing of the Matrioshka hives surrounding their parent star (coiling, embracing, octopoid.) Ordering the destruction of the inner system, to increase computing power.
They know nothing of the vast distances they have traversed, nothing about the aeons they have spent frozen within the ship’s icy hull. They do not know they are waking, this crew, all of the same blood. Do not know they are stirring.
Hermetically sealed, the ship rouses its crew, decanting their foetuses into growth accelerators, forcing them through hormone courses and into their artificial wombs. The computer meanders through its database, artfully shuffling and recombining – compensating for the lesser gravity, for the poisonous atmosphere, for the inevitable microbial assault.
They will be born shortly.
Shadows dance across the thin, metal cylinder lying half-buried in the topsoil, the flickering of torchlight ranging across its bows, curious, examining this strange, scorched offering from the heavens.
The stench of ammonia and boiling methane – they are hatched and rapidly ageing.
Baits were laid, traps set, fingers set ready on triggers.
It walked inside the spaceship and then it sat down.
Its DNA was harvested, added to the horde.
“Human DNA acquired…”
Michael was released, back into the wild, high on tranquillisers, high on terror.
He told his tale, but no one really listened…
Written for Chuck Wendig’s Random Sentance Challenge on Terrible Minds (It walked inside the spaceship and then it sat down.) I also used the Trifecta Writing Challenge word o’ the week blood (KINDRED, in this example) and one of this week’s BeKindReWrite prompts, stirring. Good to get back to writing some science fiction after all those monsters, too! I thought I’d try out a Charles Stross style info-dump as well (“Welcome to the Second Great Expansion…”) Let me know what you think, comments and criticism always welcome!