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Rated: 13+ · Novel · Sci-fi · #1952105
scifi/fantasy/distopia/philosophy (work in progress)
The Dome

Prologue: Questions

         A soft rain trickled down from a nearly cloudless sky. The water collected on the tips of David's hair, then slid down his cheeks like tears…or maybe, they were tears. At that moment, standing by the grave, he wasn't sure. A soft wind blew, sliding through the grass, creating a wave over a sea of green. David let the wave of wind wash over him. The air felt cold on his rain soaked face. He closed his eyes and listened as the soothing breeze whistle past his ears. David thought to himself, The wind is like life, always changing, unpredictable, uncontrollable, and yet even the wind is bound by rules. Changing pressures and temperatures create movement in the air in one place that joins with a million other factors trickling together like mountain streams flowing into a river. An old saying even suggests that a butterfly beating its wings on the other side of the world could contribute to a hurricane. It seems that even the wind a symbol of freedom is bound by somethings... As he stood there he began to wonder. All the blood shed, all the death, what had been the point? How did it all come to this? How did he get here to this time, this place, why was he here thinking these thoughts and his friend wasn't? What led to all this? As David mulled these things over in his mind his thoughts drifted back to a long time ago....

Chapter 1: Philosophy Class

         Tick, tick, tick... the soft rhythmic beating of the clock accentuated the silence of the room. Two dozen young minds sat waiting as a stubby little man paced in front of them, stroking the graying stubble on his face. The students wondered if he was thinking about what to say, or if he had simply forgotten he was teaching a class altogether, until he finally broke the silence.  “I need a volunteer.” He said simply. As no one raised their hands, he smiled skimming the group with his eyes, each student cringed a little as they were assessed. Finally the man’s eyes settled on David. “Mr. Hobbs please come up to the chalk board.”

         David sat uncomfortably in a school desk, which was seemingly designed for an elementary student, during his sophomore philosophy course.  This had supposed to have been an easy 3 credit hours in the midst of his four pre-med science classes. Letting out a slight groan, David stood and approached the board, picking up a small piece of chalk he waited awkwardly for his instructions.

         “Alright David, I want you to write this on the board. ‘I hate Jews, Blacks, and Mexicans. I hope they all die painfully, and I will do anything to make sure that happens.’” The professor said plainly. Each member of class jerked to attention, faces full of shock.

         “No way!” David exclaimed, “I would never write something like that.”

          David began to put the chalk down, confused about what on earth the teacher could be trying to do, when the professor added deadpan, “Do it, or you fail.”

         David hesitated for a moment, “You can’t be serious.” A stern look from the old man told David, he was. Slowly David started to write he made it half-way before stopping again. “I can’t do it. This is stupid you can’t really fail me for that.”

         The man nodded thoughtfully, before walking to his desk. Reaching down into the top drawer, he pulled out a small handgun. A gasp ran through the classroom as he raised the weapon and pointed it at David’s head. “Write it down now.” He said is a deathly soft tone.

         With shaking hands David scribbled the words on to the board, a cold sweat beading on his forehead, and a heart racing a mile a minute. As he wrote the last word he turned, back to the man. “Good,” was the only response to David’s pleading eyes. Raising the weapon to David’s head the teacher gently squeezed the trigger… a soft stream of water burst from the muzzle and sprayed David in the face.

         A moment of silence hung there before the class broke out in a laugh. Even David chuckled nervously as he shrunk back into his seat wiping his face with a rag the professor provided him. “Alright, I apologize for scaring everyone, but I wanted to make a point. What David wrote on that board is extremely offensive.  There are few people here who would argue with that.  So I ask you all now, Is David responsible for what he wrote on that board. Should he be punished for it?”

         A girl in the second row spoke out immediately, “Of course not he had no choice, but to write it.”

         At this the little man smiled widely, “Ah of course no choice indeed, but if I hadn’t forced him to write it would he be responsible for what he wrote then?” Everyone in the class nodded in consensus.  “This leads to my next question. Do you have free will?" the thoughtful old man queried to the class. What is free will? How is it defined? If you believe that it does in fact exist how is it exercised?” 

         A young athletic male student replied with a shrug, "It has to exist. I make choices every day. Where to eat, what to say, what to wear. If I am making those choices then doesn't that mean that I’m exercising free will?”

         The small man smiled mischievously, as the young athlete took the bait, launching into his planned discussion. "You’d think that wouldn't you.” he replied slowly and deliberately then speeding up his face reddening with excitement as he continued, “But what process has led you to make those “choices”? What made you into the person you are today? Your parents? Your genes? Why did you choose to wear these cloths, to say those words? Is there any way you could have done anything differently? If all the conditions were the same, wouldn't you have made the same choice? If you couldn't have made a different choice and you are not in control of the various things that caused you to choose what you did, then were you really exercising free will at all?” He finished taking a deep breath attempting to regain his composure. “So if the free will we all just normally accept as real doesn’t actually exist, then can anyone ever be held accountable for their actions, any more than if they had a gun held to their head forcing them?

         David was taken aback. He had never even considered that point of view before. Soon the once silent room was roaring, as each student tried to voice their own opinion on the controversial topic, but David stayed out of the main debate, contemplating the question internally. He tried in vain to find a loophole in the professor's argument. How do you argue with cause and effect? The implications of this idea bothered David. If free will is just a myth then what are we? David wondered to himself. Are we just wind-up toys with prescript-ed actions going through the motions of real life?

         Shaking his head David forced himself back to reality, catching the tail end of the discussion. "For next class make sure you have read chapters 3 and 4. I’ll see you all on Thursday.” The professor finished finally, seeming content to let the class stew in the philosophical puzzle he had given them.

         As the classroom emptied, David continued to wrestle with the unsettling ideas. Finally he gave up, muttering to himself, "What does it matter anyways. It doesn't change anything in the real world, and I can't do anything about it even if it is true, besides I have enough to worry about without trying to decipher the damn mysteries of the universe." Sighing deeply David dismissed the thoughts and started for the door.

         It was a frigid day in mid December, and the cold air struck David hard in face as he left the shelter of the building. He cursed under his breath as he pulled his all-to-thin jacket tighter around his neck in a vain attempt to block out the chill, kicking himself for not bringing a heavier one.

         David finally made it back to his apartment after wrestling with Jack Frost for half an hour. Slamming the door behind him, he rubbed his arms vigorously working life back into his frozen limbs. He tossed his coat carelessly on the back of the worn out recliner that made his one piece of real furnishing in the barren room. A somewhat typical college dwelling the small one bedroom apartment was decorated about how one would expect from a twenty-three year old bachelor, old homework papers littered the floor, unfolded laundry made little mounds organized by how urgently they needed to be washed. What little furniture he had was a mishmash of different styles, hand-me-downs from friends and relatives.

         Swinging open the refrigerator door, David scanned the sparse selection in disgust, before sliding a frozen pizza and tossing it in the oven. Collapsing into his chair the tired student flipped on the TV. He channel surfed for a while, past the endless channels full of reality shows and soap operas, wondering which one was more fake than the other, past a few hundred ESPNs and a weather channel or two, before finally settling on a news station. He got up and checked his pizza while half listening to the bland expressionless news caster give a report on the “big” stories of the day.

         The screen showed some kind of awards ceremony going on. Three men in their mid thirties stood on a platform waving and holding up their medals all with big smiles on their faces. The news man narrated the scene. He said that these three men were being credited a Nobel Prize for their amazing research in human biology. The narration went on to describe the men’s incredible new discovery. It seemed that they had managed to isolate the genes responsible for aging.

         As David settled back into his chair with his pizza steaming in its plate, he contemplated the story on the news. If we could figure out how to change or eliminate those genes altogether then we might be able to increase the human lifespan many times over. In fact, if a person kept themselves healthy they might go on living forever. David mused, before shacking his head. Who would really want to live forever. If you live forever wouldn't life lose its meaning?

         Returning his attention to the TV. He saw the scientist's names scroll across the news bar at the bottom of the screen. Each name underneath its respective owner, Dr. Tyrese Leto, Dr. Richard Briton, and lastly Dr. Iago Nebu.

         David watched a few minutes longer until they started going into another story about a conflict growing in the middle east. The image showed two men debating over the political significance of some new country claiming to have established nuclear capabilities. They argued over the “doomsday clock“, the supposed clock that ticked away to the nuclear apocalypse each time a new country attains nuclear status. David rolled his eyes muttering to himself, "They are always acting like the world is on the edge of destruction. The news station is just trying to get people worked up as usual. Scare people enough and they will keep watching anything."

         Shutting off the television David cleaned his dishes and got on his computer. He was about to start his homework when he noticed his little brother’s icon flashing on his chat message bar. David decided that he still had some time to talk before torturing himself with studies for the night.

         He talked for about an hour…which was probably an hour too long, but David couldn't help himself. David had always been close to his brother. Throughout his life David's brother was the only person he had ever really identified with. The two of them didn't talk about anything in particular, just different things that they had been doing and wanted to do. They joked back and forth. David loved his brothers sarcastic sense of humor. But it was the way his brother saw the world that really resonated with him. Both him and his brother shared a desire to understand why things were the way they were, questioning everything.

          After, finishing his conversation David crammed for a few hours before finally collapsing into bed sometime around midnight. Thankfully, the next day was Friday and after a few classes he would be able to get a break from this excruciating routine. 

Chapter 2: A night on the town.

         The alarm on David's dresser forced him out of a blissful reprieve from reality, his eyes eased open, burning in the morning light.  He forced himself from his bed and stumbled still half asleep into the bathroom. The young man scowled as he looked at the reflection in the mirror. Staring back at him was a 25 year old man who could have been homeless. His beard and mustache that were suppose to be trimmed to trace his jaw line had long since spread to cover down his neck, and were scraggly and unkempt. His dark brown hair which he preferred to have trimmed to the same length as his beard was now several inches longer with his bangs hanging down almost long enough to cover his eyes. His naturally tan skin was slowly turning white, an annoying result of the winter climate, but what disappointed him the most was the sight of his arms. His once brawny forearms and biceps were starting to lose their tone. A painful result of now being away from his high school football days and weight training for two years now. He had been so proud of himself back then....not anymore. College had ruined him.

          He finally removed himself from the mirror and slid into the shower. Thirty minutes of steaming water did little to rouse him, scrambling into a wrinkled hoodie with jeans and rushed out the door, already late.

         As he reached the door to his first class he screeched to a halt, nearly crashing to floor as he slipped on some newly formed ice. As cautiously as he could he tried to sneak into a seat in the back of the large lecture hall, but as usual his chemistry teacher was just waiting for a chance to insult some poor student. Today, that student was David
         “It appears as though someone woke up late today.” The professor said mockingly in his impossibly nasal voice, while adjusting his inch thick spectacles to better see David. “I so glad you decided to interrupt your hangover to join us this morning.” David just scowled and took a seat. “ Well, at least your interruption was aptly timed, I was just asking the class if anyone new how many hydrogen atoms would be in the compound with this NMR spectrum?” he asked pointing to a slide on an ancient overhead projector.

David stammered hurriedly trying to think back to his studies from the night before. “Umm… 16.” He replied weakly.
The snobby old professor didn't even dignify David's answer with a response. He simply laughed and proceeded to explain how to arrive at the correct answer. Cheeks burning with embarrassment and frustration, David hurried to keep up with the scribbles being written on the blackboard.

         After an eternity that the chemistry class took, David  proceeded to the rest of his classes. Though they weren't as humiliating, they lacked none of the dullness.After four grueling hours the exhausted pre-med student was finally able to escape the prison of college. He practically sprinted from his last class of the day, pushing his way through the other classmates to escape the institutionalized hell. As he stepped off campus he passed by the college welcome sign, it was carved out of stone and stood several feet high. It read “Welcome to the University of Chicago, an emblem of mans pursuit of knowledge.” David smirked as he looked back at the school, his dad had always said, “The best view of a college was from a rear view mirror.” David had never agreed with him more.

         David's plans for the evening first took him to his favorite restaurant The Windy City diner. It was a small family owned diner a few blocks from campus. They served the best roast beef sandwich in all of Chicago. David came here every Friday and old Aeolus, the diner owner and chef, new him by name.

         As he entered the diner he saw no other guests in the small back ally place. The dining area was simply decorated. Personal pictures and newspaper clippings about the small restaurant covered the otherwise plain white walls. A long bar stretched down the front of the shop facing into the kitchen, allowing customers to watch their food as it was prepared, as well as converse with the host.

         Aeolus stood behind the bar absently wiping the surface in preparation for the afternoon rush. He was a large man in his late sixties at least, plumped from excessively dipping into his own food supplies no doubt. He always seemed to wear the same outfit every time David saw him, long suspenders holding up his casual slacks, and a plain white t-shirt underneath. Of course when he cooked he always wore an apron and dawned a nice tall chefs hat, that David often teased him about.

         “Another rough week for my favorite pre-med student.” Old Aeolus said with his trade mark grin.

         David manage a half smile in return and replied, “ Yea. Same as always.”

          The kindly aged man laughed his carefree laugh and walked to the counter where David had taken his seat. Leaning on his elbow Aeolus offered up his warm smile, “ So, let me guess you want the usual?” David just smiled in return and gave a nod.  Aeolus jumped to work cooking up a storm. In a flash the mouth-watering delicacy was slid across the table.

         Aeolus and David talked as the hungry student tore into the sandwich. The two talked as old friends, David  laughed as the older man told him about his daughter, still in middle school, she had just come up with another boyfriend, the seventh in the past month. Aeolus went on to talk about his son, who was fresh out of boot camp and headed over to the new conflict in the middle east, the same one David had heard about the night before. He talked about how proud he was of his boy, but even through his big smiles David could see worry in his eyes. The young man felt a pang of guilt, I am unhappy with my life, but compared to the things Aeolus was dealing with right now, what room do I have to complain?

         The discussion lasted almost an hour, with only brief interruptions here and there as new customers came in and were greeted and served. At the end of the meal David stood up to pay, but old Aeolus smiled, “ Hey, how ‘bout this ones on the house?”

         David gave him a quizzical look, “ No, Aeolus I can’t take this for free, hell I should be paying extra, you know that this food is under priced as it is.”

         He laughed in response. “Well then next week it will be double, but tonight go have fun. You work too hard.” He pushed David to the door. “Go see a movie, on me.”

         David smiled at the old man’s generosity. “Thanks Aeolus, I’ll do that. See you next week.” Aeolus waved as the younger man left.  The theater was only a few blocks away, so David decided to just walk the distance. As he walked a soft rain started. Pulling his coat over his head to ward off the freezing drizzle David began to hurry. With each passing step the rain seemed to increase. As if some mighty force didn't see fit for him to get the movies that night. The streetlights were on by now, but the current downpour seemed to destroy what little visibility they would have brought.

         To make matters worse a strong wind started to blow. It was so strong David had to brace himself to keep from being knocked over by the sudden force. He paused for a moment under an awning, considering if he ought to abandon all hope of seeing a movie that night, but he was determined.

         David hurried to cross the street, but as he stepped off the curb another blast of wind hit him and making him slip on a small patch of ice. Suddenly, he heard the deafening blast of a horn,  looking up just in time to see the bright shine of chrome before everything went black…

         Everything after that was a blur. To be honest, David was never sure if any of it had been real, or if it was just a dream. Because when someone is unconscious they're not suppose to know what is happening. At least that was what David had always believed, but none the less the things he remembered were real when he woke.

         The images were like shattered pieces of a mirror, glimces of a biggere picture. A siren blared dampened by the strange fog that surrounded David's mind. He heard voices, distant and nearly impossible to make out, something about a coma and then nothing. Next came the tears he heard crying and could almost feel the wet droplets on his face, the crying seemed to last forever, but slowly even that faded. Time didn't exist to David, he seemed to experience the world one glimce at at time not asleep but not awake either.

          Suddenly he heard a new voice, just a whisper really, technical terms were thrown around; nanotechnology and cryogenics. A chill ran through him and everything slowed down.

         The dreams were the worst, you could call them nightmares, but they were never about David. They always referred to the world he had left. In the beginning they portrayed horrific scenes of war. There was death and destruction the likes of which David had never seen. Images of Aeolus's son fighting, dressed in full fatigues played across David's mind like a movie. A brilliant blaze of gunfire lept from the barrel of the soldiers weapon, moments before he let out screams of pain shot out as bullets whizzed back at him, dotting his chest with small red pin prick like wounds. In the midst of the horror David was struck by how much blood could come from such small wounds. The dream spun, there were massive explosions that shuttered through every corner of David's mind. Then the dreams stopped.

Chapter 3: Waking up?

         David was not sure exactly how long he had “slept”, but he would never forget the day he woke
         A chill ran down his spine as he suddenly became aware of the cold dry air around him. His eyes burned furiously as they cracked open. He blinked several times before realizing that his surroundings were pitch dark. He stared for several seconds into the dark void around him , trying in vain to make out his environment. Finally, he began to feel around, slowly at first he felt to the edges of the bed he had been lying in. As his fingers reached the edge He felt a cold metal wall on either side of him. His muscles ached as he rolled over weakly attempting to decipher what he was feeling. His hands slid up the smooth walls as they curved into the ceiling only a foot or so above the bed.

         David's stomach began to churn and he broke into a cold sweat as a deep panic began to set into his still foggy perceptions. I’m in a coffin…I was buried alive!? His breathing shallowed, not helping his already faltering grip on consciousness.

         With everything he had, David pushed on the roof of his imagined coffin, slowly the top moved creaking with the strain of timeless disrepair. A sudden breeze flooded into the tank he had been in, flushing out the cold stale air, and replacing it with a hot dripping tropical atmosphere. The sudden climate change rocked David's vulnerable senses. His once shallow breaths were now labored, struggling against the weight of this new environment, but the humidity felt soothing on his dry throat and lungs.

         David pulled himself slowly from the metallic tomb. His bare feet landed on tile as he climbed out, but to his shock he lacked the strength to support himself. The disoriented young man flailed desperately trying futilely to grasp something to stop from falling before crashing to the floor in a heap, alone in the darkness. His exhaustion overwhelmed him and David once again slipped away from wakefulness….

         …David wasn't sure how long he slept there on the floor, but he awoke with a start. Something crashed in the room. The sharp sound stunned David's long unused ears. David once again tested his eyes against the darkness. “still nothing” David muttered to himself coughing as he used his voice. Another crash reached his ears from the other side of the room.

         An eerie feeling came over David. He was lost, confused, disoriented, and still exhausted. What was worse was that on top of all that ……he wasn't alone.

         Every muscle in his body burned as he fought to crawl across the cold tile floor. Dust and dirt kicked up into his face as he reached and clawed, trying to head away from the sounds in the darkness. He didn't know what was there and didn't want to find out. Another crash, this time closer. “what’s happening?!” David cried softly under his breath. “Where the hell am I? Why do I feel this way?” His confusion was only overcome by his fear.

         Suddenly, he could hear a low, rough, panting slowly approaching his position sprawled out on the floor. Then it began to sniff at the air, it sounded like an animal of some sort. For a moment, David wondered if it was just a stray dog, his tension temporarily lessened at the thought that it could be something so benign.

         He slowly began to crawl again hoping the animal would simply leave him alone. There was a gruff wheeze, from the beast as David began to move again. “It must be a dog” he thought again to himself. “It sounds like one. I am just getting worked up because of everything else.”

         At that moment the animal attacked, like a mad dog the creature bit into his arm. David yelled in pain as its teeth sank deep into his skin, and his blood went cold with fear. David's mind went in to a panic. I am going to die. I am going to die and I don't even know where I am… ALONE IN THE DARK I AM GOING TO DIE!

         David flailed around for something, anything that could help him fend off the creature. His hands grasped a small cylindrical metal object that was simply lying on the messy floor.  Grasping it weakly David used it to hit the animal on the head attempting to force the creature to let go of his arm. After a few, painfully pathetic blows the creature let go, not likely because of the hitting as much as to attack another place on David's body.

         As soon as the beast released him, David scooted himself against the wall. Feeling the weapon again David realized it was a flashlight of some sort. He fumbled with it for a second, trying to figure out how it worked. Then like lightning there was a flash of power in the dried up cells of the contraptions power source. The blazing light burned through the thick blackness melting it away. David's own eyes were nearly blinded by the sudden brightness and flood of visual information flowing in. The creature scampered away attempting to shield itself from David's new power.

         As his vision adjusted to the new whiteness of the world, David saw his surrounding for the first time. It was a warehouse looking place full of hundreds of egg shaped pods like the one from which he had come. The room was massive and barren with what must have been, once a white wall, was now a grayish yellow from mold. Long non-functioning florescent light fixtures lined the ceiling to complete the depressing ambiance.

         David swung the beam of his light across the room attempting to relocate his assailant. Without warning there was another crash to his immediate right. He swung his light around just in time to catch a flash of the animal.

         David's eyes widened in horror as he saw that it was no dog. It reared up on its hind legs standing at least four feet high, hissing and clawing at the air its red eyes burning from the light. It was covered from head to toe in a thick matted gray fur. A long snake-like tail swung out from behind it. Its teeth were bared revealing a full mouth of razor sharp yellow fangs, but despite the various differences there was no mistaking what he was looking at. It was a giant rat…

         The light held the beast there for a moment before it started to flicker. A sick feeling came over David as he understood his last hope was about to fail him. The last thing he saw was drool falling from the rats mouth as it lowered back to all fours. Then the room was recovered by the darkness.

         In a panic David looked around frantically, as if he could still see his surroundings. He remembered that to his left one of the pods was still open. He had no other option, throwing all of what little strength he had into his legs and willed himself to stand. He quickly flung himself into the pod and grabbed a small handle on the hatch. He slammed it shut just as the monster crashed into his new found haven.

         David trembled like a helpless child as it started scratching furiously at the exterior of his shelter. The scratching was endless and maddening. What seemed like another eternity went by as he huddled alone in his synthetic womb. Then David heard his attacker scream in pain. There was a short scuffle as the monster seemed to wrestle with something outside then another scream, again from the rat…. Then a whimper… Then silence. David's head spun as the pent up anxieties overwhelmed him, and once again he let himself fall from consciousness.

Chapter 4: A change in the wind

         Soft rays of sunshine fell like rain drops through the thick forest canopy, bathing Anaya in a hundred dots of light. Stretching her hand up into the air she ran her fingers through the golden streams smiling. A sharp nudge against her leg, pushed her from her reverie. "Alright you little rascal!" the girl mockingly scolded. Scooping a peculiar little creature into her arms. The strange animal resembled a small ape about a foot tall, except hairless with pebbly grey skin. An insanely long tail flailed out shooting high into the tree tops, pulling the creature away from Anaya.  It dangled a few yards above her head gleefully bouncing "Skid! You behave!" She laughed snatching her pet down and scratching its belly till it let out a deep hum like purr. 

         It slid down her back and ran ahead its tail tugging on her playfully pulling her along. She stopped suddenly as a strange structure came into view. Decrepit from ages of disrepair the building was hardly discernible among the overgrowth of brambles and moss.

         Slowly she approached the ancient complex. Ripping away vines she revealed a fallen in wall, peering into the depths she contemplated what to do. Her team had split up to cover the area faster, but venturing into a place like this could be dangerous.  Anaya, had always been fascinated by the old world, and nothing like this had ever been found before. Finally she let her curiosity get the better of her. Slowly she ventured into the dark. 

          A soft light battled with the blackness in the corridor of the ancient ruins, the light flickering with each minute shift of the small orb in Anaya's delicate fingers. Shadows twisted in every corner dancing like demons in time with the small glow.  Cautiously, the girl inspected her surroundings, the skill of years evident with each step she took in this unfamiliar place.

         As she reached the end of the hallway she emerged into a cavernous room. Tightening her squeeze on the small orb the tiny light blossomed filling the room in a green tinted luminescence.  "What on earth?!" she gasped in a whisper, staggering as she took in the scene. Hundreds of pods filled the room, egg shaped machines with a glass cover. Peering into the first pod Anaya cringed, the withered remains of a long decomposed body laid, posed in a restful position, hands folded over tattered rags that had once been some sort of hospital gown. Judging by the size of the remains it was apparent the body had once been a child.

          Placing a hand gently on the glass, Anaya wondered sadly about what the purpose of this place could have been. It was no graveyard. That much was clear. These were machines not coffins. Slowly she moved from pod to pod, each displaying a similar scene. After seeing a dozen skeletons, she felt she had had enough.

         Turning to leave something caught her eye. Fresh blood stained the floor near one of the pods. Instantly her senses perked. Giving a soft whistle her companion dashed around the corner, positioning itself by her side.  It's tail was flailed out menacingly showing off its absurd length, reaching easily to the far corners of the large room.

         Anaya crept around the pods towards the pool of blood, her peculiar companion mirroring the move. The body of a large rodent came into view revealing the source of the mess. Blood matted fur left the creature as little more than a disfigured pile on the floor, but the cause of death was easy to discern. A single circular hole pierced the beasts chest, looking around there was no sign of any other living thing. "What could have done this?" Anaya remarked to herself. The wound was oddly precise, and even more peculiar was the fact that the remains had not been picked clean. Death was not an uncommon find in this world, but few things killed and then failed to devour every bit of its victim.

         A low hum like growl emerged from her pet. As it poised itself against the pod next to the corpse. Cocking her head to the side, Anaya spoke softly "What's the matter Skid?"  She walked up to the pod raising the glowing orb up to peer inside. Anaya dropped the orb to the floor immediately. Shock painting her normally composed face as the room quickly went dark.  Anaya sprinted from the room bursting back out into the dim light of the woods, shouting at the top of her lungs as she ran, "GUYS GET OVER HERE NOW!" 
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