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A short story by

Valerie Watrous

"What?" As Telbrus glanced upward, an unexpected vibration caught him off guard. One of the ceiling panels worked itself loose, spilling luminescent coils beside the two protoss.

"We are not alone here." Aldrion stared at the ceiling warily.

Telbrus followed his commander's gaze. "I will head in." With easy grace, he grasped the sides of the empty frame where the panel had been and lifted himself into the narrow service passage. After a moment, Aldrion followed.

"Search this side. I will take the other," Aldrion said, crouching to fit himself in the small space. He wasn't sure what he would encounter in the unfamiliar vessel, but the majority of the tunnel seemed to be undamaged, making the persistent rattling all the more bewildering.

Telbrus gave an affirmative and crawled away from Aldrion. His wide-set shoulders pressed against the walls uncomfortably, but he was far too concerned to let that stall him. Then his hand slid against something wet and thick. He looked down at his palm slowly, watching the liquid slide between his fingers in horror.

He could just make out a fanged mouth in the darkness ahead, its teeth gleaming as it rushed toward him.

* * * * *

"We have arrived," Zoraya stated, shifting the ship's engines into a neutral state.

Darsiris moved toward the viewscreen to survey their location. A handful of planets was scattered amid a field of asteroids—scarred, rocky spheres devoid of life and atmosphere. The sun was in its death throes, lacking the energy to emit more than a thin red light from its depleted core. Within a few centuries, the entire system would be plunged into darkness.

"This is the resting place of a colossus?" he exclaimed.

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