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Savages by Andrei Gribakov
Running through the forest he was careful to keep his thoughts quiet. Submersing himself in a light trance he calmed his pulsing heart, silencing it from a war-drum into a gentle, barely audible beat, which was the base rhythm to his breathing. Stopping on a branch he melded himself with the tree. Sensing the tree's ancient beat he synchronized his heart with it to mask his presence. His body grew rigid as the trunk, and only his eyes moved, darting to and fro, trying to discern anything foreign in the foliage.
As one of the Hunters he kept watch over the forest to make sure the balance was preserved and the area flourished. A day ago he sensed the forest's rhythm shift. The frequency increased and there were unusual spikes in the amplitude, the creatures in the forest had encountered something new. Relaying everything he felt to the Elder council, he was asked to personally investigate the phenomena.
He could feel the tension around him, intermixed was curiosity, everything was responding to the foreign substance. As he dislodged himself from the tree and moved into the foliage he recoiled at the sight in front of him. Charred trees laid strewn around like twigs as a monstrosity stood squarely in the middle of the carnage.
The thing was huge, bigger than the trees-it was a muted gray in color and when he felt for sentience he found none. It vaguely reminded him of ancient stories he learned as a child. He fumbled for the word, 'metal', yes, that's what the thing was made from. Raped from the earth and subjected to fire and water it could be shaped. The Parasites had used it in the fables, it had no sentience and retained none; a dull, warmth-less material. he shuddered while staring, it felt like looking into an abyss.
Breaking the trance, he looked around and saw people moving in and out of the 'thing.' On second thought they couldn't be people, it was akin to stating that a chimpanzee is human. They were similar to humans in looks and movement, but their minds were closed, cluttered and full of irrational fears.
Quickly summarizing feelings, smells, and everything he'd seen, he sent his thoughts to the council for review. Dropping his guard he walked into what was left of the meadow to attempt to communicate with these human-like apes. He had sensed limited intelligence in their minds and hoped to use rudimentary hand signals to get them to understand him.
Captain Darien Johnson of the Terran Federation ship "Endeavor" was sitting in his cabin when he heard the unmistakable sound of a beam rifle.
When they first landed, some dumb fool decided that a bear cub (at least they all assumed it was a bear cub, none having seen one save on holo discs) would be a wonderful present home. After they found his mauled body they decided to set up defense perimeters, since crew members were already in short supply.
"Endeavor" was the best ship of the time, able to travel upwards 20 times the speed of light and carrying a crew of 50 people, Darien had set out to do what no one had done in centuries--find Terra.