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The Galaxii Series Omnibus 1 By Christina Engela Characters: 5107

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"The Akx, huh?" Lofflin repeated. "Pardon the pun."

"Yes, spelled 'A, K, X'." Kinsley explained. "The Captain assumed it had been activated somehow, and escaped – and was loose somewhere aboard his ship."

"So it was a droid of some kind!" Lofflin breathed.

"Apparently. But listen to this… they searched for a whole day before finding it. Sightings and reports gave them conflicting positions of their attacker. When they found it, the log says, there was massive loss of life. The thing would not be restrained and killed a lot of them. The last entry indicates they decided to risk everything, to die fighting rather than simply wait for it to get them. They went on a hunt to destroy it – and that's where the log ends – with the ship's life-readings dropping to one, and then zero, and a recorded attempt to actuate the ship's destruct sequence – which was aborted soon afterwards!"

A short uncomfortable silence followed.

"So it escaped and went on a killing spree… playing mind-games with the crew – who it saw as its prey. It started out quietly at first, slowly killing in small numbers, covering its tracks. It killed those who confronted it…" Lofflin summarized.

"Yes." Jessica added. "And being the warrior-culture they were, they went hunting for it, a suicide mission."

"Well, we know what happened after that." Lofflin concluded. "It killed them all. The destruct sequence was probably stopped by the thing itself – which is why we found the Captain's body on the bridge – trying to hold the wolf

What d'you mean?"

"Never mind that now." Lofflin continued tersely. "Is Murphy nearby?"

"Yes, he's right here with me."

"Good – now listen very carefully both of you, this is critical. The alien ship's log has been translated – they were carrying a war-droid, some kind of robot soldier, all those years ago. It's what killed their crew, and I suspect very strongly that it's what killed Pollard and Neil."

"But-" Murphy began. Lofflin continued.

"It's been watching us all this time while we were on that ship. It's playing some kind of strategy game, and it's hunting you! It's probably watching you right now as we speak!"

"Should we evacuate, sir?" Billingham asked. The crates are virtually good to go – our work is done here!"

"Yes – but listen!" Lofflin said. "This thing seems to be intelligent. From the way it dealt with the previous crew, it can anticipate and reason. It tricks its victims, and Dr. Collins believes it can even make them feel and see things that aren't really there."

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