All the members of the main control room stood, showing respect as their captain entered.
“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” said captain Maxwell. “I need an activity report.”
“The controlled environment’s temperature is within the established parameters.”
“Defense systems ready and awaiting orders”.
“External temperature is nine thousand degrees fahrenheit.”
“Dome structure at one hundred percent.”
“No news, sir.”
“I found something moving outside the dome,” said Lana, one of the surveillance and monitoring officers.
“Go on,” Maxwell said, and all the other members of the control center fell silent.
A screen in the middle of the circular room showed the image of a rock.
“What am I seeing?” Maxwell asked.
“These are today’s events at quarter until twelve hundred hours,” Lana replied.
When the rock, like a tortoise, pulled out all four of its limbs and ran towards one of the metallic doors of the underground dome.
“I would like permission to investigate,” added Lana.
“Impossible,” Michelle said. “It is too dangerous.”
Maxwell raised a hand. “I want to understand what we’ve just witnessed. You can lead a specialized team.”
“Yes sir,” Lana said.
The other members saw Lana leave the room—they didn’t even have time to react.
“Are you sure about this?” Michelle asked as she reached Maxwell’s side.
“We need to know what’s that thing.”
Once they were ready, wearing the suits to withstand the extreme temperature of the outside world, Lana gave the order. “Let’s go out, examine the target and get back safely”
“Yes, ma’am,” repeated her five companions.
The temperature was so high that the only way out was inside a robot. Humanity spent generations locked up—scheming a way back to the surface.
Five blue-colored human-shaped machines follow the robot operated by Lana—she was highly experienced in trips to the surface. She also was one of the few believers in the evolutionary theory of rocks, and this wasn’t the first time she had seen a rock move. Or at least, that’s what she thought.
“We are in a high-risk operation,” Lana said, waiting for the last vault door to open. And see the world on fire—planet Earth finally had a name that accurately represented it.
The rocky surface appeared colored by a shade of red. Even inside the machines the heat was becoming uncomfortable.
“The objective is two thousand feet away. Mobilize with caution. Please cover all flanks.”
Actually, there was nothing to be afraid of—Earth has been deserted for generations. Lana had only seen digital images of nature, and the most commonly consumed foods grew in underground plantations.
“That’s the rock we saw on the screens,” Lana said, pointing at the objective.
“Are you sure?” Owen asked.
“Keep your guard up,” Lana said. “I’m going to get closer.”
The other soldiers watched from inside their suits, they had screens in front of their faces to observe everything that happened outside. Lana lifted the rock and examined it.
How is it possible? She thought. This rock seems normal. “I have the objective, lets go.”
“Lana…” Owen said when the rock moved in her hand. Taking out a stone tortoise head and stretching its long neck until it was able to bite the robotic arm holding it.
Lana saw the arm being cut off easily, letting the stone creature free. Then, she noticed that the being began to run. “Keep an eye on it,” Lana said and they all ran after the creature.
The rock ran at a high speed, moving with its limbs as if it was an animal with a bone structure.
“Requesting permission to open fire,” Crist said.
“Fire at will,” Maxwell said over the telecom system.
The blue robots’ backs opened allowing access to their weapons, they grabbed them while following the creature.
The first shots hitted the ground around the creature. The next round hitted its stone shell, which seemed to be the reason for the tortoise to stop.
All six robots stopped a short distance from the creature. Their robot suits were much larger than the stone tortoise, which was as large as a car.
“We have to capture it alive,” Owen said and the squad began to surround the creature.
When the ground at the robots’ feet began to shake, other creatures got up and looked confused until the stud on two legs.
“What’s going on?” Maxwell asked, watching the screens in the control center.
“Let’s get out of here,” Lana said, noticing the new stone creatures were as large as their robots.
The team began to walk backward, away from the creatures, keeping their weapons raised.
“Easy… don’t shoot,” Crist said.
Until one of the creatures—watching the robots take steps backwards—charged forward. The first of the blue robots fell easily when the creature jumped on top of it, and then began smashing it on the ground.
Crist fired, hitting the stone creature. But, the ammunition didn’t seem to have an effect. “Run, run.”
They turned and ran while the other creatures chased after them.
What are we going to do if they follow us to the vault? Owen wondered, turning to smash his weapon with one of the creatures. The side of his weapon had a laser-edged blade. So, he decided to use it to attack the creature, and he crashed into one of them.
Lana turned to watch, and saw Owen’s weapon splitting the creature in half.
The other stone beasts stopped and ran in the opposite direction. Running away in fear.
“What happened?” asked Lana.
“I cutted it with the laser,” Owen said.
“How did you know it was going to work?” asked Lana.
“I didn’t,” Owen said.
“You could have died.”
“It was a risk I had to take.”
“Let’s go back to the dome,” Lana said. “We have to get prepared in case they attack again.”