Lt. Paul Dawson was miserable. “This whole mission has been one nightmare after another. Our communications systems with Earth stopped working as soon as we hit this planet’s atmosphere. I’d just started the thermal scan when that arrogant idiot captain, the insufferable whiner ordered me to explore the planet’s surface with him before all the planet’s readings were conducted. Foolish and totally against protocol. He probably needs to have someone hold his hand …”
“Hurry up, Lieutenant!” Dawson heard over his intercom.
The captain was about seventy paces ahead.
Back on the crew-less ship, the thermal scanner picked up something and forwarded it to Dawson’s reader. It beeped. His pace slowed as he looked at the readings. “What the …? He saw beings that were invisible to the naked eye, but with infrared, their heat signatures gave them away. They appeared to be nearly square, only about three feet tall and covered in tiny appendages. “Odd looking.”
“Maybe they’re harmless and just trying to hide from us. I see no weapons. Just in case …” “Uh, Captain. You might want to see this.”
The captain, engrossed in viewing the purple-tinted terrain, ignored him.
Suddenly, the beings on the scanner appeared to multiply at will as they moved in front of the Captain. They piled on top of each other like a human pyramid that reminded Dawson of kids’ building blocks. “Captain, LOOK OUT!”
The captain heard the warning just as the wall of sentient building blocks reached fifteen feet high and nine feet wide, then dropped and crushed him. The captain’s pressure suit imploded and then exploded.
“CAPTAIN!” Dawson turned. “Gotta get back to Earth. Warn them!”
He ran toward the ship and ordered, “LOWER RAMP!” The ship obeyed. He ran in and shut the door before anything chasing him could reach it.
He never saw the two stowaways who waited near the ship for the terrified Earthling to let them in ahead of him.