We continued as if a trail of corpses wasn’t piling in our wake. Thornton’s fatal call never came. Stateside communication was as mundane and technical as ever. Was there some glitch that made ‘Langley’ miss the HAG – I log?
Our minds struggled frantically for answers. Graham reticent as ever would certainly not provide them. Lobo simply replied “Less hassle for us.”
Cook the de facto leader of the expedition couldn’t extract answers from anyone and was at a loss as to the probable identity of the dead. They weren’t tribals. Murmurs rippled through the expedition and yet no one bothered to confront Graham. We were the only ones that even dared to question him.
Everyone just sort of watched from a fearful distance.
It became a sort of grim show. Whenever Hoyt ventured into the wood…we’d gather in the spook tent like a suburban family watching a morbid sitcom.
The more we saw…the more confused we became. Since we never used the aerial drones at night to prevent tree induced collisions; the little robotic witch eyed climber was our awkwardly angled window into a world of silent death.
The first sighting that I mentioned was a mere accident that happened while Cook was playing with our toys. But having become obsessed with figuring out this fresh mystery we took more drastic measures.
We figured Graham’s location by placing a tracker in his boots. Just slipped one in as he slept. To be honest I think he let us.
If it was within range we’d send out the HAG – I. How Hoyt knew where the intruders would be is beyond any of us.
He’d simply appear. As if he were going to an appointment. We’d hear nothing but the tread of the enemy and the barely audible thwoosh of arrows splitting the jungle air. The stricken never cried aloud. The aim was deadly piercing either neck, heart, or lungs, once or twice the mouth.
The most disturbing discoveries occurred when we’d troop out to the kills. Obviously the limitations of High Agility Ground surveillance meant we could see maybe one or two kills. That of course was far from the reapers actual harvest. These were nightly slaughters. How was this martial force deployed? Who kept sending out these wolves to the slaughter?
The dead were invariably turned face down with their throats tidily slit. They were all wearing some sort of uniform. The pattern of the camo wasn’t that of any branch of any nations military that I knew. The fallen were equipped with night vision and some odd-looking assault rifles that resembled an M4 carbine.
Strangest of all each member carried daggers bearing the planetary seal of Saturn on the blade.
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