It was the thirty-seventh day of new-September, only another seven until payday. Crew Boss Tyrell Vargas watched the least competent member of his squad almost sever his air hose and blow them all to hell and back.
“Concentrate,” he roared through the comm-link, “or you’re fired. Last warning – I won’t tell you again.”
On this job, that meant a one way ticket off this gods forsaken hole of a planet, fired from the mouth of an anti-matter cannon. His employers had heard all about rights for their workers and wanted nothing to do with them.
His boot stirred the ochre colored dust and revealed a few shards of pottery, remnants from the last civilization to rise and fall thousands of years before humans launched themselves into space. Ares Nine had not always been a dead world and something spoke to Vargas every night, whispering in an unfamiliar language when sleep would not come – the urgency in its tone clear even if he had no idea what it said. A dormant psychic ability, above average grade according to the corps assessment, meant that ghosts of the past swarmed around him like asteroid miners given a thirty-eight hour pass. They tried to give him a message, only a lingering trace of disquiet remained when the morning shift began. Why did it feel so much like a warning?