The sharp smell of ozone filled the air as the teleporters of the strikeforce discharged their excess energy. Adrestia, disoriented somewhat from transition, took the chance to look at her surroundings. In short, this place was an elegant underground tomb. A long tunnel stretched before them. Carefully constructed flying buttresses, made of packed clay and grey waste products, held back walls of earth. On the walls themselves, were bas-reliefs. To her immediate right was a forest scene, a horned humanoid with a furry lower body playing the pipes in its center. All around him danced an ecstatic mix of nude humanoids and other such hybrids. There was something chilling about this bucolic little scene, but why? She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. “What’s the history of this planet?” She asked aloud. This was a mere scouting mission, done as a matter of course when Energon prospecting had discovered the complex via GPR. With her question, the leader of the strikeforce, Springer, walked over. If he had any concern with the reliefs’ contents, he didn’t show it. “The usual dead world.” Springer said off-handedly. “Some alien civilization that never made it off-world.” His tone was derisive, dismissive. Adrestia turned back to face the reliefs. “They met their fate quietly. Without so much as a whisper.” As he spoke, another mural met her eyes. It was the horned figure from the last relief, but his face was twisted in rage, in madness. His wild eyes screamed, inchoate, without a sound. “Fodder for the Explorer Corps, and little else.” Turning away from the reliefs, Adrestia followed Springer’s lead. Stomping down the hall, she found that she couldn’t get the dichotomy of the two murals out of her mind. The savagery of the second scene contrasted heavily with the peaceful forest scene of the first. Her train of thought soon came to a halt, as they came across another room. They had entered a grand rotunda, whose contents were unsettling. “An ossuary.” Springer noted. The walls were lined with shelves, in which piles of horned skulls lay, silent. At the center of the room was an even more macabre sight. A full alien skeleton lay unmoving in a stone throne. On its horned head’s brow was a crown of iron, formed into intricate knotwork. “I guess this was the head honcho, over here.” “Springer.” Glyph, one of the strikeforce’s attached Explorers, spoke. Urgency tinged her frantic voice. “Don’t touch anything.” Her warning came too late. Reaching out for the crowned head, Springer smiled impishly - then screamed as powerful jaws wrapped around his hand. No longer a corpse, the crowned horned creature once more had his flesh. Almost immediately, the whole of the strikeforce sprung into action. Double-barreled autocannons were swiftly trained on the thing, their loud reports filling the air. For its part, the creature was fast. Energon dripping from its mouth, it streaked away from its initial position just in time to avoid their fire. “Damn it!” Springer, his left hand now a bleeding stump, drew his sword with his right. “I’m going to put you back in the grave!” Adrestia drew her own sword, quickly closing the distance. It was fast, but not that fast. With a swift swing of her blade, she dug the sword into its side. The horned thing howled - then was silenced as she shot her autocannon into its head, point-blank. “Sorry to steal your kill, Springer.” Adrestia said as it fell, dead...again. “Maybe do what you’re told, next time.” --- --- --- --- --- --- A short little piece. The alien "satyrs" were inspired by The Great God Pan.