Consciousness returned slowly and painfully. Someone was making a low moaning noise and it took Cass a moment before she realised that it was her and she was able to regain her wits enough to stop it.
“You ...awake, yes?”
Her eyes fluttered open at this scratchy sounding voice and, licking her dry, cracked lips, Cass blearily began to take in her surroundings.
She was, she found, laid on some sort of table, naked but for a sheet covering her and restrained by straps around her wrists and ankles. Her head was pounding and her abdomen felt sore.
The room she was in was well lit and of middling size with a high ceiling; it was also windowless, save for the smoky black glass wall at one end of the room and, like the rest of the base, the place was stiflingly hot. Of furniture, there was very little, save a couple of ancient and battered looking trolleys and a machine of obviously alien design, hovering silently nearby.
The place was more than just a little reminiscent of an operating theatre.
What had just happened?
"You live?"
That same scratchy voice again. 'Live' was mispronounced with a strange emphasis on the 'v'
Blinking against the bright lights, Cass craned her neck to try and look behind her towards its source.
One of the tripedal creatures walked stiffly around into her field of vision, its three beady, black eyes regarding her with wary curiosity.
Cass tried to speak to the thing, but her mouth and throat were painfully dry "Water" she managed, her voice barely more than a whispery croak.
The alien stared at her for a moment and tapped away at the device it was carrying with long dexterous fingers, before turning and moving away; leaving Cass trying to wriggle her wrists inside their bonds, in an attempt to free her hands, but to no avail.
A minute or two passed before the alien finally returned with a bottle of water which it held to Cassandra's lips for her to drink. It was an awkward arrangement which resulted in quite a lot being spilled, but in spite of this Cass gulped greedily; eventually finishing the bottle and leaving her captor to retreat and regard her with an unreadable expression on its face.
It was the first time Cass had been up close to one of the creatures and she, in turn, stared back at it; her eyes drinking in its heavy layers of clothing, its mottled, dusty grey skin and the strange yet elegant construction of its six limbed body; which gave it an appearance distantly evocative of a three armed praying mantis crossed with an elephant.
"I thought never I should meet one of the Ancients" the alien spoke first, its dry, scratchy voice mangling many of the syllables. It bowed its elongated head "A big happening"
"You speak English?" Cass jerked her arms against the straps securing her wrists "Let me go!"
"No apologies" the alien performed a complicated gesture with the the fingered hand of its middle arm "Soon"
"What do you want?"
The alien retreated to wheel another of the battered old trolleys to the tableside, upon which rested several pieces of equipment and other miscellaneous items
"What is?" it selected one of the objects at random and held it up
"That's my terminal"
"What is?" another object was held up
"Other than a metal ball with three grooves around its circumference, I don’t know. What do you want?"
"What is?"
"Part of a phase conduit overlay"
“What is?”
“A piece of a skutling”
Retrieving the device it had previously used from amongst the items on top of the trolley, the alien tapped away at it for a moment; Cass belatedly realising that it was probably a computer of some sort, perhaps helping it with the translation, although it didn’t seem to have a screen or readout of any sort.
"What do you want with me?" she tried again
"We are scientists" the alien gestured towards itself with its central arm "Research all this do we" it raised its other arms and indicate the base around them "Ancients science. You are Ancients. Powerful. Powerful science. Mind science"
"Where are my compatriots?" Cass asked, but shook her head in irritation when the creature regarded her blankly "Where are the others?" she tried again "The other Ancients?"
"Near here" the creature replied "They do experiments. We try make Ancients that help with experiments"
"What do you mean?" Cass frowned at this "Those other human-things? With the cybernetics... the machines in them?"
The alien nodded - a weirdly human action "Yes. They help with experiments, but our..." it trailed off and tapped away at its computer again "code is from tombs and the long dead. It is not full. They need machines to live like our enemy"
"Code?” Cass frowned “What enemy?"
"Life code, yes?" the creature nodded beatifically "We have Ancient’s seed from you now. Both species. Full code!"
"You...?" Cass trailed off, both shocked and horrified at what she thought was being implied here "You took my eggs from me!?" It would explain why her abdomen felt sore
"Small number"
"No. They... They're mine" Cass was struggling to stay calm, in spite of the knowledge that losing it wouldn't help matters in the slightest "Why?"
"War. War with our enemy. You help us. Help our science. New Ancients; we make many copies" the alien paused to use its computer again "Unlock secrets; better weapons. Mind weapons to rule the skies! Defeat the Hive!"
Shaking her head, Cass closed her eyes.
So this was what it had all been about she glumly realised – Just an elaborate ruse to lure them here into this base where they could be subdued with ease.
That the pyramid and this missile bunker were of ancient human origin was of little doubt - she had been able to use the controls without difficulty; although how and why they wielded psychic powers Cass couldn’t even begin to guess – Perhaps it was some arcane offensive or defensive mechanism, or maybe even just a malfunctioning control system.
Whatever it was, it had probably been revered as divine by the primitives who built the pyramids around the ancient human structures, before they themselves had subsequently died out a few hundred or so years back.
It seemed that the aliens here had been researching the remains of the human technologies for months, maybe even years, and had thus far achieved a modicum of success with the stealth fields and psychic weaponry that they had been able to field; but now that they had real humans to work with instead of the twisted cybernetic mockeries that they had engineered, they were hoping to unlock greater secrets that they hoped would win the war against the Hive – whatever the fuck that was...
It couldn’t be the Hymenoptera could it!?
Cassandra’s eyes flicked open.
She didn’t give a shit who or what these animals were at war with. They had stolen genetic material from her and, from the sound of it, the other crewmembers as well.
There was no way she was going to be the progenitor of an army of clone slaves.
Who the fuck were they going to use as the father!?
It didn’t bear thinking about.
This place was going to have to be razed to the ground.

Okay, so there you have it: ancient human structures with psychic abilities being researched by alien scientists so they can use the advanced technologies therein, in a war against “the Hive”
These critters have been engineering humans from limited amounts of genetic material to get the base to work for them, but now they’ve got real humans and the means to make more over the coming months, they’re hoping for some major breakthroughs

We need to escape, regroup and destroy the base before the missiles can be launched at the Dwarf
How do we achieve this?
What’s happening to everyone else?
What are the experiments the alien alluded to?
We’ve killed a few, but are the human-cyborg-things any help?


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