-Jonathan, please explain to me again, what the fuck are we doing here? -exclaimed Raul, clearly uncomfortable, as he shook one of his feet, trying to shake the mud off his boots.
-We are behind the source of a strange radio signal, -said Jonathan, without losing sight of the warning signs displayed in his goggles by the computer in his suit -. I detected it from orbit and maybe it could be something we could sell. Easy credits, my friend.
-Shit, this is the place where bad ideas come to die, I don't think there can be anything of value here, - continued Raúl, still shaking his foot -. I swear I think I saw back there parts of Dr. Petersen's electric weapons machine.
-Hold on, the signal is coming from that direction, -said Jonathan pointing to a pile of discarded industrial robot parts.
They walked in the middle of the mud, between apparently classified piles of scrap metal of different origins, parts of ships, robots of all kinds, machinery, structures of demolished constructions and a long etcetera.
Scrap City was called that place in the middle of one of the planets of the Heracles system. Even though it may have been terraformed, the eighth planet of the system was ignored; for Heracles was a world practically ready to be inhabited. With a continental mass that covered two thirds of the surface and a shallow ocean that occupied the other third, it could have been a good world to be inhabited, however, a sector of its surface was taken as a destination for all kinds of metal scrap, coming from human expansion throughout the galaxy, before the use of devouring nanobots was common. This region, of more than five thousand square kilometers, on this uninhabited planet, was informally called a junk city.
Jonathan and Raúl, dug through the remains of machinery in the stack, using an electromagnetic field projector, capable of lifting almost any object that possessed ferromagnetic metals, almost at the bottom of the stack they found a strange device the size of a generating machine that they placed in the airports, programmed to serve different types of food, only that this large rectangular box was completely devoid of metals, it was completely made of some strange material, similar to the fibers of carbon nanotubes.
-I have no idea what the hell this thing is, -Raul observed as he scratched his head, then adjusted his breathing mask.
-It has no indication or instructions on its surface, -said Jonathan -. But the signal comes from it. How would it get here, so what's in this pile of garbage, these things must have been here for over ten thousand years and this thing was at the end of the pile, it must have been here since the junk started to accumulate.
The object weighed about two hundred kilograms, they moved it using a levitation platform, and took it to the vicinity of the ship in order to disarm it and rescue its valuable parts.
-What will we extract from this thing? The scanner indicates that it has no metal at all, -said Raúl.
-We'll take it apart and we'll see; something useful it must have, any machine over ten thousand years old that still emits a radio signal, it must have some kind of valuable power source, it must have some kind of experimental isolation that doesn't allow the scanner to detect the emission of particles, it could be some army artifact, maybe they want to recover it and pay well for it.
The object did not seem to have any type of door, slot or joint, its surface was totally solid and smooth, it did not protrude from it, button, pushbutton or indicated of any type, it was literally a block of brown color, almost black, one meter wide, two meters high and one meter deep.
-I don't see how we're going to open this thing, I can only think of using the plasma torch, but that could ruin it, -said Jonathan.
-There's nothing left to open but to risk, after all, if anyone throws it away here, I don't think it has much value.
They lit the torch, and when they approached the surface of the machine it suddenly started to rise from the ground, floating about thirty centimetres above the surface. Their faces were illuminated with a faint light that seemed to come from within, and the color of which changed continuously.
Suddenly Raul and Jonathan fell into a kind of ecstasy and were transported to a world which was completely unknown to them, a completely barren planet, with no main star to illuminate it, with a completely black sky and few stars in it, where two spiral galaxies, located at both ends of the celestial vault, could be clearly seen.
Like ghosts moving through objects, they were transported to the bowels of that planet, where a network of dark, damp tunnels contained what appeared to be hundreds of honeycomb-like cells in which babies, human-looking children, floated in an amber-colored liquid.
Then they heard behind them a squeaking sound that seemed to pierce their eardrums, they turned and behind them was a strange creature about three meters high, whose elongated and almost cylindrical body was supported by four legs coming out of its lower end, at its upper end rested a kind of ovoid head and from what could be its neck sprouted no less than ten appendages, similar to tentacles, which moved continuously as if some kind of sensory organ, which was palpating the atmosphere around it were concerned.
The creature emitted a new, stunned shriek that made them squeeze their heads and throw themselves on the sore ground.
After this, they came out of ecstasy, they were kneeling on the mud in front of the machine, which was still floating thirty centimeters from the ground, emitting its strange, ghostly light, in Junk City.
Before their eyes, the machine rose above their heads and, as if compressed towards its own centre, disappeared, emitting a kind of burst contained by an invisible sphere that then vanished into thin air.
-Damn it, did you see what I saw? -exclaimed Raúl, almost out of breath.
-I suppose so, but I have no idea what it was, - replied Jonathan.
-What shall we do, to whom shall we tell this? -asked Raul in terror.
-What do you mean, who are we going to tell? If we say anything about this they'll say we're crazy, in fact I'm doubting myself that this wasn't just some kind of hallucination - answered Jonathan.
-Yes, it must have been the effect of the atmosphere of the planet, we'd better get out of here, I told you there was nothing good in this damn place