The Missing

Keldon was walking down the hill his team had been dispatched to search, and there was still no signs of their missing colonists. Thankfully over the first three months on this new world, the colonists had managed to survive despite the crash and the vicious creatures that have been found on the planet’s surface. From the roaming giant wolves to the swooping dragons, they had run into many animals that seemed to have been pulled out of legend yet somehow existed on this planet. But despite the dangers from the local wildlife they had managed to form a foothold on the world. Crops were beginning to take root in the alien soil, and the remnants of the herds were already replenishing their numbers. And right when things were looking fantastic, three of the more reliable colonists just vanished, as if they had never existed.

Tarian had immediately ordered the search, but after a long week filled with searching that yielded no results, people were beginning to think that they had been caught by the local wildlife. But Keldon knew the search would continue for a little while longer, no one liked the idea of giving up, but they all knew they could only go on for so much longer. After all the search for raw materials to repair critical components of the ship, was still going on as well and proving just as fruitless.

Keldon pulled out his radio switching it to Tarian’s channel and punched in his code, “Tarian any word from the other search parties.”

“Not yet, Kel. And honestly, if we haven’t found anything by the end of the day…” Tarian’s voice dropped away unable to say the words he knew he needed to.

“I understand. I’ll report back about an hour or two before the sun sets.”

“Leave yourself plenty of time to get back Kel.”

“Always do Tarian. Kel out.” Finished checking in with his captain, Keldon switched back to his team’s channel to hear the tail end of a conversation.

“…found something.”

“Who is this and what did you find?”

“Engrim sir. And I found something odd walking through the forest.”

With a sigh, Keldon brought his hand to his forehead to give it a rub before issuing an order. “Engrim avoids any and all local wildlife, that’s not the purpose of this search.”

“It’s not wildlife sir. It’s… I have no idea what it is, but it seems humanoid.”

Keldon’s came to full attention instantly as he asked, “Where are you Engrim?”

“About two hundred yards on your right, with Mika in between us,” Engrim replied a little more quietly than he had a moment before.

Keldon spun to his right and started running towards Engrim’s location as he barked two more orders over the radio. “Mika, get to Engrim and wait for me. Zeke double time it to them we need to see this.”

“Copy that.” Replied Mika and Zeke one right after the other.

But Keldon paid no attention to their replies as he raced towards Engrim’s position, weaving his way through the forest. When he caught sight of Engrim, and he slowed to a walk and then quickly caught sight of the creature that was plodding its way through the woods. He quietly issued an order over the radio to his men, “I see the thing, fall back on me. I’ll cover you.”

Silently Engrim and Mika began moving towards their commander while he started to walk towards them keeping the creature in his sights as he moved from tree to tree. When he was within a stone’s throw of the thing, he began to study it critically.

At the least the creature was a few feet taller than he was, not to mention solidly built. The thing’s arms seemed to be wider around than his own legs were. With a certainty that the humanoid creature was dangerous Keldon kept his sight on it while he asked Engrim, “I know it’s not walking towards us but did it see you?”

“I don’t think so Keldon,” Erngim answered as he put the creature in his own sights.

“I’d agree with that Keldon,” Mika added as she signaled back to Zeke to get him to wait where he was. “But what are we going to do?”

“Follow the thing, its the first semblance of humanity we’ve seen so far,” Keldon answered as the thing briefly turned its head around. Keldon could see his own facial features upon the creature, misshapen as they were. “Who knows maybe this thing is responsible for taking our missing colonists. Spread out and stay in eyesight.”

Each of his men nodded their acknowledgment and let Keldon leave before they spread out to follow the thing. It did not take them all that long to reach a clearing where the would be visible to the monster. Keldon had told them to hold their ground as he examined the surroundings.

He signaled the team to stay where they were as he inched forward into the clearing. And just like that the creature spun and lunged for him while five more sprung from hiding places along the clearing’s edge. Keldon retreated back into cover as he fired a bolt of energy into the first creature’s head.

That one dropped as did two more from the fire of his team. Zeke must have thought that Keldon was in danger because he left the sanctuary of cover and rushed the remaining three creatures. They saw him coming and stood their ground and when he was within their arm’s reach two more had been dropped while the last grabbed Zeke by the throat and before anyone could do anything snaped Zeke’s neck before he too was shot down by a bolt of energy.

Keldon waited for a moment before he switched his channel so he could communicate with Tarian. “Tarian, we have more problems take a skimmer and get down here asap. You need to see this.”