planet to do any damage.
The pulsing concentration of energy he'd sensed earlier was clearer now, since he was closer to it. It radiated from a location some three hundred feet to the west and fifty feet below. If his instinct was right, it would be the Eye.
As he drew closer to it, the tunnels became wider once again, and he came into a vast, dim chamber. A huge black machine with many moving parts operated in complete silence. It was so large, he could not see the end of it. This was not the Eye; at least he didn't think so. That energy was still ahead. This machine generated minimal energy, and its parts moved in an odd, fluid manner. As he glided past it, he scanned down to the infrared band, trying to get a better view. In his mind's eye, the machine popped into brilliant red relief, each piece gaining definition.
What he saw was not a machine at all. They were living beings, moving mechanically in concert, working as if they were one single device. He could not find their faces, or even distinguish their species. They were each completely covered with something, some sort of skin that glowed red with warmth. Over its surface, areas of varying temperatures shifted and flowed, arranging themselves into evolving patterns.
The Shadow skin was not the same as that covering the ships; it appeared much, much weaker, more like the membranes he'd encountered. Yet the readings he received from it were different even from the membranes. This skin seemed more like an energy shield than any physical construct. It was another variation on the basic tech of the Shadows.
The platform took Galen from the chamber, and he found himself in a wide tunnel, passing among ranks of these machine people, hundreds of them, standing motionless, the ultimate testament to the Shadows'