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that frightening.

The alien vessel which loomed directly above the squadron looked like something so haunting, so bizarre, and so completely outside the Human realm of experience, that to stare at it for any extended period of time might do damage to the psyche. Yet stare at it she did, for she couldn't tear her gaze from it no matter how valiantly she endeavored to do so.

It emerged from one of the passing clouds that were all-too-common in hyperspace, and in so doing bore more than a little resemblance to a leviathan emerging from the depths. It was massive, angular, and utterly alien in design. Geometries that didn't quite make sense, arcs and hieroglyphs and bizarre instrumentation. It was like a drawing by M. C. Escher as interpreted by a mad god. She wasn't certain if it was a ship or a sculpture ... a monument or a station. It could have been a combination of those, or none of those.

Ivanova couldn't quite believe what she was seeing, couldn't really take it in all at once. It was at least a half mile across, perhaps more. Whatever alloy it was made of had to be ancient beyond belief. And there were various metals ribboning through it.

She couldn't even begin to guess how old the thing was. She remembered reading somewhere about how, if the age of the planet Earth were to be measured on a clock during a normal twenty-four hour period, that humanity's entrance into the scene would fall within the last half minute or so just before midnight. Something like that. It was meant to be an illustration as to just how insignificant Humanity's presence really was in the grand scheme of the galaxy's existence. After all, Humanity did tend to get above its station from time to time. This inclination manifested itself in any number of ways, ranging from olden days
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