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exactly what was going through his mind. He was awestruck by the thing. He consoled himself with the concept that, once upon a time, if Humans had come into contact with something they didn't understand, their gut instinct had been to blast it out of existence on the off-chance it might be a threat. But Humankind had grown, developed beyond those primitive impulses.

In point of fact, if Humankind were a bit more driven by those same primitive impulses, the disaster which was in the process of unfolding might well have been averted. Such, however, was not to be the case.

Zack drew within yards of the surface of the artifact, and he could make out some sort of bizarre hieroglyphs covering the surface. For one crazy moment he actually tried to figure out what they meant until he realized that he was way over his head. But then he noticed something that was most definitely well within his realm: some part of the artifact looked as if it'd been carbon scored by some sort of weapon's fire. Heaven knew he'd seen enough of that kind of damage to know it on sight. Furthermore, some other parts of the artifact looked unfinished somehow.

An entire scenario was beginning to suggest itself to him. Perhaps someone had been in the process of building the thing... and someone else hadn't wanted it finished. Perhaps there had been some sort of war. Perhaps the thing had been disabled before it could be brought on line. Perhaps ...

Perhaps, he thought bleakly to himself, he should stick to being head of security, and allow people with a track record and tons of savvy to figure out what was really going on with this stuff. Still, there was no harm in making his observations known.

He toggled the comm system and said, "Investigation team, this is Security. I'm making out signs
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