The first expedition lost too many crew members to the energy beings—wraiths, ghosts—whatever one wanted to call them. They could move through shielding, hull plating, and walls. Nowhere was safe. Not even the human body.

Renwick had seen the holovids of those creatures possessing a person. They instantly drove their host mad. Horrifying chaos and violence ensued every time. Itd gone that way year after year as the wraiths performed their annual migration to Eredia Prime. Up until this year, smart miners fled from orbit or from the colony below.

The situation proved untenable for human colonists. The Rentech Corporation needed the platinum from the rich colony mine. It was far too profitable to stop operations for several weeks every year to allow the wraiths free reign.

Renwick, an engineer by trade, had the foresight to figure out how to repeal the wraiths. The electromagnetic energy field created by his ships hyperdrive deterred them, drove the spirits away. As a test, he had a crew amplify that field. Though they contracted radiation poisoning from the experiment, most of the crew survived. That proved enough for the company to allow Renwick the resources for an expedition team to deploy Project Scarecrow.

His ship dropped the last beacon from his cargo bay, activating network of hyperspace fields. Just in time. His sensors detected the energy beings on the horizon.

Were deployed. Power up,Renwick said through his comm system. A glowing minefield of the beacons formed a net of electromagnetic waves around the colony.

The wraiths advanced with inhuman speed. The energy field crackled. If there had been sound in space, Renwick would have sworn the wraiths howled in pain. Whatever those spirits felt, they turned back, leaving the colony safe for another year.

Jon Del Arroz
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