By Gregory Benford
A small dice of black rock has been unearthed in a 3500-year-old Mycenaean tomb.
An incomprehensible item in an very unlikely position; its age,its goal, and its origins are unknown.
Its discovery has unleashed an international hurricane of intrigue, robbery and espionage, and is pushing countries to the edge of war.
Its substance has scientists baffled. And the miracle it includes doesn't belong in this Earth.
It is secret and madness—an enigma with out equivalent in recorded background. it's mankind's maximum discovery… and worst nightmare.
It can have already obliterated an international. Ours is next.
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Extra resources for Artifact
Alex cracked the door, and we peered outside. It was a marble-floored lobby, and daylight shone through the glass doors of the building’s entrance just ten paces to our left. Two macabre figures in orange hazmat suits waddled through the front door. We pulled the door tight as they made their way past us. Alex cracked the door again and peeked out. ” Alex swung the door open, and we ran for the entrance. We opened the building’s glass entrance doors and stepped outside where we were greeted by the hissing of air brakes.
They had but one opportunity to use the element of surprise, and they made sure it was a crushing blow. First, they launched missiles that took out our satellites. Then they unleashed the firepower of their floating armada to sink our ships and hobble military installations in the East. Their forces on the ground were another major component of the coordinated assault. They had secretly stockpiled weapons and machinery among their supplies for the rescue operation. They had worked for weeks right alongside our troops—troops that were not equipped for battle.
They would get my jokes. They would be shocked and furious to find out what happened to the world, and together we would find a way out. One by one, the butterflies emerged from their cocoons. Each one looked around the room, confused and sedated. Then they smiled when they saw me, and started chatting. Barry was the first to wake up. Boy, did he have some stories to tell. Barry was the frail gentleman I’d thought was in his seventies. Turns out he was only in his early sixties when he died. Barry was the only child of a heavy-drinking oil tycoon who succumbed to alcoholism at an early age.
Artifact by Gregory Benford