The ship rose clear of the ground, sand running off of it in rivulets like water drops. It was angles and curves, symmetrical and yet totally alien, and to the fighters that had been surrounding it, it was like the thunderbolt before a rare desert thunderstorm.

Their awe was short-lives, and a half-dozen rocket-propelled grenades streaked toward the rising structure. They blew up well short of its skin, cast aside by some invisible field. A Russian-made SAM flared into the sky from a ridge some miles away; radar-guided, it struck the ship dead on but also did nothing.

A voice boomed over the sands from within the vessel: “I’m sorry to inform you that the window to stop me has passed. Those of you who have even the slightest wish to preserve your genes for a future generation may leave now.” The message was repeated in Arabic, French, and (for some reason) Basque for added effect.

Some fighters chose to flee, but most remained committed to attacking the new target hanging low in the sky over them.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

In a blast of light and radiation from a part of the spectrum humans were twenty-thousand generations away from being able to see, every fighter within half a kilometer fell dead, a smoking hole neatly bored throught their brain stem. Those fleeing were somehow not touched.

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