The survey team had left relatively little–a simple shelter with an inflatable airlock that could sustain an oxygen atmosphere, and some scattered tools and supplies. Brogan groused at length over the comms about how messy and unprofessional the site was, and how bad the violation of ‘take nothing but data, leave nothing but footprints’ had been.

“An archaeological survey, even a sloppy one, is better than this,” she said, once the crew had successfully repressurized the habitat.

“They left us what we needed to survive,” said Dragovic. “For that, if I run into them, I’m buying them drinks.”

“Be honest, Bogan,” said Neilos. “You were hoping we’d have to try pressurizing an alien burial chamber.” He cocked his head at the imposing ziggurat that was visible looming over the shelter, with individual crypts stacked like building blocks.

“Of course not,” said Bogan. “After however long those things have been there, they won’t seal well. I was hoping we’d have to do a little light alien graverobbing, that’s all.” She sat down very heavily, and collapsed onto her back.

“There is one thing I don’t get,” Dragovic said. “If the law’s so strict about opening the tombs, why didn’t they drop the hammer on these guys? They must have noticed things were missing from the manifest.”

“Well, that one’s easy,” Neilos said. “They weren’t an official expedition. They were tomb raiders, like us–potentially.”

“And you know this how?” said Dragovic. “If you have a data pipeline, I hope you’re not using it just to look up trivia.”

“Because you can see where they tried to get in,” Neilos said, lazily pointing at the ziggurat. “Or, I guess I should say where they did get in.”

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