Jonas pulled out his revolver, preparing to blast through the combo lock on the door. He noticed the reflective surface of the metal and thought better of it.
The hard slab floor of the bar shuddered. The sound of a groaning whale passed over the quiet town, quickly followed by a chorus of short-range cruisers engines kicking to life. Jonas cursed as he flew over the bar and out the front door. Cutting around to the back of the building he watched a half-dozen vehicles pull away from the town, skipping over the desert towards a few low-lying structures in the distance. Overhead the sky was blotted out by a large shadow, that shifted through the clouds towards the same destination.
The small pack of cruisers skidded to a stop beside the nearest building. A tanned and dusty sign labeled it as “Harkens and Bruisters Mining Co.” The men turned off their cars and climbed out. The bald bartender lead the mostly anxious followers towards mining office’s front door. The thrum of vast sea of engines filled the air, as the daylight disappeared. The men paused for moment, looking at each other with questioning glances.
“Oh come on,” the bartender said as he pulled the chains from the entrance. “You all knew what we were getting into.”
The collection of men followed him into the factory-like network of offices. They waited in a large chamber, outfitted with a few plush leather chairs, but filled mostly with discarded mining equipment. At one end of the room was sealed loading bay door. A small console blinked beside it.
In a matter of seconds they were there. A trio of tall, lank figures, dressed in tight-fitting environmental suits. They were so large they had to slouch to get through the human-sized doorways. Breathing masks were attached to their faces, but the tops of their heads were exposed, revealing the scaly, brown skin. Most of the men backed away as they approached the bartender, who stood front and center, although visibly nervous.
The largest of the aliens stepped closer to him and pointed a long finger at his chest.
“Where is the gold?” the scrim said, his thin and scratchy voice further distorted by the breathing filter.
The bald man, unconscious of the fact that he was leaning away from the alien, gestured behind him with his thumb.
“Back there,” he said, “behind the security gate.”
The bartender nodded to one of the men, who awkwardly walked past the alien and to the door. He pulled a small screen from his pocket, which flashed a new sequence of characters every 10 seconds. He quickly entered the code into the small console beside the sealed door. There was a reassuring beep as the steel mouth opened.
“This way,” the bartender said, as he lead the cadre of humans and scrim down a wide industrial tunnel, down into the mining facilities secure storage room. It was little more than a square room cut out of the solid rock of the planet, filled with stack upon stack of black cargo chests. The chests formed aisles in the vast rooming, forcing anyone who entered it to have to navigate it by walking sideways.
“2.5 tons of gold,” the bartender said, motioning to the towers of chests, “H&B’s entire cache for the year.”
The scrim growled in approval at the sight. “Where is the rest?”
“The other mining company’s caches are less secure, stored in open lots,” the bartender said, “but they’re properly guarded.”
“You have disabled the security of this fortress?”
The bald man nodded. “The containment field over this room was disabled when Jon entered the code on the door.”
“Good.” The scrim leader turned to his followers, pointing up. “We will harvest now.”
They scrim quickly left the mining facility, the men quickly followed behind them.
“You will leave our cut, untouched?” the bartender said.
“Your cut?” the scrim said. “What cut?”
“We promised to led you to the mined gold, as long as you left some for us,” he said. “That was our agreement.”
“Yes, we put our lives in danger getting that code token—Jon could have been arrested.”
The great alien laughed, a raspy horrid noise that rattled from his mask. “Arrested? That would have been the punishment for betraying your people? Allow me to offer a more fitting justice.”
The last thing the men from the mining town saw was a brilliant shimmering wall of light. Their skin and muscle tissue was quickly seared their bones as what was left clattered to the ground in smoking heaps.
Jonas saw the flash of blue light from a distance. He keyed his radio again. No response came from headquarters. The scrim ship began to move, drawing up over the roof of the mining facility. Jonas threw his cruiser into drive and shot across the desert. The gloomy alien ship opened from the bottom, a collection of tendrils extended towards the earth.
Jonas pulled slammed on the breaks and spun his car around. A mechanical shriek pierced the air as building was torn apart. Chunks of stone, plaster and seared steel scattered across the desert, as the tendrils reached into the newly created pit and began to extract the black cases of gold. The tendrils retracted back into the hull of the ship like proboscis, reaching back out for more.
Jonas navigated through the cloud of debris created by the ship’s activity. He released the cruiser’s gravity anchors and pushed off from the surface of the desert. He reached the wrecked mining facility as the last of the gold was plundered from the store. Several scrim, attached to tethers, descended from the ship and scanned the area for anymore traces of loot. Jonas opened up his throttle, colliding into two of the aliens before they could react. Their long, bony figures cracked and splattered across his cruiser’s hull, leaving what was left to dangle lifelessly from the tethers.