My armed escort and I have been sent to this suburb to investigate reports of an Entry Dome. The image from the air recon team that I’ve got stashed in my backpack is noisy, but it certainly looks like a Dome. Right size, shape, relative position. We walk down the middle of the deserted street, past the empty husks of houses, shops, offices. I’ve been three months on this job and I’ve never spotted anyone.
I scan the device on my wrist to clarify directions. Left here, then two more blocks up, on the right. I turn to the trooper and nod. She nods back and double-checks her weapon. She doesn’t talk much. She sits on her own in the mess hall. But I trust her. Something about her approach to the job.
We round the final corner and the Dome comes into view. It looks pretty much like the others: like the top half of a big, rusted, diver’s helmet. I spot the access hatch, and take quick, short, steps to the keypad. I crouch down, get out my makeshift tools, and gingerly start prodding at the keypad. Some of them are rigged, booby-trapped. Just last week someone in Team 3 lost a hand.
After a few minutes of sparks and cursing under my breath, something unexpected happens: the door actually begins to slide open. I fall over backwards in shock; my escort brings her rifle sharply up and at the door. On the other side are two humans: a techie, crouched by the other side of keypad, looking as surprised as me; a trooper, standing taut, their gun aimed out at us.