On the shattered planet, extensive laboratories lie beneath the fragmented soil, their pre-programmed defense systems intact after all these years. Lasers still hum, turrets still fire, drawing power from an unknown source.
But on the surface, the lack of resources has caused a degradation in civilisation. The territorial aliens roam with hatchets and strict hierarchies within their tribes. They appear to entrust weapons only to proven warriors and adorning only their leaders with decorative feathers and headdresses. I have yet to meet a spear-thrower, but I suspect it is only a matter of time.
At first, I thought it strange that I never saw one without their mask, not even in sleep.
I do not think it strange any longer.
I befriended one of the creatures. This was a mistake. I have looked beneath and I will not — cannot — describe the horrors that lay underneath. It is not a mask. It is an… integrated part of their physiology, some kind of bone structure to hide the creeping madness that is their sensory organs.
But hey, if you find one lying around, it fits like a dream and smells like cinnamon!