Team Earth, minus Joost who’s assisting Team Caterra, arrives around midnight at the dirt ruins of Arkaim in western Russia. There’s no moon to help us see or for us to be seen. Good thing Harrison sent night vision goggles.

“Okay team, all clear.” His voice is husky in our ears. “There’s an archeological team stationed to the south, but they look harmless. Remember, use the coordinates to find true center.”

We begin our climb up the one-acre mound.

“Wait,” Elaina whispers. “Something’s here.”

“Something or someone?” I whisper back.

“Something, I think, coming from the ruins.” Elaina points at the circular formation, then gasps. The end of her right index finger glows a soft red hue.

“What is it?” Harrison asks.

“My fingers are glowing. I think it’s a warning.”

Bram adjusts his night vision goggles. “I can see some hot spots on the ground. Let’s check it out.”

“All right, but stay together. At the first sign of danger, I want you all back here.” Harrison’s voice carries a nervous-father sound.

“Yes, sir,” Bram and I say at the same time.

Bram motions for us to get behind him, and we crawl like a bunch of slugs toward the ruins, silent and slow.

Easing up to the outer circle, Bram does another scan. “It looks like something’s buried below the surface. There’s one right in front of us.” He scoots in for a closer look.

I inch up beside him. “We better not step on it.”

“Look.” Elaina raises her hand again. What started only in her fingers has spread up both arms. Unconsciously, she tilts her palms down toward the ground. Within seconds, her whole body glows. Soon the entire area glows. A moment later, Arkaim darkens and Elaina’s skin returns to normal.



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