By Andrew D. Wright

Sun scorched desert air fell on me with the weight of centuries of windblown grit and my lungs seized in mid breath. My hand instinctively flew towards the recall hex on the console and my stomach turned to water as it registered that I had never, ever seen a console like this. Nobody not dead for ages had ever touched this console. From the looks of things, the last being to link through here had done it a couple of ice ages ago. Everything had that blurry softness that comes with the passing of geologic time.
I wasn't shocked by the idea of an alien linkpad; networks of them had been found before. All a linkpad was was a probability engine with a coder attached. Charles Babbage could have built one with parts from Victorian Englands's industrial junkyards if he'd only known the math. Once the coder has been introduced to the rest of the Nexus anyone can access it from anywhere.