The wind whistled through the grass. Under the awning, the generator and computers hummed, fans sung into life as internal thermometers clicked over. One by one, the screens blinked into life.
The veldt was a sea of black grass under a black sky, defined only by the grey glowing line of the horizon, the shifting texture of darkness defined each bowl and hillock, and the stars came out overhead. Across the plain of black grass, the sensors he'd planted all day clicked into life; on the screen, the network formed, machines quietly chatted together, synched up. Data began to flow, down through the optimum paths, back to the hubs, where it was processed.
He stood out under the ocean of stars. No wind blew, but the grass blew in waves, black on black, like a living palette, a flag blown by unknown forces. Under the awning, the computer began to sing a warning, angry red circles, pinging fast, designed to draw attention. Too late, he looked out at the darkness, hands fumbled among pouches and pockets. Then the darkness began to chitter and sing, and rose up from the black plain on a trillion wings, till the thin grey line horizon was lost in the wave of them, which swallowed the stars...