Table of Contents
Lost Waters - Chapter 2
Tara waited for the last of the inner circle
to file in. Rakal, Tarrin, Mason, Tulera, Kimmer, and finally Marshal.
"Mason, report." Tara barked with irritation.
"It's a one-in-a-million find, sir.
Class A, the right mix of nitrogen, oxygen and trace gasses, and a level
of life teeming on the surface unlike anything I've had the pleasure of
visiting yet. It's vibrant down there, and the plants are a classic carbon
based set. Well evolved - possibly far past the level of earth. It's 75%
the size of earth, meaning we'll have 75% gravity, but we're not planning
on going back to earth after this run anyway." Cy Mason rattled out,
getting slightly flushed as he called up chart after chart. "And,
to top it off, despite the age and power on this planet, it has no intelligent
life in residence. We went back about 3000 years, and at one point it
did indeed have some form of builder, so there are ruins left, but we
expect that some form of natural disaster did them in, or they abandoned
the planet. They may have been space farers - the ruins show a high level
of technology. We'll set the betas loose on it, and they'll go wild. Not
only do we have a great place to start Arralla over, we've got new tech
to keep the betas from going crazy. They can build all they want."
Rakal rumbled with amusement at the comment. "The only problem I
can foresee with a settlement is related to these large raptors, and two
forms of ground based predators, and the fires that tend to sweep across
the land when hydrocarbons release from the planet's crust in the dry
season. The weather is very turbulent, and the ocean currents are strong,
and there's no doubt that the indigenous life there may find us a tasty
addition to the food chain. And then there's the matter of the bacteria
and viral problems, parasites and radiation problems..." Mason stopped
to catch his breath, smoothing back his unruly brown hair with one hand
as he flipped through page after page of data.
"Radiation? Microorganisms we can
handle, but radiation would render this 'gemstone' of yours completely
useless, Cy." Tara called up the radiation scans and started to peruse
"It's not radiation, it's just a strong
and erratic magnetic field. This planet has a high iron content, good
for building I might add, and the field spectrums that are strongest are,
thankfully, harmless to embryo development for humans, and my research
tells me also Arrallins. It's no big deal, we just get aurora borealis
all over the planet, really. I look forward to lying in the treetops watching
Tara cocked an eyebrow at the man. "Okay,
Mason...you're obviously moving to this place with or without the rest
of us. Let's get an objective review, now, eh? Kimmer, what's you're take
on Planet Gemstone?" Mason grinned wryly and plucked at his mustache
absently, watching Kimmer hopefully. Tara turned to face the calico beta,
who swiveled her ears forward and flexed her whiskers nervously.
"Too good to be true, I'd say. Not
to say that we shouldn't move in, but we should keep our guard up. I don't
like the fact that a planet this far along doesn't already have some form
of organized higher life. Something did them in, and it will get us if
we dance into this. My recommendation - take the flagship down, and land
it for a base camp. Leave the two transports in orbit, and unload one
using the scout as a shuttle. We've got hydrocarbons galore down there
to work with for refining, and plenty of oxygen ice in the rings around
the fourth planet. With the resources down there, we could even go back
to gas powered engines if we wanted to for years before we fried ourselves."
Tara could see that despite her reservations, Kimmer was still itching
to get on this rock and look around.
"Okay... two thumbs up from the experts.
Is this it? Votes? Concerns?" Tara surveyed the group.
One by one, the vote counter registered
green. "It's ulaminated, sir. We're going!" Kimmer's tail swept
along the floor as she tried to keep from yipping with delight.
Tara smiled, "Unanimous, Kim, and
* * *Chapter 3