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Allandra set her dials for landing. “This is the one Leonardo! I can feel it! Just like the readings indicated!”
“Humph!” her partner retorted, but with a smile in his voice. “ITS says that every mission. We’ve never find anything but plants, not even an animal. And I had my heart set on a pet, space monkey. Why don’t you give it up, babe?”
She laughed throatily. “Now you know I can’t do that.” Besides this time they’re right.
The young astronaut couldn’t see Leonardo. But she knew he was there, traveling parallel to her descent. They’d been in space for a week and both were ready for some R&R, even it was on the surface of an unexplored planet.
Moving through the crusty, mist-filled atmosphere, Allandra reduced her speed: coasting the tiny ship in. Her heart sank.
From a distance the dust that surrounded the atmosphere had given off a crimson glow—hence the name Red Stone. But up close, it was an ugly, crater-filled rock covered in red dust. Worst, there was no sign of civilization. Intergalactic Space Travel’s (IST) readings had been wrong.
The astronaut spotted a plateau between two boulders, a small valley, and headed for it. She easily maneuvered the ship into a smooth landing. She was operating a Probe: a craft—roughly the same size as the small, private planes that had become so popular during the 21th century. Yet probes had the weapons capacity and power of the much larger phoenix crafts.
Allandra scanned the surface. With the naked eye, it appeared to be mid-day. Or whatever passes for mid-day on this desolate rock. She pressed the blue button on her console, activating a test of the atmosphere.
“No readings of intelligent life species, no readings of other animal species,” a mechanized voice intoned. “Levels of toxicity are acceptable.” That means it’s safe for us to get out.
She activated her ship log, and began speaking: “This is Lieutenant Allandra Rex, commander of Probe 12. It is 2600 hours Earth Time, Day Seven of the mission. Lieutenant Leonardo Cash and I have landed on Planet Red Stone.”
“Preliminary analysis of the planet indicates there is not enough oxygen to sustain human life.” Keep it simple and straightforward.
Sidney had taught her this.
The second half is also available at amazon and smashwords for $.99
Colony will be released later this year.