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The Children of Tau Ceti: Excerpt


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Having arrived in orbit around a planet orbiting the distant star Tau Ceti, the young adults of the spaceship Destiny begin their exploration.

They name the enigmatic and enticing planet Eden. It looks serene from orbit, a planet nearly covered with water with but a couple of small continents to investigate.

Procyon, a young man of timid demeanor, is assigned to stay with a landing craft sitting on a peaceful beach while a handful of others go to explore what appears to be a planet teaming with primitive life, but devoid of intelligent beings. Procyon is terrified of the planet, and pursues an endeavor to convince others of the folly of continuing the exploration.

"Ouch," Procyon muttered. He stopped trying to pry open the access panel and examined the fresh cut on his finger.

"Damn, that hurts."

Procyon stuck the finger in his mouth, licking off the trickle of blood. He raised his head to look out the view ports. No one was coming.

He dropped down and pried again at the panel. It finally yielded. When it fell open, he realized why the simple task had been so difficult. He'd missed removing a screw.

"Damned hardware," he said. He took his knife and peeled a small piece of insulation from two wires and touched them together.

"Ow," he exclaimed as the wires grew too hot to hold. He let them cool, then touched them together again. Nothing happened. Pleased that he'd probably blown the radio circuit, he started to put the panel back into place.

Too bad, he thought. The others still didn't recognize that humans didn't belong on Eden. Now they were even looking for places to erect buildings. It was an alien place, not meant for them.

The biology of Eden evolved without human presence. Procyon knew that humans represented the bacteria of Eden, and would surely be killed by the planet's life forces if they kept coming to the surface. If they didn't desist, they'd all end up like Aldebaran. And if events needed a little help to convince them, he'd simply have to oblige. It was, after all, for their collective good.

"Huh? What's that?"

Procyon raised to look out. He heard something. A moaning sound, and a slapping noise. His first thought was to look at the inland vegetation. Were the others coming back already? Close scrutiny showed nothing but the knee high vegetation wavering in the breeze, and the occasional scurrying of another six-legged lizard.

He bent down to continue his work, then popped up when he heard the noise again. It was coming from the seaward side of the ship.

Procyon stepped from the shuttle to get a clearer view of the water. The breeze kicked up low waves which lapped continuously at the shore's edge, but that wasn't the sound he'd heard. Tau Ceti was beginning to sink low on the horizon. He didn't have too much time to put his cobbled together plan into action. He moved back toward the shuttle.

He stopped in mid stride when he heard the sound once more. Turning quickly he looked further from the shore. Procyon shaded his eyes with his hand and panned the water's surface. There was nothing.

He started to drop his hand when movement further out caught his attention.

There was a big splash. Water shot into the air, seemingly from a dark object partly submerged about a hundred meters from shore.

"Huh? Whales?" Procyon moved slowly toward the lapping waves, his fear of the vast ocean forgotten for the moment.

He stopped a few meters from the shore. It was as far as his curiosity would take him. The distant dark mass was being slapped by the waves.

It's big, he thought. Maybe as big as the shuttle. Large enough that it didn't bob with the swells.

Was it moving? He shaded his eyes again. It seemed to be coming directly at him. At fifty meters it began to rise from the water.

"Can't ... be ... a whale." He stared with fearful fascination at the approaching blackness, his feet glued to the sand. The object continued to rise into view.

Then he saw why. He shuddered.

If you are intrigued by this scene, then know that many other exciting and mysterious scenes make up the rest of The Children of Tau Ceti.

You can purchase The Children of Tau Ceti in paperback or PDF format by clicking here.