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Paul Butters Paul Butters
Recommendations: 3

Marinia 7

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She had a friend.

Space exploration can be so humbling and exciting!

The Space-Timeship “Leeds” is on another expedition: Dave Smethurst and Pete Smith in the cockpit. Hundreds of light years from home.

It was a mystery. Any space textbook would tell you about a certain class of “Super-Earth”: classically about twice as big as our Earth. Such a planet would typically reside in the Goldilocks Zone of a G Type (yellow) star like ours. It would be a rocky planet, but would be completely covered by a water ocean hundreds of miles deep. Ten such worlds were titled “Marinia”.

The attraction of such a world would be its great variety of sea-life. The downside was the absence of one important thing: land. Yet Marinia 7 had become a puzzle. The latest probe into its vicinity had sent back pictures of ... land! This required investigation. Cue the Space-Timeship “Leeds”. Cue Pilot Dave Smethurst and his Co-Pilot Pete Smith.

Now they were in parking orbit over Marinia 7. The view was breathtakingly beautiful. You cannot beat an ocean planet for an awesome sight. But the boys were busy.

Dave: “What’s the computer say it is?”

Pete: “Well, it’s real, that’s for sure. But I don’t think it’s land as we know it.”

Dave: “Eh?”

Pete: “Looks organic. Must be a cross between seaweed, coral, oak, and a giant spider’s web. Like coral, live stuff growing on dead stuff.”

Dave: “On THAT scale?”

Pete: “Yep.”

Dave: “We better fly in and take a look then.”

So they headed down towards what looked like an impossible continent. As they cruised lower, however, they could see that they were approaching a vast scattering of “islands”. Dotted all over this super archipelago was evidence of towns and villages! They chose an island and landed. There was a town just over a small “hill” nearby.

Dave and Pete left the safety of their ship and tiptoed over the contorted latticework that provided this land. They aimed themselves in the direction of the town.

Suddenly they were stopped in their tracks. Three figures just materialised before them. Two humanoids with bows and arrow-pouches over their shoulders stood regarding the two explorers. And hovering between these men was a dolphin!

Dolphin: “Welcome to Flotia. I am Fast Fin. Yes, what you call a dolphin. I am speaking to you telepathically. Would you like to visit our homestead?”

Dave: “We would be honoured Sir.”

Fast Fin: “I’m a female actually. But no offence taken. Would you like your vehicle to come with us? It will save the walk back.”

Dave: “Okay.”

Without hesitation the dolphin stared at “The Leeds” and made it rise about ten feet in the air. She made it hover before them as they entered the town and gently lowered it into the central square. By this time they were surrounded by a crowd of dolphins, humans and other “fish” and “animals”.

Presently Fast Fin approached the two astronauts.

Fast Fin: “I have something to show you two.”

Instantaneously they found themselves, alongside Fast Fin, looking directly at a red star. They were now somewhere on a gloomy plain, a chill wind blowing from some alien North. There were trees and bushes all around them, forming a dark parkland: for all the plant-life was BLACK!

Pete: “Where the Hell are we?”

Fast Fin: “Do not be alarmed my friends. You are in no danger. We have only travelled ten light years. This planet is the nearest one to mine that supports life. As you can see, it is what you would call a Red Dwarf M Type star. See those great things over there?”

The boys picked out what looked like giant turtles, twice as big as elephants and with huge gaping mouths.

Fast Fin: “That’s the most advanced animal life here. They barely move and just catch food in the wind.”

Dave: “Yes, Fast Fin, we’ve seen many planets like this. In fact the vast MAJORITY of inhabited worlds revolve round M type stars. They are all tidally locked so there are no seasons or even days there. And no change means very little evolution.”

Fast Fin: “That’s generally true Dave. And your theory applies here too. But the point I want to make is that ocean-planets too have restrictions on development, but occasionally, very occasionally, such restrictions may be overcome.”

Pete: “Through a different evolution you mean.”

Fast Fin: “Precisely. We could never develop Your technology. We have almost no metals for a start. But we have evolved with higher “mental” abilities such as telepathy, telekinesis and, as you see, teleportation. And much more, but I think I’ve shown off enough already.”

With that, they were instantly transported back to the town square on Marinia 7.

Fast Fin: “We look forward to a new age of cooperation between our worlds. A mutual exchange of knowledge and goods of all kinds.”

She turned to the crowd.

Fast Fin: “Come on everyone. It’s time to party.”

(800 Words)

Paul Butters

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