by Eric Filler
Copyright 2012 Eric Filler
Published by Planet 99 Publishing at Smashwords
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The planet was perfect. It had high, rugged mountains and dry, barren deserts that covered half of its surface. Water was scarce and the air was barely breathable. Towards the poles were savannahs of tall grasses and a few trees dotted the area. There were a few dense forests scattered about, mostly near small hills that rose from the deserts. It was a habitable, yet harsh world that housed no intelligent life of any kind. It was perfect for mankind’s first terraforming expedition.
Captain Lisa Shaw looked out the forward viewport of the starship Explorer. She glanced down at the brown planet hanging against the backdrop of deep space. She shifted her gaze to the freighter Pioneer, which was to her right. While the Explorer was filled with soldiers and weapons, the Pioneer carried three hundred scientists who were to ‘make mountains out of mole hills and mole hills out of mountains’, as the terraformers liked to say. Lisa had her doubts about the expedition. It was the first trip out of the Solar System, and who knew what she and her command would encounter out here. The Explorer was one of about twenty cruisers in the United Earth Alliance’s fleet of starships. It was one of the most powerful ships in Earth’s inventory, and yet Lisa had a feeling that she had been sent out here because she and her ship were expendable.