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   Chapter 41 No.41

LARC Transmissions - An Anki Legacies Science Fantasy Anthology for Young Adults By S Shane Thomas Characters: 6208

Updated: 2018-01-25 12:02


Lithium Eaters

"If not for the telescope operator's infrared scan, the starship might have plunged right into this little star, " Jillian peered out a view port into a vast, round, sea of hydrogen, larger than any planet would be.

"I'll bet we could swim in it" Leroy said, as he ambled over to share the view. "What are we supposed to look for here anyhow?"

Jillian gasped and pressed her face against the glass. "Did you see that?"

******

Leroy could see only blonde locks now and took a moment to enjoy their scent before telling Jillian of the obstruction.

"There, " she pointed, after withdrawing a few feet. "There are things swimming in the star. It looks like they are grazing on the dark clumps of lithium that bubble to the surface."

As the pair of explorers' shuttle hovered over the surface of a Y class brown dwarf, nearly invisible to the naked eye due to a temperature close to that of a human body, creatures not unlike jellyfish used bioluminescence to find and consume lithium, the hydrogen star's lone byproduct.

"Let's make contact. This could be the first time anyone discovered life on a star!" Leroy rushed for the control console.

******

Jillian put a hand on her partner's shoulder. Had he been working out? She would have to put even more than the usual effort into keeping their interactions strictly professional. She leaned over his shoulder, excited by the cluster of activity on the display, and inadvertently brushed cheeks with him while pressing her chest against his back. "Bring us in right here."

******

Leroy couldn't tell if the thrill of the hunt or Jillian's proximity made his heart pound. He gasped a quick inhalation as he directed the craft. The vessel hovered within a dozen feet of the pulsating, billowing, creatures. Jillian sat next to Leroy and her fingers flashed on the con

n than the handful of sentient species Leroy and Jillian had encountered since their posting began. The book he held contained a flash card collection intended to assist foreigners in communication. After bartering shuttle rations for the book, Jillian and Leroy made their way into town.

None of the locals seemed surprised to see aliens in their midst. Jillian reasoned that the anomaly had attracted the attention of other sentient space explorers. Most of the villagers they saw worked with lumber, tilled fields, or tended shops. Others looked to be visitors from the desert moon wearing lighter garments shopping in pairs and threes. There seemed to be no species differentiation between the groups, Leroy suspected this atmospheric link had enabled commingling for thousands of years.

Leroy and Jillian saw a large group of women from the desert moon gathered in the clearing. The clearing seemed like the place where gravity and atmospheres touched. The lightly garbed flock spotted Leroy and he returned a half dozen coy smiles. A local shop keeper saw the exchange, scoffed loudly and ferried his wares back inside of a small cottage. One of the women approached the explorers and batted lashes on huge, innocent doe eyes.

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