Lizard World - Book Three
Lost in the mushroom jungle on Epsilon prospector Gil Turner must battle ferocious giant lizards to stay alive. He makes a discovery that might spark a terrible war in space with a superior species, a war the Humans can't win. The allure of a beautiful alien female might prove fatal.
Of all the different denizens inhabiting Epsilon, the Boraz was by far the most docile but also the dumbest. At least according to Gilbert Turner, who was trying unsuccessfully to free the unfortunate struggling creature. As large and as strong as a donkey, it was an ideal pack and riding animal. With its large webbed feet, it could move with ease across swampy areas, of which there were many in this jungle of mushrooms and tall ferns.
“How can you be so stupid and get yourself entangled in a Spider-beetle net?” Turner shouted at the unlucky recipient of his anger. “It’s getting late and I’d like to be back in the shelter before dark.”
He had set up his small portable habitat a few miles back near the spot where he found some nice-sized sapphires. According to the terrain, there should be more such spots in this area.
The Boraz stopped struggling for a moment and looked at him out of large brown eyes, as if to say I’m sorry.
“Don’t look at me like that,” Turner grumbled. Walking around the giant net, he studied its construction. It looked old, abandoned. Lucky for the Boraz, otherwise the owner of the net would have made an appearance by now, and the beast would provide a small family of Spider-beetles with a tasty snack.
Turner knelt and peered into the deep hole under the net and listened. He didn’t hear anything and was satisfied with his assessment of the hole’s vacant state. The situation didn’t look hopeless, but if the Boraz fell into it, all Turner’s gear would be lost in the dark depth of the abandoned shaft. In the unlikely event the Boraz survived the fall, he’d need a rope to climb to the bottom, but the needed rope was stored away in one of the packs on the animal’s back.
The struggling Boraz dislodged some of the debris the net had collected over time, and Turner discovered remnants of bleached skeletons from other unlucky victims who had stumbled into the web. Gingerly, he touched a strand and noted most of the sticky substance had dried up. With luck, he should be able to pull the Boraz back to the safety of solid ground.
I should have carried my most important stuff in a backpack. Serves me right for being so careless.
Anything could happen in these wild areas of Epsilon. This wasn’t the first time he lost one of his pack animals. But it was the first time he would lose two of them on one trip. The Boraz, which he had been riding, made a quick meal for one of the carnosaurs a few days ago while he was preoccupied digging for Moth-eggs.
Taking stock of what he carried on his person, he found he still had his hunting knife, his flash rifle, his pistol, his water purifier, and his helmet with its air filter and built-in headlamp. Luckily, he carried his torchlight and his first-aid kit clicked into his belt and his navigation equipment strapped to his wrist. He would not perish or get lost should he lose the Boraz with all his other possessions.
He looked up and stared through the mushroom umbrellas, noting the blue sky. At least the weather co-operated and he might even get lucky and make it back to his shelter without needing his rain-gear should that eventuality happen.
The Boraz let out a loud bleeping cry and began struggling again.
“Don’t make so much noise,” Turner hissed. “We don’t want to advertise our presence to every carnosaur in the vicinity.”