The Xandra - Book Six
Exploring a new world can be exciting and rewarding. Ten researchers are trying to unlock the mysteries of a planet plagued by fierce storms and harsh winters. They find more than mere excitement as they discover they are not alone.
Professor Tennenboum walked to the outer rim of the observatory to look at the star-speckled black void outside. The ancient alien space station curved away all around the tower, the only tower the Humans had adapted to support human life. Only three of the twelve towers studding the giant sphere could be partially seen from his location. The fourth planet of the star system ACG 671-397-D hung overhead like a huge, shiny soap bubble. He may never set foot on its surface. His destination lay elsewhere.
“Overwhelming, isn’t it?”
He turned to glance at the woman who came up beside him. She was tall, slim, and beautiful, with long, red hair and lovely green eyes. “It certainly is,” he said.
“Every time I look at that planet it seems to beckon to me.” Her voice sounded almost dreamy.
“I haven’t been down there, but I hear it is an ideal planet. One of the best we’ve discovered so far.”
She chuckled. “The colonists named it Nu-Eden. Let’s hope we don’t find a snake to spoil it.”
“There usually is one. Nothing ever turns out to be perfect.” Tennenboum was pessimistic. “I remember Devil’s Nest as it is called now. Did you know it was named Eden at first?”
“I don’t know about Devil’s Nest, but I know of at least three other planets starting out as Eden.”
“Perhaps this one will be different.” Tennenboum turned to walk back to his table. “Care to join me for dinner, Miss…I’m sorry, I don’t know your name. I’ve seen you around, though.” He smiled. “A beautiful woman like you does draw attention.”
“Thank you for the compliment, Professor Tennenboum.” She laughed at his puzzled face. “Everybody knows the head of the research team that is going down to the fifth planet.” She held out a hand. “I’m Breanna McGuinness. I’m a xenologist.”
“You study alien life forms. A xenologist and beautiful to boot. Too bad I didn’t know about you before I put together my team. A good-looking woman is always a pleasant addition.”
She pulled her eyebrows into a mock frown. “I hope the members of your team were selected for their qualifications and not because they are beautiful people.”
“All of them are the best in their field.” He smiled and took her arm. “Come, lovely Lady Breanna McGuinness, and let me have the pleasure of looking at you from across the table.”
“Are you flirting with me, Professor Tennenboum?”
“I am an old man, young woman. My flirting days are over.” He led her across the crowded room to his table and held the chair for her until she sat down. When she was comfortable he moved to the other side of the table and took the seat across from her.
“Thank you, Professor. You are a gentleman.”
“Thank goodness one doesn’t forget his manners with age.”