Dark World

The Xandra - Book Eight

by Herbert Grosshans

Iceworld, a savage planet of rugged mountains, vast plains, wild forests, and myriads of long, wide rivers snaking through flat lands to empty their turbulent waters into huge lakes. It is a world plagued by vicious thunderstorms, hurricanes, and torrential rains in the summer and by violent snowstorms in the long winter. One would think that nothing could survive on such a planet, but it is inhabited by ferocious beasts and a race of savages, the Sras.

The Sras are not the only inhabitants. Explorers from a race of space-faring aliens became stranded 1,000 years before humans set up their research station. Their descendants grew in numbers and spread across the planet. They are the Jnaar, and they have become nearly as savage as the Sras.

Both races live much of the time below the surface of Iceworld. Thirty-five humans reside inside the research station. When one of the scientists, Regina Seagul, is abducted by a group of Jnaar, three men enter the dark tunnels in search of the missing woman.  The subterranean world holds the secret to the future of the humans. When Cameron meets the entity the Jnaar call Dark Goddess, he discovers a terrible truth.



Iceworld, the fifth planet circling an alien sun 300 light-years from Earth, is a savage world of high, rugged mountains, vast plains with tall grasses, wild forests, and long, wide rivers snaking through flat lands and mountains that empty their turbulent waters into huge, deep lakes. There is only one ocean. It is as rough and unfriendly as the land.

The weather on Iceworld is unpredictable, with great temperature fluctuations between seasons that are twice as long as the seasons on Earth. It is a world plagued by vicious thunderstorms, hurricanes and torrential rains in the summer and by violent snowstorms in the long winter when the snow never seems to stop falling.

One would think that nothing could survive on such a planet, but when humans set up a research station in a somewhat moderate area in the Western Hemisphere they discovered Iceworld was inhabited by ferocious beasts and a race of intelligent savages, who called themselves theSras.

They also discovered that humans were not the only intruders into this wild world. Explorers from a race of space faring aliens became stranded 1,000 years before the humans set up their station. Their descendants had grown in numbers and spread across large areas of the planet. They were the Jnaar and had grown nearly as savage as the Sras.

The Sras and the Jnaar were sworn enemies.

Both races live much of the time in the underground tunnels and giant caverns below the surface of Iceworld. Only during the summer do they send out hunting parties to gather wild grains and hunt for meat.

The humans live inside a huge artificial habitat that looks like a giant egg. It protects the humans from the violent weather outside.

Thirty-five humans make this artificial world their home; seventeen men and eighteen women. Originally there had been 39 men and women, but four are missing. Rob Cameron, Rudi Malone, and Irwin Hunter went into the subterranean world to search for Regina Seagul, an abducted xenologist. Their guides, Raaskar, a Jnaar male, and his mate, Laneea, and their daughter Raas-ini, led them to one of the underground Jnaar cities, where they hope to engage the help of the Jnaar in their search for the missing woman.

Chapter One

The snow almost touched the bottom of the giant egg-like structure that was the habitat of the humans on Iceworld. The snow had stopped falling, but the sky was as cloudy as ever.

Inside the habitat, Valissa, Rob’s fiancĂ©e, sat at a table with her friends Teresa and Holger Schreiber, speculating what the three men, who had gone into the underground tunnels in search of Regina Seagul, were doing.

“They’ve been gone nearly a month,” Valissa said. “I wish Rob had stayed here. I miss him and feel lonesome without him. He said they’d try to send messages, but he suspected it might not be possible. The rocks would probably prevent any signals from getting through.”

“It seems he was right about that because we haven’t heard from them.” Teresa put her hand over Valissa’s in a gesture of friendship. “Don’t worry so much. I’m sure they’re okay.” She gave Valissa an encouraging smile. “You’re not alone. I’m here for you and so is Holger.”

Valissa wiped her nose with the back of her hand and sniffed. “I know and I appreciate it, but you can’t replace Rob when I sleep alone in my bed at night.”

“I’m alone at night too, honey. Too bad that big hunk of a man, you know who I’m talking about, was so damned reserved. Who would have thought a man like that had so many inhibitions? I would have given him a good time.” Teresa laughed heartily. “He would have remembered my great passion as he’s sleeping in those dark, cold tunnels without a woman embracing his hard, muscular body.”

Schreiber, the man with them, snickered. “I’m glad I don’t have all these sexual hang-ups. Must be a drain on your system.”

“Well, Holger, my friend, somehow I can’t believe that you don’t have any sexual desires. You can’t be dead down there, and I don’t really want to know how you relieve your anxieties, which I have no doubt you have. So you’re not attracted to women. You like men. Tell me, did you ever have the hots for another man?”

“I had. A long time ago.” He seemed reluctant to answer her.

“Can’t be that long ago. You’re not so old. Was he your lover?”

Schreiber nodded as a faraway look clouded his dark eyes. “For a short time only.”

“Did you have a sexual relationship with him?” Teresa sounded almost like an interrogator. Schreiber didn’t answer. “Did you?”

“What do you think?” Schreiber’s eyes flashed angrily.

His reaction surprised Valissa. She had never seen him angry. He was usually calm and in control of his emotions.

Teresa slapped his shoulder with a jovial laugh. “So you did have a little taste of heaven, you sly dog. Perhaps if the right man came along you would discover feelings you thought were dead. That’s how I felt with Malone, believe it or not. He may look like a huge ogre to you, but I found him ruggedly handsome.”

“Why didn’t you tell him that?” Schreiber seemed to have regained his composure. “You have nobody to blame but yourself if you feel like you’ve missed having his sweaty body laboring on top of yours.”

“You make it sound like something dirty. I’d call it making passionate love.”

“Call it what you will. You should have made the first move when you noticed he didn’t have the guts to romance you.” Schreiber took a swig from his coffee mug. “Now you may never get the chance.”

“Why shouldn’t I?”

“He may get lost in those underground tunnels and not come back.”

“Don’t be so negative,” Teresa chided him and motioned with her head toward Valissa. “Of course he’ll be back. They’ll all come back safe and sound.”

“And soon,” Valissa said. “I hope they find that woman, otherwise it’ll all have been for nothing.” She rose from her seat. “See you at lunch. I’m going to do my exercises.” She smiled at them both. “I don’t want to be fat and out of shape when Rob comes back.”

Herbert Grosshans "The Xandra 8, Dark World"


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