Hodges/ Harper family searches for life in our galaxy. They find a planet damaged by a tangential meteor hit that destroyed all land life except that found deep in caves. Stone age humans and their dogs found and rescued. Their damaged planet repaired and they are repatriated.
Two additional paranormal children found whose great grandmothers were injured in the same storm that produced the Hodges family.
Planet without life found...to be terra-formed.
Planet found with small humans who are in a civil war. Mediation produces peaceful solution.
"Zooly discovered, a planet similar to Earth millions of years ago. Has early land and sea life.
Jim Hodges dies in his sleep.
Harper children plan free medical clinics on Earth.
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|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.76(d)|
Read an Excerpt
By Bill Lies
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Bill Lies, III
All rights reserved.
"I think we should take the children along," Ami said. "They are thirteen and if we should find sentient life, they have that extra sense that could lead to understanding another type of mentality if it's different from ours."
"I think you're right," Zoe said. "We can teach them as we search. They won't miss any education. I'll check with Brad and Jill for permission."
"Brad, Jill" Zoe sent telepathically, "Ami and I would like to be the first search team as soon as there is a Kepler telescope to use."
"Okay with us," Jill responded. "Good hunting. "
The search group would include: Ami and Randy Harper, their twins Sammy and Jimmy and Zoe and Bill Henderson. Their twelve-place scout ship was submarine-shaped without a conning tower. It had extensible legs and a small nuclear reactor. Propulsion was supplied by the AIvac (Artificial Intelligence, voice-activated computer) using the teleportation and telekinetic brain waves of the family members. Since teleportation is almost instantaneous, there is no actual acceleration or speed of movement. Light years of distance can be accomplished in several jumps.
Finally, a Kepler-type camera-telescope was mounted in the scout, and additional supplies for three months were loaded and the group started on their search.
"AIvac," Ami called. "I don't like calling you 'Alvac,' so I am going to name you 'Pal'. When any of us want to speak with you, we will address you as 'Pal'. Will this be satisfactory?"
"That will be quite satisfactory," Pal responded. "And thank you. I very much like having a name."
"I also think the scout ship should be named and I will call the ship 'Hunter'," Ami said. "Is this okay with everybody?"
"Sure," they all agreed. "We like it."
The Kepler telescope located several suns with planets, but the planets were all much too large for humans. Day after day, more suns and their planets were evaluated. Some planets were too hot or too cold, had no water or atmosphere, or had a methane atmosphere.
Returning to Moon Station for more supplies after three months, they decided to begin their next search toward the constellation Virgo and the white giant star Spica. The Kepler telescope indicated that there were several stars in the area with planets. Although they were able to check three to five stars with planets daily, they were batting zero.
On the thirty-eighth day of their continuing search, they found a G-2 star with seven planets and two areas of asteroid rings. The second planet was in the habitable zone, but was obscured by a dense cloud. There was one moon, slightly smaller than Earth's.
"Let's check this one. I want to know what this cloud is," Ami said. "I have a funny feeling about this planet."
"Pal, get some samples of the atmosphere as we descend," Zoe said.
"Its analysis is basically nitrogen and oxygen," Pal said, "and the percentages are great: 72% nitrogen and 20% oxygen."
"This stuff is dust, smoke and ash," Randy said. "I wonder why it's so thick. Well, we'll be down in a few minutes."
Descent was quite slow; visibility being only about eighteen to twenty feet. When they finally reached the surface, visibility remained unchanged, nitrogen and oxygen levels were unchanged and surface temperature was 52 degrees F. Soil samples were taken as the ship moved slowly over the surface.
"This planet is almost like Earth," Bill Henderson said. "The size and gravity are almost the same and it 'feels' like Earth feels except that everything seems burned. We need to get more samples and return to the moon lab for analysis. I would suggest that we scan the entire globe first with radar, looking for water. We could go to the poles first, looking for ice and snow. If the temp is 52 here, it will be well below freezing at the poles."
"Let's do it," Ami said. "Pal, take us up to one-thousand feet and cruise at 100 mph due west."
Their radar alarm caused a sudden stop.
Pal said, "There is a large hill ahead and behind that is a mountain range that rises to the height of 9,700 feet. Do you want to land here for more samples?"
"Yes," Ami said. "Please set us down about every 1000 feet of elevation for samples and then set us down on the highest mountain peak. There may be snow there."
Pal continued, "There appear to be two mountain ranges ahead that are separated by a 21.3-mile gap. The base of the gap is deeper than the surrounding land and radar does not give a clear picture. I would suggest that you explore this gap area more carefully as nothing in my records indicates anything of similar nature."
"First," Randy said, "I would like to know how deep this cloudy atmosphere is and whether it covers the entire planet at the same depth?"
Pal responded, "The depth is 13,500 feet, give or take 500 feet and it appears to cover the entire planet at that depth."
"Take us down to the gap between the mountains," Ami said. "We'll land there and get soil samples."
Hunter landed and an attempt to take samples was made. There was no significant soil to be sampled. The material there was a hard, thick, glass-like material with an ash-like covering of several inches.
Pal said, "One of you will have to examine this directly and obtain a sample."
"Randy and I will go," Bill said. "We'll chip off a sample while you watch and take pictures."
Both men suited up and descended to the surface. They brushed away the surface ash and found a slick, glass-like surface that required several blows with a hammer to chip enough for a sample. They tried to drill a hole to determine how deep this layer went, but they were unable to penetrate whatever the material was since their drill bit was just six inches long. They obtained a core sample as well as some of the ground-glass material from the drilling.
"I don't know exactly what the surface material is, but it looks and feels like some type of glass or melted rock," Randy said. "I can only guess what immense heat caused all of this, but it would be my guess that a meteor, or something, hit and destroyed the mountain range and left a path of melted rock in its wake, causing the dust, ash and smoke cloud that covers this world. Pal, let's follow the gap from its beginning and see what we find."
As they followed the trail through the mountain chain, it gradually became deeper. About twenty-one miles after leaving the foothills, water was discovered in the gap that was quite shallow at first, but became deeper as the scout continued. There was flattening of the bottom, followed by a gradual rise over the next fifteen miles. Suddenly, there was a significant drop-off and the water became over fifty feet deep.
"Pal, are you getting water samples?" Ami asked.
"Certainly, Ami," Pal said. "The analysis is salty, slightly less so than Earth's and it contains almost identical trace elements. There is evidence of bacterial life, but the sample numbers are small and no higher life forms are present."
"Do we all agree?" Ami asked. "There is strong evidence that this planet was struck a tangential blow by a very large meteor of some type, which blew a hole in the mountain range and continued until it reached the sea, leaving a scooped-out trail. It may have become airborne and left the planet. The trail was rising, and the water would produce less friction, so I think it went back into space."
Everyone, including Pal, agreed.
"Do you know what this means?" Ami asked. "We've found a very young earth that has life, at least bacterial life. The dust cloud is from the impact of a very large mass. It was a glancing hit, or the planet might have broken up. A direct hit on two other planets may have created the two asteroid rings which are orbiting this sun."
"This planet could support life immediately if the dust cloud was cleared, but it may be a year or so before there is enough sunlight to sustain vegetable growth," Ami continued. "We've got to notify the family of our findings and have meteorologists plan a way to rapidly remove the dust and ash in the atmosphere."
She was thinking, "There could be advanced life here ... Maybe it's not all been killed ... We can't waste time ... This happened recently ... It could take years to fully evaluate this planet ..."
"I'll do it," Zoe said. "Brad and Jill, please relay this to the entire family. We have found what appears to be a young Earth. It is covered by a 13,000 foot dust/smoke/ash cloud that we believe was caused by a glancing hit of a very large meteor. This meteor blew a gap through a 9,000 foot high mountain range twenty miles wide and left a trail of apparent glass or melted rock to the sea thirty-five miles away, where it finally disappeared either back into space or into the sea. If the dust/smoke/ash cloud could be removed quickly, examination of the planet would be easier and possible life saved. There is evidence of bacterial life and perhaps marine life. We'll be home soon and we'll take our samples to the moon labs. Tell Carmen to expect us. Pal, plant a beacon here to guide us back to this spot."
"Already done, Zoe," Pal said.
Hunter rose to 50,000 feet and began making multiple orbits to cover as much as possible of the planet's surface before heading for Moon Base. When they docked, they were welcomed by Carmen, Haru, Gai and Goshen and quickly placed their samples in the various labs. Analysis would take several days.
"Jill called and said that you located an Earth-like planet out toward Spica," Carmen said. "Tell me all about it. Gai, take Sammy, Jimmy and Goshen down to the rec room till lunch. I'll call when it's ready. Brad and Jill are bringing Sam and Jim for lunch and should be here shortly."
"I could give you a report now, but I would just have to give it again, so let's wait till they get here," Ami said. "Why don't you give us a tour of the station and the garden while we wait for them."
"Jill and Brad are delayed," Carmen said. "Zoe, you and Bill have already seen the tentative plan for the garden before you left, and the work is almost finished now. The temperature is kept at 68 degrees F during the night and 73 degrees F during the day. Oxygen is stable at 21%. The entire garden is covered with Mylar like the hydroponics. It's maintained at moon gravity, so hold the railings and be careful when you step through the doorway. I am very pleased with the result and the response of the public on Earth. There is a weekly show on Earth TV as cameras are walked through the garden with descriptions of all the plantings. Whenever a group of plants or flowers begins to look a little dull or faded, various garden clubs on Earth send replacements. One of our workers, whose responsibility is the hydroponics, has taken over the maintenance of the garden and one of our scientists, who raises koi, has taken over the ponds and fish. I can truthfully say that the stress level up here has definitely been reduced. We have much less disagreement among the scientists and workers. Everyone seems more calm and content. I'm not going to walk you through. Go at your own pace and take as much time as you want. Many visitors want to go through the garden again immediately."
Ami, Randy, Zoe, and Bill stepped over the threshold and began their tour with oohs and aahs at the different groupings of background specimens, perennials and annuals that were planted along a trail that was wide enough for two to easily walk side by side. They stopped at the small stream that trickled from pond to pond and watched the koi and goldfish swimming there. Several small aeration pumps were in operation using underwater plants and moon rocks to hide the source. The sky was the typical blue of Earth's, with a few scattered and slowly-moving clouds produced by a hidden projector.
"What happens to the sky at night?" Ami asked.
"It gradually darkens, stars begin to become visible and finally the heavens open up to a full blown 'star-scape' with Earth as the centerpiece," Carmen said. "It's really beautiful."
After their walkthrough, they complimented Carmen on the garden and asked if they could take the twins through after dinner since they were mature enough to appreciate the beauty and unusualness of the setting.
"Of course," Carmen said, "but not until you tell me all about the planet you found."
After dinner, Gai took the twins on a tour of the gardens while the adults sat around the table to talk.CHAPTER 2
Ami, Zoe, Randy, and Bill took turns describing their 'find'.
"As you know, the Kepler telescope can locate planets, but it can't tell which ones are suitable for life to develop. From a distance, this planet appears a little large. It's totally covered with a huge cloud that initial analysis indicates is made up of dirt, smoke, and ash. We are awaiting final analysis from the labs here."
"We gradually descended through this cloud to the surface and took samples. Radar indicated a mountain range that rose to about 9,700 feet, but had a shear-like gap of 21.3 miles that was about ten to twenty feet deeper than the surrounding terrain. The bottom of this gouged-out area had the appearance of glass or melted rock and samples were taken. The bottom of this gouge gradually deepened and then rose until it disappeared at the edge of a rather deep sea. It looks like a tremendous scoop out of the land. We measured the depth of the smog clouds at about 13,000 feet deep. A complete survey was not done due to the visibility being only about twenty feet."
"This planet appears to have sustained a glancing impact of a huge meteor in the very recent past. We won't be able to fully examine the planet until a good bit of the smog cloud disappears. If this could be speeded up, perhaps by inducing more rainfall, this examination could be done sooner. The temperature where we landed was 52 degrees F, oxygen was 20%, and nitrogen was 72%. It really looks like a young Earth that has just sustained a blow that has completely burned the surface and eradicated all apparent life other than microscopic and perhaps aquatic. When the smog clears, we will do a complete evaluation, but we believe that this planet is very similar to Earth about sixty-five million years ago when Earth was struck by the meteorite that destroyed the dinosaurs."
"Do you really think so?" asked Carmen.
"Yes, we do," Ami responded. "I think that if the meteor that gouged through the mountain had crashed head on, the planet would have been broken up and destroyed. Since the planet was hit a tangential blow it survived, but possibly almost all life was killed. We should be able to find remnants of life, besides microscopic, if there was other life. I wonder if the rotation of the planet was changed by the impact. The more I think about it, the meteor couldn't have gone into the sea. If the mountain gap is twenty-one miles wide, the meteor would have to be twenty-three or twenty-four miles in diameter and the sea isn't that deep."
"Brad and Jill, teleport up here as soon as you can. You need to hear about this new finding," Carmen sent.
Both Brad and Jill appeared in the next hour along with Sam and Jim. Jill's first question was, "Where are the twins?"
"With Gai in the garden," Ami said.
"We've found an Earth-like planet that needs to be fully examined as soon as possible," Zoe said. "It has a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere, land, water, and a livable temperature. It has a 13,000 foot dirt, smoke and ash 'smog' cloud that needs to be cleared as soon as possible. The cloud was apparently caused by a glancing impact of a huge meteor that may have destroyed almost all life. Unless the cloud can be dissipated quickly, any surviving life will be lost. I think that summarizes the situation."
"Jill and I would like to examine the planet first hand as quickly as possible," Brad said. "I'll contact the rest of the family, pass along your findings and have them contact the best meteorologists available. As soon as analysis of the 'smog' surrounding the planet is available, we can hopefully plan an atmospheric 'wash job'."
"We'll take you tomorrow," Ami said. "When we get back, the analysis of the smog and land samples should be finished."
The next day, Ami, Randy, the twins with Zoe and Bill, took Sam, Jim, Brad and Jill to see their planet find. As described, the planet was totally obscured by the smog in the atmosphere. Pal took Hunter to the area of meteor impact so that the area could be examined by radar and the tract followed to the sea where it disappeared.
The ship landed and everyone walked over the surface with fireman's-type face masks to protect them from the smog.
Excerpted from Searching by Bill Lies. Copyright © 2016 Bill Lies, III. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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