The Landing

by Melanie Rutman

The following story is totally original and may not be reproduced or used without the authorís consent. Feedback is welcomed.

It didn't matter what it was, only that it was here. We had been waiting for a long time for some sort of sign telling us if we were successful. Now, it appeared that we were. More successful than we had ever imagined was possible.

It all started about a year ago. I'm a mercenary working out of Fleet headquarters. When I was first approached about this job, I thought the whole thing was some kind of prank pulled by some clever friends of mine. After laughing out loud, however, I learned quickly that this was no joke. Abe Miller, one of the richest playboys in this sector, had financed a mission to discover how to create a totally new lifeform using a planet that the Miller Genetics Corporation had claimed.

What I wanted to know, is why they needed someone like me for a "supposedly" scientific expedition. I told him as much. "I still don't understand why you're telling me all of this." I had a gin and tonic in one hand and the specs of the mission in the other. It was my off time and honestly, I didn't want to be bothered.

"Commander Mason, even though you are a military officer, even you should understand the importance of this mission. Genetic manipulation is now so advanced that mankind can create almost anything, or anyone. We plan on being the first to germinate an entire planet. This is not a simple undertaking to say the least. There are certain individuals who would be happy to see us fail."

"And, of course, that's why you need me."

"Your presence is necessary."

"Then let's talk about price. I don't work for free, you know." I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but his price turned out to be right.

The crew was already assembled when I stepped into the room. I had read the briefing and I wasn't happy. It seemed that the competition had already sent someone to the same planet and they haven't been heard from since. One of the crewman had an attitude that needed adjusting, so I bloodied his nose. Just cause I'm a woman, I'm not supposed to be able to knock him into next week. Some guys learn the hard way, and Jason Wiont was one of them. Needless to say, the Commander wasn't pleased with my actions. I, on the other hand, was.

So here we are. A sorry looking bunch, I'll admit. How in hell did the psychologists think that this bunch was compatible? Anyway, give us some credit, we've been through a lot.

You see getting here wasn't the problem. The trip was strangely quiet. I thought it ominous, but what did I know? I was only the muscle.

The creature standing before us was mostly fur, but after looking closely, I noticed other things about it. Such as the claws protruding from its paws. You couldn't call them hands, as much as you wished to do otherwise. It was standing on two legs, but that wasn't the most chilling aspect of the scene. When I met it's eyes, I saw an eerie intelligence meeting my gaze.

You see the Boss did not intend to create sentient life on his world, nor anything dangerous. Now we were facing both. The situation didn't improve when another came crashing out of the trees to land beside the first. Then they seemed to be greeting each other in growling tones.

That's when Jason, the genius that he thinks he is, decided that the aliens were becoming hostile. He lowered his blaster and fired. The shot went wild and nothing happened to the creature, except that it got angry. It then growled and pounced on him with an ease that was surprisingly swift. Jason didn't last two minutes under those fangs.

The place turned into a blood bath, body parts flying everywhere. And with an unsettling realization I realized that all of the carnage was human. We were fighting for our lives on a planet that wasn't supposed to be hostile, and we were losing. Then one of them struck me and the world went black.

I'm getting to the point where I understand their language now, even though humans aren't supposed to be able to create these sounds, but I can. I don't even think I am what would be considered human anymore. This planet has learned to create all on its own. Ironically, it didn't need our egotistical help. I was kept alive because I was the only female in the landing party. One day soon there will be more of us. Now I know what happened to our enemies.

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