Cataclysm: Survival in a Barren World
by Robert F. Lundrigan
Genre: SciFi Fantasy
The story is told from two points of view. The Clark family finds themselves seemingly alone on a barren planet while an alien named Pzx is in charge of the fleet looking for a home. She is under orders but would prefer to communicate with other beings. This is a tale of the struggles of both of them as they seek to survive in a barren world.
The end of the three hundred year journey is at hand and the flagship passes silently into the outer reaches of Earth’s solar system. As programmed, the artificial brain is automatically activated when the craft passes through Pluto’s magnetic influence, causing the temperature and atmosphere of the cryonic chamber to change. At the same instant, a signal is transmitted to the other space vessels and soon the entire armada slows to sub warp speed and deploys to establish a parking orbit around Mars, the planet nearest to its ultimate destination.
Slowly Pzx opens her eye and it takes her but a moment to realize what seemed like no more than a good night’s sleep has in fact, spanned three centuries. She stretches her stiff tentacles and breathes as deeply as she possibly can to clear her lungs of the stale air, while she looks carefully at the bank of instruments overhead to be certain that all is in working order. Satisfying herself that all is as it should be she projects the thought command that lifts the lid of the vacuum chamber that has been her world for three hundred years, and slithers to the deck where she anchors her base appendage to the foot-beam. She rubs her eye and seeing her reflection in the chamber lid, decides that she looks terrible - just as she does every morning until she’s had time to adjust her
plasma casing from rest to activity mode. It’s extremely cold in the cryonic chamber but the twisting and turning exercises she must go through to make her face cause her to forget the chill. When she’s satisfied that she looks presentable enough for what she needs to do, she slides slowly to the next capsule and extreme apprehension takes over as she peers through the transparent lid at the still form of Hrnk. She engages the activator switch and watches fondly, and the apprehension is replaced by something else as he goes through his waking process. He
opens his eye and when he recognizes Pzx his thought projections tell her that all is well with him. Pzx doesn’t open the cover until she is certain that all of Hrnk’s vital signs are normal. At the precise moment the cover is unlatched Hrnk’s reproductive organ begins glowing with that unmistakable signal that is characteristic of all male members of the Drmbkian race, a race dominated by females, a race where the male’s only functions are reproduction and companionship. Although there is an almost overwhelming desire within her to climb into the chamber with Hrnk, Pzx closes the lid reluctantly and tears herself away from her mate.
She has so much to do and so many duties to fulfill. Her first duty is that of activating the cryonic capsules of the ninety nine other ships in the fleet so that they can can get on with the business that has brought them to this new world, the world which they have chosen to be their home, New Drmbk.
Robert F. Lundrigan is a certified member of APICS and former Manager of Materials at General Electric. A native of Massachusetts, he graduated from Lowell Institute in Mechanical Engineering and later attended technical and creative writing workshops at Harvard. He has helped several companies as a consultant to improve profits by using the theory of constraints, with great success. Bob has written numerous articles for professional journals, this is his second novel.
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