Slightly before the momentous event she had been paused to take stock of her surroundings. Shea had studied what was known of the planet before coming and had thought she was prepared for survival. The label of “forest planet” was woefully inadequate. The trees in this area towered thousands of feet into the air; therefore, very little sky light filtered through the canopy. The various vertical levels of the forest were each there own microcosm, tightly woven ecological systems. The up thrusts of granite, outcroppings and cliffs tightly interwoven among the trees, had confounded the experts when first discovered at first landing on the far side of the planet. There had been a concerted effort at first to study the planet, but after several of the most famous scientists died in the attempt, the research grants dried up and the planet was left alone for many hundreds of years. It had gained quite a reputation in the interim for holding on to its secrets.

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