Chapter Fifty-Eight

When North was sure the ship was secure in orbit, he went back to his cabin to rest. There was a certain loneliness there without I.S. He had been getting used to the droid's companionship, but the mechanical now had other work ...far more important work!
2 North fell into a light sleep and had a strange Dream. He and a party of five others including the Doctor, the First Engineer, Communications, Helm and Firing Control descended to the planet's surface on their wings, alone. They flew down a great canyon whose walls towered high above them.
3 At the narrow end of the canyon they landed before an ancient space ship that sat on the sandy ground. North looked up at the hull and read the name. "'Ain't Been There Yet! '" he laughed. He remembered reading that in ancient times they had a lot more liberty naming ships than they did in his era.
4 The ship's prime crew came forward. The uniforms looked familiar, but were a style North had never seen, yet the emblems they displayed were quite similar to Imperial Standard. "We're so glad to see you," cried the ship's Commander, "So very glad! It's been so long, so awful long! We've been so lonely! Come! Come into the ship. The lift beam is working. It will take you up to the main hatch. Do come aboard!"
5 There were tears in the man's eyes and North somehow felt very sorry for him. The Doctor gave a loud shriek and North turned around. A snake-like creature about three feet long and perhaps three inches through was wrapped around her boot!
6 North reached for his dagger but his host stopped him. "No, no!" he cried, "They're harmless. They're big worms. They're the highest life form here. They live in the sand and eat the bacteria that grows just helow the surface."

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