It was a long leap to the next yellow sun and everyone held their
breath until they got in. North studied the information on the main
screen, even as the Firing Control Officer ran over it. This was a good
size complex system; ten planets, three within the temperature zone to
support life, with a yellow sun.
2 "Number three's a hothouse," announced Firing Control, "five's a
desert, but number four's BEAUTIFUL! Massive water readings, there's
oceans down there. She's almost exactly the size of Haven! I'll know
more when we get closer."
3 "And that we will!" agreed North with a nod from The Voice.
4 The weary travelers moved in. As the days passed the reports on the
world they were approaching grew better and better.
5 On the Godden ship The Lord God looked with joy on the planet as they
made their final approach. "Here," he cried, "is my new Haven, the
place where we will finally put an end to this accursed Rebellion, and
rebuild The Empire. My throne will be here, and from here my authority
will again extend over all that is, and nothing will question my deity."
6 When they made orbit North decided that only one scout ship would
descend to investigate, just in case the inhabitants of this world were
not quite as primitive as they appeared. They chose to land near the
coast of an inland sea. Coming dawn they approached a river valley.
The land was forested but they found a large rock and some
rolling hills where they could set down.
7 "Pick up your samples," ordered North to the crew. "I'm going to fly
around and scout the area, see if I can find any natives."
8 "Keep your shields on full," an Officer warned, "if these people are
as primitive as they seem, they are