(Lars) #1

Illustrated by Renato Alarcão


Fifteen-year-old Tay lives on
Rannoch, a distant planet covered
with water, where undersea pods or
living chambers provide life support for up to
three people—usually two adults and one child.
Tay learns that her parents are expecting another child
and that she must marry and move into a pod of her own.
Upset, she thrusts her portable breathing tube into her
throat vent and slams out of the pod.
Swimming past the school, she remembers learning
about the history of Planet Rannoch. One day the class
viewed an ancient Video that showed the Survey Starship
Macmillanarriving from Planet Earth. The starship
smashed into a shock wave of radiation from the solar sys-
tem’s sun and disintegrated. The lucky ones whose escape
pods landed on the planet engineered underwater homes
and genetically adapted their bodies for life in the sea.
Suddenly, it all comes flooding back to Tay—what she
is swimming away from, the future that she can’t escape—
marriage to one of three available pod mates: Forth, Eden,
or Esk. She powers off, kicking hard, her strokes fueled by
anger and frustration. Swimming through the electrical
barrier that marks the Perimeter, she finds herself outside
the community’s protective Enclosure. Suddenly, a net
wraps around her. Terrified, she feels herself being hauled
up to the Surface....
Franck, a planetary surveyor newly arrived from Earth
on the starship Nova Scotia, is startled to find a silvery
blue alien in his net. He hauls it on board his one-person
landing craft. To his astonishment, the creature looks like

.. ."A mermaid?” he murmurs. The creature pants, “Don’t
be stupid. I’m a human. What are you?” Although her
accent is strange, he realizes they are speaking the same
language and that Tay must be descended from the original
Macmillancrew. “You survived!” exclaims Franck.
She smiles, revealing sharp little teeth. “Of course
we did.”


In Search Of...


by Joan Lennon


Part


3