They would learn what caused the murderous disease—if it was the last thing they did!
file that was marked flora--negative.
"Right," Max said. "The purple thistle. Spores! The atmosphere is clogged with them. Greta, my sweet, we're infected."
"I feel fine," I said.
All day long we ran tests. Negative tests. We seem to be disgustingly healthy. "Symbiosis," Max said finally. "Live and let live. Apparently we're hosts."
Only one thing disturbs me.
Most symbiotes do something for their host. Something to enhance the host's survival potential.
We played chess this evening. I won. Max is furious. He's such a poor sport.
* * * * *
Max talked with Senator Farragut this morning. He gave Epsilon a clean bill of health and the Senator thanked God. "The first starship will leave tonight," the Senator said. "Right on schedule, with ten thousand colonists aboard. You're world heroes!"
Max and I played chess the rest of the day. Max won consistently. He utilizes a fianchetto that is utterly impregnable.
A fairly good mystery tacked onto a "all the many ways a planet can kill you" story. The character dynamics are actually more interesting than the planet's secret.
A small ship is sent to discover why the colonizing ship on a new planet broke off all contact.
This short story centered on the now familiar theme of an outwardly benign planet with hidden deadliness is worth the read. No real surprises, but well written and creative.