Discovery part 3 by Ronald Faltus

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SUMMARY: Gareth discovers that in the grand scheme of the universe, his personnel problems are petty and insignificant. Any critiques or criticisms are greatly appreciated.

A lush green forest spread out over the horizon, a rolling tapestry of conifers that undulated to match the contour of the planet, occasionally broken by a fast moving stream. This primordial forest was still untouched by man, a true alien world. Most of the animals and plants had yet to be studied by human biologists, remaining hidden under a canopy of leaves. But, somewhere under the millennias of growth, changed by countless climatic shifts and geologic events, a ancient people, strange and alien, had once strode this very land. It was a surreal feeling to those that studied the past, to be occupying a space that at one time a different culture flourished. The thought use to give Gareth the chills, but not today.

The small speeder streaked across the tree tops, and aside for the intermittent changes in course to avoid the higher features of the forest, shot straight for the only starport on Vergos. Helmed deftly by Gareth, whose natural pointing skills were only surpassed by his archeological prowess, the ship was being pushed well past safety margins. Already twice he had been going too fast to react quickly enough to dodge a tall conifer's top, spraying the cockpit in a rain of pine needles. And to further hamper his progress, the day's light was failing, the deep blue aura of night was already beginning to sap the green from the trees, leaving an indistinct carpet of dull giants, swaying in the speeders wake. Gareth was never one to push his luck too far, especially when it came to his life, but not today.

Gareth griped the steering yoke with both hands, squeezing tightly to retain control of the small craft. The night's air rushed by the open cockpit, drowning out the high pitched whine of the overtaxed engines. Gareth knew he was taking a chance by pushing the little craft, a two person vehicle that was more accustomed to leisurely jaunts around the country side, not zipping above a forest into the approaching dusk. But this was no time for patience, too much was riding with him that it seemed to fill up the rest of the speeders small cabin. For far too long, the pace of his life had been set by the profit hungry company he worked for, but not today.

Today was the day he decided that he had enough. The company owed him; there was nothing else too it. He was a valued asset, the most productive field technician they had. Although he pretended not to hear it, Gwen's parting snipe about his bruised ego had stung, but for Gareth it was much more than just hurt feelings. It was a matter of asserting himself above his superiors that were using his success to mask their own inefficiencies. He was certain that Kenneth was making a move to take the find from him, to take credit for what ever treasures the hatch might yield. It was his discovery, and Gareth felt that it was his decision on how to handle it. It was his choice.

Below the forest gave way to an open plain, and in the distance, the bright lights of Vergos City hazily illuminate the night sky. Gareth needed to leave the planet as quickly as possible and get somewhere that had access to the Galactic Net.

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