Author : D’n Russler

Yaacov Ben-Ish broke out of his meditative reverie as the ship’s claxon jarred in his ears. “Stations! Landing in 30 minutes!” the artificial voice commanded from the room’s communicator.

He carefully undid his t’filin — phylacteries — and replaced them in the velvet sack that he’d inherited from his grandfather on the Earth he’d never seen. Born on Luna, Ben-Ish was the lead exobiologist on this first manned mission to an ex-Solar planet, a rocky planet about twice Earth’s size named “Wolf”, circling Gliese 581.

About an hour later, after a surprisingly uneventful landing, Ben-Ish waited for Sciences to announce the atmosphere and radiation analysis, which would allow humans to set foot on this first distant outpost.

“Looks like there are large fauna,” Jennifer Dayle mentioned, peering through a scanner. “This is so exciting for my first mission, Yaacov,” the young exobiologist said to the team leader.

“Yes, looks like our team will have a lot of work here, Jenny,” he replied. “Let’s all get readied for disembarkation, buddies do your checklists.”

“I’m still amazed you managed to get a waiver to have your skull cap on while in uniform,” said another of the team.

“We Orthodox always wear one, except when showering –” he glanced surreptitiously at the pretty woman at the scanner “– or during certain other activities.” The team chuckled, catching the reference.

Sciences reported that the atmosphere was somewhat richer in carbon dioxode than Earth-normal, but with an overall nitrogen/oxygen mix that was definately breathable. The team descended the ramp with unhidden excitement, and set foot on the soil of a planet that had never seen Sol.

“Seems to be a herd of grazers over there”, Jenny pointed to a field below the landing site. “Still think you’re right, Yaac?” she chided.

“Only one way to tell, Jenny. Let’s approach cautiously, so as not to scare them off.”

Coming on the herd of tawny, long-haired beasts, the team observed the animals placidly cropping the violet grass, while some stood to the side, apparently chewing cud. “We would have to dissect a specimen to be sure, but it appears I was correct. The Creator found a pattern we have seen on Earth, and repeated its success elsewhere.”

“I’m still amazed that your worldview easily mates science to an intense belief in G-d,” she responded, pondering a moment. “So, cloven hooves, chewing cud… do we have a barbecue?”

“Perhaps… and I could even eat the meat this time, seeing that the animals appear to be kosher!”




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