Author: R. J. Erbacher

The incongruence of this bridge’s construction boggled Samm’s mind. Using her ship to cut, haul and position logs, if they could be called that, when they should be using carbon graphene girders. This planet didn’t have traditional trees but tall branchless cylindrical shafts that were nearly as hard as cement and reached above the layer of toxic surface mist where they sprouted a myriad of delicate flowers that absorbed fresh moisture and starlight. They were too hard to cut, and their roots went on for freaking ever into the moist soil of the lower terrain. A couple of shots from the blast cannon could snap them and if carefully caught, because if they fell into the murk below you would never recover them, hauled into place. There they were strapped together by her team on the ground using long ropey strands of some seemingly purposeless vine that cover the cliff face of the mountains were all these special quadrupeds lived.

That was the other thing that annoyed Samm. Her production company was sent here to relocate this tribe of highly developed beings without airlifting them. For lack of an easier word, they were called ‘Horses;’ she couldn’t remember their scientific name. Long full-bodied manes of hair shrouded a four-legged creature with hoof/hands ending in octopi tentacles. Their feelers had a chemical connection with the soil. The collective occurrences of the planet including knowledge, energy, emotion, and sustenance were transmitted from the natural surroundings straight through into their appendages. They were essentially a moving manifestation of their world.

But their intelligence factor was so phenomenal that human specialists had to create new charts to try and categorize their brainpower. All members of their breed could do remarkable swerve mathematical calculations. Straight math any handheld computer could handle but these creatures, in their head, manipulated formula’s around the time/space continuum that the smartest scientist on earth couldn’t even understand. But it was working. And its applications were allowing unprecedented vehicle engineering and travel throughout the universe. Yet their feet could not leave the soil of this planet. They literally would not jump to save their own life. One part of their anatomy always had to be in contact with the surface or they would instantly go into an unsurvivable seizure. So, you couldn’t just transport them to safety which would have taken all of ten minutes.

A millennium ago what was left of the Horses’ population migrated out of the lowlands that had become poisonous and settled in the undebased rocky upper hills. In the last thousand years, an erosion crevasse opened isolating them from the rest of the expansive region. Yet they managed to live comfortably in their limited surroundings, regulating their population. They didn’t need nutrients or water as they absorbed it from the ground. But now their little piece of home was continuing to crumble, and the slippage was precarious. The research people that were working with the Horses contacted earth and told them that the plateau they lived on was falling off the side of a mountain. The government contracted her company and sent her to find a way to move them to safety. The only way to save them was to get them to the more stable center of the continent, traveling only on items that were indigenous to the planet, like a home-grown bridge made of trees and twigs, that they could traverse.

So, she had to construct a primitive annihilation-preventing conduit so humans could ride the brains of an extraterrestrial species into the exploration of the cosmos. And Samm thought figuring out her mother-in-law was confusing.