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Prologue

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I don't usually like prologues, but I felt I needed a brief one for The Eyes of Arcadia. Here's the first draft...


Earth, the Seventh Colony. Before recorded time.
The silver ship dropped from orbit and descended through the little blue planet’s atmosphere. A sequence of instructions, loaded into the onboard computer centuries before, triggered one after the other in conjunction with live readings from the surface. While the first of the seven inhabitants stirred in her pod at the simulated light of predawn, the computer switched to audible alert mode, speaking her first ethereal words aloud since their departure from Arcadia.
Landing site acquired and locked in. Adjusting thermals. Reverse thrust in three…two…one. Surface oxygen levels in target range, depressurizing cabin, filtering in outside air. 
Lowering landing gear, prepare for touchdown in three…two…one.
The ship set down on a rocky plateau near the tallest peak it could detect on its initial scan of the planet. Levelers …