Dragon Planet

“Watch out for dragons in the next valley, especially in mating season.”

“What flies or lizards?”

“The traditional fire breathing, flying and bodies 20 metres long and tails the same again.”

“What bullshit is this? There’s nothing about it in the planet info pac. They don’t exit on any Goldie Locks planet or any that have been looked at. Why would you say such a thing? This planet has proved dangerous enough.”

“Exactly, the high missing during exploration rate is documented and none have survived to give an account of the dragons except the young woman to me.”

“Our mission briefing said she died of a morphine overdose that you gave her as she would have died anyway from her burns.”

“She died in my arms down in that grove and before, she had to tell me. Her facial disfigurement is burned into my memory.”

“All very sad but tell you what in her drug induced delirium? No drone has an image of anything that big.”

“She said the dragons change colour, pattern and fold to irregular shape to cloak themselves to artificial image capture and by staying still. It’s instinct from when they were pups. We can always see them, when close, due to constant saccades movements of our eyes. She said their mating displays were stunningly beautiful. They can colour their bodies to match the rich oxygen blue of the ski and the gold of their flames. ”

“Then how do they breathe fire?”

“From what she said strictly speaking they don’t. They fart methane from a third central dedicated nostril. Rap their dry tongue on the roof of their dry mouth to make a static charge that arcs between the tips of converging tusks a good metre in front of their heads. This distance allows the methane mix with the rich oxygen air here. The flame throws a good body length for two to four seconds.”

“Why is none of this on record? It’s assumed the lost teams must have run out of power for their nitrogen intake compressors to feed their nasal cannula. The oxygen’s gone to their heads and they’ve became disorientated.”

“You know the rules. Nothing’s recorded unless independently confirmed but what I can tell you is that we being carbon based means we burn hot here as if from inside.”

“Is that all she said?”

“Yes, except one thing over and over as she ebbed away.”

“And what was that?”

“Save them, save them.”

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