Saturday, December 06, 2008

EXCERPT: Pangaea: Eden's Planet

Pangaea: Eden's Planet
By Thomas E. Johnson

ISBN number:978-0-6152-1171-8.
Publisher: Night to Dawn Books (with Barbara Custer as publisher).
Genre: science-fiction
copyright: 2008.
Publishing date: Spring, 2008.
Where can be published: Night to Dawn books (,, and, also directly from the author at

Websites:, and

The rocket ship, the Galileo Two, with seven astronauts aboard, are on a mission to Mars, where they encounter an anomaly in space that sends them back in time 250 million years. With their ship disabled, there are pulled back to Earth by its strong magnetic force, and they crash-land on the supercontinent, Pangaea.

Encountering the early creatures of the Permian period, they must survive against monstrous mammalian reptiles and natural disasters as they prepare for the coming catastrophe that will eventually give rise to the dinosaurs, while destroying 99.9% of all current species -- including them.

While the threat of Death overlooks them all, two will find love in this prehistoric time -- 250 million years in man's past!
Stumble into a world ruled by fire and demons as a timid, bullied, and dejected therapist, and discover the TWILIGHT HEALER. His fantasy has no limits. His dreams. . .forbidden and raw fantasy.


Nature Gone Amok

Just after the sun rose above the horizon, Cooper and the engineer carried Doctor Terril's body to a spot near those of Professor Plymouth and Captain Mercer, and the major began digging another deep hole while Roger Manning knelt in prayer for the deceased.
"This is becoming an unwelcome habit," Cooper grunted as he threw a shovel full of dirt from the hole.
"Death is a part of life," Manning said. "From dust we came, and to dust we will return."
"But it doesn't make any sense," Cooper told him, stopping to rest his muscular arms on the shovel. "None of them should have died. We were all in good health when we started this mission."
"Things have a habit of changing, Cooper. Do you want me to spell you a bit?" Manning asked.
"Nah," Cooper said, "the ground is soft. Plus, I'm getting used to handling one of these things now."
"There'll be more," Manning told him a few minutes later.
"More what -?" Cooper asked. "Oh, you mean the graves, Roger? I guess you're right. It can't be helped, I suppose. We'll all be buried in this prehistoric land some day."
Laughing, he continued, "I don't mean to sound macabre about it, but who'll turn the lights out when we're all gone, Roger? Who'll bury the last one to die? Or will their bones just waste away under this sun at 130 plus degrees Fahrenheit?"
And then Roger’s answer surprised and shocked Cooper to the bone, and he wasn't able to reply, just stare at his friend in a sort of stupor.
"The children," the engineer said quietly.
Returning to the burial process, Cooper gently placed Barbara Terril's body within the grave, and then tossed the dirt back into the hole, packing it down as solidly as possible with the flat side of the shovel.
"She was an angry woman," Cooper said, "but Barbara was a fine companion, friend, and excellent doctor."
"No better words could be spoken over her," the engineer said.
"We'll have to practice medicine without a license from now on," Cooper said.
"I imagine that a lot of that went on in the war, didn't it, Cooper?" Roger asked.
"Some, maybe. At least in the field. At first, there weren't many medics available for the troops on the ground. They were all back of the lines, in the temporary hospitals. Eventually, the government got its game together and started up the Draft again, and obtained the personnel they needed to wipe out half the world."
"They thought of everything," Manning said, shrugging, "except for what God wanted."
"And what did your God want, Manning?" Cooper asked, a little agitated.
"Love," the engineer raised his eyebrows. "Love for one another."
"I can't argue with that, my friend" Cooper said.
"Let's go back and see what's for breakfast, Roger," he told the engineer.
The engineer cackled out his weird laugh. "The same thing every day. Meals ready to eat in those sealed packages!"
Laughing with the engineer, Cooper slung the shovel across his shoulder, rifle style. They headed back to the ship's entrance.
When they walked through the door, Colonel Peterson and Sheri were all ready eating their MREs. Cooper stopped Manning by holding out his arm to block the path, and then whistled.
"Look at the women in this bar, pal. You take the one on the right. I want the one on the left." He grinned.
"What are you going on about, Major?" Colonel Peterson asked from where she was sitting.
Smiling, he said, "Nothing, Ma'am, just making a little joke."
"Little jokes for little minded people," she returned the smile.
"Ouch! Glad to have you back, Colonel."
Sheri was silent as she ate her breakfast, and there was still the glisten of a tear in her eye. Colonel Peterson inclined her head slightly to indicate the girl, as if trying to convey a silent message. Manning caught her meaning immediately.
"Say, Cooper, don't you think the Colonel is exceptionally sexy this morning?" Roger grinned.
Cooper looked at his friend for a second, but finally caught the slight wink the younger man was attempting.
"Oh -" he started. "Yeah, Roger, she is. I was just thinking the same thing. Look at the way she chews on those scrambled eggs. Yum, yum."
"That is so sick," Colonel Peterson groaned.
Sheri giggled, as she wiped her eyes with a napkin from the package of MREs in front of her. "You guys crack me up."
"To heck with the one of the left, pal, I'll take the one on the right," Cooper said, sitting down beside the biologist.
"What?" Roger asked, not understanding.
"I think he was still trying for a little joke," Colonel Peterson told the engineer.
"Say, I sure could go for some breakfast," Cooper hinted.
"Get it yourself," Colonel Peterson suggested.
"It's so good to see you two arguing again," Sheri said, giggling.
"I'll get the MREs, Cooper," Manning told him.
"Thanks, Roger, I want to hear what the girls have been talking about behind our backs," he said.
"Sheri's been trying to cheer me up," Colonel Peterson said.
"Just the opposite, really," Sheri told him. "Evelyn has been trying to make me feel better. But, somehow, the subject keeps switching back to you, Coop."
"I figured if anything could cheer her up, the zoo's biggest baboon might work," the colonel snapped.
Laughing, Sheri said, "We're such a dysfunctional family, aren't we!"
"Did I miss something?" Roger asked, as he returned with the MREs for himself and Cooper.
"No!" three voices echoed.
"We need a distraction today," Sheri said. "Are there any plans afoot, Watson?"
"Actually," Cooper began, "I was thinking that since we didn't get much of a chance to look over the swamps to the east, we might go back today. That is, if everyone's up for the excursion?"
"You want me to go too, Cooper?" Manning asked.
"No, not this time, Roger," Cooper told him. "You need to keep working on the laser gun. I would really like to see it in operation soon."
Nodding his head, the engineer went back to his breakfast.
"That's a wonderful idea, Coop," Sheri said. "Just the thing to take my mind off …" she let the sentence trail off, not wishing to bring up the memory of Doctor Terril.
"All right," Colonel Peterson agreed. "It does sound like a good plan. But please, everyone be careful today. I don't want a repeat of Sheri's accident out there."
"Oh, what happened to you, Sheri?" Cooper winked at the biologist.
"I wouldn't know, Coop. I do remember something about Evelyn falling into the swamps, though."
"Yeah, I think I remember something like that." Cooper grinned. "Mud all over that pretty thigh, and all."
"That's enough of that." Colonel Peterson smiled. She was happy to see Sheri's mind off the death of Barbara Terril, at least for now.
As they entered the margin of the forest later that day, the group stared in awe at all of the damage since their last visit. Mighty trees had been felled, and brush burned to cinders, and there was little left of the grasses. Yet, around the river and shallow lakes, plants were once more coming to life, and the herbivores were munching on the leafy vines that were stretching towards the sunlight.
Predators were abundant, but they saw nothing of the Darwis in the eastern section. They had little doubt they were around. The Gorgons and Dimetrodons were plentiful, as were the crocamanders and Seymourias. Reptiles and amphibians swam and jumped, hopped and dived in the riverbeds and mud banks, while giant worms frolicked in the pools dotting the landscape.
"It is so primordial," Sheri observed. "I'll never get used to its beauty.”
"I might call it awe-inspiring," Colonel Peterson said, "but I'm not so sure I’d use the word beauty to describe this place."
"I don't know," Cooper said. "There is a touch of beauty to the horror of Pangaea."
As they watched in fascination, a large Gorgon attacked and killed a cow-like mammalian, ripping big chunks of meat from a back quarter of the creature and chomping meat and bones as it devoured the plant eater. When it crawled off on its short, chubby back legs, they could see blood and gore dripping from its long, tusk-like saber-teeth.
No sooner had the ugly monster left the carcass of its victim, than the scavengers fell on the body and tore all the flesh from the bones, leaving nothing but a bloody spot where the killing had so recently taken place.
"I think that it's so much death that bothers me," Cooper said.
"Me, too," Sheri jumped in.
"All of us," Colonel Peterson corrected.
Hearing a large splash in the river, they looked upon another savage scene, as a fin backed Dimetrodon was racing to the shore with a huge fish in its mouth.
"Whew, look at the size of that monster!" Cooper grunted.
"That's a small one where Dimetrodons are concerned," Sheri said.
"I’m not talking about the dinosaur." Cooper laughed. "I’m talking about that fat fish in its mouth."
"It's a long ways from being a dinosaur, Coop," Sheri told him, "but I agree about the fish. I bet that thing would feed all of us in one setting."
"Yeah, but don't you want to call them dinosaurs just for the hell of it! In only a few millions years, their ancestors will be dinosaurs!"
"And much bigger!" Sheri agreed.
"What's that over there?" Colonel Peterson asked, pointing towards a small hill that had been cleared of all brush by the recent firestorm.
"It looks like the entrance to a cave." Sheri grinned, an idea coming to her curious mind.
"I don't like this," Cooper said. "I've got a nagging feeling that someone's going to suggest we go in there."
"Where's the adventure in your life, Coop?" Sheri asked, laughing.
"We do need to check it out," Colonel Peterson said. "Even if we only find out what's immediately inside the place. We don't have to venture far inside the cavern."
"I hate caves," Cooper said. "They remind me of bats, and bears, and things you can't see - until it's too late!"
"Well, if you're scared, you can bring your spear, Alley Oop." Colonel Peterson laughed.
"You'll miss me if a bear carries me off, Missy," he said, smiling.
"Like I'd miss the mumps. Now, let's get started. There are some torches in the utility compartment under the rear seat we can get to just as soon as Sheri climbs out from back there."
Jumping from the back with a lithely movement, the biologist jumped to the ground. Cooper raised the back seat and opened the top of a metal box beneath, where he found several items for emergency use, including four long, silver torches. Flashlights, really, but they were the most up to date torches the military carried to search underground tunnels in enemy controlled territory during the war.
Handing two of the torches to the girls, Cooper kept one for himself, replacing the fourth in the utility compartment, and then closing the metal lid again and lowering the back seat to protect their equipment.
He hefted the torch he was carrying in his left hand, saying, "These also come in handy as weapons at close quarters," he said, grinning. "Light weight, but the metal is hard enough to bean somebody over the noggin if you don't have another weapon in your arsenal."
"We do have our automatic pistols, Major," Colonel Peterson told him, "which should be plenty of firepower for anything we might encounter in the cave."
"Never argue with a woman." He chuckled. "But I'll bring the spear just in case, Ma'am."
Shrugging her shoulders, the colonel started for the cave, but her right hand remained close to the holster at her side. Sheri was between the commander and Cooper, protected on both sides, since she was unarmed.
The cave entrance was large enough for all three explorers to walk upright abreast as they wandered inside. The cavern within was huge, stretching for a great distance, a slight downward slope to the floor. They were surprised at the lack of animal life. The biologist even examined the walls for signs of insects or tiny lizards, but the place appeared devoid of all life forms.
"Look," Colonel Peterson pointed at their feet. "There have been animals in here at some time; there are their tracks in the dust on the floor."
"Evelyn is correct, Coop," the biologist cried with glee. "I can't make out any of the prints, but the dust has certainly been disturbed from the passage of creatures at some point in time."
"Keep your lights trained on every dark corner in this place," Cooper pleaded. "I would hate to be surprised by one of those big monsters with the long tusks."
"What's scary," Colonel Peterson said, "I'm starting to agree with the Major. Caves are for bats and bears. Neither of which we have to worry about, by the way. But there are some pretty dangerous creatures we do have to fear. And any of them could be inside this cavern."
"I don't see what we have to be afraid of," Sheri told them. "I still haven't found any sign of life in here!"
"I would like to keep it that way," Cooper said.
"As bad as I hate to agree with Mr. Macho, Sheri, I'm going to echo that sentiment," Colonel Peterson said under her breath.
"Can somebody tell me what we're supposed to be looking for in here?" Cooper asked. "Besides Sheri, that is. I think she'd be happy if we did run into a bear - a big one!"
The biologist giggled, and then sighed. "You're right, Coop, I'd be happy to find anything in here. The lack of any life is kind of puzzling. Something should be living in here, even if it is a tiny organism."
"Something tiny, I can deal with." Cooper grinned, as he held the light up to his face.
The girls looked at his eerie face in the light. Colonel Peterson groaned, but Sheri giggled at the comedic mask he presented. With the light off the ground, and all eyes on him, when Cooper took another step deeper into the cavern, his foot came down on a steep incline, and he temporarily lost his balance. The flashlight went one way, and the spear went the other, with the Major sprawling into soft sand on all fours.
Laughing, he said, "Well, that'll teach me not to clown around in a dark cave.
"Damn!" And in the next instant, he let out a whoop, "My foot’s caught in something. Someone shine their light down here!"
When two flashlight beams were aimed at his feet, three voices sounded as one:
"Oh, hell, what is that thing?"

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