|Publication date||March 1956|
"Exploration Team" is a
Writing in 1998,
"Exploration Team" is one of the works in Leinster's "Colonial Survey" series. It is also one of the four novelettes that were re-written and included in Leinster's
The novelette is set in a future time during which humanity has begun colonizing planets in other solar systems. The Colonial Survey agency has decreed the (fictional) planet of Loren Two to be off-limits, due to the extremely dangerous native animals. Despite its decree, the Colonial Survey has authorized an experimental colony on the planet. At about the same time, the overcrowded inhabitants of another planet have established an unauthorized reconnaissance station on Loren Two. Neither group is aware of the other's existence. The authorized colony is well-funded, consisting of one dozen persons equipped with advanced
When the story begins, Huyghens receives a signal indicating that a ship is about to land near his station. The ship drops off its sole passenger, an officer with the Colonial Survey named Roane (no first name given), and then departs. Roane soon learns that Huyghens is an illegal trespasser on the planet and that his (Huyghens') signal beacon was not that of the authorized colony. For his part, Huyghens is surprised to learn that there was an authorized colony on the same planet. The two men put their minds to the question of why the authorized colony's signal beacon was not working and soon determine that it has been replaced with a low-technology emergency beacon. From this, the two men surmise that the authorized colony has been overrun by the indigenous predators, but that some colonists might still be alive in the mine tunnels that the colony was expected to have dug.
Huyghens and Roane, along with the bears and the eagle, undertake a dangerous cross-country trek to determine the status of the authorized colony.