Taking place many years before the First Pass, "The P.E.R.N. Survey" opens with an Exploration and Evaluation team arriving to investigate the third planet in the Rukbat System; their numbers halved by accidents on the four planets investigated prior. After sending probes to assess the planet - and noting an odd pattern of circles on the planet's surface - three of the four surviving team members; Shavva, Ben and Liu - leaving behind Castor; who has a broken leg - travel to the surface to conduct a ten day survey.
Landing in a great plain on the Southern Continent of the planet, the team spends their first day taking ecological and geological samples; noting the planet's strong winds have the capability to spread seeds and soil - and capturing an insect that they note is probably a pollinator - before setting up camp at a large cove. Over time, Shavva - the Biologist/Nexialist; doubling as Botanist - finds the planet reminds her of Earth as it appears on historical tapes.
The next day, they travel to the southern ice-caps, where they take samples, before travelling north. As they do so, Liu - the Nexialist - worries about a lack of larger life-forms; having only seen smaller reptiloids, strange flying creatures that resemble barges - which they dub "Wherries"; naming them after a type of earth ferry - and a large number of insects. Further exploration unearths a number of egg-shells on beaches - although the team doesn't find the egg-layers - and a tar pit which contains the fossilised remnants of a ruminant. The team also finds a diamond pipe, and take several diamonds as souvenirs. During the third night, they discuss what might have caused a lack of larger animals on the planet, which they note is almost a parallel to Earth.
On their way north, they stop on a large island, where they discover more odd reptiles - one of which is hit by barbs from a spiny plant - and discover a luminescent fungus growing in a cave. In the evening, they witness a fair of flying creatures, which they conclude are the layers of the eggs they discovered previously - although they note they aren't sentient. The next day, they travel to an eastern peninsula, where they discover a coral-like system with fossils of the flying creatures going back five million years, which proves to Ben - the Geologist/Chemist - that the planet has a viable ecological system. During exploration of the Northern Continent, the team detects a number of metals - but not enough to interest a mining consortium - and Shavva finds a tree on the eastern peninsula from which she is able to make a drink similar to coffee.
When the team returns to their ship, all slightly sad to leave, Castor labels the planet "P.E.R.N. - C." - Parallel Earth, Resources Negligible; fit for Colonisation.
- Main article: List of characters in The P.E.R.N. Survey
- The five planets visited by the Exploration and Evaluation team were;
- I.L.F. (Intelligent Life Forms) - (Presumably) named “Terbo” after the death of their zoologist-chemist in a landslide.
- L.A. (Lethal, Avoid) - Not visited; merely scanned with probes. Subsequently reported to the F.S.P..
- G.O.L.D.I. (Good Only for Large Diversified Interests) - Named “Beldona” after the death of their second pilot and archaeologist. Castor was also injured during the survey; breaking his leg.
- D.E. (Dead End) - Named "Flora Asturias" after the deaths of Sevvie Asturias; their palaeontologist-medic, and Flora Neveshan; their zoologist-botanist. Subsequently reported to the F.S.P..
- P.E.R.N. (Parallel Earth; Resources Negligible) -
Preceded By:All the Weyrs of Pern Pern Stories (In Publication Order) Followed By:The Dolphins of Pern Preceded By:N/A Pern Stories (In Chronological Order) Followed By:Dragonsdawn
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