Steal from the World was the second story in the Bernice Summerfield anthology The Dead Men Diaries. It was written by Kate Orman.

Summary Edit

Twenty-some years ago...

Bernice Summerfield went to uninhabited Capella Four in search of the discovery that would make her career. Armed with a photograph of cave drawings, she hoped to find evidence of the long-lost Aurigans. However, as she searched the site of the photograph, she fell off a cliff and broke both legs. The equipment in her pack allowed her to set her legs and numb the pain. She knew she had to make her way back to her landing pod so a rescue team could find her.
In great pain, she spent several hours dragging herself across the landscape. She came across a stream and, after drinking some water, decided to take a short nap. Several hours later, she awoke to find her legs had been set. Impressed with the medical technology she was given, she continued her task of trying to find a way up the cliff.
After a few days, she noticed one of the spider-like inhabitants climbing up the cliff by using a string of web. It gave her the idea to use fern fronds to pull herself up the cliff. She eventually made it to her landing pod and was rescued. One of the rescuers disclaimed the idea that the splint could have set her leg.

Now Benny has arrived on Capella Four again, alone except for her porter Joseph. She has a general idea of where to search for the cave drawings, but after the first day has found nothing. That night, she hears something in the darkness. Using her computer pad, she detects that the sounds are footprints — she is not alone. The next night the same thing happens, though during the day she can find no signs of her "intruder".

The next day, as Benny is exploring more territory, she sees a figure running away. She gives chase, vindicated in her belief that she isn't alone on the planet. She bursts through a bunch of trees and comes face to face with a cliff face, on which she sees the cave drawings from her photograph. Benny is ecstatic, and begins taking pictures, but realises that she has already searched this section before. She understands that these are not ordinary cave paintings.

The next morning, as Benny awakes, an angular creature is smoking and watching her. It greets her pleasantly, and as they talk, Benny learns that the creature allowed her to discover the paintings because "we" are sure of her motives. Benny realises that the creature was the one who set her broken leg and signaled the rescue team twenty years ago. The creature explains that the paintings are something of a storage medium, and that the story of its people is in the paintings.

When Benny receives a communication from Joseph, the creature vanishes. Benny decides that she doesn't need to be part of the research team that will soon arrive. She's content to know that she's not alone on the planet this time.

Characters Edit

References Edit

Notes Edit

  • This story alternates between Benny's present adventure on Capella Four and her original adventure on the planet.

Continuity Edit

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