Olwen Pendennis and her Guardian live in splendid isolation on the planet Isis of the star Ra, maintaining the beacon which announces the presence of this habitable planet to any space travelers, till the day of Olwen's tenth birthday. She would be sixteen in earth years, and she has never seen anyone but Guardian.
But eighty settlers arrive in the space ship Pegasus Two, with Captain Jonas Tryon. They will now live on the planet that Olwen has considered her own. She tries to put aside her childish, selfish impulses and finds herself curious about the newcomers. Guardian makes her an isolation suit with a face-mask, to protect her in case the settlers have any germs which would harm her.
Mark London is one of the settlers. At seventeen, he is the oldest of the twenty children among the settlers, and Jody N'Komo is the youngest at nine. Mark is curious about the high places above their valley, which the settlers cannot explore without an oxygen breathing mask and an ultraviolet-opaque suit. Among the young settlers, he is the only one who takes Olwen's invitation to visit her home, and the mesa and the trail to the northern mountains when the settlers have acclimatized. They become friends almost at once, talking of her shy pet animal Hobbit.
The day after they meet, Mark climbs as high as Olwen's home, half-way up the cliff, but can go no higher. Two days later, Mark asks the doctor Phil MacDonald to take a sample of Olwen's blood...
(The entire section is 1201 words.)
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