Excerpt from “Dragonflight” by Anne McCaffrey ~~Thread~~

picture-Dragonflight-AnneMcCaffreyCrisply he ordered the dragonriders to fan out in a staggered formation, keeping a distance of five wings’ spread up or down.
The sun came up.
Slanting across the sea, like an ever-thickening mist, Threads were falling, silent, beautiful, treacherous. Silvery gray were those space-traversing spores, spinning from hard frozen ovals into coarse filaments as they penetrated the warm atmospheric envelope of Pern. Less than mindless, they had been ejected from their barren planet toward Pern, a hideous rain that sought organic matter to nourish it into growth. One Thread, sinking into fertile soil, would burrow deep, propagating thousands in the warm earth, rendering it into a black-dusted wasteland. The southern continent of Pern had already been sucked dry. The true parasites of Pern were Threads.
A stifled roar from the throats of eighty men and dragons broke the dawn air above Nerat’s green heights – as if the Threads might hear this challenge, F’lar mused.
As one, dragons swivelled their wedge-shaped heads to their riders for firestone. Great jaws macerated the hunks. The fragments were swallowed and more firestone was demanded. Inside the beasts, acids churned and the poisonous phosphines were readied. When the dragons belched forth gas, it would ignite in the air into ravening flame to sear the Threads from the sky. And burn them from the soil.
Dragon instinct took over the moment the Threads began to fall above Nerat’s shores.
As much admiration as F’lar had always held for his bronze companion, it achieved newer heights in the next hours. Beating the air in great strokes, Mnementh soared with flaming breath to meet the down-rushing menace. The fumes, swept back by the wind, choked F’lar until he thought to crouch low on the lea side of the bronze neck. The dragon squealed as a Thread flicked the tip of one wing. Instantly F’lar and he ducked into between, cold, calm, black. The frozen Thread cracked off. In the flicker of an eye, they were back to face the reality of the Threads.
Around him F’lar saw dragons winking in and out of between, flaming as they returned, diving, soaring. As the attack continued and they drifted across Nerat, F’lar began to recognize the pattern in the dragons’ instinctive evasion-attack movements. And in the Threads. For, contrary to what he had gathered from his study of the Records, the Threads fell in patches. Not as rain will, in steady unbroken sheets, but like flurries of snow, here, above, there, whipped to one side suddenly. Never fluidly, despite the continuity their name implied.


1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “Dragonflight” by Anne McCaffrey ~~Thread~~

  1. Anne McCaffrey was born in Massachusetts, USA on 1 April 1926, and died on 21 November 2011, aged 85 years.
    ‘Dragonflight’ was published in 1968.

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