Quest stories are one of the major threads in the weft and warp of our storytelling existence. We love these stories because they often take us to exotic locations where protagonists must overcome numerous obstacles before they can achieve their goal. The Arthurian search for the Holy Grail is a classic quest story that has morphed through many retellings. L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy are well-known examples of literary quests. Where Indiana Jones gives us the learned archeologist venturing out into the field to fulfill an archeological quest, “A Trip to Lagasy” gives us a smart but stifled biologist, Kira Walsh, who traverses a foreign planet in a botanical quest for the rare strangler orchid.
Barbara Davies’s short fiction has appeared in Sorcerous Signals, Bash Down the Door and Slice Open the Badguy, Tales of the Talisman, Neo Opsis, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, among other magazines and anthologies. A collection of her speculative fiction, Into the Yellow and Other Stories, is available from Bedazzled Ink. She lives in the English Cotswolds.
by Barbara Davies
“Sorry, Docteur Walsh.” Joseph Rakouth didn’t sound it though. He stood on her hotel bungalow’s crumbling front step, shifting from one leg to the other and gazing at her with large, dark eyes.
He certainly looked the part of guide and tracker—wellworn khaki shorts revealed sturdy, hairy legs, and over one shoulder hung a longbow and quiver—but he wasn’t her first choice. Unfortunately, and inconveniently, Marc Rasiraka, whose name had come highly recommended, had been unavailable.
Kira beckoned Rakouth into the sticky room—the air conditioning had broken down—and got down to business. “I’m looking for a plant unique to Lagasy. Some call it the Strangler Orchid.”
Read the full story in Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures