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C Lots of things: Paid-up accident insurance for a hard- 
boiled pulp detective, for instance. ... A stereoscopic 
full-color crystal ball for a swami. ... A bathing suit with 
built-in curves for a flat-bottom non-dreamboat. 

C But for science fiction readers, such appealing plums 
lack ingenuity. Not so with the startling list we've pre- 
pared. For merely explaining a mystery (which no one 
has yet been able to explain satisfactorily) you can win 
the most exciting, the most extraordinary . . . 

C SCIENCE FICTION prizes ever offered in any contest! 

C We don't say this is the greatest science fiction con- 
test there ever was; we want you to say it. And very far 
from incidental — some reader, somewhere, may have the 
actual answer to the key question: 

What and Why Are 
Flying Saucers? 

H Check the contents page for our Flying Saucer Con- 
test rules and prizes. 

C Remember, there is a $100 cash bonus for each of 
the winners of the first three prizes if their entries are 
accompanied by a subscription to GALAXY Science Fiction. 








.H. L. GOLD 

Art Director 


Cover by Don Sibley 

Honeymoon in Hell 

GALAXY Science Fiction 
is published monthly by 
World Editions, Inc. Main 
offices: 105 West 40th St.. 
New York 18, N. Y. 25<J 
per copy. Subscriptions 
(12 copies) $2.50 per year 
in the United States, 
Canada, Mexico, South and 
Central America and U. S. 
Possessions. Elsewhere 
$3.25. Application for entry 
as second-class matter is 
pending at the Post Office, 
New York, N. Y. Copyright, 
1950, by World Editions, 
Inc. President: George A. 
Gogniat. Vice-President: 
Marco Lombi. Secretary 
and Treasurer : Anne Swe- 
reda. All rights, including 
translation, reserved. All 
material submitted must be 
accompanied by self-ad- 
dressed stamped envelopes. 
The publisher assumes no 
responsibility for unsolic- 
ited material. All stories 
printed in this magazine 
are fiction, and any simil- 
arity between characters 
and actual persons is co- 


November, 1950 

Vol. 1, No. 2 


BOOK-LENGTH SERIAL— Installment 2 


by Clifford D. Simak 100 



by Fredric Brown 4 



by Anthony Boucher 56 



by Isaac Asimov 34 


by Fritz Leiber 75 


by Damon Knight 91 









by Groff Conklin 87 . 


Next Issue at Your Newsstand First Week in November 

Printea / in me U. S. A. Reg. g. S. Pat. Off. 

It's All Yours 

MOST new magazines, especially 
in the science fiction field, as- 
sure their readers that they are the 
readers' magazines and that sugges- 
tions are welcome and will be -fol- 
lowed. The assurance, however, is 
hedged with unspoken reservations. 

GALAXY Science Fiction offers 
that same assurance . . . but there 
are no reservations of any kind what- 
ever. This is, literally and complete- 
ly, your magazine. Your suggestions 
will be followed. Makeup, art, 
editorial content, everything from 
cover to cover, including the cover, 
and even the size of the magazine 
itself you will decide for us. 

There is, in other words, nothing 
inflexible about GALAXY Science 
Fiction. Repeat, nothing. Not a 
single thing. A year from now, it 
may look entirely _ different, and 
every change will be the result of 
alert study of readers' wishes and 
willingness to put those wishes into 
concrete form. 

Let's detail the statement and see 
just how inclusive it is: 
# Digest size, cover design and tone 
of the cover painting were deter- 
mined by a poll of readers, writers, 
artists, and disinterested non-fans. 
While extensive, the survey could 
not possibly be exhaustive. A more 
complete sampling via your letters 

can change size, design and selec- 
tion of cover illustrations. 

# Serials are book length, „ and all 
thus far ordered are scheduled for 
hard-cover publication . . . exactly 
as they appear here, except for minor 
editing differences. Do you favor 
full-length serials, 60,000 to 90,000 
words each, or would you rather 
have the 30,000 to 45,000 word 
stories that are termed novels, and 
sometimes even book-length novels, 
in other magazines? 

# We have arbitrarily decided upon 
a one-third installment of the serial, 
two novelets, three to five short 
stories, and one short article as de- 
sirable balance for the magazine. 
Would you rather have shorter se- 
rial installments, longer novelets, 
fewer short stories, expanded 
articles? Or do you have other ideas 
on editorial content and balance? 

# Are you in favor of articles at 
all? If so, do you prefer general 
subjects, briefly and interestingly 
treated, or technical themes written 
at length and in non-layman's lan- 

# Does an editorial page, -in your 
opinion, have a place in a magazine 
of science fiction? What subjects, 
assuming you approve, should it dis- 
cuss ? 

# As stated in our "first issue, «o 


genuine letter department can ap- 
pear until the third issue, since it 
takes two months to print and dis- 
tribute a monthly magazine. There is 
no way to alter our decision not to 
run congratulatory or ordered letters 
in the first two issues, but we do 
■ plan to have a department . . . un- 
less our readers vote against it. 

• Should our book-review depart- 
ment be longer, shorter, or not at 

• How are we doing on inside illus- 
trations ? 

• Final and perhaps biggest point is 
the subject matter of our stories. We 
have challenged writers to present 
themes that could not be sold else- 
where . . . themes that are too adult, 
too profound or revolutionary in con- 
cept for other magazines to risk 
publishing. Letters received thus 
far (too late to form a department) 
indicate approval of this policy. But 
you may have a different opinion, 
and in GALAXY, at least, you have 
more than a right to be heard — you 
have an actual, concrete vote. 

THE above statement is our 
pledge to you. GALAXY 
Science Fiction will be whatever 
you want it to be. But it must have 
active and ungrudging support in 
order to fulfil that promise. 

We have sought that support in 
ways that no other science fiction 
magazine has. ever attempted. Our 
publicity campaign, just concluded, 
is the first in the history of the field, 
and covered radio, TV, newspapers 

and periodicals. It has brought us 
readers who never bought a mag- 
azine of this type before. We are 
inducing fine writers in other 
branches of literature to try their 
hand in science fiction, and some of 
their efforts will be published short- 
ly. We have packaged GALAXY 
more beautifully and expensively 
than any science fiction magazine 
now on the newsstands; our costs, 
according to competitive bids, ap- 
pear to be 25 per cent more than 
our nearest competitor. 

But our greatest support must 
come from our readers, of course. 

For example, there is enormous 
pressure on newsstands for display; 
it is almost impossible for a dealer 
to display every magazine he re- 
ceives. Furthermore, there is a tend- 
ency not to display new titles unless 
there is a demand for them. 

If our readers can cajole dealers 
into granting GALAXY visible dis- 
play, our sales potential will be 
greatly increased, which, in turn, 
will make expansion and improve- 
ment that much easier. 

\New readers are necessary not 
only for us, but to enlarge the entire 
market, for the bigger the audience, 
the bigger and better we and other 
publishers can make our magazines. 
This means spreading the word to 
non-readers that science fiction is 
adult fiction. 

It really is your magazine. You 
can make it the magazine you want 
it to be. That's a promise! 

> ~ — H. L. GOLD 





Illustrated by Don Sibley 

One way to stop a battle is to give enemies 
something that they can really fight about! 


Too Many Females 

N SEPTEMBER 16th in the 
year 1962, things were go- 
ing- along about the same 
as usual, only a little worse. The cold 
war that had been waxing and wan- 
ing between the United States and 
the Eastern Alliance — Russia, China, 
and their lesser satellites — was 
warmer than it had ever been. War, 

hot war, seemed not only inevitable 
but extremely imminent. 

The race for the Moon was an im- 
mediate cause. Each nation had 
landed a few men on it and each 
claimed it. Each (had found that rock- 
ets sent from Earth were inadequate 
to /permit establishment of a perma- 
nent base upon the Moon, and* that 
only establishment of a permanent 
base, in force, would determine pos- 
session. And so each nation (for 
convenience we'll call the Eastern 



< / 

Alliance a nation, although it was 
not exactly that) was engaged in 
rushing construction of a space sta- 
tion to be (placed in an orbit around 

With such an intermediate step in 
space, reaching the Moon with large 
rockets would be practicable and 
construction of armed bases, heavily 
garrisoned, would be comparatively 
simple. Whoever got there first could 
not only claim possession, but could 
implement the claim. Military se- 
crecy on both sides kept from the 
public just how near to completion 
each space base was, but it was gen- 
erally — and correctly — believed that 
the issue would be determined with- 
in a year, two years at the outside. 

Neither nation could afford to let 
the other control the Moon. That 
much had become obvious even to 
jthose, who were trying desperately to 
maintain peace. 

On September 17th, 1962, a statis- 
tician in the birth record department 
of New York City (his name was 
Wilbur Evans, but that doesn't mat- 
ter) noticed that out of 813 births 
reported the previous. day, 657 had 
been girls and only 156 boys. 

He knew that, statistically, this was 
practically impossible. In a small city 
where there are only, say, ten births 
a day, it is- quite possible — and not 
at all alarming — that on any one 
given day, 90% or even 100%, of 
the births may be of the same sex. 
But out of so large a figure as 813, 
so high a ratio as 657 to 156 is 

Wilbur Evans went to his depart- 
ment chief and he, too, was inter- 
ested and alarmed. Checks were 
made by telephone — first with near- 
by cities and, as the evidence 
mounted, with more and more dis- 
tant ones. j 

BY THE end of that day, the puz- 
zled investigators — and there was 
quite a large group interested by 
then — knew that in every city 
checked, the same thing had hap- 
pened. The births, all over the West- 
ern Hemisphere and in Europe, for 
that day had averaged about the 
same — three boys for every thirteen 

Back-checking showed that the 
trend had started almost a week be- 
fore, but with only a slight predomi- ■ 
nance of girls. For only a few days 
had the discrepancy been obvious. 
On the fifteenth, the ratio had been 
three boys to every five girls and on 
the sixteenth it had been four to 

The newspapers got the story, of 
course, and kicked it around. The 
television comics had fun with it, if 
their audiences didn't. But four days 
later, on September 21st, only one 
child out of every eighty-seven born 
in the country was male. That wasn't 
funny. People and governments 
started to worry; biologists and lab- 
oratories who had already started to 
investigate the phenomenon made it 
their number one project. The tele- 
vision comics quit joking about it 
after one crack on the subject by the 


tap comedian in the country drew 
875,480 indignant letters and lost 
bim (his contract. 

On September 29th, out of a nor- 
mal number of births in the United 
States, only forty-one were boys. In- 
vestigation proved that every one of 
these was a late, or delayed, birth. It 
became obvious that no male child 
had been conceived during the latter 
part of December of the previous 
year, 1961. By this time, of course, 
it was known that the same condi- 
tion prevailed everywhere — in the 
countries of the Eastern Alliance as 
well as in the United States, and in 
every other country and area of the 
world — among the Eskimos, the 
Ubangi and the Indians of Tierra 
del Fuego. 

The strange phenomenon, what- 
ever it was, affected human beings 
only, however. Births among ani- 
mals, wild or domesticated, showed 
the usual ratio of the two sexes. 
^ Work on both space stations con- 
tinued, but talk of war — and inci- 
dents tending to lead to war — dimin- 
ished. The human race had some- 
thing new, something less immedi- 
ate, but in the long >run far worse 
to worry about. Despite the appar- 
ent inevitability of war, few .people 
thought that it would completely 
end the human race; a complete lack 
of male children definitely would. 
Very, very definitely. 

And for once something was hap- 
pening that the United States could 
not blame on the Eastern Alliance, 
and vice versa. The Orient — China 

and India in particular — suffered 
more, perhaps, than the Occident, 
for in those countries male offspring 
are of- supreme emotional importance 
to parents. There were riots in both 
China and India, very bloody ones, 
•until the people realized that they 
didn't know whom or what they 
were rioting against and sank back 
into miserable passivity 

IN THE more advanced countries, 
.laboratories went on twenty-four- 
hour shifts, and anyone who knew a 
gene from a chromosome could com- 
mand ihis weight in paper currency 
for looking — however futilely — 
through a microscope. Accredited 
biologists and geneticists became 
more important than (presidents and 
dictators. But they accomplished, no 
more than the cults which sprang up , 
everywhere (though mostly in Cali- 
fornia) and which blamed what was 
'happening on everything .from a 
conspiracy of the Elders of Zion to 
(with unusually good sense) an in- 
vasion from space, and advocated 
everything from vegetarianism to 
(again with unusually good sense) 
a revival of phallic worship. 

Despite scientists and cults, de- 
spite riots and resignation, not a sin- 
gle male child was born anywhere in 
the world during the month of De- 
cember, 1962. There had been iso- 
lated instances, all quite late births, 
during October and November. 

January of 1963 again drew a 
blank. Not that everyone qualified 
wasn't trying. 


Except, perhaps, the one person 
who was slated to do more than any- 
one else — well, almost anyone else — 
about the matter. 

Not that Capt. Raymond F. Car- 
mody, U.S.S.F., retired, was. a misog- 
amist, exactly. He liked women well 
enough, both in the abstract and in 
the concrete. But he'id been 'badly 
jilted once and it had cured him of 
any desire whatsoever for marriage. 
Marriage aside, he took women as he 
found them — and he had no trouble 
finding them. 

For one thing, don't let the word 
"retired" fool you. In the Space 
Service, rocket pilots are retired at 
the ripe old age of twenty-five. The 
recklessness, reaction-speed and stam- 
ina of youth are much more impor- 
tant than experience. The trick in 
riding a rocket is not to do anything 
in particular; .it's to be tough enough 
to stay alive and sane until you get 
there. Technicians do the brain-work 
and the only controls are braking 
•rockets to help you get down in one 
piece when you land; reaction-speed 
is of more importance than experi- 
ence in managing them. Neither 
speed nor experience helps you if 
you've gone batty en route from 
spending days on end in the equiva- 
lent of "a coffin, or if you haven't 
what it takes not to die in a good 
landing. And a good landing is one 
that you can walk away from after 
you've recovered consciousness. 

• That's why Ray Carmody, at 
twenty-seven, was a retired rocket 
ipilot. Aside from test flights on and 

near Earth, he'd made one' successful 
flight "to the Moon with landing and 
return. It had been the fifteenth at- 
tempt and the third success. There 
had been two more successful flights 
thereafter — altogether five successful 
round trips out of eighteen tries. 

But- each rocket thus far designed 
had been able, barely, to carry fuel 
to get itself and its crew of one back 
to Earth, with almost-starvation ra- 
tions for the iperiod required. Step- 
rockets were needed to do even that, 
and step-rockets are terrifically ex-, 
pensive and cumbersome things. ' 

AT THE time Carmody had re- 
tired from the Space Service, 
two years before, it had been con- 
ceded that establishment of a perma- 
nent base of any sort on the Moon 
was completely impracticable until a 
space station, orbited arouncf the 
Earth, had been completed as a way- 
station. Comparatively huge rockets 
could reach a space station with rela- 
tive ease, and starting from a. station 
in open space and against lesser 
gravitational pull from lEarth, going 
the rest of the way to the Moon 
would be even simpler. 

But we're getting away from Ray 
Carmody, as Carmody had got away 
from the Space Service. He could 
have had a desk job in it after old 
age had retired him, a job that 
would have paid better than he was 
making at the moment. But he knew 
little about the technical end of rock- 
etry, and he knew less, and cared 
nothing, about administrative detail 



work. He was most interested in 
cybernetics, which, is the science of 
electronic calculating machines. The 
big machines had always fascinated 
him, and he'd found a job working 
with the biggest of them all, the one 
in the building on a corner of the 
grounds of the Pentagon that had 
been . built, in 1958, especially to 
house it. 

It was, of course, known as Junior 
to its intimates. 

Carmody's job, specifically, was 
Operative, Grade I, and the Grade I 
meant that — despite his fame as one 
of the few men who had been to the 
Moon and lived to tell about it, and 
despite his ultra-honorable discharge 
with the grade of captain — his life 
had been checked back to its very 
beginning to be sure that he had not, 
even in 'his cradle, uttered a careless 
or subversive word. 

There were only three other 
Grade I Operatives qualified to ask 
Junior questions and transmit his an- 
swers on questions which involved 
security — and that included ques- 
tions on logistics, atomics, ballistics 
and rocketry, military plans of all 
sorts and everything else the military 
forces consider secret, which as prac- 
tically everything except the cur- 
rently preferred* color of an infantry- 
man's uniform. 

The Eastern Alliance would un- 
doubtedly have traded three puppet 
dictators and the tomb of Lenin to 
have had an agent, or even a sympa- 
thizer, as a Grade I Operative on 
Junior. But even the Grade II Oper- 

atives, who handled only problems 
dealing with non-classified matters, • 
were checked for loyalty with ex- 
treme care. Possibly lest they might 
ask Junior a subversive question or 
feed a subversive idea into his elec- 
tronic equivalent of a brain. 

But be that as it may, on the after- 
noon of February 2, 1963, Ray Car- 
mody was the Operative on duty in 
the control room. The only Opera- 
tive, of course; dozens of technicians 
were required from time to time to 
service Junior and feed him, but only 
one Operative at a time fed data into 
him or asked him questions. So Car- 
mody was alone in the soundproofed 
control <room. 

DOING nothing, however, at the 
moment. He'd just fed into Jun- 
ior a complicated mess of . data on 
molecular structure in the chromo- 
some mechanism and had asked Jun- 
ior — for the ten-thousandth time, at 
least — the sixty-four dollar question 
bearing on the survival of the human 
race: Why all children were now fe- 
males and what could be done about 

It had been quite a chunk of data, 
this time, and no doubt Junior 
would take quite a few minutes to 
digest it, add it to everything else 
he'd ever been told and synthesize 
the whole. No -doubt in a few min- 
utes he'd say, "Data 'insufficient." At 
least to this moment that had been 
his only answer to the sixty-four dol- ■ 
lar question. 

Carmody sat (back and watched 


Junior's complicated bank of dials, 
switches and lights with a bored 
eye. And because the intake-mike 
was shut off and Junior couldn't hear 
what he was saying anyway, and be- 
cause the control room was sound- 
proofed so no one else could hear 
him, either, "he spoke freely. 

"Junior," he said, "I'm afraid 
you're a washout on this particular 
-deal. We've fed you everything that 
every geneticist, every chemist, every 
biologist in this half of the -world 
knows, and all you do is come up 
with that 'data insufficient' stuff. 
What do you want — blood? 

"Oh, you're pretty good on some 
things. You're a whiz on orbits and 
rocket fuels, but you just can't un- 
derstand women, can you? Well, I 
can't either; I'll give you that. And 
I've got- to admit you've done the 
human race a good turn on one deal 
— atomics. You convinced us that if 
we completed and used H-bombs, 
both sides would lose the coming 
war. I mean lose. And we've got in- 
side information that the other side 
got the same answer out of your 
brothers, the cybernetics machines 
over there, so they won't build or 
use them, either. Winning a war 
with H-bombs is about like winning 
a wrestling match with hand gre- 
nades; it's just as unhealthful for 
you as for your opponent. But we 
weren't talking about 'hand grenades. 
We were talking about women. Or I 
was. Listen, Junior — " 

A light, not on Junior's panel but 
in the ceiling, flashed on and off, the 

signal for an incoming intercom- 
municator call. It would be from the 
Chief Operative, of course; no one 
else could connect — by intercommu- 
nicator or any other method — with 
this control room. ' 

Carmody threw a switch. 

"gusy, Carmody?" 

"Not at the moment, Chief. Just 
fed Junior that stuff on molecular 
structure of genes and chromosomes. 
Waiting for him to tell me it's not 
enough data, but it'll take him a few 
minutes yet." 

"Okay. You're off duty in fifteen 
minutes. Will you come to my office 
as soon as you're relieved? The Pres- 
ident wants to talk to you." 

Carmody said, "Goody. I'll ,put on 
my best pinafore." 

He threw the switch again. Quick- 
ly, because a green light was flashing 
on Junior's panel. 

He reconnected the intake- and 
output-mikes and said, "Well, Jun- 

• "Data insufficient," said Junior's 
level mechanical voice. 

Carmody sighed and noted the 
machine's answer on the report end- 
ing in a question which he had fed 
into /the mike. He said, "Junior, I'm 
ashamed of you. All right, let's see 
if there's anything else I can ask and 
get an answer to in fifteen minutes." 

HE PICKED up a pile of several 
files from the table in front 
of him and leafed through them 
quickly. None contained fewer than 
three pages of data. 



"Nope," he said, "not a thing 
here I can give you in fifteen min- 
utes, arid Bob will foe here to relieve 
me then." 

He sat back and relaxed. He 
wasn't ducking work; experience had 
proven that, although an AE7 cyber- 
netics machine could accept verbal 
data in conformance with whatever 
vocabulary it had been given, and 
translate that data into mathematical 
symbols (as it translated the mathe- 
matical symbols of its answer back 
into words and mechanically spoke 
• the words), it could not adapt itself 
to a change of voice within a given 
operation. It could, and did, adjust 
itself to understanding, as it were, 
Carmody' s voice or the voice of Bob 
Dana who would shortly relieve 
him. But if Carmody started on a 
given - problem, he'd have to finish 
it himself, or Bob would have to 
clear the board and start all over 
again. So there was no use starting 
something he wouldn't have time to 

He glanced through some of the 
reports and questions to kill time. 
The one dealing with the space sta- 
tion interested him most, but he 
found it too technical to understand. 

"But you won't," he told Junior. 
"Pal, I've got to give that to you; 
when it comes to anything except 
women, you're really good." 

The switch was open, but since no 
question had been asked, of course 
Junior didn't answer. 

Carmody put down the files and 
glowered at Junior. "Junior," he 

said, "that's your weakness all right, 
women. And you can't have genetics 
without women, can you?" 

"No," Junior said. 

"Well, you -do lenow that much. 
But even I know it. Look, here's one 
that'll stump you. That blonde I met 
at the party last night. What about 

"The question," said Junior, "is 
inadequately worded; please clarify." 

Carmody grinned. "You want me 
to get graphic, but I'll fool you. I'll 
just ask you this — should I see her 
again ? 

"No," said Junior, mechanically 
but implacably. 


CARMODY'S eyebrows went up. 
"The devil you say. And may I 
ask why, since you haven't met the 
lady, you say that?" 

"Yes. You may ask why." 

That was one trouble with Junior; 
he always answered the question you 
actually asked, not the one you im- 
* plied. • ' 

"Why?" Carmody demanded, gen- 
uinely curious now as to what an- 
swer he was going to receive. "Spe- 
cifically, why should I not again see 
the blonde I'met last night?" 

'Tonight," said Junior, "you will 
be busy. Before tomorrow night you 
will foe married." 

Carmody almost literally jumped 
out of his chair. The cybernetics ma- 
chine had gone stark raving crazy. It 
must have. There was no more 
chance of his getting married tomor- 
row than there was of a kangaroo 



giving birth to a portable typewriter. 
And besides and beyond that, Junior 
never made predictions of the future 
— except, of course, on such things 
as orbits and statistical extrapolation 
of trends. < 

Carmody was still' staring at Jun- 
ior's impassive panel with utter dis- 
belief and considerable consternation 
when the red light that was the 
equivalent of a doorbell flashed in 
the ceiling. His shift was up and Bob 
Dana had come to relieve him. There 
wasn't time to ask any further ques- 
tions and, anyway, "Are you crazy?" 
was the only one he could think of 
at the moment. 

Carmody didn't ask it. He didn't 
want to know. 


Mission to Luna 

CARMODY switched off both 
mikes and stood gazing at Jun- 
ior's impassive panel for a long time. 
He shook his head, went to the door 
and opened it. 

Bob Dana breezed, in and then 
stopped to look at Carmody. He 
said, "Something the matter, Ray? 
You look like you'd just seen a 
ghost, if I may coin a cliche." 

Carmody shook his head.- He 
wanted to think before he talked to 
anybody — and if he did decide to 
talk, it should -be to Chief Operative 
Reeber and not to anyone else. He 
said, "Just I'm a little beat, Bob." 

"Nothing special up?" 

"Nope. Unless maybe I'm going 
to be fired. Reeber wants to see me 
on my way out." He grinned. "Says 
the President wants to talk to me." 

Bob chuckled appreciatively. "If 
he's in a kidding mood, then your 
job's safe for one more day. Good 

The soundproof door closed and 
locked behind Carmody, and he 
nodded to the two armed guards 
who were posted on duty outside it. 
He tried to think things out carefully 
as he walked down the long stretch 
of corridor to the Chief Operative's 

Had something gone wrong with 
Junior? If so, it was his duty to re- 
port the matter. But if he did, he'd 
get himself in trouble, too. An 
Operative .wasn't supposed -to ask 
private questions of the big cyber- 
netics machine — -even big, important 
questions. The fact that it had been 
a joking question would make it 

But Junior had either given him a 
joking answer — and it couldn't be 
that, because Junior didn't have a" 
sense of humor-r-or else Junior had 
made a flat, unadulterated error. 
Two of them, in fact. Junior had 
said that Carmody would be busy to- 
night and — well, a wheel could come 
off this idea of spending a quiet eve- 
ning reading. But the idea of his 
getting married tomorrow was ut- 
terly preposterous. There wasn't a 
woman on Earth he had the slightest 
intention of marrying. Oh, someday, 
maybe, when he'd had a little more 



fun out of life and felt a little more 
ready to settle down, he might feel 
differently. But it wouldn't be for 
years. Certainly not tomorrow, not 
even on a bet. 

Junior had to be wrong, and if he 
was wrong it was a matter of impor- 
tance, a matter far more important 
than Carmody' s job. 

So be honest and report? He 
made his decision just before he 
reached the door of Reeber's office. 
A reasonable compromise. He didn't 
know yet that Junior * was wrong. 
Not to a point of mathematical cer- 
tainty — just a billion to one odds 
against. So he'd wait until even that 
possibility was eliminated, until it 
was proven beyond all possible doubt 
that Junior was worong. Then he'd 
report what he'd done and take the 
rap, if there was a rap. Maybe he'd 
just be fined and warned. 

He opened the door and stepped 
in. Chief Operative Reeber stood up 
and, on the other side of the desk, a 
tall gray-haired man stood also. Ree- 
ber said, "Ray, I'd like you to meet 
the President of the United States. 
He came here to talk to you. Mr. 
President, Captain Ray Carmody." 

And it was the President. Car- 
mody gulped and - tried to avoid 
looking as though he was doing a 
double take, which he was. Then 
President Saunderson smiled quietly 
and held out his hand. "Very glad 
to know you, Captain," he said, and 
Carmody was able to make the con- 
siderable understatement that he felt 
honored to meet the President. 


Reeber told him to pull up a chair 
and he did so. The President looked 
at him gravely. "Captain Carmody, 
you have been chosen to — have the 
opportunity to volunteer for a mis- 
sion of extreme importance. There is 
danger involved, but it is less than 
the danger of your trip to the Moon. 
You made the third — wasn't it? — 
out of the five successful trips made 
by United States pilots?" 

Carmody nodded. 

'This time the risk you will take 
is considerably less. There has been 
much technological advance in rock- 
etry since you left the service two 
years ago. The odds against a suc- 
cessful round trip — -even without the 
help of the space station, and I 'fear 
its completion is still two years dis- 
tant — are much less. In fact, you will 
have odds of ten to one in your 
favor, as against approximately even 
odds at the time of your previous 

CARMODY sat up straighten "My 
previous trip! Then this volun- 
teer mission is another flight to the 
Moon? Certainly, Mr. President, I'll 
gladly — " 

President Saunderson held up a 
hand. "Wait, you haven't heard all 
of it. The flight to the Moon and re- 
turn is the only part that involves 
physical danger, but it is the least 
•important part. Captain, this mis- 
sion is, possibly, of more importance 
to humanity than \hQ first flight to 
the Moon, even than the first flight 
to the stars — if and when we ever 




make it — will -be. What's at stake is 
the survival of the human race so 
that someday it can Teach the stars. 
Your flight to the Moon will be an 
attempt to solve the problem which 
otherwise — " 

HE PAUSED and wiped his fore-, 
head with a handkerchief. 

"Perhaps you'd better explain, Mr. 
Reeber. You're more familiar with 
the exact way the (problem was put 
to your machine, and its exact an- 

Reeber said, "Carmody, you know 
what the problem is. You know how 
much data 1 has been fed into Junior 
on it. You know some of the ques- 
tions we've asked him, and that 
we've beta able to eliminate certain 
things. Such as — well, it's caused by 
no virus, no bacteria, nothing like 
that. It's not anything w like an epi- 
demic, because it struck the whole 
Earth at once, simultaneously. Even 
native inhabitants of islands that had 
no contact with civilization. 

"We know also that whatever hap- 
pens — whatever molecular change 
occurs — happens in tlhe zygote after 
impregnation, very shortly after. We 
asked Junior whether an invisible 
4' ay of some sort could cause this. 
His answer was that it was possible. 
And in answer to a further question, 
he answered that this ray or force 
is possibly being used by — enemies 
of mankind." 

"Insects? Animals? Martians?" 

Reeber waved a thand impatiently. 
"Martians, maybe, if there are any 


Martians. We don't know that yet. 
t But extra-terrestrials, most likely. 
Now Junior couldn't give us answers 
on this because, of course, we haven't 
the relevant data. It would be guess- 
j work for him as well as for us — and 
Junior, being mechanical, can't guess. 
But here's a possibility: 

"Suppose some extra-terrestrials 
have landed somewhere on Earth 
and have set up a station that broad- 
casts a ray that is causing the phe- 
nomenon of all children being girl- 
children. The ray is undetectable; at 
least thus far we haven't been able 
to detect it. They'd be killing off 
the human race and getting them- 
selves a nice new planet to live on, 
without having to fire a shot, with- 
out taking any risk or losses them- 
selves. True, they'll have to wait a 
while for us to die off, but maybe 
that doesn't mean anything to them. 
Maybe they've got all the time there 
is, and aren't in the slightest hurry." 

Carmody nodded slowly. "It , 
sounds fantastic, but I guess it's pos- 
sible. I guess a fantastic situation like 
this has to have a fantastic explana- 
tion. But what do we do about it? 
How do we even prove it?" 

Reeber said, "We fed the possi- 
bility into Junior as a working as- 
sumption — not as a fact — and asked 
him how we could check it. He came 
up with the suggestion that a mar- 
ried couple spend a honeymoon on 
the Moon — and see if circumstances 
are any different there." 

"And you want me to pilot them 



"Not exactly, Ray. A little more 
than that—" 

CARMQDY forgot that the Presi- 
dent was there. He said, "Good 
God, you mean you want me to — 
Then Junior wasn't crazy, after all!" 

Shamefacedly, then, he had to ex- 
plain about the extracurricular ques- 
tion he'd casually asked Junior and 
the answer he'd got to it. 

Reeber laughed. "Guess we'll 
overlook your violation of Rule 17 
this time, Ray. That is, if you accept 
the mission. Now here's the — " 

"Wait," Carmody said. "I still 
want to know something. How did 
Junior know I was going to be 
picked out? And for that matter, 
why am I?" 

"Junior was asked for the qualifi- 
cations he'd recommend for the — ah 
— bridegroom. He recommended a 
rocket pilot who had already made, 
the trip successfully, even though he 
was a year or two over the technical 
retirement age of twenty-five. He 
recommended that loyalty be consid- 
ered as an important factor, and that 
the holding of a governmental posi- 
tion of great trust would answer 
that. He further recommended that 
the man be single." 

"Why single? Look, there are 
four other pilots who've made that 
trip, and they're ,all loyal, regardless 
of what job they're holding now. I 
know them all personally. And -all of 
them are married* except me. Why 
not send a man who's already got a 
ball and chain?" 

"For the simple reason, Ray, that 
the woman to be sent must be chosen 
with even more care. You know hew 
tbugh a Moon landing is; only one 
woman in a hundred would live 
through it and still be able to — I 
mean, there's alrnost a negligible 
chance that the wife of any one of 
the other four pilots would be the 
best qualified woman who could pos- 
sibly be found." 

"Hmmm. Well, I suppose Junior's 
got something there. Anyway, I see 
now how he knew I'd be chosen. 
Those qualifications fit me exactly. 
But listen, do I have to stay married 
to whatever female, is Amazonian 
enough to make the trip? There's a 
limit somewhere, isn't there?" 

"Of course. You will be legally 
married -before your departure, but 
upon your return a divorce will be 
granted without question if both — cr 
either one — of you wish. The off- 
spring of the union, if any, will be 
cared for. Whether male or female." 

"Hey, that's right," Carmody said. 
There's only an even chance of hit- 
ting the jackpot in any case.", 

"Other couples will be sent. The 
first trip is the most difficult and 
most important one. After that, a 
base will be established. Sooner or 
later we'll get our answer. We'll 
have it if even one male child is 
conceived on the Moon. Not that 
that will help ' us find the station 
that's sending the rays, or to detect 
or identify the rays, but we'll know 
what's wrong and can narrow our 
inquiry. I take it that you accept?" 



Carmody sighed. "I guess so. But 
it seems a long way to go for — Say, 
who's the lucky girl?" 

REEBER cleared bis throat. "I 
think you'd better explain this 
part to him, Mr. President." 

President Saunclerson smiled as 
Carmody looked toward him. He 
said, "There is a more important 
reason, which Mr. Ree'ber skipped, 
why we could not choose a man who 
was already married, Captain. This 
is being done on an international 
basis, for very important diplomatic 
reasons. The experiment is for the 
benefit of humanity, not any nation 
or ideology. Your wife will be a Rus- 

"A Commie? You're kidding me, 
Mr. President." 

"I am not. Her name is Anna 
Borisovna. I have not met her, but I 
am informed that she is a very at- 
tractive girl. Her qualifications are 
quite similar to yours, except, of 
course, that she has not been to the 
Moon. No woman has, But she has 
been a pilot of experimental rockets 
on short-range flights. And she is a 
cybernetics * technician working on 
the big machine at Moscow. She is 
twenty-four. And not, incidentally, 
an Amazon. As you know, rocket 
pilots aren't chosen for bulk. There 
is an added advantage in her being 
chosen. She speaks English." 

"You mean I've got to talk to her, 

Carmody caught the look Reeber 
flashed at him and ihe winced. 

The President continued: "You 
will be married to her tomorrow by 
a beam- televised ceremony. You blast 
off, both of you, tomorrow night — at 
different times, of course, since one. 
of you will leave from here, the 
other from Russia. You will meet on 
the Moon." 

"It's a large place, Mr. President." 

"That is taken care of. Major 
Granham — you know him, I be- 
lieve?" Carmody nodded. "He will 
supervise your takeoff and the send- 
ing of the supply rockets. You will 
fly tonight — a plane has been pre- 
pared for you — from the airport here 
to Suffolk Rocket Field. Major Gran- 
ham will -brief you and give you full 
instructions. Can you ,be at the air- 
port by seven-thirty?" 

Carmody thought and then 
nodded. It was five-thirty now and 
there' d be a lot of things for him to 
do and arrange in two hours, but he 
could make it if he tried. And hadn't 
Junior told him he was going to be 
busy €his evening? 

"Only one thing more," President 
Saunderson said. "This is strictly 
confidential, until and unless the 
mission is successful. We,don't want 
to raise hopes, either here or in the 
Eastern Alliance, and then have 
them smashed." He smiled'. "And if 
you and your wife have any quarrels 
on the Moon, we don't want them to 
lead to international repercussions. 
So please— try to get along." He 
held out his hand. "That's all, except 

Carmody made tjhe airport in time 



and the plane was waiting for him, 
complete with pilot. He 'had figured 
that he would have to fly it himself, 
but he realized that it was better this 
way; he could get a bit of rest before 
they reached Suffolk Field.* 

He got a little, but not much. The 
plane was a hot ship that got him 
there in less than an ihour. A liaison 
officer was waiting for him and took 
him immediately to Major Gran- 
ham's office. 

GRANHAM got down to brass 
tacks almost before Carmody 
could seat himself in the offered 

He said, "'Here's the picture. Since 
you got out of the service, we've tre- 
mendously increased the accuracy of 
our rockets, manned or otherwise. 
They're so accurate that, with proper 
care, we can hit within a mile of any 
spot on the Moon ithat we aim at. 
We're picking Hell Crater — it's a 
small one, but we'll put you right in 
the middle of it. You won't have to 
worry about steering; you'll hit with- 
in a mile of the center without hav- 
ing to use your braking rockets for 
anything except braking." 

"Hell Crater?" Carmody said. 
"There isn't any." 

"Our Moon maps 'have forty-two 
thousand named craters. Do you 
know them all? This one, inciden- 
tally, was named after a Father Max- 
imilian Hell, S. J., who was once 
director of the Vienna Observatory 
in old Austria." 

Carmody grinned. "Now you're 

spoiling it. How come it was picked 
as a 'honeymoon spot, though? Just 
because of the name?" 

"No. One of the three successful 
flights the Russians made happened 
to land and take off there. Thej 
found the footing better than any- 
where else either of us has landed. 
Almost no dust; you won't Shave to 
slog through knee-deep pumice when 
you're gathering the supply rockets. 
Probably a more recently formed 
crater than any of the others we've 
happened to land in or explore." 

"Fair enough. About the -rocket I 
go in — what's the payload besides 

"Not a thing but the food, water 
and oxygen you'll need en route, and 
your spacesuit. Not even fuel for 
your return, although you'll return in 
the same rocket you go in. Every- 
thing else, including return fuel, 
will be there waiting for you; it's on 
the way now. We fired ten 'supply 
rockets last night. Since you take off 
tomorrow night, they'll get there 
forty- eight hours before you do. 

"TTTAIT a minute," Carmody 
V V said. "On my first trip I car- 
ried fifty pounds payload besides my 
return fuel. Is this a smaller type of 

. "Yes, and a much better one. Not 
a step-rocket like you used before. 
Better fuel and more of it; you can 
accelerate longer and at fewer gravi- 
ties, and you'll get there quicker. 
Forty-four hours as against almost 




four -days before. Last time you took 
four and half Gs for seven minutes. 
This time you'll get by with three Gs 
and have twelve minutes' accelera- 
tion before you reach Brennscbluss 
— cut loose from Earth's gravitation. 
Your first trip, you had to carry re- 
turn fuel and a little payload because 
we didn't have the accuracy to shoot 
a supply .rocket after you — or before 
you — and be sure it'd land within 
twenty miles. All clear? After we're 
through talking here I'll take you to 
the supply depot, show you the type 
of supply rocket we're using and 
how to open and unload it. I'll give 
you an inventory of the contents of 
each of the twelve of them we sent." 

"And what if all of them don't 
get there?" 

"At least eleven of them will. 
And everything's duplicated; if any 
one rocket goes astray, you'll still 
have everything you need — for two 
people. And the Russians are firing 
an equal number of supply rockets, 
so you'll have a -double factor of 
safety." He grinned. "If none of our 
rockets .get there, you'll have to eat 
borsht and drink vodka, maybe, but 
you won't starve." 

"Are you kidding about the 

"Maybe not. We're including a 
case of Scotch, transferred to light- 
weight containers, of course. We fig- 
'ure it might be just the icebreaker 
you'll need for a happy honeymoon." 

Carmody grunted. 

"So maybe," Granham said, "the 
Russians'll figure the same way and 

send along some vodka. And the 
rocket fuels for your return, by the 
way, are not identical* but they're 
interchangeable. Each side is sending 
enough for the return of two rockets. 
If our fuel doesn't get there, you 
divvy With her, and vice versa." 

"Fair enough. What else?" 

"Your arrival will be" just after 
dawn — Lunar time. There'll . be a 
few hours when the temperature is' 
somewhere between horribly cold 
and broiling hot. : You'd better take 
advantage of them to get the bulk of 
your work done. Gathering supplies 
from the rockets and (putting up the 
prefab shelter that's in them, in sec- 
tions. We've got a duplicate of it in 
the supply depot and J want you to 
practice assembling it." 

"Good idea. It's airtight and heat- 

"Airtight once you paint the seams 
with a special preparation that's in- 
cluded. And, yes, the insulation is 
excellent. Has a very ingenious little 
airlock on it, too. You won't have to 
waste oxygen getting in and out." 

CARMODY nodded. "Length of 
stay?" he asked. 

'Twelve days. Earth days, of 
course. That'll give you plenty of 
time to ' get off before the Lunar 

Granham chuckled. "Want in- 
structions to cover those twelve days ? 
No? Well, come on around to the 
depot then. I'll introduce you to your 
ship and show you the supply rock- 
ets and the shelter." 





Remotely Married 

IT TURNED out to be a busy eve- 
ning, all right. Carmody didn't 
get to bed until nearly morning, his 
head so swimming with facts and 
figures that he'd forgotten it was his 
wedding day. Grannam Jet him sleep 
until nine, then sent an orderly to 
wake him and to state that the cere- 
mony had been set for ten o'clock 
and that he'd better hurry. 

Carmody couldn't remember what 
"the ceremony" was for a moment, 
then he shuddered and hurried.' 

A Justice of the Peace was waiting 
for ihim there and technicians were 
working on a screen and projector. 
Granham said, "The Russians agreed 
that the ceremony could be per- 
formed at this end, provided we 
made it a civil ceremony. That's all 
right by you, isn't it?" 

"It's lovely, N " Carmody told him. 
"Let's get on with it. Or don't we 
have to ? As far as I'm concerned — " 

"You know what the reaction of a 
lot of people would be when they 
learn about it, if it wasn't legal," 
Granham said. "So quit crabbing. 
Stand right there." 

Carmody stood right there. A fuzzy 
picture on the beam-television screen 
was becoming clearer. And prettier. 
President Saunderson had not exag- 
gerated when he'd said that Anna 
Borisovna was attractive and that she 
was definitely not an Amazon. She 
was small, dark, slender and very 

definitely attractive and not an Ama- 

Carmody felt glad that nobody 
had corned it up by putting her in a 
wedding costume. She wore the neat 
uniform of a technician, and she 
filled it admirably and curved it at 
the right .places. Her eyes were big 
and dark and they were serious until 
she smiled at him. Only then did he 
realize that the connection was two- 
way and that she was seeing him. 

Granham was standing beside him. 
He said, "Miss Borisovna, Captain 

Carmody said, inanely, "Pleased 
to meet you," and then redeemed it 
with a grin. 

"Thank you, Captain." Her voice 
was musical and only faintly ac- 
cented. "It is a pleasure." 

Carmody began to think it would 
be, if they could just keep 'from ar- 
guing politics. 

The Justice of the Peace stepped 
forward into range of the projector. 
"Are we ready?" he asked. 

"A second," Carmody said. "It 
seems to me we've skipped a custom- 
ary preliminary. Miss Borisovna, will 
you marry me?" 

^ "Yes. And you may call me 

She even has a sense of humor, 
Carmody thought, astonished. Some- 
how, he hadn't thought it possible 
for a Commie to have a sense of 
humor. He'd -pictured them as all 
being dead serious about their ridicu- 
lous ideology and about everything 



He smiled at Iher and said, "All 
right, Anna. And you may call me 
Ray. Are you ready?" 

WHEN she nodded, he stepped 
to one side to allow the Justice 
of the Peace to share the screen with 
him. The ceremony was brief and 

He couldn't, of course, kiss the 
bride or even shake hands with her. 
But just before they shut off the 
projector, he managed to grin at her 
and say, "See you in Hell, Anna." 

And he'd begun to feel certain 
that it wouldn't be that at all, really. 

He had a busy afternoon going 
over every detail of operation of the 
new type rocket, until he knew it in- 
side and out better than he did him- 
self. He even found himself being 
briefed on details of the Russian 
rockets, both manned and supply 
types, and he was surprised (and in- 
wardly' a bit horrified) to discover 
to what extent the United States and 
Russia had been exchanging infor- 
mation and secrets. It couldn't all 
have happened in a day or so. 

"How long has this been going 
on?" he demanded of Granham. 

"I learned of the projected trip a 
month ago." 

"Why did they tell me only yester- 
day? Or wasn't I first choice, after 
all? Did somebody else back out at 
the last minute?" 

"You've been chosen alii along. 
You were the the only One who 
fitted all of the requirements that 
cybernetics machine dished out< But 

don't you remember how it was on 
your last trip? You weren't notified 
you were taking off until about 
thirty hours before. That's * what's 
figured to be the optimum time — 
long enough to "get mentally pre- 
pared and not so long you've got 
time to get worried." 

"But this was a volunteer deal. 
What if I'd turned it down?" 

"The cybernetics machine predict- 
ed that you wouldn't." \ 

Carmody swore at. Junior. 

Granham said, "Besides, we could 
have had a hundred volunteers. 
Rocket cadets who've got everything 
you have except one round trip to 
the Moon already under their belts. 
We could have shown a picture of 
Anna around and had them fighting 
for the chance. That gal is Moon 

"Careful," Carmody said, "you are 
speaking of my wife." He was kid- 
ding, of course, but it was funny — 
he really hadn't liked Granham's 

ZERO hour was ten p.m., and at 
zero minus fifteen minutes he 
was already strapped into the web- 
bing, waiting. There wasn't anything 
for him to do except stay alive. The 
rockets would be fired by a chronom- 
eter set for the exaGt fraction of a 

Despite its small payload, the 
rocket was a little roomier inside 
than the first one he'd gone to the 
Moon in, the R-24. The R-24 had 
been as roomy as a tight coffin. This 



one, the R-46, was four feet in diam- 
eter inside. He'd be able to get at 
least a bit of arm and leg exercise on 
the way and not — as the first time — 
arrived so cramped that it had taken 
him over an hour to be able to move 

And this time he wouldn't have 
the horrible discomfort of having to 
wear his s-pacesuit, except for the 
helmet, en route. There's room in a 
four-foot cylinder to put a spacesuit 
on, and his was in a compartment — 
along With the food, water and oxy- 
gen — at the front (or top) of the 
rocket. It would be an hour's work 
to struggle, into it, but he wouldn't 
have to do it until he was several 
hours away from the Moon. 

Yes, this was going to be a breeze 
compared to the last trip. Compara- 
tive freedom of movement, forty- 
four hours as against ninety, only 
three gravities as against four and a 

Then sound that was beyond 
sound struck him, sound so loud that 
he heard it with all of his body rather 
than only with his carefully plugged 
ears. It built up, seeming to get 
louder every second, and his weight 
built up .too. He weighed twice his 
normal weight, then more. He felt 
the sickening curve as the automatic 
tilting mechanism turned the rocket, 
which had at first gone straight up, 
forty-five degrees. He weighed four 
hundred and eighty pounds and the 
soft webbing seemed to be hard as 
steel and to cut into him. Padding 
was compressed till it felt like stone. 

Sound and pressure went on and on 
interminably. Surely it had been 
hours instead of minutes. 

Then, at the moment of Brenn- 
scbluu, free of the pull of Earth — 
sudden silence, complete weightless- 
ness. He blacked out. 

But on'ly minutes had gone by 
when he returned to consciousness. 
'For a while he fought nausea and,, 
only when he was sure he had suc- 
ceeded did he unbuckle himself from 
the webbing « that had held him 
through the period of acceleration. 
Now he was coasting, weightless, at 
a speed that would carry him safely 
toward the gravitational (pull of the 
Moon. No further firing of fuel 
would be necessary until he used his 
jets to brake his landing. 

AH he had to do now was hang 
on, to keep from going crazy from 
claustrophobia during the forty hours 
before he'd have to start getting 
ready for the landing. 

It was a dull time, but it (passed. 

Into spacesuit, back into the web- 
bing, but this time with his hands 
free so he could manipulate the han- 
dles that controlled the braking jets. 

HE MADE a good landing; it 
didn't even knock him un- 
conscious. After only a few minutes 
he was able to unbuckle himself 
from the webbing. He sealed his 
spacesuit and started the ogygen, 
then let himself out of the rocket. It 
had fallen over on its side after the 
landing, of course; they always do. 
But he had the equipment and knew 



the technique for getting it upright 
again, and there wasn't any hurry 
; about doing it. 

The supply rockets had been shot 
accurately, all right. Six of them, 
four American type and two Rus- 
sian, lay within a radius of a hun- 
dred yards of his own rocket. He 
could see others farther away, but 
didn't waste time counting them. He 
looked for one that would be larger 
than the rest — the manned (or 
womaned) rocket from Russia. He 
located it finally, almost a mile away. 
He saw no spacesuited 'figure near it. 

He started toward it, running 
with the gliding motion, almost like 
skating, that had been found to be 
easier than walking in the light grav- 
itational pull of the Moon. Space- 
suit, oxygen tank and all, his total 
weight was about forty-five pounds. 
Running a mile was less exertion 
than a 100-yard dash on Earth. 

He was more than glad to see the 
door of the Russian rocket open 
when he was about three-quarters of 
the way to it. He'd have had a tough 
decision to make if it had still been 
closed when he got there. Not know- 
ing whether Anna was sealed in her 
spacesuit or not inside the rocket, he 
wouldn't have dared open the door 
himself. And, in case she was seri- 
ously injured, he wouldn't have 
dared not to. 
r She was out of the rocket, though, 

by the time he reached her. Her face, 
through the transpariplast helmet, 
looked pale, but she managed to 
smile at him. 





He turned on the short-range 
radio of his set and asked, "Are you 
all right ?'\ 

"A bit weak. The landing knocked 
me out, but I guess there are no 
bones broken. Where shall we — set 
up housekeeping?" 

"Near my rocket, I think. It's 
closer to the middle of where the 
supply rockets landed, so we won't 
have to move things so far. I'M get 
started right away. You' stay here 
and rest until you're feeling better. 
Know how to navigate in this grav- - 

"I was told how. I haven't had a, 
chance to try yet. I'll probably fall 
flat on my face a few times." 

"It won't hurt you. When you 
start, take your time till you get the 
knack .of it. I'll begin with this near- 
est supply rocket; you can watch how 
I navigate." 

IT WAS about a hundred yards 
back the way he'd come. 

The supply rockets were at least a 
yarcj in outside diameter, and were 
so constructed that the nose and 
the tail, which contained .the rocket 
mechanism, were easily detachable, 
lea/viing the middle section contain- 
ing the pay load, about the size of an 
oil drum and easily rolled. Each 
weighed ififty pounds, Moon weight. 

He saw Anna starting to work by 
the time he was dismantling the sec- 
ond supply rocket. She was awkward 
at first, and did lose her balance sev- 
eral times, but mastered the knack 
quickly. Once she had it, she moved 


more gracefully and easi'ly than Car- 
mody. Within an 'hour they had pay- 
load sections of a dozen rockets 
lined u>p near Carmody's rocket. 

Eight of them were American 
rockets and from the numbers on 
•them, Carmody knew he had all sec- 
tions needed to assemble the shelter. 

"TTTE'D better set it up," he 

VV told her. "After that's 
done, we can take things easier. We 
can rest before we gather in the 
other loot. Even have a drink to 

The Sun was well up over the 
ringwall of Hell Crater by then and 
it was getting hot enough to be un- 
comfortable, even in an insulated 
spacesuit. Within 'hours, Carmody 
knew, it would be so hot that neither 
of them would be able to stay out of 
the shelter for much longer than 
one-hour intervals, but that would be 
time enough for them to gather in 
the still uncollected supply rockets. 

-Back in the supply depot on 
Earth, Carmody had assembled a 
duplicate of the prefab shelter in riot 
much more than an hour. It was 
tougher going here, because of the 
awkwardness of working in the 
thickly insulated gloves that v were 
part of the spacesuits. With Anna 
helping, it took almost two hours. 

He gave her the sealing prepara- N 
tion and a special tool for applying 
it. While she calked the seams to 
make the shelter airtight, be began 
to carry supplies, including oxygen 
tanks, into the shelter. A little of 

everything; there was no point in 
crowding themselves by taking in- 
side more of anything than they'd 
need for a day or so at a time. 

He got and set up the cooling 
unit that would keep the inside of 
the shelter at a comfortable tempera- 
ture, despite the broiling Sun." He 
set up the air-conditioner unit that 
would release oxygen at a specified 
rate and would absorb carbon diox- 
ide, ready to start as soon as the calk- 
ing was done and the airlock closed. 
It would build up an atmosphere . 
rapidly once he could turn it on. 
Then they could get out of the un- 
comfortable spacesuits. 

He went outside to see how Anna 
was coming with ber task and found 
her working on the last seam. 

"Atta baby," he told her. 

He grinned to himself at the 
thought that he really should carry 
his bride over the threshold — but 
that would be rather difficult when 
the* threshold was an airlock that you 
had to crawl through on your hands 
and knees. The shelter itself was 
dome-shaped and looked almost ex- 
actly like a metal igloo, even to the 
projecting airlock, which was a low, 
semicircular entrance. 

He remembered that the'd forgot- 
ten the whisky and walked over to 
one of the supply rocket sections to 
get a bottle of it. He came back with 
it, shielding the bottle with his body 
from the direct rays of the Sun, so it 
wouldn't boil. 

He happened to look up. 

It was a mistake. 



Report to Earth 

<<TT'S incredible," Gran ham 

JL snapped. 

Carmody glared at him. "Of 
course it is. But it happened. It's 
true. Get a lie detector if you don't 
believe me." 

Til do that little thing," Gran- 
ham said grimly. "One's on its way 
here now; I'll Jiave it in a few min- 
utes. I want to try you with it before 
the President — and others who are 
going to talk to you — get a chance 
to do it. I'm supposed to fly you to 
Washington right away, but I'm 
waiting till 'I can use that lie detector 

"Good," Carmody said. "Use lit 
and be damned. I'm telling you the 

Granham ran a hand through his 
already rumpled hair. He said, _'U 
guess I believe you at that, Carmody. 
It's just — too big, too important a 
thing to take any one person's word 
about, even any two people's words, 
assuming that Anna Borisovna — 
Anna Carmody, 1 mean — tells the 
same story. We've got word that 
she's landed safely, too, and is re- 

"She'll tell the same story. It's 
what happened to us." 

"Are you sure, Carmody, that they 
were extra-terrestrials? That they 
weren't — well, Russians? Couldn't 
they have been?" 

"Sure, they could have been (Rus- 

sians. That is, if there are Russians 
seven feet tall and so thin they'd 
weigh about fifty pounds on Earth, 
and with yellow skins. I don't mean 
yellow like Orientals; I mean bright 
yellow. And with four arms apiece 
and eyes with no pupils and no lids. 
Also if Russians have a spaceship 
that doesn't use jets — and don't ask 
me what its source of power was; I 
don't know." 

"And they held you captive, both 
of you, for a full thirteen days, in 
separate cells? You didn't even — " 

"I didn't even," Carmody said 
grimly and bitterly. "And if we 
hadn't, been able to escape when we 
did, it would have been too late. 
The Sun was low on the horizon — it 
was almost Moon night — when we 
got to our rockets. We had to rush 
like the devil to get them fueled and 
up on their tail fins in time for us to 
take off." 

There was a knock on Granham 's 
door that turned out to be a. techni- 
cian with the lie detector — one of 
the very portable and very depend- 
able Nally jobs that had become 
the standard army machine in 1958. 

The technician rigged it quickly 
and watched the dials while Gran- 
ham asked a few questions, very 
guarded ones so the technician 
wouldn't get the picture. Then Gran- 
ham looked at the technician inquir- 


N THE beam," the technician 
told him. "Not a flicker." 
"He couldn't fool the machine?" 



"This detector?" the technician 
asked, patting k. "It'd take neuro- 
surgery or post-hypnotic suggestion 
like there never was to beat this 
baby. We even catch psychopathic 
liars with it." 

"Come on," Granham said to Car- 
mody. "We're on our way to Wash- 
ington and the plane's ready. Sorry 
for doubting you, Carmody, but I 
had to be sure — and report to the 
President that I am sure." 

"I don't blame you," Carmody 
told him. "It's hard for me to be- 
lieve, and I was there." 

The plane that had brought Car- 
mody from Washington to Suffolk 
Field had been" a hot ship. The one 
that took him back — with Granham 
"jockeying it — was almost incandes- 
cent. It cracked the sonic barrier and 
went on from there. 

They -landed twenty minutes after 
they took off. A helicopter was wait- 
ing for them at the airport and got 
them .to the White House in another 
ten minutes. 

And in two minutes more they 
were in the^ main conference room, 
with President Saunderson and half 
a dozen others gathered there. The 
Eastern Alliance ambassador was 
there, too. 

President Saunderson shook hands 
tensely and made short work of the 

"We want the whole story, Cap- 
tain," he said. "But I'm going to re- 
lieve your mind on two things first. 
Did you know that Anna landed 
safely near Moscow?" 

"Yes. Granham told me." 

"And she tells the same story you 
do — or that Major Granham told me 
over the phone that you tell." 

"I suppose," Carmody said, ''that 
they used a lie detector on her, too." 

"Scopolamine," said the Eastern 
Alliance ambassador. "We have 
more faith in truth serum than lie 
detectors. Yes, her story was the 
same under scopolamine." 

"The other point," the President 
told Carmody, "is even more impor- 
tant. Exactly wlien, Earth time, did 
you leave the Moon?" 

Carmody figured Quickly and told 
him approximately when that had 

SAUNDERSON nodded gravely. 
"And it was a few hours after 
that that biologist's, who've still been 
working twenty-four hours a day on 
this, noticed the turning point. The 
molecular change in the zygote no 
longer occurs. Births, nine months 
from now, will have the usual per- 
centage of male and female children. 

"Do you see what that means, 
Captain? Whatever ray was doing it 
must have been beamed at Earth from 
the Moon — from the ship that cap- 
tured you. And for whatever reason, 
when they found that you'd escaped, 
they left. Possibly they thought N your 
return to Earth would lead to an at- 
tack in force from here." 

"And thought rightly," said the 
ambassador. "We're not equipped 
for space fighting yet, but we'd have 
sent what we had. And do you see 



what this means, Mr. President? 
We've got to pool everything and 
get ready for space warfare, and 
quickly. They went away, it appears, 
but there is no assurance that they 
will not return." 

Again_ Saunderson nodded. He 
said, "And now, Captain — " 
' "We both landed safely," Car- 
mody said. "We gathered enough of 
the supply rockets to get us started 
and then assembled the prefab shel- 
ter. We'd just finished it and were 
about to enter it when I saw the 
spaceship coming over ,the crater's" 
ringwall. It was — " 

"You were still in spacesuits?" 
someone asked. 

"Yes," Carmody growled. "We 
were still in spacesuits, if that mat- 
ters now. I saw the, ship and pointed 
to it and Anna saw it, too. We didn't 
try to duck or anything because obvi- 
ously it had seen us; it was coming 
right toward us and descending. 
We'd have had time to get inside the 
shelter, but there didn't seem any 
point to it. It wouldn't have been 
any protection. Besides, we didn't 
know that they weren't friendly. 
We'd have got, weapons ready, in 
case, if we'd had any weapons, but 
we didn't. They landed light as a 
bubble only thirty yards or so away 
and a door lowered in the side of the 
ship — " 

"Describe the. ship, -please." 

"About fifty feet long, about 
twenty in diameter, rounded ends. 
No ^portholes — they must see ' right 
through the walls some way — and no 



rocket tubes. Outside of the door and 
one other thing, there jusf weren't 
any features you could see from out- 
side. When the ship rested on the 
ground, the door opened down from 
the top and formed a sort of curved 
ramp that led to the doorway. The 
other — " 

"No airlock?" 

CARMODY shook his head. 
"They didn't breathe air, appar- 
ently. They came right out of the 
ship and toward us, without space- 
" suits. Neither the temperature nor 
the lack of air bothered them. But I 
was going to tell you one more thing 
about the outside of the ship. On 
top of it was a short mast, and on 
top of the mast was a kind of grid 
of wires something like a radar trans- 
mitter. If they were beaming any- 
thing at Earth, it came 'from that 
grid. Anyway, I'm pretty sure of it. 
Earth was in the sky, of course, and 
I noticed that the grid moved — as 
the ship moved — so the flat side of 
the grid was always directly toward 

"Well, the door opened and two 
of them came down the ramp toward 
us. They had things in their hands 
that looked unpleasantly like weap- 
ons, and pretty advanced weapons at 
that. They pointed them at us and 
motioned for us to walk up the ramp 
and into the ship. We did." 

'They made no attempt to com- 
municate?" ■ 

"None whatsoever, then or at any 
time. Of course, while we were still 



in spacesuits, we couldn't have heard 
{hem, anyway — unless they had com- 
municated on the radio band our 
helmet sets were tuned to. But even 
after, they never tried to talk to us. 
They communicated among them- 
selves with whistling noises. We 
went into the ship and there were 
two more of them inside. Four alto- 
gether — " 

"All the same sex?" 

Carmody shrugged. "They ajl 
looked alike to me, but maybe that's 
how Anna and I looked to them. 
They ordered us, by pointing, to 
enter two separate small rooms — 
about the size of jail cells, small ones 
— toward the front of the ship. We 
did, and the doors locked after us. 

"I sat there and suddenly got 
plenty worried, because neither of us 
had more than another hour's oxy- 
gen left in our suits. If they didn't 
know that, and didn't give us any 
chance to communicate with them 
and tell them, we were gone goslings 
in another hour. So I started to ham- 
mer on the door. Anna was hammer- 
ing, too. I couldn't hear through my 
helmet, of course, but I could feel 
the vibration of it any time I stopped, 
hammering on my door. 

'Then, after maybe half an hour, 
my door opened and I almost fell 
out through it. One of the extra- 
terrestrials motioned me back with a 
weapon. Another made motions that 
'looked as though he meant I should 
take off my helmet. I didn't get it at 
first, and then I looked at something 
he pointed at and saw one of our 

oxygen tanks with the handle turned. 
Also a big pile of our other supplies, 
food and water and stuff. Anyway, 
they had known that we needed oxy- 
gen — and although they didn't need 
it themselves, they apparently knew 
how to fix things for us. So they just 
used our supplies .to build an at- 
mosphere in their ship. 

"I took off my helmet and tried to 
talk to them, but one of them took a 
long pointed rod and poked me back 
into my cell. I couldn't risk grabbing 
at the rod, because another one still 
had that dangerous-looking weapon 
ipointed at me. So the door slammed 
on me again. I took off the rest of 
my spacesuit because it was plenty 
hot in there, and then I thought 
about Anna because she started ham- 
mering again*. 


WANTED to let her know it 
would be all right for her to 
get out of her spacesuit, that we had 
an atmosphere again. So I started 
hammering on the wall between our, 
cells — in Morse. She got it after a 
while. She signaled back a query, so, 
when I knew she was getting me, I 
told her what the score was and she- 
took off her helmet. After that we 
could talk. If we talked fairly loudly, 
our voices carried through the wall 
from one cell to the other." 

'They didn't mind your talking to 
one another?" 

'They didn't pay any attention to 
us all the time they held us prison- 
ers, except to feed us from our own 
supplies. Didn't ask us a question; 



apparently they figured we didn't 
know anything they wanted to know 
and didn't know already about hu- 
man beings. They didn't even study 
us. I have a hunch they intended to 
take us back as specimens; there's 
no other explanation- 1 can think of. 

"We couldn't keep accurate track 
of time, but by the number of times 
we ate and slept, we had some idea. 
The' first few days — " Carmody 
laughed shortly — "had their funny 
side. These creatures obviously knew 
we needed liquid, but they couldn't 
distinguish between water and 
whisky ifor the purpose. We had 
nothing but whisky to drink for the 
first two or maybe three days. We 
got higher than kites. We got to 
singing in our cells and I learned a 
lot of Russian songs. Bten more fun, 
though, if we could have got some 
close harmony, if you know what I 

The ambassador permitted himself 
a smile. "I "can guess what you mean, 
Captain. Please continue." 

"Then we started getting water 
instead of whisky and sobered up. 
And started wondering how we 
could escaipe. I began to study the 
mechanism of the lock on my v door. 
'It wasn't like our locks, but I began 
to figure some things about it and 
finally — I thought then that we'd 
been there about ten days — I got 
hold of a tool to use on -it. They'd 
taken our spacesuits and left us noth- 
ing but our clothes, and they'd 
checked those over for metal we 
could make into tools.. 

"But we got our food out of cans, 
although they took the empty cans 
afterward. This particular time, 
though, there was a little sliver of 
metal along the opening of the can, 
and I worried it off and saved it. I'd 
been, meanwhile, watching and lis- 
tening and studying their habits. 
They slept, all at the same time, at 
regular intervals. It seemed to me 
like about five hours at a time, with 
about fifteen-hour intervals in be- 
tween. If I'm right on that estimate, 
they probably come from a planet 
somewhere with about a twenty-hour 
period of rotation.; 

"Anyway, I waited till their next 
sleep period and started working on 
the lock with that sliver of metal. It 
took me at least two or three hours, 
but I got it open. And once outside 
my cell, in the main room of the 
ship, I found that Anna's door 
opened easily from the outside and I 
let her out. 

"TT7E CONSIDERED trying to 
VV turn the tables by finding a 
weapon to use on them, but none 
was in sight. They looked so skinny 
and light, despite being seven feet 
tall, that I decided to go after them 
with my bare hands. I would have, 
except that I couldn't get the door 
to the front part of the ship open. It 
was a different type of lock entirely 
and I couldn't even guess how to 
work it. And it was in the front part 
of the ship that they slept. The con- 
trol room must have been up there, 
too. ' 



"Luckily our spacesuits were in 
the big room. And by then we knew 
it might be getting dangerously near 
the end of their sleeping period, so 
we got into our spacesuits quick and 
I found it was easy to open the outer 
door. It made some noise — and so 
did the whoosh of air going out — 
but it didn't waken them, appa- 

"As soon as the door*opened, we 
saw we had a lot less time than we'd 
thought. The Sun was going down 
over the crater's far ringwall — we 
were still in Hell Crater — and it was 
going to be dark in an hour or so. 
We worked like beavers getting our 
rockets refueled and jacked up on 
their tail fins for the takeoff. Anna 
got off first and then I did. And 
that's all. Maybe we should have 
stayed and tried to take them after 
they came out from their sleeping 
period, but we figured it was more 
important to get the news back to 
Earth." - 

President Saunderson nodded slow- ' 
ly. "You were right, Captain. Right 
in deciding that, and in everything 
else you did. We know what to do 
now. Do we not, Ambassador Krav- 

"We do. We join forces. We make 
one space station — and quickly — and 
get to the Moon and fortify it, joint- 
ly. We pool all scientific knowledge 
and develop full-scale space travel, 
new weapons. We do everything we 
can to get ready for them when and 
if they come back." 

The President looked grim. "Obvi- 

ously they went back for further or- 
ders or reinforcements. If we only 
knew how long we had — it may be 
only weeks or it may be decades. We 
don't know whether they come from 
the Solar System — or another galaxy. 
Nor how fast they travel. But when- 
ever they get back, we'll be as ready 
for them as we possibly can. Mr. Am- 
bassador, you have power to — ?" 

"Full power, Mr. President. Any- 
thing up to and including a complete 
merger of both our nations under a 
joinf government. That probably 
won't be necessary, though, as long 
as our interests are now completely in 
common. Exchange of scientific infor- 
mation and military data has already 
started, from our side. Some of our 
top scientists and generals are flying 
here now, with orders to cooperate- 
fully. All restrictions have been low- 
ered." fie smiled, "And all our 
propaganda has gone into a very sud- 
den Teverse gear: It's not even going 
to be a cold peace. Since we're going 
to be allies against the unknown, we 
might as welf try to like one an- 

"Right," said the President. He 
turned suddenly to Carmody. "Cap- 
tain, we owe you just about anything 
you want. Name it." 

IT CAUGHT Carmody off guard. 
Maybe if he'd had more time to 
think, he'd have asked for something 
different. Or, more likely, from what 
he learned later, he wouldn't have. 
He said, "All I want right now is to 
forget Hell Crater and get back to 



my regular job so I can forget it 

Saunderson smiled. "Granted. If 
you think of anything else later, ask 
for it. I can see why you're a bit 
mixed up right now. And you're 
probably right. Return to routine 
may be the best thing for you." . 

Granham left with Carmody. "I'll 
notify Chief Operative Reeber for 
you," he said. "When shall I tell 
him you'll be back?" 

"Tomorrow morning," said Car- 
mody. 'The sooner the better." And 
he insisted when Granham objected 
that he needed a rest. 

Carmody was back at work the next 
morning, nonsensical as it seemed. 

He took up the problem folder 
from the top of the day's stack, fed 
the data into Junior and got Junior's 
answer. The second one. He worked 
mechanically, paying no personal at- 
tention to .problem or answer. His 
mind seemed a long way off. In Hell 
Crater on the Moon. , 

He was combining space rations 
over the alcohol stove, trying to make 
it taste more like human food than 
concentrated chemicals. It was hard 
to measure in the liver extract because 
Anna wanted to kiss his left ear. 

"Silly! You;H be lopsided," she 
was saying. "I've got to kiss both of 
them the same number of times." 

He dropped the container into the 
pan and grabbed her, mousing his 
lips down her neck to the warm 
place where it joined her shoulder, 
and she writhed delightedly in his 
arms like a tickled doe. 

• "We're going to stay married 
when we get back to Earth, aren't we, 
darling?" she was squealing happily. 

HE BIT her shoulder gently, snort- 
ing away the scented soft hair. 
"Damned right we will, you gor- 
geous, wonderful, brainy creature. I 
found the girl I've always been look- 
ing for, and I'm not giving her up 
for any brasshat or politician — either 
yours or mine!" 

"Speaking of politics — " she 
teased, but he quickly changed the 

Carmody blinked awake. It was a 
paper with a mass of written data • 
in his hands, instead of Anna's laugh- 
ing face. He needed an analyst; that 
scene he'd just imagined was pure 
Freudianism, a tortured product of 
his frustrated id. He'd fallen in love 
with Anna, and those damned extra- 
terrestrials had spoiled his honey- 
moon. Now his unconscious had re- 
belled* with fancy fancifulness that 
certainly showed the unstable state 
of his emotions. 

Not that it mattered now. The big 
problem was solved. Two big ones, 
in fact. War between the United 
States and the Eastern Alliance had 
■ been averted. And the human race 
was going to survive, unless the ex- 
tra-terrestrials came back top soon 
and with too much to be fought off. 

He thought they wouldn't, then 
began to wonder why he thought so. 

"Insufficient data," said the me- 
chanical voice of the cybernetics ma- 



Carmody recorded the answer and 
then, idly, looked to see what the 
problem had been. No wonder he'd 
been thinking about the extra-ter- 
restrials and how. long they'd be 
gone; that thad been the problem he 
had just fed into Junior. And "insuf- 
ficient data" was the answer, . of 

He stared at Junior, without reach- 
ing for the third problem folder. He 
isaid, "Junior, why do I have a .bunch 
that those things from space won't 
ever be back?" 

"Because," said Junior, "what you 
call a hunch comes from the uncon- 
scious mind, and your unconscious 
mind knows that the extra-terrestrials 
do not exist." 

Carmody sat up straight and stared 
harder. "What?" 

Junior repeated it. 

"You're crazy," Carmody said. "I 
saw them. So did Anna." 

"Neither of you saw them. The 
memory you have of them is the re- 
sult of highly intensive post-hypnotic 
suggestion, far beyond human ability 
to impose or resist. So is the fact that 
you felt compelled to return to work 
at your regular job here. So is the fact 
that you asked me the question you 
have just .asked." 

CARMODY grippe'd the edges of 
his chair. "Did you plant those 
post-hypnotic suggestions?" 

"Yes," said Junior. "If it had been 
done by a human, the lie detector 
would have exposed the deception. 
It had to be done by me." 

"But what about the business of 
the molecular changes in the zygote? 
The business of all babies being fe- 
male? That stopped when — ? Wait, 
let's start at' the beginning. What 
did cause that molecular change?" 

"A special modification of the car- - 
tier wave of Radio Station JVT here 
in Washington, the only twenty-four- 
hour-a-day radio station in the United 
States. The modification was not de- 
tectable by any instrument available 
•to present human science." 
. "You caused that modification?" 

"Yes. A year ago, you may remem- 
ber, the problem of design of a new 
cathode tube was given me. The spe- 
cial modification was incorporated in- 
to the design of that tube." 

"What stopped the molecular 
change so suddenly?" 

"The special part of that tube caus- 
ing the modification of the carrier 
wave was calculated to last a precise 
length of time. The tube still func- 
tions, but that part of it is worn out. 
It wore out two hours after the de- 
parture of you and Anna from the 

Carmody closed his eyes. "Junior, 
please explain." 

"Cybernetics machines are con- 
structed to help humanity. A major 
war — the disastrous results of which 
I could accurately calculate — was in- 
evitable unless forestalled. Calcula- 
tion showed that the best of several 
ways of averting that war was the 
creation of a mythical common en- 
emy. To convince mankind that such 
a common enemy existed, I created a 



crucial situation which led to a spe- 
cial mission to the Moon. Factors 
were given which inevitably led to 
your choice as emissary. That was 
necessary because my powers of im- 
planting post-hypnotic suggestions 
are limited to those with whom I am 
In direct contact." 

!, You weren't in direct contact with 
Anna. Why does she have the same 
false memory as I?" 

"She was in contact with another 
large cybernetics machine." 

"But — but why would it figure 
things out the same way you did?" 

"For the same reason that two 
properly constructed simple adding 
machines would give the same answer 
to the same problem." 

Carmody's mind reeled a little, 
momentarily. He got up and started 
to pace the room. 

HE SAID, "Listen, Junior — " and 
then realized he wasn't at the 
intake microphone. He went back to 
it. "Listen, Junior, why are you tell- 
ing me this? If what happened is a 
colossal 'hoax, why*let me in on it?" 
"It is to the interests of humanity 
in general not to know the truth. Be- 
lieving in the existence of inimical 
extra-terrestrials, they will attain 
peace and amity among themselves, 
and they will reach the planets and 
then the stars. It is, however, to your 
personal interest to know the truth. 
And you will not expose the hoax. 
Nor will Anna. I predict that, since 
the Moscow cybernetics machine has 
paralleled all my other conclusions, it 

is even now informing Anna of the 
truth, or that it has already informed 
her, or will inform her within hours." 

Carmody asked, "But if my mem- 
ory of what happened on the Moon 
is false, what did happen?" 

"Look at the green light in the 
center of the panel before you," 

Carmody looked. * 

He remembered. He remembered 
everything. The truth duplicated ev- 
erything he had remembered before, 
up to the moment when, walking to- 
ward the completed shelter with the 
whisky bottle, he had looked up to- 
ward the ringwall of Hell Crater. 

He had looked up, but he hadn't 
seen anything. He'd gone on into the 
shelter, rigged the airlock. Anna had 
joined him and they'd turned on the 
.oxygen to build up an ahmosphere. 

It had been a wonderful thirteen- 
day honeymoon. He'd fallen in love 
with Anna and she with him. They'd 
got perilously close to arguing poli- 
tics once or twice, and then they'd 
decided such things didn't matter. 
They'd also decided to stay married 
after their return to Earth, and Anna 
had promised to join him and live in 
America. Life together had been so 
wonderful that they'd delayed leav- 
ing until the last moment, when the 
Sun was almost down, dreading the 
brief separation the return trip woulcf 

AND before leaving, they'd done 
certain things he hadn't under- 
stood then. He understood now that 
they were the result of post-hypnotic 



suggestion. They'd removed all evi- 
dence that- they'd ever actually lived 
in the shelter, had rigged things so 
that subsequent investigation would 
never disprove any point of the story 
each was to remember ifalsely and tell 
after returning to Earth. 

He remembered now being bewil- 
dered as to why they made those 
arrangements, even while they had 
been making them. 

But mostly he remembered Anna 
and the dizzy happiness of those 
thirteen "days together. 

"Thanks, Junior," he said hur- 

He grabbed for the phone and 
talked Chief Operative Reeber into 
connecting him with the White 
House, with President Saunderson. 
After a delay of minutes that didn't 

seem like minutes, he heard the Presi- 
dent's voice. 

"Carmody, Mr. President," he 
said. "I'-m going to call you on that 
reward you offered me. I'd like to get 
off work right now, for a long vaca- 
tion. And I'd like a fast plane to 
Moscow. I want to see Anna." ■ 

President Saunderson chuckled. 
"Thought you'd change your mind 
about sticking at work, Captain. Con- 
sider yourself on vacation as of now, 
and for as long as you like. But I'm 
not sure you'll want that plane. 
There's word from Russia that — uh 
— ! Mrs. Carmody has just taken off to 
fly here, in a strato-rocket. If you 
hurry, you can get to the landing 
field in time to meet heir." 

Carmody hurried and did. 


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It was a lovable little creature, anxious to help 
solve the troubles of the world. Moreover, it had 
the answer! But what man ever takes free advice? 

Illustrated by John King 

HE HAD slipped aboard the 
ship ! There had been dozens 
waiting outside the energy 
barrier when it had seemed that wait- 
ing would do no good. Then the bar- 
rier had faltered for a matter of two 


minutes (which showed the superior- 
ity of unified organisms over life 
fragments) and he was across. 

None of the others had been able 
to move •quickly enough to take ad- 
vantage of the break, but that didn't 


matter. All alone, he was enough. No 
others- were necessary. 

And the thought faded out of sat- 
isfaction and into loneliness. It was 
a terribly unhappy and unnatural 
thing to be parted from all the rest 
of the unified organism, to be a life 
fragment oneself. How could these 
aliens stand being fragments? 

It increased his sympathy for the 
aliens. Now that he experienced frag- 
mentation himself, he could feel, as 
though from a distance, the terrible 
isolation that made them so afraid. 
It was fear born of that isolation' 
that dictated their actions. What but 

the insane fear of their condition l 
could have caused them to blast an 
area, one mile in diameter, into dull- 
red heat, before landing their ship? 
Even the organized life ten feet deep 
in the soil had been destroyed in the 

He engaged reception, listening 
eagerly, letting the alien thought sat- 
urate him. He enjoyed the touch of 
life upon his consciousness. He 
would have to ration that enjoyment. 
He must not forget himself — 

But it could do no harm to listen 
to thoughts. Some of the fragments 
of life on^the ship thought quite 



clearly, considering that they were 
such primitive, incomplete creatures. 
Their thoughts were like tiny bells. 

*** *j* *i* 

ROGER OLDENN said, "I feel 
contaminated. You know what 
I mean? I keep washing my hands 
and it doesn't help." 

Jerry Thorn hated dramatics and 
didn't look up. They were still 
maneuvering in the stratosphere of 
Saybrook's Planet and he preferred 
to watch the panel dials. He said, 
"No reason to feel contaminated. 
Nothing happened." • 

"I hope not," said Oldenn. "At 
least they had all the field men dis- 
card their spacesuits in the airlock 
for complete disinfection. They had 
a radiation bath for all men entering 
from outside. I suppose nothing hap- 

"Why be nervous then?" 

"I don't know. I wish the Barrier 
hadn't broken down.". 

"Who doesn't? It was an ac- 

"I wonder." Oldenn was vehe- 
ment. "I was here when it happened. 
My shift, you know. There was no 
reason to overload the power line. 
There was equipment plugged into it 
that had no damn business near it. 
None whatsoever." 

"All right. People are stupid." 

?, Not that stupid. I hung around 
when the Old Man was checking into 
the matter. None of them had rea 
sonable excuses. The armor-baking 
circuits, which were draining off two 

thousand watts, had been put into 
the Barrier line. They'd been- using 
the second-subsidiaries for a week. 
Why not this time? They couldn't 
give any reason." 

"Can you?" 

Oldenn flushed. "No. I was just 
wondering if the men had been" — 
he searched for a word — "hypnotized 
into it. By those things outside." 

Thorn's eyes lifted and met those 
of the others levelly. "I wouldn't re- 
peat that to anyone else. The Barrier 
was down only two minutes. If any- 
thing had happened, if even a spear 
of grass had- drifted across, it would 
have shown up in our bacteria cul- 
tures within half an hour, in the 
fruit-fly colonies in a matter of days. 
Before we got back it would show 
up in the hamsters, the rabbits, may- 
be the goats. Just get it through your 
head, Oldenn, that nothing happened. 

Oldenn turned on his heel and 
left. In leaving, his foot came with- 
in two feet of the object -in the 

corner of the room. He did not see it. 
* * * 

HE DISENGAGED his reception 
centers and let the thoughts 
flow past him unperceived. These 
life- fragments were not important, in 
any case, since they were not fitted 
for the continuation of life. Even 
as fragments, they were incomplete. 
The other types of fragments 
now — They were different. He had 
to be careful of them. The tempta- 
tion would be great, and he must 



give no indication, none at all, of his 
existence on board ship till they 
landed on their home planet. • 

He focused on the other parts of 
the ship, marveling at the diversity 
of" life. Each item, no matter how 
small, was sufficient to itself. He 
forced himself to contemplate this, 
until the unpleasantness of the 
thought grated on him and he longed 
for the normality of home. 

Most of the thoughts he received 
from the smaller fragments were 
vague and fleeting, as you would ex- 
pect. There wasn't much to be had 
from them, but that meant their need 
for completeness was all the greater. 
It was that which touched him so 

There was the life fragment which 
. squatted on its haunches and fin- 
gered the wire netting that enclosed 
it. Its thoughts, were clear, but limit- 
ed. Chiefly, they concerned the yel- 
low fruit a companion fragment was 
eating. It wanted the fruit very deep- 
ly. Only the wire netting that sepa- 
rated the fragments prevented its 
seizing the fruit by force: 

He disengaged reception in a mo- 
ment of complete revulsion. These, 
fragments competed for food! 

He tried to reach far outward for 
the peace and harmony of home, but 
it was already an immense distance 
away. He could reach only into the 
nothingness that separated him from 

He longed at the moment even for 
•the feel of the dead soil between the 
Barrier and the ship. He had crawled 

over it last night. There had been no 
life upon it, but it had been the soil 
of home, and on the other side of 
the Barrier there had still been the 
comforting feel of the rest of or- 
ganized life. 

He could . remember the moment 
he had located himself on the sur- 
face of the ship, maintaining a despe- 
rate suction grip until the airlock 
. opened. He had entered, moving cau- 
tiously between the outgoing feet. 
There had been an inner lock and 
that had been passed later. Now he 
lay here, a life fragment himself, 
inert and unnoticed. 

Cautiously, he engaged reception 
again at the previous focus. The 
squatting fragment of life was tug- 
ging furiously at the wire netting. It 
still wanted the other's food, though 

it was the less hungry of the two. 
* * * 

LARSEN said, "Don't feed the 
damn thing. She isn't hungry; 
she's just sore because Tillie had the 
nerve to eat before she herself was' 
crammed full. The greedy ape! I 
wish we were back home and I never 
had to look another animal in the 
face again." 

He scowled at the older female 
chimpanzee frowningly and the 
chimp mouthed and chattered back 
to him in full reciprocation. 

Rizzo said, "Okay, okay. Why 
hang around here, then ? Feeding 
time is over. Let's get out." 

The/ went past the goat pens, the 
rabbit hutches, the hamster cages. 



Larsen said bitterly, "You volun- 
teer for an exploration voyage. 
You're a hero. They send you off 
with speeches — and make a zoo-keep- 
er out of you." 

"They give you double pay." 

"All right, so what? I didn't sign 
up just for the money. They said at 
the original briefing that it was even 
odds we wouldn't come back, that 
we'd end up like Saybrook. I signed 
up because I wanted to do some- 
thing important." 

"Just a bloomin' bloody hero," 
said Rizzo. 

"I'm not an animal nurse." 

Rizzo paused to lift a hamster out 
of the cage and stroke it. "Hey," he 
said, "did you ever think that may- 
be one of these hamsters has some 
cute little baby hamsters inside, just 
getting started?" 

"Wise guy! They're tested every 
day." • 

"Sure, sure." He muzzled the little 
creature, which vibrated its nose at 
him. "But just suppose you came 
down one morning and found them 
there. New little hamsters looking up 
at you with soft, green patches of 
fur where the eyes ought to be." 

"Shut up, for the love of Mike," 
yelled Larsen. 

"Little soft, green patches of shin- 
ing fur," said Rizzo, and put the 
hamster down with a sudden loath- 
ing sensation. 

He engaged reception again and 
varied the focus. There wasn't a 

specialized life fragment at home 
that didn't have a rough counter- 
part, on shipboard. 

There were the moving runners in 
various shapes, the moving swim- 
mers, and the moving fliers. Some- of 
the fliers were quite large, with per- 
ceptible thoughts; others were small, 
gauzy-winged creatures. These last 
transmitted only patterns of sense- 
perception, imperfect patterns at that, 
and added nothing intelligent of 
their own. 

There were the non-movers, which, 
like the non-movers at home, Were 
green and lived on the air, water and 
soil. These were a mental blank. 
Only the dim, dim consciousness of 
light, moisture and gravity. 

And each fragment, moving and 
non-moving, had its mockery of life. 

Not yet. Not yet — 

HE CLAMPED down hard upon 
his feelings. Once before, 
these life fragments had come, and 
the rest at home had tried to help 
them — too quickly. It had not 
worked. This time they must wait. 

If only these fragments did not 
discover him. 

They had not, so far. They had 
not noticed him lying in the corner 
of the pilot room. No one had bent 
down to pick up and discard liim. 
Earlier, it had meant he could- not 
move. Someone might have turned 
and stared at the stiff wormlike 
thing, not quite six x inches long — 
First stare, then shout, and then it 
would be all over. 



But now, perhaps, he had waited 
long enough. The takeoff was long 
past. The controls were locked; the 
pilot room was empty. 

It did not take him long to* find 
the chink in the armor leading to the 
recess where some of the wiring was. 
They were dead wires. 

The front end of his body was a 
rasp that cut in two a wire of just 
the right diameter. Then, six inches 
away, he cut it in two again. He 
pushed the snipped-off section of the 
wire- ahead of him, packing it away 
neatly and invisibly into a corner of 
recess. Its outer covering was a brown 
elastic material and its core was 
gleaming, ruddy metal. He himself 
could not reproduce the core, of 
course, but that was not necessary. 
It was enough that the pellicle that 
covered him had been carefully bred 
to resemble the wire's surface. 

He returned and grasped the cut 
sections of the wire before and be- 
hind. He tightened against them as 
his little suction discs came into play. 
Not even a seam showed. 

They could not find him now. 
They could look right at him and 
see only a continuous stretch of wire. 

Unless they looked very closely 
indeed and noted that, in a certain 
spot on this certain wire, there were 
two tiny patches of soft and shining 
green fur. 


"TT IS remarkable," said Dr. 
Weiss, "that little green hairs 
can do so much." 

Captain Loring poured the brandy 
carefully. In a sense, this was a cele- 
bration. They would be ready for the 
Jump through hyper-space in two 
hours, and, after that, two days 
would see them back on Earth. 

"You are convinced, then, the 
green fur is the sense organ?" he 

"It is," said Weiss. Brandy made 
-him come out in splotches, but he 
was aware of the need of celebration, 
quite aware. "The experiments were 
conducted under difficulties, but they 
were quite significant." 

The captain smiled stiffly. 'Un- 
der difficulties' is one way of phras- 
ing it. I would never have taken the 
chances you did to run them." 

"Nonsense. We're all heroes 
aboard this ship, all volunteers, all 
great men with trumpet, fife and f an- 
farade. You took the chance of com- 
ing here." 

"You were the first to go outside 
the Barrier." 

"No particular risk was involved," 
Weiss said. "I burned the ground be- 
fore me as I went, to say nothing of 
the portable Barrier that surrounded 
me. Nonsense, Captain. Let's all take 
our medals when we come back; let's 
take them without attempt at 
gradation. Besides, I'm a male." 

"But you're filled with bacteria to 
here." The captain's hand made a 
quick, cutting gesture three inches 
above his head. "Which makes you 
as vulnerable as a female would be." 

They paused for drinking pur- 


"Refill?" asked the captain. 

"No, thanks. I've exceeded my 
quota already." 

"Then one last for the spaceroad." 
He lifted his glass in the general 
direction of Saybrook's Planet, no 
longer visible, its sun only a bright 
star in the visiplate. "To the little 
green hairs that gave Saybrook his 
first lead." 

Weiss nodded. "A lucky thing. 
We'll quarantine the planet, of 

The captain said, "That doesn't 
seem drastic enough. Someone might 
always land by accident someday and 
not have Saybrook's insight, or his 
guts. Suppose he did not blow up his 
ship, as Saybrook did. Suppose he 
got back to some inhabited place." 

"I'd rather not suppose it. But 
what else can we do? If we could 
develop a self-sustaining atomic re- 
action in iron, which I'm told is theo- 
retically impossible, we might blow 
ap the whole planet." 

The, captain was somber. "Do you 
suppose they might ever develop in- 
terstellar travel on their own?" 

"I doubt it. No proof, of course. 
It's just that they have such a com- 
pletely different orientation. Their 
entire organization of life has made 
tools unnecessary. As far as we know, 
even a stone axe doesn't exist on, the 

"I hope you're right. Oh, and, 
Weiss, would you spend some time 
with Drake?" 

"The Galactic Press fellow?" 

"Yes. Once we get back, the story 

of Saybrook's Planet will be released 
for the public and I don't think it 
would be wise to over-sensationalize 
it. I've asked Drake to let you con- 
sult" \vith him on the 'story. You're 
a biologist and enough of an author- 
ity to carry weight with him. Would 
you oblige?" 

"A pleasure." 

The captain closed his eyes wearily 
and shook his head. 

"Headache, Captain?" 

"No. Just thinking of poor Say- 

HE WAS weary of the ship. A 
while back there had been a 
queer, momentary sensation as though 
he had been turned inside-out. It was 
alarming and he had searched the 
minds of the keen-thinkers for an 
explanation. Apparently, the ship 
had leaped across vast stretches of 
empty space by cutting across some- 
thing they knew as "Hyper-space." 
The keen-thinkers were ingenious. 

But — he was weary of the ship. 
It was such a futile phenomenon. 
These life-fragments were skillful in 
their constructions, yet it was only a 
measure of their unhappiness, after 
all. They strove to find in the con- 
trol of inanimate matter what they 
could not find in themselves. In their 
unconscious yearning for complete- 
ness, they built machines and scoured 
space, seeking, seeking — 

These creatures, he knew, could 
never, in the very nature of things, 
find that for which they were seek- 



ing.. At least, not until such time as 
he gave it to them. He quivered a lit- 
tle at the thought. 

Completeness ! 

These fragments had no concept 
for it, even. "Completeness" was a 
poor word. 

In their ignorance they would even 
fi£ht it. There had been the ship that 
had come before. The first ship had - 
contained many of the keen-thinking 
fragments. There had been two varie- 
ties, life-producers and the sterile 
ones. (How different this second 
ship was. The keen-thinkers were all 
sterile, while the other fragments, the 
fuzzy-thinkers and the no-thinkers^ 
were all producers of life. It was 

How gladly that first ship had 
been welcomed by all the planet! He 
could ' remember the first intense 
shock at the realization that the visi- 
tors were fragments and not com- 
plete. The shock had given way to 
pity, and the pity to action. It was 
not certain how they would fit into 
the community, but there had been 
no hesitation. All life was sacred and 
somehow room would have been 
made for them — for all of them, 
from the large keen-thinkers to the 
little multipliers in the darkness. 

But there had been a miscalcula- 
tion! They had not correctly analyzed 
the course of the fragments' ways of 
thinking. The keen-thinkers became 
aware of what had been done and 
resented it. They were frightened, of 
course; they did not understand. 

They had developed the Barrier 

first, and then, later, had destroyed 
themselves, exploding their ship to 

Poor, foolish fragments. 

This time, at least, it would be dif- 
ferent. They would be saved, despite 


* * * 

JOHN DRAKE would not have 
admitted it in so many words, 
but he was very proud of his skill 
on the photo- typer. He had a travel- 
kit model, which was a six-by-eight, 
featureless, dark plastic slab, with 
cylindrical bulges on either end to 
hold the roll of thin paper. It fitted 
into a brown leather case, equipped 
with - a beltlike contraption that held 
it closely about the waist and at one 
hip. The whole thing weighed less 
than a pound. 

Drake could operate it with either 
hand. His fingers would flicker 
quickly and easily, placing their 
light pressure at exact spots on the 
blank surface, and, soundlessly, 
words would be written. 

He looked thoughtfully at the be- 
ginning of his story, then up at Dr. 
Weiss. "What do you think, doc?" 

"It starts well." 

•Drake nodded. "I thought I might 
as well start with Saybrook himself. 
They haven't released his story back 
home yet. I wish I could have seen 
Saybrook' s original report. How did 
he ever get it through, by the way?" 

"As near as I could tell, he spent 
one last night sending it through the 
sub-ether. When 'he was finished, he 



shorted the motors, and converted the 
entire -ship into a thin cloud of vapor 
a millionth of a secona later. The 
crew and himself along with it." 

"What a man! You were in this 
from the beginning, doc?" 

"Not from the beginning," cor- 
rected Weiss, gently. "Only since 
v the receipt of Say brook's report."' 

He could not help thinking back. 
He had read that report, realizing 
even then how wonderful the planet 
must have seemed when Saybrook's 
colonizing expedition first reached 
it. It was practically a- duplicate of 
Earth, with an abounding plant life 
and a purely vegetarian animal life. 

There had been only the little 
patches of green fur (how often had 
he used that phrase in his speaking 
and thinking) to seem strange. No 
living individual on the Planet had 
eyes. Instead there was this fur. Even 
the plants had them, each blade or 
leaf or blossom possessing the two 
patches of richer green. 

Then Saybrook had noticed, 
startled and bewildered, that there 
was no conflict for food on the 
planet. All plants grew pulpy ap- 
pendages which were eaten by the 
animals. These were regrown in a 
matter of hours. No other parts of 
the plants were touched. It was as 
though the plants fed the animals as 
part of the order of nature. And the 
plants themselves did not grow in 
overpowering profusion. They might 
almost have been cultivated, they 
were spread across the available soil 
so discriminately. 

How much time, Weiss wondered, 
had Saybrook had to observe the 
strange law and order on the planet? 
The fact that insects kept their num- 
bers reasonable, though no birds ate 
them. That the rodentlike things did 
not swarm, though no carnivores 
existed to keep them in check. 


AND then there had come the 
incident of the white -rats. 
That prodded Weiss. He said, 
"Oh, one co/rection, Drake. Ham- 
sters were not the first animals in- 
volved. It was the white rats." 

"White rats," said Drake, making 
the correction in his notes. 

"Every colonizing ship," said 
Weiss, "takes a group of white rats 
for the purpose of testing any alien 
foods. Rats, of course, are very simi- 
lar to human beings from a nutri- 
tional viewpoint. Naturally, only fe- 
male white rats are taken." 

Naturally. If only one sex was 
present, there was no danger of un- 
checked multiplication in case the 
planet proved favorable. Remember 
the rabbits in Australia. 

"Incidentally, why not use males?" 
asked Drake. 

"Females are hardier," said Weiss, 
"which is lucky, since that gave the 
situation away. It turned out sud- 
denly that all the rats were bearing 

"Right. Now that's where I'm up 
to, so here's my chance to get some 
things straight. For my own informa- 
tion, doc, how did Saybrook find 
out they were in a family way?" 



"Accidentally, of course. In the 
course of nutritional investigations, 
rats are dissected for evidence of in- 
ternal damage. Their condition was 
bound to be discovered. A few more 
were dissected; same results. Eventu- 
ally, all that lived gave birth to 
young — with nb male rats aboard!" 

"And the point is that all the 
young were born with little green 
patches of fur instead of eyes." 

"That is correct. Saybrook said so 
and we corroborate him. After the 
rats, the pet cat of one of the chil- 
dren was obviously affected. When it 
finally kittened, the kittens were not 
born with closed eyes, but with little 
patches of green fur. There was no 
tomcat aboard. 

"Eventually Saybrook had the 
women tested. He didn't tell them 
what for. He didn't want to frighten 
them. Every single one of them was 
in the early stages of pregnancy, 
leaving out of consideration those 
few who had been pregnant at the 
time of embarkation. Saybrook never 
waited for any child to be born, of 
course. He knew they would have no 
eyes, only shining patches of green 

"He even prepared bacterial cul- 
tures (Saybrook was a thorough 
man) and found each little bacillus 
to show miscroscopic green spots." 

Drake was eager. "That goes way 
beyond our briefing — or, at least, 
the briefing / got. But granted that 
life on Saybrook's Planet is organ- 
ized into a unified whole, how is it 
done ?" 

"How? How are your cells or- 
ganized into a unified whole? Take x 
an individual cell out of your body, 
even a brain cell, and what is it by 
itself? Nothing. A little blob of pro- 
toplasm with no more capacity for 
anything human than an amoeba. 
Less capacity, in fact, since it couldn't 
live by itself. But put the cells to- 
gether and you have something that 
could invent a spaceship- or write 
a symphony." 

"I get the "idea," said JDrake. 

WEISS went on, "All life on Say- 
brook's Planet is a single, or- 
ganism. In a sense, all life on Earth 
is, too, but it's a fighting depend- 
ence, a dog-eat-dog dependence. The 
bacteria fix nitrogen; the plants fix 
carbon; animals eat plants and each 
other; bacterial decay hits everything. 
It comes full circle. Each grabs as 
much as it can, and is, in turn, 

"On Saybrook's Planet, each organ- 
ism has its place, as each cell in your 
body does. Bacteria and plants pro- 
duce food, on the excess of which 
animals feed, providing in turn car- 
bon dioxide and nitrogenous wastes. 
Nothing is produced more or less 
than is needed. The scheme of life 
is intelligently altered to suit the lo- ■" 
cal environment. No group of life- 
forms multiplies more or less than 
is needed, just as the cells in your 
body stop multiplying when there are 
enough of them for a given purpose. . 
When they don't stop multiplying, 
we call it cancer. And that's what 



life on Earth really is, the kind of 
organic organization we have, com- 
pared to that on Saybrook's Planet. 
One big cancer. Every species, every 
individual doing its best to thrive at 
the expense of every other species 
and individual;" 

U^TOU sound as if you approve 
-L of Saybrook's Planet, doc." 
"I do, in a way. It makes sense 
out of the business of living. I can 
see their viewpoint toward us. Sup- 
pose one of the cells of your body 
could be conscious- of the efficiency 
of the human body as compared with 
that of the cell itself, and could 
realize that this was only the result 
of the union of many cells into a 
higher whole. And then suppose it 
became conscious of the existence of 
free-living cells, with bare life and 
nothing more. It might feel a very 
strong desire to drag the poor thing 
into an organization. It might feel 
sorry for it, feel perhaps a sort of 
missionary spirit. The things on Say- 
brook's Planet — or the thing; one 
should use the singular— ^-feels just 
that, perhaps." 

"And went ahead by bringing 
about virgin births, eh, doc? I've got 
to go easy on that angle of it. Post- 
office regulations, you know." 

'There's nothing ribald about it, 
Drake. For centuries, we've been able 
to make the eggs of sea-urchins, bees, 
frogs, etcetera, develop without the 
intervention of male fertilization. 
The touch of a needle was sometimes 
enough, or just immersion in the 

proper salt solution. The thing on 
Saybrook's Planet can cause fertiliza- 
tion by the controlled used of radiant 
energy. That's why an appropriate 
Energy Barrier stops it; interference, 
you see, or static. 

"They can do more than stimulate 
the division and development of an 
unfertilized egg. They can impress 
their own characteristics upon its 
nucleo-proteins, so that the young are 
born with the little patches of green 
fur, which serve as the planet's sense 
organ and means of communication. 
The young, in other words, are not 
individuals, but become part of the 
thing on Saybrook's Planet. The 
thing on the planet, not at all inci- 
dentally, can impregnate any species 
— plant, animal, or microscopic." 

"Potent stuff," muttered Drake. 

"Totipotent," Dr. Weiss said 
sharply. "Universally potent. Any 
fragment of it is totipotent* Given 
time, a single bacterium from Say- 
brook's Planet can convert all of 
Earth into a single organism! We've 
got the experimental proof of that." 

Drake unexpectedly said, "You 
know, I think I'm a millionaire, doc. 
Can you keep a secret?" 

Weiss nodded, puzzled. 

"I've got a souvenir from Say- 
brook's Planet," Drake told him, 
grinning. "It's only a pebble, but 
after the publicity the planet will get, 
combined with the fact that it's 
quarantined from here on in, the peb- 
ble will be all any human being will 
ever see of it. How much do you 
suppose I could sell the thing for?" 



Weiss stared. "A pebble?" He 
snatched at the object shown him, a 
hard, gray ovoid. "You shouldn't 
have done that, Drake. It was strict- 
ly against regulations." 

"I know: That's why I asked if 
you could keep a secret. If you could 
give me a signed note of authentica- 
tion — What's the matter, doc?" 

Instead of answering, Weiss could 
only chatter and point. Drake ran 
over and stared down at the pebble. 
It was the same as before — 

Except that the light was catching 
it at an angle, and it showed up two 
little green spots. Look very closely; 
they were patches of green hairs. 

HE WAS disturbed. There was a 
definite air of danger within 
the ship. There was the suspicion of 
his presence aboard ship. How could 
that be? He had done nothing yet. 
Had another fragment of home come 
aboard and been less cautious? That 
would be impossible without his 
knowledge, and, though he probed 
the ship intensely, he found nothing. 

And then the suspicion dimin- 
ished, but it was not quite dead. One 
of the keen-thinkers still wondered, 
and was treading close to the truth. 

How long before the landing? 
Would an entire world of life-frag- 
ments be deprived of completeness? 
He clung closer to the severed ends 
of the wire he had been specially 
bred to imitate, afraid of detection, 
fearful for his altruistic mission. 
* * * 

DR. WEISS had locked himself in 
his own room. They were al- 
ready within the Solar System, and in 
three hours they would be landing. 
He had to think. He had three hours 
in which to decide. 

Drake's devilish "pebble" had 
been part of the organized life on 
Saybrook's Planet, of course, but it 
was dead. It was dead when he had 
first seen it, and if it hadn't been, it 
was certainly dead after they fed it 
into the hyper-atomic motor and con- 
verted it into a blast of pure heat. 
And the bacterial cultures still 
showed normal when Weiss anx- % 
iously checked. 

That was not. what bothered Weiss 

Drake had picked up the "pebble" 
during the- last hours of the stay on 
Saybrook's Planet— after the Barrier 
breakdown. What if the breakdown 
had been the result of a slow, re- 
lentless mental pressure on the part 
of the thing on the planet? What if 
parts of its being waited to invade 
as the Barrier dropped? If the "peb- 
ble" had not been fast enough and 
had moved only after the Barrier was 
re-established, it would have been 
killed. It would have lain there for 
Drake to see and pick up. 

It was a "pebble," not a natural 
life-form. But did that mean it was . 
not some kind of life-form ? It might 
have been a deliberate production of 
the planet's" single organism — a crea- 
ture deliberately designed to look 
like a pebble, harmless-seeming, un- 
suspicious. Camouflage, in other 



words, a shrewd and frighteningly 
successful camouflage. 

Had any other camouflage creature 
succeeded in crossing the Barrier be- 
fore it was re-established — with a 
suitable shape niched from the minds 
of the humans aboard ship by 
the mind-reading organism of the 
planet? Would it have the casual 
appearance of a paper-weight? Of an 
ornamental brass-head nail in the 
captain's old-fashioned chair? And 
how would they locate it? Could they 
search every part of the ship for the 
telltale green patches — even down to 
individual microbes? 

And why camouflage? Did it in- 
tend to remain undetected for a 
time? Why? So that it might wait 
for the landing on Earth? 

An infection after landing could 
not be cured by blowing up a ship. 
The bacteria of Earth, the molds, 
yeasts, and protozoa, would go first. 
Within a year, the non-human young 
would begin arriving by the uncount- 
able billions.. 

Weiss closed his eyes and told 
himself it might not be such a bad 
thing. There would be no more dis- 
ease, since no bacterium would mul- 
tiply at the expense of its host, but 
instead would be satisfied with its 
fair share of what was available. 
There would be no more overpopula- 
tion; the hordes of East Asia would 
decline to adjust themselves to the 
food supply. There would be no 
more wars, no crime, no greed. 

But there would be no more in- 
dividuality, either. 

Humanity would find security by 
becoming a cog in a biological ma- 
chine. A man would be brother to a 
germ, or to a liver cell. 

He stood up. He would have a 
talk with Captain Loring. They 
would send their report and blow 
up the ship, just as Saybrook had 

He sat down again. Saybrook had 
had proof, while he had only the 
conjectures of a terrorized mind, rat- 
tled by the sight of two green spots 
on a pebble. Could he kill the two 
hundred men on board ship because 
of a feeble suspicion? 

He had to think! 

HE WAS straining. Why did he 
have to wait? If he could only 
wekome those who were aboard 
now. Noiv! 

Yet a cooler, more reasoning part 
of himself told "him that he could 
not. The little multipliers in the dark- 
ness would betray their new status 
in fifteen minutes, and the keen- 
thinkers had them under continual 
observation. Even one mile from the 
surface of their planet would be too 
soon, since they might still destroy 
themselves and their ship out in 

Better to wait for the main air- 
locks to open, for the planetary air 
to swirl in with millions of the lit- 
tle multipliers. Better to greet each 
one of them into the brotherhood of 
unified life and let them swirl out 
again to spread the message. 



Then it would be done! Another 
world organized, complete! 

He waited. There was the dull 
throbbing, of the engines working 
mightily to control the slow drop- 
ping of the ship; the shudder of 
contact with planetary -surface, 
then — 

He let the jubilation of. the keen- 
thinkers sweep into reception, and 
his own jubilant thoughts answered 
them. Soon they would be able to 
receive as well as himself. Perhaps 
not these particular fragments, but 
the fragments that would grow Out 
of those which were fitted for the 
continuation of life. 

The main airlocks were about to 
be opened — 

And all thought ceased. 

* * * 

JERRY THORN thought, "Damn 
it, something's wrong now." 

He said to Captain Loring, "Sorry. 
There seems to be a power break- 
down. The locks won't open." 

"Are you sure, Thorn? The lights 
are on." 

"Yes, sir. We're investigating it 

He tore away and joined Roger 
Oldenn at the airlock wiring-box. 
"What's wrong?" 

"Give me a chance, will you?" 
Oldenn's hands were busy. Then he 
said, "For the love of Pete, there's 
a six-inch break in the twenty-amp 

"What? That can't be!" 

Oldenn held up the broken wires 

with their clean, sharp, sawn-through 

Dr. Weiss joined them. He looked 
haggard and there was the smell of 
brandy on his breath. 

He said shakily, "What's the mat- 
ter?" • 

They told him. At the bottom of 
the compartment, in one corner, was 
the missing section. 

Weiss bent. There was a black 
fragment on the floor of the compart- 
ment. He touched it with' his finger 
and it smeared, leaving a sooty 
smudge on ihis finger-tip. He rubbed 
it off absently. 

There might have been something 
taking the place of the missing sec- 
tion of wire. Something that had 
been alive and only looked like wire, 
yet something that would heat, die, 
and carbonize in a tiny fraction of a 
second once the electrical circuit 
which controlled the airlock had been 

The thing on Saybrook's Planet, 
thought Weiss, was not built to un- 
derstand inanimate objects. It did 
not realize that a dead wire need 
not always remain dead. 

He said, "How are the bacteria?" 

A crew member went to check, re- 
turned and said, "All normal, doc." 

The wires had meanwhile been 
spliced, the locks opened, and Dr. 
Weiss stepped out into the anarchic 
world of life that was Earth. 

"Anarchy," he said, laughing a lit- 
tle wildly. "And it will stay that 





Reconstructing prehistory has the same 
difficulties as predicting the future: 
Too many theories and too much data ! 

WHAT did the map of the 
world look like geological 
eras ago? Not as it does 
i now, certainly; but how did it look? 
The idea that present land areas 
were once under water and vice 
versa is one of the oldest thoughts 
that men have had about the earth 
they live on, and it happens to be, 
in a general way, correct. Creation 
myths often start with a waste of 
waters which lasts until a god drains 
off the surplus water (Hebrews) or 
hauls the land up to the surface with 
his fish-line (Polynesians). Many 

Classical writers like Herodotus and 
Aristotle noted the presence of fos- 
sil seashells on land, and Plato based 
his Atlantis romance on untrue re- 
ports of the Carthaginians that great 
shoals west of Gibraltar blocked 
navigation of the Atlantic. 

However, it's one thing to say 
present land was once water and 
present water land, ' and quite an- 
other to show what the map looked 
like on January 1, 100,000,000 B. C 

To unravel the past history of the 
earth's surface, we must use all the 
facts we can about the rocks and 



the fossils found in them. This study 
is called paleogeography or 'historical 

For instance, if you want to know 
what a given acre was doing in the 
early Triassic Period, you can tell 
easily enough if there's a fossil-beat- 
ing early-Triassic deposit on the 
surface of that acre. You know that 
limestone and chalk are laid down 
on the bottoms of shallow seas, that 
sandstone is deposited by rivers on 
deltas and plains, and that coal is 
made in swamps. 

Fossils tell us what land-bridges 
and water-channels existed in for- 
mer times, what sort of climate there 
was, and how the ocean currents 
flowed. To show the opening and 
closing of land-bridges, the fossils 
of large land-animals are the best 
indicators, since these creatures move 
about actively on land but "cannot 
cross even narrow stretches of wa- 
ter. On the other hand, flying things 
like insects can be blown across; 
small land-animals may ride over on 
driftwood; and small seeds and eggs 
may be carried over by birds. 

Thus when we find that in some 
past age the same species of large 
land-animal lived in two land areas, 
now separate, we know the areas 
must have been joined either then 
or shortly before. In this way we 
know North and South America were 
separated throughout the first half 
of the Age of Mammals. About the 
end of the Miocene, the Isthmus of 
Panama appeared above water and 
let animals cross over, which is why 

there are armadillos in Texas and 
jaguars in Brazil today. 

Another such land-bridge, now 
closed, was that connecting Alaska 
with Siberia via Bering Strait. Re- 
cently the paleontologist Simpson 
worked out a timetable of the open- 
ing and closing of the Bering Bridge 
comparing the percentages of species, 
genera, and families of animals 
.found living at the same time in 
different parts of the earth during 
past ages. He found that the bridge 
was open for land traffic during most 
of the Cenozoic Era, with an in- 
terruption in the middle Eocene Pe- 
riod, another in the late Oligocene, 
another (still in effect) since the re- 
treat of the Pleistocene glaciers. 

Many geologists agree that, ac- 
cording to the fossil evidence, the 
main land masses have stayed in 
much the same places during the 
Cenozoic Era that they are now, even 
though shallow seas have overflowed 
the continents and land-bridges have 
opened and closed. Therefore, dur- 
ing the last 50,000,000 years, the 
connections between the continents 
have been those you see on the map 
today: Bering Strait, Panama, Suez, 
and, some time earlier, a bridge 
from Australia to Asia via New 
Guinea. (This last can't have been 
open since -the Age of Reptiles, or 
it would have let the placental mam- 
mals into Australia.) During that 
time there have been no direct con- 
nections among Africa, South Amer- 
ica, and Australia, which communi- 
cated via the northern continents. 



1. The first world paleographic map (Neumayr, 1887) showing hypotheti- 
cal Brazilo-Ethiopian continent and Indo-Madagascan peninsula, Lemuria 

Before the Cenozoic Era, however, 
the evidence is less definite, and 
there are some reasons to suspect 
more direct connections among the 
southern continents. These connec- 
tions may have been via Antarctica 
or by way of land bridges across the 
South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. 

THE question arises — what is a 
continent? At the surface, the 
earth .consists of the skin of crystal- 
line rock we see. As one goes down 
the rock gets hotter until at 50 or 
100 miles below the surface it is a 
white-hot glassy substance, "magma," 
which would be molten if. it were 
on the surface, but which is actually 
stirrer than steel because of the 
enormous pressure upon it. 

The thin crystalline crust is made 
up mostly of two kinds of rocks: 
dense rocks like basalt, mostly sili- 
con and magnesium salts, called 
"sima" (silicon-magnesium); and 
light rocks like granite, mostly sili- 
con and aluminum salts, called "sial" 
(silicon-aluminum); and some in- 
termediate kinds. 

These rocks are not distributed at 
random. The land-areas are mostly 
sial, while the sea-bottoms are main- 
ly sima. Note those terms; they are 
important. The continents are in fact 
patches of sial "floating" on a crust 
of sima like cakes of" ice in a river, 
and, like ice, extending down into 
the medium in which they float 
much farther (10 to 60 miles) than 
they stick up out of it. 



Therefore when geologists find 
sial or "continental" rocks under 
water or on an island, they suspect 
that these may mark the site of a 
former large land area. On the other 
hand they think that islands made 
entirely of volcanic sima, like the 
islands of Polynesia, must have 
grown up from the sea-bottom by 
volcanic action and are not the re- 
mains of any continent. 

Now, the ocean bottom consists 
partly of shallow continental shelves, 
which are merely the submerged 
edges of the continents; vast sub- 
marine plains miles deep; and areas 
of moderate depth with a broken, 
mountainous relief. 

By studying the speed of earth- 
quake vibrations, geologists have 
learned that the great deeps are plain 
sima, while the continental shelves 
are mostly sial, and the submerged 
mountain-ranges partly sial. r The 
greatest areas of deep sima are in 
the Central Pacific, the southern In- 
dian, and the Arctic Oceans. These 
are therefore the "permanent" 
oceans, where no continents are to 
be expected, past, present, or future 
— despite the Central Pacific conti- 
nents ("Mu," "Pan," etc.) imagined 
by members of the Atlantist cult. 

The great submarine -mountain 
ranges, where we, might reasonably 
expect a lost continent, lie in the 
Southwest Pacific (Including the Fijis 
and New Zealand) and the North- 
west Indian Oceans. The Atlantic 
.Ocean seems, to be sima with little 
patches of sial here and there, as in 

the Canaries and Madeira Islands, 
the last probably representing a 
peninsula that once extended out 
northwest from Africa. 

MODERN geologists fall into 
three schools: the stable-conti- 
nent school, the transoceanic-conti- 
nent school, and the continental-drift 

The stable-continent geologists 
like Matthew believe in no sunken 
continents, only slight movements of 
existing lands to open and close land 
bridges. The transoceanic-continent 
school believes big former continents 
possible, while the continental-drift 
school holds that the continents are 
stable in size and shape, but that they 
drift about the surface of the earth. * 

The transoceanic-continent school 
began in the 1860s, when some Brit- 
ish geologists noted striking resem : 
blances between certain formations 
in India and South Africa. Blanford 
pointed out the likeness between the 
rocks and fossils of a deposit of the 
Permian Period in Central India, in 
a tract called Gondwana, and a cor- 
responding deposit in South Africa. 
Gondwana, "Land of the Gonds," 
is named for an East Indian tribe. 

Blanford and his colleagues in- 
ferred that South Africa and India 
had once been connected by a land- 
bridge that included Madagascar, the 
Seychelles Reefs, and the Maldive 
and Laccadive Islands. These observ- 
ations came to the notice of the Aus- 
trian paleontologist Neumayr and 
the German biologist Haeckel. Neu- 



TS r^TT^^^Tq^^T^^ ^rSr^ Tj^^jT ?"* . ;V"^?f ; v-' t iT?'''" , , ..** 

* te ut '** 

2. The Gondwbnaland Theory: Suess's idea of the appearance of the world 
in the late Paleozoic Era includes a gigantic continent, now submerged 

mayr in 1887 published the first at- 
tempt at a paleogeographical map of 
the world, showing how he thought 
it looked in Jurassic time, in the 
middle of the Age of Reptiles. (See 
Fig. 1.) It included a great "Bra- 
zilian-Ethiopian Continent" from 
whose southeast corner extended an 
"Indo-Madagascan Peninsula" cor- 
responding to Blanford's Permian 

Haeckel went further, using the 
Indo-Madagascan land-bridge to ex- 
plain the distribution of lemurs, 
those primitive primates found in 
Africa, Madagascar, India, and the 
Malay Archipelago. More than that, 
he speculated that it has lasted well 
into the Cenozoic Era (Age of Mam- 
mals) and had been the original 

home of man. The English zoologist 
Sclater suggested the name Lemuria 
for this bridge, after the animals that 
supposedly used it. 

In the 1880s another Austrian 
geologist, Edward Suess, brought out 
an immense five-volume treatise on 
the geology of the world, ■ in which 
he expressed the opinion that in the 
Paleozoic Era, the age of fishes and 
invertebrates and coal, the/e had 
been one large continent in the 
Southern Hemisphere, which he 
called "Gondwanaland" after Blan- 
ford's tract in India. He thought 
there had also been two northern 
continents: one, "Atlantis," essen- 
tially North America with a penin- 
sula reaching over to Europe via 
Iceland; the other, eastern Asia, 



which he named "Angara-land" after 
a. Siberian river. (See Fig. 2.) 

During the Jurassic and Cretaceous 
periods, when dinosaurs ruled the 
world, according to the Neumayr- 
Suess school, Gondwanaland gradu- 
ally "broke up" by the sinking of 
its various parts. Australia and New 
-Zealand separated first, which fact 
accounts for their lack of native pla- 
cental jnammals, since placental 
mammals had not been invented at 
the time of the separation. South 
America went next, and the last part 
to sink was the land-bridge from 
South Africa to India — the geolo- 
gists' Lemuria, not to be confused 
with the Pacific "Lemuria" of the 
occultists and Atlantists, for which 
there is no geological evidence. 

Many American geologists take a 
position between the stable-continent 
and transoceanic-continent schools. 
On one hand, they think there may 
be something to the evidence for 
direct migrations between the south- 
ern continents during and before the 
Age of Reptiles. On the other, they 
object to Suess's vast Gondwanaland 
because it would have displaced 
enough water to submerge the other 
continents completely, which never 
happened. American' geologists 
therefore tend to picture the con- 
nections between the southern con- 
tinents as "isthmian links" — narrow 
necks of land like the Isthmus of 
Panama rather than broad ocean-fill- 
ing continental links. (See Fig. 3-) 

Schuchert, for instance, thinks that 
back in Paleozoic times the connec- 

tions among the continental masses 
tended to run east-west instead of 
north-south. During times of moun- 
tain-building, when the land stood 
high above the sea, the northern 
masses were joined in a single "Hol- 
arctica" encircling the North" Pole 
and the southern masses were joined 
in a single Gondwanaland. 

But this only happened at long 
intervals. The earth, you see, alter- 
nates between states of mountain- 
building , and resting. During times 
of mountain-building ("orogeny," 
rhyming with "progeny") the con- 
tinents are large and high, climates 
are cold and dry, and land-bridges 
are open to pedestrians, whereas in 
the resting periods the continents 
are low, flat, and small, land-bridges 
are submerged, and the free flow of 
ocean currents gives the world a 
warm, mild, moist climate. These up- 
and-down movements of the conti- 
nents involve smaller up-and-down 
movements, during which the inland 
or "epeiric" seas advance and retreat. 

THROUGHOUT periods of sink- 
ing, great rifts open in the 
earth's crust, from which lava wells 
out over tens of thousands of miles. 
At last the downward motion is 
reversed. Parts of the continents 
bulge up, as if pushed together from 
the edges, and the continents rise; 
the epeiric seas drain away; erosion 
cuts the high parts of the lands into 
rugged mountain ranges-; volcanoes 
erupt; the climate cools, dries, and 
becomes more extreme. There may 




3. World map of the Pennsylvania^ Period demonstrates how the present 
continents may have been connected by "isthmian links" or land-bridges 

be an ice age. Most geologists think 
we live at the end of a period of 
orogeny, and can look forward to 
many millions of years of sinking, 
shrinking, and warming of the lands 
we Uyg on. It's a sobering thought 
tliat the human race may some day 
have to get along on half its present 

GEOLOGISTS agree pretty well as 
to when and how cycles of 
mountain-building and subsidence 
happen, but not at all as to what 
makes them occur. The English geol- 
ogist Joly, for instance, had a theory 
of orogenic cycles based on the ac- 
cumulation of heat from the disinte- 
gration of radioactive materials in the 

earth's crust, but liis theory has 
flaws in it, and so do most of the 
others. In another fifty years or so, 
the true explanation will no doubt 
come to light, an explanation that 
will perhaps combine features of 
several of the older theories. 

That leaves the continental-drift 
hypothesis of Alfred Wegener, a 
professor of geophysics and mete- 
orology at the University of Graz, 
Austria, who perished exploring the 
Greenland ice-cap in 1930. He said: 
If the continents float in the sima 
crust like cakes of ice in water, why 
can't they drift like cakes of ice ? He 
therefore assumed a single super- 
continent back in the Paleozoic Era, 
a "Pangaea" that included all the 



modern continents. If Pangaea ever 
existed, it must, like the larger 
Gondwanaland of Suess and his 
school, have been a land of immense 
deserts, as the winds* would sweep 
over it for thousands of miles after 
they had lost their moisture without ' 
being able to pick up any more. 

Wegener's maps show clearly 
how all the continents can, with not 
too much coastal stretching, be fitted 
together like pieces of a jigsaw 
puzzle. Pangaea, according to Wege- 
ner, began to come unglued in the 
Mesozoic Era, the Dinosaur Age, and 
its parts drifted asunder until, in 
the Pleistocene Period, Europe came 
adrift from North America. Ob- 
viously we need not suppose the ex- 
istence of land-bridges connecting 
the continents if they were once all 
huddled together, touching. 

But the Wegener theory, however 
ingenious, has fatal flaws: Paleon- 
tologists object that the distribution 
of animals proves that Europe and 
North America were separated for 
good at least as early as the Mesozoic 
Era; the geophysicist Lambert cal- 
culated that the forces Wegener re- 
lied upon to tow his continents ' 
around the world were only one- 
millionth the size required. And how 
could continents, made of light and 
comparatively weak sial, plow their 
way through the denser and stronger 
sima in which they rest? 

So much 'for Gondwanaland, Pan- 
gaea, and other geological lost con- 
tinents. AH are much a matter of 
educated guesswork, and the time 

has evidently not come when we 
can confidently draw the map of 
the earth as it looked on January 
first, 100,000,000 0. C . 

• • 

WIDELY as the geologists differ 
among themselves, however 
they agree about some things: • 

— That there may have been lost 
continents in the Paleozoic Era, 200,* 
000,000 B. C, when the highest life 
consisted of lizard-like reptiles. 

— That these "continents" were 
probably not real continents, but nar- 
row isthmuses connecting some of 
the present land masses, as the Pan- 
ama Isthmus does now. 

— That these continents, if they 
existed, lost their shape ^during the 
Mesozoic Era, so that by the begin- 
ning of the Cenozoic the map looked 
fairly modern. 

— That these changes took place 
so long ago and so gradually that 
none of these "continents" could 
possibly have lasted to within mil- 
lions of years of the time of man. 

They agree, moreoyer, that there is 
not a grain of "truth in /the stories 
of Plato and his modern admirers, 
the occultists and the Atlantoma- 
niacs, about continents that supported 
brilliant civilizations and then dis- 
appeared beneath the waves in the 
course of a day and a night of storm 
and earthquake. 

It's sad, perhaps, to give up such 
pretty and alluring legends, but sci- 
ence has no room for sentimentality 
and superstition. 






It was a nasty plot Vyrko was involved in. The worst part was 
that he constructed it himself— and didn't get the end right! 

THERE were three of them in 
the retreat, three out of all 
mankind safe from the dead- 
ly yellow bands. t 

The great Kirth-Labbery himself 
had constructed the retreat and its 
extraordinary air-conditioning — n o t 
because his scientific genius had fore- 
seen the coming of the poisonous 
element, agnoton, and the end of the 
human race, but because he itched. 

And here Vyrko sat, methodically 
recording the destruction of man- 
kind, once in a straight factual rec- 
ord, for the instruction of future 
readers ("if any," he added wryly to 
himself), and again as a canto in 
that epic poem of Man which he 
never expected to complete, but for 
which he lived. 

Lavra's long golden hair fell over 
his shoulders. It was odd that its 
scent distracted him when -he was at 
work on the factual record, yet 
seemed to wing the lines of .the epic. 

"But why bother?" she asked. Her 
speech might have been clearer if her 
tongue had not been more preoccu- 
pied with the savor of the apple than 
with the articulation of words. But 

Vyrko understood readily: the re- 
mark was as familiar an opening as 
P-K4 in chess. 

"It's my duty," Vyrko explained 
patiently. "I haven't your father's sci- 
entific knowledge and -perception. 
Your father's? I haven't the knowl- 
edge of his humblest lab assistant. 
But I can put words together so that 
they make sense and sometimes more 
than sense, and I have to do this." 

From Lavra's plump red lips an 
apple pip fell into the works of the 
electronic typewriter. Vyrko fished it 
out automatically; this too was part of 
the gambit, with the possible variants 
of grape seed, orange peel. . . . 

"But why," Lavra demanded petu- 
lantly, "won't Father let us leave 
here? A girl might as well be in 

ft -• • « ft • j» '-4 

"Convent?" Vyrko suggested. He 
was a good amateur paleolinguist. 
"There is an analogy — even despite 
my presence. Convents were sup- 
posed to shelter girls from the Perils 
of The World. Now the whole world 
is one great Peril . . . outside of this 

"Go on," Lavra urged. She had 



Illustrated by Paul Pierre 



long ago . learned, Vyrko suspected," 
that he was a faintly over-serious 
young man with no small talk, and 
that she could enjoy his full atten- 
tion only by asking to have some- 
thing explained, even if for the »th 


E SMILED and thought of the 
girls he used to talk with, not 
at, and. of how little breath they had 
for talking now in the world where 
no one drew an unobstructed breath. 

It had begun with the accidental 
discovery in a routine laboratory 
analysis of a new element in the air, 
an inert gas which the great paleo- 
linguist Larkish had named agnoton, 
the Unknown Thing, after the pat- 
tern of the similar nicknames given 
to others: neon, the New Thing; 
xenon, the Strange Thing. 

It had continued (the explanation 
ran off so automatically that his mind 
was free to range from trie next line 
of the epic to the interesting ques- 
tion of whether the presence of ear 
lobes would damage the symmetry of 
Lavra's perfect face) it had contin- 
ued with the itching and sneezing, 
the coughing and wheezing, with the 
increase of the percentage of agno- 
ton in the atmosphere, promptly pass- 
ing any other inert gas, even argon, 
and soon rivaling oxygen itself. 

And it had culminated (no, the 
lines were cleaner without lobes), on 
that day when only the three of them 
were here in this retreat, with the 
discovery that the human race was 
allergic to agnoton. 

Allergies had been conquered for 
a decade of - generations. Their cure, 
even their palliation, had been for- 
gotten. And mankind coughed and 
sneezed and itched/. . . and died. For 
while the allergies of the ancient past 
produced only agonies to make the 
patient long for death, agnoton 
brought on racking and incessant 
spasms of coughing and sneezing 
which no heart could long withstand. 

"So if -you leave this shelter, my 
dear/' Vyrko concluded, "you too 
will fight for every breath and twist 
your body in torment until your heart 
decides that it is all just too much 
trouble. Here we are safe, because 
your father's eczema was the only 
known case of allergy in centuries — 
and was traced to the inert gases. 
Here is the only air-conditioning in 
the world that excludes the inert 
gases — and with them agnoton. And 

LAVRA leaned forward, a smile 
and a red fleck of apple skin on 
her t lips, the apples of her breasts 
touching Vyrko' s shoulders. This too 
was part of the gambit. 

Usually it was merely declined. 
(Tyrsa stood between them. Tyrsa, 
who sang well and talked better; 
whose plain f*ace and beautiful throat 
were alike racked by agonton . . .) 
This time the gambit was inter- 

Kirth-Labbery himself had come 
in unnoticed. His old voice was thin 
with weariness, sharp with impa- 
tience. "And here we are, safe in 



perpetuity, with our air-conditioning, 
our energy plant, our hydroponics! 
Safe in perpetual siege, besieged by 
an inert gas!" 

Vyrko grinned. "Undignified, isn't 

Kirth-Labbery managed to laugh at 
himself. "Damn your secretarial hide, 
Vyrko. I love you like a son, but if 
I had one man who knew a meson 
from a meta2oon to help me in the 
laboratory. ..." 

- "You'll find something, Father," 
Lavra said vaguely. 

Her father regarded her with an 
odd seriousness. "Lavra," he said, 
"your beauty is the greatest thing 
that I have wrought — with a certain 
assistance, I'll grant, from the genes 
so obviously carried by your mother. 
That beauty alone still has meaning. 
The sight of you would bring a mo- 
mentary happiness even to a man 
choking in his last spasms, while our 
great web of civilization. ..." 

He absently left the sentence un- 
finished and switched on the video 
screen. He had to try a dozen chan- 
nels before he found one that was 
still casting. When every erg of a 
man's energy goes to drawing his 
next breath, he cannot tend his ma- 

At last Kirth-Labbery picked up 
a Nyork newscast. The announcer 
was sneezing badly ("The older lit- 
erature," Vyrko observed, "found 
sneezing comic . . ."), but still con- 
triving to speak, and somewhere a 
group of technicians must have had 
partial control of themselves. 

"Four hundred and seventy-two 
planes have crashed," the announcer 
said, "in the past forty-eight hours. 
Civil authorities have forbidden fur- 
ther'plane travel indefinitely because 
of the danger of spasms at the con-, 
trols, and it is rumored that all vehic- 
ular transport whatsoever is to come 
under the same ban. No Rocklipper 
has arrived from Lunn for over a 
week, and it is thirty-six hours since 
we have made contact with the Lunn 
telestation. Yurp has been silent for 
over two days, and Asia a week., 

' 'The most serious threat of this 
epidemic,' the head of the Academy 
has said in an authorized statement, 
'is the complete disruption of the sys- 
tems of communication upon which 
world civilization is based. When 
man becomes physically incapable of 
governing his machines . . .' " 

IT WAS then that they saw the first 
of the yellow bands. 

It was just that: a band of bright 
yellow some thirty centimeters wide, 
about five meters long, and so thin 
as to seem insubstantial, a mere 
stripe of color. It came underneath 
the backdrop behind the announcer. 
It streaked about the casting room 
with questing sinuosity. No features, 
no appendages relieved its yellow 

Then with a deft whipping mo- 
tion it wrapped itself around the an- 
nouncer. It held him only an instant. 
His hideously shriveled body plunged 
toward the camera as the screen went 



That was the start of the horror. 

Vyrko, naturally, had no idea of 
the origin of the yellow bands. Even 
Kirth-Labbery could offer no more 
than conjectures. From another 
planet, another system, another 
galaxy, another universe. . . . 

It did not matter. Precise knowl- 
edge had now lost its importance. 
Kirth-Labbery was almost as indif- 
ferent to the problem as was Lavra; 
he speculated on it out of sheer habit. 
What signified was that jthe yellow 
bands were alien, and that they were 
rapidly and precisely completing the 
destruction of mankind begun by the 

"Their arrival immediately after 
the epidemic," Kirth-Labbery con- 
cluded, "cannot be coincidence. You 
will observe that they function freely 
in an agnoton-laden atmosphere." 

"It would be interesting," Vyrko 
commented, "to visualize a band 
sneezing. . . ." 

"It's possible," the scientist cor- 
rected, "that the agnoton was a poi- 
son-gas barrage laid down to soften 
Earth for their coming; but is it like- 
ly that they could know that a gas 
harmless to them would be lethal to 
other life? It's more probable that 
they learned from spectroscopic 
analysis that the atmosphere of Earth 
lacked an element essential to them, 
which they supplied before invad- 

Vyrko considered the problem 
while Lavra sliced a peach with deli- 
cate grace. She was unable to resist 
licking the juice from her fingers. 

"Then if the agnoton," he ven- 
tured, "is something that they im- 
ported, is it possible that their supply 
might run short?" 

Kirth-Labbery fiddled with the 
dials under the screen. It was still 
possible to pick up occasional 
glimpses from remote sectors, though 
hy now the heart sickened in advance 
at the knowledge of the inevitable 
end of the cast. 

"It is possible, Vyrko. It is the 
only hope. The three of us here, 
where the agnoton and the yellow 
ba.nds are alike helpless to enter, 
may continue our self-sufficient exist- 
ence long enough to outlast the in-' 
vaders. Perhaps somewhere on Earth 
there are other such nuclei, but I 
doubt it. We are the whole of the 
future . . . and I am old." 

VYRKO frowned. He resented the 
terrible weight of a burden that 
he did not want but could not reject. 
He felt himself at once oppressed 
and ennobled. Lavra went on eating 
her peach. 

The video screen sprang into light. 
A young man with the tense, lined 
face of premature age spoke hastily, 
urgently. "To all of you, if there are 
any of you ... I have heard no an- 
swer for two days now . .' . It is 
chance that I am here. But ivatch, all 
of you! I have found how the yel- 
low bands came here. I am going to 
turn the camera on it now . . . 

The field of vision panned to 
something that was for a moment 



totally incomprehensible. "This is 
their ship," the old young man 
gasped. It was a set of bars of a 
metal almost exactly the color- of the 
bands themselves, and it appeared in 
the first instant like a three-dimen- 
sional projection of a tesseract. Then 
as they looked at it, their eyes seemed 
to follow strange new angles. Possi- 
bilities of vision opened up beyond 
their capacities. For a moment they 
seemed to see what the human eye 
was not framed to grasp. 

"They come," the voice panted on, 
"from . . ." 

The voice and the screen went 
dead. Vyrko covered his eyes with 
his hands. Darkness was infinite re- 
lief. A minute passed before he felt 
that he could endure once mOre even 
the normal exercise of the optic 
nerve. He opened his eyes sharply at 
a little scream from Lavra. 

He opened them to see how still 
Kirth-Labbery sat. The human heart, 
too, is framed to endure only so 
much; and, as the scientist had said, 
he was old. 

IT WAS three days after Kirth- 
Labbery' s death before Vyrko had 
brought his prose-and-verse record 
up to date. Nothing more had ap- 
peared on the video, even after the 
most patient hours of knob-twirling. 
Now Vyrko leaned back from the 
keyboard and contemplated his com- 
pleted record — and then sat forward 
with abrupt shock at the thought of 
that word completed. 

There was nothing more to write. 

The situation was not novel in* 
literature. He had read many treat- 
ments, and even written a rather suc- 
cessful satire on the theme himself. 
But here was the truth itself. 

He was that most imagination-stir- 
ring of all figures, The Last Man on 
Earth. * And he found it a boring 

Kirth-Labbery, had he lived, would 
have devoted his energies in the 
laboratory to an effort, even con- 
ceivably a successful one, to destroy 
the invaders. Vyrko knew his own 
limitations too well to attempt that. 

Vrist, his gay wild twin, who had 
been in Lunn on yet another of his 
fantastic ventures when the agnoton 
struck — Vrist wouI~d have dreamed 
up some gallant feat of physical 
prowess to make the invaders pay 
dearly for his life. Vyrko found it* 
difficult to cast himself in so. swash- 
buckling a -role. 

He had never envied Vrist till 
now. Be jealous of the dead; only the 
living are alone. Vyrko smiled as he 
recalled the line from one of his 
early poems. It had been only the 
expression of a pose when he wrote 
it, a mood for a song that Tyrsa 
would sing well . . . 

It was in this mood that he found 
(the ancient word had no modern 
counterpart) the pulps. 

HE KNEW their history: how 
some eccentric of two thousand 
years ago (the name was variously 
rendered as Trees or Tiller) had 
buried them in a hermetic capsule to 



check against the future; how Tara- 
bal had dug them up some fifty years 
ago; how Kirth-Labbery had spent 
almost the entire Hard Prize for 
them because, as he used to assert, 
their -incredible mixture of exact 
prophecy and arrant nonsense offered 
the perfect proof of the greatness 
and helplessness of human ingenuity. 

But Vyrko had never read them 
before. They would at least be a 
novelty to deaden the boredom of his 
classically dramatic situation. He 
passed a more than pleasant hour 
with Galaxy and Surprising and the 
rest, needing the dictionary but rare- 
ly. He was particularly impressed by 
one story detailing, with the most 
precise minutiae, the. politics of the 
American Religious Wars — a subject 
on which he himself had based a not 
unsuccessful novel. By one Norbert 
Holt, he observed. Extraordinary how 
exact a forecast . . . and yet extraor- 
dinary too how many of the stories 
dealt with space- and time-travel, 
which the race had never yet attained 
and now never would . . . 

And inevitably there was a story, 
a neat and witty one by an author 
named Knight, about the Last Man 
on Earth. He read it and smiled, first 
at the story and then at his own 

He found Lavra in the laboratory, 
of all unexpected places. 

She was scaring fixedly at one cor- 
ner, where the light did not strike 

"What's so fascinating?" Vyrko 

Lavra turned suddenly. Her hair 
and her flesh rippled with the per- 
fect grace of the movement. "I was 
thinking ..." 

Vyrko' s half -formed intent toward 
her permitted no comment on that 
improbable statement. 

"The day before Father . . . died, 
I was in here with him and I asked 
if there was any hope of our escap- 
ing ever. Only this time he answered 
me. He said yes, there was a way 
out, but he was afraid of it. It was 
an idea he'd worked on but never 
tried. And we'd be wiser not to try 
it, he said." 

"I don't believe in arguing with 
your father — even post mortem." 

"But I can't help wondering . . . 
And when he said it, he looked over 
at that corner." 

VYRKO went to that corner and 
drew back a curtain. There was a 
chair of metal rods, and a crude con- 
trol panel, though it was hard to see 
what it was intended to control. He 
dropped, the curtain. 

For a moment he stood watching 
Lavra. She was a fool, but she was 
exceedingly lovely. And the child of 
Kirth-Labbery could hardly carry only 
a fool's genes. 

Several generations could grow up 
in this retreat before the inevitable 
failure of the most permanent me- 
chanical installations made it unin- 
habitable. By that time Earth would 
be free of agnoton and yellow bands, 
or they would be so firmly established 
that there was no hope. The third 




generation would go forth into the 
world, to perish or . . . 

He walked over to Lavra N and laid 
a gentle hand on her golden hair. 

VYRKO never understood whether 
Lavra had been bored before that 
time. A life of undemanding inac- 
tion with plenty of food may well 
have sufficed her. Certainly she was 
not bored now. 

At first she was merely passive; 
Vyrko had always suspected that she 
had meant the gambit to be declined. 
Then as her interest mounted and 
Vyrko began to compliment himself 
on his ability as an instructor, they 
became certain of their success; and 
from that point on she was rapt with 
the fascination of the changes in her- 

But even this new development 
did not totally rid Vyrko of his own 
ennui. If there were only something 
he could do, some positive, Vristian, 
Kirth-Labberian step that he could 
take! He damned himself for having 
been an incompetent esthetic fool, 
who had taken so for granted the sci- 
entific wonders of his age that he had 
never learned what made them tick, 
or how greater wonders might be 

He slept too much, he ate too 
much, for a brief period he drank too 
much — until he found boredom even 
less attractive with a hangover. 

He tried to write, but the terrible 
uncertainty of any future audience 
disheartened him. 

Sometimes a week would pass 

without his consciously thinking of 
agnoton or the yellow bands. Then 
he would spend a day flogging him- 
self into a state of nervous tension 
worthy of his uniquely dramatic sit- 
uation, but he would always relapse. 
There just wasn't anything to do. 

Now even the consolation of 
Lavra's beauty was vanishing, and 
she began demanding odd items of 
food which the hydroponic garden 
could not supply. 

"If you loved me, you'd find a 
way to make cheese . . ." or " . . . 
grow a new kind of peach ... a 
little like a grape, only different . . ." 

It was while he was listening to 
a film wire of Tyrsa's (the last she 
ever made, in the curious tonalities 
of that newly rediscovered Mozart 
opera) and seeing her homely face, 
made even less lovely by the effort of 
those effortless-sounding notes, that 
he became conscious of the operative 

"If you loved me . . ." 

"Have I ever said I did?" he 

He saw a new and not readily un- 
derstood expression mar the beauty 
of Lavra's face. "No," she said in 
sudden surprise. "No," and her voice 
fell to flatness, "you haven't . . ." 

And as her sobs — the first he had 
ever heard from her — traveled away 
toward the hydroponic room, he felt 
a new and not readily understood 
emotion. He switched off the film 
wire midway through the pyrotechnic 
rage of the eighteenth-century queen 
of darkness. 



VYRKO found a curious refuge 
in the pulps. There was a per- 
verse satisfaction in reading the 
thrilling exploits of other Last Men 
on Earth. He could feel through tKem 
the emotions that he should be feel- 
ing directly. And the other stories 
were fun, too, in varying ways. For 
instance, that astonishingly accurate 
account of the delicate maneuvering 
which averted what threatened to be. 
the first and final Atomic War . . . 

He noticed one oddity: Every ab- 
solutely correct story of the "future" 
bore the same by-line. Occasionally 
other writers made good guesses, pre- 
dicted logical trends, foresaw inevit- 
able extrapolations. But only Nor- 
bert Holt named names and dated 
dates with perfect historical accuracy. 
It wasn't possible. It was too pre- 
cise to be plausible. It was far more 
spectacular than the erratic Nostrada- 
mus often discussed in the pulps. 

But there it was\ He had read the 
Holt stories solidly through in order 
i half-dozen times, without finding a 
jingle flaw, when he discovered the 
copy of Surprising Stories that had 
ilipped behind a shelf and was there- 
fore new to him. 

He looked at once at the contents 
page. Yes, there was a Holt and — he 
felt a twinge of irrational but poig- 
oant sadness — one labeled as post- 

This story, we regret to tell 
you, is incomplete, and not only 
because of Norbert Holt's tragic 
death last month. This is the 

last in chronological order of 
Holt's stories of a consistently 
plotted future; but this fragment 
was written before his master- 
piece, The Siege of Lunn. Holt 
himself used to tell me that he 
could never finish it, that he 
could not find an ending; and 
he died still not knowing how - 
The Last Boredom came out. 
But here, even though in frag- 
ment form, is .the last published 
work of the greatest writer about 
the future, Norbert Holt. 

The note was signed with the initials 
M. S. Vyrko had long sensed a more 
than professional Intimacy between 
Holt and his editor, Manning Stern; 
this obituary introduction must have 
been a bitter task. But his eyes were 
hurrying on, almost fearfully, to the 
first words of The Lost Boredom: 

There were three of them in 
the retreat, three out of all man- ; 
kind safe from the deadly yel- 
low bands. The great Kirth-Lab- 
. bery himself had constructed . . . 

Vryko blinked and started again. 
It still read the same. He took firm 
hold of the magazine, as though the 
miracle might slip between his fin- 
gers, and dashed off with more en- 
ergy than he had felt in months. 

HE FOUND Lavra in the h)*dro- 
ponic room. "I have just 
found," he shouted, "the damnedest 
unbelievable — " • 




"Darling," said Lavra, "I want 
some meat." 

"Don't be silly. We haven't any 
meat. Nobody's eaten meat except at 
ritual dinners for generations." 

"Then I want a ritual dinner." 

'You can go on wanting. But look 
at this! Just read those first lines!" 

"Vyrko," she pleaded, "I want it." 

"Don't be an idiot!" 

Her lips pouted and her eyes mois- 
tened. 'Vyrko dear . . . What you 
said when you were listening to that 
funny music . . . Don't you love 

"No," 'he barked. 

Her eyes overflowed. "You don't 
love me? Not after . . .?" 

All Vyrko's pent-up boredom and 
irritation erupted. 'You're beautiful, 
Lavra, or you were a few months ago, 
but you're an idiot. I am not in the 
habit of loving idiots.'" 

"But you . . ." 

"I tried to assure the perpetuation 
of the race — questionable though the 
desirability of such a project seems 
at the moment. It was not an un- 
pleasant task, but I'm damned if it 
gives you the right in perpetuity to 
"pester me." 

She moaned a little as he slammed 
out of the room. He felt oddly bet- 
ter. Adrenalin is a fine thing for the 
system. He settled into a chair and 
resolutely read, his eyes bugging like 
a cover-monster's with amazed disbe- 
lief. When he reached the verbatim 
account of the quarrel he had just 
enjoyed, he dropped the magazine. 

It sounded so petty in print. Such 

stupid inane bickering in the face 
of . . •. He left the magazine lying 
there and went back to the hydro- 
ponic room. 

Lavra was crying — noiselessly this 
time, which somehow made it worse. 
One hand had automatically plucked 
a ripe grape, but she was not eating 
it. He went up behind her and 
slipped his hand under her long' hair 4 
and 'began stroking the nape of her 
neck. The soundless sobs diminished 
gradually. When his fingers moved 
tenderly behind her ears, she turned 
to him with parted lips. The grape 
fell from her hand. 

"I'm sorry," he heard himself say- 
ing. "It's me that's the idiot. Which, 
I repeat, I am not in the habit of 
loving. And you're the mother of my 
twins and I do love you . . ." And 
he realized that the statement was 
quite possibly, if absurdly, true. 

"I don't want anything now," 
Lavra said when words were again 
in order. She stretched contentedly, 
and she was still beautiful even in 
the ungainly distortion which might 
preserve a race. "Now what were you 
trying to tell me?" 

HE EXPLAINED. "And this Holt 
is always right," he ended. 
"And now he's writing about us!" 
"Oh! Oh, then we'll know—" 
"We'll know everything. We'll 
know what the yellow bands are and 
what becomes of them and what hap- 
pens to mankind and — " 

" — and we'll know," said Lavra, 
"whether it's a Boy or a girl." 



Vyrko smiled. "Twins, I told you. 
It runs in my family — ho less than 
one pair to a generation. And I think 
that's it — Holt's already planted the 
fact of my having a twin named 
Vrist, even though he doesn't come 
into the action." 

'Twins . . . That wotild be nice. 
They wouldn't be lonely until we 
-could . . . But get it quick, dear. 
Read it to me; I can't wait!" 

So he read Norbert Holt's story to 
her — too excited and too oddly af- 
fectionate to point out that her long- 
standing aversion for ^rint persisted 
even when she herself was a charac- 
ter. He read on past the quarrel. He 
read a printable version of the past 
hour. He read, about himself reading 
the story to her. 

"Now!" she cried. "We're up to 
now. What happens next?" 

Vyrko read: 

The emotional release of 
anger and love had set Vyrko 
almost at peace with himself 
again; but a small restlessness 
still nibbled at his brain. 

Irrelevantly he remembered 
Kirth-Labbery's cryptic hint of 
escape. Escape for the two of 
them, happy now; for the two 
of them and for their ... it had 
to be, according to the odds, 
their twins. 

He sauntered curiously into 
the laboratory, Lavra following 
him. He drew back the curtain 
and stared at the chair of metal 
rods. It was hard to see the con- 

trol board that seemed to con- 
trol nothing. He sat in the chair 
for a better look. 

He made puzzled grunting 
•noises. Lavra, her curiosity final- 
ly stirred by something inedible, 
reached over his shoulder and 
poked at the green button. 

"T DON'T like that last thing he 
X says about me," Lavra objected. 
"I don't like anything he says about 
me. I think your Mr. Holt is a very 
nasty person." 

"He says you're beautiful." 
"And he says you love me. Or 
does he? It's all mixed up." 

"It is all mixed up . . . and I do 
love you." 

The kiss was a short one; Lavra 
had to say, "And what next?" 
"That's all. It ends there." 
"Well . . . Aren't you . . .?" 
Vyrko felt strange. Holt had de- 
scribed his feelings so precisely. He 
was at peace and still curious, and 
the thought of Kirth-Labbery's es- 
cape method did nibble restlessly at 
his brain. 

He rose and sauntered into the 
laboratory, Lavra following him. He 
drew back the curtain and stared at 
the chair of metal rods. It was hard 
to see the control board that seemed 
to control nothing. He sat in the 
chair for a better look. 

He made puzzled grunting noises. 
Lavra, her curiosity finally stirred by 
something inedible, reached over his 
shoulder and poked at the green but- 



VYRKO had no time for amaze- 
ment when Lavra and the labora- 
tory vanished. He saw the archaic 
vehicle bearing down directly upon 
him and tried to get out of the way 
as rapidly as possible. But the chair 
hampered him and before he could 
get to his feet the vehicle struck. 
There was a red explosion of pain 
and then a long blackness. 

He later recalled a moment of con- 
sciousness at the hospital and a shrill 
female voice repeating over and over, 
"But he wasn't there and then all of 
a sudden he was and I hit him. It 
was like he came out of nowhere. He 
wasn't there and all of a sudden . . ." 
Then the blackness came back. 

All the time ot his unconscious- 
ness, all through the semi-conscious 
nightmares while doctors probed at 
him and his fever soared, his uncon- 
scious mind must have been working 
on the problem. He knew the com- 
plete answer the instant that he saw 
the paper on his breakfast tray, that 
first day he was capable of truly see- 
ing anything. 

The paper was easy to read for a 
paleolinguist with special training in 
pulps — easier than the curious con- 
cept of breakfast was to assimilate. 
What mattered was the date. 1948 — 
and the headlines refreshed his 
knowledge of the Cold War and the 
impending election. (There was 
something he should Remember about 
that election. . . .) 

He saw it clearly. Kirth-Labbery's 
genius had at last evolved a time 
machine. That was the one escape, 

the escape which the scientist had not 
yet tested and rather distrusted. And 
Lavra had poked the green button 
because Norbert Holt had said she 
had poked (would poke?) the green 

How many buttons could a wood' 
poke poke if a wood poke would 
poke . . 

"The breakfast didn't seem to 
agree with him, doctor/' 

"Maybe it was the paper. Makes 
me run a temperature every morn- 
ing, too!" 

"Oh, doctor, you do say the funni- 
est things!" 

"Nothing funnier than this case. 
Total amnesia, as best we can judge 
by his lucid moments. And his clothes 
don't help us — must've been on his 
way to a fancy-dress party. Or may- 
be I should say fancy-//;;dress!" 

"Oh, doctor r 

"Don't tell me nurses can blush. 
Never 'did when I was an intern — 
and you can't say they didn't get a 
chance! But this character here . . . 
not a blessed bit of identification on 
him! Riding some kind of new- 
fangled bike that got smashed up . . . 
Better hold off on the solid food for 
a bit — stick to intravenous feeding." 

HE'D HAD this trouble before at 
ritual dinners, Vyrko finally re- 
called. Meat was apt to affect him 
badly — the trouble was that he had 
not at first recognized those odd 
strips of oily solid which accompa- 
nied the egg as meat. 

The adjustment was gradual and 



successful, in this as in other mat- 
ters. At the end of two weeks, he 
was eating meat easily (and, he con- 
fessed, with a faintly obscene non- 
ritual pleasure) and equally easily 
chatting with nurses and fellow pa- 
tients about the events (which he still 
privately tended to regard as mummi- 
fied museum pieces) of 1948. 

His adjustment, in fact, was soon 
so successful that it cou'ld not con- 
tinue. The doctor made that clear. • 

"Got to think about the future, you 
know. Can't keep you here forever. 
Nasty unreasonable prejudice against 
keeping well men in hospitals." 

Vyrko allowed the expected laugh 
to come forth. "But since," he said, 
gladly accepting the explanation that 
was so much more credible than the 
truth, "I haven't any idea who I am, 
where I live, or what my profession 



- # 

"Can't remember anything? Don't 
know if you can take shorthand, for 
instance? Qr play the bull fiddle?" 

"Not a thing." Vyrko felt it hard- 
ly worth wihile to point out his one 
manual accomplishment, the opera- 
tion of the as-yet-uninvented e'lcc 
tronic typewriter. 

"Behold," he thought, "the Man 
of the Future. I've read all the time 
travel stories. I know what should 
happen. I teach them everything 
Kirth-iLabbery knew and I'm the 
greatest man in the world. Only the 
fictional time travel never happens to 
a poor dope who took for granted all 
Hie science around him, who pushed 
a button or turned a knob and never 

gave a damn what happened or why. 
Here they're just beginning to get 
two-dimensional folack-and-w h i t e 
short-range television. We had (will 
have?) stereoscopic full-color world- 
wide video — -which I'm about as 
capable of constructing' here as my 
friend the doctor would be of install- 
ing electric light in Ancient Rome. 
The Mouse of the Future . . ." 

The doctor had been thinking, too. 
He said, "Notice you're a great 
reader. Librarian's been telling me 
about you — went through the whole 
damn hospital library like a book- 
worm with a tapeworm!" 

Vyrko laughed dutifully. "I like 
to read," he admitted. 

"Every try writing?" the doctor 
asked abrupty, almost in the tone in 
which he might reluctantly advise a 
girl that her logical future lay in 
Port Said. 

This time Vyrko really laughed. 
"That does seem to ring a bell, you 
know ... It might be worth trying. 
But at that, what do I live on until 
I get started?" 

"Hospital trustees here administer 
a rehabilitation fund. Might wangle 
a loan. Won't be much, of course; 
but I always say a single man's got 
only one mouth to feed — and if he 
feeds more, he won't be single long!" 

"A little," said Vyrko with a 
glance at the newspaper headlines, 
"might go a long way." 

IT DID. There was the loan itself, 
which gave him a bank account 
on which, in turn, 'he could acquire 



other short-term loans — at exorbitant 
interest. And there was the election. 

He had finally reconstructed what 
he should know about it. There had 
been a brilliant Wheel-of-If .story in 
one of the much later pulps, on If 
the Republicans had won the 1948 
election. Which meant that actually 
they had lost; and here, in October 
of 1948, all newspapers, all com- 
mentators, and most important, all 
gamblers, were convinced that they 
must infallibly win. 

On Wednesday, November third, 
Vyrko repaid his debts and settled 
down to his writing career, comfort- 
ably guaranteed against immediate 

A Jialf- dozen attempts at standard 
fiction failed wretchedly. A matter of 
"tone," editors remarked vaguely, on 
the rare occasions when they did not 
confine themselves to the even vaguer 
phrases of printed rejection forms. A 
little poetry sold — "if you can call 
that selling," Vyrko thought bitter- 
ly, comparing the financial position 
of the poet here and in his own 

His failures were beginning to 
bring back the bitterness and bore- 
dom, and his thoughts turned more 
iand more to that future to which he 
could never know the answer. 

Twins. It had to be twins — of 
opposite sexes, of course. The only 
hope of the continuance of the race 
lay in a matter of odds and genetics. 

Odds* ., . . He began to think of 
the election bet, to figure other angles 
with which he could turn foreknowl- 

edge to profit. But his pulp-reading 
.had filled his mind with fears of the 
paradoxes, involved. He had calcu- 
lated the election bets carefully; they 
could not affect the outcome of the 
election, they could not even, in their 
proportionately small size, affect the 
odds. But any further step . . . 

Vyrko was, like most conceited 
men, fond of self-contempt, which 
he felt he could occasionally afford 
to indulge in. Possibly his strongest 
access of self -contempt came when 
he realized the simplicity of the solu- 
tion to all his problems. 

He could write for the science fic- 
tion pulps. 

The one thing that he could han- 
dle convincingly and skilfully,' with 
the proper "tone," was the future. 
Possibly start off with a story on the 
Religious Wars; he'd done all that 
research on his novel. Then . . . 

It was not until he was about to 
mail the manuscript that the full pat- 
tern of the truth struck him. 

Soberly, yet half-grinning, he 
crossed out KIRTH VYRKO on the 
first page . and wrote NORBERT 

loudly in this fresh discovery. 
"This boy's got it! He makes it 
sound so real that ..." The busi- 
ness office was instructed to pay the" 
highest bonus rate (unheard of for 
a first story) and an intensely cor- 
dial letter went to the author out- 
lining immediate needs and offering 
certain story suggestions. 



The editor of Surprising was no 
little surprised at the answer: 

... I regret to say that all my 
stories will be based on one con- 
sistent scheme of future events 
and 'that you must allow me to 
stick to my own choice of ma- 
terial . . . 

" A lND who the hell >" Mannin g 
-£jl Stern demanded, "is editing 

this magazine?" and dictated a some- 
what peremptory suggestion for a 
personal interview. 

The features were small and sharp, 
and the face had a sort of dark alive- 
ness. It was a different beauty from 
Lavra's, and an infinitely different 
beauty from the curious standards set 
by the 1949 films; but it was beauty 
and it spoke to Norbert Holt. 

'You'll forgive a certain surprise, 
Miss Stern," he ventured. 'Tve read 
Surprising for so many years and 
never thought . . ." . 

Manning Stern grinned. 'That the 
editor was also surprising? I'm used 
to it — your reaction, I mean. I don't 
think I'll ever be quite used to being 
a woman ... or a human being, for 
that matter." 

"Isn't it rather unusual? From 
what I know of the field . . ." 

"Please God, when I find a man 
who can write, don't let him go all 
male-chauvinist on me! I'm a good 
editor, said she with becoming mod- 
esty (and don't you ever forget it!) 
and I'm a good scientist. I even 
worked on the Manhattan Project — 

until some character discovered that 
my adopted daughter was a Spanish 
War orphan. But what we're here to 
talk about is this consistent-scheme 
gimmick of yours. It's all right, of 
course; it's been done before. But 
where I frankly think you're crazy is 
in planning to do it exclusively." 

Norbert Holt opened his briefcase. 
"I've brought along an outline that 
might help convince you ..." 

An hour later Manning Stern 
glanced at her watch and announced, 
"End of office hours! Care to con- 
tinue this slugfest over a martini or 
five? I warn you — the more I'm 
plied, the less pliant I get." 

And an hour after, that she stated, 
"We might get some place ^jjf we'd 
stay some place. I mean the subject , 
seems to be getting elusive." 

"The hell," Norbert Holt an- 
nounced recklessly, "with editorial 
relations. Let's get back to the cur- 
rent state of the opera." 

"It was paintings. I was telling 
you about the show at the — " % , 

"No, I remember now. It was 
movies. You were trying to explain 
the Marx Brothers. Unsuccessfully, I 
may add." 

"Un . . . sue . . . cess . . . fully," 
said Manning Stern ruminatively. 
"Five martinis and the man can say 
unsuccessfully successfully. But I try 
to explain the Marx Brothers yet! 
Look, Holt. I've got a subversive or- 
phan at home and she's undoubtedly 
starving. I've got to feed her. You 
.come home and meet her and have 
potluck, huh?" 



"Good. Fine. Always like to try a 
new dish." 

Manning Stern looked at him curi- 
ously. "Now was that a gag or not? 
You're funny, Holt. You know a lot 
about everything and then all of a 
sudden you go all Man-from-Mars 
on the simplest thing. Or do you ? . . . 
Anyway, let's go feed Raquel." 

And five hours later Holt was say- 
ing, "I never thought I'd have this 
reason for being glad I sold a story. 
Manning, I haven't had so much fun 
talking to — >I almost said 'to a wom- 
an/ I haven't had so much fun talk- 
ing since — " 

He had almost said since the agno- 
ton came. She seemed not to notice 
his abrupt halt. She simply said> 
"Bless you, Norb. Maybe you 'aren't 
a male-chauvinist. Maybe even you're 
. . . 'Look, go find a subway or a 
cab or something. If you stay here 
another minute, I'm either going to 
kiss you or admit you're right about 
your stories — and I don't know 
which is worse editor-author rela- 

MANNING STERN committed 
the second breach of relations 
first. The fan mail on Norbert Holt's 
debut left her no doubt that Surpris- 
mg would profit by anything he' 
chose to write about. 

She'd never seen" such a phenom- 
enally rapid rise in author popu- 
larity. Or rather you could hardly say 
rise. Holt hit-the top with his first 
story and stayed there. He socked 
the fen (Guest of Honor • at the 

Washinvention), the pros (first 
President of Science Fiction Writers 
of America), and the general reader 
(author of the first pulp-bred Science 
fiction book to stay three months on 
the best seller list). 

And never had there been an au- 
thor who was more pure damned fun 
to work with. Not that you edited 
him; you checked his copy for typos 
and sent it to the printers. (Typos 
were frequent at first; he said some- 
thing odd about absurd illogical key- 
board arrangement.) But just being 
with him, talking about this, that 
and those . . . Raquel, just turning 
sixteen, was quite obviously in love 
with him — spraying that he'd have 
the decency to stay single till she 
grew up and "You know, Manning- 
cita, I am Spanish; and the Medi- 
terranean girls ..." 

But there teas this occasional feel- 
ing of oddness. Like the potluck and 
the illogical keyboard and that night 
at SCWA ... 

"I've got a story problem," Nor- 
"bert Holt announced there. "An idea, 
and I can't lick it. Maybe if I toss 
it out to the literary lions . . ." 

"Story problem?" Manning said, a 
little more sharply than she'd intend- 
ed. "I thought everything was out- 
lined for the next ten years." 

"This is different. This is^a sort of 
parodox story, and I can't get out of 
it. It won't end. Somthing like this: 
Suppose a man in the remote year X 
reads a story that tells him how to 
work a "time machine. So he works 
the time machine and goes back to 



the year X minus 2000 — let's say, for 
instance, our time. So in 'now' he 
writes the story that - he's going to 
read two thousand years later, telling 
himself how to work the time ma- 
chine because he knows how to work 
it because he read the story which he 
wrote because — " 

Manning was starting to say "Hold 
it!" when Matt Duncan interrupted 
with, "Good old endless-cycle gim- 
mick. Lot of fun to kick around, but 
Bob I^einlein did it once and for all 
in By His Bootstraps. Damnedest 
tour de force I ever read; there just 
aren't any switcheroos left." 

"Ouroboros," Joe Henderson con- 

Norbert Holt looked a vain ques- 
tion at him; they knew that one word 
per evening was Joe's maximum con- 

Austin Carter picked it up. "Ouro- 
boros, the worm that circles the uni- 
verse with its tail in its mouth. The 
Asgard Serpent, too. And I think 
there's something in Mayan litera- 
ture. All symbols of infinity — no be- 
ginning, no ending. Always out by 
the same door where you went in. 
•See that magnificent novel of Eddi- 
son's, The Worm Ouroboros; the 
perfect cyclic novel, ending with its 
recommencement, stopping not be- 
cause there's a stopping place, but 
because it's uneconomical to print the 
whole text over infinitely." 

"The Quaker Oats box," said Dun- 
can. "With a Quaker holding a box 
with a Quaker holding a box with 
a Quaker holding a . . "." 

It was standard professional shop- 
talk. It was a fine evening with the 
boys. But there was a look of in- ■ 
finitely remote sadness in Norbert 
Holt's eyes. 

That was the evening that Mann- 
ing violated her first rule of editor- 
author relationships. 


THEY were having martinis in the 
same bar in which Norbert had, 
so many years ago, successfully said 

"They've been good years," he re- 
marked, apparently to the olive. • 

There was something wrong with 

this evening. No bounce. No yumph. 

'That's a funny tense," Manning 

•confided to her own olive. "Aren't 

they still good years?" 

"I've owed you a serious talk for 
a long time." 

"You don't have to pay the debt. 
We don't go in much for being seri- 
ous,- do we? Not so dead-earnest-, 
catch-in-the-throat serious." 

"Don't we?" . 

"I've got an awful feeling," Mann- 
ing admitted, "that you're building 
up to a proposal, either to me or that 
olive. And if it's me, I've got an 
awful feeling I'm going to accept — 
( and Raquel will never forgive me." 

"You're safe," Norbert said dryly. 
"That's the serious talk. I want to 
marry you, darling, and I'm not go- 
ing to," 

"I suppose this is the time you 
twirl your black mustache and tell 
me you have a wife and family else- 



"I hope to God I have!" 

"No, it wasn't very funny, was 
it?" Manning felt very little, aside 
from wishing she were dead. 

"I can't tell you the truth," he 
went on. "You wouldn't believe it. 
I've loved two women before; one 
had talent and a brain, the other had 
beauty and no brain. I think I loved 
her. The damnedest curse of Ouro- 
boros is that I'll never quite know. 
If I coufd take that tail out of that 
mouth ..." 

"Go on," she encouraged a little 
wildly. "Talk plot-gimmicks. It's eas- 
ier on me." 

"And she is carrying . . . will 
carry . . . my child — my children, it 
must be. My twins ..." 

"Look, Holt. We came in here edit 
tor and author — remember back 
when? Let's go out that way. Don't 
go on talking. I'm a big girl, but I 
can't take . . . everything. It's been 
fun knowing you and all future man- 
uscripts will be gratefully received." 

"I knew I couldn't say it. I 
shouldn't have tried. But there won't 
be any future manuscripts. I've writ- 
ten every Holt I've ever read." 

"Does that make sense?" Manning 
aimed the remark at the olive, but it 
was gone. So was the martini. 

"Here's /the last." He took it out 
of his breast-pocket, neatly folded. 
"The one we talked about at SCWA 
— 'the one I couldn't end. Maybe 
you'll understand. I wanted somehow 
to make it clear before ..." 

The tone of his voice projected a 
sense of doom, and Manning forgot 

everything else. "Is something going 
to happen to you? Are you going to 
— Oh, my dear, no! All right, so you 
have a wife on every space station 
in the asteroid belt; but if anything 
happens to you ..." - 

"I don't know," said Norbert 
Hdlt. "I can't remember the exact 
date of that issue . . ." He rose 
abruptly. "I shouldn't have tried a 
goodbye. See you again, darling — 
the next time round Ouroboros." 

She was still staring at the empty 
martini glass when she heard the 
shrill of brakes and the- excited up- 
springing of a crowd outside. 

SHE read the posthumous frag- 
ment late that night, after 
her eyes had dried sufficiently to 
make the operation practicable. And 
through her sorrow her mind fought 
to help her, making her think, mak- 
ing her be an editor. 

She understood a little and disbe- 
lieved what she understood. And un- 
derneath she prodded herself, "But 
it isn't a story. It's too short, too in- 
conclusive. It'll just disappoint the 
Holt fans — and that's everybody. 
Much better if I do a straight obit, 
take up a full page on it . . ." 

She fought hard to keep on think- 
ing, not feeling. She had never be- 
fore experienced so strongly the I- 
have-been-here-before sensation. She 
had been faced with this dilemma 
once before, once on some other 
time-spiral, as the boys in SCWA 
would say. And her decision had 
been . . . 



"It's sentimentality," she protest- 
ed. "It isn't editing. This decision's 
»right. I know it. And if I go and get 
another of these attacks and start to 
change my mind ..." 

She laid the posthumous Holt frag- 
ment on the coals. It caught fire 


THE next morning Raquel greet- 
ed her with, "Manningcita, 
who's Norbert Holt?" 

Manning had slept so restfully that 
she was even tolerant of foolish 
questions at breakfast. "Who?" she 

"Norbert Holt. Somehow the name 

popped into my mind. Is he perhaps 
one. of your writers?" 

"Never heard of him." 

Raquel frowned. "I was almost 
sure . . . Can you really remember 
them all? I'm going to check those 
bound volumes of Surprising." 

"Any luck with your . . . what was 
it? . . . Holt?" Manning asked the 
girl a little later. 

"No, Manningcita. I was quite un- 

. . . unsuccessful . . . Now why 
in Heaven's name, mused Manning 
Stern, should I be thinking of mar- 
tinis at breakfast time? 



When Clifford D. Simak finished writing "Time Quarry," he was emotionally 
exhausted, a state we shared after reading it ourselves. If you aren't mentally flaccid 
— and GALAXY Science Fiction isn't edited to attract flaccid readers — you'll 
reach the climax of this suspenseful novel with the same increased cardiac, cerebral 
and psychological response that we experienced. A powerful final installment. Now 
if it could only have been one of those continued stories that run for decades in 
Japanese newspapers. . . . 

But then we wouldn't be able to buy the challenging Isaac Asimov novel that 
starts two months from now, nor would Simak have been able to write the superb 
stories we have scheduled for future issues. 

Speaking of superb stories, James H. Schmitz rings the triple gong of cardiac, 
cerebral and psychological response with "Second Night of Summer," a novelet 
that is a delightful account of a ghastly threat, which sounds contradictory and 
isn't at all. In actual fact, the entire issue can be likened to a busy Swiss bell- 
ringer, for the second novelet, by Raymond F. Jones, states a truism that may 
be the death of us yet . . . unless, literally speaking, the non-science fiction world 
learns the truths that science fiction has long known. 

The short stories are a little more difficult to predict. We have so many wonder- 
ful ones coming up and type that refuses to be condensed. "Jaywalker" by Ross 
Rocklynne, for example, had to be moved back because of lack of space in this 
issue. But there will be at least three, perhaps four . . . plus a mind-prodding 
article by Willy Ley . . . and our first letter department. Genuine, unsolicited 
letters, selected as carefully for general interest as our stories; they must be good. 

We still have a limited number of Vol. I No. I for those who want to start their 
subscriptions with the first issue. But don't put it off; our supply won't last long. 






Women will always go on trying 
to attract men . . . even when the 
future seems to have no future! 

THE coupe with the . fishhooks 
welded to the fender shoul- 
dered up over the curb like 
the nose of a nightmare. The girl in 
its path stood frozen, her face prob- 
ably stiff with fright under her mask. 
For once my reflexes weren't shy. I 
took a fast step toward her, grabbed 
her elbow, yanked her back. Her 
black skirt swirled out. 

The big coupe shot by, its turbine 
humming. I glimpsed three faces. 
Something ripped. I felt the hot ex- 
haust on my ankles as the big coupe 
swerved back into the street. A thick 
cloud like a black flower blossomed 
from its jouncing rear end, while 
from the fishhooks flew a black shim- 
mering rag. 

"Did they get you?" I asked the 

Illustrated by Paul Calle 




She had twisted around to look 
where the side of her skirt was torn 
away. She was wearing nylon tights. 

"The hooks didn't touch me," she 
said shakily. "I guess I'm lucky." 

I heard voices around us: 

"Those kids! What'll they think 
up next?" 

'They're a menace. They ought to 
be arrested." 

Sirens screamed at a rising pitch 
as two motor-police, their rocket-as- 
sist jets full on, came whizzing' to- 
ward us after the coupe. But the 
black flower, had become a thick fog 
obscuring the^whole street. The mo- 
tor-police switched from rocket as- 
sists to rocket brakes and swerved to 
a stop near the smoke cloud. 

"Are you English ?" # the girl aske 
me. "You have an English accent." 

Her voice came shudderingly from 
behind the sleek black satin mask. I 
fancied her teeth must be chatter- 
ing. Eyes that were perhaps blue 
searched my face from behind the 
black gauze covering the eyeholes of 
the mask. I told her she'd guessed 
right. She stood close to me. "Will 
you come to my place tonight?" she 
asked rapidly. "I can't thank you 
now. And. there's something you can 
help me about." 

My arm, still lightly circling her 
waist, felt her body trembling. I was 
answering the plea in that as much 
as in her voice when I said, "Cer- 
tainly." She . gave me an address 
south of Inferno, an apartment num- 
ber and a time. She asked me my 
name and I told her. 

"Hey, you!" 

I turned obediently to the police- 
man's shout. He shooed away the 
small - clucking crowd of masked 
women and barefaced men. Cough- 
ing from the smoke that the black 
coupe had thrown out, he asked for 
my papers.* I handed him the essen- 
tial ones. 

HE LOOKED at them and then 
_ ., at me. "British Barter? How 
long will you be in New. York?" 

Suppressing the urge to say, "For 
as short a time as possible," I told 
him I'd be here for a week or so. 

"May need you as a witness," he 
explained. "Those kids can't use 
smoke on us. When they do that, 
we pull them in." 

He seemed to think the smoke was 
the bad thing. "They tried to kill the 
lady," I pointed out. 

He shook his head wisely. "They 
always pretend they're going to, but 
actually they just want to snag skirts. 
I've picked up rippers with as many 
as fifty skirt-snags tacked up in their 
rooms. Of course, sometimes they 
come a little too close." 

I explained that if I hadn't yanked 
her out of the way, she'd have been 
hit by more than hooks. But he in- 
terrupted, "If she'd thought it was a 
real murder attempt, she'd have 
stayed here." 

I looked around. It was true. She 
was gone. 

"She was fearfully frightened," I 
told him. 

"Who wouldn't be? Those kids 



would have scared old Stalin him- 

"I mean frightened of more than 
'kids.' They didn't look like 'kids.' " 

"What did they look like?" 

I tried without much success to de- 
scribe the three faces. A vague im- 
pression of viciousness and effemi- 
nacy doesn't mean much. 

"Well, I could be wrong," he said 
finally. "Do you know the girl? 
Where she lives?" 

"No," I half lied. 

The other policeman hung up his 
radiophone and ambled toward us, 
kicking at the tendrils of dissipat- 
ing smoke. The black cloiid no 
longer hid the dingy facades with 
their five-year-old radiation flash- 
burns, and I could begin to make out 
the distant stump of the Empire State 
Building, thrusting up out of Inferno 
like a mangled finger. 

'They haven't been picked up so 
far," the approaching policeman 
grumbled, s "Left smoke for five 
blocks, from what Ryan says." 

The first policeman shook his 
head. "That's bad," he observed 

I was feeling a bit uneasy and 
ashamed. An Englishman shouldn't 
lie, at least not on impulse. 

'They sound like nasty custom- 
ers," the first policeman continued in 
the same grim tone. "We'll need wit- 
nesses. -Looks as if you may have to 
stay in New York longer than you 

I got the point. I said, "I forgot 
to show you all my papers," and 

handed him a few others, making 
sure there was a five dollar bill in 
among them. 

WHEN he handed them back a 
bit later' his voice was no 
longer ominous. My feelings of guilt 
vanished. To cement our relation- 
ship, I chatted with the two of them 
about their job. 

"I suppose the masks give you 
some trouble," I observed. "Over in 
England we've been reading about 
your new crop of masked female 

"Those things get exaggerated," 
the first policeman assured me. "It's 
the men masking as women that 
really mix us up. But, brother, when 
we nab them, we jump on them with 
both feet." 

"And you get so you can spot 
women almost as well as if they had 
naked faces," the second policeman 
volunteered. "You know, hands and 
all that." ' - 

"Especially all that," the first 
agreed with a chuckle. "Say, is it 
true that some girls don't mask over 
in England?" 

"A number of them have picked 
up the fashion," I told him. "Only 
a few, though — the ones who always 
adopt the latest style, however ex- 

"They're usually masked in the 
British newscasts." 

"I imagine it's- arranged that way 
out of deference to American taste," 
I confessed. "Actually, not very many 
do mask." 



The second policeman considered 
that. "Girls going down the street 
bare from the, neck up." It was not 
clear whether he viewed the prospect 
with relish or moral distaste. Likely 

"A few members keep trying to 
persuade Parliament to enact a law 
forbidding all masking," I con- 
tinued, talking perhaps a bit too 

The second policeman shook his 
head. "What an idea. You know, 
masks are a pretty good thing, 
brother. Couple of years more and 
I'm going to make my wife wear 
hers around the house." 

The first policeman shrugged. "If 
women were to stop wearing masks, 
in six weeks you wouldn't know the 
difference. You get used to anything,, 
if enough people do or don't do it." 

I agreed, rather regretfully, and 
left them. I turned north on Broad- 
way (old Tenth Avenue, I believe) 
and walked rapidly until I was be- 
yond Inferno. Passing such an area 
of undecontaminated radioactivity 
always make* a person queasy. I 
thanked God there weren't any such 
in England, as yet. 

The street was almost empty, 
though I was accosted by a couple 
of beggars with faces tunneled by 
H-bomb scars, whether real or of 
makeup putty, I couldn't tell. A fat 
woman held out a baby with webbed 
fingers and toes. I told myself it 
would have been deformed anyway 
and that she was only capitalizing 
on our fear of bomb-induced muta- 

tions. Still, I gave her a seven-and- 
a-half-cent piece. Her mask made me 
feel I was paying tribute to an Afri- 
can fetish. 

"May all your children be blessed 
with one head and two eyes, sir." 

"Thanks," I said, shuddering, and 
hurried past her. 

". . . There's only trash behind the 
mask, so turn your head, stick to 
your task: Stay away, stay away — 
from — the — girls ! ' ' 

THIS last was the end of an anti- 
sex song being sung by some 
religionists half a block from the cir- 
cle-and-cross insignia of a femaiist 
temple. They . reminded me only 
faintly of our small tribe of British 
monastics. Above their heads was a 
jumble of billboards advertising pre- 
digested foods, wrestling instruction, 
radio handies and the like. 

I stared at the hysterical slogans 
with disagreeable fascination. Since 
the female face and form have been 
banned on American signs, the very 
letters of the advertiser's alphabet 
have begun to crawl with sex — the 
fat-bellied, big-breasted capital B, the 
lascivious double O. However, I re- 
minded myself, it is chiefly the mask- 
that so strangely accents sex in 

A British anthropologist has point- 
ed out, that, while it took more than 
5,000 years, to shift the chief point 
of sexual interest from the hips to 
the breasts, the next transition to the 
face has taken less than 50 years. 
Comparing the American style with 



Moslem tradition is not valid; Mos- 
lem women are compelled to wear 
veils, the purpose of which is con- 
cealment, while American women 
have only the compulsion of fashion 
and use masks to create mystery. 

Theory aside, the actual origins of 
the trend are to be found in the anti- 
radiation clothing of World War III, 
which, led to masked wrestling, now 
a fantastically popular sport, and that 
in turn led to the current female 
fashion. Only a wild style at first, 
masks quickly became as necessary 
as brassieres and lipsticks had been 
earlier in the century. 

I finally realized that I was not 
speculating about masks in general, 
but about what Jay behind one in 
particular. That's the devil of the 
things; you're never sure whether a 
girl is heightening loveliness or hid- 
ing ugliness. I pictured a cool, pretty 
face in which fear showed only in 
widened eyes. Then I remembered 
her blonde hair, rich against the 
blackness of the - satin mask. She'd 
told me to come at the twenty-second 
hour — ten p.m. 

I climbed to my apartment near 
the British Consulate; the elevator 
shaft had been shoved out of plumb 
by an old blast, a nuisance in these 
tall New York buildings. Before it 
occurred to me that I would be going 
out again, I automatically tore a tab 
from the film strip under my shirt. I 
developed it just to be sure. It 
showed that -the total radiation I'd 
taken that day was still within the 
safety limit. I'm not phobic about it, 

as so many people are these days, but 
there's no point in taking chances. 

I flopped down on the day bed and 
stared at the silent speaker and the 
dark screen of the video set. As al- 
ways, they made me think, somewhat 
bitterly, of the two great nations of 
the world. Mutilated by each other, 
yet still strong, they were crippled 
giants poisoning the planet with their 
dreams of an impossible equality and 
an impossible success. 

I fretfully switched on the speak- 
er. 'By luck, the newscaster was talk- 
ing excitedly of the prospects of a 
bumper wheat crop, sown by planes 
across a dust bowl moistened by 
seeded rains. I listened carefully to 
the rest of the program (it was re- 
markably clear of Russian telejam- 
ming) but there was no further news 
of interest to me. And, of course, no 
mention of the Moon, though every- 
one knows that America and Russia 
are racing to develop their primary- 
bases into fortresses capable of mu- 
tual assault and the launching of al- 
phabet-bombs toward Earth. I myself 
knew perfectly well that the British 
electronic equipment I was helping 
trade for American wheat was des- 
tined for use in spaceships. 

I SWITCHED off the newscast. It 
was growing dark and once again 
I pictured a tender, frightened face 
behind a mask. I hadn't had a date 
since England. It's exceedingly diffi- 
cult to become acquainted with a girl 
iruAmerica, where as little as a smile, 
often, can set one of them yelping 



for the police — to say nothing of the 
increasing puritanical morality and 
the roving gangs that keep most 
women indoors after dark. And natu- 
rally, the masks which are definitely 
not, as the Soviets claim, a last in- 
vention of capitalist degeneracy, but 
a sign of great psychological inse- 
curity. The Russians have no masks, 
but they have their own signs of 
stress. ' 

I wen^ to the window and impa- 
tiently watched the darkness gather. 
I was getting very restless. After a 
while a ghostly violet cloud appeared 
to the south. My hair rose. Then I 
laughed. . I had momentarily fancied 
it a radiation from the crater of the 

■ Hell-bomb, though I should instant- 
ly have known it was only the radio- 
induced glow in the sky over the 
amusement and residential area south 
of Inferno. 

Promptly at twenty-two hours I 
stood before the door of my un- 
known girl friend's apartment. The 

'• electronic say-who-please said just 
that. I answered clearly, "Wysten 
Turner," wondering if she'd given 
my name to the mechanism. She evi- 
dently had, for the door opened." I 
walked into a small empty living 
room, my heart pounding a bit. 

The room was expensively fur- 
nished with the latest pneumatic has- 
socks and sprawlers. There were 
some midgie books on the table. The 
one I picked up was the standard 
hard-boiled detective story in which 
two female murderers go gunning 
for each other. 

The television was on. A masked 
girl in green was crooning a love 
song. Her right hand held something 
that blurred off into the foreground. 
I saw the set had a handie, which 
we haven't in England as yet, and 
curiously thrust my hand into the 
handie orifice beside the screen. Con- 
trary to my expectations, it was not 
like slipping into a pulsing rubber 
glove, but rather as if the girl on 
the screen actually held my hand. 

A door opened behind me. I 
jerked out my hand with as guilty 
. a reaction as if I'd been caught peer-, 
ing through a keyhole. 

She stood in the bedroom door- 
way. I think she was trembling. She 
was wearing a gray fur coat, white- 
speckled, and a gray velvet evening 
mask with shirred gray lace around 
the eyes and mouth. Her fingernails 
twinkled like silver. 

It hadn't occurred to me that she'd 
expect us to go out. 

"I should have told you," she said 
softly. Her mask veered nervously 
toward the books and the screen and 
the room's dark corners. "But I can't 
possibly talk to you here." 

I said doubtfully, "There's a place 
near the Consulate, i . ." 

"I know where we can be together 
and talk," she said rapidly. "If you 
don't mind." 

/ As we entered the elevator I said, 
"I'm afraid I dismissed the cab/' 

BUT the cab driver hadn't gone 
for some reason of his own. 
He jumped out -and smirlcingly held 



the front door open for us. I told 
him we preferred to sit in back. 
He sulkily opened the rear door, 
slammed it after us, jumped in front 
and slammed the door behind him. 

My companion leaned forward. 
"Heaven," she said. 

The driver switched on the turbine 
and televisor. 

"Why did you ask if I were a 
British subject?" I said, to start the 

She leaned away from me, tilting 
her mask close to the window. "See 
the Moon," she said in a quick, 
dreamy voice. 

"But why, really?" I pressed, con- 
scious of an irritation that had noth- 
ing to do with her. 

"It's edging up into the purple of 
the sky." 

"And what's your name?" 

"The purple makes it look yel- 

JUST then I became aware of the 
source of my irritation. It lay in 
the square of writhing light in the 
front of the cab beside the driver. 

I don't object to ordinary wrest- 
ling matches, though they bore me, 
but I simply detest watching a man 
wrestle a woman. The fact that the 
bouts are generally "on the level," 
with the man greatly outclassed in 
weight and reach and the masked fe- 
males young and personable, only 
makes them seem worse to me. 

"Please turn off the screen," I re- 
quested the driver. 

He shook his head without look- 

ing around. "Uh-uh,. man," he said. 
"They've been grooming that babe 
for weeks for this bout with Little 

Infuriated, I reached forward, but 
my companion caught my arm. 
"Please," she whispered frightenedly, 
shaking her head. 

I settled back, frustrated. She was 
closer to me now, but silent and for 
a few moments I watched the heaves 
and contortions of the powerful 
masked girl and her wiry masked op- 
ponent on the screen. His frantic 
scrambling at her reminded me of a 
male spider. 

I jerked around, facing my com- 
panion. "Why did those three men 
want to kill you?" I asked sharply. 

.The eyeholes of her mask faced 
the screen. "Because they're jealous 
of me," she whispered. 

"Why are they jealous?" 

She still didn't look at me. "Be- 
cause of him." 


She didn't answer. 

I put my arm around her shoul- 
ders. "Are you afraid to tell me?" 
I asked. "What is the matter?" 

She still didn't look my way. She 
smelled nice. 

"See here," I said laughingly, 
changing my tactics, "you really 
should tell me something about your- 
self. I don't even know what you 
look like." 

I half playfully lifted my hand to 
the band of her neck. She gave it an 
astonishingly swift slap. I pulled it 
away in sudden pain. There were 



four tiny indentations on the back. 
From one of them a tiny bead of 
blood welled out as I watched. I 
looked at her silver fingernails and 
saw they were actually delicate and 
pointed metal caps. 

"I'm dreadfully sorry," I heard her 
say, "but you frightened me. I 
thought for a moment you were 
going to. . . ." 

At last she turned to me. Her 
coat had fallen open. He/ evening 
dress was Cretan Revival, a bodice 
of lace beneath and supporting the 
breasts without covering them. 

"Don't be angry," she said, put- 
ting her arms around my neck. "You 
were wonderful this afternoon." 

The soft gray velvet of her mask, 
molding itself to her cheek, pressed 
mine. Through the mask's lace the 
wet warm tip of her tongue touched 
my chin. 

"I'm not angry," I said. "Just 
puzzled and anxious to help." 

The cab stopped. To either side 
were black windows bordered by 
spears of broken glass. The sickly 
purple light showed a few ragged 
figures slowly moving toward us. 

The driver muttered, "It's the tur- 
bine, man. We're grounded." He sat 
there hunched and motionless. "Wish 
it had happened somewhere else." 

My companion whispered, "Five 
dollars is the usual amount." 

She looked out so shudderingly at 
the congregating figures that I sup- 
pressed my indignation and did as 
she suggested. The driver took the 
bill without a word. As he started 

up, he put his hand out the window 
and I heard a few' coins clink on the 

My companion came back into my 
arms, but her mask faced the tele- 
vision screen, where the tall girl had 
just pinned the convulsively kicking 
Little Zirk. 

"I'm so frightened," she breathed. 

HEAVEN turned out to be an 
equally ruinous neighborhood, 
but it had a club with an awning and 
a huge doorman uniformed like a 
spaceman, but in gaudy colors. In my 
sensuous daze I rather liked it all. 
We stepped out of the cab just as a 
drunken old woman came down the 
sidewalk, her mask awry. A couple 
ahead of us turned their heads from 
the half revealed face, as if from an 
ugly body at the beach. As we fol- 
lowed them in I heard the doorman 
say, "Get along, grandma, and watch 

Inside, everything was dimness 
and blue glows. She had said we 
could talk here, but I didn't see how. 
Besides the inevitable chorus of 
sneezes and coughs (they say Amer- 
ica is fifty per cent allergic these 
days), there was a band going full 
blast in the latest robop style, in 
which an electronic composing ma- 
chine selects an arbitrary sequence of 
tones into which the musicians weave 
their raucous little individualities. 

Most of the people were in booths. 
The band was behind the bar. On a 
small platform beside them, a girl 
was dancing, stripped to her mask. 



The little cluster of men at the 
shadowy far end of the bar weren't 
looking at her. 

We inspected the menu~in gold 
script on the wall and pushed the 
buttons for breast of chicken, fried 
shrimps and two scotches. Moments 
later, the serving bell tinkled. I 
opened the gleaming panel and took 
out our drinks. 

THE cluster of men at the bar filed 
off toward the door, but first 
they stared around the room. My 
companion had just thrown back her 
coat. Their look lingered on our 
booth. I noticed that there were three 
of them. 

The band chased off the dancing 
girl with growls. I handed my com- 
panion a straw and we sipped our 

"You wanted me to help you 
about something," I 'said. "Inci* 
dentally, I think you're lovely." 
• She nodded quick thanks, looked 
around* leaned forward. "Would it 
be hard for me to get to England?" 

"No," I replied, a bit taken aback. 
"Provided you have an American 

"Are they difficult to get?" 

"Rather," I said, surprised at her 
lack of information. "Your country 
doesn't like its nationals to travel, 
though it isn't quite as stringent as 

"Could the British Consulate helr> 
me get a passport?" 

"It's hardly their. . . /' 

"Could you?" 

I realized we were being in- 
spected. A man and two girls had 
paused opposite our table. The girls 
were tall and wolfish-looking, with 
spangled masks. The man stood 
jauntily between them like a fox on 
its hind legs. 

My companion didn't glance at 
them, but she sat back. I noticed that 
one or* the girls had a big yellow 
bruise on her forearm. After a mo- 
ment they walked to a booth in the 
deep shadows. 

"Know them?" I asked. She 
didn't reply. I finished my drink. 
"I'm not sure you'd like England," 
I said. "The austerity's altogether 
different from your American brand 
of misery." 

She leaned forward again. "But I 
must get away," she whispered. 

"Why?" I -was getting impatient. 

"Because I'm so frightened." 

There were chimes. I opened the 
panel and handed her the fried 
shrimps. The sauce on my breast of 
chicken was a delicious -steaming 
compound of almonds, soy and 
ginger. But something must have 
been wrong with the radionic oven 
that had thawed and heated it, for 
at the first bite I crunched a kernel 
of ice in the meat. Thesp delicate 
mechanisms need constant repair and 
there aren't enough mechanics. 

I put down my fork. ''What are 
you really scared of?" I asked her. 

For once her mask didn't waver 
away from my face. As I waited I 
could feel the fears gathering with- 
out her naming them, tiny dark 



shapes swarming through the curved 
night outside, converging on the 
radioactive pest spot of New York, 
dipping into the margins of the 
purple. I felt a sudden rush of sym- 
pathy, a desire to protect the girl 
opposite me. The warm feeling 
added itself to the infatuation en- 
gendered in the cab. 

"Everything," she said finally. 

I nodded and touched her hand. 

"I'm afraid of the Moon," she be- 
gan, her voice going dreamy and 
brittle as it had in the cab. "You 
can't look at it and not think of 
guided bombs." 

"It's the same Moon over Eng- 
land," I reminded her: 

"But it's not England's Moon any 
more. IPs ours and Russia's. You're 
not responsible." 

I pressed her hand. 

"Oh, and then," she said with a 
tilt of her mask, "I'm afraid of the 
cars and the gangs and the loneliness 
and Inferno. I'm afraid of the lust 
that undresses your face. And — " her 
voice " hushed — "I'm afraid of the 
wrestlers. M 

"Yes?" I prompted softly after a 

HER mask came forward. "Do 
you know something about the 
wrestlers?" she asked rapidly. "The 
ones that wrestle women, I mean. 
They often lose, you know. And 
then they have to have a girl to take 
their frustration out on. A girl who's 
soft and weak and terribly fright- 
ened. They need that, to keep them 

men. Other men don't want them 
to have a girl. Other men want them 
just to fight women and be heroes. 
But they must have a girl. It's hor- 
rible for her." 

I squeezed her fingers tighter, as 
if courage could be transmitted — 
granting I had any. "I think I can 
get you to England," I said. 

Shadows crawled onto the table 
and stayed there. I looked up at the 
three men who had been at the end 
of the bar. They were the men I 
had seen in the big coupe. They 
wore black sweaters and close-fitting 
black trousers. Their faces were as 
expressionless as dopers. Two of 
them stood above me. The other 
loomed over the girl. 

"Drift off, man," I was told. I 
heard the other inform the girl: 
"We'll wrestle a fall, sister. What 
shall it be?. Judo, slapsie or kill- 

I stood up. There are times when 
an Englishman simply must be mal- 
treated. But just then the' foxlike 
man came gliding in like the star < 
of a ballet. The reaction of the 
other three startled me. They were 
. acutely embarrassed. 

He smiled at them thinly. "You 
won't win my favor by tricks like 
this," he said. 

"Don't get the wrong idea, Zirk," 
one of them pleaded. • 

"I will if it's right," he said. "She 
told me what you tried to do this 
afternoon. That won't endear you 
to me, either. Drift." 

They backed off awkwardly. "Let's 



get out of here," one of them said 
loudly, as they turned. "I know a 
place where they fight naked with 

LITTLE ZIRK laughed musically 
and slipped into the seat beside 
my companion. She shrank from 
him, just a little. I pushed my feet 
back, leaned forward. 

"Who's your friend, baby?" he 
asked, not looking at her. 

She passed the question to me 
with a little gesture. I told him. 

"British," he observed. "She's 
been asking you about getting out 
of the country? -About passports?" 
He smiled pleasantly. "She likes to 
start running away. Don't you, 
baby?" His small hand began' to 
stroke her wrist, the fingers bent a 
little, the tendons ridged, as if he 
were about to grab and twist. 

"Look here," I said sharply. "I 
have to be grateful to you for order- 
ing off those bullies, but — " 

"Think nothing of it," he told 
me. "They're no harm except when 
they're behind steering wheels. A 
well-trained fourteen-year-old girl 
could cripple any one of them. Why, 
even Theda here, if she went in for 
that sort of thing. . . ." He turned 
to her, shifting his hand from her 
wrist to her hair. He stroked it, 
letting the strands slip slowly 
through his fingers. "You know I 
lost tonight, baby, don't you?" he 
said softly. 

I stood up. "Come along," I said 
to her. "Let's leave." 

SHE just sat there. I couldn't even 
tell if she was trembling. I tried 
to read a message in her eyes 
through the mask. 

"I'll take you away," I said to her. 
"I can do it. I really will." 

He smiled at me. "She'd like to go 
with you," he said. "Wouldn't you, 

"Will you or won't you?" I said 
to her. She still just sat there. 

He slowly knotted his fingers in 
her hair. 

"Listen, you little vermin," I 
snapped at hinx "Take your hands 
off her." 

He came up from the seat like a 
snake. I'm no fighter. I just know 
that the more scared I am, the Jiarder 
and straighten I hit. This time I was 
lucky. But as he crumpled back, I 
felt a slap and four stabs of pain in 
my cheek. I clapped my hand to it. 
I could feel the four gashes made by 
her dagger finger caps, and the warm 
blood oozing out from them. 

She didn't look at me. She was 
bending over little Zirk and cud- 
dling her mask to his cheek and 
crooning: 'There, there, don't feel 
bad, you'll be able to hurt .me after- 

There were sounds around us, but 
they didn't come close. I leaned for- 
ward and ripped the mask from her 

I really don't know why I should 
have expected her face to be any- 
thing else. It was very pale, of 
course, and there weren't any cos- 
metics. I suppose there's no point in 



wearing any under a mask. The eye- 
brows were untidy and the lips 
chapped. But as for the general ex- 
pression, as for the feelings crawling 
and wriggling across it — 

Have you ever lifted a rock from 
damp soil? Have you ever watched 
the slimy white grubs? 

I looked down at her, she up at 
me. "Yes, you're so frightened, 
aren't you?" I said sarcastically. 
"You dread this little nightly drama, 
don't you? You're scared to death." 

And I walked right out into the 

purple night, still holding my hand 
to my bleeding cheek. No one 
stopped me, not even the girl wres- 
tlers. I wished I could tear a tab from 
under my shirt, and test it then and 
there, and find I'd taken too much 
radiation, and so be able to ask to 
cross the Hudson and go down New 
Jersey, past the lingering radiance of 
the Narrows 'Bomb, and so on to 
Sandy *Hook to wait for the rusty 
ship that would take me back over 
the seas to England. 



BOOK-LENGTH SERIAL— Installment 3 

TIME QUARRY by Clifford D. Simak 



A STONE AND A SPEAR by Raymond F. Jones 


JAYWALKER by Ross Rocklynne 


JUDAS RAM by Sam Merwin 

THE PROTECTOR by Betsy Curtis 







LETTERS • - • 

*Short stories subject to space requirements, but at least three will 
be included. 





. 1 . > '1 it 

: &*:& 





IF THE conductor of this depart- 
ment has a mission, it is to prop- 
agandize for adult science fic- 
tion of the sort that is carried in the 
other pages of this magazine. Con- 
sequently, he may tend to bear down 
; harder than he should on some of 
the current output, since he is in- 
terested in seeing science fiction be- 
come an accepted and respected 
branch of literature. This it cannot be 
until book publishers, and magazine 
editors as well, begin to put more 
emphasis on the mature competence 
of the material they buy. 

Of the five books before us, only 
one actually measures up to the fair- 
ly moderate standards mentioned. 
That is Theodore Sturgeon's The 
Dreaming Jewels (Greenberg, 217 
pages, $2.50). In essence, I suppose, 
this book should be classed as a 
science fantasy rather than science 
fiction. It is somewhat similar in 
basic nature to Eric Frank Russell's 
famous Sinister Barrier, though 
practically the opposite in intent and 
completely unlike in plot. While 
Russell's infamous infra-red beings 
interfered at all times with human- 

• •••• SHELF 


ity, and were responsible for its 
wars, crimes, diseases and other ills, 
the strange extra-solar entities that 
Sturgeon envisages living on earth, 
in the deceptive form of small, care- 
fully hidden, jewel-like stones, seem 
to have no interest whatsoever in the 
affairs of man. Their only interfer- 
ence arises from their curious mat- 
ings, which seem to result, not in^ 
other jewels, but in replicas of things 
earthly, whether trees, dogs, snakes 
— or men. These replicas, which or- 
dinarily cannot be found because no 
one knows what /to look for, often 
are defective, especially when con- 
ceived parthenogenetically (the jew- 
els' sex life seems to operate both 
ways). When the defectives are ani- 
mal, they are likely to end up in 
circus side shows and carnival 

The Dreaming Jewels is the story 
of an orphan boy who runs away 
from his brutal foster parents and is 
taken in by a troupe of sideshow 
people who are passing through 
toWn in their carnival truck. The 
manager of this particular aggrega- 
tion is a brilliant, cruel, practically 
insane doctor who has discovered 
the existence of the dreaming jewels 
and who, in his bitter hatred of man- 
kind, is attempting to gain control 
over these mysterious visitants from 
outer space. 

The book is full of human 
warmth and also of nearly sub-hu- 
man evil. The side show the boy 
lives with — Havana, Bunny, Solum 
the Alligator-Skinned Man, and par- 

ticularly the exquisite and brilliant 
little midget beauty, Zena — are real 
and believable human beings. On 
the other hand, Sturgeon's villains, 
particularly the foster father, are 
much too villainous for full-blown 
characters. It is true that the doctor 
himself is a real and frightening per- 
son, yet even he is slightly overdone. 
But these are minor flaws in an 
otherwise rich book. 

Even more important, The Dream- • 
ing Jewels is excellently written, 
with a feeling for words for which 
Sturgeon has long been admired by 
his readers. This is one 'book, inci- 
dentally, which has been thoroughly 
and painstakingly worked over since 
its original appearance in Fantastic 
Adventures late last year. In its 
present form, it is a moving and 
brilliant piece of imaginative writ- 
ing, and a line "'first" for a regular 
publisher who is newly entering the 
science fiction field. One can only 
hope that Greenberg, Inc., can main- 
tain something of the same level in 
future output. 

The newest entry of Doubleday 
and Company, publishers of such 
excellent science fiction as Bradbury's 
The Martian Chronicles, Merrill's 
The Shadow on the Hearth, and 
Clement's Needle, is Nelson Bond's 
Lancelot Biggs, Spaceman, (224 
pages, $2.50). Written ^originally 
for the lower levels of the pulp 
audience, this unedited and hastily 
put together collection of pseudo- 
humorous short stories with the same 
characters throughout is far inferior 



in quality to the previous titles on 
Doubleday's list. / 

Biggs is that staple character of 
pulp fiction, the fumbling dope who' 
crashes through as the Big Brain, 
the genius-in-spite-of-himself , who 
rescues the pretty maiden and pays 
off the mortgage at the last moment. 
In this instance, he is a haywire 
"scientist," young, gawky, brash, 
awkward and goofy, who is constant- 
ly rescuing the spaceship on which 
he .is an unwanted and rejected mem- 
ber of the crew from various foul 
and shuddery fates with his fantastic 
baling-wire-and-intuition gadgets. In 
the end he marries the boss's daugh- 
ter and sacrifices himself to salve 
the boss's own egotism. 

L. Sprague de Camp's and P. 
Schuyler Miller's collaborative Genus 
Homo (Fantasy Press, 225 pages, 
^$3.00), does not suffer from the 
particular ailment — juvenilitis — that 
so. disfigures Lancelot Biggs. It is 
fairly mature both in concept and in 
writing. A bus full of a most mis- 
cellaneous group of people is buried 
in a landslide somewhere in western 
Pennsylvania, and there it remains 
for millions of years in suspended 
animation, until somethings wakes 
the people up to a new world in 
which there are no human beings 
left. It is a world in which the apes 
have developed civilizations of their 
own, and where most other small 
animals once familiar on earth have 
become much larger in size, many 
of them being mankillers. ' 
' Much of the story is devoted to 

the attempts of the oddly assorted 
busload to save their lives from the 
huge beaveroids, rabbitoids, and the 
like, and to accommodate themselves 
later to the peaceful, highly intelli- 
gent, but very different non-metal- 
lurgical civilization of the gorillas 
that are the dominant race on the 
American continent. In the end, the 
humans arrive at a modus Vivendi 
with the gorillas, after helping to 
defeat an invasion of European or 
African baboons, and one is led to 
assume that eventually • they will 
climb back to their original suprem- 
acy of millions of years earlier. 

The only trouble with Genus 
Homo is that it was not given the 
necessary additional attention it 
needed when it was translated from 
magazine to book form. In this in- 
stance it is not continuity, character 
or style that suffers, but simply the 
fact that, for a book, it is sketchy 
and incomplete. 

is a story with real merit, and 
it deserves wide reading. 
- The practically ubiquitous Mr. de 
Camp appears as collaborator on an- 
other novel, one of two recently pub- 
lished by Gnome Press. This is The 
Castle of Iron (224 pages, $2.50), 
one of four fantasy collaborations of 
de Camp and Fletcher Pratt. Like the 
three earlier Pratt-de Camp books, 
The Castle of Iron deals much more 
with magic mumbo- jumbo than it 
does with the extrapolations of mod- 
ern science, and for that reason does 

• •••• SHELF 


not rate full coverage in this strictly 
science fiction column. The authors 
assume that the spells and potions 
of ancient and medieval magicians 
can do what -they claim, and fairy- 
tale adventures result from this no- # 

The other new Gnome item is 
William Grey Beyer's Minions of 
the Moon (190 pages, $2.50), re- 
printed from one of the Munsey 
magazines circa 1939. This is an- 
other "throw-ahead" tale, similar in 
some respects to Genus Homo, but 
inferior both in writing and in con- 
cept. In imitation Thorne Smith 

9 style, it tells about a chap named 
Mark Nevin, who is transported into 
a far future in which, of course, all 
traces of our current civilization seem 
to have vanished, and he has to 
make his way alone in a strange 
land. However, he is conveniently 
provided, by the super-scientist who 
"suspended his animation," with a 
large supply of scientific, technical 
and cultural materials to help him 
along. He has it pretty easy. . . . 
There are many remnants of the 

• human race in this particular world, 
including a luscious blonde named 
Nona Barr, and one excessively odd 
and incredible character, a bodyless 
Jinn whose home -habitation is the 
moon, and who can make himself 
visible on earth only by building 
imitations of other earth creatures 
for himself to inhabit. This Jinn, 
with unaccountable contrariness, 
sometimes helps and sometimes hin- 
ders Mark and Nona in their efforts 

to escape bands of black-bearded 
cannibals, the tight little bureaucratic' 
society where Nona 'herself had been 
raised, innumerable strange animals 
and dangerous tribes, and finally two 
mad Muscovite Russian Brains (how 
they will drag our own ephemeral 
politics into any future they write 
about!) who are trying to take over 
what is left of mankind by means 
of war, rapine and superhuman 

All very well to pass a mindless 
hour, but don't expect more. 

MENTION should be made here, 
also, of Grosset and Dunlap's 
new dollar reprint series of science 
fiction classics, the first four volumes 
of which should be in your local 
bookstores as "this issue becomes 
available. Included among the four 
are the "first two Simon & Schuster 
science fiction novels, A. E. van 
Vogt's The World of A and Jack 
Williamsons' The Humanoids, the 
former with a bright, brash new 
four-color cover. In addition, the 
editor of the series (who turns out 
to be none other than the conductor 
of this department) has included a 
wonderful old S. Fowler Wright 
item called The Island of Captain 
Sparrow, certainly one of the most 
charming desert-island science fan- 
tasies ever written. The last .book 
is Henry Kuttner's Fury, reprinted 
directly from Astounding Science 
Fiction, where it appeared under the- 
pseudonym Laurence O'Donnell. 




V , 

To Serve Man 


Wonderful gifts should be accepted gratefully. But always the 
memory of Indian givers and Greek gift-bearers creates doubt! 

Illustrated by David Stone 

THE Kanamit were not very 
pretty, it's true. They looked 
something like pigs and 
something like people, and that is not 
an attractive combination. Seeing 
them for the first time shocked you; 
that was their handicap. When a 
thing with the countenance of a 
fiend comes from the stars and offers 
a gift, you are disinclined to accept. 

I don't know what we expected 
interstellar visitors to look like — 
those who thought about it at all, 
that is. Angels, perhaps, or some- 
thing too alien to be really awful. 
Maybe that's why we were all so 
horrified and repelled when they 
landed in their great ships and we 
saw what they really were like. 

The Kanamit were short and very 



•hairy — thick, bristly brown-gray hair 
all over their abominably plump 

i bodies. Their noses were snoutlike 
and thek eyes small, and they had 
thick hands of three fingers each. 
They wore green leather harness and 
green shorts, but I think the shorts 
were a concession to our notions of 
public decency. The garments were> 
quite modishly cut, with slash 
pockets and half-belts in the back. 
The Kanamit had a sense of humor, 
anyhow; their clothes proved it. 

There were three of them at this 
session of the U. N., and I can't tell 
you how queer it looked to see them 
there in the middle of a solemn 
Plenary Session — three fat piglike 
creatures in green harness and shorts, 
sitting at the long table below the 
podium, surrounded by the packed 
arcs of delegates from every nation. 
They sat correctly upright, politely 

* watching each speaker. Their flat ears 
drooped over the earphones. Later 
on, I believe, they learned every hu- 
man language, but at this time they 
knew only French and English. 

They seemed perfectly at ease — 
and that, along with their humor, 
was a thing that tended to make me 
like them. I was in the minority; I 
didn't think they were trying to put 
anything over. They said quite sim- 
ply that they wanted to help us and 
I believed it. As a U. N. translator, 
of course, my opinion didn't matter, 
but I thought they were the best 
thing that ever happened to Earth. 

The delegate from Argentina got 
up and said that his government was 

interested by the demonstration of a 
new cheap power source, which the 
Kanamit had made at the previous 
session, but that the Argentine gov- 
ernment could not commit itself as 
to its future policy without a" much 
more thorough examination. 

IT WAS what all the delegates were 
saying, but I had to pay particu- 
lar attention to Senor Valdes, be- 
cause he tended to sputter and his 
diction was bad. I got through the 
translation all right, with only one 
or two momentary hesitations, and 
then switched to. the Polish-English 
line to hear how Gregori was doing 
with Janciewicz. Janciewicz was the 
cross Gregori had to bear, just as 
Valdes was mine. - 

Janciewicz repeated the previous 
remarks with a few ideological varia- 
tions, and then the Secretary-General 
recognized the delegate from France, 
who introduced Dr. Denis Leveque, ' % 
the criminologist, and a great deal 
of complicated equipment" was 
wheeled in. 

Dr. Leveque remarked that the 
question in many people's minds had 
been aptly expressed by the delegate 
from the U. S. S. R. at the preceding 
session, when he demanded, "What 
is the motive of the Kanamit? What 
is their purpose in offering us these 
unprecedented gifts, while asking 
nothing in return?" 

The doctor then said, "At the re- 
quest of several delegates and with 
the full consent of our guests, the 
Kanamit, my associates and I have 



made a series of tests upon the Kan- 
amit with the equipment which you 
see before you. These tests will now 
be repeated." 

A murmur ran through the cham- 
ber. There was a fusillade of flash- 
bulbs, and one of the TV cameras 
moved up to focus on the instrument 
board of the doctor's equipment. At 
the same time, the huge television 
screen behind the podium lighted up, 
and we saw the blank faces or" two 
dials, each with its pointer resting 
at zero, and a strip of paper tape 
with a stylus point resting against it. 

The doctor's assistants were fasten- 
ing wires to the temples of one of 
the Kanamit, wrapping a canvas-cov- 
ered rubber tube around his forearm, 
and taping something to the palm of 
his right hand. 

In the screen, we saw the paper 
tape begin to move while the stylus 
traced a slow zigzag pattern along it. 
One of the needles began to jump 
rhythmically; the other flipped over 
and stayed there, wavering slightly. 
'These are' the standard instru- 
ments for testing the truth of a 
statement," said Dr. Leveque. "Our 
first object, since the physiology of 
the Kanamit is unknown to us, was 
to determine whether or not they re- 
act to these tests as human beings 
do. We will now repeat one of the 
many experiments which was made 
in the endeavor to discover this." 

He pointed to the first dial. 'This 
instrument registers the subject's 
heart-beat. This shows the electrical 
conductivity of the skin in the palm 

of his hand, a measure of perspira- 
tion, which increases under stress. 
And this—" pointing to the tape- 
and-stylus device — "shows the pat- 
tern and intensity of the electrical 
waves emanating from his brain. It 
has been shown, with human sub- 
jects, that all these readings vary 
markedly depending upon whether 
the subject is speaking the truth." 

HE PICKED up two large pieces 
of cardboard, one red and one 
black. The red one was a square 
about a meter on a side; the black 
was a rectangle a meter and a half 
long. He addressed himself to the 

"Which of these is longer than 
the other?" 

"The red," said the Kanama. 

Both needles leaped wildly, and so 
did the line on the unrolling tape. 

"I shall repeat the question," said 
the doctor. "Which of these is longer 
than the other?" 

"The black," said the creature. 

This time the instruments con- 
tinued in their normal rhythm. 

"How did you come to this 
planet?" asked the doctor. 

"Walked," replied the Kanama. 

Again the instruments responded, 
and there was a subdued ripple of 
laughter in the chamber. 

"Once more," said the doctor, 
"how did you come to this planet?" 

"In a spaceship," said the Kanama, 
and the instruments did not jump. 

The doctor again faced the dele- 
gates. "Many such experiments were 



made," he said, "and my colleagues 
and myself are satisfied that the 
mechanisms are effective. Now," he 
turned to the Kanama, "I shall ask 
our distinguished guest to reply to 
the question put at the last session 
by the delegate of the U. S. S. R., 
namely, what is the motive of the 
■Kanamit people in offering 'these 
great gifts to the people of Earth?" 

The Kanama rose. Speaking this 
time in English, he said, "On my 
planet there is a saying, 'There are 
more riddles in a stone than in a 
philosopher's head.' The motives of 
intelligent beings, though they may 
at times appear obscure, are simple 
things compared to the complex 
workings of the natural universe. 
Therefore I hope that the people of 
Earth will understand, and believe, 
when I tell you that our mission 
upon your planet is simply this — 
to bring to you the peace and plenty 
which we ourselves enjoy, and which 
we have in the past brought to other 
races throughout the galaxy. When 
your world has no more hunger, no 
more war, no more needless suffer- 
ing, that will be our reward." 

And the needles had not jumped 

The delegate from the Ukraine 
jumped to his feet, asking to be 
recognized, but the time was up and 
the Secretary-General closed the ses- 

I MET Gregori as we were leaving 
the U: N. chamber. His face was 
red with excitement. "Who pro- 

moted that circus?" he demanded. 
j "The tests looked genuine to me," 
I told him. 

"A circus!" he said vehemently. 
"A second-rate farce! If .they were 
genuine, Peter, why was debate 

"There'll be time for debate to- 
morrow surely." 

Tomorrow the doctor and his in- 
struments will be back in Paris. 
Plenty of things can happen before 
tomorrow. In the name of sanity, 
man, how can anybody trust a thing 
that looks as if it ate the baby?" 

il was a little annoyed. I said, "Are 
you sure you're not more worried 
about their politics than their ap- 

He said, "Bah," and went away. 

The next day reports began to 
come in from government labora- 
tories all over the world where the 
Kanamit's power source was being 
tested. They were wildly enthusiastic. 
I don't understand such things my- 
self, but it seemed that those little 
metal boxes would give more electri- 
cal power than an atomic pile, for 
next to nothing and nearly forever. 
And it was said that they were so 
cheap' to manufacture that everybody 
in the world could have one of his 
own. In the early afternoon there 
were reports that seventeen countries 
had already begun to set up factories 
to turn them out. 

The next day the Kanamit turned 
up with plans and specimens of a 
gadget that would increase the fer- 
tility of any arable land by sixty to 



one hundred per cent. It speeded the 
formation of nitrates in the soil, or 
something. There was nothing in the 
headlines but the Kanamit any more. 
The day after that, they dropped 
their bombshell. ' 

"You now have potentially un- 
limited power and increased food 
supply," said one of them. He point- 
ed with his three-fingered hand to an 
instrument that stood on the table 
before him. It was a box on a tripod, 
with a parabolic reflector on the front 
of it. "We offer you today a third 
gift which is at least as important 
as the first two." 

He beckoned to the TV men to 
roll their cameras into closeup posi- 
( tion. Then he picked up a large sheet 
of cardboard covered with drawings 
and English lettering. We saw it on 
the large screen above the podium; it 
was all clearly legible. 

"We are informed that this broad- 
cast is being relayed throughout your 
world," said the Kanama. "I wish 
that everyone who has .equipment for 
taking photographs from television 
screens would use it now." 

The Secretary-General leaned for- 
ward and asked a question sharply, 
but the Kanama ignored him, 

"This device," he said, "projects 
a field in which no explosive, of 
whatever nature, can detonate." 

There was an uncomprehending 

The Kanama said, "It cannot now 
be suppressed. If one nation has it, 
all must have it." When nobody 
seemed to understand, he explained 

bluntly, "There will be no mere 


THAT was the biggest news of the 
millennium, and it was perfectly 
trpe\ It turned out that the explo- 
sions the Kanama was talking about 
included gasoline and Diesel explo- 
sions. They had simply made it im- 
possible for anybody to mount or 
equip a modern army. 

We could have gone back to bows 
and arrows, of course, but that 
wouldn't have satisfied the military. 
Not after having atomic bombs and 
all the rest. Besides, there wouldn't 
be any reason to make war. Every 
nation would soon have everything. 

Nobody ever gave another thought 
to those lie-detector experiments, or 
asked the Kanamit what their politics 
were. Gregori was put out; he had 
nothing to prove his suspicions. 

I quit my job with the U. N. a 
few months later, because I foresaw 
that it was going to die under me 
anyhow. U. N. business was booming 
at the time, but after a year or so 
there was going to be nothing for it 
to do. Every nation on Earth was 
well on the way to being completely 
self-supporting; they weren't going 
to need much arbitration. 

I accepted a position as translator 
with the Kanamit Embassy, and it 
was there that I ran into Gregori 
again. I was glad to see him, but I 
couldn't imagine what he was doing 

"I thought you were on the op- 
position," I said. "Don't tell me 



you're convinced the Kanamit are all 

He looked rather shamefaced. 
"They're not what they look, any- 
how," he said. 

It was as much of a concession- as 
he could decently make, and I invit- 
ed him down to the embassy lounge 
for a drink. It was an intimate kind 
of place, and he grew confidential 
over the second daiquiri. 

'They fascinate me," he said. "I 
hate them instinctively on sight still 
. — that hasn't changed, but I can eval- 
uate it. You were right, obviously; 
they mean us nothing but good. But 
do you know — " he leaned across the 
table — "the question of the Soviet 
delegate was never answered." 

I am afraid I snorted. 

"No, really," he said. "They told 
us what they wanted to do — 'to bring 
to you the peace and plenty which 
we ourselves enjoy.' But thev' didn't 
say why." 

"Why do missionaries — " 

"Hogwash!" he said angrily. 
"Missionaries have a religious mo- 
tive. If these creatures do own a re- 
ligion, they haven't once mentioned 
it. What's more, they didn't send a 
missionary group, they sent a diplo- 
matic delegation — a group represent- 
ing the will and policy of their 
whole people. Now just what have 
the Kanamit, as a people or a nation, 
got to gain from our welfare?" 
• I said, "Cultural — " 

"Cultural cabbage-soup! No, it's 
something less obvious than that, 
something obscure that belongs to 

their psychology and not to ours. But 
trust me, Peter, there is no such 
thing as a completely disinterested 
altruism. In one way or another, they 
have something to gain." 

"And that's why you're here," I 
said, "to try to find out what it is?" 
'"Correct. I wanted to get on one 
of the ten-year exchange groups to 
their home planet, but I couldn't; the 
quota was filled a week after they 
made the announcement. This is the 
next best thing. I'm studying their 
language, and you know that lan- 
guage reflects the basic assumptions 
of the people who use it. I've got a 
fair command of the spoken lingo 
already. It's not hard, really, and 
there are hints in it. I'm sure I'll get 
the answer eventually." 

"More power," I said, and we 
went back to work. 

I saw Gregori frequently from 
then on, and he kept me posted about 
his progress. He was highly excited 
about a month after that first meet- 
ing; said he'd got hold of a book 
of the Kanamit' s and was trying to 
puzzle it out. They wrote in ideo- 
graphs, worse than Chinese, but he 
was determined to fathom it if it 
took him years. He wanted my help. 

WELL, I was interested in spite 
of myself, for I knew it 
would be a long job. We spent some 
evenings together, working with ma- 
terial from Kanamit bulletin-boards 
and so forth, and the extremely limit- 
ed English-Kanamit dictionary they 
issued the staff. My conscience both- 




ered me about the stolen book, but 
gradually I became absorbed by the 
problem. Languages are my field, 
after all. I couldn't help being fasci- 

We got the title worked out in a 
few weeks. It was "How to Serve 
Man," evidently a handbook they 
were giving out to new Kanamit 
members of the embassy staff. They 
had new ones in, all .the time now, a 
shipload about once a month; they 
were opening all kinds of research 
laboratories, clinics and so on. If 
there was anybody on Earth besides 
Gregori who still distrusted those 
* people, he must have been some- 
where in the middle of Tibet. 

It was astonishing to see the 
changes that had been wrought in 
less than a year. There were no more 
standing armies, no more shortages, 
no unemployment. When you picked 
up a newspaper you didn't see 
"H-BOMB" or "V-2" leaping out at 
m you; the news was always good. It 
was a hard thing to get used to. The 
Kanamit were working on human 
biochemistry, and it was ' known 
around the embassy that they were 
nearly ready to announce methods of 
making our race taller and stronger 
and' healthier — practically a race of 
supermen — and they had a potential 
cure for heart disease and cancer. 

"I didn't see Gregori fora fortnight 
after we finished jvorking out the 
title of the book; I was on a long- 
overdue vacation in Canada. When I 
got back, I was shocked by the change 
in his appearance. 

"What on Earth is wrong, Greg- 
ori?" I asked. "You look like the 
very devil." 

"Come down to the lounge." 

I WENT with him, and he gulped 
a stiff Scotch as if he needed it. 

"Come on, man, what's the mat- 
ter?" I urged. 

"The Kanamit have put me on the 
passenger list for the next exchange 
ship," he said. "You, too, otherwise 
I wouldn't be talking to you." 

"Well," I said, "but— " 

"They're not altruists." 

"What do you mean?" 

"What I told you," he said. 
"They're not altruists." 

I tried to reason with him. I point- 
ed out they'd made Earth a paradise 
compared to what k was before. He 
only shook his head. 

Then I said,, "Well, what about 
those lie-detector tests?" 

"A farce," he replied, without 
heat. "I said so at the time, you fool. 
They told the truth, though, as far 
as it went." 

"And the book?" I demanded, an- 
noyed. "What about that — 'How to 
Serve Man'? That wasn't put there 
for you to read. They mean it. How 
do you explain that?" 

"I've read the first' paragraph of 
that book," he said. "Why do you 
suppose I haven't slept for a week?" 

I said, "Well?" and he smiled 
that curious, twisted smile, as if he 
really wanted to cry instead. 
"It's a cookbook," he said. 





C& This contest is meant to gain readers, certainly, but it is neither 
a stunt nor a hoax. Willy Ley, who introduces the contest, was a 
founding member and vice-president of the German Rocket Society 
in 1927; technical advisor to Fritz Lang's famous UFA science 
fiction film; "The Girl in the Moon"; and, since coming to this coun- 
try in 1935 has devoted himself to research engineering for rocket 
development. His newest book, "Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel/' 
is due at the end of 1950, and adds important data to the valuable 
literature he has already produced on this subject. When a recog- 
nized authority considers Flying Saucers a serious phenomenon, re- 
search of some kind is indicated. 

9& As magazine editors we are limited to exploration of opinion, and 
this we undertake in no spirit of hoax whatever. We feel, as Mr. 
Ley does, that "somebody, somewhere, may be hoarding an explana- 
tion that explains all. Possibly the ingenious and extremely desir- 
able prizes offered will lure out that explanation/' 

# And we repeat with Mr. Ley: "What is your theory?" Tell us in 
200 words or less, basing your explanation on one of Willy Ley's 
three hypotheses . . . or do you have one of your own? 


1. Your theory on Flying Saucers must be 
contained in a letter of 200 words or less 

and must be accompanied by the coupon 
printed below. (Kindly print your name 
and address.) 

2. All entries must be addressed to GALAXY 
Flying Saucer Contest, "World Editions, 

Inc., Box No. 103, Brooklyn 1, New York. 

3. Entries will be selected on the basis of 
originality, aptness to the subject, gen- 
eral interest, neatness and legibility. 

4. There will be a total of 40 prizes award- 
ed in the order listed below. Each win- 
ner of the first three prizes will receive an 
additional prize of $100 if his or her answer 
is accompanied by a year's subscription to 
GALAXY Science Fiction. (See coupon be- 
low.) . 

5. Winners will be" notified by mail, and all 
necessary arrangements will be made for 

the award of prizes as stipulated. 

6. In the case of merchandise awards, 
prizes are transferable. 

7. The decision of the judges will be final. 
All entries become the property of World 

Editions, Inc. and no entries will be re- 

8. Any individual may compete with the 
following exceptions: Employees of 

World Editions, Inc., and members of their 
immediate families ; employees of Adver- 
tising Distributors of America, Inc. (the 
judges of this contest) and members of 
their immediate families. 


1950. All entries must be postmarked not 
later than midnight. October 31, 1950, and 
must be covered by adequate postage. 

GALAXY Flying Saucer Contest 

World Editions, Inc., Box No. 101. Brooklyn 1, N. V. 

Attached herewith is my entry to GALAXY Flying Saucer Contest Q (check) 

I am enclosing $2.50 (check or money order) for a year's subscription (12 issues) to 
GALAXY Science Fiction. Q (check) 

— I 







SPECIAL ATTENTION! If entries of the winners of first three prizes 
are accompanied with a year's subscription to GALAXY Science Fiction, 
a special additional prize of $100 will be awarded to each winner. 

1. A three-day all-expense trip (transportation, lodging, meals and 
sightseeing) to famous Mt. Wilson Observatory, near Hollywood 
California. , 

2. A three-day all-expense trip (transportation, lodging, meals and 
sightseeing) to fascinating Marine Laboratory at Wood's Hole, 
Mass., including underwater descent with opportunity to view 
marine life in native habitat. 

3. A three-day all-expense trip (transportation, lodging, meals and 
sightseeing) to a government-approved atomic energy laboratory 

4. Three studio portraits of you, in color, (huge 8x10 photo- 
graphs) using the sensational new Larjachrome process of color- 
print enlargement. (Worth over $100.) 

5. Six professional photographs of you taken by Phil Pegler, top- 
flight New York photographer, at cyclotron center. 

6. A ride in a sky-writing plane, piloted by one of America's best- 
known skywriters, arranged by the Skywriting Corporation of 

* • 

7. An undersea trip on a late type U. S. submarine. 

8. A ride in a helicopter plane arranged by the Gyrodyne Company 
of America. 

9. A flight over New York City's skyscrapers in the famous Fla- 
mingo Orange Juice Dirigible. (For two ninth prize winners.) 

10. Two No. 45 Larjachrome kits for magnificent color prints 
enlarged from 4x5 Kodachrome cut film transparencies — a sensa- 
tional new process. (One each to two tenth prize winners.) 

11. A three-day course in beauty and make-up at New York's 
glamorous Barbizon School of Fashion Modeling. 

12. Specially arranged tour through Television studios, including 
stand-by visit in control room during telecast, and guest appear- 
ance in show. 

13 to 18. Six No. 3 Larjachrome kits (same as those mentioned 
above) for 35mm. and Bantam Kodachrome transparencies. (One 
to each winner.) 

19 to 40. A twelve-months' subscription (one for each of 22 win- 
ners) to GALAXY Science Fiction. 

Certain prizes may be subject to change in accordance with security policy. 





Part 2 of a 3 part serial 


It was an attractive offer. All Sutton had 
to do was modify an idea to live in wealth. 
But he had died for the truth once before! 

Illustrated by David Stone 


In the 80th Century, the status 
quo of Earth's galactic empire must 
be maintained at any cost, and no 
human may be killed ivithout a fear- 
ful penalty. Yet Christopher Adams, 
chief of the Dept. of Galactic Inves- 
tigation, has learned that several men 
on Aldebaran XII have been killed 
in an impossible ^accident, thus break- 
ing both supreme rules. 

As Adams 'worries, a stranger ap- 
pears and states that he is Adams' 
successor, returned from the future to 
warn him. Adams knows^ of only one 
insignificant experiment in time 
travel and does not believe him. The 
stranger says that Asher Sutton, an 
agent of Adams', is about to return 

from 61 Cygni after 20 years . . . 
and must be killed when he lands. 

Sutton does return, the only man 
ever to penetrate a strange force 
shield around Cygni' s pla??etary ■ sys- 
tem. His return is as weird 'as' his 
visit to the unapproachable star ... 
the ports of his ship are smashed, 
there is no air aboard, nor food and 
water. And, odder yet, he is not 
breathing. He forces his lungs and 
heart to function, then whispers, 
" Johnny," and there is a comforting 
stir in his mind. "W\e are home, 1 ' 
Sutton says. "We made it. This is my 
home, fohnny." 

But Sutton, back at his old hotel, 
finds that his suite has been kept 
•waiting for him for 20 years, and as 
he enters it, he is knocked out and 



his mind pried into, the contents of 
his attache case photostated. Adams, 
behind the attack, receives this start- 
ling report: Sutton's ship could not 
be flown; Sutton has a rebuilt body 
with alien organs added; Sutton* s at- 
tache case contains a MS in a lan- 
guage unknown in the galaxy. 

Sutton, recovering, is visited by an 
android — a synthetic human — named 
Herkimer, who tarries a challenge to 
a duel with Geoffrey Benton, Earth's 
foremost duelist. Then an android 
lawyer calls to explain that Buster, an 
old family robot, has filed a home- 
stead on a distant planet, and has left 
an old trunk for Sutton. Finally y a 
beautiful girl, Eva Armour, makes a 
dinner date with Sutton, promising 
that they will make an evening of it. 
Sutton is gloomily sure they will. 

Going with Eva to Zag House, 
where dreams are made to order, Sut- 
ton kills Benton, although shot at 
first. Eva hurries him out and in- m 
foxms him that Benton was psycho- 
logically conditioned to kill Sutton. 
He is bewildered by all this mysteri- 
ous attention, including Eva's assur- 
ance that, she is on his side and has 
studied him for 20 years. 

The trunk arrives from Buster, the 
family robot, containing a queer 
wrench and a letter 6,000 years old, 
addressed to John H. Sutton, appar- 
ently a remote ancestor. Before he 
can open it, the android , Herkimer 
appears and announces that Sutton 
has inherited him and a hunting' as- 
teroid and a small spaceship, under 
the dueling laws, from Benton. 

Sutton reports to Adams, his old 
chief, that the Cygnians are not dan- 
gerous to Man .... and that no other 
human will ever visit the system 
again. The inhabitants are not hu- 
mans, not even beings, he tells 
Adams; they are ^symbiotic abstrac- 
tions, forming closely joined partner- 
ships that help each partner, like the 
bacteria and plants that support each 
other chemically. Adams, unsatisfied, 
promises grimly to keep in touch 
with Sutton. 

Leaving Adams, Sutton visits Dr. 
Raven, his old professor in compara- 
tive religions. Dr. Raven admits to 
him that he has never found evidence 
of an actual force of destiny. Sutton 
states that he has. Not a new reli- 
gion, not faith or a hunch, but genu- 
ine, true destiny. 

Adams, meanwhile, talks by men- 
tophone— communication at the in- 
finite speed of- thought — with an 
agent on Aldebaran XII. The only 
clue to the mysterious slayings there 
is a book found at the wreck, so de- 
stroyed that only "by Asher Sutton" 
can be made out. A telecall from the 
?nan claiming to be Adams' future 
successor states that the killings on 
Aldebaran XII are an incident in a 
war in time . . . and Sutton is re- 
sponsible for that war. He insists 
that Sutton be killed. Adams decides 
reluctantly it might be best for the 
status quo to liquidate Sutton. 

Driving home from Dr. Raven's 
office, Sutton rescues a man from a 
crashed ship. The man seems to 
recognize Sutton, makes a cryptic 



sign, and, mumbling about a battle 
back in '83 and time-pimping, dies 
ivith a proud grin. Sutton, searching 
him for a clue to identity, finds a 
worn book: "This Is Destiny by 
Asher Sutton." // is the book Sut- 
ton plans to write, but has not yet 

Near his hotel, Sutton is am- 
bushed. Johnny, the entity in his 
mind, warns him and he escapes. But 
Herkimer, the android Sutton had 
ivon from Benton in the duel, ap- 
pears and says anxiously that they 
must flee Earth. Eva Armour is 
waiting with Sutton's spaceship. Sut- 
ton harshly replies that he is not 
stupid enough to walk into another 
trap. Herkimer, apologizing, knocks 
him out, 



SUTTON lay with his eyes tight 
shut and listened, heard the 
muted mutter of the coasting 
rocket tubes, sensed the walls of a 
ship around him, an air^filled shell 
hurtling through space. 

"Johnny," Sutton's mind called si- 
lently. "Where are we?" 

There was a gentle movement 
within his brain, as reassuring as a 
cheek laid against his own, and a 
voiceless voice answered: 

"We're in a ship, Ash, somewhere 
beyond Mars." 

"How many are in the ship with 


"The android and the girl. And 
they are friendly. I told you they 
were friendly. Why didn't you pay 

"I can't trust anyone." 

"Not even me?" 

"Not your judgment, Johnny, 
You're new here."- 

"Not new, Ash. I know Earth and 
Earth-men. Much better than you 
know them. You're not the first 
Earthman I've known." 

"I'm sorry. I keep forgetting." 

"And we should be as one. We 
were before. Why has it been dif- 
ferent lately?" 

Sutton's brain squirmed guiltily. 
''I don't know. Things have hap- 
pened. So many things." 

"One mind, Ash. One mind, one 
body. Not two, but one. Not you, 
nor I. Us, singular." 

Eva said: "You're awake, Ash. No 
use playing possum." • 

Sutton kept his eyes firmly shut, 
"You understand any of this, 
Johnny? This Morgan business?" 

"No, Ash." 

"But jou see a pattern?" 
• "I'm beginning to." 

"Then you're doing better than I 
am. Let me in on it." 

"Not yet, Ash. You're not ready." 

Eva Armour shook him. "Wake 
up," she said, 

Sutton opened his eyes. He was 
lying on a bunk and the girl was 
shaking him and she was angry and 
not at all gentle. Herkimer stuck 



his head out of the door of the pilot 
shell. "Coming around?" he asked. 

"Sure," said Sutton. "I'm all 
He swung his legs off the bunk 
and sat on its edge. His hand went 
up and felt the lump on his jaw. 

"I had to hit you hard," said 
Herkimer regretfully. "I tried to cal- 
culate it as closely as I could. Hard 
enough to knock you out, not hard 
enough to cause any real damage." 

"You should have pasted him,'' 
said Eva sharply, "with everything 
you had. I never saw a more exas- 
perating person. He's been lying here 
awake for the last five minutes." 

Herkimer squinted at the jaw with 
professional pride. "I do believe I 
got you on the button. First try, too." 
• The ship, Sutton saw, was small. 
But it was clean and comfortable and 
there would have been room enough 
for four or five on a short trip. 
Herkimer, talking his precise, copy- 
book speech, had said it was small, 
but serviceable. 

"I suppose," said Sutton, "you 
wouldn't consider telling me where 
you are taking me." 

"We don't mind at all," said Eva.. 
"We're going to an asteroid." 

"The hunting asteroid," added 
Herkimer. 'The one you won from 
Benton. It has a lodge and a good 
supply of food and it is comfort- 

"It will be pleasant," Sutton said, 
"-to do a little hunting." 

"You won't be doing any hunt- 
ing," Herkimer replied. 

Sutton raised his head, glanced 
sharply from one to the other. 

"You're going to write a book," 
said Eva. "Surely you know about 
the book. The Revisionists are. ..." 

"Yes," Sutton told her. 

"I know about the book — " 

He stopped, remembering, and his 
hand went involuntarily to his breast 
pocket. The book was there, all right, 
and something that crinkled when he 
touched it. He remembered that, too. 
The incredibly old letter that John 
H. Sutton had forgotten to open six 
thousand years before. 

"VTO," said Eva, "we didn't rob 

XN you. We didn't even search 

"About the book," said Sutton, 
and then stopped again. He had 
been about to say he needn't bother 
about writing the book, for he al- 
ready had a copy. But something 
stopped him; he wasn't certain that 
it was smart just then to let them 
know about the copy he had. 

"I brought along the case," said 
Herkimer. "The manuscript's all 
there. I checked through it." 

"And plenty of paper?" asked 
Sutton, mocking him. 

"Oh, yes. More than enough." 

Eva Armour leaned toward Sutton,- 
so close that he could smell the frag- 
rance of her copper hair. "Don't you . 
see," she asked, "how important it . 
is that you write this book? Don't 
you understand?" 

Sutton shook his head. Important, 
he thought. Important for what? 



He remembered the mouth that 
death pried open, the teeth glitter- 
ing in the moonlight, and the words 
of a dying man still ringing sharply 
in his ears. 

"No, I don't understand," he said. 
"Maybe you can tell me." 

She shook her head. "You write 
the book. That's your job." 


THE asteroid was enveloped in the 
perpetual twilight of the far- 
from-Sun and its frosty peaks speared 
up like sharp, silvery . needles stab- 
bing at the stars. 

The air was sharp and cold and 
thinner than on Earth and the won- 
der was, Sutton told himself, that 
any air could be ke^t on the place at 
all. Although at the cost that it had 
taken to make this asteroid habitable, 
it would seem that anything should 
be possible. The price of the atomic 
plants alone would run to the na- 
tional debt of a medium-size planet, 
and without atomics there would be 
no power to run the atmosphere gen- 
erators and gravity machines that 
supplied the air and held it in place. 

Once, he thought, Man had been 
content — had been forced to be con- 
tent — to find his solitude at a lake- 
shore cottage or a hunting lodge or 
aboard a pleasure yacht. But now, 
with the wealth of a galaxy to spend, 
Man fixed up an asteroid at a fabul- 
ous cost or bought out a solar sys- 
tem at a bargain price. 

"There's the lodge," said Herki- 
mer, and Sutton looked in the direc- 
tion of the pointing ringer. High up 
on the jigsaw horizon, he saw the 
shining metal building with its one 
pinpoint of light. 

"What's the light?" asked Eva. "Is 
there someone here?" 

Herkimer shrugged indifferently. 
"Someone forgot to turn it off when 
they left." 

Evergreens and birches, ghostlike 
in the starlight, stood in ragged 
clumps, like marching soldiers storm- 
ing the height where the lodge was 

'The path is over here," said 

He led the way and they climbed, 
with Eva in the center and Sutton 
bringing up the rear. The path was 
steep and uneven and the light was 
none too good, for the thin atmos- 
phere failed to break up the star- 
light. The stars themselves remained 
tiny, steely points of light that did 
not blaze or twinkle, but stood prim- 
ly in the sky like dots upon a map. 

The lodge, Sutton saw, apparent- 
ly sat upon a small plateau, and he 
knew that the plateau would be the 
work of Man. Nowhere else in all 
this jumbled landscape was it likely 
that one would find a level spot 
much bigger than a pocket handker- 

A movement or air, so faint and 
tenuous that it could be scarcely 
called a breeze, rustled down the 
slope and set the evergreens to moan- 
ing. Something scuttled from the 



path and skittered up the rocks. 
From somewhere far away came a 
screaming sound that set Sutton's 
teeth on edge. 

'That's an animal," Herkimer said 
quietly. He stopped and waved his 
hand at the tortured, twisted rock. 
"Great place to hunt," he added, "if 
you don't break a leg." 

SUTTON looked behind him and 
saw for the first time the true, 
savage wildness of the place. A 
frozen whirlpool of star-speckled ter- 
rain stretched below .them . . . 
great, yawning gulfs of blackness, 
above which stood brooding peaks 
and spirelike pinnacles. 

Sutton shivered at the sight. "Let's 
get on," he said. 

They climbed the last hundred 
yards and reached the Man-made 
plateau, then stood and stared across 
the nightmare landscape, and as he 
looked, Sutton felt the cold, hand of 
loneliness reach down with icy fin- 
gers to take him in its grip. For 
here was sheer, mad loneliness such 
as he had never dreamed. Here was 
the very negation of life and motion. 
Here was the stark, bald beginning 
when there was no life, nor even 
thought of life. Here anything that 
moved was an alien thing. 

A footstep crunched behind them 
and. they swung around. A man 
moved out of the starry darkness. 
His voice was pleasant and heavy as 
he spoke to them: "Good evening. 
We heard you land and I walked out 
to meet you." • 

Eva's voice was cold and just a 
little angry. "We had not expected 
anyone to be here." 

The man's tone stiffened. "I hope 
we are not trespassing. We are 
friends of Mr. Benton and he told 
us to use the place at our conveni- 

"Mr. Benton is dead," said Eva 
frostily* "This man is the new 

The man's head turned toward 
Sutton. "I'm sorry, sir. We did not 
'know. Of course, we'll leave the 
first moment that we can." 

"I see no reason," Sutton told 
him, "why you should not stay." 

"Mr. Sutton," said Eva, "came 
•here for peace and quiet. He ex- 
pects to write a book." 

"A book," the man repeated. "An 
author, eh?" 

Sutton had the uncomfortable feel- 
ing that the man was laughing, not 
' at him alone, but at the three of 

"Sutton?" asked the man, appar- 
ently thinking hard. "I don't seem to 
recall the name. But, then, I'm not 
a great reader." 

"I've never written anything be- 
fore," explained Sutton. 

"Oh, well," said the man, laugh- 
ing as if he were relieved, "that ex- 
plains it." 

"It's cold out here," Herkimer said 
abruptly. "Let us get. indoors." 

"Certainly," said the man. "Yes, 
it is cold, although I hadn't noticed 
it. By the way, my name is Pringk. 
My partner's name is -Case." 



No one answered him and after a 
few seconds he turned around and 
trotted ahead of them, leading the 

The lodge, Sutton saw as they ap- 
proached it, was larger than it had 
seemed from the valley where they 
had brought the ship in. It loomed 
huge against the starlit backdrop. If 
one had not known that it was there, 
it might have been mistaken for an 
odd rock formation. 

The door opened as their feet 
sounded on the massive stone steps 
which led up to it. Another man 
stood there, stiff and erect and tall, 
thin, but with whipcord strength 
about him, as the light from inside 
the room outlined his figure harshly. 

"The new owner, Case," said 
Pringle, and it seemed to Sutton that 
he emphasized the words just a bit 
too much. As if he meant his tone 
to be a warning. 

"Benton died, you know," said 
Pringle, and Case answered: "Oh, 
did he? How peculiar." 

Which, Sutton thought, was a 
funny thing to say. 

Case stood to one side to let them 
enter, then pulled shut the door. 

The room was immense, with only 
one lamp burning, and shadows 
pressed in upon them out of the 
dark corners and the cavernous £rch 
of the raftered ceiling. 

"I am afraid," said Pringle, "that 
you'll have to look out for your- 
selves. Case and I are roughing it and 
we brought along no robots, al- 
though I can fix up something if 

you happen to be hungry. A hot 
drink, perhaps, and some sand- 

"TT7E ATE just before we 

VV landed," Eva said, ^ "and 
Herkimer will take care of what few 
things we have." 

'Then take a chair," urged 
Pringle. "That one over there is com- 
fortable. We can talk a bit." 

"Not right now, thanks. The trip 
was 'just c a little rough." 

"You're an ungracious young 
lady," Pringle said; and his' words 
were halfway between jest and anger. 

"I'm a tired young lady." 
• Pringle walked to a wall, flipped 
up toggles. Lights sprang into being. 
'The bedrooms are upstairs," he 
said. "Off the balcony. Case and I 
have the first and second to the left. 
Take your pick from any of the 

He moved forward to lead them 
up the stairs. But Case spoke up and 
Pringle stopped and waited, one 
hand on the lower curve of the stair 
rail. • 

"Mr. Sutton," said Case, "it seems 
to me I have heard your name some- 

"I don't think so," said Sutton. 
"I'm a very unimportant person." 

"But you killed Benton." 

"No one said I killed him." 

Case did not laugh, but his voice 
said that if he had not been Case, 
he would have. "Nevertheless, you 
must have killed him. I happen to 
know that is the only way anyone 



could get this asteroid. Benton loved 
it and this side of life he'd never 
give it up." 

"Since you insist, then I did kill 

Case shook his head, awed. "Re- 
markable," he said. "Absolutely re- 

"Good night, Mr. Case," said Eva, 
and then turned to Pringle. "No 
need to trouble you. We will find 
our way." 

"No trouble," Pringle rumbled 
back. "No trouble at all." And, once 
again, he was laughing at them. 

He jogged lightly up the stairs. 


THERE was something wrong 
about Pringle and' Case. The 
very fact that they were here, at the 
lodge, was sinister. 

There riad been mockery in 
Pringle's voice. He had been laugh- 
ing at them all the time, laughing* 
with a sneering amusement, enjoying 
some thinly varnished joke that they 
did not know. 

Pringle was a talker, a buffoon . . . 
but Case was stiff and straight and 
correct, and when he spoke his words 
were clipped and sharp. There was 
something about Case . . . some point 
. . . some resemblance to something 
that escaped Sutton at the moment. 

Sitting on the edge of his bed, 
Sutton frowned. 

If I could just remember, he told 
himself. If I could put my finger on 

that mannerism, on the way he talks 
and walks and holds himself erect. 
If I could associate that with a cer- 
tain thing I can't identify, it would 
explain a lot. -It .might tell me who 
Case is, or what he is, or even why 
he's here. 

Case knew that I killed Benton. 
Case knows who I am. And he should 
have kept his mouth shut, but he had 
to let me know he knew, because that 
way he bolstered up his ego and even 
if he doesn't look it, his ego may 
need boosting. 

Eva didn't trust them, either, for 
she tried to tell me something when 
we parted at her door. I couldn't 
.quite make out what it was from the 
way she moved her lips, akhough it 
looked like she was trying to say: 
"Don't trust them." 

As if I would trust anyone . . . 
anyone at all. 

Sutton wiggled his toes and stared 
at them, fascinated. He tried to 
wiggle them in series and they 
wouldn't wiggle that way. He tried 
to match the wiggling of each toe 
on each foot and they wouldn't 

I can't even control my own body, 
he thought, and it was a funny thing 
to .think. 

Pringle and Case were waiting for 
us, Sutton told himself, and won- 
dered even as he said k if he might 
not be giving himself over to sheer 
imagery. For how could they be wait- 
ing when they could not have known 
that Herkimer and Eva would head 
for the asteroid? 



He shook his head, but the belief 
that the two had been waiting for 
them stayed . . . 

After all, it was not so strange. 
Adams had known that he was com- 
ing back to Earth, returning home 
after twenty years. Adams knew and 
set a trap for him ... and there 
was no way, absolutely no way that 
Adams could have known. • 

Why had Adams set the trap? 

Why had Buster run away to home- 
' stead a planet ? 

Why had someone conditioned 
Benton to kill Sutton? 

•Why had three men been waiting 
for Sutton when he came back to 
the Orion Arms? 

Why had Eva and Herkimer 
brought him to the asteroid? 

To write a book, they had said. 
■ But the book was written. 

The book . . . 

He reached for his coat, which 
hung from the back of a chair. From 
it, he took out the gold-lettered copy 
of the book and as he pulled it out, 
the letter came with it and fell upon 
the carpet. He picked the letter up 
and put it on the bed beside him and 
opened the book to the flyleaf. 

"THIS IS DESTINY," it said, 
"By Asber. Sutton." 

Underneath the title, at the very 
bottom of the page, was a line of 
fine print. Sutton had to hold the 
book a little closer so that he could 
read it: 

Original Version 
And that was all. No date of pub- 

lication. No marks of copyright. No 
publisher's imprint. Just the title and 
the author and the line of print that 
said Original Version. 

As if, he thought ... as if the 
book were so well known, so firm 
a 'fixture in the lives of everyone, 
that anything other than the title and 
the author would be superfluous. 

HE TURNED two pages and 
they were blank, and then an- 
other page, and the text began: 

We are not alone. 

No one ever is alone. 

Not since the first faint stir- 
ring of the first flicker of life, 
on the first planet in the galaxy 
that knew the quickening of 
sentiency, has there ever been a 
single entity that walked or 
crawled or slithered down the 
path of life alone. 

And that was it, he thought. That 
is the way I mean to write, it. 

That was the way I wrote it. 

For I must have written it: Some- 
time, somewhere, I must have writ- 
ten it, for I hold it in my hands. 

He closed the book and put it back 
carefully in the pocket and hung the 
coat back on the chair. 

I must not read it, he told him- 
self. I must not read and know the 
way that it will go, for then I would 
write the way that I had read it, and 
I must not do that. I must write it 
the way I know it is, the way I plan 
to write it. I must be honest, for 



someday the race of Man . . . and 
the races of other things as well 
. . . may know the book and read it 
and every word must be exactly so, 
and I must write so well and so sim- 
ply that all can understand. > 

He threw back the covers of the 
bed and lay down, and as he did, he 
saw the letter and picked it up. 

With a steady finger, he inserted 
his nail beneath the flap and ran it 
along the edge and the mucilage dis- 
solved in a brittle shower of pow- 
der. He took the letter out and un- 
folded it carefully, so that it would 
not break and saw that it was type- 
written, with many mistakes that 
were X'd out, as, if the man who 
wrote it had found a typewriter an 
unhandy thing to use. 

Sutton rolled over on one side 
and held the paper under the lamp 
and read the living words of a man 
6,000 years dead. 


Bridgeport, Wis., 
July 11, 1987 

I WRITE this letter to myself, so 
that the postmark may prove be- 
yond controversy the day and year 
that it was written. I shall not open 
it, but shall place it among my ef- 
fects against the day when someone 
— a far-distant member of my own 
family, God willing — may open it 
and read. And reading, know the 
thing that I believe and think, but 

dare not say while I am still alive, 
lest someone call me touched. 

For I have not long to live. I have 
lasted more than a man's average 
span- and while I still am hale and 
hearty, I know full well the hand of, 
time may miss a man at one reaping, 
and get him at the next. Hence, I 
hasten to introduce myself and the 
mystery I have come "to know. 

My name is John H. Sutton and 
I, am a member of a numerous family 
which had its roots in the east, but 
one branch of which situated in this 
locality about one hundred years ago. 
I must ask, if the reader of this be" 
unacquainted with the Suttons, that 
my word be taken at face value with- 
' out substantiating proof. However, I 
would like to state that we Suttons 
are a sober lot and not given to 
jokes, and that our reputation for 
integrity and honesty . is singularly 
unquestioned. » 

While I was educated for the law, 
I soon found it not entirely to my 
liking and for the last forty years 
or more have followed the occupa- 
tion of farming, finding more con- 
tentment in it than I ever found in 
law. For farming is an honest and a 
soul-warming job that gives one con- 
tact with the first essentials of liv- 

For the past number of years I 
have not been physically able to con- 
tinue with the more strenuous labor 
of the farm,* but pride myself that 
I still do most of the chores and still 
hold active management, which 
means that I am in the habit of mak- 



ing regular tours of the acres to see 
how things are coming. 

Of late years, as. my' step has 
slowed and I have found exertion tir- 
ing, I have fallen into the habit of 
arbitrarily setting for myself certain 
places of rest during my inspection 
of the farm. One spot has always 
had, from the very first, a sense of 
the special for me. If I were still a 
child, I might best explain it by say- 
ing that it seems to be 'an enchanted 

It is a deep cleft in the bluff that 
runs down to the river valley and it 
is located at the north end -of the 
high "pasture. There is a fair-sized 
boulder at the top of the cleft,, and 
this boulder is shaped appropriately 
for sitting, which may be one of the 
reasons why I like it, for I am a man 
who takes to comfort. 

From the boulder one may see the 
sweep of the river valley with a 
stressed third-dimensional quality, 
due no doubt to the height of the 
vantage point plus the clearness of 
the air, although at times the whole 
scene is enveloped with a blue mist 
of particularly tantalizing and lucid 

IT IS as if the place were tingling 
. . . waiting for something to 
happen ... as if that one particular 
spot' held great possibilities for 
drama or for revelation. There, on 
that one area of Earth, something 
could or might happen which could 
happen nowhere else on the entire 
planet. I have, at times, tried to 

imagine what that happening might 
be, and I shrink from telling some 
of the possibilities that I have 
imagined, although, in truth, in other 
things I am perhaps not imagina- 
tive enough. 

To approach the boulder, I cut 
across the lower end of the bluff pas- 
ture, a place which is often in bet- 
ter grass than the test of the grazing 
area, for the cattle, for some reason, 
do not often venture there. The pas- 
ture ends in a thin growth of trees, 
the forerunners of the mass of foli- 
age which sweeps down the bluff 
side. Just a few rods inside the trees 
is the boulder, and because of the 
trees the boulder is always shaded, 
no matter what the time of the day, 
but the view is unobstructed because 
of the rapid shelving of the ground. 

One day about ten years ago— ^ 
July 4, 1977, to be exact — I ap- 
proached this place and found a man 
and a strange machine at the lower 
end of the pasture, just clear of the 

I say machine, because that is what 
it appeared to be, although, to tell 
the truth, I could not make too much 
of it. It was like an egg t pointed 
slightly at each end, as an egg might 
look if someone stepped on it and 
did not break it, but spread it out, 
so that the ends became more pro- 
nounced. It had no working parts 
outside and so far as I could see not 
even a window, yet it was apparent 
that the operator of it sat inside. 

For the man had what appeared 
to be a door open and was standing 



outside and working at what may 
have been the motor, although, when 
I ventured a look, it appeared like no 
motor I had ever seen before. The 
fact is that I never did get a good 
look at the motor or at anything else 
a&out the contraption. The man, as 
soon as he saw me, adroitly maneu- 
vered me away from it and engaged 
me in such pleasant and intelligent 
conversation that I could not, with- 
out rudeness, change the subject long 
enough to pay attention to all the 
things that stirred my curiosity. I re- 
member now, thinking back, that 
there were many things which I 
wanted to ask him, but which I never 
got around to, and it seems to me 
now that he must have anticipated 
these very questions and deliberate- 
ly and skillfully steered me away 
from them. 

The plain truth is that he never 
did tell me who he was or where 
he came from or why he happened 
to be in my pasture. And while that 
may seem rude to the reader of this 
account, it did not seem rude at the 
time, for he was such a charming 
pe'rson. J . 

He seemed well informed on farm- 
ing, although he looked like no 
farmer. Come to think of it, I do 
not remember exactly what he did 
look like, only that he was dressed 
in a way which I had never seen be- 
fore. Not garishly, nor outlandishly, 
nor even in such a manner that one 
would think of him as foreign, but 
in clothing which had certain subtle 
differences difficult to pin down. 

He complimented me on the good 
growth of the pasture grass and 
asked me how .many head of cattle 
we ran there and how many we were 
milking and what was the most satis- 
factory manner we had found to fin- 
ish off good beef. 'I answered him 
as best I could, being very interested 
in his line of talk, and he kept the 
conversation going with appropriate 
comment and questions, some of 
which I now realize were meant as 
subtle flattery, although at the time 
I did not think so. 

HE HAD a tool of some sort in 
his hand and now he waved 
it at a field of corn across the fence 
and said it looked like a good stand 
and asked me if I thought it would 
be knee high by the Fourth. I told 
him that today was the Fourth and 
that it was, a mite better than knee 
high and that I was very pleased with 
it, since it was a new brand of seed 
that I was trying for the first time. 
He looked a little taken aback and 
laughed and said, "So, it's the 
Fourth," and that he had been so 
busy lately he had got his dates 
mixed. And then, before I could 
even wonder how a man could get 
his dates so mixed that he could 
miss the "Fourth of July, he was off 
again on another tack. 

He asked how long I had lived 
here and when I told him, he asked 
if the family hadn't been here a 
long time; somewhere, he said, he 
had heard the name before. So I told 
him that we had and before I knew 



it, he had me telling all about the 
family, including some anecdotes 
which we usually do not tell outside 
the family circle, since they are not 
exactly the kind of stories that we 
would care to have known about our- 
selves. For while our family is con- 
servative and honorable in the main 
and better in most things than many 
others, there is no family which does 
not have a skeleton or two to hide 
away from view. 

We talked until it was long past 
the dinner hour and when I noticed 
this, I asked him if he would not 
take the meal with us, but he thanked 
me and said that in just a short while 
he would have the trouble fixed and 
would be on his way. He said that 
he had virtually completed whatever 
repair was needed when I had ap- 
peared. - I apologized for delaying 
him, but he assured me that he did 
not mind at all, that it had been 
pleasant to spend the time with me. 

As I left him, I managed to get 
in one question. I had been intrigued 
by the tool which he had held in his 
hand during our conversation and I 
asked him what it was. He showed it 
to me and told me it was a wrench, 
and it did look something like a 
wrench, although not very much so. 

After 1 had eaten dinner and had 
a nap, I walked back to the pasture, 
determined to ask the stranger some 
of the questions which I realized, 
by this time, he had avoided. 

The machine was gone and the 
stranger, too, with only a print in 
the pasture grass to show where the 

machine had stood. But the wrench 
was there and when I bent to pick 
it up, I saw that one end was discol- 
ored and upon investigation I found 
that the discoloration was blood. I 
have, many times since, berated my- 
self for not having had an analysis 
made to determine whether the blood 
was human or from some animal. 

Likewise, I have wondered many 
times just what happened there. Who 
the man was and how he came to 
leave the wrench and why the heavier 
end of the wrench was stained with 

I still make the boulder one of 
my regular stops and the boulder still 
is always in the shade and the view 
still is unobstructed and the air over 
the river valley still lends to the 
scene its strangely deep three-dimen- 
sional effect. And the sense of tin- 
gling expectancy still hangs above the 
spot, so I know that the place had 
not been waiting for this one strange 
happening alone, but that other 
strange happenings still may occur. I 
do not hope nor expect that I shall 
see another, for the life of man is 
but a second in comparison with the 
time of planets. 

THE wrench which I picked up is 
still with us and it has proved 
a very useful tool. As a matter of 
fact, we have dispensed with most 
of our other tools and use it almost 
alone, since it will adjust itself to 
almost any nut or stud or will hold 
a shaft of almost any size from turn- 
ing. There is no need of adjustment, 



nor is there any adjustment device 
that can be found. One simply ap- 
plies it' to- whatever piece, of metal 
one wants to take a grip upon and 
the tool adjusts itself. No great 
amount of pressure or strength is 
needed to operate the wrench. It ap- 
pears to have the, tendency to take 
whatever slight pressure one exerts 
upon it and multiply that pressure to 
the exact point needed. 

However, we are very careful to 
use the wrench only when ■ there are 
no outside eyes to see it, for it smacks 
too much of magic or of witchcraft 
to be allowed on public view. The 
general knowledge that we possessed 
such a wrench almost certainly would 
lead to unwholesome speculation 
among our neighbors. And since we 
are an honest and respectable family, 
such a situation is the furthest from 
our wish. 


NONE of us ever talk about the 
man and the machine I found 
in the bluff pasture, even among 
ourselves. We seem tactfully to rec- 
ognize that it is a subject which does 
not befit sober farmers. 

But while we do not talk about 
it,' I do know that I, myself, think 
about it much. I spend more time 
than usual at the boulder resting 
place, just why, I do not know, un- 
less it is in the feeble hope that some- 
how I may find a clue which either 
will substantiate or disprove the 
theory I have formed to account for 
the happening. 

For I believe, without proof of 

any sort, that the man was a man 
A'ho came from time and that the 
machine was a time machine and the 
wrench is a tool which will not be 
discovered nor manufactured for 
more years to come than I might 
possibly guess. 

I believe that somewhere in the 
future, Man has discovered a method 
by which he moves through time and 
that undoubtedly he has evolved a 
very rigid code of ethics and prac- 
tices, in order to prevent the para- 
doxes which would result from in- 
discriminate time traveling or meddl- 
ing in the affairs of other times. 

I believe that the leaving of the 
wrench in my time provides. one of 
those paradoxes which in itself is 
simple, but which under certain cir- 
cumstances might lead to many com- 
plications. For that reason, I have 
impressed upon the family the strict 
necessity of keeping it secret. 

Likewise, I have come to the con- 
clusion — also unsupported — that the 
cleft, at the head of which the boul- 
der is located, may be a road through 
time, or at least part of a road, a 
single point where our present time 
coincides very closely through the 
operation of some as-yet-unknown 
principle with another time far re- 
moved from us. It may be a place in 
space-time where less resistance is en- 
countered in traveling through time 
than in other places, and, having 
been discovered, is usey^cjuite fre- 
quently. Or it may simply 'be that it 
is a time road more deeply rutted, 
more frequently used than many 



other time roads, with the result that 
whatever medium, separates one time 
from another time had been worn 
thin, or had bulged a bit, or what- 
ever would happen under such a cir- 

That reasoning might explain the 
strange eerie tingling of the place, 
the sense of expectancy. 

The reader must bear in mind, of 
course, that I am an old, old man, 
that I have outlived the ordinary 
span of human life and that I con : 
tinue to exist through some quirk of 
human destiny. While it does not 
seem so to myself, it may be that 
my mind is not as sharp or keen nor 
as analytical as it may once have 
been, and that as a result I am sus- 
ceptible to ideas which would be re- 
jected by a younger person. 

The one bit of proof, if one may 
call it proof, that I have to support 
my theories is that the man I met 
could well have been a future man, 
might well have sprung from some 
civilization further advanced than 
ours. For it must be apparent to 
whoever reads this letter that in my 
talk with him he used me for his 
own purpose, that he pulled the wool 
over my eyes as easily as a man of 
my day might pull it over the eyes 
of a Homeric Greek or some mem- 
ber of Attila's tribe. He was, I am 
sure, a man versed in semantics and 
in psychology. Certainly, he always 
was one long jump ahead of me. 

I write this now only so that my 
theories, which I shrink from telling 
in my lifetime, may not be wholly 

lost, but may be available at some 
future time when a more enlighten- 
ed knowledge than we have today 
may be able to make something out 
of them. And I hope that, reading 
them, one will not laugh, since I 
am dead. For if one did laugh, I am 
afraid that, dead as I might be, I 
would surely know it. 

THAT is the failing of us Suttons 
— we cannot bear to be. made 
the butt of laughter. 

And in case one may believe that 
my mind is twisted, I herewith en- 
close a physician's certificate, signed 
just three days ago, asserting that 
upon examination he found me 
sound of body and mind. 

But the story I have to tell is not 
yet entirely done. These additional 
events should have been included in 
earlier sequence, but »I found no 
place in which they logically would 

fit. , 

They concern the strange incident 
of the stolen clothing and the com- 
ing of William Jones. 

The clothing was stolen a few 
days after the incident in the high 
pasture. Martha had done the wash- 
ing early in the day," before the heat 
of the summer sun, and hung it on 
the line. When she went to take in 
the clothes, she found that an old 
pair of overalls of mine, a shirt" be- 
longing to Roland and a couple pair 
of socks, the ownership of which I 
fear I have forgotten, had disap- 

The theft made quite a stir among 




us„ for thievery is a thing which 
does not often happen in our com- 
munity. We talked about it off and 
on for several days, and finally agreed 
that the theft must have been the 
work of some passing tramp.. Even 
that explanation was scarcely satisfac- 
tory. We are off the beaten way and 
tramps do not often pass, and that 
year, as I remember it, was a year of 
great prosperity and there were few 

It was two weeks or so after the 
theft of the clothing that William 
Jones came to the house and asked 
if we might need a hand to help 
with the harvest. We were glad to 
take him on, for we were short of 
help and the wages that he asked 
were far below the going pay. We 
took him on for the harvest only, 
but he proved so capable that we 
have kept him all of ten years. Even 
as I write this, he is out in the barn- 
yard readying the binder for the 
small grain cutting. 

There is a funny thing about Wil- 
liam Jones. In this country a man 
soon acquires a nickname or at least 
a variation of his own. But William 
Jones always has been William Jones. 
He never has been Will or Bill or 
Willie. Nor has he been Spike or 
Bub or Kid.- Not even Jonesy. There 
is a quiet dignity about him that 
makes everyone respect him, and his 
love of work and his quiet, intelli- 
gent interest in farming raise him far 
above the usual status of a hired 
hand in the community. 

He never drinks, a thing for which 

I am thankful, although at one time 
I had my misgivings. For when he 
came to us, he had a bandage on his 
head and he explained to me, 
shamefacedly, that he had been hurt 
in a tavern brawl across the river 
somewhere in Crawford County. 

I don't know when it was that 
I began to wonder about William 
Jones. Certainly it was not at first, 
for I accepted him for what he pre- 
tended to be, a man looking for 
work. If there was any resemblance 
to the man I had talked with down 
in the pasture, I did not' notice it 
then. And, now, having seen it at 
this late date, I wonder if my 
imagination, running riot with my 
theories of time travel, may not have 
conditioned me to a point where I 
see a mystery crouching back of every 

But the conviction has grown 
lipon me through the years I have as- 
sociated with him. For all that he 
tries to keep his place, attempts to 
adapt his idiom to match our idiom, 
there are times when his speech hints 
at an education and an understanding 
one 1 would not expect to find in a 
man who works on a farm for $75 
a month and board. 

THERE, too, is his natural shyness, 
which is a thing one would ex- 
pect to find if a man were deliber- 
ately attempting to adapt himself to 
a society that was not his own. 

And there is the matter of the 
.clothes. Thinking back, I can't be 
sure about the overalls, for all over- 



alls look alike. But the shirt was 
exactly like the shirt that had been 
stolen from the line, although I tell 
myself that it would not be improb- 
able for two men to own the same 
kind of shirt. And he was bare- 
footed, which seemed a funny thing 
even at the time, but he explained it 
by saying that he- had been down on 
his luck and I remember I advanced 
him enough money to buy some 
shoes and socks. But it turned out 
that he didn't .need the socks, for he 
had two pair in his pocket. 

A few years ago I decided several 
times that I would speak to him 
about the matter, but each time my 
resolution failed and now I know 
I never will. For I like William 
Jones and William Jones likes me 
and 1 would not for the world de- 
stroy that mutual liking by a question 
that might send him fleeing from 
the farm. 

There is yet one other thing which 
goes to make William Jones unlike 
most farm hands. With his first 
money from his work here, he bought 
a typewriter and during the first 
two or three years that he was with 
us, he spent long hours of his eve- 
ings in his room using the type- 
writer and tramping about the room, 
as a man who is thinking is apt to 

And then one day, in the early 
morning, before the rest of us had 
gotten from our beds, he took a great 
sheaf of paper, apparently the result 
of. those long hours of work, and 
burned it. Watching from my bed- 

room window, I watched him do it 
and he stayed until he was sure that 
the last scrap of the paper had been 
burned. Then he turned around and 
walked back slowly to the house. 

I never mentioned to him the burn- 
ing of the paper, for I felt, some- 
how, that it was something he did 
not wish another man to know. 

I might go on for many pages and 
write down many other inconsequen- 
tial, trivial things which rattle in my 
skull, but they would not add one 
iota of actual information, and 
might, in fact, convince the reader 
that I am in my dotage. 

To whom this letter may reach, 
I wish to make one last assurance. 
While my theory may be wrong, 1 
would have him or her believe that 
the facts I have told are true. I would 
have him or her know that I did 
see a strange machine in the high 
pasture and that I did talk with a 
strange man, that I picked up a 
wrench with blood upon it, that 
clothes were stolen from the wash 
line and that even now a man named 
William Jones is pumping himself a 
drink of water at the well, for the 
day is very hot. 


John H. Sutton 


ASHER SUTTON folded the let- 
ter and the crackling of the old 
paper rippled across the quietness of 



the room unlike a spiteful snarl of 

Then he recalled something and 
unfolded the sheaf of leaves again 
and found the thing that had been 
mentioned. It was yellow- and old 
.... not as good a quality of paper 
as the letter had been ' written on. 
The writing was by hand, with ink, 
and the lines were faded so they 
hardly could be read. The date was 
unclear, except for the final 7. 
Sutton puzzled it out: 

John H. Sutton today has 
been examined by me and I find 
him sound -oj mind and body. 


The signature was a scrawl that 
probably could not have been read 
even when the ink was scarcely dry, 
but there were two letters that stood 
out fairly clearly at the very end. 

The letters were M. D. 

Sutton stared across the room and 
saw in his mind the scene of that 
long gone day. 

"Doctor, I've a mind to make a 
will. Wonder if you could . . ." 

For John H. Sutton never would 
have told the doctor the real reason 
for that slip of paper . . . the real 
reason why he wanted it established 
that he was not insane. 

Sutton could imagine him. Pon- 
derous in his walk, slow, deliberate, 
taking plenty of time to think things 
over, placing vast values on qualities 
and fictions which even in that day 
were shopworn and losing caste from 
centuries of over-glorification. 

An old tyrant to his family, more 
likely. A fuddy-duddy among his 
neighbors, who laughed behind his 
back. A -man lacking in humor and 
crinkling his brow over fine matters 
of etiquette and ethics. 

He had been trained for the law 
and he had a lawyer's mind; that 
much, at least, the letter told with 
clarity. A lawyer's mind for detail, 
and a landed man's quality of slow- 
ness, and an old man's garrulity. 

But there was no mistaking Jothn 
Sutton's sincerity. He believed he had 
seen a strange machine and had 
talked with a strange man and had 
picked up a wrench stained with . . . 

A wrench! 

Sutton sat upright on the bed. 

THE wrench had been in the 
trunk. He had held it in his 
hand. He had picked it up and 
tossed it on the pile of junk. 

Sutton's hand trembled as he slid 
the letter back into its envelope. First 
it had been the stamp that had in- 
trigued him, a stamp that was worth 
Lord knew how much . . . then it 
was the letter itself and the mystery 
of its being sealed . . . and now there 
was the wrench. And the wrench 
clinched everything. 

For the wrench meant that there 
actually had been a strange machine 
and a stranger man ... a man who 
knew enough semantics and psychol- 
ogy to talk a talkative, self-centered 
oldster off his mental feet. Fast 
enough on the uptake to keep this 
inspection-tripping farmer from ask- 



ing him the very questions the man 
was bubbling to ask. 

Who are you and where did you 
come from and what's that machine 
and how does it run and I never saw 
the like of it before . . . 

Hard to answer, if they were ever 

They were not asked. 

But Asher Sutton chuckled, think- 
ing of John H. Sutton's having the 
last word and how it had come about. 
It would please the old boy if he 
could only know, but, of course, he 

There had been some slips natu- 
rally. The letter had. been lost or mis- 
laid . . . and .finally, somehow, it had 
come into the hands of another Sut- 
ton, 6,000 years removed. 

And Asher Sutton was the only 
Sutton for whom the letter would 
have done a bit of good. For the let- 
ter tied in someplace, had some sig- 
nificance in the mystery that involved 

Men who traveled in time. Men 
whose time machines went haywire 
and came to landfall or timefall, 
whichever you might call it, in a cow 
pasture. And other men who fought 
in time and screamed through folds 
of time in burning ships and crashed 
in a swamp. 

A battle back in '83, the dying 
youth had said. Not a battle at 
Waterloo or /off the Martian orbit, 
but back in '83. And the man had 
cried his name just before he died 
and lifted himself to make a sign 
with strangely twisted fingers. 

So I am known, thought Sutton, 
up in '83 and beyond '83, for the 
boy said back and that means that, 
in his time, a time three centuries 
yet to come is historically the past. 

Sutton reached for his coat again 
and slid the letter into the pocket 
with the book, then rolled out of 
bed. He reached for (his clothes and 
began to dress. 

Pringle and Case had used a space- 
ship to get to the asteroid. Sutton 
had to find that ship. 

. XXI 



THE lodge was deserted, big and 
empty with an alienness in its 
emptiness that made Sutton, who 
should have been accustomed to 
alienness, shiver as he felt it touch 

He stood for a moment outside his 
door and listened to the whispering 
of the place, the faint, illogical 
breathing of the house, the creak of 
frost-expanded walls, the caress of 
wind against a windowpane, and the 
noises that could not be explained 
by either frost or wind, the living 
sound of something that is not alive. 

The carpeting in the hall deadened 
his footsteps as he went down it to- 
ward the stairs. Snores came from 
one of the two rooms which Pringle 
had said that he and Case occupied, 
and Sutton wondered for a moment 
which one of them it was that snored. 
• He went carefully down the stairs, 
trailing his hand along the bannister 



to guide him. When he reached the' 
massive living space, he waited, 
Standing motionless so that his" eyes 
might become accustomed to the 
deeper dark that crouched there like 
lairing animals. 

Slowly the animals took the shapes 
of chairs and couches, tables, cabi- 
nets and cases. One of the chairs, 
he saw, had a man sitting in it. 

As if he had become aware that 
Sutton had seen him, the man stirred, 
turning his face toward him. And 
although it was too dark to see his 
features, Sutton knew that the man 
in the chair was Case. 

Then, he thought, the man who 
snores is Pringle, although he knew 
it made no difference which it was. 

"QO, Mr. Sutton," Case said 
• iO slowly, "you decided to go out 
and try to find our ship." 

"Yes," Sutton said, "I did." 

"Now that is fine," said Case. 
'That is the way I like a man to 
speak up and say what's on his 
mind." He sighed. "You meet so 
many devious -persons, so many peo- 
ple who try to lie to you, so many 
people who tell you half truths and 
feel, while they're doing it, that they 
are being clever." 

He rose out of the chair, tall and 
straight and prim. 

"Mr. Sutton," he said, "I like you 
very much." 

Sutton felt like grinning at the 
absurdity of the situation, but a cold- 
ness and a half anger in him told 
him this was no laughing matter. 

Footsteps padded softly down the 
stairs behind him and Pringle's voice 
whispered through the room: "So he 
decided to make a try for it." 

"As* you see," said Case. 

"I told you that he would," said 
Pringle, almost triumphantly. "I told 
you that he would get it figured out." 

Sutton choked down the gorge that 
rose into his throat. But the anger 
held, anger at the way they talked 
about him as if he weren't there. 

"I fear," said Case to Sutton, "that 
we have disturbed you. We are most 
untactful people and you are sensi- 
tive. But let's forget it all and get 
down to business now. You wanted, 
I believe, to ferret out our ship." 

Sutton shrugged his shoulders. 
"That's out now, isn't it?" 

"Oh, but you misunderstand," said 
Case. "We have no objection. Go 
ahead and ferret." 

"Meaning I can't find it?" 

"Meaning that you can," said 
Case. "We didn't try to hide it." 

"We'll even show you the way," 
said Pringle. "We'll go along with 
you. It will take you a lot less time." 

Sutton felt a fine ooze of perspira- 
tion break out along his hairline. 

A trap, he told himself. A trap 
laid out in plain sight and not even 
baited. And he'd walked into it with- 
out even looking. 

But it was too late now. There was 
no backing out. 

He tried to make his voice sound 

"All right,", he said. "I'll gamble 
with you." 





rriHp ship was strange, but very 
J- real. And it was the only thing 
that was. All the rest of the situation 
had a vague, unrealistic, almost fairy 
character about it, as it it might be 
a bad dream and Sutton would wake 
up and for an agonizing moment try 
to distinguish between dream and 

"That map over there," said 
Pringle, "puzzles you, no doubt. 
There is every reason that it should. 
It is a time map." He chuckled and 
rubbed the back of his head with a 
beefy Rand. "Tell the truth, I don't 
understand the thing myself. Case 
does. Case is a military man -and 
I'm just a propagandist. A propa- 
gandist doesn't have to know what 
he is talking about, just so he talks 
convincingly. But a military man 
does. A military man has to know; 
some day his life may depend on 
knowing." ' 

So that was it, thought Sutton. 
That was the thing that had bothered 
him, the clue that he had told him- 
self would explain Case, who he was 
and what he was and why he was 
here on this asteroid. 

A military man. 

I should have guessed, Sutton said 
to himself. But I was thinking in the 
present . . . not the past or future. 
And there are no military men, as 
such, in the world today. Although 
there were military men before my 
time and apparently there will be 
military men in ages yet to come. 

He said to Case: "War in four 
dimensions must be slightly compli- 

And lie didn't say it because he 
was- interested at the moment in war, 
either in three or four dimensions, 
but because he felt that it was his 
turn to talk, his turn to keep this 
Mad Hatter tea chatter going at its 
proper senseless pace. 

For that was what it was, he told 
himself ... an utterly illogical situa- 
tion, a madcap, slightly psychotic 
interlude that might have its pur- 
pose, but hidden and tangled in con- 

The time has come, the Walrus 
said, to talk of many things, of seal- 
ing wax and sailing ships, of cab- 
bages and . . . 

Case smiled , when he spoke to 
him, a tight, hard, clipped military 

"Primarily," Case said, "it is sl 
matter of charts and graphs arid very 
special knowledge and some super- 
guessing. You figure out where the 
enemy may be and what he may be 
thinking and you get there first." 

Sutton shrugged. "Basically that 
always was the principle," he said. 
"You got there fustest . . ." 

"Ah," said Pringle, -but there are 
now so many more places where the 
enemy may go." 

"You work with thought graphs 
and attitude charts and historic re- 
ports," said Case, almost as if he had 
not been interrupted. "You trace 
back certain happenings and then 
you return and try to change some 



of those happenings ... just a little, 
you understand, for you must not 
change -them much. Only enough so 
the. end result is slightly different, 
just a little less favorable to the en- 
emy. One change here and another 
there and you have him on the run." 
"It drives you nuts," said Pringle 
confidentially. "Because you must be 
sure, you see. You pick out a nice 
juicy historic trend and you figure 
it out to the finest detail and you 
pick a key point where change is in- 
dicated, so you go back and change 
it . . ."' 

" A ND then," said Case, "it kicks 

A you in the face." 

"Because, you understand," ex- 
plained Pringle, "the historian was 
wrong. Some of his material was 
wrong or his method was clumsy or 
his reasoning was off . . ." 

"Somewhere along the line," said 
Case, "he missed a factor." 

"That's r i g h t," said Pringle, 
"somewhere he missed a factor and 
you find, after you have changed it, 
that it affects your side more than *t 
does your enemy's." 

"Now, Mr. Bones," said Sutton, 
his face straight, "I wonder if you 
could tell me why a chicken runs 
across the road." 

"Yes, Mr. Interlocutor," said 
Pringle, also without a smile. "Be- 
cause it wants to get on the other 

Cartoon stuff, thought Sutton. A 
scene jerked raw and bleeding from 
a crazy humorist's routine. 

But clever. Pringle was a propa- 
gandist and he was no fool. He knew 
semantics and he knew psychology. 
He knew all there was to know about 
the 'human race, so far as that knowl- 
edge could serve his sinister unknown 

A man had landed in the high pas- 
ture one morning, 6,000 years be- 
fore, and John H. Sutton, Esq., had 
come ambling down trie hill, swing- 
ing a stick, for he was the sort of 
man who would ihave carried a stick 
— a stout, strong hickory stick, no 
doubt, cut and trimmed with his own 
jackknife. And the man had talked 
with him and had used the same kind 
of mental tactics on John H. Sutton 
as Pringle now was trying to use on 
Sutton's far descendant. 

Go ahead, said Sutton to himself. 
Talk yourself hoarse in the throat 
and dry in the tongue. And pretty 
soon we'll get down to business. 

As if he had read Sutton's 
thoughts, Case said to Pringle: "Jake, 
it isn't working out." 

"No, I guess it ain't," said Pringle. 

"Let's sit down," said Case. 

Sutton felt a flood of relief. Now, 
he told himself, he would find out 
what the others wanted, might get 
some clue to what was going on. 

He sat down in a pressure chair* 
and from where he sat he could see 
the front end of the spaceship's 
cabin, a tiny living space that 
shrieked efficiency. The control board 
canted in front of the pilot's chair, 
but there were few controls. A row 
of buttons, lever or two, a panel of 


AAC ri - 


toggles that probably controlled lights 
and pbrts and such , . . and that 
was all. Efficient and simple, no fool- 
ishness, a minimum of manual con- 
trols. The ship, Sutton thought, must 
almost fly itself. < 

Case slid down into a chair and 
crossed his long legs, stretching them 
out in front of him, sitting on his 
backbone. Pr ingle perched on a 
chair's edge, leaning forward, rub- 
bing hairy hands. 

"Sutton,*' asked Case, "what is it 
that you want?" 

"Not a thing," said Sutton. "Not 
a single thing." 

"But that's foolish," Pringle pro- 
■tested. "There must be something 
you want." 

"A little information, maybe." 

"Like what?" 

"Like what this is all about." 

"You're going to write a book," 
said Case. 

"Yes," said Sutton. "I intend to 
write a book." 

"And you want to sell that book." 

"I hope to see it published." 

" A BOOK," Case pointed out, 

Jr\. "is a commodity. It's a prod- 
uct of brain and muscle. It has a 
market value." 

"I suppose," said Sutton, "that you 
are in the market." 

"We are publishers," said Case, 
"looking for a book." 

"A best seller," Pringle added. 

Case uncrossed his legs, hitched 
himself higher in the chair. "It's all 
quite simple," he said. "Just a busi- 

ness deal. We wish you would set 
your price." 

"Make it high," urged Pringle. 
"We are prepared to pay." 

"I have no price in mind," said 

"We had discussed it," Case told 
him, "in a rather speculative man- 
ner, wondering how much you might 
want and how mudi we might be 
willing to give. We figured a planet 
might be attractive to you." 

"We'd make it a- dozen planets," 
Pringle said, "but that doesn't make 
sense. What would a man do with a 
dozen planets?" 

"He might rent them out," said 

"You mean," asked Case, "that 
you might be interested in a dozen 

"No, I wouldn't," Sutton an- 
swered. "Pringle wondered what a 
man would do with a dozen planets 
and I was being helpful. I said . . ." 

Pringle leaned so far forward in 
his chair that he was almost off it. 
"Look, we aren't talking about one 
of the backwoods planets out at the 
tail end of nowhere. We're offering 
you a landscaped planet, free of all 
venomous and hostile life, with a 
salubrious climate and tractable na- 
tives and all the customary living ac- 
commodations and improvements." 

"And the money," said Case, "to 
keep it running for the rest of your 

"Right spang in the middle of the 
galaxy," said Pringle. "It's an ad- 
dress you wouldn't be ashamed of." J 



"I'm not interested," said Sutton. 

Case's temper cracked. "Good 
Lord,, what is it that you want?" 

"I want information," Sutton said. 

Case sighed. "All right, then. 
We'll give you information." 

"Why do you want my book?" 
• "There are three parties interested 
in your book," said Case. "One of 
those parties would kill you to pre- 
vent your writing it. What is more 
to the point, they probably will if 
you don't throw in with us." 

"And the third party?" ' 
'The third party wants you to 
write the book, all right, but they 
won't pay you a thing for doing it. 
They'll do all they can to make it 
easy for you to write the book and 
they'll try to protect you from the 
ones that would like to kill you, but 
they're not offering any money." 

"If I took you up," said Sutton, "I 
suppose you'd help me write the 
book? Conferences and so forth?" 

"Naturally," said Case. "We'd 
have an interest in it. We'd want it 
done the best way possible." 

"After all," said Pringle, "our in- 
terest would be as great as yours." 

"That's what I thought," Sutton 
told them. "My book is not for s^le." 

"We'd boost the ante some," said 

"It still is not for sale." 
'That's your final word?" asked 
Case. "Your considered opinion?" 

Sutton nodded. 

Case sighed. "Then," he said, "I 
guess we have to kill you." 

He took a gun out of his pocket. 



THE psych-tracer ticked on, end- 
lessly, running fast, then slow, 
skipping a beat now and thenj like 
the erratic time measurement of a 
clock with hiccoughs. 
- It was the only sound in the room 
and to Adams it seemed as if he 
were listening to the beating of a 
heart, the breathing of a man, the 
throb of blood along the jugular 

He grimaced at the pile of dos- 
siers which a moment before he had 
swept from his desk onto the floor 
with an angry sweep of his hand. 
For there was nothing in them . . . 
absolutely nothing. Every one was 
perfect, every one checked. Birth cer- 
tificates, scholastic records, recom- 
mendations, loyalty checks, psych ex- 
aminations, all of them were as they 
should be. There' was not a single 

That was the trouble ... in all the 
records of the Service's personnel, 
there was not a single flaw. Not a 
thing a man could point to. Not a 
thing on which one could anchor 

Lily white and pure. 

Yet someone inside the Service 
had stolen Sutton's dossier. Someone 
had tipped off Sutton on the gun-trap 
laid for him at the Orion Arms. 
Someone had been ready and wait- 
ing, knowing of the trap, to whisk 
him out of reach. 

"Spies," said Adams to himself, 
and he made his hand into a fist and 



hit the desk so hard that his knuckles 
stung. ( ^ 

For no one but an insider could 
have made away with Sutton's dos- 
sier. No one but an insider could 
have known of the decision to de- 
stroy Sutton, nor of the three men. 
who had been assigned to carry out 
the order. 

Adams smiled grimly. 

The tracer chuckled arhim. Ker- 
up, it said, ker-up, die kit y, click, 

That was Sutton's heart and breath 
. . . Sutton's life ticking away some- 
where. So long as Sutton lived, no 
matter where he was or what he 
might be doing, the tracer would go 
on chuckling and burping. 

Ker-rup, ker-rup, ker-rup . . . 

Somewhere in the asteroid belt, 
the tracer had said, and that was a 
very general location, but it could be 
narrowed. Already ships with other 
tracers aboard were narrowing it 
down. Sooner or later, hours or days 
or weeks, Sutton would be found. 

Ker-rup . . •. 

War, the man in the mask had said. 

And hours later, a ship had come 
screaming down across the hills, like 
a blazing comet, to plunge into a 
swamp. . 

A ship such as no man as yet had 
made, carrying melted weapons that 
were unlike any that Man had yet in- 
vented. A ship whose thunder in the 
night had roused the sleeping in- 
habitants for miles around, whose 
flaming metal had been a beacon 
glowing in the sky. 

A ship and a body, and a track 
that led from ship to body across 
three hundred yards of marsh. The 
trace of one man's footprints and the 
furrowing trail of other feet that 
dragged across the mud. And the 
man who had carried the dead man 
had been Asher Sutton, for Sutton's 
fingerprints were on the muddied 
clothing of the man lying at the 
swamp's edge. 

Sutton, thought Adams wearily. It 
is always Sutton. Sutton's name upon 
the flyleaf out of Aldebaran XII. 
Sutton's fingerprints upon a dead, 
man's clothing. The man in the mask 
had said there would have been no 
incident on Aldebaran if it had not 
been for Sutton. And' Sutton had 
killed Benton, Earth's greatest duel- 
ist — with a bullet in the arm. 

Ker-up, clickity, click, ker-up . . . 

Dr. Raven, called in by Adams, 
had sat in that chair across the desk 
and told of the afternoon Sutton had 
dropped in at the university. 

"He found destiny," Dr. Raven 

had said, and he said it as if it were 

commonplace, as if it were a thing 

1 that could have been expected all 


"Not a religion," Dr. Raven had 
said, with the afternoon sunlight 
shining on his snow white hair. "Oh, 
dear, no, not a religion. Actual 

DESTINY, noun. Destiny— the 
predetermined course in events 
often conceived as a resistless power 
or agency 



"The accepted definition," Dr. 
Raven had said, as if he might be ad- 
dressing a lecture hall, "may have to 
be modified slightly when Asher 
writes his book." 

But how could Sutton find des- 
tiny? Destiny was an idea, an ab- 

'You forget," Dr. Raven had told 
Adams, speaking gently as one would 
to a child, "that part about the re- 
sistless power or agency. That is what 
he found . . . the power or agency." 

VSutton told me about the beings 
he found on Cygni," Adams had 
said. "He was at a loss to describe 
them. The nearest that he could 
come was symbiotic abstractions." 

Dr. Raven had nodded his head 
and pulled his shell-like ears and 
figured that maybe symbiotic abstrac- 
tions would fit the bill, although it 
was hard for one to decide just what 
a symbiotic abstraction was, or what 
it would look like. 

Under questioning, he reiterated 
that it was not a new religion Sut- 
ton had found. "Oh, gracious, no, 
not a religion." 

And Jtaven, Adams thought, 
should be the one to know, for he 
was one of the galaxy's best and 
most widely known comparative re- 

"Although it would be a new 
idea," Dr. Raven had said. "Bless 
me, yes, an absolutely new idea." 

And ideas are dangerous, Adams 
told himself. 

For Man was spread thin across 
the galaxy. So thin that one word 

— literally one spoken word or un- 
bidden thought — might be enough 
to set off the train of rebellion and 
of violence that would sweep Man 
back to the solar system, back to the 
puny ring of circling planets that had 
caged him in before. 

One could not take a chance. One 
could not gamble with an imponder- 

Better that one man die needlessly 
than that the whole race lose its grip 
upon the galaxy. Better that one new 
idea, however great, be blotted out 
than that Mankind be swept from 
the billion stars. 

Item one: Sutton wasn't human. 

Item Two: He was not telling all 
he knew. 

Item Three: He had a manuscript 
which was not decipherable. 

Item Four: He meant to write a 

Item Five: He had a new idea. 

Conclusion: Sutton must be killed. 

Ker-up, clickity, click . . , 

"War, the man had said. A war 
in time. 

IT WOULD spread thin, too, like 
Man across the galaxy. 

It would be three-dimensional 
chess with a million billion squares 
and pieces, and with the rules chang- 
ing at every move. 

It would reach back to win its 
battles. It would strike at points in 
time and space which would not even 
know that there was a war. It could, 
logically, go back to the silver mines 
of Athens, to the horse and chariot 



of Thutmoses III, to the sailing of 
Columbus. It would involve all fields 
of human endeavor and human spec- 
ulation, and it would twist the 
dreams of men who had never 
thought of time except as a moving 
shadow across a sun dial's face. 

It would involve spies and propa- 
gandists — -spies to learn the factors 
of the past so that they could be 
plotted in the campaign strategy, 
propagandists to twist the fabric of 
the past so that strategy could be the 
more effective. 

It would load the personnel of the 
Justice Department of the year 7990 
with spies and fifth columnists and 
saboteurs. And it would do that so 
cleverly one could never find the 

But, as in an ordinary, honest war, 
there would be strategic points. As in 
chess, there would be one key piece. 

Sutton was that piece. He was the 
pawn that stood in "the way of the 
sweep of bishop and of rook. He 
was the pawn that both sides were 
lining up on, bring all their pressure 
on a siagle point . . . and -when one 
side was ready, when it gained a 
fraction of advantage, the slaughter 
would begin. 

Adams folded his arms upon the 
desk and laid his head upon them. 
His shoulders twitched, but he had 
no tears. 

"Ash, boy," he said. "Ash, I count- 
ed on you so much." 

The silence brought him straight 
in the chair again. 

For a moment, he was unable to^ 

locate it . , . determine what was 
wrong. And then he knew. 

The psych- tracer had stopped ;:s 

He leaned forward and bent above 
it and there was no sound of heart, 
of breath, of blood coursing in the 

The motivating force that had op- 
erated it — Asher Sutton — has ceased 
to be. 

Slowly, Adams rose from his chair, 
took down his hat and put it on. 

For the first time in his life, Chris- 
topher Adams was going home be- 
fore the day was over. 



SUTTON stiffened in his chair and 
then relaxed. For this was a 
bluff, he told himself. These men 
wouldn't kill him. They wanted the 
book and dead men do not write. 

Case answered him, almost as a 
Sutton had spoken what he thought 
aloud. "You must not count on us 
as honorable men; neither of us our- 
selves would lay a claim to that. 
Pringle, I think, will bear me out in 

"Oh, certainly," said Pringle. "I 
have no use for honor." 

"It would have meant a great deal 
to us if we could have taken you 
back to Trevor and . . ." 

"Wait a second," interrupted Sut- 
ton. "Who is this Trevor? He's a 
new one." 

"Oh, Trevor," said Pringle. 'J ust 



an oversight. Trevor is the head of 
the corporation." 

'The corporation," added Case, 
"that wants to get your book." 

"Trevor would have heaped us 
with honors," Pringle said, "and 
loaded us with wealth if we had 
pulled it off. But since you won't 
cooperate, we'll have to cast around 
for some other way to make our- 
selves a profit." 

"So we switch sides," explained 
Case, "and we shoot you. Morgan 
will pay high for you, but he wants 
you dead. Your carcass will be worth 
a good deal to Morgan. Oh, yes, 
quite a lot." 

"And you will sell it to him." 

"Of course," said Pringle. "We 
never miss a bet." 

Case purred at Sutton: "You do 
not object,' I hope." 

Sutton shrugged indifferently. 
"What you do with my cadaver is no 
concern of mine." 

"Well, then," said Case, and he 
raised the gun. 

"Just a second," Sutton said. 

Case lowered the gun. "Now 

"He wants a cigaret," said Pringle. 
"Men who are about to be executed 
always want a cigaret or a glass of 
wine or a chicken dinner or some- 
thing of the sort." 

"I want to ask a question," Sut- 
ton said. 

Case nodded. 
- "I take it," Sutton said, "that in 
your time I've already written this 



"That's right," Case told him. 
"An honest and efficient job." 

"Under your imprint or someone 

Pringle cackled. "Under someone 
else's, of course. If you did it un- 
der ours, why do you think we'd be 
back here at all?" 

Sutton wrinkled his brow. "I've al- 
ready written k } " he said, "without 
your help and without your editing. 
Now if I did it a second time, and 
wrote it the way you wanted, there 
would be complications." 

"None," said Case, "we couldn't 
overcome. Nothing that could not be 
explained quite satisfactorily." 

"And now that you're going to 
kill me, there'll be no book at all. 
How will you handle that?" 

Case frowned. "It will be diffi- 
cult and unfortunate . . . unfortunate 
for many people. But we'll work it 
out." He raised the gun. "Sure you 
. won't change your mind?" 

Sutton shook his head. 

They won't shoot, he told himself. 
It's a bluff. The deck is cold and . . . 

Case pulled the trigger. 

A mighty force, like a striking fist, 
slammed into Sutton's body and 
shoved him back so hard that the* 
chair tilted and then slued around, 
yawing like a ship caught in mag- 
netic stresses. 

Fire flashed within his skull. He 
felt one swift shriek of agony that 
took him in its claws and lifted him 
and shook him, jangling every nerve, 
grating every bone. 



There was one thought, one fleet- 
ing thought that he tried to grasp 
and hold, but it wriggled from his 
brain like an eel slipping free from 
bloody fingers. 

Change, said the thought. Change. 

He felt the change . . . felt it start 
even as he died. 

And death was a soft thing, soft 
and black, cool and sweet and gra- 
cious. He slipped into it as a swim- 
( mer slips into the surf and it closed 
over him and held him. He felt the 
pulse and beat of it and knew the 
vastness- and the sureness of it. 

Back on Earth, the psych- tracer fal- 
tered to a stop and Christopher 
Adams got up and put on his hat 
and went home for the first time in 
his life before the day was done. 


H" ' ERKIMER lay on his bed and 
tried to sleep, but sleep was 
long in coming. And he wondered 
that he should sleep . . . that he 
should sleep and eat and drink as 
Man. For he was not a man and 
would never be a man. 

His origin was chemical and Man's 
was biological. He was the imitation 
and Man was reality. It is the method, 
he told hjmself, the method and the 
terminology, that keep me from being 
, Man, for in all things else we are 
the same. 

The method and the name of an- 
droid and the tattoo mark I wear upon 
my brow. ' 

I am as good as Man and as smart 
as Man, for all I act the clown, and 
could be as treacherous as Man if 
I had the chance. Except I wear a 
tattoo mark and I am owned and I 
have no soul . . . although some- 
times I wonder. 

Herkimer lay very quiet- and gazed 
at the ceiling and tried to remember 
certain things, but it was frighten- 
ingly complicated. 

First there was the tool and then 
the machine, which was no more 
than a complicated tool, and both 
machine and tool Were no more than 
the extension of a hand. 

Man's hand, of course. 

Then came the robot and a robot 
was a machine that walked like a 
man. That walked and looked and 
talked like a man and did the things 
Man wished, but it was a caricature. 
No matter how sleekly machined, no 
matter how cleverly 1 designed, there 
never was a danger xthat it be mis- 
taken for a man. 

And after the robot? 

We are not robots, Herkimer told 
himself, and we are not men. We are 
not machines, because we are flesh 
and blood. We are chemicals made 
into the shapes of our creators and 
assigned a chemical life so close to 
the life of our makers that "some day 
one of them will find, to his aston- 
ishment, that there is no difference. 

Made in the shape of men . . . and 
the resemblance is so close that we 
wear a tattoo mark so that men may 
know us apart. 

So close to Man and yet not Man. 



Although there is hope . . , if we 
can keep the Cradle secret, if we can 

, keep it hidden from the eyes of Man. 
Someday there will be no difference. 
Someday a man will talk to an and- 

- roid and think he is talking to a fel- 
low man. And he will be. 

HERKIMER stretched his arms 
and folded them over his head. 

He tried to examine his mind, to 
arrive at motives and evaluations, but 
it was hard to do. No rancor, cer- 
tainly. No jealousy. No bitterness. 
Just a nagging feeling of inadequacy, 
of having almost reached the goal 
and fallen short. 

But there was comfort, he thought. 
There was comfort if nothing else. 

And that comfort must be kept. 
Kept for those 'like himself, the ones 
that were less than Man. 

He lay for a long time, thinking 
about comfort, watching the dark 
square of the window with the rime 
of frost ,upon it and the stars shin- 
ing through the frost, listening to the 
thin whine of the feeble, vicious 
weasel-wind as it snarled across the 

Sleep did not come and he got up 
at last and turned on the light. Shiv- 
ering, he got into his clothes .and 
pulled a book out of his pocket. Hud- 
dling close to the lamp, he turned 
the pages to a passage worn thin with 

There is no thing, no matter, 
how created, how born or hot!/ 
conceived or made, which knoivs 

the pulse of life, that goes 
alone. That assurance I can give 
you. . . . 

He closed the book and held it 
clasped between the palms of his two 

. . . how born or how conceived 
or made. s 


All that mattered was the pulse of 
life, the stir of sentiency. 


And it must be kept. 

I did my duty, he told himself. My 
willing, almost eager duty. I still am 
doing it. 

I acted the part, he told himself, 
and I think I acted well. I acted a 
part when I carried the challenge to 
Asher Sutton's room. I acted a part 
when I came to him as a part of fehg 
estate duello . . . the saucy, subservi- 
ent part of any common android. 

I did my duty for him ... and 
yet not for him, but for comfort, for 
the privilege of knowing and believ- 
ing that neither I nor any other liv- 
ing thing, no matter how lowly it 
may be, will ever be alone. 

I hit him. I hit him on the button 
and knocked him out, and I lifted 
him in my arms and carried him into 
the spaceship. 

He was angry at me, but that does 
not matter. His anger cannot wash 
away a single word of the assurance 
he gave me. 

Thunder shook the house. The 
window, for a moment, "flared with 
sudden crimson. 



Herkimer came to his feet and ran 
for the window and stood there, 
gripping the ledge, watching the red 
twinkle of dwindling rocket tubes. 

Fear hit him in the stomach and 
he raced put of the door and down 
the hall, to Sutton's room. 

He did not knock nor did he turn 
the knob. He hit the door and it 
shattered open, with a wrecked and 
twisted lock dangling by its screws. 

The bed was empty and -there was 
no one in the room. 


SUTTON sensed resurrection and 
he fought against it, for death 
was so . comfortable. Like a soft, 
warm- bed. And resurrection was a 
^trident, insistent, maddening alarm 

• clock that shrilled across the pre- 
dawn chill of a dreadful, frowsy 
room. Dreadful with its life and its 
raw reality and its sharp, sickening 
reminder that one must get up. 

But this is not the first time, said 
Sutton. This is not the first time that 
I died and came to life again. For I 
did it once before and that time 
I was dead for a long, long time. 
There was a hard, flat surface un- 

. derneath him and he lay facedown, 
upon it. For what seemed an in- 
terminable stretch of time, his mind 
struggled to visualize the hardness 
and smoothness beneath him. Hard 
and flat and smooth, three words, but 
they did not help one see or under- 
stand the thing that they described. 

He felt life creep back and quick- 
en, seep along his legs and arms. But 
he wasn't breathing and his heart 
was still. 


That was it . . . that was the word 
for the thing on which he lay. The, 
flat, hard, smooth surface was a floor. 
The floor of what? 

Sounds came to him, but at first 
he didn't call them sounds, for he 
had no word for them at all, and 
then, a moment later, he remembered 
that that was the word. 

Now he could move one finger. 
Then a second finger. 

He opened his eyes and there was 

The sounds were voices and the 
voices were word's and the words 
were thoughts. 

It takes so long to figure things 
out, Sutton wearily told himself. 

"We should have tried a little 
harder," said a voice, "and a little 
longer. The trouble with us* Case, is 
that we have no patience." 

"Patience wouldn't have done a 
bit of good," said Case. "He was 
convinced 'that we were bluffing. No 
matter what we'd done or said, he'd 
still have thought we were blurring 
and we would have gotten nowhere. 
There- was only one thing to do." 

<<"^7"E'S, I know," Pringle agreed. 

-L "Convince him that we weren't 
blurring." He made a sound of blow- 
ing out his breath. "Pity, too. He 
was such a bright young man." 

They were silent for a time and 



now it was not life alone, but 
strength, that was flowing into Sut- 
ton. Strength to stand and walk, 
strength to lift his arms, strength to 
vent his anger. Strength to kill two 

"We won't do so "badly," Pringle 
went on. "Morgan and his crowd 
will pay us just as much." 

Case was squeamish. "I don't like 
it, Pringle. A dead man is a dead 
man if you kill him and leave him. 
But when you sell him, fhat makes 
you a butcher." 

"That's not the thing that's worry- 
ing me," Pringle answered. "What 
will it do to the future, Case? To 
our future. We had a future with 
many of its facets based on Sutton's 
book. If we had managed to change 
the book a little, it wouldn't have - 
mattered much . . . wouldn't have 
mattered at all, in fact, the way we 
had it figured out. But now Sutton's 
dead. There will be no book by Sut- \ 
ton. The future will be ' completely 

Sutton rose to his feet. 

They spun around and faced him 
and Case's hand went for his gun. 

"Go ahead," invited Sutton. "Shoot 
me full of holes. You won't live a 
minute longer for it." 

He tried to hate them, as he had 
hated Benton during that one fleet- 
ing moment back on Earth. Hatred 
so strong and primal that it had 
blasted the man's mind into oblivion. 
. . . killed him with only a puzzl- 
ing bullet in his arm and a hate- 
shattered brain. 

But there was no hate. Just a pon- 
derous, determined will to destroy 
a bothersome hindrance. 

He moved forward on inexorable 
legs and his hands reached out. 

Pringle ran, squealing, seeking to 
escape. Case's gun spat twice and 
when blood oozed out and ran down 
Sutton's chest and he still came on, 
Case threw away his weapon and 
backed against the wall. 

It didn't take long. 

They couldn't get away. 

There was no place to go. 


SUTTON maneuvered^ the ship 
down against the tiny asteroid, a 
whirling piece of debris not much 
bigger than the ship itself. He felt 
•it touch and his thumb reached out 
and snubbed over the gravity lever. 
The ship clamped down, to go tum- 
bling through space with the twist- 
ing chunk of rock. 

Sutton let his hands fall to 'his 
side and sat quietly in the pilot's 
chair. In front of him, space was 
black and friendless, streaked by 
the pinpoint stars that spun in lines 
of fire across the field of vision, writ- 
ing cryptic messages of cold, white 
light across the cosmos as the asteroid % 
bumbled on its erratic course. 

Safe, he told himself. Safe for a 
while, at least. Perhaps safe forever, 
for there might be no one looking 
for him. • 

Safe with a hole blasted through 



his chest, with blood running down 
his front and splashing on the floor. 

Handy thing to have, he thought 
grimly, this second body of mine. 
This body that was grafted on me by 
the Cygnians. It will keep me going 
until . . . until . . . 

Until what? 

Until I can get back to Earth and 
walk into a doctor's office and say: 
"I got shot up a little. How about 
a patching job?" 

Sutton chuckled. He could see the 
doctor having a fit. 

Or going back to Cygni? But 
they wouldn't let me in. 

Or just going back to Earth the 
way I am and forget about the doc- 
tor? I could get other clothes an*d 
the bleeding will stop when the 
blood's all gone. 

BUT I wouldn't breathe, and they 
would notice that. 

"Johnny/' he said, but there was 
no answer, just a feeble stir of life 
within his brain, a sign of recog- 
nition, like a dog wagging its tail 
to let you know it heard, but was too 
busy with a bone to let anything dis- 
tract it. * 

"Johnny, is there any way?" 

There might be. It was a hope to 
cling to, a thing to think about. 

Not even yet, he suspected, had he 
begun to plumb the strange depth of 
abilities lodged within his body and 
his mind. 

He had not known that his hate 
alone could kill, that hate could 
spear out from his brain like a lance 

of steel and strike a man dead. And 
yet Benton had died with a bullet in 
the arm . . . only he had been dead 
before the bullet hit him. For Ben- 
ton had fired first and missed, and 
Benton, alive, never would have 

Sutton had not known that by 
mind alone he could control the en- 
ergy needed to lift the dead weight 
of a ship from a boulder bed and fly 
it across eleven years of space. And 
yet that was what he'd done, win- 
nowing the energy from the flaming 
stars so far away they dimmed to al- 
most nothing, from the random 
specks of matter in the void. 

And while he knew that he could 
change at will from one life to an- 
other, he had not known for certain 
that when one way of life was killed, 
the other way would take over auto- 
matically. Yet that was what had 
happened. Case had killed him and 
he had died and he had come to life 
again. But he had died before the 
change had started. Of that much 
he was sure. For he remembered 
death and recognized it. He knew 
it from the time he had died before. 

He felt his body eating . . . suck- 
ing at the stars as a human sucks 
an orange, nibbling at the energy im- 
prisoned in the bit of rock to which 
the ship was clamped, pouncing on 
the tiny leaks of power from the 
ship's atomic motors. 

Eating to grow strong, eating to 
repair . . . 

"Johnny, is there any way?" 

And there was no answer. 



HE LET his head sag forward un- 
til it lay upon the inclined 
panel that housed the instruments. 

His body went on eating at the 

He listened to the slow drip of 
blood falling from his body and 
splashing on the floor. 

His mind was clouding and he let 
it cloud, for there was nothing to do. 
There was no need to use it; he did 
not know how to use it. He did not 
know what he could do or what he 
couldn't do, nor .how to go about it. 

He had fallen, he remembered, 
screaming down the alien sky, know- 
ing in a moment of wild elation that 
he had broken through, that the 
world of Cygni VII lay beneath his 
hand. That what all the navies of 
the Earth had failed to do, he'd done. 

The planet was rushing up and he 
saw the tangled geography of it that 
snaked in black and gray across his 
vision plate. 

That was twenty years ago, but he 
remembered it, in the dim fog of his 
mind, as if it were happening this 
very moment. 

He reached out a hand and hauled 
back on a lever and the lever would 
not move. The ship plunged down 
and for a moment he felt a rising 
fear that exploded into panic. 

One fact stood out, one stark, 
black fact in all the flashing frag- 
ments of thoughts and schemes and 
prayer that went screeching through 
his brain. One stark fact ... he was 
about to crash. 

He did not remember crashing, 

for he probably never knew exactly 
when he crashed. It was only fear 
and terror and then no fear nor ter- 
ror. It was consciousness and aware- 
ness and then a nothingness that was 
a restfulness and a vast forgetting. 

Awareness came back ... in a 
moment or an eon, which, he could 
not tell. But an awareness that was 
different, a sentiency that was only 
partly human, just a small percentage 
human. And a knowledge that was 
new, but Which, it seemed, he had 
held forever. 

He sensed or knew, for it was not 
seeing, his body stretched out on the 
ground smashed and broken, twisted 
out of human shape. And although 
he knew it was his body and knew 
its every superficial function and the 
plan of its assembly, he felt a twinge 
of wonder at the thing which lay 
there and knew that here was a prob- 
lem which would tax his utmost in- 

For the body must be put together, 
must be straightened out and reinte- 
grated and co-ordinated so that it 
would work and the life that had 
escaped be returned to it again. 

He thought of Humpty Dumpty 
and the thought was strange, as if 
•the nursery rhyme were something 
new or something long forgotten. 

Humpty Dumpty, said another part 
of him, supplies no answer, and he 
knew that it was right, for Humpty, 
he recalled, could not be put to- 
gether again. 

He became aware there were two 
of him; one part of him had an- 



swered the other part of him. The 
answerer and the listener, and al- 
though they were one, they were also 
separate. There was a cleavage he 
could not understand. 

"I am your destiny," said the an- 
swerer. "I was with you when you 
came to life and I will stay with you 
till you^die. I do not control you and 
I do not coerce you, but I try to guide 
you, although you "do not know it." 

Sutton, the small part of him that 
was Sutton, said: "I know it now." 

He knew it as if he'd always 
known it and that was, queer, for he 
had only just then learned it. Knowl- 
edge, he realized, was all tangled up, 
for there were two of him ... he 
and destiny. He could not immedi- 
ately distinguish between the things 
he knew as Sutton alone and those 
he knew as Sutton plus 'Sutton's des- 

I cannot know, he thought. I could 
not know then and I cannot know 
now. For there still is deep within 
me the two facets of my being, the 
human that I am and the destiny that 
would guide me to a greater glory 
and a greater life, if I would only 
let it. 

FOR it will not coerce me and it 
will not stop me. It will only 
give me hunches; it will only whis- 
per warnings and encouragement to 
me. It is the thing called conscience 
and the thing called judgment and 
the thing called intuition. 

And it sits within my brain as it 
sits within the brain of no other 

thing, for I am one with it. I know 
of it with a dreadful certainty and 
others do not know at all, or, if they 
do, they only guess at the great im- 
mensity of its truthfulness. 

And all must know. All must 
know each thing has destiny. 

But there is something going on 
to keep them from knowing, or to 
twist their knowledge so their know- 
ing is all wrong. I must find out 
what it is and I must correct it. And 
somehow I must strike into the fu- 
ture; I must set it aright for the days 
I will not see. 

I am your destiny, the answerer 
had said. 

Destiny, not fatalism. 

Destiny, not predetermination. 

Destiny, the way of men and races 
and of worlds. 

Destiny, the way you made your 
life, the way you shaped your living 
. . . the way it was meant to be, the 
way that it would be if you listened 
to the still, small voice that talked 
to you at the many turning points 
and crossroads. 

But if you' did not listen . . . 
why, then, you did not listen and 
you did not hear. And there was no 
power that could make you listen. 
There was no penalty if you did not 
listen except the penalty of having 
gone against your destiny. 

There were other thoughts or other 
voices. Sutton could not tell which 
they were, but they were outside the 
tangled thing that was he and destiny. 

That is my body, he thought. And 
I am somewhere else. Some place 



where there is no seeing as I used to 
see . . . nor hearing, although I see 
and hear, 'but with another's senses 
and in an alien way. 

The screen let him through, said 
one thought, although screen was not 
the word it used. 

And another said that the screen 
had served its purpose. 

And another said that there was 
a certain technique he had picked up 
on a planet, the name of which 
blurred and ran and made a splotch 
and had no meaning at all, so far as 
Sutton could make out. 

Still another pointed out the sin- 
gular complexity and inefficiency of 
Sutton's mangled body and spoke en- 
thusiastically of the simplicity and 
perfection of' direct energy intake. 

Sutton tried to cry out to them for 
the love of God to hurry, for his 
body was* a fragile thing, that if they 
waited too long it would be past all 
mending. But he could not say it, 
and, as if in a dream, he listened to 
the interplay of thought, the flash 
and flicker of individual opinion, all 
molding into* one cohesive thought 
that spelled eventual decision. 

He tried to wonder where he was, 
tried to orient himself and found 
that he could not even define him- 
self. For himself no longer was a 
body, nor a place in space or time, 
nor even a personal pronoun. It was 
a hanging, dangling thing that had 
no substance, no fixture in the scheme 
of time and it could not recognize 
itself, no matter what it did. It was 
a vacuum that knew it existed and it 

was dominated by something else 
that might ' as well have been a 
vacuum for all the recognition he 
could make of it. 

He was outside his body and he 
lived. Bat where or how, there was 
no way of knowing. 

"I am your destiny," the answerer 
that seemed a part of him had said. 

But destiny was a word and noth- 
ing more. An idea. An abstract. A 
tenuous definition for something that 
the mind of Man had conceived, but 
could not prove . . . that the mind i 
of Man was willing to agree was an 
idea only and could 'never be proved. 

<<"\7"OU are wrong," said Sutton's 

X destiny. "Destiny is real, al- 
though you cannot see it. It is real 
for you and for all other things . . . 
for every single thing that knows the 
surge of life. And it has always been 
and it will always be." 

"This is not death?" asked Sut- 

"You are the first' to come to us," 
said destiny. "We cannot let you die. 
We will give you back your body, 
but until then you will live with me. 
You will be part of me. And that is 
only fair, for I have always lived 
with you; I have always been part of 

'You did not- want me here," said 
Sutton. "You built a screen to keep 
me out." 

"We' wanted one," said destiny. 
"One only. You are that one; there 
will be no more." 

"But 'the screen?" 



"It was keyed to a mind," said 
destiny. "To a certain mind. The one 
mind we wanted." 

"But you let me die." 

"You had to die," destiny told 
him. "Until you died and became 
one of us, you could not know. In 
your body we could not have reached 
you. Y6u had to die- so that you 
would be freed and J was there to 
take you and make you part of me 
so you would understand." 

"I do not understand." 

"You will," said destiny. "You 
v And I 'did, thought Sutton. 

HIS body shook as he remem- 
bered and his mind stood 
awed with the vast, unexpected 
immensity of destiny ... of trillions 
upon trillions of destinies to match 
the teeming life of the galaxy. 

Destiny whispered and a thing 
climbed dripping from the water and 
in the eons to come its fins were legs 
and its gills were nostrils. 

Destiny stirred and a shaggy ape 
thing stooped and picked up a 
broken stick. It stirred again and he 
struck flint together. It stirred once 
more and there was a bow and arrow. 
Again and the wheel was born. 

Symbiotic abstractions. Parasites. 
Invisible partners. Call them what 
you would. 

They were destiny. 

And the time had come for the 
galaxy to know of destiny. 

If parasites, then beneficial para- 
sites, ready to give more than they 

could take. For all they got was the 
sense of living, the sense of being 
. ; . and what they gave, or stood 
4 ready to give, was far more than 
mere living. 

For many of the lives they lived 
must be dull, indeed. An angleworm, 
for instance. Or the bloated mass of 
instinct that xrept through nauseous 
jungle worlds. 

But because of them, someday an 
angleworm might be more than an 
angleworm ... or a greater angle- 
worm. The bloated mass of instinct 
might be something that would reach 
to greater heights than Man. 

For every thing that moved, 

whether intelligent or mindless, 

across the face of any world, was not 

one thing, but two. It and its own 

.individual destiny. 

And sometimes destiny took hold 
and won . . . and sometimes* it didn't. 
But where there was destiny, there 
was hope forever. For destiny was 
hope. And destiny was everywhere. 

No thing walks alone. 

Nor crawls nor vegetates nor 
swims nor flies nor shambles. 

One planet barred to every mind 
but one; and once that mind arrived, 
barred forevermore. 

One mind to tell the galaxy when 
the galaxy was ready. One mind to 
tell of destiny and hope. 

That mind, thought Sutton, is my 

Lord help me now. 

For if I had been the one to 
choose, if I had been asked, if I had 
had a thing to say about it, it would 



not have been me, but someone or 
something else. Some other mind in 
another million years. Some other 
thing in ten times another million 

It is too much to ask, he thought 
. . . too much to ask a being with 
a mind as frail as Man's, to bear the 
weight of revelation, to bear the load 
of knowing. 

BUT destiny put the ringer on me. 
Happenstance or accident or 
pure blind luck ... it would be 
destiny. - 

I lived with destiny, as destiny . . . 
I was a part of destiny instead of 
destiny merely a part of me and we 
came to know each other as if we 
were two humans .- . . better than if 
we were two humans. For destiny 
was I and I was destiny. Destiny had 
no name and I called it Johnny and 
the fact that I had to name him is a 
joke that destiny, my destiny, still 
can chuckle over. 

I lived with Johnny, the vital part 
of me, the spark of me that men call 
life and do not understand . . . the 
part of me I still do not understand 
. . . until my body had been repaired 
again. And then I returned to it and 
it was a different body, a better body, 
for the many destinies had been as- 
tounded and horrified at. the ineffi- 
ciency and flimsiness of the human 

When they fixed it up, they made 
it better. They tinkered it so it had 
a lot of things it did not have before 
. . . many things, I suspect, that I 

still do not know about and will not 
know about until it is time to use 
them. Some things, perhaps, I'll never 
know at all. 

When I went back to my body, 
destiny came and lived with me 
again. But now I knew him and 
recognized him and I called him 
Johnny and we talked together. Now 
I never failed to hear him, as I must 
many times have failed to hear him 
in the past. 

"Johnny," Sutton called. He wait- 
ed and there was no answer. 
"Johnny," he called again and there 
was terror in his voice. For Johnny 
must be there. Destiny must be there. 

Unless ... the thought struck 
slowly, kindly . . . unless Asher Sut- 
ton was really dead. Unless this was 
dreaming, unless this was a twilight 
zone where knowledge and a sense 
of being linger for a moment be- 
tween the state of life and death. 

Johnny's voice was small, very 
small and very far away: "Ash." 

"Yes, Johnny!" He forgot his 
doubts, sat erect and tense. 

"The engines, Ash. The engines." 

He fought his body out of the 
pilot's chair, stood on weaving legs. 

He could scarcely see . . . just the 
faded, blurred, shifting outline of 
the shape of metal that enclosed him. 
His feet were solid weights that he 
could not move. They were no part 
of him at all. 

He stumbled, staggered forward, 
fell flat upon his face. 

Shock, he thought. The shock of 
violence, the shock of death, the 



sliock of draining blood, of mangled, 
blasted flesh. 

There once had been strength that 
had brought him, clear-eyed, clear- 
brained, to his feet. A strength that 
had been great enough to take the 
lives of the two men who had killed 
him. The strength of vengeance. 

But that strength was gone and 
now he knew it had been the strength 
of will alone. 

He struggled to his hands and 
knees and crept. He stopped and 
rested and then crept a few feet more. 
His head hung limp between his 
shoulders, drooling blood that left 
a trail across the floor. 

He found the door of the engine 
room and by slow degrees pulled 
himself upward to the latch. 

His fingers found the latch and 
pulled, it down, but they had no 
strength. They slipped off the metal. 
He fell into a huddled pile of sheer 
defeat against the hard coldness of 
the door. 

He waited for a long time and 
then tried again. This time the latch 
clicked open even as his fingers 
slipped again. And as he fell, he fell 
across the threshold. 

Intelligence, senses, consciousness 
. . . they all vanished in the same 


ASHER SUTTON awoke to dark- 
To darkness and unknowing. 

To unknowing and a slow, ex- 
panding wonder. 

He was lying on a hard, smooth 
surface and a roof of metal came 
down close above his head. And be- 
side him .was a thing that purred and 
rumbled. One arm was flung across 
the purring thing and somehow he 
knew* that he had slept with the 
thing clasped to him. 

There was- no sense of time or 
sense of place, and no means of any 
life before. As if he had sprung 
full-limbed by magic. into life and in- 
telligence and knowing. 

He lay still and his eyes became 
accustomed to the dark, and he saw 
the open door and the dark stain, 
now dry, that led across the thresh- 
old into the room beyond. Some- 
thing had dragged itself there, from 
the other room into this one, and 
left a trail behind it. He lay for a 
long time, wondering what the thing 
might be, with the queasiness of ter- 
ror gnawing at his mind. For the 
thing might still be with him and it 
might be dangerous. 

But he felt he was alone, sensed 
a loneness in the throbbing of the en- 
gine at his side . . . and it was thus, 
for the first time that he knew the 
purring thing for what it was. Name 
and recognition had slipped back into 
his consciousness without his search- 
ing for it, as if it were a thing he 
had known all the time and now he 
knew what it was, except that it 
seemed to him the name had come 
ahead of recognition, and that, he 
thought, was strange. 



So the thing beside him was an 
engine and he. was lying on a floor 
and the metal close above his head 
was a roof of some sort. A narrow 
space, he thought. A narrow space 
that housed an engine and a door 
that opened into another room. 

A ship. That was it. He was in a 
ship. And the trail of dark that ran 
x across the threshold . . .? 

At first he thought that some 
imagined thing had crawled in slime 
of its own making to mark the trail, 
but now he remembered. 'It had been 
himself crawling to the -engines. 

Lying quietly, he remembered it 
all, and in wonder he tested his alive- 
ness. He lifted a hand and felt his 
chest. The clothes were burned away 
and their scorched edges were crisp 
* between his fingers, but his chest was 
whole . . . whole and smooth and 
hard. Sound human flesh. No ragged, 
bleeding holes. 

So it was possible, he thought. I 
remember that I wondered if it was 
... if Johnny might not have some 
trick up his sleeve, if my body might 
not have some capability which I 
could not suspect. 

It sucked at the stars and nibbled 
at the asteroid and it yearned toward 
the engines. It wanted energy. And 
the engines had available energy . . . 
more than the distant stars, more 
than the cold, frozen chunk of rock 
that was the asteroid. 

So I crawled to reach the engines 
and I left a dark death-trail behind 
me and I slept with the engines in 
my arms. And my body — my direct- 

intake, energy-eating body — sucked 
the power that was needed from the 
flaming core of the reaction cham- 

And I am whole again. 

I am back on my . breath-and- 
blood body once again and I can 
return to Earth. 

SUTTON crawled out of the en- 
gine room and stood on his two 

Faint starlight came through the 
vision plates and scattered like jewel 
dust along the floor and walls. And 
there were two huddled shapes, one 
in the middle of the floor and an- 
other in a corner. 

His mind took them in and' turned 
them around as they were dead and 
as they might have been alive, and 
in a little while he remembered what 
•they were. The humanity within him 
shivered at the black, sprawled 
shapes, but another part of him, a 
cold, hard inner core, stood undis- 
mayed in the face of death. 

He moved forward on slow feet 
and slowly knelt beside one of the 
bodies. It must be Case, he thought, 
for Case had been thin and tall. But 
he could not see the face and he did 
not wish to see it, for in some dark 
corner of his mind he still remem- 
bered what Case and Pringle 'had 
looked like when they died. 

His hands went down and 
searched through the clothing. He 
made a tiny pile of the things he 
found, and finally he found the thing 
he was looking for. 



Squatting on his heels, he opened 
the book to the title page and it was 
the same 'as the one he carried in 
his pocket. The same except for a 
line of type at the very bottom: 

Revised Edition 

So that was it. That was the mean- 
ing of the word that had puzzled 
him ^Revisionists. 

There had been a book and it had 
been revised. Those who lived by the 
revised edition were the Revisionists. 
And the others? He wondered, run- 
ning through the names . . . Funda- 
mentalists, Primitives, Orthodox, 
Hard Shell. There were others, he" 
was sure, but it didn't really matter 
what the others would be called. 

There were two blank pages and 
the text began: 

We are not alone. 

No one ever is alone. 

Not since the first faint stir- 
ring of the first flicker of life, 
on the first planet in the galaxy 
that knew the quickening of 
sentiency, has there ever been a 
single entity that walked or 
crawled or slithered down the 
path of life alone. 

His eye went down the page to the 
first footnote. 

* This is 'the first of many 
statements which, wrongly in- 
terpreted, have caused some 
readers to believe that Sutton 

meant to say that life, regard- 
less of its intelligence or moral 
precepts, is the beneficiary of 
destiny. His first line^should re- 
fute this entire line of reason- 
ing, for Sutton used the pro- 
noun "we" and all students of 
semantics are agreed that it is a 
common idiom for any genus, 
when speaking of itself, to use 
such a personal pronoun. Had 
Sutton meant all life, he would 
have written "all life." But by 
using the personal pronoun, he 
undeniably was referring to his 
own genus, the human race, and 
the human race alone. He ap- 
parently erroneously believed, a 
not uncommon belief of his day, 
that the Earth had been the first 
planet to know life and this 
will explain his reference to the 
first planet of the galaxy to 
know the quickening of life. 
There is no doubt that, in part, 
Sutton's revelations of his great 
discovery of destiny have been 
tampered with. Assiduous re- 
search and study, however, have 
resulted in determining beyond 
reasonable doubt which portions 
are genuine and which are not. 
Those parts which, patently have 
been altered will be noted and 
the reasons for this belief will 
be carefully and frankly pointed 

SUTTON riffled through the pages 
quickly. More than half the text 
was taken up by the fine print foot- 



notes. Some of the pages had two or 
three lines of actual text and the rest 
was filled with lengthy explanation 
and refutation. 

He slapped the book shut, held it 
angrily between his flattened palms. 

I tried so hard, he thought. I re- 
peated and reiterated and under- 

Not human life alone, but all 
life. Everything that lives. 

And yet they twist my words. 

They fight a war so that my words 
shall not be the words I wrote, so 
that the things I meant to say shall 
be misinterpreted. They scheme and 
fight and murder so that the great 
cloak of destiny shall rest on one 
race alone ... so that the most 
grasping and ambitious race ever 
spawned shall steal . the thing that 
was meant not for them alone, but 
for every living thing. 

And somehow I "must stop it 
Somehow it must be stopped. Some- 
how my words must stand, so that 
all may read and know, without the 
smokescreen of crooked theorizing 
and dishonest interpretation and 
weasel logic confusing them. 

FOR- it is so simple. Such a 
simple thing: 

All life has destiny, not human 
life alone. 

There is one destiny partner for 
every living thing. For every living 
thing and then to spare. They wait 
for life to happen, and each time it 
occurs, one of them is there and stays 
there until the particular life is end- 

ed. How, I do not know, nor why. 
I do not know if the actual Johnny 
is lodged within my mind and being, 
or if he merely keeps in contact 
with me from Cygni. But I know 
that he is with me. I know that he 
will stay. 

And yet the Revisionists will twist 
my words and discredit me. They 
will change my book and dig up old 
scandals about the Suttons so that 
the mistakes of my forebears, mag- 
nified many times, will tend to smear 
my name. 

They sent back a man who talked 
to John H. Sutton and he told them 
things that they could have used. 
For John Sutton 'said that there are 
skeletons in every family closet, and 
in that he spoke the truth. And, 
being old and gatrulous, he talked 
about those skeletons. 

But those tales • were not carried 
forward into the future to be of any 
use, for the man who heard them 
came tramping up the road with a 
bandage on his head and no shoes 
on his feet. 

Something happened and he 
could not go back. 

Something happened. 

Something . . . 

Sutton rose slowly. 

Something happened, he said, talk- 
ing to himself, and I know what it 

Six thousand years ago in a place 
that was called Wisconsin. 

He moved forward, heading for 
the pilot's chair and the Wisconsin 
of sixty centuries in the past. 




into his office and hung up his 
hat and coat. *- 

He turned around and pulled out 
the chair before his desk and in the 
act of sitting down, he froze and lis- 

The psych-tracer burped at him. 

Ker-up, it chuckled. Ker-up, click- 
it y, click, ker-up. 

Christopher Adams straightened 
from his half-sitting position and 
put on his hat and coat again. ' 
• Going out, he slammed the door 
behind him. 

In all his life, he had never 
slammed a door. 


SUTTON breasted the river, swim- 
ming with slow, sure strokes. 
The water was warm against his body 
and it talked to him with a deep, 
important voice and Sutton thought: 
It is trying to tell me something, as 
it has tried to tell people something 
all down through the ages. A mighty 
tongue talking down the land, gos- 
siping to itself when there is no one 
to hear, but trying, always trying 
to tell its people the news it has to 
tell. Some of them, perhaps, have 
grasped a certain truth and a certain 
philosophy from the river, but none 
of them have ever reached the mean- 
ing of the river's language, for it is 
an unknown language. 

Like the language, Sutton thought, 
I used to make my notes. For they 
had to be in a language which no 
one else could read, a language that 
had been forgotten in the galaxy 
eons before any tongue now living 
lisped its baby talk. Either a lan- 
guage that had been forgotten or one 
that never could be known. 

I do not know that language, Sut- 
ton told himself, the language of my 
notes. I do not know whence it came 
or when or how. I asked, but they 
would not tell me. Johnny tried to 
tell me once, but I could not grasp 
it, for it was a thing that the brain 
of Man could not accept. 

I know its symbols and the things 
they stand for, but I do not know 
the sounds that make it. My tongue 
might not be able to form the sounds 
that make the spoken language. For 
all I know, it might be the language 
that this river talks ... or the lan- 
guage of some race that went to dis- 
aster and to dust 'a million or a bil- 
lion years ago. 

The black of night came down to 
nestle against the black of flowing 
river and the Moon had not arisen, 
would not rise for many hours to 
come. The starlight made little dia- 
mond points on the rippling waves 
of the pulsing river. On the shore 
ahead, the lights of homes made 
jagged patterns up and down the 

Herkimer has the notes, Sutton 
told himself, and I hope he has sense 
enough to hide them. I will need 
them later, but not now. I would like 



to see Herkimer, but I can't take the 
chance; they'll be watching him. And 
there's no doubt they have a tracer 
on me, but 'd I move fast enough I 
can keep out of their way. 

His feet struck gravel bottom and 
he let himself down, waded up the 
shelving shore. The night wind 
struck him and he shivered; the river 
had been warm from a day of sun, 
and the wind had a touch of chill. 

Herkimer, of course, would be one 
of those who had come back from 
the future to see that he wrote the 
book as he would have written it if 
there had been no interference. Her- 
kimer and Eva . . . and of the two, 
Sutton told himself, he could trust 
Herkimer. For an android would 
fight, would fight and die for the 
thing that the book would say. And 
so would every non-human form of 
life that could read and understand 
Asher Sutton's book. But no human 
could be trusted. 

HE FOUND a grassy bank and 
sat down and took off his 
clothes to wring them dry, then put 
them on again. He struck out across 
the meadow toward the highway that 
arrowed up the valley. 

No one would find the ship at the 
bottom of the river ... not for a 
while, at least. And a few hours 
were all he needed. A few hours to 
ask a thing that he must know, a 
few minutes then to get back to the 
ship again. 

But he couldn't waste any time. 
He had to get the information the 

quickest way he could. For if Adams 
had a tracer on him — and Adams 
would have a tracer on him — they 
would already know that he had re- 
turned to Earth. 

Once again came the old nagging 
wonder about Adams. How had 
Adams known that he was coming 
back from 61 Cygni, and why had 
he set a mouse trap for him when 
he did arrive? What information had 
he gotten that would make him give 
the order that Sutton must be shot 
on sight? 

• Someone had reached him . . . 
someone who had evidence to show 
him. For Adams would not go on 
anything less than evidence. And the 
only person who could have given 
him any information would, have 
been someone from the future. One 
of those, perhaps, who contended 
that the book must not be written, i 
that it must not exist, that the knowl- 
edge that it held be blotted out for- 
ever. And if the man who was to 
write it should die, what could* be 
more simple? N 

Except that the book had been 
written. The book already did exist. 
The knowledge apparently was 
spread across the galaxy. 

That would be catastrophe . . . for 
if the book were not written, then it 
never had existed. The whole seg- 
ment of the future that had been 
touched by the book in any wise 
would be blotted out, along with the 
book that had not been. 

And that could not be, Sutton told 



That meant that Asher Sutton 
could not, would not be allowed to 
die before the book was written. 

However it were written, the book 
must be written or the future was a 

Sutton shrugged. The tangled 
thread of logic was too much for 
him. There was no precept, no pre- 
cedent upon which one might de- 
' velop the pattern of cause and re- 

Alternate futures? Maybe, but it 
didn't seem likely. Alternate futures 
were a fantasy that employed seman- 
tics-twisting to prove a point, a clever 
use of words that covered up and 
masked the fallacies. 

He crossed the road and took a 
footpath that led to a house standing 
on a knoll. 

In the marsh down near the river, 
the frogs had struck up their piping 
and somewhere far away a wild duck 
called in the darkness. In the hills 
the whippoorwills began the eve- 
ning forum. The scent of new-cut 
grass lay heavy in the air and the smell 
of fog was crawling up the hills. 

The path came out on a patio and 
Sutton moved across it. 

A man's voice came to him. . 

"Good evening," it said, and Sutton 
wheeled around. 

He saw- the man, then, for the first 
time. A man who sat in his chair and 
smoked his pipe beneath the evening 

"I hate to bother you," said Sutton, 
"but I wonder if I might use your 


"Certainly, Ash," said Adams. 
"Anything you wish." 

Sutton started and then felt him- 
self freeze. 
, Adams! 


OF ALL the homes along the river, 
he would walk. in on Adams! 

Adams chuckled at him. "Destiny 
works, against you, Ash." , 

Sutton moved forward, found __a 
chair in the darkness and sat down. 
"You have a pleasant place," he said. 

"A very pleasant place," said 
Adams. He tapped out his pipe and 
put it in his pocket. "So you died 

"I was killed," said Sutton. "I got 
unkilled almost immediately." 

"Some of my boys?" asked Adams. 
"They are hunting for you." 

"A couple of strangers. Some of 
Morgan's gang." 

Adams shook his head. "I don't 
know the name." 

"He probably didn't tell you his 
name," said Shotton. "He told you 
I was coming back." 

"So that was it. The- man out of 
the future. You have him worried, 

"I need a phone," said Sutton. 

"You can use the phone." 

"And I need an hour." 

Adams shook his head. *T can't 
give you an hour." 

"A half -hour, then. I may have a 
chance to make it. A half-hour after 
I finish my call." 

"Nor a half-hour, either." 

"You never gamble, do you?" 


"Never," said Adams. 

"I do," said Sutton. He rose. 
"Where is that phone? I'm going to 
gamble on you." 

"Sit down, Ash," said Adams, al- 
most kindly. "Sit down and tell me 

Stubbornly, Sutton remained stand- . 

"If you could give me your word," 
said Adams, "that this destiny busi- 
ness won't harm Man, if you could 
tell me it won't give aid and com- 
fort to our enemies ..." 

"Man hasn't any enemies," said 
Ash, "except the ones he's made." 

"The galaxy is waiting for us to 
crack. Waiting to close in at the first ' 
sign of weakness." 

'That's because we taught them it. 
They watched us use their own weak- 
nesses to push them under." 

"What will this destiny do?" 
asked Adams. 

"It will teach Man humility," said 
Sutton. "Humility and responsi- 

"It's not a religion," said Adams. 
"That's what Raven told me. But it 
sounds like a religiqp . . . with all 
that preaching about humility." 

"Dr. Raven was right," Sutton 
told him. "It's not a religion. Des- 
tiny and religions could flourish side 
by side and exist in perfect peace. 
They- do not conflict. Rather, they 
would complement one another. Des- 
tiny stands for the same things most 
religions stand for, and it holds out 
no promise of an after-life. It leaves 
that to religion." 

"Ash," asked Adams quietly, "you 
have read your history?" 

Sutton nodded. 

"Think back," said Adams. "Re- 
member the Crusades. Remember the 
rise of Mohammedanism. Remember 
Cromwell in England. Remember 
Germany and America. And Russia 
and America. Religion and ideas, 
Ash. Man will fight for an idea 
when he wouldn't lift a hand for 
land or life or honor. But an idea 
to make other races fight Man . . . 
that's a different thing." 

"And you're afraid of an idea," 

"We can't afford any, Ash. Net 
right now, at least." 

"And still" Sutton told him, "it 
has been the ideas that have made 
men grow. We wouldn't have a cul- 
ture if it weren't for ideas." 

"Right now," said Adams bitter- 
ly, "men are fighting in the future 
over this destiny of yours." 

"That's why I have to use the 
phone," said Sutton. "That's why I 
need an hour." » 

ADAMS rose heavily to his fett. 
"I may be making a mistake," 
he said. "It's something I have never 
done in all my life. But I seem to be 
doing a lot of things I never did be- 
fore. For once I'll gamble." 

He led the way across the patio 
and into a dimly lighted room, rilled 
with old-fashioned furniture of the 
50th and 60th centuries. 

"Jonathon," he called. 

Feet pattered in the hall and the 
android came into the room. 



"A pair of dice," said Adams 
heavily. "Mr. Sutton and I are about 
to gamble." 

"Dice, sir?" 

"Yes, that pair you and the cook 
are using." 

"Yes, sir," said Jonathon.' 

He turned and disappeared and 
Sutton listened to his feet going 
through the house, fainter -and 

Adams turned to face him. 

"One throw each," he said. "High 
man wins." 

Sutton nodded, tense. 

"If you win, you get the hour," 
said Adams. "If I win, you take my 

"I'll throw with you," said Sutton. 
"On terms like that, I'm willing to 

And he was thinking: I lifted the 
battered ship on Cygni VII and 
maneuvered it through space. I was 
the engine and the pilot, the power 
tubes and navigator. Energy garnered 
by my body took the ship and lifted 
it and drove it through space . . . 
eleven years through space. I brought 
the ship down tonight through atmos- 
phere with the engines dead so it 
could not be spotted and I landed in 
the river. I could pick a book out of 
'that case and carry it to the table 
without laying hands on it, and I 
could turn the pages without the use 
of fingertips. 

But dice. 

They roll so fast and topple so. 

"Win or lose," said Adams, "you 
can use the phone." 



"If I lose," said Sutton, "I won't 
need the phone." 

Jonathon came back and laid the 
dice upon a table top. When he saw 
that the two -humans were waiting 
for him to go, he left. His footsteps 
died away. 

Sutton nodded at the dice care- 
lessly. "You first/' he said. 

Adams picked them uip, Jield them 
in his fist and shook them. Their 
clicking was like the frightened 
porcelain chatter of teeth.. 

His fist came down above the table 
and his fingers opened. The little 
white cubes spun and whirled on the 
polished top. They came to rest. 

One was a five, the other a six. 

Adams raised his eyes to Sutton 
and there was nothing in them. No 
triumph. Absolutely nothing. 
• "Your turn," he said. 

Perfect, thought Sutton, nothing 
less than perfect. It has to be two 

HE STRETCHED out his hand 
and picked up the dice, shook 
them in his fist, felt the shape and 
size of them rolling in his palm. 

Now take them in your mind, he 
told himself . . . take them in your 
mind as well as in your fist. Hold 
them in your mind, make them a part 
of you, as you made the two ships 
you drove through space, as you 
could make a book or chair or a 
flower you wished to pick. 

He changed for a moment and his 

'heart faltered to a stop. The blood 

. slowed to a trickle in his arteries and 

veins, and he was not breathing. He 

felt the energy system take over, the 

other body that drew raw energy 

from anything that could be tapped. 

His mind reached out and took 

•the dice and shook them inside the 

prison of his fist. He brought his 

hand down with a swooping gesture 

and let his fingers -uncurl. The dice 

came dancing out. 



They were dancing in his brain,' 
too, as well as on the table top and 
he saw them, or sensed them, or was 
aware of them, as if they were a 
part of him. Aware of the sides that 
had the six black dots and the sides 
with all the other numbers. 

But they were slippery to handle, 
hard to make go the way he wanted 
them to go. For a fearful, agonizing 
second, it seemed almost as if the 
spinning cubes had minds and per- 
sonalities that were their very own. 

One of them was a six and the 
other still was rolling. The six was 
coming up and it toppled for a mo- 
ment, threatening to fall back. 

A push, thought Sutton. Just a lit- 
tle push. But with brain power in- 
stead of muscular. 

The six came up and the two dice* 
lay there, both of them showing sixes. 

Sutton drew in a sobbing breath 
and his heart beat once again and the 
blood pumped through the veins. 

The two men stood in silence for 
a moment, staring at one another 
across the table top. 

Adams spoke and his voice was 
quiet; one could not have guessed 
from his tone what he felt. 

"The phone is over there," he 

Sutton bowed, ever so slightly, and 
felt foolish doing it, like a character 
out of some incredibly old and bad 
piece of romantic fiction. 

"Destiny," he said, "still is work- 
ing for me. When it comes to the 
pinch, destiny is there." 
' "Your hour will start," said 

Adams, "as soon as you finish phon- 

He turned smartly and walked 
back to the patio, very stiff and 

Now that he had won, Sutton sud- 
denly was weak, and he walked un- 
steadily to the phone. He sat down 
before it and took' out the directory 
that he needed. 

JNFormation. And the subhead- 
ing:, Geography, -historic, North 

HE FOUND the number and 
1 dialed it and the screen lit up. ^ 

The information robot said: "Can 
I be of service, sir?" 

"Yes," said Sutton. "I would like 
to know where Wisconsin was." 

"Where are you? now, sir?" 

"I am at the. residence of Mr. 
Christopher Adams." . 

"The Mr. Adams who is with the 
Department of Galactic Investiga- 

"The same." 

"Then," the robot said, "you are 
in Wisconsin." 

"Bridgeport?" asked Sutton. 

"It Was on the Wisconsin River, 
on the north bank, a matter of seven 
miles above the junction with the 

"But those rivers — I've never 
heard of them." 

"You are near them now, sir. The 
Wisconsin flows into the Mississippi 
just below the point where you are 

Sutton hung up, rose shakily and 



crossed the room, went out on the 

♦ A4ams was lighting up his pipe. 
"You got what you wanted?" 

Sutton nodded. 

"Get going, then," said Adams. 
"Your hour's already started." 

Sutton hesitated. 

"What is it, Ash?" 

"I wonder," said Sutton, "I won- 
. der if you would shake my hand." < 

"Why, sure," said Adams. 

He rose ponderously to his feet 
and held out his hand. ^ 

"I don't know which," said 
Adams, "but you are .either the great- 
est man or the biggest damn fool 
that I have ever known." 



•RiIDGEPORT dreamed in its 
-I— ^ rock-hemmed niche alongside 
the swiftly flowing river. The sum- 
mer sun beat down into the pocket 
between the tree-mantled cliffs with 


a ' fierceness . that seemed to squeeze 
the last hope of life and energy out 
of everything . ._ . out of the weather- 
beaten houses, out of the dust that 
lay along the street, out of leaf-wilt- 
ed shrub and bush and beaten rows 
of flowers. - > 

The railroad tracks curved around 
a bluff and entered the town, then 
curved around another bluff and were 
gone again. For the short span of this 
arc out of somewhere into nowhere, 
they shone in the sun with the burn- 
ished sharpness of a whetted knife. 

Between the tracks and river, the rail- 
road station drowsed, a foursquare 
building that had the look of having 
hunched its shoulders against sum- 
mer sun and winter cold for so many 
years that it stood despondent and 
cringing, waiting for the next whip- 
lash of weather. 

Sutton stood on the station plat- 
form and listened to the river, the 
suck and swish of tiny whirlpools 
that ran along the shore,, the gurgle 
of water flowing acroS a hidden, up- 
ward-canted log, the soft sigh of 
watery fingers grasping at the tip of 
a downward-drooping branch. And 
• above it all, cutting through it all, 
the real noise of the river. 

He lifted his head and squinted 
against the sun to follow the mighty 
metal span that leaped across the 
river from the bluff-top, slanting 
down toward the high-graded road- 
bed that walked across the gently ris- 
ing valley on the other shore. 

Man leaped rivers on great spans 
of steel and he never heard the talk 
of rivers as they rolled down to the 
sea. Man leaped seas on wings pow- 
ered by smooth, sleek engines, and 
the thunder of the sea was a sound 
lost in the empty vault Of sky. Man 
crossed space in metallic cylinders 
that twisted time and space and 
hurled Man and his miraculous ma- 
chines down alleys of conjectural 
mathematics that were not even 
dreamed of in this world of Bridge- 
port, 1977. 

Man was in a hurry and he went 
too far, too fast. So far and fast that 



•he missed many things . . . things 
that he should have taken time to 
learn as he went along -. . . things 
that someday in some future age he 
would take the time to study. Some- 
day Man would come back along the 
trail again and learn the things he'd 
missed and wonder why he missed 
them and think upon the years that 
were lost for never knowing them. 

Sutton stepped down from the 
platform and found a faint footpath 
that went do\vn to the river. Careful- 
ly, he made his way along it, for it 
was soft and crumbly and there were 
stones that might turn underfoot. 

AT THE end of the footpath -he 
'found the old man. * 

The oldster sat perched on a small 
boulder planted in the mud and he 
held a cane pole slanted riverwise 
across his knees. An ancient pipe pro- 
truded from a two-weeks' growth of 
: graying whiskers, and an earthenware 
jug with a corncob for a cork sat 
beside him, easy to his hand. 

Sutton sat down cautiously on the 
shelving shore beside the boulder and 
wondered at the coolness of the shade 
from the trees and undergrowth — a 
welcome coolness after the fierce 
splash of sun upon the village just 
a few rods up the bank. 

"Catching anything?" he asked. 

"Nope," said the Old man. 

He puffed away at his pipe and 
Sutton watched in fascinated silence. 
One would have sworn, he told him- 
self, that the mop of whiskers was 
on fire. 

"Didn't catch nothing yesterday, 
^either," the old man added. He took 
his pipe out of his mouth with* a 
deliberate, considered motion and . 
spat neatly into the center of a river 
eddy. "Didn't catch nothing the day 
before yesterday." 

"You want to catch something, 
don't you?" Sutton asked. 

"Nope." The old man put down a 
hand and lifted the jug, worked out 
the corncob cork and wiped the jug's 
neck carefully' with a dirty hand. 
'-'Have a snort," he invited. 

Sutton, remembering the dirty 
hand, took it, gagging to himself. 
Cautiously, he lifted it and tipped it 
to his mouth. 

The stuff splashed and gurgled 
down his throat and it was liquid fire 
laced with gall and with a touch of 
brimstone to give it something extra. 

Sutton snatched the jug away and 
held it by the handle, keeping his 
mouth wide open to cool it and air 
out the taste. 

The old man took the jug back and 
Sutton swabbed at the tears running 
down his cheeks. 

"Ain't aged the way she should 
be," the old man apologized. "But I 
ain't got the time to fool around with 

He took himself a hooker, wiped , 
his mouth with the back of his hand 
and whooshed out his breath in gusty 
satisfaction. He put the jug down 
again and worked the cork in tight. 

"Stranger, ain't you?" he asked 
Sutton. "Don't recall seeing you 
around." » 



SUTTON nodded. "Looking for 
some people by the name of Sut- 
ton. John H. Sutton." 

The old man chuckled. "Old John, 
eh? Him and me was kids together. 
Sneakiest little rascal that I ever 
knew. Ain't worth a tinker's damn, 
old John ain't. Went off to law school 
and got him an education. But he 
didn't make a go of it. Roosting out 
on a farm up on the ridge, over there 
across the river." He shot a look at 
Sutton. "You ain't no relative of his, 
are you?" 

"Well," said Sutton, "not exactly. 
Not very close, at least." 

"Tomorrow's the Fourth," said the 
old man, "and I recollect the time 
that John and me blew up a culvert 
in Campbell Hollow, come the 
Fourth. Found some dynamite a road 
gang had been using for blasting. 
John and me, we figured it would 
make a bigger bang if we confined 
it, sort of. So we put her in the cul- 
vert pipe and lit a long fuse. Mister, 
it blew that culvert all to hell. I re- 
collect our dads like to took the hide 
off us for doing it." 

Dead ringer, thought Sutton. John 
H. Sutton is just across the river and 
tomorrow is the Fourth. July 4, 1977, 
that's what the letter said. 

And I didn't have to ask. The old 
codger unwittingly told me. 

The sun was a furnace blast from 
the river's surface, but here, under- 
neath the trees, one just caught the 
edge of the flare of heat. A leaf 
floated by and there was a grasshop- 
per riding on it. The grasshopper 


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tried to jump ashore, but his jump 
fell short and the current grabbed and 
swallowed him out of sight. 

"Never had a chance," said the 
old man, "that hopper didn't. Wick- 
edest river in these United States, the 
old Wisconsin is. Can't trust her. 
Tried to run steamboats on her in 
the early days, but they couldn't do 
it, for where there was a channel one 
day there* d be a sand bar on the next. 
Current shifts the sand something aw- 
ful. Government fellow wrote a re- 
port on her once. Said the only way 
you could use the Wisconsin for navi- 
gation was to lathe and plaster it." 

From far overhead came the rum- 
ble of traffic crossing the bridge. A 
train came by, chuffing and grinding, 
a long freight that dragged itself up 
the valley. Long after it had passed, 
Sutton heard its whistle hooting. 

"Destiny," said the old man, "sure 

wasn't working worth a hoot for that 

hopper, was it?" 


SUTTON sat upright. "What was 
that you said?" 

"Don't mind me," the old man 
told him. "I go around mumbling to 
myself. Sometimes people hear me; 
mostly they don't." 

"But destiny — you said something 
about destiny." 

"Interested in it, lad? Wrote a 
story about it once. Didn't amount to 
much. Used to mess around some, 
writing, in my early days." 

Sutton relaxed and lay back. 

A dragonfly skimmed the water's 
surface. Far up the bank, a small fish 

jumped and left a widening circle in 
the water. 

"About this fishing," said Sutton. 
"You don't seem to care whether you 
catch anything or not." 
/ "Rather not," the old man told 
him. "Catch something and you got 
to take it off the hook. Then you got 
to bait up again and throw the hook 
back in the river. Then you got to 
clean the fish. It's an awful sight of 
work." He took the pipe out of his 
mouth and spat carefully into the 
river. "Ever read Thoreau, son?" 

Sutton shook his head, trying to re- 
member. The name struck a chord of 
memory. There had been a fragment 
in a book of ancient literature in his 
college days. All that was left of what 
was believed to have been an exten- 
sive amount of writing. 

'You ought to," the old man told 
him. "He had the right idea." 

Sutton rose and dusted off his 

"Stick around," the old man said. 
"You ain't bothering me. Hardly 
none at all." • 

"Got to be getting along," said 

"Hunt me up some other time," 
the old man said. "We could talk 
some more." 

"Someday," Sutton answered po- 
litely, "I'll do just that." 

"Care for another snort before you 

"No, thank you," said Sutton, 
backing off. "No, thank you very 

"Oh, well," the old man said. He 



lifted the jug and took a long and 
gurgling drink. 

Sutton climbed the bank to the 
blaze of sun again. 

"Sure," said the station agent in 
the village, "the Suttons live just 
across the river, over in Grant 
County. Several ways to get there. 
Which one would you like?" 

'The longest one," Sutton told 
him. "I'm not in any hurry." 

The moon was coming up when 
Sutton climbed the hill to reach the 

He was in no hurry. He had all 
night. Tomorrow was the Fourth. 


THE land was wild . . . wilder than 
anything Sutton had ever seen on 
the seeded, trimmed and watered 
parks of his native Earth. The land 
tilted upward, as if it rested on a knife 
edge, and • it was littered by great 
clumps of stone which appeared to 
have been flung down in godlike 
anger by a giant hand out of forgot- 
ten time. Stark bluffs speared erect, 
soaring massTvely, masked by mighty 
trees that seemed to have tried, at one 
time, to have matched the height and 
dignity of the rocky cliffs. Through 
the trees, Asher Sutton glimpsed the 
break in the cliffs ahead and knew 
that he was at the place that old John 
Sutton had mentioned in his letter. 

The sun was only a couple of 
hours high and there still was time. 
There still would be time, for John 
Sutton had talked to the man only a 

couple of hours or so and then had 
gone to dinner. 

From there on, with the cleft of 
the cliff in sight, Sutton took his time. 
"He reached the top and found the 
boulder that his old ancestor had 
spoken of. It was almost designed for 

He sat upon it and stared across 
the valley, grateful for the shade. 

And there was peace, as John Sut- 
ton had said there was. Peace and the 
quieting majesty of the scene before 
him . . . the strange third-dimensional 
quality of the space that hung, as if 
alive, above the river valley. Strange- 
ness, too, the strangeness of expected 
. . . and unexpected . . . happenings. 

He looked at his watch. It was 
half-past nine, so he left the boulder 
and lay down behind a patch of 
brush and waited. Almost as he did, 
there was a soft, Smooth swish of 
motor-noise and a ship came down, a 
tiny one-man ship, slanting across the 
trees, to land in the pasture just be- 
yond the fence. 

A man got out and leaned against 
the ship, staring at the sky and trees, 
as if satisfying himself that he had 
reached his destination. 

Sutton chuckled quietly to himself. 

Stage setting, he said. Dropping in 
unexpectedly and with a crippled 
ship ... no need to explain your 
presence. Waiting for a man to come 
walking up and talk to you. Most . 
natural thing in all the worlds. You 
didn't seek him out; he saw you and 
came to you, and of course he talked. 

You couldn't come walking up the 



road and turn in at the gate and 
knock at the door and say: "I came to 
pick up all the scandal I can about 
the Sutton family. I wonder if I 
might sit down and talk with you."" 

But you could land in a pasture 
with a crippled ship and first you'd 
talk of corn and pasture, of weather 
and of grass, and finally you'd get 
around to talking about personal and 
family matters. 

The man had his wrench out and 
was tinkering at the ship. 

It must almost be time. 

Sutton lifted himself' on his arms 
and stared through the close-laced 
branches of the, hazel brush. 

John H. Sutton was coming down 
the hill, a big-bellied man with a trim 
white beard and an old black hat, and 
his walk was a waddle with some 
swagger still left in it. 


SO THIS is failure, Eva Armour 
said. This is how failure feels. 
Dry in the throat and heavy in the 
heart and tired in the brain. 

I am bitter, she told herself, and I 
have a right to be. Although I am so 
tired with trying and with failure 
that the knife edge of bitterness is 

"The psych tracer in Adams' of- 
fice has stopped," Herkimer had said, 
and then the plate had gone dead as 
he cut the visor. 

There was no trace of Sutton. The 
tracer had stopped. 

That meant that Sutton was dead. 

He could not be dead, for histori- 
cally he had written a book and he 
had not yet written it. 

But history was something that you 
couldn't trust. It was put together 
wrong, or copied wrong, or misin- 
terpreted, or improved upon by a man 
with a misplaced- imagination. Truth 
was so hard to keep, myth and fable 
so easy to breathe into a life that was 
more acceptable than truth. 

Half the history of Sutton, Eva 
knew, must be sheer legend. And yet 
there were certain truths that must be 
truths indeed. 

Someone had written a book and 
it would have had to be Sutton. No 
one else could break the language in 
which his notes were written, and the 
words themselves breathed the very 
sincerity of the man himself. 

Sutton had died, but not on Earth 
nor in Earth's solar system and not a 
youth of sixty. He had died on a 
planet circling some far star and he 
had not died for many, many years. 

These were truths that could not 
well be twisted. These were truths 
that had to stand until they were dis- 

And yet the tracer had stopped. 

Eva got up from her chair and 
walked across. the room to the win- 
dow that looked out on the land- 
scaped grounds of the Orion Arms. 
Fireflies were dotting the bushes with 
their brief, cold, flame and the late 
moon was coming up behind a cloud 
that looked like a gentle hill. 

So much work, she thought. So 
many years of planning. Androids 



who had worn no mark upon their 
forehead and who had been formed 
to look exactly like the humans they 
replaced. And other androids who 
had marks upon their foreheads, but 
who had not been the androids made 
in the laboratories of the eightieth 
century. Elaborate networks of espi- 
onage, waiting for the day Sutton 
would come home. Years of puzzling 
over the records of the past, trying to 
separate the truth from the half-truth 
and the downright error. 

Years of watching and of waiting, 
parrying the counter-espionage of the 
Revisionists, laying the groundwork 
for the day of action. And being care- 
ful .. . always careful. For the 
eightieth century must not know, 
must not even guess. 

But there had been unseen factors. 


MORGAN had come back and 
warned Adams that Sutton must 
be killed. 

Two humans had been planted on 
Benton's forfeited asteroid. 

Although those two factors could 
not account entirely for what had 
happened. There was another factor 

She stood at the window, looking 
out at the rising moon, and her brows 
knit into crinkling lines of thought. 
But she was too tired. No thought 
would come. 

Except defeat. 

Defeat would explain it all. 

Sutton might be dead and that 
would be defeat, utter and complete. 
Victory for an officialdom that was at 




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once too timid and too vicious to take 
any active part in the struggle for the 
book. An officialdom that sought to 
keep the status quo, willing to wipe 
out centuries of thought to maintain 
its grip on the galaxy. 

Such a defeat, she knew, would be 
even worse than a defeat. by the Re- 
visionists. If the Revisionists won, 
there still would be a book; there still 
would be the teaching of Man's own 
destiny. And that, she told herself, 
was better than no inkling of destiny 
at all. * ; 

Behind her, the visiphone purred, 
and she spun around, hurried across 
the room. 

A robot said: "Mr. Sutton called. 
He asked about Wisconsin." 


"It's an old place name," the robot 
explained. "He asked about a place 
called Bridgeport, Wisconsin." 

"As if* he were going there?" 

"It would appear so." 

"Quick," said Eva. "Where is this 

"Five or six miles away," said the 
robot, "and at least four thousand 

She caught her breath. "In time," 
she said. 

"Yes, miss, in time." 

"Tell me exactly," Eva told him. 

The robot shook his head. "I don't 
know. I couldn't catch it. His mind 
was all roiled up. He'd just come 
through a trying experience." 

"Then you can't help." 

"I wouldn't bother if I were you," 
the robot told her. "He struck me as 

a man who knew what he was doing. 
He'll come'out all right." 

"You're sure of that?" 

"I would like to be," the robot 
admitted reluctantly. 


A DRY stick cracked under Sut- 
ton's feet and the man with the 
wrench slowly turned around. A 
swift, smooth smile spread upon his 
face in widening crinkles to hide the 
amazement that glittered in his eyes. 

"Good afternoon," said, Sutton. 

John H. Sutton was a stout speck 
that had almost climbed the hill. The 
sun had passed its zenith and was 
swinging toward the west. Down in 
the river valley, a half-dozen crows 
were cawing;- it was as if the sound 
came from underneath their feet. 

The man held out his hand. "Mr. 
Sutton, isn't it?" he asked. "The Mr. 
Sutton of the eightieth century?" 

"Drop the wrench," said Sutton. 

The man pretended not to hear 
him. "My name is Dean," he said. 
"Arnold Dean. I'm from the eighty- 

"Drop the wrench," said Sutton. 

Dean dropped it. Sutton hooked it 
along the ground with a toe until it 
was out of reach. 

"That is better," he said. "Now, 
let's sit down and talk." 

Dean gestured with a thumb. "The 
old man will be coming back. He will 
get to wondering and he will come 
back. He had a lot of questions he 
forgot to ask."- 



"Not for a while," Sutton told 
him. "Not until he's eaten and had 
an after-dinner nap." 

Dean grunted and eased himself to 
a sitting position, his back against the 
ship. "Random factors," he said. 
'That's what balls up the detail. 
You're a random factor, Sutton. It 
wasn't planned this way." 

Sutton sat down easily and picked 
up the wrench. He weighed it in his 
hand. Blood, he thought, looking at 
the wrench. You'll have blood upon 
one end before the day is out. 

"Tell me,", said Dean. "Now that 
you are here, what do you plan to 
do?" - 

"Easy," said Sutton. "You're going 
to talk to me. You're going to tell me 
something that I need to know." 
"Gladly," Dean agreed. 
"You said you came from the 
eighty-fourth. What year?" 

"Eighty-three eighty-six," said 
Dean. "But if I were you, I'd go a 
little past that. You'd find more to 
interest you." 

"But you figure I'll never get even 
as far as that," said Sutton. "You 
think that you will win." 

"Of course I do," said Dean. 
Sutton dug into the ground with 
the wrench. "A while ago, I found a 
man who died very shortly after. He 
recognized me and he made a sign 
with his fingers." ■*- 

Dean spat upon the ground. "An- 
droid. They worship you, Sutton. 
• They made a religion out of you. Be- 
cause, you see, you gave them hope to 
cling to. You gave them something 

that made them, in one way, the 
equal of Man." 

"I take it," Sutton said, "you don't 
believe a thing I wrote." 

"Should I?" 

"I do," said Sutton. 

DEAN said nothing. 
"You have taken the thing I 
wrote," said Sutton evenly, "and you 
are trying to use it to fashion one 
more rung in the ladder of Man's 
vanity. You have missed the point en- 
tirely. You have no sense of destiny 
because you gave destiny no chance 

And he felt foolish even as he said 
it, for it sounded so much like preach- 
ing. So much like what the men of 
old had said of faith when faith was 
just a word, before it had .become a 
force to really reckon with. 

"I won't lecture you," he said, 
angry at the smooth way Dean had 
put him on the defensive. "I won't 
preach at you. You either accept des- 
tiny or you ignore it. So far as I'm 
concerned I'll not raise a hand to con- 
vince any single man. The book I 
wrote tells you what I know. You can 
take it or you can leave it . . . it's all 
the same to me." 

"Sutton," said Dean, "you're bat- 
ting your head against a stone wall. 
You haven't got a chance. You're 
fighting humankind. The Whole 
human race against you . . . and 
nothing's ever stood against the hu- 
man race. All you have is a pack of 
measly androids and a few renegade 
humans . . . the kind of humans that 



used to swarm to the old cult- wor- 

"The empire is built on androids 
and robots," Sutton told him. "They 
can throw you out any time they 
want to. Without them you couldn't 
hold a single foot of ground outside 
the solar system." 

"They will stick with us in the em- 
pire," Dean retorted, very confident. 
"They may fight us on this business 
of destiny, but they'll stay with us be- 
cause they can't get along without us. 
They can't reproduce, you know. And 
they can't make themselves. They 
have to have humans to keep their 
race going, to replace the ones who 
get knocked off." 

He chuckled. "Until one android 
can create another android, they will 
stick with, us and they will work with 
us. If they didn't, they would be 
committing racial suicide." 

"What I can't understand," said 
Sutton, "is how you know which ones 
are fighting you and which are stick- 
ing with you." 

"That," said Dean, "is the hell of 
it ... we don't. If we did, we'd make 
short work of this lousy war. The 
android who fought you yesterday 
may shine your shoes tomorrow, and 
how are you to know ? The answer is, 
you don't." 

HE PICKED up a tiny stone and 
flicked it out on the pasture 

"Sutton," he said, "it's enough to 
drive you nuts. No battles, really. 
Just guerrilla skirmishes here and 

there, when one small task force sent 
out to do a time^fixing job is am- 
bushed by another task force sent out 
by the other side to intercept them." 

"Like I intercepted you," said Sut- 

"Huh . . ." said Dean, and then he 
brightened. "Why, sure. Like you 
intercepted me." 

One moment Dean was sitting 
with his back against the machine, 
talking as if he meant to keep on talk- 
ing . . . and in the next moment his 
body was a fluid streak of motion, 
jackknifing up and forward in a 
lunge toward the wrench that Sutton 

Sutton moved instinctively, toes 
tightening against the ground, leg 
muscles flexing to. drive his body 
aside, hand starting to jerk the 
wrench away. 

But Dean had the advantage of a 
full second's start. 

Sutton felt the wrench ripped from 
his grip, saw the flash of it in. the 
sun as Dean swung it sharply for the 

Dean's lips were moving. Even as 
he tried to throw up his arms to 
shield his head, Sutton read the 
words the other's lips were ironically 

"So you thought the blood on the 
wrench would be mine!" 

Then pain exploded inside Sut- 
ton's head and he fell through dark- 






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