Jon Venex fitted the key into the hotel room door. He had asked for a large room, the largest in the hotel, and paid the desk clerk extra for it. All he could do now was pray that he hadn't been cheated. He didn't dare complain or try to get his money back. He heaved a sigh of relief as the door swung open, it was bigger than he had expected—fully three feet wide by five feet long. There was more than enough room to work in. He would have... more...

I A man said to the universe:"Sir, I exist!""However" replied the universe,"The fact has not created in meA sense of obligation." STEPHEN CRANE Sweat covered Brion's body, trickling into the tight loincloth that was the only garment he wore. The light fencing foil in his hand felt as heavy as a bar of lead to his exhausted muscles, worn out by a month of continual exercise. These things were of no importance. The cut on his chest, still... more...

E'RE losing a planet, Neel. I'm afraid that I can't ... understand it." The bald and wrinkled head wobbled a bit on the thin neck, and his eyes were moist. Abravanel was a very old man. Looking at him, Neel realized for the first time just how old and close to death he was. It was a profoundly shocking thought. "Pardon me, sir," Neel broke in, "but is it possible? To lose a planet, I mean. If the readings are done correctly, and the k-factor... more...

Being an interstellar trouble shooter wouldn’t be so bad … if I could shoot the trouble! The Old Man had that look of intense glee on his face that meant someone was in for a very rough time. Since we were alone, it took no great feat of intelligence to figure it would be me. I talked first, bold attack being the best defense and so forth. “I quit. Don’t bother telling me what dirty job you have cooked up, because I... more...

HEN it comes to picking locks and cracking safes I admit to no master. The door to Inskipp's private quarters had an old-fashioned tumbler drum that was easier to pick than my teeth. I must have gone through that door without breaking step. Quiet as I was though, Inskipp still heard me. The light came on and there he was sitting up in bed pointing a .75 caliber recoilless at my sternum. "You should have more brains than that, diGriz," he... more...

Jason dinAlt looked unhappily at the two stretchers as they were carried by. "Are they at it again?" he asked. Brucco nodded, the scowl permanently ingrained now on his hawklike face. "We have only one thing to be thankful for. That is—so far at least—they haven't used any weapons on each other." Jason looked down unbelievingly at the shredded clothing, crushed flesh and broken bones. "The absence of weapons doesn't appear to make... more...

It was a big, coffin-shaped plywood box that looked like it weighed a ton. This brawny type just dumped it through the door of the police station and started away. I looked up from the blotter and shouted at the trucker's vanishing back. "What the hell is that?" "How should I know?" he said as he swung up into the cab. "I just deliver, I don't X-ray 'em. It came on the morning rocket from earth is all I know." He gunned the truck more than he... more...