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CHAPTER ONE The girl came toward him across the silent room. She was young. She was beautiful. Her red hair curled like a flame round her eager, heart-shaped face. Her arms reached for him. Her hands touched him. Her eyes were alive with the light of pure love. I am yours, the eyes kept saying. Do with me as you will. Forrester watched the eyes with a kind of fascination. Now the girl's mouth opened, the lips parted slightly, and her husky... more...

Ambitious Brill slid smoothly into her berth in the Brooklyn Navy Yard after far too many weeks at sea, as far as her crew were concerned. After all the necessary preliminaries had been waded through, the majority of that happy crew went ashore to enjoy a well-earned and long-anticipated leave in the depths of the brick-and-glass canyons of Gomorrah-on-the-Hudson. The trip had been uneventful, in so far as nothing really dangerous or exciting... more...

Peter Wayne took the letter out of the machine, broke the seal, and examined it curiously. It was an official communication from the Interstellar Exploration Service. It read: FROM: Lieutenant General Martin Scarborough, I.E.S.TO: Captain Peter Wayne, Preliminary Survey Corps Report immediately to this office for assignment to I.E.S. Lord Nelson. Full briefing will be held at 2200 hours, 14 April 2103. By order of the Fleet Commandant. It... more...

HE two rooms were not luxurious, but MacMaine hadn't expected that they would be. The walls were a flat metallic gray, unadorned and windowless. The ceilings and floors were simply continuations of the walls, except for the glow-plates overhead. One room held a small cabinet for his personal possessions, a wide, reasonably soft bed, a small but adequate desk, and, in one corner, a cubicle that contained the necessary sanitary plumbing facilities.... more...

There was a man in our town,And he was wond'rous wise;He jumped into a bramble bush,And scratch'd out both his eyes! —Old Nursery Rhyme Peter de Hooch was dreaming that the moon had blown up when he awakened. The room was dark except for the glowing night-light near the door, and he sat up trying to separate the dream from reality. He focused his eyes on the glow-plate. What had wakened him? Something had, he was sure, but there didn't... more...


There was a dizzy, sickening whirl of mental blackness—not true blackness, but a mind-enveloping darkness that was filled with the multi-colored little sparks of thoughts and memories that scattered through the darkness like tiny glowing mice, fleeing from something unknown, fleeing outwards and away toward a somewhere that was equally unknown; scurrying, moving, changing—each half recognizable as it passed, but leaving only a vague... more...

The kids who tried to jump Mike the Angel were bright enough in a lot of ways, but they made a bad mistake when they tangled with Mike the Angel. They’d done their preliminary work well enough. They had cased the job thoroughly, and they had built the equipment to take care of it. Their mistake was not in their planning; it was in not taking Mike the Angel into account. There is a section of New York’s Manhattan Island, down on the... more...

Commander Benedict kept his eyes on the rear plate as he activated the intercom. "All right, cut the power. We ought to be safe enough here." As he released the intercom, Dr. Leicher, of the astronomical staff, stepped up to his side. "Perfectly safe," he nodded, "although even at this distance a star going nova ought to be quite a display." Benedict didn't shift his gaze from the plate. "Do you have your instruments set up?" "Not quite. But... more...

"Beep!" said the radio smugly. "Beep! Beep! Beep!" "There's one," said the man at the pickup controls of tugship 431. He checked the numbers on the various dials of his instruments. Then he carefully marked down in his log book the facts that the radio finder was radiating its beep on such-and-such a frequency and that that frequency and that rate-of-beep indicated that the asteroid had been found and set with anchor by a Captain Jules St.... more...

ord Barrick Sorban, Colonel, H.I.M.O.G., Ret., sipped gently at his drink and looked mildly at the sheaf of newsfacsimile that he'd just bought fresh from the reproducer in the lobby of the Royal Hotel. Sorban did not look like a man of action; he certainly did not look like a retired colonel of His Imperial Majesty's Own Guard. The most likely reason for this was that he was neither. Not that he was incapable of action on a physical level if it... more...