A Stone In Heaven by Poul Anderson

By Poul Anderson

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She dashed it to the floor. It didn't break as she wanted, but it skittered. " she yelled. " The single person in the room with her was Ivan Polevoy, electronician, who had had some tinkering to do on a different piece of equipment. He had seen Abrams rapt in her rapport with the native, but not what was happening, for side panels effectively blocked his view of the video screen. The woman maintained that her relationship was sufficient invasion of privacy--though she admitted "privacy" was a notion hard to apply between unlike species.

Vision winged across roofs, walls, hoar treetops, cliffs and crags, a misty shimmer of plains, finally the horizon. He raised his eyes and beheld stars in their thousands. Antares burned brightest. Mogul was sufficiently near to rival it, an orange spark: Mogul, sun of Babur, the Protectorate. His gaze did not seek Olga, for in that constellation, invisible to him, was the black sun of Mirkheim; and he had no time on hand to think about regaining the treasure planet for Hermes. Sol was hidden too, by distance.

Nevermind. " "I suggest you be ready for breakfast in twenty minutes, sir. " "Twenty minutes on the dot. " Flandry left. As usual when it was unoccupied, the clothes were in a guestroom. Flandry draped them over his tall frame with the skill of a foppish lifetime. These days, he didn't really care--had not since a lady died on Dennitza, fourteen years ago--but remained a fashion plate out of habit, and because it was expected of him. Deep-blue tunic, gold on collar and sleeves, nebula and star on either shoulder; scarlet sash; white iridon trousers bagged into half-boots of lustrous black beefleather; and the assorted ribbons, of course, each a brag about an exploit though most of the citations were recorded only in the secret files; and the Imperial sunburst, jewel-encrusted, hung from his neck, to proclaim him a member of the Order of Manuel, silliest boast of the lot-- Brushing his sleek iron-gray hair, he checked to make sure his last dash of beard inhibitor wasn't wearing off.

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