The Colors of Space (Chapter 10, page 1 of 10)


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Chapter 10

The green-sun Meristem lay far behind them. Karol's burns had healed;
only a faint pattern on Ringg's forehead showed where six stitches had
closed the ugly wound in his skull. Bart's wrist, after a few days of
nightmarish pain when he tried to pick up anything heavy, had healed.
Two more warp-drive shifts through space had taken the Swiftwing far,
far out to the rim of the known galaxy, and now the great crimson coal
of Antares burned in their viewports.

Antares had twelve planets, the outermost of which--far away now, at the
furthest point in its orbit from the point of the Swiftwing's entry
into the system--was a small captive sun. No larger than the planet
Earth, it revolved every ninety years around its huge primary.

Small as it was, it was blazingly blue-white brilliant, and had a tiny
planet of its own. After their stop on Antares Seven--the largest of the
inhabited planets in this system, where the Lhari spaceport was
located--they would make a careful orbit around the great red primary,
and land on the tiny worldlet of the blue-white secondary before leaving
the Antares system.

As Bart watched Antares growing in the viewports, he felt a variety of
emotions. On the one hand, he was relieved that as his voyage in secrecy
neared its official destination, he had as yet not incurred unmasking.

But he felt uncertain about his father's co-conspirators. Would they
return him to human form and send him back to Vega, his part ended? Or
would they, unthinkably, demand that he go on into the Lhari Galaxy?
What would he do, if they did?

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