The Colors of Space (Chapter 10, page 2 of 10)


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Chapter 10

At one moment he entertained fantasies of going on into the Lhari
worlds, returning victorious with the secret of their fueling location,
or of the star-drive itself. At another, he could not wait to be free of
it all. He longed for the society of his own people, yet ached to think
that this voyage between the stars must end so soon.

They made planetfall at the largest Lhari spaceport Bart had seen; as
always, the Second Officer was the first to go through Decontam and
ashore, returning with exchanged mail and messages for the Swiftwing's
crew. He laughed when he gave Bartol a sealed packet. "So you're not
quite the orphan we've always thought!"

Bart took it, his heart suddenly pounding, and walked away through the
groups of officers and crew eagerly debating how they would spend their
port leave. He knew what it would be.

It was on the letterhead of Eight Colors, and it contained no message.
Only an address--and a time.

He slipped away unobserved to the Mentorian part of the ship to borrow a
cloak from Meta. She did not ask why he wanted it, and stopped him when
he would have told her. "I'd--rather not know."

She looked very small and very scared, and Bart wished he could comfort
her, but he knew she would shrink from him, repelled and horrified by
his Lhari skin, hair, claws.

Yet she reached for his hand, gripping it hard in her own dainty one.
"Bartol, be careful," she whispered, then stopped. "Bartol--that's a
Lhari name. What's your real one?"

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