The Colors of Space (Chapter 3, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 3

At the top of the ramp, a Lhari glanced briefly at his papers, motioned
him through. Bart passed through the airlock, and into a brightly lit
corridor half full of passengers. The line was moving slowly, and for
the first time Bart had a chance to think.

He had never seen violent death before. In this civilized world, you
didn't. He knew if he thought about Briscoe, he'd start bawling like a
baby, so he swallowed hard a couple of times, set his chin, and
concentrated on the trip to Procyon Alpha. That meant this ship was
outbound on the Aldebaran run--Proxima Centauri, Sirius, Pollux,
Procyon, Capella and Aldebaran.

The line of passengers was disappearing through a doorway. A woman ahead
of Bart turned and said nervously, "We won't be put into cold-sleep
right away, will we?"

He reassured her, remembering his inbound trip five years ago. "No, no.
The ship won't go into warp-drive until we're well past Pluto. It will
be several days, at least."

Beyond the doorway the lights dwindled, and a Mentorian interpreter took
his dark glasses, saying, "Kindly remove your belt, shoes and other
accessories of leather or metal before stepping into the decontamination
chamber. They will be separately decontaminated and returned to you.
Papers, please."

With a small twinge of fright, Bart surrendered them. Would the
Mentorian ask why he was carrying two wallets? Inside the other one, he
still had his Academy ID card which identified him as Bart Steele, and
if the Mentorian looked through them to check, and found out he was
carrying two sets of identity papers....

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