The Colors of Space (Chapter 4, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 4

Bart felt cold. He stirred, moved his head in drowsy protest; then
memory came flooding back, and in sudden panic he sat up, flinging out
his arms as if to ward away anyone who would lay hands on him.

"Easy!" said a soothing voice. A Mentorian--not the same Mentorian--bent
over him. "We have just entered the gravitational field of Procyon
planet Alpha, Mr. Briscoe. Touchdown in four hours."

Bart mumbled an apology.

"Think nothing of it. Quite a number of people who aren't used to the
cold-sleep drug suffer from minor lapses of memory. How do you feel
now?"

Bart's legs were numb and his hands tingled when he sat up; but his body
processes had been slowed so much by the cold-sleep that he didn't even
feel hungry; the synthetic jelly he'd eaten just before going to sleep
wasn't even digested yet.

When the Mentorian left for another cabin, Bart looked around, and
suddenly felt he would stifle if he stayed here another minute. He
wasn't likely to run into Tommy twice in a row, and if he did, well,
Tommy would probably remember the snub he'd had and stay away from Dave
Briscoe. And he wanted another sight of the stars--before he went into
worry and danger.

He went down to the Observation Lounge.

The cosmic dust was brighter out here, and the constellations looked a
little flattened. Textbook tables came back to him. He had traveled 47
light-years--he couldn't remember how many billions of miles that was.
Even so, it was only the tiniest hop-skip-and-jump in the measureless
vastness of space.

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