There were ten passengers in the little pressurized cabin of the electric
bus that shuttled between the rocket field and Marsport. Ten men, the
driver—and Bruce Gordon.
He sat apart from the others, as he had kept to himself on the ten-day
trip between Earth and Mars, with the yellow stub of his ticket still stuck
defiantly in the band of his hat, proclaiming that Earth had paid his passage
without his permission being asked. His big, lean body was
slumped slightly in the seat. There was no expression on his face.
About Del Rey: Lester del Rey (Ramon Felipe Alvarez-del Rey) (June 2, 1915 - May 10, 1993) was an American science fiction author and editor. According to Lawrence Watt-Evans, his birth name was actually Leonard Knapp. Source: Wikipedia Also available on Feedbooks for Del Rey: • Police Your Planet (1956) • The Sky Is Falling (1954) • Victory (1955) • Badge of Infamy (1957) • Dead Ringer (1956) • No Strings Attached (1954) Copyright: Please read the legal notice included in this e-book and/or check the copyright status in your country. ...
DANE PHILLIPS slouched in the window seat, watching the morning
crowds on their way to work and carefully avoiding any attempt
to read Jordan's old face as the editor skimmed through the notes.
He had learned to make his tall, bony body seem all loose-jointed relaxation,
no matter what he felt. But the oversized hands in his pockets were
clenched so tightly that the nails were cutting into his palms.
Every tick of the old-fashioned clock sent a throb racing
Five months out from Earth, we were half-way to Saturn and three-quarters
of the way to murder. At least, I was. I was sick of the feuding, the
worries and the pettiness of the other nineteen aboard. My stomach
heaved at the bad food, the eternal smell of people, and the constant
sound of nagging and complaints. For ten lead pennies, I'd have gotten
out into space and tried walking back to Earth. Sometimes I thought
about doing it without the pennies.
The air of the city's cheapest flophouse was thick with the smells of harsh
antiseptic and unwashed bodies. The early Christmas snowstorm had
driven in every bum who could steal or beg the price of admission, and
the long rows of cots were filled with fully clothed figures. Those who
could afford the extra dime were huddled under thin, grimy blankets.
"Dave Hanson! By the power of the true name be summoned cells and
humors, ka and id, self and—"
Dave Hanson! The name came swimming through utter blackness,
sucking at him, pulling him together out of nothingness. Then, abruptly,
he was aware of being alive, and surprised. He sucked in on the air
around him, and the breath burned in his lungs. He was one of the
dead—there should be no quickening of breath within him!
From above came the sound of men singing. Captain Duke O'Neill
stopped clipping his heavy black beard to listen. It had been a long time
since he'd heard such a sound—longer than the time since he'd last had a
bath or seen a woman. It had never been the singing type of war. Yet
now even the high tenor of old Teroini, who lay on a pad with neither
legs nor arms, was mixed into the chorus. It could mean only one thing!
As if to confirm his thoughts, Burke Thompson hobbled past the cabin,
stopping just long enough to shout. "Duke, we're home! They've sighted