I It was a world of greedy Dynasts—each contending for the right to pillage and enslave. But one man's valor became a shining shield.… and he who overcomes an enemy by fraud is as much to be praised as he who does so by
Mryna Brill intended to ride the god-car above the rain mist. For a long
time she had not believed in the taboos or the Earth-god. She no longer
believed she lived on Earth. This paradise of green-floored forests and
running brooks was something called Rythar.
Six years ago, when Mryna was fourteen, she first discovered the
truth. She asked a question and the Earth-god ignored it. A simple question,
really: What is above the rain mist? God could have told her. Every
day he answered technical questions that were far more difficult.
The duty bell rang and obediently George clattered down the steps
from his confinement cubicle over the garage. His mother's
chartreuse-colored Cadillac convertible purred to a stop in the drive.
"It's so sweet of you to come, Georgie," his mother said when George
opened the door for her.
"Whenever you need me, Mummy." It was no effort at all to keep the
sneer out of his voice. Deception had become a part of his character.
His mother squeezed his arm. "I can always count on my little boy to
do the right thing....
Captain Paul Coulter, commanding Space Fighter 308, 58th Squadron,
33rd Fighter Wing, glanced up out of his canopy in the direction indicated,
and smiled to himself at the instinctive reaction. Nothing there but
the familiar starry backdrop, the moon far down to the left. If the light
wasn't right, a ship might be invisible at half a mile. He squeezed the
throttle mike button. "Any IFF?"