By Gordon R. Dickson
Quarantine...Ever seeing that Earth's first starship crept out on sublight force 100 years in the past and used to be met via an emissary of the Galactic Federation, guy has lived as a prisoner within the sun procedure. The Federation decreed that except guy may perhaps exhibit his technological adulthood and go away the sunlight approach through a faster-than-light force, he wouldn't depart it in any respect. All Earth understands the try out that guy needs to move to win Galactic Citizenship and the liberty of the celebrities; the FTL force is each physicist's most sensible precedence. yet what they can't be aware of is they paintings opposed to either an alien time-limit and human sabotage - and time is operating out. until John Parent's star-drive venture is profitable, mankind will stay trapped within the sunlight method, forever...
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He fell, and the shining ones glided in toward him. 60 | LEIGH BRACKETT VIII Twice before in his life Stark had come near to freezing. It had been like this, the numbness and the cold. And yet it seemed that the dark force had struck rather at his nerve centers than at his flesh. He could not see Ciara, who was behind him, but he heard the metallic clashing of her mail and one small, whispered cry, and he knew that she had fallen, too. The glowing creatures surrounded him. He saw their bodies bending over him, the frosty tendrils of their faces writhing as though in excitement or delight.
Stark went silently out into the streets, toward the King City. According to the immemorial pattern of Martian city-states, 46 | LEIGH BRACKETT the castles of the king and the noble families were clustered together in solitary grandeur. Many of the towers were fallen now, the great halls open to the sky. Time had crushed the grandeur that had been Kushat, more fatally than the boots of any conqueror. In the house of the king, the flamboys guttered low and the chieftains of Mekh slept with their weary pipers among the benches of the banquet hall.
One last hammer-stroke of the rams. With a bitter shriek the weakened bolts tore out, and the great gate was broken through. The nobles of Kushat made their first, and final charge. As soldiers they went up against the riders of Mekh, and as soldiers they held them until they died. Those that were left were borne back into the square, caught as in the crest of an avalanche. And first through the gates came the winged battle-mask of the Lord Ciaran, and the sable axe that drank men’s lives where it hewed.
Arcturus Landing by Gordon R. Dickson