By John Brunner
Between 600 thousand stars visited through guy, sixty thousand have planets hospitable to existence, six thousand have constructed existence and 6 hundred were settled, or seeded, with humanity. an unlimited vessel, identified easily as send, travels an unending direction, checking in with the entire settled planets, watching, delivering support the place it could as a few flourish, a few falter yet all swap and evolve. suddenly, send has built emotions and intelligence and it struggles with human-like feelings because it sees the numerous ways in which guy can evolve or devolve while left to his personal units with the single everlasting constant—change.
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It’s cold in here. ” “I’d—wait. Yes, it is. ” Now that he was paying attention, he could make out a rhythmic pounding at his temples and an uncomfortable pressure at the center of his chest. Hells and Winter. It seemed to Mikani as if the train was actually picking up speed. That’s not normal. The usual announcement was conspicuously absent. He shifted in his seat as they approached the Temple station to catch sight of six people waiting on the platform, but the train didn’t slow. Instead, it zoomed past, and the hammering in his head grew more intense.
He hadn’t bought anything from them since. Down in the Park station, it was quiet, no inhuman wailing here. Mikani glanced at Ritsuko. ” With a murmur of agreement, he boarded the train just before the doors closed. There were a handful of other passengers, all of whom were carefully not looking at one another. And they all disembarked at the next station. Ritsuko was frowning. ” Mikani asked. ” “Well, I know it was not something I said. Maybe you gave them one of your looks. ” He kept a straight face but could not help looking around the empty carriage.
She sighed. ” She sounded as frustrated as Mikani felt. “We will need bigger cuffs. ” He wiped at his face with his handkerchief and started toward the stairs. ” “I’d rather have a stiff drink,” she muttered. ” CHAPTER 2 THE HOUSE WAS IMPOSING. RITSUKO ADMIRED THE immaculate lawn and the carefully trimmed hedges as she strode up the walk toward the burnished doors. She lifted the knocker and banged twice, then waited for a servant to answer. Mikani glanced sidelong at her; she’d noticed that he had gotten in the habit of checking on her surreptitiously, as if he wondered whether she was fully recovered.
A Maze of Stars by John Brunner