In space, a vengeful fleet waited.... Then
the furred strangers arrived with a plan to
save Earth's children. But the General wasn't
sure if he could trust an
"You are General James Rothwell?"
Rothwell sighed. "Yes, Commander
Aku. We have met several
"Ah, yes. I recognize your insignia.
Humans are so alike."
The alien strode importantly
across the office, the resilient
pads of his broad feet making
little plopping sounds on the rug,
and seated himself abruptly in
the visitor's chair beside Rothwell's
desk. He gave a sharp cry,
and another alien, shorter, but
sporting similar, golden fur,
stepped into the office and closed
the door. Both wore simple,
brown uniforms, without ornamentation.
"I am here," Aku said, "to tell
you something." He stared impassively
at Rothwell for a minute,
his fur-covered, almost human
face completely expressionless,
then his gaze shifted to the
window, to the hot runways of
New York International Airport
and to the immense gray spaceship
that, even from the center
of the field, loomed above the
hangars and passenger buildings.
For an instant, a quick,
unguessable emotion clouded the
wide black eyes and tightened
the thin lips, then it was gone.
"General, Earth's children
must all be aboard my ships
within one week. We will start
to load on the sixth day, next
Thursday." He stood.
Rothwell locked eyes with the
alien, and leaned forward, grinding
his knuckles into the desk
top. "You know that's impossible.
We can't select 100,000
children from every country and
assemble them in only six days."
[ illustration: The aliens supervised the loading
as anguished parents looked on ]
"You will do it." The alien
turned to leave.
"Commander Aku! Let me remind
Aku spun around, eyes flashing.
"General Rothwell! Let me
remind you that two weeks ago
I didn't even know Earth existed,
and since accidentally happening
across your sun system
and learning of your trouble I
have had my entire trading fleet
of a hundred ships in orbit about
this planet while all your multitudinous
have filled the air with talk and
"I am sorry for Earth, but my
allegiance is to my fleet and I
cannot remain longer than seven
more days and risk being caught
up in your destruction. Now,
either you accept my offer to
evacuate as many humans as my
ships will carry, or you don't."
He paused. "You are the planet's
evacuation coordinator; you will
give me an answer."
Rothwell's arms sagged, he
sunk back down into his chair,
all pretense gone. Slowly he
swung around to face the window
and the gray ship, standing
like a Gargantuan sundial counting
the last days of Earth. He
almost whispered. "We are
choosing the children. They will
be ready in six days."
He heard the door open and
close. He was alone.
Five years ago, he thought, we
cracked the secret of faster-than-light
travel, and since then we've
built about three dozen exploration
ships and sent them out
among the stars to see what they
He stared blankly at the palms
of his hand. I wonder what it
was we expected to find?
We found that the galaxy was
big, that there were a lot of
stars, not so many planets, and
practically no other life—at least
no intelligence to compare with
ours. Then ... He jabbed a button
on his intercom.
"Ed Philips here. What is it
"Doc, are you sure your boys
have hypo'd, couched, and hypno'd
the Leo crew with everything
The voice on the intercom
sighed. "Jim, those guys haven't
got a memory of their own. We
know everything about each one
of them, from the hurts he got
falling off tricycles to the feel of
the first girl he kissed. Those
men aren't lying, Jim."
"I never thought they were
lying, Doc." Rothwell paused for
a minute and studied the long
yellow hairs that grew sparsely
across the back of his hand,
thickened to a dense grove at his
wrist, and vanished under the
sleeve of his uniform. He looked
back at the intercom. "Doc, all
I know is that three perfectly
normal guys got on board that
ship, and when it came back we
found a lot of jammed instruments
and three men terrified almost
to the point of insanity."
"Jim, if you'd seen ..."
Rothwell interrupted. "I know.
Five radioactive planets with
the fresh scars of cobalt bombs
and the remains of civilizations.
Then radar screens erupting
crazily with signals from a multi-thousand
ship space fleet; vector
computers hurriedly plotting
and re-plotting the fast-moving
trajectory, submitting each time
an unvarying answer for the
fleet's destination—our own solar
system." He slapped his hand
flat against the desk. "The point
is, Doc, it's not much to go on,
and we don't dare send another
ship to check for fear of attracting
attention to ourselves. If we
could only be sure."
"Jim," over the intercom,
Philips' voice seemed to waver
slightly, "those men honestly
saw what they say. I'd stake my
life on it."
"All of us are, Doc." He flipped
the off button. Just thirty
days now, since the scout ship
Leo's discovery and the panicked
dash for home with the warning.
Not that the warning was
worth much, he reflected, Earth
had no space battle fleet. There
had never been any reason to
Then, two weeks ago, Aku's
trading fleet had descended from
nowhere, having blundered, he
said, across Earth's orbit while
on a new route between two distant
star clusters. When told of
the impending attack, Aku immediately
offered to cancel his
trip and evacuate as many humans
as his ships could hold, so
that humanity would at least
survive, somewhere in the galaxy.
Earth chose to accept his
"Hobson's choice," Rothwell
growled to himself. "No choice
at all." After years of handling
hot and cold local wars and
crises of every description, his
military mind had become conditioned
to a complete disbelief
in fortuitous coincidence, and he
gagged at the thought of Aku
"just happening by." Still
frowning, he punched a yellow
button on his desk, and reviewed
in his mind the things he wanted
"Jim! Isn't everything all
Chagrined, Rothwell scrambled
to his feet, the President
had never answered so quickly
before. He faced the screen on
the wall to his right and saluted,
amazed once again at how old
the man looked. Sparse white
hair criss-crossed haphazardly
over the President's head, his
face was lined with deep trenches
that not even the most charitable
could call wrinkles, and the
faded eyes that stared from deep
caverns no longer radiated the
flaming vitality that had inspired
victorious armies in the
"Commander Aku was just
here, sir. He demands that the
children be ready for evacuation
next Thursday. I told him that
it would be damned difficult."
The face on the screen paled
perceptibly. "I hope you didn't
anger the commander!"
Rothwell ground his teeth. "I
told him we'd deliver the goods
Presidential lips tightened. "I
don't care for the way you said
Rothwell straightened. "I
apologize, sir. It's just that this
whole lousy setup has me worried
silly. I don't like Aku making
like a guardian angel and
us having no choice but to dance
to his harp." His fingers clenched.
"God knows we need his help,
and I guess its wrong to ask too
many questions, but how come
he's only landed one of his ships,
and why is it that he and his
lieutenant are the only aliens to
leave that ship—the only aliens
we've ever even seen? It just
doesn't figure out!" There, he
thought, I've said it.
The President looked at him
quietly for a minute, then answered
softly, "I know, Jim, but
what else can we do?" Rothwell
winced at the shake in the old
"I don't know," he said. "But
Aku's got us in a hell of a spot."
"Uh, Jim. You haven't said
this in public, have you?"
Rothwell snorted. "No, sir, I
don't care for a panic."
"There, there, Jim." The
President smiled weakly. "We
can't expect the aliens to act like
we do, can we?" He began to
adopt the preacher tone he used
so effectively in his campaign
speeches. "We must be thankful
for the chance breeze that wafted
Commander Aku to these
shores, and for his help. Maybe
the war fleet won't arrive after
all and everything will turn out
all right. You're doing a fine job,
Jim." The screen went blank.
Rothwell felt sick. He felt
sorry for the President, but
sorrier for the Western Democratic
Union, to be captained by
such a feeble thing. Leaning
back in his chair, he glared at
the empty screen. "You can't
solve problems by wishing them
away. You knew that once."
His mind wandered, and for
a minute he thought he could
actually feel the growing pressure
of three billion people waiting
for the computers of Moscow
Central to make their impartial
choice from the world's children.
Trained mathematicians, the
best that could be mustered from
every major country, monitored
each phase of the project to insure
its absolute honesty. One
hundred thousand children were
to be picked completely at random;
brown, yellow, black,
white, red; sick or well; genius
or moron; every child had an
equal chance. This fact, this fact
alone gave every parent hope,
and possibly prevented world-wide
But with the destruction of
the planet an almost certainty,
the collective nervous system
was just one micron away from
explosion. There was nothing
else to think about or talk about,
and no one tried to pretend any
Rothwell's eyes moved involuntarily
to the little spherical
tri-photo on his desk, just an informal
shot he'd snapped a few
months back of Martha and her
proudest possessions, their rambunctious,
Jim, Jr., in his space scouts uniform,
and Mary Ellen with that
crazy hair-do she was so proud
of then, but had already forgotten.
"Damn!" he said aloud. "Dammit
to hell!" In one quick movement,
he spun his chair around
and jabbed at the intercom. "Get
the heli!" His voice crackled.
Grabbing his hat, he yanked
open the door and strode into the
sudden quiet of the small office.
He turned right and went out
through a side entrance to a
small landing ramp, arriving
just as his personal heli touched
down. He climbed in. "To the
As he settled back in the hard
seat, Rothwell offered a silent
thanks that, instead of asking
which ship, Sergeant Johnson
promptly lifted and headed for
the gray space vessel that dominated
A few hundred yards from
the craft he said, "You'd better
set her down here, Sarge, and let
me walk in. Our friends might
get nervous about something flying
in at them."
He jumped out, squinting
against the hot glare off the concrete,
and then, with a slight
uneasiness, stepped into the dark
shadow that pointed a thousand
feet along the runway, away
from the setting sun. He walked
towards the ship.
A few seconds later, his eye
caught a small, unexplained flash
and he threw himself flat just as
a section of pavement exploded,
a dozen feet ahead.
Cursing, Rothwell picked himself
off the ground, brushed the
dust off his uniform, and stood
quietly. He didn't have long to
A small cubicle jutted out
from the ship and lowered itself
along a monorail running down
to the ground. The side nearest
him opened revealing, as Rothwell
expected, Commander Aku
and his lieutenant who both hurried
over to where he was standing,
as if to keep him from
coming forward to meet them—and
in so doing coming nearer
the ship. As the commander
trotted rapidly towards him,
Rothwell noted that he was still
buttoning his jacket and that the
shirt underneath looked suspiciously
as if it hadn't been buttoned
at all. Funny, he thought,
that my presence should cause
such a panic.
"General, what a pleasure."
The commander's disconcerted
look belied his words, but even
as he spoke he began to regain
his composure and assume the
poker face that Rothwell had
come to expect.
"I do hope," said Rothwell,
"that my visit hasn't inconvenienced
Aku and his lieutenant traded
swift glances, neither said anything.
"Well," Rothwell began again,
"I am here to convey to you the
good wishes of the President of
our country and to submit a request
from him and from the
other governments of the
Aku straightened. "Though
merely the commander of a poor
trading fleet, I feel sure I speak
for my empire when I wish your
President good health. The request?"
Rothwell spoke evenly, trying
to keep the bitterness out of his
voice. "Commander, when the
attack comes we expect that
Earth with all its life will be
annihilated. But your offer to
transport a hundred thousand
children to your own home
worlds has prevented despair,
and has at least given us hope
that if we will not see the future
our children will."
Aku nodded slightly, avoiding
his eyes. "You take it well."
"But it takes more than hope,
Commander. We need some assurance,
also, that our children
will be all right." He took an involuntary
step nearer the alien,
whose facial muscles never
moved, and who turned away
slightly, refusing to meet Rothwell's
"Commander, you and your
lieutenant are the only members
of your race that we have ever
seen, and then only on official
business. We would like very
much to meet the others. Why
don't you land your ships and
give the crews liberty, so that
we can meet them informally
and they can get to know us,
also? That way it won't seem as
if we are giving our kids over
to complete strangers."
Without turning his head,
Aku said flatly, "That is impossible.
Do you want reasons?"
"No," Rothwell said quietly.
"If you don't want to do something,
it's easy enough to think
up reasons." He ached to reach
out and grab the alien neck, to
shake some expression into that
frozen face. "Look, Commander,
surely the friendship of a doomed
race can't bring any harm to
Aku faced him now. "What
you ask is impossible."
Ashamed of the desperate note
that crept inadvertently into his
voice, Rothwell said, "Commander,
will you let me, alone, briefly
enter your ship, so that I can
tell my people what it is like?"
Aku and the lieutenant traded
a long, silent look, then the lieutenant
shrugged his shoulders. Without
moving, turned partly away
from Rothwell, Aku said, simply,
"No." The two started to
walk back to the ship.
They stopped, but didn't turn.
"Commander Aku, if you have
any sort of God in your empire,
or any sort of honor that your
race swears by, please tell me
one thing—tell me that our children
will be safe, I won't ask
you anything else."
The two aliens stood still, facing
away from him, towards
their ship. Minutes passed.
Rothwell stood quietly, looking
at their backs, human appearing,
but hiding unguessable thoughts.
Neither of them moved, or said
a word. Finally, he turned and
walked away, back towards his
He leaned back in the little
heli's bucket seat and ran a
large hand through unruly yellow
hair that was already flecked
with white. The first evening
lights of Brooklyn and Queens
and, off to the left, Manhattan,
moved unseen beneath him as
the craft headed towards his
home. Dammit, he thought, is it
that Aku just doesn't care what
we think, or that he cares very
much what we would think if we
knew whatever it is he's hiding?
He banged his fists together
in frustration. How the hell can
anyone guess what goes on in an
alien mind? His whole damn
brain is probably completely
different! Maybe to him a poker
face is friendly. Maybe he's honestly
not hiding anything at all.
He looked out as the heli slowly
started its descent. No evidence,
he thought. Not a shred, except
a suspicious mind and, he
glanced at the dirt on his trousers,
and a shell exploding in my
He slapped his hat back on
and whirled to the surprised
pilot. "Dammit, I don't make the
decisions, I'm just in charge of
loading, and if the President
says it's okay, then it's okay with
me!" He stepped out onto the
grass of his yard, and quashed
a little shriek of conscience
somewhere in the back of his
Blinding lights pinned him in
mid-stride. A familiar voice
sprang out of the glare, "Here
he is now viewers, General
James Rothwell, commander of
the western armies, and head of
the Earth evacuation project.
General, International-TV cameras
have been waiting secretly
in your yard for hours for your
As his eyes adjusted, Rothwell
distinguished a camera
crew, their small portable instrument,
and a young, smooth-talking
announcer that he had seen
several times on television. He
forced the annoyance out of his
eyes. This, he thought, is all I
"What the general doesn't
know," the announcer went on,
"is that earlier this evening it
was announced by Moscow Central
that the computers had
picked his son as one of the
The shock was visible on
150,000,000 TV sets. Completely
unexpected, the surprise of the
announcement hit Rothwell like
a physical blow; his eyes widened,
his chin dropped, and for
an instant the world's viewers
read in his face the frank emotions
of a father, unshielded by
military veneer. Then years of
training took command, and he
faced the camera, apparently
calm, though churning internally.
The odds, he thought confusedly,
the odds must be at least
ten thousand to one! Then he
realized that someone was talking
to him, waving a microphone.
"Er, I'm sorry, I didn't quite
catch ..." he mumbled at the
The announcer laughed amiably.
"Certainly can't blame you,
this must be a really big night!
How does it feel, General, for
your son to be one of the evacuees?"
Something in the back of his
mind twisted the question. How
does it feel, General, to turn your
only son over to a poker-faced
alien who shoots when you walk
near his ship? "I'm not sure,"
he said, "how I feel."
Talking excitedly, the announcer
drew closer. "To think
that your name will live forever
in the vast star clusters of the
galaxy!" He lowered his voice.
"General, speaking now unofficially,
as a parent, to the thousands
of other parents whose
children may also be selected,
and to the rest of us who ..."
he seemed to stumble for a word,
and for an instant Rothwell saw
him, too, as a man worried and
afraid, instead of as part of a
television machine. "Well, General,
you've had contact with the
aliens, are you glad your son is
Rothwell looked at the strained
face of the announcer, at the
camera crew quietly eyeing him,
and at the small huddled group
of neighbors hovering in the
background, and he knew that
his next words might be the
most critical he would ever use
in his life. In a world strained
emotionally almost beyond endurance,
the wrong words, a hint
of a suspicion, could spark the
riots that would kill millions and
bring total destruction.
He faced the camera and said
calmly, "I am glad my son is going.
I wish it could happen for
everyone. Commander Aku has
assured me that everything will
turn out all right." Mentally he
begged for forgiveness, there
was nothing else he could say.
Sweat glistened on his forehead
as he tried to fight down the
memory of Aku turning his back
on the plea that echoed in his
brain—"tell me that our children
will be safe."
The front door of the house
banged open and all at once
Martha was in his arms, crying,
laughing. "Oh, Jim, I'm so glad,
so very glad!" Rothwell blinked
his eyes as he put his arm
around her and waved the
camera away. Tears sparkled on
his cheeks; but neither Martha
nor the viewers knew why.
The next morning Aku and
his ever-present lieutenant were
waiting when Rothwell's heli set
him down in front of the administration
building, a few minutes
later than usual. They followed
him into his office.
"Coffee?" Rothwell held out a
"No, thank you," said Aku, as
expressionless as ever. "We are
here to make final arrangements
for the evacuation."
"I see. Well," said Rothwell,
"Thursday will be a very painful
day for us and we will want
to expedite things as much as
Rothwell went on. "I have
made arrangements to have a
hundred air fields cleared at
various population centers
around the world. That way your
ships can land simultaneously,
one at each field, and the loading
can be finished in very little
time. Now," he opened a desk
drawer, "here is a list, of ..."
Aku held up a fur-covered
hand. "That will not be possible."
Rothwell looked down at his
desk and closed his eyes briefly.
I knew it, he thought, I knew
this would happen, sure as hell.
He raised his head. "Impossible?"
"We will first land twenty
ships. These twenty must be
fully loaded and back in orbit
before the next will land. We will
use the first twenty air fields on
Rothwell took a deep breath.
"But I thought you wanted to
get away as soon as possible! It
will take at least an extra day
to load according to your
"Will it?" Aku moved to go,
his lieutenant reached to open
On an impulse, Rothwell stepped
forward. "Commander, if
you had a son would you send
him away like this?"
Aku stopped, and looked directly
at him with even, black
eyes; then the gaze moved
through and past him, to the
window and the ship beyond. For
a minute his expression altered,
changing almost to one of pain.
When he spoke, it was almost to
himself. "My father loved his
children more than ..." He
started as his lieutenant suddenly
clapped a hand on his shoulder.
The expression vanished.
They left together, without looking
at Rothwell or saying another
For several minutes Rothwell
stared frowning at the closed
door. He walked thoughtfully
back to his desk, and lowered
himself slowly into the chair.
He sat for a long time, trying
to puzzle through the picture.
Finally he stood and paced the
room. "Suppose," he said to himself,
"just suppose that not all
of those hundred ships up there
are really cargo ships. Suppose
that, say, only twenty are. Then,
after those twenty were loaded ..."
He swung around to look
again at the long, slim silhouette
poised high against the main
runway. "With ocean vessels,
it's the fighting ships that are
lean and slender."
Bending over his desk, he
nudged an intercom button with
his finger. "Doc, how would one
go about trying to understand
an alien's reactions?"
Philips' voice shot right back.
"Well, Jim, the very first thing,
you'd have to be sure they
weren't exactly the same as a human's
Rothwell paused, startled. "It
can't be, Doc. Why, if Aku was
a human I'd say ..." He stiffened,
feeling the hair rise at the
back of his neck. The short, curt
answers, the refusal to meet his
eyes, the frozen expression clicked
into pattern. "Doc ... I'd say
he was being forced to do something
he hated like hell to do."
Tensely, he straightened and
contemplated the lean, gray
spaceship. Then he whirled
around and slapped every button
on the intercom.
Thursday. The sun pecked fitfully
at the low overcast while
a sullen crowd watched a squat
alien ship descend vertically, to
finally settle with a flaming belch
not far from the first. Similar
crowds watched similar landings
at nineteen other airports
around the world, but the loading
was to start first in New
An elevator-like box swung
out from the fat belly of the
ship and was lowered rapidly to
the ground. Two golden-hued
aliens, in uniforms resembling
Aku's, stepped out and walked
about a thousand feet towards
the crowd. Only children actually
being loaded were to go beyond
this point; parents had to
stay at the airport gates.
"When do I go, Dad?"
"Shortly, son." Rothwell laid
his hand on the lean shoulder.
"You're in the second hundred."
There was a brief, awkward silence.
"Martha, you'd better take
him over to the line." He held
out his hand. "So long, son."
Jim, Jr., shook his hand gravely,
then, without a word, suddenly
threw his hands tight
around his younger sister. He
took his mother's hand, and
they walked slowly over to the
sad line that was forming beyond
Rothwell turned to his daughter.
"You going over there too,
kitten?" The words were gruff
in his tight throat.
She wiped a hand quickly
across her cheek. "No, Dad, I
guess I'll stay here with you."
She stood close beside him.
Aku, forgotten until now,
cleared his throat. "I think the
loading should start, General."
Raising his hand in a half-salute,
Rothwell signaled to a captain
standing near the gate who
turned and motioned to a small
cordon of military police. Shortly,
a group of fifty of the first
youngsters in the line separated
from the others and moved slowly
out onto the concrete ribbon
towards the waiting ship. The
rest of the line hesitated, then
edged reluctantly up to the gate,
to take the place of the fifty who
had left. They waited there, the
children of a thousand families,
suddenly dead quiet, staring after
the fifty that slowly moved
They walked quietly, in a
tight group, without any antics
or horseplay which, in itself,
gave the event an air of unreality.
Approaching the ship, they
seemed to huddle even closer together,
forming a pathetically
tiny cluster in the shadow of
the towering space cruiser. The
title of a book that he had read
once, many years before, flashed
unexpectedly in Rothwell's memory,
The Story of Mankind. He
looked sadly after the fifty, then
back at the silent line. Were
these frightened kids now writing
the final period in the last
chapter? He shook himself, work
to be done, no time now for daydreams.
As the fifty reached the ship
and started to enter the elevator,
Rothwell turned and beckoned to
some technicians standing out of
sight just inside the entrance to
the control tower. Three of them
ran out and set up what looked
like a television set, only with
three screens. One ran back, unreeling
a power cable, while a
fourth flicked on a bank of
switches, making feverish, minute
adjustments. Rothwell felt
the sweat in his hands. "Is it
The back of the sergeant's
shirt was wet though the air
was cool. "It's got to be, sir!"
His fingers played across the
knobs. "All that metal, the whole
thing is critical as ... Ah!" He
jumped back. The screens flashed
Aku stiffened. His lieutenant
gasped audibly, made a jerky
movement towards the screens,
then suddenly became aware of
three MPs standing beside him,
hands nonchalantly cradling
All three receivers showed
similar scenes, the milling
youngsters and the ship, but
from up close, the pictures jerking
and swaying erratically as
if the cameras were somehow
fastened to moving human beings.
Then the scenes condensed
into a cramped, jostling blackness
as the fifty crowded into the
elevator and were lifted up the
side of the ship.
Next, were three views of a
large room, bare except for
what appeared to be overhead
cranes and other mechanical
paraphernalia of a military shop
or warehouse. For a while the
fifty moved about restlessly, then
the cameras swung about simultaneously
to face a wall that
slowly slid apart.
Rothwell froze. "Good Lord!"
Six murky things moved from
the open wall towards the
cameras, which fell back to the
opposite side of the room. Each
was large, many times the size
of a man, but somehow indistinct,
for the cameras didn't convey
any sense of shape or form.
For an instant, one of the
screens flashed a picture of a
terrified human face, and arms
raised protectively as the shadowy
things moved in upon the
A projection snapped out
from one, grabbed two of the humans,
and hurled them into a
corner. Then it motioned a dozen
or so others over to the same
spot. With similar harsh, sweeping
movements, the group of
humans was quickly broken up
into three roughly equal segments.
One of the groups seemed
to be protecting someone who
appeared seriously hurt. A black
tentacle lashed out and one of
the screens went blank. Then another.
The third showed a small
group pushed stumbling through
a narrow door, down a short
passageway, and abruptly into
blackness. Something that looked
like bars flashed across the
screen, then a dark liquid trickled
across the camera lens, blotting
out the view.
Eyes blazing, Rothwell whirled
on Aku. "Throughout our history,
Commander, humans have
had one thing in common, our
blasted pride! We will not turn
over our young to slavery, and
by hell if we die, we'll die fighting!"
He jerked up his coat
sleeve, barked an order into a
small transmitter on his wrist,
and, grabbing his daughter,
threw himself flat on the concrete.
Hesitating only an instant,
Aku, his lieutenant, and the
MPs hit the ground as both
spaceships vanished in a cataclysmic
eruption of flame and
Raising his head, Rothwell
grinned crazily into the exploding
debris, imagining nineteen
other ships suddenly disintegrating
under the rocket guns of
nineteen different nations. He
saw Earth, like a giant porcupine,
flicking thousands of atom
tipped missiles into space from
hundreds of submarines and secret
bases—the war power of the
great nations, designed for the
ruin of each other, united to destroy
the alien fleet.
He turned to Aku, "Midgets,
volunteers with miniature TV
cameras ..." he stopped.
The commander and his lieutenant
had flung their arms
about each other and were crying
like babies. Tentatively, Aku
reached towards him. "Those
things, the Eleele, from another
galaxy." He struggled for words.
"They captured your scout crew
and implanted memories of thousands
of ships to create fear and
make it easier to take slaves before
blasting you." He glanced
up at the flashes in the sky.
"This was their only fleet."
Rothwell glared. "You helped
Aku nodded miserably. "We
had to. They thought you'd trust
us because we look almost human.
It was a trick that worked
before." Tears streamed across
his face, matting the golden fur.
"You see, the radioactive planets
your men reported, one of them
Produced by Greg Weeks, Stephen Blundell and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
This etext was produced from Amazing Stories January 1959.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
typographical errors have been corrected without note.