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Published by Haereticus

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Published by: Haereticus on Nov 19, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Aleksandr AbramovSergei Abramov
Translated from the Russian
George Yankovsky
“Horsemen From Nowhereis a science-fiction story about the arrival on earth of mysterious rose-coloured “clouds” from deep space. Members of the Soviet Antarctic expedition are the first to meet themin a series of inexplicable events. The clouds” are seen to be removing the Antarctic ice-cap andcarrying it off into space. They are capable of reproducing any kind of atomic structure, and this goes forhuman beings as well. The heroes of the story meet their “counterparts”, come upon a duplicatedairliner, journey through a modelled city, and fight Gestapo policemen that have been reconstructedfrom the past by these same mysterious “clouds”. Scientists are not able to explain why terrestrial life isbeing modelled. All attempts to contact the space beings fail. In the end, however, Soviet scientistspenetrate the enigma of the rose clouds and establish contact with a highly developed extragalacticcivilization.
На английском языкеАлександр Абрамов, Сергей АбрамовВСАДНИКИ НИОТКУДАИздательство “Детская Литература”Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Part one
Chapter I
The snow was fluffy and soft, not at all the compacted, sand-paper-like crystalline neve of the polarwastes. The Antarctic summer was mild, and the gay frost that tweaked the ears ever so slightly created anatmosphere of Sunday hiking back home in Moscow. Our thirty-five-ton snow tractor was gliding along ata marvellous clip, but in winter even the airplane skis could hardly tear away from the supercooled icecrystals. Vano was a skilled driver and didnt bother to put the brakes on even in the case of suspicioushumps and bumps of ice.“Take it easy, there, Vano,Zernov shouted from the navigators cabin adjacent to the driver. “Theremight be crevasses.“Where do you see cracks?” was Vanos mistrustful response, as he peered through dark glasses intothe stream of blindingly brilliant light that flooded the cabin through the front window. “This isnt a road,this is a highway, the Rustaveli Boulevard in Tbilisi. You can take it from me, thats definite. Really, I meanit.”I climbed out of the radio-room and pulled down the retracted seat next to Vano. For some reason, Iturned round to look at the desk in the salon where Tolya Dyachuk was doing some meteorological work.I shouldnt have.“We are now witnessing the birth of a new kind of chauffeur,” said Tolya with a disgusting giggle. Andsince I disdained to reply, he added:“Vanity is killing you, Yura. Arent two specialities enough for you?”Each of us in the expedition combined two, sometimes three, professions. Zernov, for example, wasthe glaciologist, but he could handle the work of geophysicist or seismologist as well. Tolya Dyachukcombined the duties of meteorologist, doctor and cook. Vano was the mechanic and driver of the hugetractor specially designed for work in polar regions; what is more, he could repair anything from a brokentractor tread to a temperamental electric hotplate. I was in charge of photography, movies and also theradio. What attracted me to Vano was not any desire to increase my range of specialities but his own lovefor this gigantic Kharkov tractor vehicle.When I first saw it from the airplane as we were landing, it appeared to me like a red dragon from a fairytale; but close up, with its metre-wide tractor tread jutting out and its enormous square eyes—windows—gave the impression of a creature from another world. I had driven motor cars and heavy lorries and, withVanos permission, had tried the tractor on the icy land floe near Mirny, but yesterday was windy andsombre—I didnt risk it. But today was crystal clear.“Let me take a try, Vano,” I said, and didnt allow myself to look back. “Just for half an hour.Vano was getting up when Zernov shouted:“Come on now, no experiments in driving. You, Chokheli, are responsible for the running condition ofthe machine. You, Anokhin, put on your goggles.There was nothing to do but comply. Zernov was chief and he was demanding and unyielding. Ofcourse it was definitely dangerous without goggles to look into the myriads of scintillations produced by acold sun on sheets of snow. Only near the horizon did it darken somewhat as the plateau merged with thesmeared-out ultramarine of the sky. Nearby even the air sparkled white.“Look over there to the left, Anokhin,Zernov continued. “The side window gives a better view.Nothing unusual?What I saw off to the left, at a distance of about fifty metres, was an absolutely vertical wall of ice. It washigher than any buildings I knew of. Even the New York skyscrapers would hardly have come up to its topfluffy edge. Brilliantly shining with all colours of the rainbow, it was like a ribbon of diamond dust. It wasdarker at the bottom where layers of packed snow had already frozen into a darkish hard neve. Lower still,there was a break in the enormous thickness of ice, as if a gargantuan knife had sliced through it. Here itwas bluish in the sunlight, like the sky reflected in a giant mirror. At the very bottom, however, the wind

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