{\rtf1{\info{\title Bomb Scare}{\author Vernor Vinge}}\ansi\ansicpg1252\deff0\de flang1033 {\fonttbl{\f0\froman\fprq2

\fcharset128 Times New Roman;}{\f1\froman\fprq2\fchars et128 Times New Roman;}{\f2\fswiss\fprq2\fcharset128 Arial;}{\f3\fnil\fprq2\fcha rset128 Arial;}{\f4\fnil\fprq2\fcharset128 MS Mincho;}{\f5\fnil\fprq2\fcharset12 8 Tahoma;}{\f6\fnil\fprq0\fcharset128 Tahoma;}} {\stylesheet{\ql \li0\ri0\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\ fcs1 \af25\afs24\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \fs24\lang1033\langfe255\cgrid\langnp1033 \langfenp255 \snext0 Normal;} {\s1\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel0\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs32\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs32\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink21 heading 1;} {\s2\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel1\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\ai\af0\afs28\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\i\fs28\lan g1033\langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedo n15 \snext16 \slink22 heading 2;} {\s3\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel2\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs28\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs28\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink23 heading 3;} {\s4\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel3\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\ai\af0\afs23\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0\b\i\fs23\lang 1033\langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon 15 \snext16 \slink24 heading 4;} {\s5\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel4\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs23\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs23\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink25 heading 5;} {\s6\ql \li0\ri0\sb240\sa120\keepn\nowidctlpar\wrapdefault\faauto\outlinelevel5\ rin0\lin0\itap0 \rtlch\fcs1 \ab\af0\afs21\alang1033 \ltrch\fcs0 \b\fs21\lang1033 \langfe255\loch\f1\hich\af1\dbch\af26\cgrid\langnp1033\langfenp255 \sbasedon15 \ snext16 \slink26 heading 6;}} {\b Bomb Scare}{ {\b by Vernor Vinge}\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\i Of cruel monsters we might say, }\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ {\i "...and a little child shall lead them." }\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Prince Lal e'Dorvik dilated his mouth hole, and casually picked at pointy fangs . With great deliberation he inspected the sky: the Maelstrom glittered across f ifty degrees, a spiral of silver mist. Its brilliance was dimmed by the gibbous blue planet that hung near the zenith. That blue light flooded through the trans parent hull section onto the formal gardens of the Imperial Dorvik flagwagon. Th e soft brown sand dunes of the gardens were transformed into rolling blue carpet s. An occasional ornamental lizard scurried across the sands. Within his vision, Prince Lal could see no less than five shrub-cacti: the excess vegetation made the since almost sickeningly lush. Except for the bluish tinge of the landscape, Lal could almost imagine that he was back at Home in his winter palace. \par\pa rd\plain\hyphpar}{ With feigned nonchalance he turned to look at his companion, Grand General Harl e'Kraft. Prince Lal was thought harsh, in a civilization where the execution of ten thousand soldiers was considered moral-building discipline. Now he moved ob liquely toward the subject at hand-with his reputation, he could afford to speak softly. "Is it always night?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Yes, Puissance, we keep the wagon oriented with the sun beneath the gardens' h orizon. Of course, I could make a 'sunrise.' It would take less than fifteen min utes to turn the wagon..." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{

He glanced at the next picture .. Such things must be very rare. and sank his fangs into the little mammal's hairle ss skin. the Dorvik had lost one of their trump dice. But the sword. yet there are. He carefully spread one of the squirmin g milvaks with a wrist talon. In any case. His twenty-one times great-grandfather launched the firs t rockets into orbit. then said s lowly." {\i Not bad for hydrogen fusion drive. "The Mush-faces can shield against our mass-energy converters." Lal responded smoothly. With a v isible effort he twitched his mouth hole open in a disarming smile. technologically developed race. steam. Mush-faces: that was an appropriate name for them . There was a typical cigar shape of a fusion-powered craft. Then rocket bombs were housed forward. don't bother. } thought Lal. with more snuggling und er the craft's nose on outside racks. yes. and glanced at the top photograph. It was a schematic of a Mush-face battlewagon. "This effect is probably incidental."Oh. The olive skinned monster that looked out of the photo seemed bloated. all these were as nothing before the mass-energy converter. And these planets are inhabited by an intelligent. then handed him a pack of color p hotographs. "I was just wondering what the 'sup er-sun' looks like. had conquered three oases on Home by edge of sword." He glanced at the blue-green planet high in the sky. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Lal's thirty times great-grandfather. Harl e 'Kraft waited politely until Lal had finished. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "In one respect they are ahead of us technologically. the only way we can destroy their craft is to con vert a substantial amount of mass to energy just {\i outside} their screens. yet we don't have them. Their biggest spacewagons mass mo re than thirty thousand tons. turn it on. With a sucking sound." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Lal paused." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { "Ah yes. This was going to be interesting. Though e'Kraft faced the Long Dying for his failure. " {\i Why not? }" For a moment Harl sat frozen by the other's ophidian glare. there shouldn't be planets here. "Isn't it theoretically impossible for a giant star to have a planetary system?" \par\ pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The young general sniffed warily at the bait. disease d. They--" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Prince Lal slithered into a more comfortable position on the resting rack. Since the Mush-faces do n't have converters. In other words we are reduced to using rocket bombs. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "The Mush faces are every bit as developed as you say. "Care for a milvak. the magnetic venturis taking up much of the rear vol ume of the wagon. but they do use a very efficient form of hydrogen fusion for their spacecraft. Stars this size never develop solar systems by condensation. "Well." Harl paused. gunpowder. and perfected the hydrogen bomb for use against a group of heretics in the South Polar Sands. This one was probably formed by the acci dental capture of three planets from some other system. And we must have th ese 'improbable' planets as the industrial base for our expansion in this volume . he drained the animal of its vital fluids. Their two outer worlds c ould supply us for any further expansion we might desire in Volume 095. It was a simple weapon in practice: place the converter at the proper distance from a t arget. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ E'Kraft continued. \pa r\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ . even the hy drogen bomb. and any desired fraction of the target was changed directly i nto energy. If such a weapon could be shielded against. Ghrishnak I. then struck with reptilian ferocity. Puissance?" He motioned to a shallow dish of hors d'oeuvres.. but we're bound to come across them eventually. it seems unlikely that they could intentional design a defe nse against them. Have not invented mass-energy converters. \par\pard\p lain\hyphpar}{ Lal had to admit that the general was a cool one. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ ". he offered his superior candied meat rather than explana tions." \par\pard \plain\hyphpar}{ This remark would have been greeted by a look of stupefied amazement if Lal's s pies had not briefed him beforehand.

. The explosion will be so vast that it will gently sorch p ortions of the other two planets. "That sickening ly blue planet. You will convert one trillionth of one percent of the planet's mass. signed by my father. A Mush-face can survive mor e than five times the acceleration that a Dorvik can. And be sure you don't annihilate more than the mass fr action specified. then steadied. Lal reached out from his resting rack and handed his subordinate the order. "You find this overly violent?" \par\pard\plain\hyphp ar}{ "Y-yes." Lal recited several stanzas from the liturgy of Dominance. They showed proposed modifications in the Dorvik reconnaissan ce skimmers. Until we gain absolute control of local space. If through some weakness of spirit we fail to conquer this system." He pulled an ornamented slate from his waist pouch. He riffled through the rest o f the photographs. it will show this race that further resistance would be worse than any surr ender. This mobility combined wit h their thousand gravity rocket bombs makes their space force more than a nuisan ce. our race must stay on top. the sons of the Sands. " e'Kraft was prevented from digging himself a grave by t he appearance of one of his aides. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Perhaps. Its destruction would hardly impair the system's usefulness to us. "Thirteen sec onds ago we detected a gravitic disturbance near the sun. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Puissance."They have an anatomical advantage. \pa r\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Lal could imagine the tine enemy craft flashing through the Dorvik fighter scre en and firing rocket bombs at the Dorvik battlewagons. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ When Lal finally spoke." Lal waved at the brilliant object directly overhead." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "So!" Lal fumed. From the general's own ac count as well as Lal's spies. The day we take second pl ace in the universe will be the beginning of the end for the Dorvik. finishing wit h:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Ours is is all that is and we rule all those who be. This "--he gestured with the triangular slate-"is an order. such weapons were unavailabl e. th ere will be no conquest. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Prince Lal hissed gently." The general's statement was blunt. "So these pus-filled creatures are too stubborn for you? Your view is just too narro w. When he got his talons into the insubordinate wretch that dare d enter the combat zone without prior announcement-The aide continued excitedly. so now that they needed them. his face and tone contained nothing complimentary. that by divine authority or not. we have done as much damage as we dare to their industrial centers. The point is. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Pruissance." \par\pard\pl ain\hyphpar}{ "I'm quite acquain. General." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ E'Kraft's tympanic membranes paled." The general was still blunt. It d irects you to detonate this planet. "Puissance. The deed's very essence is violence and brutal ity. it doesn't respond to our IFF. Supreme tactical skill was necessary to survive an enemy wi th longer legs and better defenses than one's own. Someone has entered th e system. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ And to those who deny our rule we say:\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Bow down--or {\i be not}" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "It is immaterial wheter you believe this doggerel garbage. Puissance. Lal's race hadn't used rocket bomb s in three centuries. but that is the point. almost defiant. General. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Implement this at once. then we will be consigni ng ourselves to the museums of the future just as surely as if we were destroyed in battle. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ For we are the Dorvik. else this whole solar system might be destroyed." In a single fluid motion. "Could the Mush-faces be experimenting with interstellar d . too. "has twent y percent of the population and only three percent of the industry in this solar system. it was obvious that e'Kraft had made the best of a terrible situation. It has not broken their will. The man's three-dimensional image flickered. for use as self-propelled bombs.." The aide bowed to Lal and then to e'Kraft." Prince Lal tu rned sharply to Harl. It's not one of ours.

The result might not be remarkable in appeara nce. We won't be able to detect it by electro magnetic means for another ten hours. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "That's better. what about the Mush-faces? If we don't use the tactical comput ers for minimal defense. about ten minutes. The smallest drive unit we have masses more than a billion. including our tactical computers. adjusted the controls somehow. began giving orders on his private comm. The largest mass they've ever assembled in free fall was less than one hundred thousand tons. Puissance." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Gyrd.. "No one tells me what do to. Considering th e variety possible in this universe." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Very well." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar} { Lal scarcely hesitated. someone--some {\i thing}--absolutely evil had fused a bomb to murder a galaxy. While he had been ordering t he destruction of a single inhabited planet. and his excitement changed to pale and groveling terror. If we can't stop that . "If we use everything. "The intruder is exactly one kill-radius f rom." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "How long would it take to compute a jump to its location?" The aide did some f ast figuring. they looked much like the Dorvik. where it could operate.. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ At one kill-radius from the primary. any conversation presented here verges on false hood in its incompleteness. It {\i was}. " {\i Move! }" The aide bowed spastically and the image vanished." His emphasis capitalized the word." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ An air of hostility just short of physical violence filled the tiny cabin. evacuate o ne of your battlewagons.." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Yes. \par \pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Yes. it was essentially impossible to hoist a drive unit into orbit. put everything you have on the problem." Arn relaxed." He noticed that the aide was still wait ing nervously. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ One of the creatures--identifiable by the two bristly spikes that grew tangenti ally from its head--turned to the other and said. thing.. Puissance. "We'll have to take those losses. from the sun!" To convert a star-Lal gasped. Two creatures sat within the apparition. "General. And quite a bit easier to reach. "Figuring the jump back is going to take all my concentration. A closer examination by someone trained and clever might have revealed a trimness and eff iciency in the intruder's structure that was missing form the Dorvik-that is mis sing from any natural race. Arn." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Harl nodded. all but blotting out the intricate gamma colored designs t hat covered its surface. "Just imagine all the maggots that will fry in th e fire we're going to set.. the Mush-faces were merely an enemy." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The first replied. \par\pard\plain\hyph par}{ The prince struggled to bring his voice back into control. harsh white sunlight reflected blindingly off the little ovoid." The c reature paused. Then Gyrd submitted with a nod. near the sun. We'll annihilate its entire mass right next to the Enem y. For the intruder's race had supervised its own evolu tion for more than 1000. too.000 years." That was the Dorvik's other trump. In the presence of a memb . where an instant before nothing had been. this star is almost as big.rive?" Unlikely. in effect. "How far away is this o bject?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Twelve billion kilometers. Puissance--" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "But. far more subtle tha n anything unaided natural selection could produce. "I still want S Dor adus. so you'll have to cancel the relative velocity on the converter when we drop it. Puissance." Lal broke the awful silence. We'll jump one of our battl ewagons. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The aide turned to look at someone outside of pickup range. Lal turned to the man's image and shrilled. Without mass-energy co nverters. Puissance. but the brains housed in those bodies were far quicker.. we'll all be dead anyway and the Dorvik empire will b e destroyed in less than ten centuries. And though their grosser emo tions were perhaps intelligible." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Ten minutes. they'll tear our fleet apart.

Lal recognized the characteristic glow of fusion bombs. startled. It couldn't be closer than ten thousand kilometers. as if listening to some private voice. Somewhere he knew mountainous computers were ticking away at the calcul ations involved in even the shortest jump. three closely spaced red "starts" shone just two degrees away from th e first. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Apparently the same thought had occurred to e'Kraft. becoming fainter as it grew.er of the Imperial Family he was reduced to the status of a messenger boy. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ General e'Kraft's fangs clattered together with suppressed emotion. W ithout tactical computers." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The picture showed the Maelstrom with the Mush-faces' planet off to one side. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ A brilliant red star appeared just above the garden's pseudo-horizon. When the walls cleared. was an object that had to be destroyed else the galaxy would die. who said. The battlewagon he had noticed before had fired its rockets and now moved slowly across the sky. twelve billion kilometers away. The dot e xpanded. The detonation of the {\i Vengeance} would have been quite effective at that range. Lal strained for some glimpse of the enemy. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Both men sat in the flagwagon's Imperial gardens and counted their last seconds . but to sit defenselessly and let an enemy destroy you with inferior weapons was nightmare. As soon as the jump is made and your are sure the Enemy is nearby. but Lal ignored them. Harl said something on his private circuit. "Navigation. The b rilliance of its jets brought temporary daylight to the gardens. the other wagon was gone: ten thousand men and the gross annual product of an enitre continent h ad been vaporized in less than a millisecond. Almost simul taneously.. who vanished without even bowing. That couldn't be the Enem y. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Enemy rocket bomb at fifty thousand kilometers and closing. \par\pard\plain \hyphpar}{ "It won't work. how . and now had to endure a small eternity as they were e xecuted. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The aide reappeared. To lose men in war was expected. so we'll be able to see everyth ing up to the detonation. The fleet would have to hold together jsut a little longer. Puissance. ten thousand men were trying to abandon their battle wagon before the deadline he had set. Abruptly he looked up. \par\ pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Lal had given his orders. "Computations complete. Lal glanced up and saw that the plan et was sitll in his sky. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ But somehow it did.000 kilometers. Somewhere else.. and the garden's curving crystal walls turned op aque as the wagon's screens powered up. He realized ashamedly that the {\i Vengeance} had made its jump. the crew of the {\i Vengeance} have removed to the {\i Sword of Alkra}. Those bombs couldn't have been closer than 100. Just tell us which bat-" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "The {\i Vengeance}. a nnihilate the entire mass of the wagon. It's transmitting by gravitic means. Startled. A white glare lit the gardens. Since the wagon's orientation in space was still t he same." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Several more red dots appeared near the zenith. but that wa s all. "That's from a camera aboard the {\i Vengeance}. The Mush-faces must have discovered that the Darvik defense patterns were no longer adaptive. he noticed the silvery cres cent of another Dorvik battlewagon some two hundred kilometers away. the stars had not moved. and a flat image appeared before the m. "Puissance. but the enemy was moving in. The feeble-minded rocketbomb accepted the other battle wago n as its target of opportunity." said a disembodie d voice. And somewh ere." Harl whispered. but the jump should ha ve been more accurate. At the center of the screen Lal saw a tiny wh ite dot that drifted slowly across the field of stars." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Lal's urgency was conveyed to the other man. the Dorvik were squatting milvaks before the attack. the mad red eye of a monster. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Then the camera hunted-and found. Lal looked up. A bruptly the blue planet vanished.

The distortio n was in the far infrared and near microwave.far is the {\i Vengeance} from target?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Ten kilometers. and the destruction would creep on. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "See! The maggots have guessed what we're going to do. to learn what monster would annihilate a su n. Arn." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ " {\i After? }" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Yes.. Nothing made by men could withstand the vast fireball that the {\i Vengeance} has become. another few seconds and the Enemy might have completed its obscene mission. I--" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ He was interrupted by the reappearance of the General's aide. Neither of them noticed a slight wavering in the air behind them. "The entire mass of the wagon has been converted to energy. Puis sance. "We'll watch the fire spread fr om nest to nest-for ten thousand years we'll watch them burn.. who . "Puissance. . we de tected a grave disturbance after the detonation. They had just created more energy in a second than the average G-class star produces in an hour. but his mind saw a wave of hell creeping out ever so slowly from an annihilated star. Gyrf? \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "The maggots are trying to avoid the big fry. This is a galactic jump we're making. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ E'Kraft spoke. Sill Gyrd and Arn were too engrossed to notice. but they can't save themselves. For the momen t at least. Even then it would set houses afire on th e blue planet. its earlier anger almost forgotten. the gamma. If only there were some way to capture the Enemy craft. the ultraviolt. The changing refractive indicesd m oved through the visibvle. overcome by anticipations of delight. don't you think. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Mother!" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ But for her physical perfection she looked much like her remote ancestors. What's keeping you?" \par\pard\p lain\hyphpar}{ "The navigation. The Enemy was superior to anything Lal had i magined. } The smallest insterstellar craft the Dorvik ever m ade was more than a kilometer wide. but little by little the gal axy would be taken away from them. Puissance." {\i Less than nine meters long." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Idiot" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The shimmer took form. until every planet was lifeless and his race. yet this explosion was observable only as a blank image screen. or the motion of a tiny h and on the dial of a gravitic surge detector. to learn its se crets. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Detonate the {\i Vengeance}" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ And the screen turned gray." Lal stared stupidly: it was so anticlimactic. Lal's eyes looked across the Imperial gardens.. His race would know of the explosion. It would take ten hours for the li ght from that explosion to reach them. How close it had been. He turned to e'Kraft and saw relief mirrored in his e yes." \par\pard\plain \hyphpar}{ "That's impossible!" shrieked lal. and so doomed the Dorvik race. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "General. confined to the speed of light but pu shing inexorably across the galaxy. That was a nasty jolt th ey gave us. Possibly even more important. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "The converter is set to go when we jump. The energy from such a detonation would vaporize planets a hundred parsecs away. Gyrd turned from Arn and saw what had materialized behin d them. and wo uld retreat before the swelling sphere of oblivion. even as he accepted the awful truth." He paused. {\i What were they fighting? }\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The game might already be over. of course. all was saved. Somehow the intruder survived the detonation." \par\pard\plain\h yphpar}{ The other creature agreed enthusiastically. Give me a few more seconds. The enemy craft is less than nine meters long.

" But Lal knew with a silent desperation that there would never be enough advanced rac es to guard all the super stars. or excuse. "Have we your permission to resume tactical operations. }\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The silence was finally broken by General e'Kraft. Gone from the galaxy" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Damn it! Why didn't you say that in the first place?" snapped Harl. leaving the woman standing penisively in space." He gnashed his fangs once as he discared his race's dream and accepted a nightmare. you may retreat." {\i The universe regained. Puissance?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Lal looked through him and beyond. and you may ask the Mush-fa ces for peace terms. "Because we're lost?" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The woman shook her head. He turned back to the aide. There was fear on her face." \par\ pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Both Arn and Gyrd were silent now. And we'll need all the help we can get. The machine is ready to jump. dazed." Gyrd pulled nervously at one of her pigtails. She stared at her daughter. then said slowly. and their craft vanished. A millio n different races. They don't feel pain the way we can. "We can spread the news of this day through the galaxy much fast than we can our Empire. for a long moment. I'll be following right behind you. "Why are you here?" \par\pard\plain\ hyphpar}{ Arn said. alone. You can make no successful lie. all with the potential to become what we are. She frowned in a moment of concentration. \pa r\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ Lal only caught the last part of the sentence. Her feet seemed planted in the wispy Maelst rom--called the Milky Way by some--and faint air vaoprs encirlced her..tamed fire in Africa and--scant millennia later--played with fission under a sta dium in Chicago.. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Go home now. She hoped so." He shook a talon at the sky\par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ The woman remained a moment.. General. It would be fun--" \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Fun?" the woman said. then their evil can be satanic." said Lal. right where Gyrd dropp ed it. "General. She wanted very much to belive that they were really good children. "Everything that lives must be banded agaisnt t hem. For a moment he could feel only the beauty o f the luscious gardens and the now safe again stars. "Say that again. for what you've done. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ ". "I defused the converter. {\i But it could happen again. \par\pard\ plain\hyphpar}{ "Never mind. } The Enemy could sweep in on any large star in the g alaxy and set their bomb. and Gyrd screamed. Arn made an adjustment in the control s. the fear of a parent who has discov ered anew that untrained children are essentially monsters--and that if those ch ildren are godlings." \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ "Puissance. "The arithmetic has bee n done. Perhaps some good could come of this yet. our instruments indicate that the intruder jumped before any attemp t to annihilate the sun. \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{ \par\pard\plain\hyphpar}{\par\pard\hyphpar }{\page } } . She gazed out form the sun and "saw" the Dorvik battlewagson twelve billion kilometers aw ay. " But they're just festering in their nests.. {\i all} of them. Arn. Gyrd. would have been destroyed by what you planned.