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By Edmond Hamilton

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Birrel looked with no liking at the crowded streets. The fact that the summer sunlight was golden instead of blue-white did not bother him, he was used to different kinds of sunlight. The air he breathed was the norm for an E-type world, with a pleasant snap in it from the salt ocean. But the towering cliffs of buildings, the huddle and clamor and bustle, were strange and repellent. He thought that a starman could easily get claustrophobia in this city. The United Worlds building towered like a man-made metal mountain.

Yes, Jay. He's been there for months. He bought this old house I speak of and he'll be waiting there for you. " "But if Orion—" "Don't worry,” Ferdias interrupted. “You'll get warning if Solleremos moves on Earth. " "The Fifth goes to Earth for an official courtesy visit. You're not to tell more than that to anyone. " He repeated the word without any emphasis at all, but when Ferdias repeated something, that was emphasis enough. Birrel, as the flitter took him back across the city, hardly saw the brilliant capital flashing by beneath.

He turned to Garstang. ” And then he let out a long breath. Birrel waited until soon Grenard reported that the Orionids had just passed out of his limited radar-range, still on the new course. " "They've sheered off,” he said to Garstang. " The Fifth went on and presently they were moving out of the strait into wide-open space. Ahead, there stretched a region with a few stars and fewer E-type worlds, and that distant region belonged to none of the Sectors but was the small area still ruled by the once all-governing United Worlds.

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