The Wind Between the Worlds by Lester del Rey

The Wind Between the Worlds by Lester del Rey

Author:Lester del Rey [del Rey, Lester]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780795321238
Publisher: RosettaBooks
Published: 1979-09-14T21:00:00+00:00


III

Vic sat in the car the next morning, watching the black cloud that swirled around the station, reaching well beyond the old office. His eyes were red, his face was gray with fatigue, and his lanky body was slumped onto the seat. Pat looked almost as tired, though she had gotten some sleep. Now she took the empty coffee cup and thermos from him. She ran a hand through his hair, straightening it, then pulled his head down to her shoulder and began rubbing the back of his neck gently.

Ptheela purred approvingly from the other side, and Pat snorted. “Get your mind off romance, Ptheela! Vic’s practically out on his feet. If he weren’t so darned stubborn, this should make him go to sleep.”

“Romance!” Ptheela chewed the idea and spat it out. “All spring budding and no seed. A female should have pride from strong husbands and proven seeding.”

Vic let them argue. At the moment, Pat’s attention was soothing, but only superficially. His head went on fighting for some usable angle and finding none. He’d swiped all the knowledge he could from Ptheela, without an answer. Plathgol was more advanced than Earth, but far below the Betz II engineers, who were mere servants of the Council.

No wonder man had resented the traffic with other worlds. For centuries he had been the center of his universe. Now, like the Tasmanians, he found himself only an isolated valley of savages in a universe that was united in a culture far beyond his understanding. He’d never even conquered his own planets; all he’d done was to build better ways of killing himself.

Now he was reacting typically enough, in urgent need of some race even lower, to put him on middle ground, at least. He was substituting hatred for his lost confidence in himself.

Why learn more about matter transmitting when other races knew the answers and were too selfish to share them? Vic grumbled, remembering the experts. He’d wasted hours with them, to find that they were useless. The names that had been towers of strength had proved no more than men as baffled as he was. With even the limited knowledge he’d pried from Ptheela, he was far ahead of them—and still further behind the needs of the problem.



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