Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley (New York Review Books Classics) by Robert Sheckley

Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley (New York Review Books Classics) by Robert Sheckley

Author:Robert Sheckley [Sheckley, Robert]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781590175088
Publisher: New York Review Books
Published: 2012-04-30T22:00:00+00:00

Carellan natives came out for him later in the day. Skillfully they maneuvered two big land ships up to the Brute, fastened on their long vines—which tested out stronger than steel—and towed the derelict truck back to the station.

They brought him into the receiving shed, and Nerishev carried him into the station’s dead air.

“You didn’t break anything except a couple of teeth,” said Nerishev. “But there isn’t an unbruised inch on you.”

“We came through it,” Clayton said.

“Just. Our boulder defense is completely flattened. The station took two direct hits from boulders and barely contained them. I’ve checked the foundations; they’re badly strained. Another blow like that—”

“—and we’d make out somehow. Us Earth lads, we come through! That was the worst in eight months. Four months more and the relief ship comes! Buck up, Nerishev. Come with me.”

“Where are we going?”

“I want to talk to that damned Smanik!”

They came into the shed. It was filled to overflowing with Carellans. Outside, in the lee of the station, several dozen land ships were moored.

“Smanik!” Clayton called. “What’s going on here?”

“It is the Festival of Summer,” Smanik said. “Our great yearly holiday.”

“Hm. What about that blow? What did you think of it?”

“I would classify it as a moderate gale,” said Smanik. “Nothing dangerous, but somewhat unpleasant for sailing.”

“Unpleasant! I hope you get your forecasts a little more accurate in the future.”

“One cannot always outguess the weather,” Smanik said. “It is regrettable that my last forecast should be wrong.”

“Your last? How come? What’s the matter?”

“These people,” Smanik said, gesturing around him, “are my entire tribe, the Seremai. We have celebrated the Festival of Summer. Now summer is ended and we must go away.”

“Where to?”

“To the caverns in the far west. They are two weeks’ sail from here. We will go into the caverns and live there for three months. In that way, we will find safety.”

Clayton had a sudden sinking feeling in his stomach. “Safety from what, Smanik?”

“I told you. Summer is over. We need safety now from the winds—the powerful storm winds of winter.”

“What is it?” Nerishev said.

“In a moment.” Clayton thought very quickly of the super-hurricane he had just passed through, which Smanik had classified as a moderate and harmless gale. He thought of their immobility, the ruined Brute, the strained foundations of the station, the wrecked boulder barrier, the relief ship four months away. “We could go with you in the land ships, Smanik, and take refuge in the caverns with you—be protected—”

“Of course,” said Smanik hospitably.

“No, we couldn’t,” Clayton answered himself, his sinking feeling even lower than during the storm. “We’d need extra oxygen, our own food, a water supply—”

“What is it?” Nerishev repeated impatiently. “What the devil did he say to make you look like that?”

“He says the really big winds are just coming,” Clayton replied.

The two men stared at each other.

Outside, a wind was rising.


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