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Authors: Poul Anderson

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Harvest of Stars

BOOK: Harvest of Stars
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Harvest of Stars
Poul Anderson

To Frank and Laura Kelly Freas


(Some minor figures are omitted)

Dolores Almeida Candamo:
General director of Earthside operations for Fireball Enterprises.

Lunarian, an agent of Rinndalir.

Pierre Aulard:
An engineer and a director of Fireball.

Jack Bannon:
An officer of the (Chaotic) Liberation Army.

Gabriel Berecz:
The download of an ecologist.

Esther Blum:
Regent of the Homesteaders.

Jerry Bowen:
Designer of the laser launch system.

A settler’s daughter, later wife to Hugh Davis.

A male of the Keiki Moana.

Lunarian, a space pilot.

Erling Davis:
A descendant of Hugh Davis.

Hugh Davis:
A ranger on Demeter.

Kyra Davis:
A space pilot and consorte of Fireball; her download.

Demeter Daughter

Demeter Mother

Rory Donovan:
A bartender in Tychopolis.

Manuel Escobedo Corrigan:
President of the North American Union.

Anne Farnum:
A Chaotic.

Jim Farnum:
A Chaotic.

Hans Gieseler:
An employee of Fireball.

Anson Guthrie:
Cofounder and master of Fireball Enterprises; his downloads; his reincarnation.

Juliana Trevorrow Guthrie:
Wife to Anson Guthrie and co-founder of Fireball Enterprises.

Captain of the Fireball spaceship

Felix Holden:
A colonel in the North American Security Police.

Lunarian, an agent of Rinndalir.

Robert E. Lee:
An intuitionist and consorte of Fireball.

A magnate within Quark Fair.

Lin Mei-Ling:
Wife of Wang Zu and consorte of Fireball.

Luis Moreno Quiroga:
A friend of Anson Guthrie in his youth.

Sitabhai Lal Mukerji:
President of the World Federation.

Boris Ivanovich Nikitin:
A friend of Kyra Davis in her girlhood.

Lunarian, ally of Rinndalir.

Child of Demeter Daughter.

Christian Packer:
A descendant of Jeff Packer.

Jeff Packer:
A son of Washington Packer.

Washington Packer:
Director of Kamehameha Spaceport and consorte of Fireball.

An officer of the North American Security Police.

Consuelo Ponce:
A scientist and consorte of Fireball.

Lunarian, a Selenarch.

Basil Rudbeck:
Director of research at Lifthrasir Tor.

Lunarian, Lady Commander in Phyle Ithar.

Juan Santander Conde:
A director of Fireball, eventually emeritus.

Enrique Sayre:
Head of the North American Security Police.

Ivar Stranding:
A former lover of Kyra Davis.

Captain of the Fireball spaceship

Zeyd Abdullah Aziz Tahir:
A sheikh of the Muslim community in Northwest Integrate.

Eiko Tamura:
A technician in L-5 and employee of Fireball.

Noboru Tamura:
Father of Eiko Tamura, chief of space operations in L-5 and consorte of Fireball.

Nero Valencia:
A gunjin of the Sally Severins.

Wang Zu:
A dispatcher in L-5 and consorte of Fireball.

Xuan Zhing:
Visionary on whose theories the Avantist movement was founded.

Clarice Yoshikawa:
A technician in the North American Security Police.


, death was no more than the brightest of the stars. The suns have drawn close together in the sky, as if to hide themselves from that which nears, and Phaethon was lord of the dark. Outshining Sol, its whiteness stood like a light kindled in a prayer for peace, a beauty almost too great to bear. Strengthening hour by hour, it was still clear to unaided sight when it set at midmorning.

We will not shelter our awareness on dayside. There is no shelter. We will be here, beholding. I will do whatever I can to calm the terror of my poor beasts, who must see and not understand.

The weather has been calm. Snow decked the hills, their glens were full of blue shadow, trees gone leafless bore icicles that shivered light into a thousand colored brilliances. But some clouds came to veil the west, and our last sunset flamed. Now a wind has sprung up, shrill and keen. A dust of ice grains drifts across the land. Through roots and rock I feel how monstrously the seas rage afar.

Phaethon’s radiance goes before it, a pallor that mounts from the southeast until it touches the zenith. Birds rouse
at this strange dawn, I hear them calling their wonderment; a stag bugles, wolves howl.

I must help my creatures. Abide me. I love you.

—And I love you. I’ll wait.

The planet starts to rise. So huge has it grown that more than an hour passes before it is aloft. Meanwhile it swells further. Gibbous, it is wanly aglow on its night part, where starlight falls on its own troubled weather, but in the eyes that are left among us, it has drowned every star. The day part dazzles, a writhing of storms between which I glimpse mountain ranges, glaciers, and frozen oceans melting. Our snow glisters begemmed. Eastward, thunderheads rear. Phaethon makes phosphorescent their battlements. Lightning plays in their depths. Unnatural at the heart of winter—no, this too is nature, is the reality to which we belong.

The ground shudders. Wind shrieks. I bring what comfort I may to hawk and hare, fox and crow, vole and sparrow. They will not have long to be afraid, but I will spare them as much as I can.

Black spots appear on Phaethon: smoke, ash. Volcanoes have awakened in hordes. A line races across the disc, jagged, a crack open on molten depths. A quake billows beneath us. Hillsides crash down, louder than the oncoming hurricane.

I return. Our spirits embrace.

Phaethon begins to sunder. It will strike before it breaks fully apart, but an incandescent tide spills forth. This world shakes and roars.

Farewell, beloved.

The first meteors blaze.

—Thank you for all you gave and all you were. I love you.


one in seven, unless the ghost lay at none of his old lairs. Then it would be zero, and finding him become a race against his enemies. Kyra more than half hoped that she, at least, would draw blank. Beyond Earth she dealt with vastness, vacuum, sometimes violence, but she had never been quarry. Por favor, let her simply and honestly report that Guthrie wasn’t here, and return to space.

Nerve stiffened. She had given troth.

Besides, if the task did fall on her, with any luck it shouldn’t prove dangerous. She’d merely be a rider on crowded public carriers. Nobody ought to suspect that she bore Fireball’s lord. If somehow the hunters learned she had visited Erie-Ontario Integrate, there were ready answers to whatever questions they might ask. The first several years of her life had passed in Toronto. How natural that she spend a short groundside leave taking a look at childhood scenes. Nor would she have to respond personally. By that time, supposing the occasion arose at all, she and Guthrie would be on the far side of the sky.

It tingled in her. She, his rescuer!

Maybe. Whatever happened, she’d better keep a cool head and a casual bearing. First concentrate on traffic. Scores of little three-wheeled cycles like hers wove and muttered their way among hundreds of pedestrians. On most the canopies were deployed, nearly invisible, shields against the weather. She had left her bubble folded, in an irrational wish to be free, today, of even such slight confinement. Nothing larger was allowed on this street, but vans threw their noise and shadows down off the monorail overhead. Now and then a flitter went whistling above them. No matter how hard the times, here the megalopolis churned.

BOOK: Harvest of Stars
4.68Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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