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The Dark Intruder & other stories [MultiFormat]
eBook by Marion Zimmer Bradley

eBook Category: Science Fiction
eBook Description: This book is a collection of Marion Zimmer Bradley's science-fiction short stories written between 1952 and 1962. It includes the title story (also known as "Measureless to Man"), "Jackie Sees a Star", "Exiles of Tomorrow", "Death Between the Stars", "The Crime Therapist", "The Stars Are Waiting", and "Black & White."

eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, Published: 1964
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2009

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It had been a rough day. Andrew sat with his back against a boulder, watching the sun drop swiftly toward the reddish range of rock he had climbed that afternoon. Around him the night wind was beginning to build up, but he had found a sheltered spot between two boulders; and in his heated sleeping-bag, could spend a comfortable night even at sixty-below temperatures.

He thought ahead while he chewed the tasteless Marbeef--Reade had outfitted the expedition with Space Service surplus--and swallowed hot coffee made from ice painstakingly scraped from the rocks. It had taken Reade, and five men, four days to cross the ridge. Traveling light, Andrew hoped to do it in three. The distance was less than thirty miles by air, but the only practicable trail wound in and out over ninety miles, mostly perpendicular. If a bad sandstorm built up, he might not make it at all, but anyone who spent more than one season on Mars took that kind of risk for granted.

The sun dropped, and all at once the sky was ablaze with stars. Andrew swallowed the last of his coffee, looking up to pick out the Heavenly Twins on the horizon--the topaz glimmer of Venus, the blue star-sapphire that was Earth. Andrew had lived on Earth for a few years in his teens, and hated it; the thick moist air, the dragging feel of too much gravity. The close-packed cities nauseated him with their smell of smoke and grease and human sweat. Mars air was thin and cold, and scentless. His parents had hated Mars the same way he had hated Earth--they were biologists in the xenozoology division, long since transferred to Venus. He had never felt quite at home anywhere, except for the few days he had spent at Xanadu. Now he was being kicked out of that too.

Suddenly, he swore. The hell with it, sitting here, feeling sorry for himself! He'd have a long day tomorrow, and a rough climb. As he unrolled his sleeping-bag, waiting for the blankets to warm, he wondered: how old was Xanadu?

Did it matter? Surely, if men could throw a bridge between the planets, they could build a bridge across the greater gap of time that separated them from these who had once lived on Mars. And if any man could do that, Andy admitted ungrudgingly, that man was John Reade. He pulled off his boots, anchored them carefully with his pack, weighted the whole thing down with rock, and crawled into the sack.

In the comforting warmth, relaxing, a new thought crossed his mind.

Whatever it was that had happened to him at Xanadu, he wasn't quite sure. The bump had confused him. But certainly something had happened. He did not seriously consider Reade's warning. He knew, as Reade could not be expected to know, that he had not suffered from a hallucination, had not been touched by the fringes of insanity. But he had certainly undergone a very strange, experience. Whether it had been subjective or objective, he did not know; but he intended to find out.

How? He tried to remember a little desultory reading be had once done about telepathy. Although he had spoken glibly to Reade about 'opening his mind', he really had not the faintest idea of what he had meant by the phrase. He grinned in the dark.

"Well, whoever and whatever you are," he said aloud, "I'm all ready and waiting. If you can figure out a way to communicate with me, come right ahead."

And the alien came.

I am Kamellin, it said.

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