Six Frightened Men

  • Chapter 1

  • Phil, Morphologist

    You put your life on the line when you join the Exploratory Wing of the Space Corps.

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  • They tell you that when you sign up.

  • The way they told it to me, it went like this:

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    Space Corp Officer

    “You'll be out there on alien worlds where no human being has ever set foot— worlds which may or may not have been inhabited by hostile alien creatures.

  • You take your life in your hands every time you make a planetfall out there.

  • Still interested?”

  • Profile Picture of Me in Six Frightened Men

    Me

    “That's old stuff,”

  • Phil, Morphologist

    I said.

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  • Profile Picture of Me in Six Frightened Men

    Me

    “You don't think I'd join up if it was an old ladies' tea party, do you?”

  • Phil, Morphologist

    Which was how I happened to be crouching behind a fantastically-sculptured spiralling rock out on the yellow wind-blasted desert of Pollux V, huddling there with the fierce sweep of sand against my faceplate, looking at the monster that barred my path.

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  • The thing was at least sixty feet tall and all eyes and mouth.

  • The mouth yawned, showing yellow daggers a foot long.

  • Phil, Morphologist

    As for the eyes— well, they burned with the cold luminosity of an intelligent and inimical being.

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  • I didn't know what the thing was.

  • One minute I'd been examining an interesting rock formation, a second later I was hiding behind it, watching the ravening thing that had appeared out of nowhere.

  • Phil, Morphologist

    Other members of the expedition were sprawled here and there on the desert too.

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  • I could see Max Feld, our paleontologist, curled in a tight plump little ball under an outcropping of weathered limestone, and there was Roy Laurence, the biochemist, flat on his stomach peering at the thing incredulously.

  • Back behind me were three others— Don Forster, Leo Mickens, Clyde Hamner.

  • Phil, Morphologist

    That made six.

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