home   |   -   |   A-Z   |  


1. Following O and crewpersons tr temp dy stns Gateway for contraband inspection and compliance patrol:

LINKY, TinaW/o

MASKO, Casimir E. BsnM 1


2. Following O and crewpersons authd 24-hr temp dy Gateway for R R:



HLEB, Caryle T S1

HOLL, William F Jr S1

3. All O and crewpersons are cautioned once again to avoid any repeat any dispute with O and crewpersons of other patrol vessels regardless of nationality and regardless of circumstances, and to refrain from divulging classified information to any person whatsoever. Infractions will be dealt with by complete deprivation of Gateway leave, in addition to such other punishments as a defaulters court may direct.

4. Temporary duty on Gateway is a privilege, not a right. If you want it, you have to earn it.


Shithead! Youd be maybe dead in twelve hours. Earth-normal conditions means theres a good chance of an Earth normal-type biology. Which means pathogens that could eat you up.

So all right she hunched her shoulders, so Id keep the suit until, uh, I tested for pathogens.

And how do you do that?

I use the fucking kit, stupid! She added hastily, before I could say anything, I mean I take the, lets see, the Basic Metabolism disks out of the freezer and activate them. I stay in orbit for twenty-four hours until theyre ripe, then when Im down on the surface I expose them and take readings with my, uh, with my C-44.

C-33. Theres no such thing as a C-44.

So all right. Oh, and also I pack a set of antigen boosters, so if theres a marginal problem with some sort of microorganism I can give myself a booster shot and get temporary immunity.

I guess thats all right, so far, I said doubtfully. In practice, of course, she wouldnt need to remember all that. She would read the directions on the packages, or play her course tapes, or better still, she would be out with somebody who had been out before and would know the ropes. But there was also the chance that something unforeseen would go wrong and she would be on her own resources, not to mention the fact that she had a final test to take and pass. What else, Sheri?

The usual, Rob! Do I have to run through the whole list? All right. Radio-relay; spare powerpack; the geology kit; ten-day food ration and no, I dont eat anything I find on the planet at all, not even if theres a McDonalds hamburger stand right next to the ship. And an extra lipstick and some sanitary napkins.

I waited. She smiled prettily, outwaiting me.

What about weapons?


Yes, God damn it! If its nearly Earth normal, what are the chances of life being there?

Oh, yes. Lets see. Well, of course, if I need them I take them. But, wait a minute, first I sniff for methane in the atmosphere with the spectrometer reading from orbit. If theres no methane signature theres no life, so I dont have to worry.

Theres no mammalian life, and you do have to worry. What about insects? Reptiles? Dluglatches?


A word I just made up to describe a kind of life weve never heard of that doesnt generate methane in its gut but eats people.

Oh, sure. All right, Ill take a sidearm and twenty rounds of soft-nosed ammo. Give me another one.

And so we went on. When we first started rehearsing each other what we usually said at a point like that was either, Well, I wont have to worry, because youll be there with me anyway, or Kiss me, you fool. But wed kind of stopped saying that.

In spite of it all, we graduated. All of us.

We gave ourselves a graduation party, Sheri and me, and all four of the Forehands, and the others who had come up from Earth with us and the six or seven who had appeared from one place or another. We didnt invite any outsiders, but our teachers werent outsiders. They all showed up to wish us well. Klara came in late, drank a quick drink, kissed us all, male and female, even the Finnish kid with the language block whod had to take all his instruction on tapes. He was going to have a problem. They have instruction tapes for every language you ever heard of, and if they dont happen to have your exact dialect they run a set through the translating computer from the nearest analogue. Thats enough to get you through the course, but after that the problem starts. You cant reasonably expect to be accepted by a crew that cant talk to you. His block kept him from learning any other language, and there was not a living soul on Gateway who spoke Finnish.

We took over the tunnel three doors in each direction past our own, Sheris, the Forehands and mine. We danced and sang until it was late enough for some of us to begin to drop off, and then we dialed in the list of open launches on the PV screen. Full of beer and weed, we cut cards for first pick and I won.

Something happened inside my head. I didnt sober up, really. That wasnt it. I was still feeling cheerful and sort of warm all over and open to all personality signals that were coming in. But a part of my mind opened up and a pair of clear-seeing eyes peered out at the future and made a judgment. Well, I said, I guess Ill pass my chance right now. Sess, youre number two; you take your pick.

Thirty-one-oh-nine, he said promptly; all the Forehands had made up their minds in family meeting, long since. Thanks, Rob.

This Park Is MONITORED By Closed-Circuit PV | Gateway | Classifieds.