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Chapter 24

I was just turning over, making up my mind to go to sleep, when I noticed that the colors on the Heechee guidance system were breaking up. It was the fifty-fifth day of my trip, the twenty seventh since turnover. The colors had been shocking pink for the whole fifty-five days. Now whorls of pure white formed, grew, flowed together.

I was arriving! Wherever it was going to turn out to be when I got there, I was arriving.

My little old ship — the smelly, hurtful, tedious coffin I had banging around in for nearly two months by myself, talking to myself, playing games with myself, tired of myself — was well below lightspeed. I leaned over to look at the viewscreen, now related “down” to me because I had been decelerating, and saw nothing that looked very exciting. Oh, there was a star, yes. There lots of stars in a scattering of groupings that in no way looked familiar; half a dozen blues ranging from bright to hurt-the-eye. One red one that stood out more for intensity of hue than luminosity was an angry-looking red coal, not much brighter than Mars from Earth, but a deeper, uglier red.

I made myself take an interest.