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With the grid operator landed again, and after the grid was operable once more and had sent the Med Ship a good five planetary diameters into space some few hours after the ship was in overdrive again Calhoun and Murgatroyd had coffee together. Murgatroyd zestfully licked his emptied tiny mug, to get the last least taste of the beverage. He said happily, "Chee!" He wanted more.
"Did you tell them?" demanded the skipper. "There was no easy way to tell them by diagrams, sir." Taine's voice cut in. It was feverish. It was strident. It was triumphant. "Sir! The Niccola is effectively a wreck and unrepairable. But the Plumie ship is operable if cut loose.
The tubes of radium are left in situ for from eight to fourteen days, according to the power of the radium employed, but are moved about every second day or so in order that every part of the tumour may be efficiently radiated. If the tumour shrinks in size after the use of radium and becomes operable, it should be removed before time is given it to resume its growth.
And I early began to think, too. What was the fundamental principle underlying the evolution of a higher and higher human type? How could this principle be unified through all branches of science and reduced to an operable law? Questions such as these kept me awake at night while I still wore short trousers. At fourteen I was boarding alone in a kind of tenement on the East Side.
Hours later, the last group of looters left the orbit-ship, and the airlock to the Ranger clanged shut. Tom heard the sucking sound of the air-tight seals, then silence. The orbit-ship was empty, its insides gutted, its engines no longer operable. The Ranger hung like a long splinter of silver alongside her hull, poised and ready to move on. He knew that the time had come.
He seemed unconscious of her for a moment, and then he looked at her and saw that she had seen and that she wanted to know. "You'd think a man would get used to it," he said in his short, gruff way. "You'd think it would become a matter of course, but it doesn't. That man's wife is dying of cancer. It's not an operable case. I told him that to-day. He asked for the truth and I gave it.