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"But don't you understand, Meta?" he exclaimed, "Humans can live through the warp-drive! No drugs, no cold-sleep Meta, I've done it dozens of times!" "But you're a Lhari!" It burst from her, uncontrollable. She stopped, looked at him in consternation. He smiled, bitterly. "No, Meta, they didn't do a thing to my internal organs, to my brain, to the tissues of my body.

The Lhari ships traveled at normal speeds, like the regular planetary ships, inside each star-system. Then, at the borders of the vast gulf of emptiness between stars, they went into warp-drive; but first, every human on board was given the cold-sleep treatment that placed them in suspended animation, allowing their bodies to endure the warp-drive. He finished his drink.

"I don't want to be mobbed when they hear that I have the secret of the star-drive." The effect was electric. The four Lhari sat up; their white crests twitched. Vorongil stared, his gray eyes darkening with fear. One of the Lhari leaned forward, shooting the question at him harshly. "You did not discover the coordinates of the Council Planet of Ke Lhiro! You did not discover "

His crest was not the high, fluffy white of a young Lhari, but broken short near the scalp, grayish pink showing through, the little feathery ends yellowed with age. He growled, "Come in then, don't stand there. I suppose Ringg's told you what a tyrant I am? What do you want, feathertop?" Bart remembered being told that this was the Lhari equivalent of "Kid" or "Youngster."

He'd taken some runs in special test ships, and read some extremely obscure research data from the early days of the contact between men and Lhari, and he had a wild idea. He did the bravest thing anyone has ever done. He stripped himself of all identifying data so that if he died, no one would be in trouble with the Lhari and stowed away on a Lhari ship."

"But " Bart's lips were dry "didn't he die in the warp-drive?" Slowly, Raynor Three shook his head. "No, he didn't. No drugs, no cold-sleep but he didn't die. Don't you see, Bart?" He leaned forward, urgently. "It's all a fake! The Lhari have just been saying that to justify their refusal to give us the secret of the catalyst that generates the warp-drive frequencies!

"Like Rhazon of Nedrun, like all pioneers, this young man has been cursed by his own people, the very ones who will one day benefit from his daring. He has found his people a firm footing among the stars. It is too late for the Lhari to regret that we did not sooner extend you the hand of welcome there. You have climbed, unaided, to join us. For good or ill, we must make room for you.

Physiologically, the Lhari are well, humanoid, if you like that better. They're a lot more like a man than a man is like, for instance, a gorilla. Your father convinced me that with minor plastic and facial surgery, he could pass as a Lhari. And finally I gave in, and did the surgery " "And it killed him!" "Not really.

"Meet you on the upper level later," he said, and got on a moving staircase that soared slowly upward, past level after level, toward the information desk located on the topmost mezzanine. The staircase moved slowly, and Bart had plenty of time to see everything. On the step immediately in front of him, two Lhari were standing; with their backs turned, they might almost have been men.

Eight Colors it used to be Alpha Transshipping is what they call a middleman outfit. The interplanet cargo lines transport from planet to planet within a system that's free competition and the Lhari ships transport from star to star that's a monopoly all over the galaxy. The middleman outfits arrange for orderly and businesslike liaison between the two.

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