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Art Kuzak's reply had an undercurrent of jubilance, as if whatever he knew now was better than he had expected. "Second phase is en route. Joe will be along... Don't be surprised..." Joe Kuzak's approach, a few hundred hours later, made a luminous cluster in the sky, like a miniature galaxy. It resolved itself into vast bales, and all of the stellene rings storage and factory of Post Three.

Lester was the only one without an activity to support himself. But he was at the shop every weekday, six to ten p.m., cementing stellene with meticulous care, while he muttered and dreamed. The Bunch griped about courses, jobs, and the stubbornness of materials, but they made progress. They had built their first bubb and ionic. The others would be easier.

Back in Archer, she looked almost as she used to look at Hendricks'. Her smile was rueful. "Shucks, I'm all right, Frank," she said. "Even if Insurance, with so many disaster-claims, can't pay me which they probably still can. The boys'll keep needing entertainment, if it's only in a stellene space tent.

Syrtis, itself, where the trails, once burned out with oxygen and gasoline-jelly to permit the passage of vehicles, had again become completely overgrown who could hope to stamp out that devilishly hardy vegetation, propagating by means of millions of windblown spores, with mere fire? The broken-down trains of tractors and trailers, now almost hidden. The stellene garden domes that had flattened.

They spoke their thanks. For the time being, Frank was free to breathe open air under big, stellene domes. But he didn't know in what web of questioning and accusation he might soon be entangled.

But he's beginning to say, what the hell, the future ain't there, or on any planet... So this is how it's gonna be, huh? With some additions, sure. Factories, super markets, cornfields, pig farms, parks, playgrounds, beauty parlors, all encased in stellene, and orbiting in clusters around the sun, eh...? 'Hey, Pop! some small fry will say to his old man.

A thousand dollars buys a lot of stellene for bubbs. And we can scratch up a few bucks of our own. I can find a hundred, myself, saved from my TV repair work, and my novelties business. Charlie, here, ought to be able to contribute a thousand. Same for you, Hollins. That'll buy parts and materials for some ionic motors, too." "Oh, certainly, Gimp," Hollins growled. But Charlie Reynolds grinned.

"He and Charlie had figured another destination of opportunity Mercury, the planet nearest the sun, everlasting frozen night on one side, eternal, zinc-melting sunshine on the other. But there's the fringe zone between the two the Twilight Zone. If you can live under stellene, you've got a better place there than Mars might have been.

"Leland close down the pool..." It wasn't long before the perimeter watch, returning from a patrol that had taken them some distance out, brought in a makeshift dwelling bubb made from odds and ends of stellene. They had also picked up its occupant, a lean comic character with an accent and a strange way of talking. "Funny that you'd turn up, here Igor, is it?" Nelsen said dryly.

"After that the acceleration should continue properly without much attention. So how about you and me taking first watch, while the others ease off a little...?" Frank Nelsen crept carefully back into his own rotating ring, still half afraid that an armored knee or elbow might go right through the thin, yielding stellene.

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