Drabblecast 400 cover by Tristan TollhurstThe Drabblecast launches its 8th Annual Women and Aliens Month with Part 1 of “We Who Stole the Dream” by James Tiptree Jr.

This is a dark, dystopian tale about sadism and slavery, and the potential for cruelty in all of us. Published postmortem in the 1990 compilation “Her Smoke Rose Up Forever,” this story was originally written in 1978. True to the times, Tiptree was wrestling with sexism and feminism in much the same vein as Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood. These issues are all still relevant, and still topical forty years later.

Story Excerpt:

The children could survive only twelve minims in the sealed containers.

Jilshat pushed the heavy cargo loader as fast as she dared through the darkness, praying that she would not attract the attention of the Terran guard under the floodlights ahead. The last time she passed he had roused and looked at her with his frightening pale alien eyes. Then, her truck had carried only fermenting-containers full of amlat fruit.

Now, curled in one of the containers, lay hidden her only-born, her son Jemnal.

James Tiptree Jr. (1915 – 1987) was known for her disturbing short stories about love, death, gender, and the nature of humans and aliens.

Yes, that’s right. James Tiptree was a woman.

In fact, this was the pen name used by Alice Bradley Sheldon from 1967 till her death (though personally, I prefer her alternative pseudonym Raccoona). If you’ve never heard of her, you should. She was illustrating books by age six, became an art critic by her twenties, and later went on to work at the Pentagon during WWII. After a brief stint as a chicken farmer in New Jersey, she became a Director of Intelligence at the CIA. You know, as ya do.

This is all before James Tiptree, aka Alice Sheldon, became a titan of science fiction. Writing roughly from 1967 until her tragic death in 1987, Tiptree won numerous Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Jupiter Awards and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2012.

Honestly, there’s no way to really give you a brief synopsis of this incredible woman. Read her Encyclopedia Britannica page. Seriously, she has become a new personal hero of ours.

Enjoy the ride (this story is printed in full below the player)!

Drabblecast 400 – We Who Stole The Dream Pt. 1

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We Who Stole The Dream

by James Tiptree Jr.

The children could survive only twelve minims in the sealed containers.

Jilshat pushed the heavy cargo loader as fast as she dared through the darkness, praying that she would not attract the attention of the Terran guard under the floodlights ahead. The last time she passed he had roused and looked at her with his frightening pale alien eyes. Then, her truck had carried only fermenting-containers full of amlat fruit.

Now, curled in one of the containers, lay hidden her only-born, her son Jemnal. Four minims at least had already been used up in the loading and weighing sheds. It would take four more, maybe five, to push the load out to the ship, where her people would send it up on the cargo conveyor. And more time yet for her people in the ship to find Jemnal and rescue him. Jilshat pushed faster, her weak gray humanoid legs trembling.

As she came into the lighted gate the Terran turned his head and saw her.

Jilshat cringed away, trying to make herself even smaller, trying not to run. Oh, why had she not taken Jemnal out in an earlier load? The other mothers had taken theirs. But she had been afraid. At the last minute her faith had failed. It had not seemed possible that what had been planned so long and prepared for so painfully could actually be coming true, that her people, her poor feeble dwarf Joilani, could really overpower and subdue the mighty Terrans in that cargo ship. Yet there the big ship stood in its cone of lights, all apparently quiet. The impossible must have been done, or there would have been disturbance. The other young must be safe. Yes—now she could make out empty cargo trucks hidden in the shadows; their pushers must have already mounted into the ship. It was really and truly happening, their great escape to freedom—or to death. . . . And now she was almost past the guard, almost safe.


She tried not to hear the harsh Terran bark, hurried faster. But in three giant strides he loomed up before her, so that she had to halt.

“You deaf?” he asked in the Terran of his time and place. Jilshat could barely understand; she had been a worker in the far amlat fields. All she could think of was the time draining inexorably away, while he tapped the containers with the butt of his weapon, never taking his eyes off her. Her huge dark-lashed Joilani gaze implored him mutely; in her terror, she forgot the warnings, and her small dove-gray face contorted in that rictus of anguish the Terrans called a “smile.” Weirdly, he smiled back, as if in pain too.

“I wo’king, seh,” she managed to bring out. A minim gone now, almost two. If he did not let her go at once her child was surely doomed. Almost she could hear a faint mew, as if the drugged baby was already struggling for breath.

“I go, seh! Men in ship ang’ee!”  Her smile broadened, dimpled in agony to what she could not know was a mask of allure.

“Let ’em wait. You know, you’re not bad-looking for a Juloo moolie?” He made a strange hmhmm sound in his throat. “It’s my duty to check the natives for arms. Take that off.” He poked up her dingy jelmah with the snout of his weapon.

Three minims. She tore the jelmah off, exposing her wide-hipped, short-legged little gray form, with its double dugs and bulging pouch. A few heartbeats more and it would be too late, Jemnal would die. She could still save him—she could force the clamps and rip that smothering lid away. Her baby was still alive in there. But if she did so, all would be discovered; she would betray them all. Jailasanatha, she prayed. Let me have love’s courage. O my Joilani, give me strength to let him die. I pay for my unbelief.

“Turn around.”

Grinning in grief and horror, she obeyed.

“That’s better, you look almost human. Ah, Lord, I’ve been out too long. C’mere.” She felt his hand on her buttocks. “You think that’s fun, hey? What’s your name, moolie?”

The last possible minim had run out. Numb with despair, Jilshat murmured a phrase that meant Mother of the Dead.

“Joobly-woobly—” His voice changed. “Well, well! And where did you come from?”

Too late, too late: Lai, the damaged female, minced swiftly to them. Her face was shaved and painted pink and red; she swirled open a bright jelmah to reveal a body grotesquely tinted and bound to imitate the pictures the Terrans worshiped. Her face was wreathed in a studied smile.

“Me Lai.” She flirted her fingers to release the flower essence the Terrans seemed to love. “You want I make fik-fik foh you?”

The instant Jilshat felt the guard’s attention leave her, she flung her whole strength against the heavy truck and rushed naked with it out across the endless field, staggering beyond the limit of breath and heart, knowing it was too late, unable not to hope. Around her in the shadows the last burdened Joilani filtered toward the ship. Behind them the guard was being drawn by Lai into the shelter of the gatehouse.

At the last moment he glanced back and scowled.

“Hey, those Juloos shouldn’t be going into the ship that way.”

“Men say come. Say move cans.” Lai reached up and caressed his throat, slid skillful Joilani fingers into his turgid alien crotch. “Fik-fik,” she crooned, smiling irresistibly. The guard shrugged, and turned back to her with a chuckle.

The ship stood unwatched. It was an aging amlat freighter, a flying factory, carefully chosen because its huge cargo hold was heated and pressurized to make the fruit ferment en route, so that some enzyme the Terrans valued would be ready when it made port. That hold could be lived in, and the amlat fruit would multiply a thousandfold in the food-converter cycle. Also, the ship was the commonest type to visit here; over the decades the Joilani ship cleaners had been able to piece together, detail by painful detail, an almost complete image of the operating controls.

This one was old and shabby. Its Terran Star of Empire and identifying symbols were badly in need of paint. Of its name the first word had been eroded away, leaving only the alien letters:… N’S DREAM. Some Terran’s dream once; it was now the Joilani’s.

But it was not Lai’s Dream. Ahead of Lai lay only pain and death. She was useless as a breeder; her short twin birth channels had been ruptured by huge hard Terran members, and the delicate spongy tissue that was the Joilani womb had been damaged beyond recovery. So Lai had chosen the greater love, to serve her people with one last torment. In her hair flower was the poison that would let her die when the Dream was safely away.

It was not safe yet. Over the guard’s great bulk upon her Lai could glimpse the lights of the other ship on the field, the station’s patrol cruiser. By the worst of luck, it was just readying for its periodic off-planet reconnaissance.


To our misfortune, when the Dream was loaded, the Terran warship stood ready to lift off, so that it could intercept us before we could escape by entering what the Terrans called tau-space. Here we failed.


Old Jalun hobbled as smartly as he could out across the Patrol’s section of the spaceport, to the cruiser. He was wearing the white jacket and female jelmah in which the Terrans dressed their mess servants, and he carried a small napkin-wrapped object. Overhead three fast-moving moonlets were converging, sending triple shadows around his frail form. They faded as he came into the lights of the cruiser’s lock.

A big Terran was doing something to the cruiser’s lock tumblers. As Jalun struggled up the giant steps, he saw that the spacer wore a side arm. Good. Then he recognized the spacer, and an un-Joilani flood of hatred made his twin hearts pound. This was the Terran who had raped Jalun’s granddaughter, and broken her brother’s spine with a kick when the boy came to her rescue. Jalun fought down his feelings, grimacing in pain. Jailasanatha; let me not offend Oneness.

“Where you think you’re going, Smiley? What you got there?” He did not recognize Jalun; to Terrans all Joilani looked alike.

“Commandeh say foh you, seh. Say, celeb’ation. Say take to offiseh fi’st.”

“Let’s see.”

Trembling with the effort to control himself, smiling painfully from ear to ear, Jalun unfolded a corner of the cloth.

The spacer peered, whistled. “If that’s what I think it is, sweet stars of home. Lieutenant!” he shouted, hustling Jalun up and into the ship. “Look what the boss sent us!”

In the wardroom the lieutenant and another spacer were checking over the microsource charts. The lieutenant also was wearing a weapons belt—good again. Listening carefully, Jalun’s keen Joilani hearing could detect no other Terrans on the ship. He bowed deeply, still smiling his hate, and unwrapped his packet before the lieutenant.

Nestled in snowy linen lay a small tear-shaped amethyst flask.

“Commandeh say, foh you. Say must d’ink now, is open.”

The lieutenant whistled in his turn, and picked the flask up reverently.

“Do you know what this is, old Smiley?”

“No, seh,” Jalun lied.

“What is it, sir?” the other spacer asked. Jalun could see that he was very young.

“This, sonny, is the most unbelievable, most precious, most delectable drink that will ever pass your dewy gullet. Haven’t you ever heard of Stars Tears?”

The youngster stared at the flask, his face clouding.

“And Smiley’s right,” the lieutenant went on. “Once it’s open, you have to drink it right away. Well, I guess we’ve done all we need to tonight. I must say, the old man left us a generous go. Why did he say he sent this, Juloo boy?”

“Celeb’ation, seh. Say is his celeb’ation— his day.”

“Some celebration. Well, let us not quibble over miracles. Jon, produce two liquor cups. Clean ones.”

“Yessir!” The big spacer rummaged in the lockers overhead.

Standing child-size among these huge Terrans, Jalun was overcome again by the contrast between their size and strength and perfection and his own weak-limbed, frail, slope-shouldered little form. Among his people he had been accounted a strong youth; even now he was among the ablest. But to these mighty Terrans, Joilani strength was a joke. Perhaps they were right; perhaps he was of an inferior race, fit only to be slaves…. But then Jalun remembered what he knew, and straightened his short spine. The younger spacer was saying something.

“Lieutenant, sir, if that’s really Stars Tears I can’t drink it.”

“You can’t drink it? Why not?”

“I promised. I, uh, swore.”

“You’d promise such an insane thing?”

“My—my mother,” the youngster said miserably.

He shouted with laughter.

“You’re a long way from home now, son,” the lieutenant said kindly. “What am I saying, Jon? I’d be delighted to take yours. But I just can’t bear to see a man pass up the most beautiful thing in life, and I mean bar none. Forget Mommy and prepare your soul for bliss. That’s an order. … All right, Smiley boy, equal shares. And if you spill one drop I’ll dicty both your little pnonks, hear?”

“Yes, seh.” Carefully Jalun poured the loathsome liquor into the small cups.

“You ever tasted this, Juloo?”

“No, seh.”

“And you never will. All right, now scat. Ah-h-h . . . Well, here’s to our next station, may it have real live poogy on it.”

Jalun went silently back down into the shadows of the gangway, paused where he could just see the spacers lift their cups and drink. Hate and disgust choked him, though he had seen it before: Terrans eagerly drinking Stars Tears. It was the very symbol of their oblivious cruelty, their fall from Jailasanatha. They could not be excused for ignorance; too many of them had told Jalun how Stars Tears was made. It was not tears precisely, but the body secretions of a race of beautiful, frail winged creatures on a very distant world. Under physical or mental pain their glands exuded this liquid which the Terrans found so deliciously intoxicating. To obtain it, a mated pair were captured and slowly tortured to death in each other’s sight. Jalun had been told atrocious details which he could not bear to recall.

Now he watched, marveling that the hate burning in his eyes did not alert the Terrans. He was quite certain that the drug was tasteless and did no harm; careful trials over the long years had proved that. The problem was that it took from two to five minims to work. The last-affected Terran might have time to raise an alarm. Jalun would die to prevent that—if he could.

The two spacers’ faces had changed; their eyes shone.

“You see, son?” the lieutenant asked huskily.

The boy nodded, his rapt gaze on nowhere.

Suddenly he lunged up and said thickly, “What—?” Then he slumped back down with his head on one outstretched arm, still mildly aware.

“Hey! Hey, Jon!” The lieutenant rose, reaching toward him. But then he too was falling heavily across the wardroom table. This left only the staring boy.

Would he act, would he seize the caller? Jalun gathered himself to spring, knowing he could do little but die in those Terran hands.

But the boy only repeated, “What? . . . What?” Lost in a private dream, he leaned back, slid downward, and began to snore.

Jalun darted up to them and snatched the weapons from the two huge lax bodies. Then he scrambled up to the cruiser’s control room, summoning all the memorized knowledge that had been gained over the slow years. Yes—that was the transmitter. He wrestled its hood off and began firing into its works. The blast of the weapon frightened him, but he kept on till all was charred and melted.

The flight computer next. Here he had trouble burning in, but soon achieved what seemed to be sufficient damage. A nearby metal case fastened to what was now the ceiling bothered him. It had not been included in his instructions—because the Joilani had not learned of the cruiser’s new backup capability. Jalun gave it only a perfunctory blast, and turned to the weapons console.

Emotions he had never felt before were exploding in him, obscuring sight and reason. He fired at wild random across the board, concentrating on whatever would explode or melt, not realizing that he had left the heavy-weapons wiring essentially undamaged. Pinned-up pictures of the grotesque Terran females, which had done his people so much harm, he flamed to ashes.

Then he did the most foolish of things.

Instead of hurrying straight back down through the wardroom, he paused to stare at the slack face of the spacer who had savaged his young. His weapon was hot in his hand. Madness took Jalun: he burned through face and skull. The release of a lifetime’s helpless hatred seemed to drive him on wings of flame. Beyond all reality, he killed the other Terran without pausing and hurried on down.

He was quite insane with rage and self-loathing when he reached the reactor chambers. Forgetting the hours of painful memorization of the use of the waldo arms, he went straight in through the shielding port to the pile itself. Here he began to tug with his bare hands at the damping rods, as if he were a suited Terran. But his Joilani strength was far too weak, and he could barely move them. He raged, fired at the pile, tugged again, his body bare to the full fury of radiation.

When presently the rest of the Terran crew poured into the ship they found a living corpse clawing madly at the pile. He had removed only four rods; instead of a meltdown he had achieved nothing at all.

The engineer took one look at Jalun through the vitrex and swung the heavy waldo arm over to smash him into the wall. Then he replaced the rods, checked his readouts, and signaled: Ready to lift.


There was also great danger that the Terrans would signal to one of their mighty warships, which alone can send a missile seeking through tau-space. An act of infamy was faced.


The Elder Jayakal entered the communications chamber just as the Terran operator completed his regular transmission for the period. That had been carefully planned. First, it would insure the longest possible interval before other stations became alarmed. Equally important, the Joilani had been unable to discover a way of entry to the chamber when the operator was not there.

“Hey, Pops, what do you think you’re doing? You know you’re not supposed to be in here. Scoot!”

Jayakal smiled broadly in the pain of his heart. This Terran She’gan had been kind to the Joilani in his rough way. Kind and respectful. He knew them by their proper names; he had never abused their females; he fed cleanly, and did not drink abomination. He had even inquired, with decorum, into the sacred concepts: Jailasanatha, the Living-with-in-honor, the Oneness-of-love. Old Jayakal’s flexible cheekbones drew upward in a beaming rictus of shame.

“O gentle friend, I come to share with you,” he said ritually.

“You know I don’t really diwy your speech. Now you have to get out.”

Jayakal knew no Terran word for sharing; perhaps there was none.

“F’iend, I b’ing you thing.”

“Yeah, well bring it me outside!” Seeing that the old Joilani did not move, the operator rose to usher him out. But memory stirred; his understanding of the true meaning of that smile penetrated. “What is it, Jayakal? What you got there?”

Jayakal brought the heavy load in his hands forward.


“What—where did you get that? Oh, holy mother, get away from me! That thing is armed! The pin is out—”

The laboriously pilfered and hoarded excavating plastic had been well and truly assembled; the igniter had been properly attached. In the ensuing explosion, fragments of the whole transmitter complex, mingled with those of Jayakal and his Terran friend, rained down across the Terran compound and out among the amlat fields.

Spacers and station personnel erupted out of the post bars, at first uncertain in the darkness what to do. Then they saw torches flaring and bobbing around the transformer sheds. Small gray figures were running, leaping, howling, throwing missiles that flamed.

“The crotting Juloos are after the power plant! Come on!”


Other diversions were planned. The names of the Old Ones and damaged females who died thus for us are inscribed on the sacred rolls. We can only pray that they found quick and merciful deaths.


The station commander’s weapons belt hung over the chair by his bed. All through the acts of shame and pain Sosalal had been watching it, watching for her chance. If only Bislat, the commander’s “boy,” could come in to help her! But he could not—he was needed at the ship.

The commander’s lust was still unsated. He gulped a drink from the vile little purple flask, and squinted his small Terran eyes meaningfully at her. Sosalal smiled, and offered her trembling, grotesquely disfigured body once more. But no: he wanted her to stimulate him. She set her emphatic Joilani fingers, her shuddering mouth, to do their work, hoping that the promised sound would come soon, praying that the commander’s communicator would not buzz with the news of the attempt failed. Why, oh why, was it taking so long? She wished she could have one last sight of the Terran’s great magical star projection, which showed at one far side those blessed, incredible symbols of her people. Somewhere out there, so very far away, was Joilani home space—maybe even, she thought wildly, while her body labored at its hurtful task, maybe a Joilani empire!

Now he wished to enter her. She was almost inured to the pain; her damaged body had healed in a form pleasing to this Terran. She was only the commander’s fourth “girl.” There had been other commanders, some better, some worse, and “girls” beyond counting, as far back as the Joilani records ran. It had been “girls” like herself and “boys” like Bislat who had first seen the great three-dimensional luminous star swarms in the commander’s private room—and brought back to their people the unbelievable news: somewhere, a Joilani homeland still lived!

Greatly daring, a “girl” had once asked about those Joilani symbols. Her commander had shrugged. “That stuff! It’s to hell and gone the other side of the system, take half your life to get there. I don’t know a thing about ’em. Probably somebody just stuck ’em in. They aren’t Juloos, that’s for sure.”

Yet there the symbols blazed, tiny replicas of the ancient Joilani sun, in splendor. It could mean only one thing, that the old myth was true: that they were not natives to this world, but descendants of a colony left by Joilani who traveled space as the Terrans did. And that those great Joilani yet lived!

If only they could reach them. But how?

Could they somehow send a message? All but impossible. And even if they did, how could they rescue them from the midst of Terran might?

No. Hopeless as it seemed, they must get themselves out and reach Joilani space by their own efforts.

And so the great plan had been born and grown, over years, over lifetimes. Painfully, furtively, bit by bit, Joilani servants and bar attendants and ship cleaners and amlat loaders had discovered and brought back the magic numbers, and their meaning: the tau-space coordinates that would set them to those stars. From discarded manuals, from spacers’ talk, they had pieced together the fantastic concept of tau-space itself. Sometimes an almighty Terran would find a naive Joilani question amusing, perhaps amusing enough to answer. Those allowed inside the ships brought back tiny fragments of the workings of the Terran magic. Joilani, who were humble “boys” by day and “girls” by night, became clandestine students and teachers, fitting together the mysteries of their overlords, reducing them from magic to comprehension. Preparing, planning in minutest detail, sustained only by substanceless hope, they readied for an epic, incredible flight.

And now the lived-for moment had come.

Or had it? Why was it taking so long? Suffering as she had so often smilingly suffered before, Sosalal despaired. Surely nothing would, nothing could change. It was all a dream; all would go on as it always had, the degradation and the pain. . . . The commander indicated new desires; careless with grief, Sosalal complied.

“Watch it!” He slapped her head so that her vision spun.

“Excuse, seh.”

“You’re getting a bit long in the tooth, Sosi.” He meant that literally: mature Joilani teeth were large. “You better start training a younger moolie. Or have ’em pulled.”

“Yes, seh.”

“You scratch me again and I’ll pull ’em myself— Holy Jebulibar, what’s that?”

A flash from the window lit the room, followed by a rumbling that rattled the walls. The commander tossed her aside and ran to look out.

It had come! It was really true! Hurry. She scrambled to the chair.

“Good God Almighty, it looks like the transmitter blew. Wha—”

He had whirled toward his communicator, his clothes, and found himself facing the mouth of his own weapon held in Sosalal’s trembling hands. He was too astounded to react. When she pressed the firing stud he dropped with his chest blown open, the blank frown still on his face.

Sosalal too was astounded, moving in a dream. She had killed. Really killed a Terran. A living being. “I come to share,” she whispered ritually. Gazing at the fiery light in the window, she turned the weapon to her own head and pressed the firing stud.

Nothing happened.

What could be wrong? The dream broke, leaving her in dreadful reality. Frantically she poked and probed at the strange object. Was there some mechanism needed to reset it? She was unaware of the meaning of the red charge dot—the commander had grown too careless to recharge his weapon after his last game hunt. Now it was empty.

Sosalal was still struggling with the thing when the door burst open and she felt herself seized and struck all but senseless. Amid the boots and the shouting, her wrist glands leaked scarlet Joilani tears as she foresaw the slow and merciless death that would now be hers.

They had just started to question her when she heard it: the deep rolling rumble of a ship lifting off. The Dream was away— her people had done it, they were saved! Through her pain she heard a Terran voice say, “Juloo-town is empty! All the young ones are on that ship.” Under the blows of her tormentors her twin hearts leaped with joy.

But a moment later all exultation died; she heard the louder fires of the Terran cruiser bursting into the sky. The Dream had failed, then: they would be pursued and killed. Desolate, she willed herself to die in the Terrans’ hands. But her life resisted, and her broken body lived long enough to sense the thunderous concussion from the sky that must be the destruction of her race. She died believing all hope was dead. Still, she had told her questioners nothing.


Great dangers came to those who essayed to lift the Dream.


“If you monkeys are seriously planning to try to fly this ship, you better set that trim level first or we’ll all be killed.”

It was the Terran pilot speaking—the third to be captured, so they had not needed to stop his mouth.

“Go on, push it! It’s in landing attitude now, that red one. I don’t want to be smashed up.”

Young Jivadh, dwarfed in the huge pilot’s chair, desperately reviewed his laboriously built-up memory engram of this ship’s controls. Red lever, red lever … He was not quite sure. He twisted around to look at their captives. Incredible to see the three great bodies lying bound and helpless against the wall, which should soon become the floor. From the seat beside him Bislat held his weapon trained on them. It was one of the two stolen Terran weapons which they had long hoarded for this, their greatest task: the capture of the Terrans on the Dream. The first spacer had not believed they were serious until Jivadh had burned through his boots.

Now he lay groaning intermittently, muffled by the gag. When he caught Jivadh’s gaze he nodded vehemently in confirmation of the pilot’s warning.

“I left it in landing attitude,” the pilot repeated. “If you try to lift that way we’ll all die!” The third captive nodded, too.

Jivadh’s mind raced over and over the remembered pattern. The Dream was an old unstandardized ship. Jivadh continued with the ignition procedure, not touching the red lever.

“Push it, you fool!” the pilot shouted. “Holy mother, do you want to die?”

Bislat was looking nervously from Jivadh to the Terrans. He too had learned the patterns of the amlat freighters, but not as well.

“Jivadh, are you sure?”

“I cannot be certain. I think on the old ships that is an emergency device which will change or empty the fuels so that they cannot fire. What they call abort. See the Terran symbol a?

The pilot had caught the words.

“It’s not abort, it’s attitude! A for attitude, attitude, you monkey. Push it over or we’ll crash!”

The other two nodded urgently.

Jivadh’s whole body was flushed blue and trembling with tension. His memories seemed to recede, blur, spin. Never before had a Joilani disbelieved, disobeyed, a Terran order. Desperate, he clung to one fading fragment of a yellowed chart in his mind.

“I think not,” he said slowly.

Taking his people’s whole life in his delicate fingers, he punched the ignition-and-lift sequence into real time.

Clickings—a clank of metal below—a growling hiss that grew swiftly to an intolerable roar beneath them. The old freighter creaked, strained, gave a sickening lurch. Were they about to crash? Jivadh’s soul died a thousand deaths.

But the horizon around them stayed level. The Dream was shuddering upward, straight up, moving faster and faster as she staggered and leaped toward space. All landmarks fell away— they were in flight! Jivadh, crushed against his supports, exulted. They had not crashed! He had been right: the Terran had been lying.

All outer sound fell away. The Dream had cleared atmosphere, and was driving for the stars!

But not alone.


*** End of Part I ***