guess the world -
third series
entries 201-

[ + links to:   Guess The World entries 1-100  -  Guess The World entries 101-200  - 
Guess The World scene-counts ]

It is open to anyone to set the quiz entries.  Email your mystery-snippets of OSS literature to me at heritageofdreams@aol.com, with the answer for each question, "Which world was this scene on?", plus the name of the author and the tale, and the issue of the magazine in which it appeared or, in the case of a novel, the date it was published. 

Make it easy or hard - I don't mind!  Just don't send excerpts that are too obvious, such as in, "I was ambling along the canal bank under the light of the two moons..." or "We camped beside the Great Red Spot and toasted our supper on the fringe of the lava..." 

If a passage is almost right except for some tell-tale element, you can simply elide that part of it (...), as I have done many times in the entries I've contributed.

I hope you have as much fun as I have had in selecting passages.  The field is open wide!

2022 September 24th:   

…Cautiously, he wiped the snow off the single enormous eye that occupied the center of the idol’s forehead.  The eye flashed fire at him; blue-white, transparent, lustrous as a diamond.  It had been cut, diamond fashion, in many facets, to resemble the many-lensed, insect-like eyes of the [……….] themselves.  The eye was set in a band of cement.  Larsen tested that cement with a chisel.  He cursed.  It was almost as hard as the bort from which the idol had been hewn.  He dared take no chances on scratching the Eye.  He turned on his torch full blast, and began to cut into the bort around the cement, careful to keep the flame away from the Eye.  Sudden heating might crack that mysterious stone.

Larsen worked feverishly, forgetful of time, sweating despite the chill, until he felt a draught on his back; a cold that bit through his space-suit to his very marrow.  Snowflakes were swirling around him.  The dawn-wind, blowing through the hole in the door! On [……….], the hydrogen atmosphere froze every night. 

From either side, winds rushed in to fill the vacuum, but themselves froze before they had gone far.

The Eye seemed loose in its socket.  Larsen turned down the torch.  Cautiously, he grasped the cement.  The Eye came away in his hand.  He was used, by now, to the low gravity of [……….], but the lightness of the stone surprised him.  It seemed as light as pumice.

Larsen looked up just in time.  The [……….] were stirring!  The wind, so cold to him, was warm to them; it meant air to them.  Those great pale eyes – one to each [……….] – were fixed on him, glaring with a phosphorescent luster.  There was no expression on their gargoyle faces.  Their cavernous mouths gaped open; toothless, but rimmed with razor-sharp horn, like the jaws of a snapping turtlel. The snow dropped from them; their lobster-segmented shells were dull black, like the bort of the statue.  They were closing in on him.  He could not tell their numbers; behind those visible, more kept crowding out of the shadows…

entry 229      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 September 17th:

…The croaking noise was so loud now that it drowned even the crackle in Rick’s headphones, and he stared around, hoping against hope that he would see no movement.  For some minutes they went on, and then Bruce stopped again.

“Come up here,” he whispered.  “I believe they’re beyond this clump.  Whatever you do, don’t shake the stems!”

Rick and Maurice crawled up, their bulky suits pressing gently against the gas-leaves.  Ahead was a slight rise, and as they came to the top of it the sound rose to a crescendo; at last they were at the summit, and cautiously Rick poked his head through the plant mass.  Then he bit back a cry of horror – the sight facing him was something which he had never pictured in his worst dreams.

He was looking into a next of “bugs”.  The shallow pit beyond the stems was bare of plants, and seemed to be filled with insects very like the one he had killed, but much larger.  Some of them were three or four feet long, and all had the same lizard-like heads, red glinting eyes and sharp teeth; their bodies were striped with black and grey, and they had short, veined wings which whirred like fans as they hovered over the lair.  Altogether there must have been several dozens of them, and Rick was almost sick with fear as he stared.  The creatures were not only ugly; they were evil as well, while around the nest lay parts of the bodies of luckless dragonflies which had obviously been killed and then dragged back to feed the females and larvae.

“Stars and moons,” came Maurice’s voice in a husky whisper.  “This beats the band.  Let’s get out of here!”

Bruce drew back.  “You’re telling me!  I don’t think we’ll bother to say ‘hallo’ to this little lot.  If – “

He broke off with a shout.  The top of the bank was crumbling beneath his weight…

entry 228     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 September 9th:

[..........] depended for its life upon retaining an atmosphere by means other than the gravity of mass. Right from its inception the bio-field must have depended upon complexity as an actual force: the “pull” of a life-system so varied that it brought hitherto unknown laws into play; laws which could never be discovered outside its unique zone… The complexity of the most colourful coral reef on Earth was as nothing compared to the variety found on [..........], where almost every organism was its own subspecies. Only the highest forms, the intelligent forms, were stabilized to any marked extent; and even then, races varied outrageously – some had two sexes, some three, some a larger number… and some (like Ghilidb’s) were sexless and instead had 'grall', which meant that individuals could only digest their food with the help of someone of the opposite 'grall'… The capabilities of individuals varied just as drastically, some being as keen-sighted as eagles, others as keen-nosed as dogs, and others telepathic. As for the lower forms, the “ordinary” animals, they presented such apparent chaos as to drive a Terran biologist insane. Yet it was this “chaos” that generated the force that kept [..........] alive. The complexity-force, the gravitation of variety, somehow fenced the air-molecules into the bio-field, and, closer to ground, pulled at Hurst’s boot-soles as if he were shod with magnets on a metal path.
   This made all the difference to the way he moved; it allowed him a grounded stride instead of the extravagant soaring hops he would otherwise have made; it gave him, in short, a proper world to live on. Admittedly the visual effect, especially when one looked at a crowd, was eerily reminiscent of the motion of seaweed wafting in a current, rather than of “proper” gravity, for solid bodies were “weighted” only within an inch or two of the satellite’s surface…

entry 227     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 September 6th:   

Other races have always held a feeling of pity for the [……….].  Yet, in respect to material things, they are not to be pitied.  They are the richest race in the solar system, and if they had not insisted on cherishing dreams which, in their hearts, they must have known as futile, and if the slowly coming death of their race had not been looming above them, they would have known complete happiness.

Their government, as might be expected, was anarchistic.  They were such a closely unified people, with identical ambitions and hopes, that no other form would have worked as well.

Food was plentiful.  They had vast fields of several different types of vegetables which grew rapidly, and needed not even the tiny amount of sunlight they received.  There was a minimum of physical labor, since they possessed up-to-date, wholly automatic machinery. 

They possessed television sets, a public library fed from book and magazine marts on the other planets.  They possessed two or three ships of ancient design, which maintained constant commerce with the rest of the solar system, freighting vast supplies of food exports to the markets, where, being considered delicacies by the inhabitants of the other worlds, they commanded fabulous prices. 

As for religion, I doubt if they had one, unless it were one centering about their dreams of empire.

Carrist willingly showed me about the city, and even walked with me to the vast agricultural fields.  The city, in its prime, must have been huge…

entry 226     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 August 20th:   

Suddenly, Williams felt an icy tingle course through his blood. His hand dropped again to his ray gun, tore it from the holster. He stood erect, fighting an urge to crouch low against the danger.

Along the crest of the sand-swell before him, something was rising. Bright moonlight shimmered as the rays broke against a pale barrier.

To the right, the left, behind him, it was the same. The white mist was rising, surrounding him. Escape was cut off. Even to reach his nearby spaceship was impossible without cutting through. Barry tried to relax. There was nothing to do but wait.

He remembered the words of the old [……….] desert wanderer to whom he’d spoken. This man had once been a chieftain, before the conquest of [……….] by Earth. His keen black eyes had bored into Barry.

“If you wish the answer,” he’d advised, “go into the desert at night. You are different – you may return. I can tell you no more.”

Thicker grew the mist…

entry 225     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 August 16th:   

…The white towers of the city pointed at the graying sky like skeleton fingers rising from the dead hands of the buildings. Where smaller houses on the outskirts of the city had nestled there were creeping greeneries and exotic plants. Where great canals had channeled across the land bearing water to all the outposts of the Terrestrial colony there were only the white arms of broken concrete, broken and scarred and crumbled where the trees had pushed themselves up with a great straining and a great heaving, to break through and gasp and rear upwards towards the sky in exhilaration.

The city was a dead city, turning its sightless, ancient eyes to gaze at the creeping bushes and grasses that swarmed over its limbs. And the rains that swept [..........] washed its bones and the winds of [..........] picked them clean through the long years.

This silent and misty afternoon there was not a movement to be seen throughout the whole city, but on the outskirts, from a small and crumbled building, came a plume of smoke, rising and curling steadily upwards from a tall chimney.

Within the building the two sat at the table as they always sat at this time of the day, watching the fire burning in the ancient grate as they had done through the centuries…

entry 224      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 August 9th:

“…From here we’ve a clear view right to [..........], that’s that long mound on the horizon. Now, if we set the lasers at about this level, set them in the face to either side, for example, we’ll be able to cover the ground with cross-fire as well as an almost vertical cone. You agree?”

“It’s hard to say,” Felix squinted through the window, his face pressed against the crystal. “The bulk of the mountain protects the rear but we don’t want to limit the field of fire more than is essential. I’ll have to go outside.”

“Of course.” Crombie was affable. “I’ll have Sergeant Echlan arrange a detail and we can discuss it again after you’ve had a chance to study the ground.” He hesitated. “That is unless you’d rather have a detached detail?”

“No. Not at first, anyway. It’s a military matter and I’d prefer military personnel.”

“Glad to hear it,” beamed the Major. “Technical men are too concerned with engineering problems in terms of supply and construction rather than military necessity. Why, I remember one time when…”

His voice rambled on but Felix wasn’t consciously listening. He stood by the window, looking down at the vista outside, but his thoughts were elsewhere. He was thinking of a certain type of psychotic personality, a symptom of which was a necessity and a delight in looking down from high places…

entry 223     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 31st:   

At length the billowing clouds which covered the surface of Vilos could be distinguished. Kneeling at a floor port, Derek watched as the sphere flattened out and reversed curvature. Now it was an enormous bowl of fluffy gray and white vapors. A moment later it was flat, and directly underneath. Derek glimpsed a huge metallic globe drifting just above the clouds not far away; then everything was blotted out by the grayness which enveloped them.

Underneath the clouds was the central palace of Kora. Derek's memory stirred vigorously. Vividly from his submerged consciousness came a picture of frenzied mobs in the plaza, of bloodied marble steps and of a boy who fled screaming from the scene. Deep hatred rose up in him and a cry escaped his lips: "Murderer! Killer!" Then he inhaled deeply of the pink gas and forgot. He smiled up into the narrowed eyes of the pilot.

"Your home," said Chandor. "Remember it?"

Derek shook his head. Things of amazing interest were below. A flood of questions left his lips. Chuckling, the pilot answered them.

Dazzled by the brilliant light from the city, Derek listened. He would find the lighting moderate after they had landed, Chandor told him. Up here it was intense because they directed it against the low clouds for better diffusion below. Artificial illumination was used in Vilos because of the cutting off of the already distance-weakened sunlight by the perpetually hovering vapors.

Kora, a city of twenty million souls, was on the island of the same name, the largest island of the planet. There were no great continents, only the islands, and a vast sea that covered all but one-twentieth of the surface. Derek glimpsed the milky waters of the ocean and remarked that steam was rising from them. "True," agreed Chandor. "The sea is the source of our clouds; its waters are always hot."

Even in the state induced by the pink gas, Derek could reason.

"But the sun is so far away," he objected.

Chandor enlightened him. "We don't depend on the sun but upon Saturn, whose rings radiate tremendous electronic energy. The core of Vilos, of nickel-iron, is heated by these radiations from the mother planet. Through chasms in the sea bottom core and steam is generated, heating the mass of water and bringing warmth to our atmosphere. The steam is also piped to our cities and used for generating electric power."

The tallest spires of Kora were now on a level with the space ship. Directly below them were the broad plazas of the palace area. They nosed down into the central court. A single short rocket blast, a gentle bump, and they had landed...

entry 222     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 28th:  

[………..] was lit by a tiny sun that cast an ineffectual light across a flat vista of blue-black ice. Crests of white showed white-diamond glints – not really snow, but a rime-ice. Below – somewhere at the end of the radar beam – was Station One.

Station One, doing something unpredictable, no doubt.

They dropped down, following the radar beacon until they saw it.

It had to be seen to be believed.

[………..] is mostly ice. Normally its gravity was enough to keep the ice cold-flowed into a reasonably flat surface. It is too cold to snow, too cold to rain, too cold to hail or sleet or hurricane or much of anything. But it is not too cold to grind together, to thrust one planetary block against another, to cause upthrusting mountain-ranges of ice which in the normal course of events will cold-flow into the resemblance of flatness. These up-thrustings are rare –

Station One had met one of these.

Strain develops slowly; an ounce at a time it builds up over a long period until a tremendous pressure develops. The pressure overcomes everything. Then, with two monstrous forces thrusting against one another, the angle of thrust will begin to change. The vector of force will become more amiable to the forces involved and the whole vista then drives forth along the new direction of resulting motion. In the case of planetary thrust, this direction is upward, causing mountains.

Forty miles high the mountain of cold-flowed ice had risen. Up and up and up in a rising pillar, a rising pyramid until the top, bowed over by some trick of angular force until it leaned sidewise, broke from the mountain top and came tumbling down the side of the slope in a giant avalanche.

There was neither rock nor stone; only ice.

Station One was a huge structure of metal and concrete, driven by an atomic pile contained inside of it. It moved across the face of [………..] on tractor-treads that depressed acres with each planting of a monstrous foot. It left behind it a trail that might someday amaze some visitor from somewhere-else...

entry 221      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 24th:  

We skirted an expanse of pumice – a desolation of rough grey stone, light and porous but with sharp edges that would have played havoc with our shoes. And what were we going to use to protect our feet once our shoes had worn out?

“I was thinking, Stuart,” the girl said. “That fern thing… We know it was only a fern. But the way it came at me, almost as if it knew what it was doing; as if it could see.”

“It only came your way by chance. Don’t forget it had to pass over me to get to you.” But I had been in a hollow; she had been standing on the crest.

“Could it have been alive in some way, Stuart? I mean, alive like an animal?”

“A cross between a plant and a bird.” I smiled at her troubled expression. “Seeds or eggs?”

“No.” She shook her head a little crossly. “A plant on the way to becoming a bird. They say we were once apes. And before that, something that crawled out of the water.”

“I did enough biology at school to know that animal cells and vegetable cells are two very different things. They can’t mix.” I hoped I was right. “It has to be one or the other.”

“That was in our world,” she said. “Things may be very different here.”

entry 220     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 21st:   

“I think I’ve got the answer,” said Brender, “but first I wish to see the time lock. Let’s climb.”

They rose into the sky, dipping over the lip of the building. Brender saw a vast flat expanse; and in the centre - He caught his breath!

The meagre light from the distant sun of [……….] shone down on a structure located at what seemed the exact centre of the great door. The structure was about fifty feet high, and seemed nothing less than a series of quadrants coming together at the centre, which was a metal arrow pointing straight up.

The arrow head was not solid metal. Rather it was as if the metal had divided in two parts, then curved together again. But not quite together. About a foot separated the two sections of metal. But that foot was bridged by a vague, thin, green flame of ieis force.

“The time lock!” Brender nodded. “I thought it would be something like that, though I expected it would be bigger, more substantial.”

“Do not be deceived by its fragile appearance,” answered the thing. “Theoretically, the strength of ultimate metal is infinite; and the ieis force can only be affected by the universal I have mentioned. Exactly what the effect will be, it is impossible to say as it involves the temporary derangement of the whole number system upon which that particular area of space is built. But now tell us what to do.”

“Very well.” Brender eased himself onto a bank of sand, and cut off his antigravity plates. He lay on his back, and stared thoughtfully into the blue-black sky…

entry 219     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 18th:   

Small as it was, […………] had a tiny satellite. It was a silvery object that circled the [……….] in a regular orbit. Curt only glanced at the object, which was now on the opposite site. [……….] grew into a large, yellowish bulk as the Comet dropped in toward it. Thin air whistled outside, for one of the marvels of this tiny world was the fact that it was able to hold an atmosphere.

Curt flew above the sunlit side of the oblong [……….], keeping well away from the black hills at its western end. He knew from his previous visit that so-called Magnet Mountains could tear every atom out of a ship that approached too closely.

They flew over a rolling plain covered with tawny grass, crossed above a river that flowed in a deep canyon around the [………..], and then found themselves above a great forest of giant growths that looked for all the world like exaggerated mushrooms.

“That's the eastern Fungus Forest”, noted the Brain, his lenslike eyes peering closely. “The biggest [……….] town is just north of it”.

Curt nodded.

“I remember. We'd better land by the town and we'd better do it before that queer gravitation field starts affecting us.”

He sent the Comet scudding down on throttled rockets over the crowded yellow fungi of the weird forest. At its northern edge lay a small town of pale stone structures, curiously minareted edifices in which dwelt the human […………] native to this little world. Captain Future landed the ship in the concealment of the towering fungi nearest this town...

entry 218     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 15th:   

They donned their spacesuits, hurried through the air lock, and swung down the ladder to the rocky surface below. The view was not encouraging. They appeared to be near the center of a vast crater, similar in structure to one of the giant walled plains on the moon, such as Theophilus or Ptolemaeus. Line many of the lunar craters, too, there was an irregular peak at the center which towered almost to the level of the surrounding wall.

“Wonder whatever caused Dearborn to select this spot for his camp?” Dale said, surveying the bleak landscape.

“Doubtless he had his reasons,” Fleming murmured. “Are you sure this is it?”

“Must be,” said Dale. “Everything checks. There are the three craterlets in a row with the long crack running along beside them. Although I don’t see any signs of the camp itself.”

“The most likely spot would be in one of these caves at the base of the central peak,” Fleming suggested. “Suppose we wander over in that direction and take a look around.”

They began picking their way over the pulverized rock that littered the crater floor. The debris was of a uniform brownish tint, appearing to have undergone extensive chemical action.

"The closer we get to [..........] the less I like it," Fleming said, gazing with troubled eyes at the giant globe looming on the horizon ahead of them.  The planet appeared suspended in space above the crater rim like a swollen Easter egg that had been badly streaked and mottled in the dyeing bath...

entry 217      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 12th:  

The most remarkable feature of the following two days was the fact that we survived them.  We found food in plenty; and as we were always near the river, we never suffered for lack of water; but by day and by night we were constantly in danger of attack by the roving flesh-eaters.

We always sought to save ourselves by climbing into trees, but upon three occasions we were taken by surprise; and I was forced to fall back upon my sword, which had seemed to me a most inadequate weapon of defense against some of the ferocious beasts that assailed us.

However, in these three instances, I managed to kill our attackers, although, I must confess, that it seemed to me then, and still does, wholly a matter of luck that I succeeded.

By now, Ozara was in a more sanguine frame of mind.  Having survived this long, she felt that it was entirely possible that we might live to reach Domnia, although originally she had been confident that we could not come through the first night alive.

She was often quite gay now, and she was really very good company.  Especially was this true on the morning of the third day as we were making good progress towards our goal.

The forest seemed to be unusually quiet; and we had seen no dangerous beasts all that day, when suddenly a chorus of hideous roars arose all about us; and simultaneously a score or more of creatures dropped from the concealing foliage of the trees about us.

Ozara’s happy chatter died on her lips.  “The Masenas!” she cried.

As they surrounded us and started to close in on us, their roaring ceased and they commenced to meow and purr.  This, to me, seemed far more horrifying…

entry 216      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 9th:  

THEY were outside then and Luke essayed a deep breath, a breath that was chokingly acrid in his throat.

"Waugh!" he coughed, and spat. One of the guards laughed.

Any foul epithet that might have formed on Fenton's lips was forgotten in the sight that met his eyes. A barren and rugged terrain stretched out from the landing stage, a land utterly desolate of vegetation and incapable of supporting life. Pockmarked with craters and seamed with yawning fissures from which dense vapors curled, it was seemingly devoid of habitation. And the scene was visible only in the lurid half light of flame-shot mists that hung low over all. In the all too near distance, awesomely vast and ruddy columns of fire rose and fell with monotonous regularity. For the first time, Luke experienced something of the superstitious fear exhibited by even the most hardened criminals when faced with a term at […………..]'s Workshop. That term, to them, meant horror and misery, torture and swift death. And he, too, was ready to believe it now.

He was prodded down an incline that led from the landing stage to the rocks below. The guards from the ethership, he saw, remained behind on the platform and there were new guards awaiting him below. Husky fellows, these were, in strange bulky clothing and armed with the highest powered dart guns. The other prisoners from the vessel were already down there, a huddled and frightened mass—a squashed pile, almost—silent now and watchful of their jailers.

entry 215      [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 6th:

Bruce was more or less familiar with the scanty vegetation and animal life among the rocks nearby.  Years before, he had piloted an exploration party from Earth, consisting of four eminent men of science, which had spent some time in studying this tiny moon. 

After several busy hours, Bruce stole a few minutes to search the pitted face of the cliff near which he was working.  There was nothing to fear from these aboriginal dwellers of [..........], as he was well aware, for he remembered them as inoffensive, sessile-eyed, snail-footed Arachnida, only a few inches tall.  But he was wondering if this strange, unknown thing which Horker had hatched from his pebbles had affected them in any visible manner.

Although small, sluggish creatures, these Arachnida, he remembered, possessed an intelligence considerably higher than that of any animal of Earth – a quaint, semi-human intelligence, which enabled them to use certain primitive tools.

And now, here in the shallow niches of the cliff, he found their tiny, conical, adobe huts.  His eyes traced the small terraces lying before the huts, filled with dark loam which the industrious Arachnida had carefully collected from the scanty supply available.

But these small gardens were neglected, the tiny huts abandoned…

entry 214      [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 July 3rd:   

…Behind those dull red eyes were perceptions wholly alien to Man’s, senses to which the distinctive personalities of the men were things as obvious as are apples or oranges to eyes and fingers.

Brilliant lights flashed on all along the landing strip.  Thin nictating membranes descended over the eyes of the approaching Woollies, and the gang came to a simultaneous halt.  They sank slowly to their haunches on the iron-hard, fire-cold surface, and in the act became less like fur-clad men and more like crouching, hairy beasts. 

Bill Bill hunkered unmoving in his place, but his peculiar senses were probing with an unusual curiosity at the familiar minds of the three men.  The one who had just risen from bending over the switchbox was named Paige, and, when Big Bill’s mind touched his, the Woolly felt an odd apathy behind which something tense and secret smouldered like a fire banked under ashes.  And the fire was hate…

entry 213     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 28th:   

...He stood gazing silently as the fading light painted the sky in somber colors, preparing to disappear for another night of screaming wind and penetrating sub-zero cold.

He watched until the twilight deepened to purple and then stalked laboriously into the wind, up the gentle slope toward the little hollow where he went each night.

His tall, articulated form strode across the dusty plain. By the time he had reached the foot of the bank the sky was totally blank, except for the stars, and he could barely propel himself forward against the raging world-wide currents of atmosphere. The last few yards he crawled on his bellyplates. He tumbled into the central hollow and lay exhausted, his lungs sucking in and out—

The cry of a (……….) odlat would not be audible to human ears, but the screech which emanated within an inch of Peetn's ear-cupulas sent paralyzing waves of terror washing to the tip of his spiny tail. He skirled in agony as inch-long teeth crunched savagely into his shoulder, and the odlat, startled, let go. Peetn's tentacles shot beneath the flapping folds of his cloak and the night-dark was shattered in a hissing blaze of light. The headless corpse of the odlat thudded to the ground. Black reaction smote Peetn a blow somewhere inside, and (……….) lost consciousness.

entry 212     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 25th:   

Horatio shuddered.  "The practice was different... I don't know what I thought would be at the end of the passage.  I don't know what I thought it would be like outside London.  I suppose I imagined fields and villages and hills and woods - that kind of thing...  It had been a long journey.  I - I came to the door and..."  Horatio stopped, obviously agitated by the memory and obviously trying to control himself.  "And - and I just wasn't prepared for it.  I'm sorry, Michael."

Michael put a hand on his shoulder.  "Take it easy, Horatio.  Nobody doubts your courage."

"It was just an ordinary door... Just an ordinary door.  Unlocked.  I - I turned the handle and opened it..."  Horatio put his hand to his forehead and pressed hard, as if he were trying to press back nightmares, phantoms.  "There were rocks, great rocks and a roaring of water.  And there were these things - I was too shaken to see what they were at first - these huge lizards...  And there was one very near.  It turned its head and looked at me...  I think I must have screamed, because they all looked.  Then I slammed the door and I ran.  God, how I ran!  I think I was still screaming.  Then I heard the footsteps coming towards me..."

entry 211      [contributed by Zendexor]

>> here's where this is

2022 June 22nd:  

MacAloon jerked his lizard’s reins around in the direction of the mine…

Should they give up the fight against the shrewd, heartbreakingly persistent vermin?  If they did, they would have to abandon the mine which had become their life-work.  They would have to blow up the place before retreating.

For… centaurpedes were deliberately trying to quit the water, knowing their semi-civilization could reach its mechanistic goal only on land. 

Unable to prop the porous native rock with the brittle, primitive plastics they used instead of metals, they were striving to take over an iron mine that had already been started by human engineers.  Then, with the metal they could produce, they would make tools and raise cities… and manufacture weapons with which to push men clear off the planet…

entry 210     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 16th:  

….Above them, sharp slopes rose to the mountains standing naked in the wind.  Below, the hillside dropped away to the floor of the great circular Valley of Nomoon.

Abruptly, one of the riders pulled his mount to a stop.  He sat quietly, pulling at the wide loop of gold dangling from his left ear.  The wind riffled his flame-scarlet hair, and his long jade eyes swept the valley floor.

There lay the city of Nomoon, a pile of yellow towering stone.  The streets were cloaked in dim shadows, and empty.  Beyond the city were large buildings made entirely of pale blue glass.  Within them, tiny dots of men could be seen hurrying, tending waving frond-like things.

That is my home, thought Tol Shannon, running browned fingers around the loop of gold.  That is my home, or is it, really?  Six months.  I want this to be my home, but I am an Earthman.  Outlander.  Will they ever accept me as one of them?  They haven’t, yet.  But why?

There had to be some answer.  Shannon turned to where the second rider sat atop his horse.  He was a native… with traditional pale blue skin, an almost triangular head, and faint wisps of blue hair lying straight back on his blue skull…

entry 209     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 12th:  

…the saucer, nearing its goal, sank through dense atmosphere.  Henrik was relieved to note that the thick blue air did not hide, though it tinted, the rising features of the landscape.

Details emerged against the bluish grey ground: its flecks of red and green became identifiable as vegetal pavilions on oblique, wide-straddled stilts, which allowed through-ways underneath and between.  Some cracks in the ground might be artificial fissures or natural rilles, crossed by plentiful bridges.  A mound of complication, briefly glimpsed before it receded over the curve of the world, had the size, dignity and regularity of a city.  As the ship lost more altitude a very few dots, about five or six, which might be native wheelers, could be seen in motion, till the field of view narrowed and, like the city, they vanished beyond the horizon's tightening noose. 

Henrik would have preferred more time to digest all this, but he had about a minute in which to examine the scene in detail from the air before the vessel touched down on a flat area surrounded by some of the "pavilions".  They stood ranged against that almost dizzily close horizon which hugged any small moon…

entry 208     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 9th:   

The Russian rocket was gone.  The Anglo-American rocket was gone…

The weapon fell from Randick’s hand, and he stepped unsteadily into the light toward the Russian.  Suddenly human companionship was very, very important.  Panicky terror was plucking at his throat.

The two men stumbled toward each other across the pass cut deep into the jagged back of the Doerfel mountains.  As one they turned and looked out across the vast expanse of […]

They were soldiers.  They knew an invasion base when they saw one.  As far as the eye could see, lines of sleek mammoth spaceships of unknown design stretched away into the distance… 

entry 207     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where it is

2022 June 5th:   

The space-armoured figure was toiling up the slope that led to the igloo. In one hand the man carried a short blast rifle, and as they watched, the two trappers saw him halt and wheel about, the rifle levelled, ready for action, to stare back at the shadows into which the two Hounds had disappeared only a moment before.

A slight movement to the left and behind the man outside caught Kent's eye and spurred him into action.

He leaped across the igloo and jerked from its rack his quartz-treated space suit, started clambering into it.

"What's the trouble?" demanded Charley. "What the hell you doin'?"

"There's an Eater out there," shouted Kent. "I saw it just a minute ago."

He snapped down the helmet and reached for his rifle as Charley spun open the inner air-lock port. Swiftly Kent leaped through, heard the inner port being screwed shut as he swung open the outer door.

Cold bit through the suit and into his very bones as he stepped out into the [...] night. With a swift flip he turned on the chemical heat units and felt a glow of warmth sweep over him.

The man in the ravine below was trudging up the path toward the igloo.

Kent shouted at him.

"Come on! Fast as you can!"

The man halted at the shout, stared upward.

"Come on!" screamed Kent.

The spacesuit moved forward.

Kent, racing down the ravine, saw the silica-armoured brute that lurched out of the shadows and sped toward the unsuspecting visitor.

Kent's rifle came to his shoulder.

The sights lined on the ugly head of the Eater. His finger depressed the firing mechanism and the gun spat a tight column of destructive blue fire. The blast crumpled the Eater in mid-leap, flung him off his stride and to one side. But it did not kill him. His unlovely body, gleaming like a reddish mirror in the starlight, clawed upon its feet, stood swinging the gigantic head from side to side.

A shrill scream sounded in Kent's helmet phones, but he was too busy getting the sights of the weapon lined on the Eater again to pay it any attention.

Again the rifle spat and purred, the blue blast-flame impinging squarely on the silica-armoured head. Bright sparks flew from the beast's head and then suddenly the head seemed to dissolve, melting down into a gob of blackened matter that glowed redly in places. The Eater slowly toppled sidewise and skidded ponderously down the slope to come to rest against the crimson boulder...

entry 206     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 June 1st:

Crystal City made up in violence what it lacked in size…  Mining and a thriving spacefreight trade in heavy metals made it a mecca for the toughest space-crews and hardest living prospector-miners to be found in the inhabited worlds.  Saloons and cheap lodging-houses, gambling dens and neon-washed palaces of expensive sin, the jail and a flourishing assortment of glittery funeral parlors faced each other across two main intersecting streets.  X marked the spot and life was the least costly of the many commodities offered for sale to rich-strike suckers who funneled in….

The town… sizzled.  Dealers in mining equipment made overnight fortunes which they lost at the gaming tables just as quickly.  In the streets one rubbed elbows with denizens from every part of the solar system; many of them curiously not anthropomorphic…

entry 205     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 28th:   

…as we threaded our way under the gay colored lights across the arcade to the main island, I somehow seemed to feel the undercurrent of menace here.  Occasionally we passed little figures who were evidently onlookers.  The imbecile workers, lower class who were almost in the position of slaves.  They were weird creatures, most of them no more than four feet tall, grey-skinned and powerfully built.  We passed one who was standing on the shore gazing at a raft where a lone girl shrouded in blue-white filmy drapery was being pelted with flowers.  The gnome-like imbecile stood impassive, gazing with vacant face.  Then he was muttering to himself.  A fragment of it reached us.

“Togliamo is coming to help us workers.  We won’t have to work tomorrow.  Then we can do things like this.”

I gripped Nereid.  “You hear what that worker said?  No work for him tomorrow.  Do you suppose - ?”

She tried to smile.  “What an imbecile says never means much…”

entry 204     [contributed by Zendexor]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 25th:   

Out of the silence, a vast rumbling sound rose like magnified thunder. Mark saw Carston fumble with his radio-phone then peer all about into the haze.

"Blitzees coming!" he yelled into his instrument.

Everyone stopped. Mark followed Carston's line of sight, but he couldn't see a thing.

"Swarm coming from the left!" Carston yelled again.

The Commander moved hurriedly along the line. "Lie down everyone, face to the left! Upend your sleds and if you value your lives, stay behind them!"

For a second all was confusion as the men flung themselves to the powdery soil; then a metal barrier sprang up as the sleds came end to end. Still nothing could be seen.

Suddenly then they came. The air was blue from crackling sparks as dozens of the Blitzees struck the sleds with the impact of bullets. A sound like the humming of millions of hornets was in their ears, as the greater part of the swarm passed overhead. Mark had a confused vision of electric blue streaks that writhed and zig-zagged, landed and leaped again, propelling themselves blindly. As suddenly as it had come, the danger was over.

The men arose somewhat shakily.  The ground around them was strewn with the snake-like Blitzees.  Mark picked one up and found it to be metallic, about five inches in length, transparent blue in color.  The head was triangular, eyeless; along its back Mark felt a thin, wiry sort of filament!

“They’re like living bolts of electricity,” Carston told him.  “They seem to short-circuit themselves when they strike the sleds.”  The caravan continued. 

Hours later they arrived at their destination, a small rise in the terrain before them, covered with glittering crystals in huge, boulder-like clumps.  The sides of the little hill was [sic] composed of the same ore, apparently in limitless amount.

But as if guarding it against them, rows of reddy-glowing […..] stood motionless, elephantine,  facing them.  Mark couldn’t tell whether they were friendly or hostile.  To him there was no expression to be seen on those fluid heads…

entry 203     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 22nd:   

...in a grotto of titanic proportions. The substance of its walls and distant ceiling gave it the gentle radiance of a sunless day. But it was a glaucous radiance, ineffably green as the light beneath the waters of a shallow sea...

...Jim Brannigan stood there tensely for a moment, looking at the man he had struck down. But only for a moment. His lips quirked into a tight smile, and his exulting keen eyes took in the cave's glittering expanse.

"A fortune in oxide crystals," he murmured, "an inexhaustible mine! And he thought he could cheat me out of it, keep it from me! Good thing I followed him. Serves him right if I've killed him."

He didn't seem too worried about it, and he didn't look at Hugh's body again as he started gathering in the rare crystals.

"...I can claim-deed this whole region! And probably there's another fortune in furs," he added as he suddenly remembered the creature he had captured. Already, in his greedy mind's eye, he saw himself a tycoon, the oxide king, with a corner on furs finer than anything ever seen on Earth, Venus or Mars.

This he saw. But what he didn't see were the myriad pairs of burning beryl eyes peering at him from concealed openings in the opaline walls. He was not aware of the increasing energy potential being generated by a growing legion of furred bodies in surrounding caverns, as more and more Panadurs pressed forward to peer out at him. Around Jim Brannigan now the frigid atmosphere began to rise. At first it was pleasantly cool, then warm, and warmer, until it became suffocating.

Still the silvery-furred Panadurs, in utter silence, generated heat as their mental forces grew and deliberately united into a single, increasing potential. Their fur stood erect, an angry violet-silver now, crackling a little with the intensity of the effort. As a single unit, they waited, each furry Panadur now touching the other in a living, livid chain of cumulative power.

Jim Brannigan ceased his gloating and awoke at last to an indefinable danger. Swiftly he arose and whirled toward the entrance, peering back over his shoulder at the danger he could feel, that he knew was there, but could not see.

But already it was too late. Now that increasing energy potential, grown and united into a single purposeful weapon, was being aimed. Jim Brannigan hadn't taken three steps toward the entrance when suddenly, silently, intangible as thought, but infinitely more devastating, it was released! As the devastating bolt struck him, Brannigan collapsed into a crumpled heap, shattered, silent ... inert.

entry 202     [contributed by Lone Wolf]

>>  here's where this is

2022 May 19th:  

He found a clearing near a roofless columnar tower and spread his sleeping bag beneath its wall.  He went to sleep elated with his good fortune, and slept dreamlessly, and without disturbance.

But then, it took a great deal to disturb George Seeling when he slept.

In the morning the ghels were there.  There were about a dozen of them, silently squatting in a semi-circle about his camp, contemplating him at a respectful distance with their soulful, gazelle eyes.

There is something disconcerting about waking up and finding that one has acquired uninvited guests, but Seeling never turned a hair.  He reached over and grabbed his rifle, but the ghels never moved.  They looked, for all the world, like purple-brown graven images squatting there, except that the round, black eyes blinked once in a while.

The ghel tongue was a very rudimentary one, and Seeling, who was naturally adept at such things, had studied it at some length during the weeks at Parthena.  He felt that he could get along.

“I greet you,” he said, still fondling his rifle.  “I am an Earthman.”

“We know,” one of the ghels said in a curious, whistling voice.  “What do you want here?”

“I come to see the city,” George said.

“This is the sacred city of Solon Regh, the wisest of the ancient ones.  We do not welcome visitors here.”

“It is not your city, dammit,” George said.

“What did you say?”

“Sorry, I said, this is not the work of your race.  Why do  you care if I look around?”

“It is a shrine.  The old ones took care of us before they went away.  We loved them, and do not want their dead disturbed.”

George Seeling grinned with delight.  He never enjoyed himself so much as when he was where he wasn’t supposed to be.

“We should be very said if the dead were desecrated,” the ghel said.

“Umm,” said Seeling impudently, “but what would you do if I went ahead and desecrated them anyway?”

The ghel looked shocked.  He turned his saucer eyes on his companions, and they all squirmed on their haunches and looked shocked too.

“We would be very sad,” the ghel answered…

entry 201     [contributed by Zendexor]