A Stone In Heaven by Poul Anderson

By Poul Anderson

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As near as I've been able to find out, somebody in a high position wanted Nigel Broderick to have my post. Bribery? Blackmail? Nepotism? " "Broderick's been less and less cooperative with the Foundation," she said. "And that in spite of his expanding operations on Ramnu as well as its moons. Though it's impossible to learn exactly what the expansion amounts to. " "Um-m, security precautions--There's been a lot of restriction in the Protectorate, too, lately. These are uneasy years. If the Imperium breaks down again--which could give the Merseians a chance to strike--" "What threat to security is a xenological research establishment?

The eyes of changeable gray were more clear than they deserved to be after last night. The skin, lightly tanned, stayed firm, though lines ran over the brow, crow's-feet beneath, deep furrows from nostrils to lips. Yes, he thought a trifle smugly, we're holding our own against the Old Man. A sudden, unexpected thrust brought a gasp. Why not? What's his hurry? He's hauled in Kossara and young Dominic and Hans and--how many more? I can be left to wait his convenience. He rallied. Self-pity! First sign of senility?

Well, to the Pax, I suppose; to some generations of relative security that people can use to live in, before the Long Night falls; to my corps and my job, which have given me quite a bit of satisfaction; to a certain tomb on Dennitza, and to various memories. "I can't issue several planets a clean bill of health just by myself," he said. "Oh, no," Cairncross answered. "Gather what staff you need. Take as much time as you like. You'll get every kind of cooperation I'm able to give. " I have been idle for awhile.

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