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The Burning Bridge Poul Anderson

The Burning Bridge

Poul Anderson

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ebook
39 pages
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-------------- Usually there are two reasons why something-------------- is done- the reason why it needs to be done, and,----------------quite separate, the reason people want to do it.------------- The foul-up starts when theMore-------------- Usually there are two reasons why something-------------- is done- the reason why it needs to be done, and,----------------quite separate, the reason people want to do it.------------- The foul-up starts when the reason-for-wanting-------------- is satisfied ... and the need remains!excerpt from the introductory:THE message was an electronic shout, the most powerful and tightly-beamed short-wave transmission which men could generate, directed with all the precision which mathematics and engineering could offer. Nevertheless that pencil must scrawl broadly over the sky, and for a long time, merely hoping to write on its target. For when distances are measured in light-weeks, the smallest errors grow monstrous.As it happened, the attempt was successful. Communications Officer Anastas Mardikian had assembled his receiver after acceleration ceased-a big thing, surrounding the flagship Ranger like a spiderweb trapping a fly-and had kept it hopefully tuned over a wide band. The radio beam swept through, ghostly faint from dispersion, wave length doubled by Doppler effect, ragged with cosmic noise. An elaborate system of filters and amplifiers could make it no more than barely intelligible.But that was enough.Mardikian burst onto the bridge. He was young, and the months had not yet devoured the glory of his first deep-space voyage. Sir! he yelled. A message ... I just played back the recorder ... from Earth!Fleet Captain Joshua Coffin started. That movement, in weightlessness, spun him off the deck. He stopped himself with a practiced hand, stiffened, and rapped back: If you havent yet learned regulations, a week of solitary confinement may give you a chance to study them.I ... but, sir- The other man retreated. His uniform made a loose rainbow splash across metal and plastic. Coffin alone, of all the fleets company, held to the black garments of a space service long extinct.-