The Door through Space
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by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Elisabeth Waters
Category: Science Fiction
Description: An agent of Terran Intelligence on the planet Wolf is being transferred to Vainwal when he's dragged off the starship and sent out on a mission which proves to be a series of complicated traps, set by multiple enemies--some of whom have mistaken him for someone else entirely. Note: This is Marion Zimmer Bradley's first published novel, a precursor to the Darkover series. Introduction by Elisabeth Waters.
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1961
eBookwise Release Date: July 2006
66 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [194 KB]
Reading time: 121-170 min.
The Secret Service office was full of grayish-pink morning and yellow lights left on from the night before. Magnusson, at his desk, looked as if he'd slept in his rumpled uniform. He was a big bull of a man, and his littered desk looked, as always, like the track of a typhoon in the salt flats.
The clutter was weighted down, here and there, with solidopic cubes of the five Magnusson youngsters, and as usual, Magnusson was fiddling with one of the cubes. He said, not looking up, "Sorry to pull this at the last minute, Race. There was just time to put out a pull order and get you off the ship, but no time to explain."
I glared at him. "Seems I can't even get off the planet without trouble! You raised hell all the time I was here, but when I try to leave--what is this, anyhow? I'm sick of being shoved around!"
Magnusson made a conciliating gesture. "Wait until you hear--" he began, and broke off, looking at someone who was sitting in the chair in front of his desk, somebody whose back was turned to me. Then the person twisted and I stopped cold, blinking and wondering if this were a hallucination and I'd wake up in the starship's skyhook, far out in space.
Then the woman cried, "Race, Race! Don't you know me?"
I took one dazed step and another. Then she flew across the space between us, her thin arms tangling around my neck, and I caught her up, still disbelieving.
"Oh, Race, I thought I'd die when Mack told me you were leaving tonight. It's been the only thing that's kept me alive, knowing--knowing I'd see you." She sobbed and laughed, her face buried in my shoulder.
I let her cry for a minute, then held my sister at arm's length. For a moment I had forgotten the six years that lay between us. Now I saw them, all of them, printed plain on her face. Juli had been a pretty girl. Six years had fined her face into beauty, but there was tension in the set of her shoulders, and her gray eyes had looked on horrors.
She looked tiny and thin and unbearably frail under the scanty folds of her fur robe, a Dry-town woman's robe. Her wrists were manacled, the jeweled tight bracelets fastened together by the links of a long fine chain of silvered gilt that clashed a little, thinly, as her hands fell to her sides.
"What's wrong, Juli? Where's Rakhal?"
She shivered and now I could see that she was in a state of shock.
"Gone. He's gone, that's all I know. And--oh, Race, Race he took Rindy with him!"
From the tone of her voice I had thought she was sobbing. Now I realized that her eyes were dry; she was long past tears. Gently I unclasped her clenched fingers and put her back in the chair. She sat like a doll, her hands falling to her sides with a thin clash of chains. When I picked them up and laid them in her lap she let them lie there motionless. I stood over her and demanded, "Who's Rindy?"
She didn't move.
"My daughter, Race. Our little girl."
Magnusson broke in, his voice harsh. "Well, Cargill, should I have let you leave?"