Alpha Centauri or Die! by Leigh Brackett

By Leigh Brackett

Alpha Centauri, the closest megastar to the sun approach - basically 4.3 gentle years away. To Kirby and his fans it intended freedom - freedom from the tyranny and repression of Earth's dictatorship.

But that freedom must be earned - the flight to Alpha Centauri may suggest 5 years jammed within the stomach of an out of date spaceship, 5 years of praying that the nutrients provide may final, 5 years of battling off the govt. ships despatched out to intercept them....

And in the event that they did be capable of succeed in the unknown planets that have been their aim, what may they locate? Freedom? Or a destiny extra bad than any they can have confronted on Earth?

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He thought of the broad-beamed Lucy forging sturdily ahead with her freight of human life, and of how it would be when her belly split open in a burst of flame and spewed the washlines and the cooking pots, the babies and the children, the mothers and their men, all out across the black gulf to drift forever on the slow-wheeling tide of the galaxy. Desperately, and with no real hope, he said, “Tell it to return to base. Tell it to by-pass its master circuit. ” Past Wilson’s crouching shape he could see the glow and flicker of the banked transistors.

I told you you don’t understand women, young Kirby. ” He nodded. ” Kirby looked. Her face was pale, but no longer stricken. ” he asked her. “Yes. But I see that I have to try. ” She added, very earnestly, “Don’t trust in me too much. ” “You’ll be okay,” Kirby said, with a fine simulation of casual confidence. “Pop, take them along, get them ready, and give everything a final double-check. Everything. Take your time; don’t hurry it. ” He turned to Shaw, and ultimately to the computers. Velocity of Lucy B.

Davenport, so much. Velocity of R-ship, so much. Differential. Rate of approach. Course of Lucy B. Davenport. Course of R-ship, which cannot possibly fire its missiles ahead of it because it is already travelling at absolute top under the speed of light and has therefore to parallel and head the slower ship, releasing its missiles on a reverse arc. Relative position of two ships now, plus mean distance on plane of flight, plus potential velocity of life-skiff, plus estimated relative position of— You plot the parallelograms on nothing, you look at the figures and they are only figures, not realities.

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