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قراءة كتاب Suzy

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‏اللغة: English


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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 1



[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories March 1960. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

Her voice was his only link with sanity. It was a beautiful voice. He never really thought what she might be.

"Suzy, Suzy, Suzy!"

Whit Clayborne looked at the luminous face of the bulkhead clock for the hundredth time that day. Sweat started out on his forehead, and he gripped his face with a convulsed hand, moaning in helpless anguish.

"Suzy, Suzy, Suzy!"

The clock clicked impersonally in the darkness, and Whit moaned again.

The cold. The darkness. The quiet. And the solitude. But there was always Suzy, linking him to the earth so many miles away.

"One hundred and forty-three days out, four hundred and seven to go." The ritual of the report, designed to keep him thinking, day after day.

"Nothing to report, sir, all equipment functioning. All graphs tracking. No abnormality of any kind. My health is good...."

In four hundred and seven days they would bring him down, nearly mad, nearly dead, but his records well made on earth, and the record was what counted.

Five hundred and fifty days in an observation capsule, the economical human machine that did the work of fifty tons of unprojectable electronic equipment. Five hundred and fifty days of cold and quiet and solitude. The first eight men had died in the cold and loneliness of space, until they thought of Suzy, there in the WAC manned offices at Point Magu.

"Suzy! My God, Suzy, where are you?" Whit could stand the waiting until the time came close, then his mind would give away until her voice, bridging the space void came to him and brought him peace.

"Whit? Whit, wake up, in case you're asleep. It's me, it's Suzy."

"Asleep! You know I'm not asleep! You know I stay awake for you! I'll always be awake, Suzy. I wouldn't miss a minute with you, not a second."

"Gee, Whit, you're nice. You're awful nice."

"Suzy, for the hundredth time, will you marry me?"

"Aw, Whit, you know I can't. You know they made me promise that before I took the job."

"Promise to be a talking floozy to fifty men in space, to hold 'em all at arm's length, let 'em love you, then leave 'em in the cold when they came back down to earth. They made you promise to keep us stringing along, until we got back home safe and sound, then turn us loose with our love for you burning a hole in our hearts! They made you promise a thing like that, Suzy?

"You can't handle the merchandise, Whit. When you come down, then we'll talk over things together."

"Suzy, I love you, I love you!"

"I mustn't say that I love you too, Whit. They made me promise that I wouldn't say that. But Whit, you're awful nice."

Whit sat silent, and Suzy kept on talking. She could always talk. No matter what you said to her, no matter how you felt, no matter where you were, Suzy could always talk to you and make your life seem brighter, and the trip back home again worth fighting to make. You fell in love with Suzy, they all did, but as she always said, they made her promise not to say she loved you back. Not until you got back home, safe and sound and sane.

That was Suzy's job on earth, in a drab little office with an engineer who controlled her channels, and sometimes blushed at what he heard go out over them. She spoke, sometimes gaily, sometimes gently, sometimes with all the frail strength of her body, into a microphone beamed to each capsule in turn, and in those capsules were men, who, but for her, would go mad before their time was up.

And Suzy never cheated, and she never lied, and she never changed. She was the love light of outer space, she and a dozen others at Point Magu. She kept men sane, and she brought them home, and she kept her promise never to love and never to marry