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قراءة كتاب Potential Enemy

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‏اللغة: English
Potential Enemy

Potential Enemy

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 3

prow—there's nothing like them either in existence or projected."

His voice rose in an attempt to achieve decisiveness, "Lieutenant Bormann, prepare to attack."

Suddenly, the telviz blared.

Calling the Neuve Los Angeles. Calling the Neuve Los Angeles. Be unafraid. We are not hostile.

There was quiet on the bridge of the earth ship. Screaming quiet. It was seemingly hours before they had recovered even to the point of staring at one another.

Hans Bormann gasped finally, unbelievingly, "How could they possibly know the name of our ship? How could they possibly know the Amer-English language?"

The captain's face was white and frozen. He said, so quietly that they could hardly make it out, "That's not all. Our alarms still haven't been touched off, and our estimators aren't functioning; we don't know how large they are nor how far away. It's unheard of—.Somehow they've completely disrupted our instruments."

Markham Gray followed the matter with more than average interest, after their arrival at the New Albuquerque spaceport. Not that average interest wasn't high.

Finally man had come in contact with another intelligence. He had been dreading it, fearing it, for decades; now it was here. Another life form had conquered space, and, seemingly, had equipment, in some respects at least, superior to humanity's.

The court martial of Captain Roger Post had been short and merciless. Free access to the trial had been given to the press and telviz systems, and the newscasts had carried it in its entirety, partially to stress to the public mind the importance of the situation, and partially as a warning to other spacemen.

Post had stood before the raised dais upon which were seated SupSpaceCom Michell and four other high-ranking officers and heard the charge read—failure to attack the alien craft, destroy it, and thus prevent the aliens—wherever they might be from—returning to their own world and reporting the presence of man in the galaxy.

Markham Gray, like thousands of others, had sat on the edge of his chair in the living room of his small suburban home, and followed the trial closely on his telviz.

SupSpaceCom Michell had been blunt and ruthless. He had rapped out, bitingly, "Roger Post, as captain of the Neuve Los Angeles, why did you not either destroy the alien craft, or, if you felt it too strong for your ship, why did you not blast off into space, luring it away from your home planet?"

Post said hesitantly, "I didn't think it necessary, sir. His attitude was—well, of peace. It was as if we were two ships that had met by chance and dipped their flags in the old manner and passed on to their different destinations. They even were able to telviz us a message."

The SupSpaceCom snapped, "That was undoubtedly a case of telepathy. The alien is equipped in some manner to impose thoughts upon the human brain. You thought the telviz was used; actually the alien wasn't speaking Amer-English, he was simply forcing thoughts into your minds."

Markham Gray, watching and listening to this over his set, shook his head in dissatisfaction. As always, the military mind was dull and unreceptive. The ridiculousness of expecting Post to blast off into space in an attempt to fool the other craft in regard to his home planet was obvious. The whole affair had taken place within the solar system; obviously the alien would know that one of Sol's nine major planets was mankind's home. Finding out which one wouldn't be too difficult a job.

Roger Post was saying hesitantly, "Then it is assumed that the alien craft wasn't friendly?"

SupSpaceCom Michell indicated his disgust with an impatient flick of his hand. "Any alien is a potential enemy, Post; that should be elementary. And a potential enemy is an enemy in fact. Even though these aliens might seem amiable enough today, how do we know they will be in the future—possibly in the far future? There can be no friendship with aliens. We