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Once again, this year's Nobel Prize in Physics represents a major miscarriage of justice. No doubt Drs. Morchan and Weng have done notable work in the field of high-temperature antiquarks. Nevertheless, the grandest scientific event of this century is plainly Fitzhugh J. Sommermen's discovery of a means of faster-than-light transportation. It is here. It works. How can the august members of the Nobel committee continue to pass it over for the prize?

Dr. Sommermen has given us a hint of how the process works. It is, he has told us, related to the well-known Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect. In this litigious age in which we live, when scientists dare not speak freely about their ongoing research for fear that some less scrupulous person will appropriate the fruits of their work and even patent them, we cannot yet ask him to tell us more. To deny Dr. Sommermen the Nobel simply because he declines to make public all of the details of his work is shameful. Yet, truly, this great genius does not need a prize to validate his preeminence in his field. His work speaks for itself.



Evesham Giyt had heard of the Tupelo planet, of course. Everybody had. The story had been a headliner on all the news broadcasts fourteen years earlier, when the planet was first discovered by scout spacecraft operated by the Huntsville-based ET-DDOE program and the word instantly flashed back to Earth by the amazing new Sommermen process. Giyt hadn't paid a lot of attention to the story even at the time. He wasn't actually much interested in news, but he hadn't been able to avoid seeing some of the stories when he was trying to check on the day's stock prices. Naturally, most of the interest in Tupelo had dried up fast when the next hot story came along to chase it off the headlines, but for some time now, Giyt knew, the Extended Earth Society had been doing their best to keep it alive with their commercials.

Of course, Giyt didn't pay much attention to commercials, either. When his blab-off cancellation programs slipped up and let one get through, he generally just ignored it. This one, though, caught his eye—nice graphics, good background music, probably Hoist's The Planets, but jazzed up with a tricky rhythm. He actually listened to what the executive-looking man in the briefs and sunscreen was saying. "Tupelo," the man declaimed, holding up a string of thirty-centimeter trout. "An unspoiled world! Begging for people to come and enjoy its magnificent climate, its sports opportunities, its endless beaches, its balmy breezes! And Ex-Earth can take you there now. Absolutely without cost! All moving expenses met by the society! And you can begin the most wonderful vacation you can ever have, for the rest of your life!"

On impulse, Giyt pressed the key for the stats. The more he examined them, the better Tupelo began to sound. It was undoubtedly the very best of the extra-solar planets anyone had yet detected even telescopically, much less actually visited: very Earthlike gravity, air, and temperatures. It didn't have much land, of course. Only one piece you could call a continent in that immense, planet-wide ocean, and that one way up around the North Pole. But it had plenty of good-sized and comfortable-seeming islands.

And it was very nearly empty.

That was the part that intrigued Giyt the most. Tupelo was just about a perfect model of a world to conquer. Oh, not really conquer. Certainly not with guns and swords and armies. But still—

So before he could change his mind he set up an appointment and an hour later he was in a suite in one of Wichita's best hotels, having coffee with a very affable man who was very impressed with Giyt's credentials. "You, Mr. Giyt," he declared, "are exactly the sort of person we want to send to Tupelo. Good health, no genetic negatives. And your socialization scores are, well, just admirable."

Giyt nodded modestly. He had been quite creative with his personal stats. The man was going on: "We seldom get an application for somebody with degrees in both agronomy and business management, not to mention your building skills."

"That was a long time ago," Giyt protested. "Just summer jobs on construction projects while I was at school, but I did seem to have a knack for it."

"I'm sure you did. About the only other thing I could wish for is a medical background—"

Hell, Giyt thought to himself. He could have set that up too while he was inventing the other credentials, if only he'd thought of it.

"—but, good lord, what can we expect from a single colonist? No, Mr. Giyt, you're perfect. I can inform you now: you're definitely accepted for the program. More coffee?" Then, almost as an afterthought, "Of course, we'll have to know something about your wife, too."

"Wife?" Giyt repeated cautiously.

"You do have one, don't you? You see, Ex-Earth doesn't just want tourists to come to Tupelo. What we want is families. I don't mean you can't come right back to Earth if you decide you don't want to stay on Tupelo," he added hastily, "but we don't think you will. We think you'll want to live your whole life on Tupelo, and your children and your children's children after you. Now, when can you bring her in?"

So when Giyt left the hotel he didn't go back to Bal Harbor.

He walked around Wichita's decaying business district, thinking. Street people thrust scanners at him for a handout, dope dealers whispered in his ear. He didn't hear.

Then he made up his mind. He crossed the street to a Kinko-WalGreenMart superstore and rented a terminal. He had an hour before Rina got out of her class, and that was plenty of time to do what he had to do. When he was finished the clerk goggled at Giyt as he pushed the ID-sniffer away and offered actual money in payment. But Giyt had a stock explanation ready for using cash: "Don't want my wife to see the bill," he said, smiling.

When Rina emerged from the school building, loaded down with palmtop and disks, looking like a very pretty schoolgirl, she was astonished to find Evesham Giyt waiting there for her. "Hey, Shammy," she said good-naturedly, "this is an unexpected pleasure. What's the occasion?"

"There's something I want to talk to you about."

"Really? What?" Then her expression changed. "Oh, Shammy," she said unhappily, "you're not suddenly jealous, are you? Sure, I have lunch with one of the guys now and then, but that's as far as it goes, and that's no reason for you to come down here to spy on me."

"No, no, it isn't anything like that. I just wanted to ask you something. How would you like to get married?"

She almost dropped the palmtop. "Married?"

"That's right. Married. You and me." To prove the point he displayed the printout of the backdated license he'd got from the county clerk's program, absolutely indistinguishable from the real thing, even in the unlikely event that anybody would ever take the trouble to check back into the database.

She studied it for a long minute, standing on the street corner with the breeze whipping her hair. Then she looked up at him. "My God, Shammy, I never thought—I don't know if we're really ready for . . . It's a big . . . Tell me the truth. Shammy, no shit, do you really mean it?"

"You bet I mean it. And listen, I have a really great idea for the honeymoon."


Rina said she wouldn't be nervous about being shot from one star to another in this newfangled Sommermen transportation thing, but Giyt thought she really was. He was. He got in and closed his eyes—and then, wonderfully, it was over as soon as it had begun. You stepped in the chamber on one world and stepped out of it on another, and that was all there was to it.

And Tupelo was just as promised. It was an Earth-sized planet, with perfectly breathable Earth-style air—which was what it more or less had to have, because none of the ET-DIXIE probes had ever found a life-bearing planet that didn't. And it had a lot of water. Just as described, it was mostly ocean, with the colony on a Sri Lanka-sized island that was part of an archipelago in its temperate zone.

Giyt wondered about living on an island. He'd never done that, and it sounded—well, sort of confined. He had to admit that it was a nice island, though. It had everything the recruiter had promised. The island was built like a sombrero, with huge central peaks, the remnants of ancient volcanoes (but now, they swore, thoroughly dead), and the town they were to live in was on one of the series of broad plateaus that descended to the sea. Streams with pretty waterfalls raced down the mountainside to make Crystal Lake. The climate was ideal, sort of like a coastal Oregon spring. Their new home was within easy walking distance of the pretty freshwater lake that had, as promised, already been stocked with Earthly game fish. There was a fully functioning net, with a prime database that had been copied from the North American nexus itself; one subset was the complete Library of Congress base, so Giyt would not have to be without his favorite entertainment. There was a hypermarket, well stocked and promising to special-order from Earth anything they wanted that wasn't already on the shelves; there were beauty shops and an office depot with everything the Earth superstores had and five or six small but nice-looking restaurants and bars . . . and all those things just in the services Ex-Earth had provided, with all the wonders of an alien planet to explore as well.

And then there was their home itself.

It had been a long time since Evesham Giyt had lived in anything that didn't pull out of the wall, like a file drawer. He was a little uneasy as they prowled their six rooms with one of the Ex-Earth resident agents. She was a woman named Olse Hagbarth, and it was her job (and, she said, her pleasure—and that of her husband-slash-colleague, too) to make all the new colonists welcome. "Of course," she said, looking around at the furniture with some disdain, "this stuff belonged to the previous occupant. Pity about her. She went back to Earth—homesick, I guess. You don't have to keep her furniture. If you want to replace it we can get you just about anything you want from Earth. And listen, don't worry about spending your resettlement grant. There's more where that came from; Ex-Earth is loaded."

But Rina was happy with the furniture supplied, was happier than Giyt would have believed with the house itself, and with the queer, un-Earthly plants that grew in its modest garden, and with the kitchen and the bathroom that was all their own, and she couldn't wait until the agent left and they could try out their huge and comfortable new bed. "Shammy, Shammy," she murmured into his ear, "don't you think this is wonderful?"

It probably was, he agreed. Tupelo was everything they'd been promised.

The only thing was, in one or two unexpected ways it was somewhat more than they'd been promised, because the recruiter in Wichita hadn't said anything about the fact that five rather odd-looking races from other star systems were also doing their best to colonize it.



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