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And so, as soon as they could afford it, Red Katrin, the original, was duplicated—with a few cosmetic alterations—in Dark Katrin and later Katrin the Fair; and nanomachines read Old Davout, blood and bone and the long strands of numbers that were his soul, and created perfect copies in Dangerous Davout, later called the Conqueror, and Davout the Silent.

Two had become six, and half a dozen, they now agreed, was about all the universe could handle for the present. The wild tangle of overlapping interests was parceled out between the three couples, each taking one of the three most noble paths to understanding.

The eldest couple chose History as their domain, a part of which involved chronicling the adventures of their sibs; the second couple took Science; the third Psyche, the exploration of the human mind. Any developments, any insights, on the part of one of the sibs could be shared with the others through downloads.

In the beginning they downloaded themselves almost continually, sharing their thoughts and experiences and plans in a creative frenzy. Later, as separate lives and more specialized careers developed, the downloads grew less frequent, though there were no interruptions until Dangerous Davout and Dark Katrin took their first voyage to another star.

They spent over fifty years away, though to them it was less than thirty; and the downloads from Earth, pulsed over immense distances by communications lasers, were less frequent, and less frequently resorted to. The lives of the other couples, lived at what seemed speeded-up rates, were of decreasing relevance to their own existence, as if they were lives that dwelled in a half-remembered dream.

The past and the present, he found, were alike a place of torment. It was. I have never felt such terror, such loss. It was Old Davout whose image was projected into the gothic-revival armchair, the original, womb-born Davout of whom the two sibs were copies. When Davout looked at him it was like looking into a mirror in which his reflection had been retarded for several centuries, then unexpectedly released—Davout remembered, several bodies back, once possessing that tall forehead, the fair hair, the small ears flattened close to the skull.

The grey eyes he had still, but he could never picture himself wearing the professorial little goatee. The pain was there when Davout awoke next day, fresh as the moment it first knifed through him, on the day their fifth child, the planet Sarpedon, was christened. Katrin was the head of the terraforming team. Davout led its research division.

Seeded life by the tens of millions, insects, reptiles, birds, mammals, fish, and amphibians. And—unknown to the others—Davout and Katrin had slipped bits of their own genetics into almost every Sarpedan life-form. Katrin and Davout spent the last two years of their project on Sarpedon among their children, examining the different ecosystems, different interactions, tinkering with new adaptations.

In the end, Sarpedon was certified as suitable for human habitation. Preprogrammed nanos constructed small towns, laid out fields, parks, and roads. The first human Sarpedans would be constructed in nanobeds, and their minds filled with the downloaded personalities of volunteers from Earth. There was no need to go to the expense and trouble of shipping out millions of warm bodies from Earth, running the risks of traveling for decades in remote space. Not when nanos could construct them all new on site.

The first Sarpedans—bald, leather-skinned, slit-eyed—emerged blinking into their new red dawn. Any further terraforming, any attempts to fine-tune the planet and make it more Earthlike, would be a long-term project and up to them.

In a splendid ceremony, Captain Moshweshwe formally turned the future of Sarpedon over to its new inhabitants. Davout had a few last formalities to perform, handing certain computer codes and protocols over to the Sarpedans, but the rest of the terraforming team, most fairly drunk on champagne, filed into the shuttle for the return journey to the Beagle.

When he raced outside, it was to see the blazing poppy unfolding in the sky, a blossom of fire and metal falling slowly to the surface of the newly christened planet. Even when he was trying not to think about her, he still found Katrin on the edge of his perceptions, drifting though his thoughts like the persistent trace of some familiar perfume.

Time to get it over with, he thought. If it was more than he could stand, he could apologize and end the call. But he had to know. A pensive frown touched her lips. Space travel is hazardous, after all, and when catastrophe strikes it is not a small catastrophe. There were recent backups on the Beagle, but with so many dead from an undetermined cause, he decided not to resurrect anyone, to cancel our trip to Astoreth, return to Earth, and sort out all the complications once he got home.

The green eyes narrowed. Vertigo overwhelmed him, and he closed his eyes. And so we left instructions that our backups on Earth were not to be employed. We reasoned that we had two sibs apiece on Earth, and if they—you—missed us, you could simply duplicate yourselves. He opened his eyes. Should I blank my image?

As always, his Katrin was helping him to understand, helping him to make sense of the bitter confusion of the world. An idea began to creep into his mind on stealthy feet. Would you like us to come to Java? Li and told him that he wanted a new body constructed. Something familiar, he said, already in the files. His own, original form. Age twenty or so. The youngest of the sibs was not tall, but he was built solidly, as if for permanence, and his head seemed slightly oversized for his body.

Davout stepped back and smiled. Mostly I work in the realm of theory. Davout the Silent looked at him for a long moment—eyes placid and thoughtful—and then spoke. All the emotions that in their totality equal grief. You forgot imagination, and how imagination only makes those memories worse, because imagination allows you to write a different ending, but the world will not. I must commend Dr. Li on his restraint. Li is a shrink?

A casual press of fingers. And you can erase them from your mind completely, walk on into a new life, tabula rasa and free of pain. It was a voice without affect, one he no doubt used on his patients, quietly insistent without being officious.

A voice that made suggestions, or presented alternatives, but which never, ever, gave orders. Memories are what make you. When our sib duplicated himself, he duplicated his pattern in us; and when we assembled new bodies to live in, the pattern did not change. Have you felt yourself to be a different person when you took a new body? This time yesterday, his head had been bald and leathery. Now he felt subtle differences in his perceptions—his vision was more acute, his hearing less so—and his muscle memory was somewhat askew.

He remembered having a shorter reach, a slightly different center of gravity. But as for himself, his essence—no, he felt himself unchanged. He was still Davout. They can upload new knowledge, new skills. If they feel a lack of confidence, or feel that their behavior is too impulsive, they can tweak their body chemistry to produce a different effect.

If they find themselves the victim of an unfortunate or destructive compulsion, the compulsion can be edited from their being. If they lack the power to change their circumstances, they can at least elect to feel happier about them. If a memory cannot be overcome, it can be eliminated. They are circumstances. They are part of the condition of life as it exists today. They are environmental. Can you blame them? Even our tragedies define us.

But not all people are conquerors. If we deny the uses of experience, what is there to make us human? Would you have a person live forever under the shadow of great guilt, say for a foolish mistake that resulted in injury or death to someone else; or would you have them live with the consequences of damage inflicted by a sociopath, or an abusive family member? Traumas like these can cripple the whole being. Why should the damage not be repaired? Editing out a foolish remark made at a party, or eliminating a bad vacation or an argument with the spouse.

Grow in wisdom? There is sufficient friction and conflict in the course of ordinary life to provide everyone with their allotted portion of wisdom. Nowadays our lives are very, very long, and we have a long time to learn, however slowly.

I think you will find that as a species we are far less prone to folly than we once were. Forget Katrin? Or forget what I feel for her? I merely point out that this remedy exists, should you find your anguish beyond what you can endure. Another grave nod. Who will remember her if I do not? I only mention Lethe because I comprehend all too well what you endure now. The fact, stated so plainly, was incomprehensible.

We grew apart. It happens. Not to Davout and Katrin! Not to the two people who make up a whole greater than its parts. Not to us. Not ever. And then, in a way he knew to be utterly disloyal, he began to hope. And knowing her, I could make guesses by what she left out. I remember telling Davout three years before the split that the relationship was in jeopardy. I do not need so much room, he thought, now that I am alone. Katrin took him up the creaking wooden stair and showed him the room, the narrow bed of the old house.

Through the window, he could look south to a storm on Chesapeake Bay, bluegray cloud, bright eruptions of lightning, slanting beams of sunlight that dropped through rents in the storm to tease bright winking light from the foam. The ocean area is greater than that on Earth, and lies mostly in the tropics—the planet was almost called Oceanus on that account. The hurricanes built up around the equatorial belts with nothing to stop them, sometimes more than a thousand kilometers across, and they came roaring into the temperate zones like multi-armed demons, sometimes one after another for months.

They spawned waterspots and cyclones in their vanguard, inundated whole areas with a storm surge the size of a small ocean, dumped enough rain to flood an entire province away. We thought seriously that the storms might make life on land untenable. Many species of deep-rooted, vinelike plants to anchor slopes and prevent erosion, other species of thirsty trees, adaptations of cottonwoods and willows, to line streambeds and break the power of flash floods.

Planetary engineering on such an enormous scale, in such a short time, had never been attempted, not even on Mars, and it had been difficult for Katrin and Davout to sell the project to the project managers on the Cheng Ho. Their superiors had initially preferred a different approach, huge equatorial solar curtains deployed in orbit to reflect heat, squadrons of orbital beam weapons to blast and disperse storms as they formed, secure underground dwellings for the inhabitants, complex lock and canal systems to control flooding.

Watching a whole globe take shape beneath her feet! All that abundance being created, all that talent going to shaping an entire world. And we were confined to scholarship, which seemed so lifeless by comparison. You still could, come to that. But Old Davout and I are happy in our work—and besides, you and Katrin needed someone to provide a proper record of your adventures.

Maybe she could use a change. His sib looked up. So one assumes that these people had us in mind all along, that we were what they were working toward. I have to keep reminding myself that these people lived amid unimaginable tragedy, disease and ignorance and superstition, vile little wars, terrible poverty, and death. Red Katrin leaned back in her chair, combed her hair back with her fingers. Davout thought his sib had the advantage in this arrangement, because her subjects, as time progressed, gradually entered his domain, and became liable to his reinterpretation.

But the last moments of the crew of the Beagle went unrecorded. Does that mean they do not exist? Never existed at all? That death was always their state, and they returned to it, like virtual matter dying into the vacuum from which it came? Gone back to the phantom zone. Other crew sent downloads home, and I will see if I can gain access either to the downloads, or to their friends and relations who have experienced them. There is your memory, your downloads.

She pressed her lips together. Me viewing you viewing her. Not now. He wanted to share it with Katrin, he knew, the person with whom he shared everything. Katrin could help him make sense of it, the way she clarified all the world for him. Katrin would comprehend the way he felt. His frustration must have been plain to Red Katrin, because she took his hand, lifted her green eyes to his.

Interfering old bastard, Davout thought. But with his free hand he signed, again,. A little frown touched the corners of her mouth. On the whitewashed walls hung terra-cotta icons of Usil and Tiv, the Etruscan gods of the sun and moon, and a well cover with a figure of the demon Charun emerging from the underworld.

The Etruscan deities were confronted, on another wall, by a bronze figure of the Gaulish Rosmerta, consort of the absent Mercurius. Her little balcony was bedecked with wrought iron and a gay striped awning. In front of the balcony a table shimmered under a red-and-white checked tablecloth: crystal, porcelain, a wicker basket of bread, a bottle of wine. Cooking scents floated in from the kitchen.

Lifting the bottle. Wine was poured. They settled onto the sofa, chatted of weather, crowds, Java. Fair Katrin took his hand. He touched cool crystal to his lips, took a careful sip of his cabernet. Pain throbbed in the hollows of his heart. Particularly in view of what happened with me and the Silent One.

You may upload his memories if you like—I daresay you will be able to observe the signs that he was determined to ignore. It was the only way he had of getting over my leaving him. Fair Katrin looked at him in surprise.

But I thought he was talking about me, about a way of getting over. She rose, stalked angrily to the bronze of Rosmerta, adjusted its place on the wall by a millimeter or so. Turned, waved an arm. Silent Davout is the last person I want to talk about right now. The gestures, the tone of voice, were utterly familiar, ringing like chimes in his heart; but the style, the way Fair Katrin avoided the issue, was different.

Davout waited until it was half consumed, and the bottle of wine mostly gone, before he dared to speak again of his sib. Looked out the window for a moment, then conceded. She leaned forward across her plate. The human mind is more than just ingredients to be tossed together. The atomistic view of the psyche is simplistic, dangerous, and wrong. You cannot will a psyche to be whole, no matter how many wholeness modules are uploaded. A psyche is more than the sum of its parts.

Conviction blazed from her eyes. She looked at him. People are fragmenting their psyches deliberately and trusting to their conductors to make sense of it all. They upload passions—anger, grief, loss—as artificial experiences, secondhand from someone else, usually so they can tell their conductor to avoid such emotions in the future. No feelings, no real memories good or bad, no understanding, nothing left from almost two centuries together.

Reflected sunset flavored her tears with the color of roses. And millions are gone with him—millions of little half-alive souls, programmed for happiness and unconcern. When he left, some hours later, he embraced her, kissed her, let his lips linger on hers for perhaps an extra half-second.

She blinked up at him in wine-muddled surprise, and then he took his leave. Lonely, I think. Living in a little apartment like a cell, with icons and memories. To the stars, perhaps? A smile touched her lips. My fair sib deserves happiness, and so do you.

But I wonder if you are not moving too fast, if you have thought it all out. His life seemed so very slow now, a creeping dance with agony, each move a lifetime. A few water-skaters sped toward home on their silver blades.

Red Katrin wrapped herself against the breeze in a fringed, autumn-colored shawl. Davout sipped coffee from gold-rimmed porcelain, set the cup into its saucer. If I were to pursue some other woman now, I would know I was committing a betrayal. But how can I betray Katrin with herself?

Or ever were. Fair Katrin was not a perfect copy of her older sib—she had flaws, clear enough. She had been damaged, somehow. But the flaws could be worked on, the damage repaired. There was infinite time. He would see it done. Her green eyes were pensive. Davout took Fair Katrin to Tangier for the afternoon and walked with her up on the old palace walls. Below them, white in the sun, the curved mole built by Charles II cleaved the Middle Sea, a thin crescent moon laid upon the perfect shimmering azure.

The sea breeze lashed her blonde hair across her face, snapped little sonic booms from the sleeves of his shirt. I remember experiencing the download of a master sitting zazen once, and it was an experience of a similar cast. I have been enough places, done enough things, so that it matters to me that I was actually there and not living out some programmed dream of life on other worlds.

He held her for a moment, too surprised to react, and then she broke free. She reeled along the wall, leaning for support against the old stones. Words burst half-hysterical from her lips, in between bursts of desperate, unamused laughter. My God! You were only interested in psychology because my damned Red sib and your Old one wanted insight into the characters in their histories, and because you and your dark bitch wanted a theory of the psyche to aid you in building communities on other worlds.

We only got created because you were too damned lazy to do your own research! He was third-rate and knew it! It destroyed him! The laughter bubbled from her throat again. She fled, leaving him alone and dazed on the palace wall, as the booming wind mocked his feeble protests. She leaned close to him on the porch swing, touched soft lips to his cheek.

He could feel Katrin slipping farther and farther away, as if she were on the edge of a precipice and her handholds were crumbling away beneath her clawed fingers. Using them, as she claims? But now. My God, he thought, I am going to be alone. His brief days of hope were gone. He stared out at the bay—the choppy water was too rough for any but the most dedicated water-skaters—and felt the pain pressing on his brain, like the two thumbs of a practiced sadist digging into the back of his skull.

You could speak to him. He needed sense made of things, he needed things put in order, and that was not the job of his sib. Old Davout would only confirm what he already knew. And then never did. The pain was worst at night. It was then that the horror fully struck him, and he would lie awake for hours, eyes staring into the terrible void that wrapped him in its dark cloak, while fits of trembling sped through his limbs.

I will go mad, he sometimes thought. It seemed something he could choose, as if he were a character in an Elizabethan drama who turns to the audience to announce that he will be mad now, and then in the next scene is found gnawing bones dug out of the family sepulcher. Davout could see himself being found outside, running on all fours and barking at the stars. And then, as dawn crept across the windowsill, he would look out the window and realize, to his sorrow, that he was not yet mad, that he was condemned to another day of sanity, of pain, and of grief.

Then, one night, he did go mad. He found himself squatting on the floor in his nightshirt, the room a ruin around him: mirrors smashed, furniture broken. Blood was running down his forearms. Davout realized, in a vague way, that his sib had been trying to get in for some time. Davout watched his spatters of blood stain the water, threads of scarlet whirling in coreolis spirals.

I want to know if. Do it, he thought. Just do this one thing. Davout can do that. Old Davout, I mean. His sib would understand all too well what he was up to. Crazy people are his specialty. Instead he gave a laugh. Any advice he gave would be. Please do it, he thought desperately. He bent his head over her and the basin, raised her hand, and pressed his lips to the flesh beaded with water and streaked with blood.

It was almost like conducting an affair, all clandestine meetings and whispered arrangements. She settled onto the settee in the front room and covered herself with her fringed shawl. Closed her eyes. He sat in a chair nearby, his mouth dry. He tried to guess from her face where in his life she dwelt. The expression of shock and horror near the start was clear enough, the shuttle bursting into flames. After the shock faded, he recognized the discomfort that came with experiencing a strange mind, and flickering across her face came expressions of grief, anger, and here and there amusement; but gradually there was only a growing sadness, and lashes wet with tears.

He crossed the room to kneel by her chair and take her hand. Her fingers pressed his in response. The eyes fluttered open. She shook her head. And the need. I had no idea. I wonder what it is to be needed that way. Her arms went around him. He felt a leap of joy, of clarity. The need was hers, now. Davout carried her to the bed she shared with his sib, and together they worshipped memories of his Katrin.

His finger reached into the night sky, counted stars, one, two, three. But we can make it home for ourselves and our children—all the species of children we desire, fish and fowl. Waves rumbled under the old wooden pier.

The lights of the house glowed yellow off her pale face, off her swift fingers as she signed. His life, for a moment, seemed to skip off its internal track; he felt himself suspended, poised at the top of an arc just before the fall. Her eyes brooded up at the house, where Old Davout paced and sipped coffee and pondered his life of Maxwell.

The mudras at her fingertips were unreadable in the dark. He saw wry amusement touch the corners of her mouth. She stood on tiptoe, kissed his cheek. I will arrange it. Davout was present at her awakening, and her hand was in his as she opened her violet eyes, the eyes of his Dark Katrin.

She looked at him in perfect comprehension, lifted a hand to her black hair; and then the eyes turned to the pair standing behind him, to Old Davout and Red Katrin. They went on long walks in the high hills, cooked simply in the cramped kitchen, slept beneath scratchy trade blankets, made love on crisp cotton sheets.

He arranged an office there, two desks and two chairs, back-to-back. Davout tutored her, and worked hard at catching up with the latest developments in the field. Once, opening her eyes after an upload, she looked at Davout and shook her head. We are who we are because we think using certain patterns. You had no difficulty in understanding her then.

They were beyond my skill to interpret—I paid more attention to other moments in her life. Which were very rich, and very intense, and which sometimes made me jealous. At meals and in bed, she was quiet, meditative—perfectly friendly, and, he thought, not unhappy—but keeping her thoughts to herself. She is adjusting, he thought. It is not an easy thing for someone two centuries old to change.

That I am created—and the other sibs, too—to do what she would not, or dared not. So I am created to do the job for her. It is my purpose. I do not have her courage. I do not know what liberated her from her fear, but it is something I do not have. I simply do not. I have tried, I have had that world-eating passion read into my mind, and I compare it with what I feel, and—what I have is as nothing. I wish I felt as she did, I truly do.

But if I love anyone, it is Old Davout. I must leave. He followed her into the bedroom. As she began to pack, grief seized him by the throat and the words dried up. He retreated to the little kitchen, sat at the table, held his head in his hands. He looked up when she paused in the door, and froze like a deer in the violet light of her eyes. He spent the day unable to leave the cabin, unable to work, terror shivering through him.

He wandered by starlight across the high mountain meadow, dry soil crunching beneath his boots, and when his legs began to ache he sat down heavily in the dust. It was summer, but the high mountains were chill at night, and the deep cold soaked his thoughts.

The word Lethe floated through his mind. Who would not choose to be happy? It is a switch in your mind, and someone can throw it for you. He felt the slow, aching droplets of mourning being squeezed from his heart, one after the other, and wondered how long he could endure them, the relentless moments, each striking with the impact of a hammer, each a stunning, percussive blow.

Throw a switch, he thought, and the hammerblows would end. All the Katrins webbed by fate, alive or dead or merely enduring. And so he would, from necessity, endure. So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. He lay on his back, on the cold ground, gazed up at the world of stars, and tried to find the worlds, among the glittering teardrops of the heavens, where he and Katrin had rained from the sky their millions of children.

A man slid out of it, lifting an imperative hand to stop him. The driver got out and darted around the car. A woman, she held his eye. Slenderly perfect in figure and style, she was made up like a matinee queen, every blond curl precisely in place. The man caught her arm and spoke to him in a language that sounded like Russian or per-haps Greek. He stepped back, staring.

The man was too film-star hand-some. They both looked far too hep and chic for the traffic noise and diesel reek of this busy Cleveland street. He dodged back when the woman pounced at him, reaching with both hands to clap him on the sides of his head. Catching a startled breath, he found that she had left a cloud of some rich perfume and two hard little objects clinging to his temples. They vibrated briefly and felt slightly warm. She spoke to him again, her voice now musically clear.

It looked too new, the sky-blue paint too bright, the whole shape not quite right, though it had a license plate. They stood intently waiting. You almost escaped us. Though he saw no weapons, they both looked alert and superbly fit, poised and ready for anything. Her green eyes narrowed, she watched him like a crouching cat. Hostile or not, they made no sense here in downtown Cleveland. You may call me Paul. Call her Lil. We are here from the command to pick you up.

What we need is an account of what you have been doing since. Have you revealed yourself? Roger J. Zelazny, born right here in Cleveland, May 13, Natural procre-ation is evidently still allowed. Then Western Re-serve for the B. I finished my M. The service is her ca-reer. My own main interest is cultural anthropology.

Whatever your excuses, your extended experience here can make you a very useful informant. He felt a sharp vibra-tion in the objects she had stuck to his temple. His yell was cut off. Suddenly limp, he let them drag him into the Ford. The man got in the backseat beside him. The doors closed with oddly solid thumps.

He heard a puzzling hiss of air. The woman drove them, silently and fast. Feeling numbed and groggy, he tried to see where they were going. The familiar buildings gave way to suburbs, farms, finally woods. Then the woods were gone. He craned to the window and saw the earth falling away below. The second is Galactic Security High Command.

The first nuclear explosions triggered a more urgent alert. Agent was assigned to watch duty here. Though the blasts had been increasing in frequency and power, he never filed a report. He ignored official inquiries and even his final notice of recall. The man said nothing more to him. When the woman spoke, their exchange was not translated. The sky outside darkened to purple and black. Stars blazed out. He watched in dull wonderment and finally went to sleep.

When he woke, feeling almost himself again, they were falling out of that black sky, down to the gray blaze of the sunlit Moon. The craters swelled and multiplied till the man pointed to one with a bright metal rim. They hovered near it till a tower of darkness stood suddenly above it, a beam of blackness that shone toward the stars. The woman steered them into it, and out again above another landscape, so barren and crater-pitted that he thought for a moment that they were still on the Moon.

The sun that lit it, however, was huge and dimly red, turning the craters into scarlet pools. Inside it, he found himself in a line of oxygen-breathing bipeds shuffling down endless gray-walled corridors, following arrows of flashing light. Some looked almost humanoid, but none resembled him or his captors. Most were grotesquely different, many of them apparently new recruits, a few veterans back for retraining.

They all wore translators, but the slouching thing ahead had a scent that sickened him and the shell-cased thing behind merely stared through multiple eyes when he turned and tried to talk. He did make out scraps of talk from others, but their native worlds had been so diverse that they seemed to find little in common and less to say. The corridors branched and branched again until he sat alone in a narrow booth. A rapid metal voice rattled out of the wall, instructing him to press his open hands to the plate in front of him and look into the lens.

It asked ques-tions he seldom understood. Your earlier field assignment was a gross and inexplicable error. You will proceed to the exit and await final disposition. What does that mean? The maze of corridors led him on to a little room where the man he might call Paul sat waiting behind a bare glass desk. A bonanza, however, for me. At least I can get you off your feet. Zelazny collapsed into it gratefully. A rum cola? My favorite drink on your planet.

Can I have something to eat? The imitations were less than perfect, but he ate it while Paul resumed the interrogation. When he demanded a rest, Paul showed him into an Earth-type bathroom that adjoined the room, and took him later to a high galley where he could look far across the red-lit waste landscape to another dome rising into the dead-black sky like a huge silver moon. Back in the little room, a cot had replaced the desk, and dishes on a table beside it were filled with imitation salad and imitation mutton stew.

The room became a prison. He was sometimes left alone there, battered with never-ending questions from a ma-chine behind the wall. His watch still ran, but Earth time meant nothing here. Paul came unpredictably to wake him for a walk or another meal, always demanding more about his planet and its peoples.

He was dreaming that he was back on Earth, shuffling papers for Social Security, when Paul shook him awake. The grand climax of my studies! The entire faculty seems enormously im-pressed, and I expect it to make my career.

The replicate looked too dark and too tall. Strangely garbed, with beads strung around its neck and huge rings in its ears, a long spear lifted, it stood guard at the entrance to an enclosure woven of thorny brush. Beyond it a half-naked woman, clad and jeweled just as strangely, grinned from the doorway of a mud-plastered hut.

He stared at Paul. I present you as a Masai warrior. The Masai, as you know, are magnificent runners. As the narrative unfolds, your extraordinary abilities are recog-nized by an American professor who has been searching Kenya for fossil relics of your evolutionary origins. He takes you back to America and obtains an athletic scholar-ship for you at his university.

You win great races. You excel in scholarship. You lecture to share the history and folkways of your people. You win influential friends. You become rich and famous, and finally return to a happy reunion with the woman you had loved when you were children.

It has nothing to do with me. You must recognize the star role I have given you in the basic myth shared by nearly all your tribes? The mythic hero leaves his home, faces great dangers and crippling handicaps, endures severe ordeals, learns profound truths and discovers new strengths, defeats powerful enemies, creates the genius of his people, and returns at last to enjoy his due rewards.

The diorama re-veals you as the spirit of your world! Dramatized, of course, but you must recognize that fiction can convey more truth than bare fact can. You would share my elation if you could stay to see the whole diorama in motion. Unfor-tunately, however, you are leaving. My superior, whom you remember as Lil, has admitted her terrible blunder. She mistook you for an actual agent, a man she thought had been assigned to the warning station on your satellite.

He was given another duty post instead, from which he has just come home. His number should have been As a result, your satellite station has never been manned at all. So long as we create no paradoxical interruptions in established sequences of cause and effect, we can return you to the space-time coordinates where we found you. Lil has arranged for us to leave immediately.

He napped again during the flight back to Earth, but he was wide awake before she pulled them to the curb on his Cleveland street. Nearly an hour late to work that morning, he never tried to explain the delay, but as time went on he found that his philosophy of life and art had changed. Poetry had been his first great love.

He returned with a new language: his far-ranging and often mythic fiction. He later moved to New Mexico and became a loyal friend, but New Mexican roads are long and I knew him best from teaching his work. That changed in a remarkable way. The later novels, such as the Amber series, have the same daring originality, the same poetic imagination, but they flow almost in the easy-seeming manner of a chanting epic bard.

In these latter days, nobody makes a living writing great short stories. Novels are generally more profitable. The shift may have been commercially impelled, but this story presents an alternative explanation. HE peered into the bottom of his glass, then glanced up at me from under bushy dark brows. He looked like a man who should be smoking a pipe—weathered, squint-eyed from sun-staring, contemplative.

He stared. He opened and closed his mouth a cou-ple times. The forest beyond looked like black ink trees on wet green paper. On Emery, the soil was greenish tan or greenish brown or greenish red, the sky was greenish blue, and the water various shades of green; the plants here were reddish purple, magenta, lavender, or purple-black, though the flowers came in a lot of colors.

I was the first human to die on Emery since we had started the colony three years earlier. I sipped my drink. It tasted different. Brighter, wider, with strange edges to it. It sparkled against the back of my throat. Were you. I had been gradually retrofitting the colonists to match the planet—that was my job. First you picked a planet that was a pretty close match for the colonists, then you tinkered. I tried everything on myself first.

Animal testing and computer modeling could only take you so far. Besides, since Diane had moved out of my apartment and in with Roy, who was there to care what became of me? This was not adequate colonial thinking. Cranston had already pointed out to me that everyone cared, because, although others had bits and pieces of the same training I had, I was the ablest organism engineer the colony had. I was needed, whether anyone liked me or not. I guess I took a pretty big hit with that last modification.

I had thought it would give me the power to eat the local fruit without risk. I mean, those peach things had been ripening every year on the spoonleaf trees, sitting there in all their red, orange, and yellow glory, smelling more in-viting than anything the synthesizers could come up with, ripening and dropping to the ground, where rabbit-squirrels feasted on them and got drunk. Dragon-birds ate them and flew erratically, if at all. Getting drunk had seemed like a good idea.

I had analyzed the peaches the first year after we landed, mapped everything that made them dangerous and incom-patible with human digestive systems. Plotted the adjust-ments we would need in our physiologies so the native peaches and other local fruits and vegetables would be nutrition instead of poison, planned carefully so no one step would be too giant a leap.

Initiated the series of modi-fications in the general population, slow shifts across weeks and months, with downtime in between for acclima-tion and acceptance. The peaches were ripe now. I could smell them. What was I waiting for? Some leaps fail. The fruit did get me drunk fast, though. And it had sure tasted good. Nag-ging everyone to recycle our resources was another cru-sade of mine. True, I was shifting everyone around so that we would be as close to indigenous as possible, but it was early yet in our Emeryforming, and I still had enough Terran in me to be rare, maybe even precious here.

My memory goes dark for a while, and then I wake up underground. You did? Standard colony issue shirt and trousers in my color, silver, the cloth designed to repel all kinds of dirt and stains. My clothes were clean. I scratched my head and shed a sprinkle of dry green dirt on his table. He was one of the colony scouts; he went out every week to map new areas, locate resources, and search for and record new species.

It gave him an expanded perspective. It never occurred to me to question his judgment. You know I would rather do-nate my parts wherever they might be needed, in whatever form. At least I could have been fertilizer. For that matter, what about preserving my work? Did anybody check to see what I was working on when I died, and whether an autopsy was indicated? What if I had just discovered some key thing?

I thought you had been autopsied and harvested in accordance with your wishes. I took detailed notes with every modification! Possibly I had called them eccentric filenames. Possibly I had locked or hidden them.

She ruled it a suicide. Jeez, Jake. And it was pretty inconsiderate of you leaving the rest of us half fish, half fowl. Therefore she had actu-ally done the autopsy. Feeling strange, I opened the stiktites on my shirt and studied my belly. I patted my gut. No gaping wounds or even any soreness. He sighed and shook his head. So what are you, why are you here, and what do you want?

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If he were to fold everything less than trips on the turn, then you could overbet bluff him every time and rob him blind. Importantly, your hand is also big enough to welcome a raise. Against such opponents, you must also overbet bluff in similar spots. Suppose that in the example above, you held QT instead of K8. Because of all the draws on the board, you think he is not going to give up easily even with just Ace-high to a normal bet.

Your only hope of getting your opponent to fold will be an overbet that represents a narrow but very strong range. The choice of QT for this example is significant. The gutshot straight draw gives you some equity if you are called by a pair, and in fact the Q and T may be outs for you as well. But your draw is not so good that you lose a lot of value if forced off of it by a raise, since your opponent will very often have you in bad shape with trips if he raises.

Against calling stations and less observant opponents, you can get away with overbetting only for value. But against better players, you must balance your range with occasional overbet bluffs as well to prevent exploitation. When doing so, it is nice to have a semi-bluff that provides you with some additional value if your large bet is called.

Bluff Inducing- This is the hardest type of overbet to pull off and the least useful, since many of your opponents will not often bluff-raise an overbet. But against opponents who know you are capable of overbet bluffing, you may occasionally overbet with a big hand for the purpose of inducing a bluff-raise.

The turn brings the 8d. Your opponent could have called the flop with almost anything: Ace-high, a gutshot, a pocket pair, or virtually anything else that he decided to float on an innocuous board with the intention of stealing the pot on a later street. Since you already suspect that your opponent may be calling with the intention of bluffing, you could try to check-raise.

He knows that you know he probably has nothing and probably thinks you have nothing, too.

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Feb 28,  · Here, we can profitably overbet the turn with both value bets and bluffs. This is because we will almost always have our opponent beat when our value bets are called, and we will force our opponent to fold over 50% of their range when we bluff using this size. 6/5/ · We open from CO with 8 8 to bb and get called from the BB. The flop is Q T 8 with bb in the pot. We bet 4bb and he calls. The turn is the 2 with 13bb in the middle. Using the . Aug 12,  · We offer markets on a huge range of sports. You can bet on all the most popular local sports, such as football, hockey, basketball, baseball and soccer, as well as sports such as golf, boxing, and MMA. We also offer markets on international sports, so you can bet on the world’s major soccer leagues and tournaments too.