Cronos, p.37
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       Cronos, p.37

           Robert Silverberg
 
“Positive. I can’t stay here. I’m anathema to Kloofman now. I gave him an uncomfortable ten minutes, and he’ll make me pay for it if he ever catches me. But he won’t catch me. Thanks to you.”

  “Come inside,” Lanoy said. “Damn you, I never thought I’d be helping you this way.”

  “If you’re smart,” said Quellen, “you’ll go the same way. Kloofman’s bound to catch you sooner or later. It can’t be avoided.”

  “I’ll take my chances, Quellen.” Lanoy smiled. “When the time comes, I’ll look Kloofman in the eye and see if I can’t strike a deal with him. Come along. The machine’s waiting.”

  16.

  It was done.There was a swirling and a twisting, and Quellen felt as if he had been turned inside out. He was floating on a purple cloud high above some indistinct terrain, and he was falling.

  He dropped, heels over head, and landed in a scrambled heap on a long green carpet. He lay there for a moment or two, breathless, clutching at the carpet for stability in an uncertain world.

  A handful of the carpet tore off in his hands. Quellen looked at it in puzzlement.

  Grass.

  Living grass. Strands of it in his clenched fingers.

  The clean smell of the air hit him next, almost as a physical shock. It was painful to pull air like that down into his lungs. It was like inhaling in a room with full oxy turned on. But this was outdoors. The air in Africa was not like that, because it held an overstratum of residues from the more densely populated regions of the world.

  Quellen gathered himself together and stood up. The grassy carpet extended in all directions, and in front of him there was a great thicket of trees. Quellen looked. A small gray bird came out on the overhanging branch of the nearest tree and began to chirp, unafraid, at Quellen.

  He wondered how long Kloofman’s minions would search for him before they concluded that he had hopped. Koll would be apoplectic. And would Kloofman cope with Lanoy? He hoped not; Kloofman was a sinister unreal monster, and Lanoy, despite his slyster habits, had a sense of honor.

  Quellen began to move toward the forest. He would have to locate a likely stream and build some sort of house next to it, he decided. Improvised architecture—he’d make out, though his first attempts might not be very impressive. It would behishouse, at any rate.

  He felt no guilt at having taken this route. He had been a misfit, thrown into a world he could only hate and which could only ensnarl him. Norm Pomrath had taken this route. Brogg had. Now it was Quellen’s turn. At least, before he had left, he had made a valiant try to defend himself against that world. It had been madness to think that he could match guile with the High Government. But he had shaken Kloofman, at least for a few minutes, and that was a worthy accomplishment. He had shown he was a man. Now valor’s part dictated a quick exit, before Kloofman’s superior might crushed him.

  Two deer came bounding out of the forest. Quellen stood aghast. He had never seen land animals of that size, not even in Africa. The African mammals had long since been penned in preserves. Were these creatures dangerous? They looked gentle. They skipped off across the plain.

  Quellen’s heart began to throb as he filled his lungs with the sweet air. Marok, Koll, Spanner, Brogg. Kloofman.Helaine. Judith. They began to fade and blur. Social regurgitation. Quickboats. Good old Lanoy, he thought. He’d kept his word after all. Back to an unspoiled continent.

  The world is mine, Quellen thought.

  A tall redskinned man emerged from the forest and leaned against a tree, regarding Quellen gravely. He was dressed in a leather belt, a pair of sandals, and nothing else. The redskinned man studied Quellen for a moment and then raised his arm in a gesture Quellen could not fail to interpret. A warm feeling of comradeship glowed in Quellen. This man welcomed him. This man did not fear him.

  Palm upraised, smiling at last, Quellen went forward to meet him.

  Cronos: An Introduction

  Letters From Atlantis

  One

  Two

  Three

  Four

  Five

  Six

  Seven

  Eight

  Nine

  Ten

  Eleven

  Twelve

  Project Pendulum

  1: Eric - 5 Minutes

  2: Sean + 5 Minutes

  3: Eric + 50 Minutes

  4: Sean - 50 Minutes

  5: Eric -5 X 102Minutes

  6: Sean + 5 X 102Minutes

  7: Eric + 5 X 103Minutes

  8: Sean -5 X 103Minutes

  9: Eric - 5 X 104Minutes

  10: Sean + 5 X 104Minutes

  11: Eric + 5 X 105Minutes

  12: Sean -5 X 105Minutes

  13: Eric - 5 X 106Minutes

  14: Sean + 5 X 106Minutes

  15: Eric + 5 X 107Minutes

  16: Sean - 5 X 107Minutes

  17: Eric - 5 X 108Minutes

  18: Sean + 5 X 108Minutes

  19: Eric + 5 X 109Minutes

  20: Sean - 5 X 109Minutes

  21: Eric - 5 X 1010Minutes

  22: Sean + 5 X 1010Minutes

  23: Eric + 5 X 1011Minutes

  24: Sean - 5 X 1011Minutes

  25: Eric - 5 X 1012Minutes

  26: Sean + 5 X 1012Minutes

  27: Eric + 5 X 1013Minutes

  28: Sean - 5 X 1013Minutes

  The Time Hoppers

  One

  Two

  Three

  Four

  Five

  Six

  Seven

  Eight

  Nine

  Ten

  Eleven

  Twelve

  Thirteen

  Fourteen

  Fifteen

  Sixteen

 


 

  Robert Silverberg, Cronos

 


 

 
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