By Charles Sheffield
After the Nuclear Spasm within the twenty first century, homo sapiens was once extinct, keep for a tiny remnant scattered in small, primitive area colonies. before everything sunlight Humanity had just one objective: survival. but if the conflict for lifestyles was once received, humankind all started relocating outward in gradual, multi-generation area ships, and as then millennia handed, planet-based civilisations emerged in lots of famous person structures. within the yr 27,698 A.D, to those new worlds come the Immortals, beings with unusual ties to old Earth, who appear to stay without end, who can shuttle gentle years in days - and who use their unusual powers to regulate the lifestyles of standard mortals. on the earth Pentecost, a small crew units out to discover and problem the Immortals. yet within the seek they themselves are replaced: as Immortals, they find a new danger, not only to themselves, yet to the galaxy itself.
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There. Two hundred and six. " She smiled at Wolfgang, who absentmindedly squeezed her hand. Then she turned back to the counter. She stared at it for a few seconds, not sure what she was seeing. "Hey! Hans, I thought you said the total was two hundred and six? " Hans swivelled his head to look, the rest of his body turning the other way to give low-gee compensation for the movement. "It can't be. I scrounged every ship that would fly. There's no way . " His voice faded. On the screen, a fountain of bright points of light was spouting upward.
We knew a preemptive first strike wouldn't work. " A dense cluster of points of fire was sweeping up over the north pole. At the same time, a new starburst was rising from eastern Siberia. The launch readout had gone insane, emitting a series of high-pitched squeaks as individual launches became too frequent to be marked by a separate beep from the counter. Over two thousand missile launches had been recorded in less than three minutes. "Couldn't work. Couldn't ever work," said Salter Wherry softly.
At last he keyed in another sequence. The face of Hans Gibbs, hair tousled, appeared. " "Not in front of me. " "No need for that. I'll tell you what I want you to do. " "Right. " "Hans, it won't do. I don't think we have that long. It's going to hell, and it's skidding fast. I understand international politics pretty well, but today I couldn't even guess which country will go crazy first. They're all candidates. I want you to work up a revised schedule that will have everything from the Institute—people, animals, and equipment—here inside thirty days.