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´╗┐Title: PRoblem
Author: Nourse, Alan Edward, 1928-1992
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "PRoblem" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



PRoblem

by Alan E. Nourse


The letter came down the slot too early that morning to be the regular
mail run. Pete Greenwood eyed the New Philly photocancel with a dreadful
premonition. The letter said:

    PETER:
    Can you come East chop-chop, urgent?
    Grdznth problem getting to be a PRoblem, need expert
    icebox salesman to get gators out of hair fast.
    Yes? Math boys hot on this, citizens not so hot.
    Please come.
                                                TOMMY

Pete tossed the letter down the gulper with a sigh. He had lost a bet to
himself because it had come three days later than he expected, but it
had come all the same, just as it always did when Tommy Heinz got
himself into a hole.

Not that he didn't like Tommy. Tommy was a good PR-man, as PR-men go. He
just didn't know his own depth. PRoblem in a beady Grdznth eye! What
Tommy needed right now was a Bazooka Battalion, not a PR-man. Pete
settled back in the Eastbound Rocketjet with a sigh of resignation.

He was just dozing off when the fat lady up the aisle let out a scream.
A huge reptilian head had materialized out of nowhere and was hanging in
air, peering about uncertainly. A scaly green body followed, four feet
away, complete with long razor talons, heavy hind legs, and a whiplash
tail with a needle at the end. For a moment the creature floated upside
down, legs thrashing. Then the head and body joined, executed a
horizontal pirouette, and settled gently to the floor like an eight-foot
circus balloon.

Two rows down a small boy let out a muffled howl and tried to bury
himself in his mother's coat collar. An indignant wail arose from the
fat lady. Someone behind Pete groaned aloud and quickly retired behind a
newspaper.

The creature coughed apologetically. "Terribly sorry," he said in a
coarse rumble. "So difficult to control, you know. Terribly sorry...."
His voice trailed off as he lumbered down the aisle toward the empty
seat next to Pete.

The fat lady gasped, and an angry murmur ran up and down the cabin. "Sit
down," Pete said to the creature. "Relax. Cheerful reception these days,
eh?"

"You don't mind?" said the creature.

"Not at all." Pete tossed his briefcase on the floor. At a distance the
huge beast had looked like a nightmare combination of large alligator
and small tyrannosaurus. Now, at close range Pete could see that the
"scales" were actually tiny wrinkles of satiny green fur. He knew, of
course, that the Grdznth were mammals--"docile, peace-loving mammals,"
Tommy's PR-blasts had declared emphatically--but with one of them
sitting about a foot away Pete had to fight down a wave of horror and
revulsion.

The creature was most incredibly ugly. Great yellow pouches hung down
below flat reptilian eyes, and a double row of long curved teeth
glittered sharply. In spite of himself Pete gripped the seat as the
Grdznth breathed at him wetly through damp nostrils.

"Misgauged?" said Pete.

The Grdznth nodded sadly. "It's horrible of me, but I just can't help
it. I _always_ misgauge. Last time it was the chancel of St. John's
Cathedral. I nearly stampeded morning prayer--" He paused to catch his
breath. "What an effort. The energy barrier, you know. Frightfully hard
to make the jump." He broke off sharply, staring out the window. "Dear
me! Are we going _east_?"

"I'm afraid so, friend."

"Oh, dear. I wanted _Florida_."

"Well, you seem to have drifted through into the wrong airplane," said
Pete. "Why Florida?"

The Grdznth looked at him reproachfully. "The Wives, of course. The
climate is so much better, and they mustn't be disturbed, you know."

"Of course," said Pete. "In their condition. I'd forgotten."

"And I'm told that things have been somewhat unpleasant in the East just
now," said the Grdznth.

Pete thought of Tommy, red-faced and frantic, beating off hordes of
indignant citizens. "So I hear," he said. "How many more of you are
coming through?"

"Oh, not many, not many at all. Only the Wives--half a million or
so--and their spouses, of course." The creature clicked his talons
nervously. "We haven't much more time, you know. Only a few more weeks,
a few months at the most. If we couldn't have stopped over here, I just
don't know _what_ we'd have done."

"Think nothing of it," said Pete indulgently. "It's been great having
you."

The passengers within earshot stiffened, glaring at Pete. The fat lady
was whispering indignantly to her seat companion. Junior had half
emerged from his mother's collar; he was busy sticking out his tongue at
the Grdznth.

The creature shifted uneasily. "Really, I think--perhaps Florida would
be better."

"Going to try it again right now? Don't rush off," said Pete.

"Oh, I don't mean to rush. It's been lovely, but--" Already the Grdznth
was beginning to fade out.

"Try four miles down and a thousand miles southeast," said Pete.

The creature gave him a toothy smile, nodded once, and grew more
indistinct. In another five seconds the seat was quite empty. Pete
leaned back, grinning to himself as the angry rumble rose around him
like a wave. He was a Public Relations man to the core--but right now he
was off duty. He chuckled to himself, and the passengers avoided him
like the plague all the way to New Philly.

But as he walked down the gangway to hail a cab, he wasn't smiling so
much. He was wondering just how high Tommy was hanging him, this time.

       *       *       *       *       *

The lobby of the Public Relations Bureau was swarming like an upturned
anthill when Pete disembarked from the taxi. He could almost smell the
desperate tension of the place. He fought his way past scurrying clerks
and preoccupied poll-takers toward the executive elevators in the rear.

On the newly finished seventeenth floor, he found Tommy Heinz pacing the
corridor like an expectant young father. Tommy had lost weight since
Pete had last seen him. His ruddy face was paler, his hair thin and
ragged as though chunks had been torn out from time to time. He saw Pete
step off the elevator, and ran forward with open arms. "I thought you'd
never get here!" he groaned. "When you didn't call, I was afraid you'd
let me down."

"Me?" said Pete. "I'd never let down a pal."

The sarcasm didn't dent Tommy. He led Pete through the ante-room into
the plush director's office, bouncing about excitedly, his words
tumbling out like a waterfall. He looked as though one gentle shove
might send him yodeling down Market Street in his underdrawers. "Hold
it," said Pete. "Relax, I'm not going to leave for a while yet. Your
girl screamed something about a senator as we came in. Did you hear
her?"

Tommy gave a violent start. "Senator! Oh, dear." He flipped a desk
switch. "What senator is that?"

"Senator Stokes," the girl said wearily. "He had an appointment. He's
ready to have you fired."

"All I need now is a senator," Tommy said. "What does he want?"

"Guess," said the girl.

"Oh. That's what I was afraid of. Can you keep him there?"

"Don't worry about that," said the girl. "He's growing roots. They swept
around him last night, and dusted him off this morning. His appointment
was for _yesterday_, remember?"

"Remember! Of course I remember. Senator Stokes--something about a riot
in Boston." He started to flip the switch, then added, "See if you can
get Charlie down here with his giz."

He turned back to Pete with a frantic light in his eye. "Good old Pete.
Just in time. Just. Eleventh-hour reprieve. Have a drink, have a
cigar--do you want my job? It's yours. Just speak up."

"I fail to see," said Pete, "just why you had to drag me all the way
from L.A. to have a cigar. I've got work to do."

"Selling movies, right?" said Tommy.

"Check."

"To people who don't want to buy them, right?"

"In a manner of speaking," said Pete testily.

"Exactly," said Tommy. "Considering some of the movies you've been
selling, you should be able to sell anything to anybody, any time, at
any price."

"Please. Movies are getting Better by the Day."

"Yes, I know. And the Grdznth are getting worse by the hour. They're
coming through in battalions--a thousand a day! The more Grdznth come
through, the more they act as though they own the place. Not nasty or
anything--it's that infernal politeness that people hate most, I think.
Can't get them mad, can't get them into a fight, but they do anything
they please, and go anywhere they please, and if the people don't like
it, the Grdznth just go right ahead anyway."

Pete pulled at his lip. "Any violence?"

Tommy gave him a long look. "So far we've kept it out of the papers, but
there have been some incidents. Didn't hurt the Grdznth a bit--they have
personal protective force fields around them, a little point they didn't
bother to tell us about. Anybody who tries anything fancy gets thrown
like a bolt of lightning hit him. Rumors are getting wild--people saying
they can't be killed, that they're just moving in to stay."

Pete nodded slowly. "Are they?"

"I wish I knew. I mean, for sure. The psych-docs say no. The Grdznth
agreed to leave at a specified time, and something in their cultural
background makes them stick strictly to their agreements. But that's
just what the psych-docs think, and they've been known to be wrong."

"And the appointed time?"

Tommy spread his hands helplessly. "If we knew, you'd still be in L.A.
Roughly six months and four days, plus or minus a month for the time
differential. That's strictly tentative, according to the math boys.
It's a parallel universe, one of several thousand already explored,
according to the Grdznth scientists working with Charlie Karns. Most of
the parallels are analogous, and we happen to be analogous to the
Grdznth, a point we've omitted from our PR-blasts. They have an
eight-planet system around a hot sun, and it's going to get lots hotter
any day now."

Pete's eyes widened. "Nova?"

"Apparently. Nobody knows how they predicted it, but they did. Spotted
it coming several years ago, so they've been romping through parallel
after parallel trying to find one they can migrate to. They found one,
sort of a desperation choice. It's cold and arid and full of impassable
mountain chains. With an uphill fight they can make it support a
fraction of their population."

Tommy shook his head helplessly. "They picked a very sensible system for
getting a good strong Grdznth population on the new parallel as fast as
possible. The males were picked for brains, education, ability and
adaptability; the females were chosen largely according to how pregnant
they were."

Pete grinned. "Grdznth in utero. There's something poetic about it."

"Just one hitch," said Tommy. "The girls can't gestate in that climate,
at least not until they've been there long enough to get their glands
adjusted. Seems we have just the right climate here for gestating
Grdznth, even better than at home. So they came begging for permission
to stop here, on the way through, to rest and parturiate."

"So Earth becomes a glorified incubator." Pete got to his feet
thoughtfully. "This is all very touching," he said, "but it just doesn't
wash. If the Grdznth are so unpopular with the masses, why did we let
them in here in the first place?" He looked narrowly at Tommy. "To be
very blunt, what's the parking fee?"

"Plenty," said Tommy heavily. "That's the trouble, you see. The fee is
so high, Earth just can't afford to lose it. Charlie Karns'll tell you
why."

       *       *       *       *       *

Charlie Karns from Math Section was an intense skeleton of a man with a
long jaw and a long white coat drooping over his shoulders like a
shroud. In his arms he clutched a small black box.

"It's the parallel universe business, of course," he said to Pete, with
Tommy beaming over his shoulder. "The Grdznth can cross through. They've
been able to do it for a long time. According to our figuring, this must
involve complete control of mass, space and dimension, all three. And
time comes into one of the three--we aren't sure which."

The mathematician set the black box on the desk top and released the
lid. Like a jack-in-the-box, two small white plastic spheres popped out
and began chasing each other about in the air six inches above the box.
Presently a third sphere rose up from the box and joined the fun.

Pete watched it with his jaw sagging until his head began to spin. "No
wires?"

"_Strictly_ no wires," said Charlie glumly. "No nothing." He closed the
box with a click. "This is one of their children's toys, and
theoretically, it can't work. Among other things, it takes null-gravity
to operate."

Pete sat down, rubbing his chin. "Yes," he said. "I'm beginning to see.
They're teaching you this?"

Tommy said, "They're trying to. He's been working for weeks with their
top mathematicians, him and a dozen others. How many computers have you
burned out, Charlie?"

"Four. There's a differential factor, and we can't spot it. They have
the equations, all right. It's a matter of translating them into
constants that make sense. But we haven't cracked the differential."

"And if you do, then what?"

Charlie took a deep breath. "We'll have inter-dimensional control, a
practical, utilizable transmatter. We'll have null-gravity, which means
the greatest advance in power utilization since fire was discovered. It
might give us the opening to a concept of time travel that makes some
kind of sense. And power! If there's an energy differential of any
magnitude--" He shook his head sadly.

"We'll also know the time-differential," said Tommy hopefully, "and how
long the Grdznth gestation period will be."

"It's a fair exchange," said Charlie. "We keep them until the girls have
their babies. They teach us the ABC's of space, mass and dimension."

Pete nodded. "That is, if you can make the people put up with them for
another six months or so."

Tommy sighed. "In a word--yes. So far we've gotten nowhere at a thousand
miles an hour."

       *       *       *       *       *

"I can't do it!" the cosmetician wailed, hurling himself down on a chair
and burying his face in his hands. "I've failed. Failed!"

The Grdznth sitting on the stool looked regretfully from the cosmetician
to the Public Relations men. "I say--I _am_ sorry...." His coarse voice
trailed off as he peeled a long strip of cake makeup off his satiny
green face.

Pete Greenwood stared at the cosmetician sobbing in the chair. "What's
eating _him_?"

"Professional pride," said Tommy. "He can take twenty years off the face
of any woman in Hollywood. But he's not getting to first base with
Gorgeous over there. This is only one thing we've tried," he added as
they moved on down the corridor. "You should see the field reports.
We've tried selling the advances Earth will have, the wealth, the power.
No dice. The man on the street reads our PR-blasts, and then looks up to
see one of the nasty things staring over his shoulder at the newspaper."

"So you can't make them beautiful," said Pete. "Can't you make them
cute?"

"With those teeth? Those eyes? Ugh."

"How about the 'jolly company' approach?"

"Tried it. There's nothing jolly about them. They pop out of nowhere,
anywhere. In church, in bedrooms, in rush-hour traffic through Lincoln
Tunnel--look!"

Pete peered out the window at the traffic jam below. Cars were snarled
up for blocks on either side of the intersection. A squad of traffic
cops were converging angrily on the center of the mess, where a stream
of green reptilian figures seemed to be popping out of the street and
lumbering through the jammed autos like General Sherman tanks.

"Ulcers," said Tommy. "City traffic isn't enough of a mess as it is. And
they don't _do_ anything about it. They apologize profusely, but they
keep coming through." The two started on for the office. "Things are
getting to the breaking point. The people are wearing thin from sheer
annoyance--to say nothing of the nightmares the kids are having, and the
trouble with women fainting."

The signal light on Tommy's desk was flashing scarlet. He dropped into a
chair with a sigh and flipped a switch. "Okay, what is it now?"

"Just another senator," said a furious male voice. "Mr. Heinz, my
arthritis is beginning to win this fight. Are you going to see me now,
or aren't you?"

"Yes, yes, come right in!" Tommy turned white. "Senator Stokes," he
muttered. "I'd completely forgotten--"

The senator didn't seem to like being forgotten. He walked into the
office, looked disdainfully at the PR-men, and sank to the edge of a
chair, leaning on his umbrella.

"You have just lost your job," he said to Tommy, with an icy edge to his
voice. "You may not have heard about it yet, but you can take my word
for it. I personally will be delighted to make the necessary
arrangements, but I doubt if I'll need to. There are at least a hundred
senators in Washington who are ready to press for your dismissal, Mr.
Heinz--and there's been some off-the-record talk about a lynching.
Nothing official, of course."

"Senator--"

"Senator be hanged! We want somebody in this office who can manage to
_do_ something."

"Do something! You think I'm a magician? I can just make them vanish?
What do you want me to do?"

The senator raised his eyebrows. "You needn't shout, Mr. Heinz. I'm not
the least interested in _what_ you do. My interest is focused completely
on a collection of five thousand letters, telegrams, and visiphone calls
I've received in the past three days alone. My constituents, Mr. Heinz,
are making themselves clear. If the Grdznth do not go, I go."

"That would never do, of course," murmured Pete.

The senator gave Pete a cold, clinical look. "Who is this person?" he
asked Tommy.

"An assistant on the job," Tommy said quickly. "A very excellent
PR-man."

The senator sniffed audibly. "Full of ideas, no doubt."

"Brimming," said Pete. "Enough ideas to get your constituents off your
neck for a while, at least."

"Indeed."

"Indeed," said Pete. "Tommy, how fast can you get a PR-blast to
penetrate? How much medium do you control?"

"Plenty," Tommy gulped.

"And how fast can you sample response and analyze it?"

"We can have prelims six hours after the PR-blast. Pete, if you have an
idea, tell us!"

Pete stood up, facing the senator. "Everything else has been tried, but
it seems to me one important factor has been missed. One that will take
your constituents by the ears." He looked at Tommy pityingly. "You've
tried to make them lovable, but they aren't lovable. They aren't even
passably attractive. There's one thing they _are_ though, at least half
of them."

Tommy's jaw sagged. "Pregnant," he said.

"Now see here," said the senator. "If you're trying to make a fool out
of me to my face--"

"Sit down and shut up," said Pete. "If there's one thing the man in the
street reveres, my friend, it's motherhood. We've got several hundred
thousand pregnant Grdznth just waiting for all the little Grdznth to
arrive, and nobody's given them a side glance." He turned to Tommy. "Get
some copywriters down here. Get a Grdznth obstetrician or two. We're
going to put together a PR-blast that will twang the people's
heart-strings like a billion harps."

The color was back in Tommy's cheeks, and the senator was forgotten as a
dozen intercom switches began snapping. "We'll need TV hookups, and
plenty of newscast space," he said eagerly. "Maybe a few photographs--do
you suppose maybe _baby_ Grdznth are lovable?"

"They probably look like salamanders," said Pete. "But tell the people
anything you want. If we're going to get across the sanctity of Grdznth
motherhood, my friend, anything goes."

"It's genius," chortled Tommy. "Sheer genius."

"If it sells," the senator added, dubiously.

"It'll sell," Pete said. "The question is: for how long?"

       *       *       *       *       *

The planning revealed the mark of genius. Nothing sudden, harsh, or
crude--but slowly, in a radio comment here or a newspaper story there,
the emphasis began to shift from Grdznth in general to Grdznth as
mothers. A Rutgers professor found his TV discussion on "Motherhood as
an Experience" suddenly shifted from 6:30 Monday evening to 10:30
Saturday night. Copy rolled by the ream from Tommy's office, refined
copy, hypersensitively edited copy, finding its way into the light of
day through devious channels.

Three days later a Grdznth miscarriage threatened, and was averted. It
was only a page 4 item, but it was a beginning.

Determined movements to expel the Grdznth faltered, trembled with
indecision. The Grdznth were ugly, they frightened little children, they
_were_ a trifle overbearing in their insufferable stubborn
politeness--but in a civilized world you just couldn't turn expectant
mothers out in the rain.

Not even expectant Grdznth mothers.

By the second week the blast was going at full tilt.

In the Public Relations Bureau building, machines worked on into the
night. As questionnaires came back, spot candid films and street-corner
interview tapes ran through the projectors on a twenty-four-hour
schedule. Tommy Heinz grew thinner and thinner, while Pete nursed sharp
post-prandial stomach pains.

"Why don't people _respond_?" Tommy asked plaintively on the morning the
third week started. "Haven't they got any feelings? The blast is washing
over them like a wave and there they sit!" He punched the private wire
to Analysis for the fourth time that morning. He got a man with a
hag-ridden look in his eye. "How soon?"

"You want yesterday's rushes?"

"What do you think I want? Any sign of a lag?"

"Not a hint. Last night's panel drew like a magnet. The D-Date tag you
suggested has them by the nose."

"How about the President's talk?"

The man from Analysis grinned. "He should be campaigning."

Tommy mopped his forehead with his shirtsleeve. "Okay. Now listen: we
need a special run on all response data we have for tolerance levels.
Got that? How soon can we have it?"

Analysis shook his head. "We could only make a guess with the data so
far."

"Fine," said Tommy. "Make a guess."

"Give us three hours," said Analysis.

"You've got thirty minutes. Get going."

Turning back to Pete, Tommy rubbed his hands eagerly. "It's starting to
sell, boy. I don't know how strong or how good, but it's starting to
sell! With the tolerance levels to tell us how long we can expect this
program to quiet things down, we can give Charlie a deadline to crack
his differential factor, or it's the ax for Charlie." He chuckled to
himself, and paced the room in an overflow of nervous energy. "I can see
it now. Open shafts instead of elevators. A quick hop to Honolulu for an
afternoon on the beach, and back in time for supper. A hundred miles to
the gallon for the Sunday driver. When people begin _seeing_ what the
Grdznth are giving us, they'll welcome them with open arms."

"Hmmm," said Pete.

"Well, why won't they? The people just didn't trust us, that was all.
What does the man in the street know about transmatters? Nothing. But
give him one, and then try to take it away."

"Sure, sure," said Pete. "It sounds great. Just a little bit _too_
great."

Tommy blinked at him. "Too great? Are you crazy?"

"Not crazy. Just getting nervous." Pete jammed his hands into his
pockets. "Do you realize where _we're_ standing in this thing? We're out
on a limb--way out. We're fighting for time--time for Charlie and his
gang to crack the puzzle, time for the Grdznth girls to gestate. But
what are we hearing from Charlie?"

"Pete, Charlie can't just--"

"That's right," said Pete. "_Nothing_ is what we're hearing from
Charlie. We've got no transmatter, no null-G, no power, nothing except a
whole lot of Grdznth and more coming through just as fast as they can.
I'm beginning to wonder what the Grdznth _are_ giving us."

"Well, they can't gestate forever."

"Maybe not, but I still have a burning desire to talk to Charlie.
Something tells me they're going to be gestating a little too long."

They put through the call, but Charlie wasn't answering. "Sorry," the
operator said. "Nobody's gotten through there for three days."

"Three days?" cried Tommy. "What's wrong? Is he dead?"

"Couldn't be. They burned out two more machines yesterday," said the
operator. "Killed the switchboard for twenty minutes."

"Get him on the wire," Tommy said. "That's orders."

"Yes, sir. But first they want you in Analysis."

Analysis was a shambles. Paper and tape piled knee-deep on the floor.
The machines clattered wildly, coughing out reams of paper to be gulped
up by other machines. In a corner office they found the Analysis man,
pale but jubilant.

"The Program," Tommy said. "How's it going?"

"You can count on the people staying happy for at least another five
months." Analysis hesitated an instant. "If they see some baby Grdznth
at the end of it all."

There was dead silence in the room. "Baby Grdznth," Tommy said finally.

"That's what I said. That's what the people are buying. That's what
they'd better get."

Tommy swallowed hard. "And if it happens to be six months?"

Analysis drew a finger across his throat.

Tommy and Pete looked at each other, and Tommy's hands were shaking. "I
think," he said, "we'd better find Charlie Karns right now."

       *       *       *       *       *

Math Section was like a tomb. The machines were silent. In the office at
the end of the room they found an unshaven Charlie gulping a cup of
coffee with a very smug-looking Grdznth. The coffee pot was floating
gently about six feet above the desk. So were the Grdznth and Charlie.

"Charlie!" Tommy howled. "We've been trying to get you for hours! The
operator--"

"I know, I know." Charlie waved a hand disjointedly. "I told her to go
away. I told the rest of the crew to go away, too."

"Then you cracked the differential?"

Charlie tipped an imaginary hat toward the Grdznth. "Spike cracked it,"
he said. "Spike is a sort of Grdznth genius." He tossed the coffee cup
over his shoulder and it ricochetted in graceful slow motion against the
far wall. "Now why don't you go away, too?"

Tommy turned purple. "We've got five months," he said hoarsely. "Do you
hear me? If they aren't going to have their babies in five months, we're
dead men."

Charlie chuckled. "Five months, he says. We figured the babies to come
in about three months--right, Spike? Not that it'll make much difference
to us." Charlie sank slowly down to the desk. He wasn't laughing any
more. "We're never going to see any Grdznth babies. It's going to be a
little too cold for that. The energy factor," he mumbled. "Nobody
thought of that except in passing. Should have, though, long ago. Two
completely independent universes, obviously two energy systems.
Incompatible. We were dealing with mass, space and dimension--but the
energy differential was the important one."

"What about the energy?"

"We're loaded with it. Super-charged. Packed to the breaking point and
way beyond." Charlie scribbled frantically on the desk pad. "Look, it
took energy for them to come through--immense quantities of energy.
Every one that came through upset the balance, distorted our whole
energy pattern. And they knew from the start that the differential was
all on their side--a million of them unbalances four billion of us. All
they needed to overload us completely was time for enough crossings."

"And we gave it to them." Pete sat down slowly, his face green. "Like a
rubber ball with a dent in the side. Push in one side, the other side
pops out. And we're the other side. When?"

"Any day now. Maybe any minute." Charlie spread his hands helplessly.
"Oh, it won't be bad at all. Spike here was telling me. Mean temperature
in only 39 below zero, lots of good clean snow, thousands of nice jagged
mountain peaks. A lovely place, really. Just a little too cold for
Grdznth. They thought Earth was much nicer."

"For them," whispered Tommy.

"For them," Charlie said.



Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from "Tiger by the Tail and Other Science
    Fiction Stories by Alan E. Nourse" and was first published in
    _Galaxy_ October 1956. Extensive research did not uncover any
    evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.
    Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without
    note.





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