Arthur C. Clarke
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Two hundred years after humans first touched down on the surface of the Moon, there are permanent settlements there—as well as on Venus and Mars. The inhabitants of these colonies have formed their own political alliance: the Federation.
On the Moon, a government agent from Earth is hunting a suspected spy at a prominent observatory. He is caught up in the larger political struggle between Earth’s government and that of the Federation, and ultimately must struggle for his life—in the beautiful and barren landscape of the Moon under Earth’s light.
from the Audit Bureau.” “Humph. Think we’re wasting money here?” “That’s for someone else to decide. I’ve only got to find how you spend it, not why.” “Well, you’re going to have some fun. Everyone here can make out a good case for spending twice as much money as they get. And I’d like to know how the devil you’ll put a price tag on pure scientific research.” Sadler had been wondering that for some time, but thought it best not to attempt any further explanations. His story had been accepted
unpleasant possibilities; and recollections of what he had read about spies, solitary confinement and brick walls at dawn rose up to comfort him. They were led to a smoothly fitting door in the curve of the great dome, and found themselves inside the space formed by the outer wall and an inner, concentric hemisphere. The two shells, as far as could be seen, were spaced apart by an intricate webbing of some transparent plastic. Even the floor underfoot was made of the same substance. This,
Earth. The cold, green-lit plain lifted to meet them: a range of low hills, dwarfs beside the mountains they had left behind, broke the skyline ahead. Once again, the uncannily near horizon of this little world began to close in upon them. They were back at “sea” level…. Sadler followed Molton through the curtains and into the cabin, where the steward was setting out trays for his small company. “Do you always have as few passengers as this?” asked Sadler. “I shouldn’t think it was a very
whole ship was surrounded by a faint halo of light, brought to incandescence only where the weapons of the fortress tore against it. It was some time before he realized that there were two other ships in the sky, each shielded by its own flaming nimbus. Now the battle was beginning to take shape; each side had cautiously tested its defenses and its weapons, and only now had the real trial of strength begun. The two astronomers stared in wonder at the moving fireballs of the ships. Here was
Observatory had been destroyed. They dared not set out on foot until they were sure they had somewhere to go—and Ferdinand was now too radioactive to be a safe refuge. Sadler was in communications trying to find out what was happening, when the message came through. Jamieson, sounding very tired, gave a brief report of the battle and asked for instructions. “What’s the radiation reading inside the cab?” Maclaurin asked. Jamieson called back the figures: it still seemed strange to Sadler that