Slaves of the Klau
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The story concerns a man who's abducted from Earth, along with an extraterrestrial visitor, during a raid by the slave-taking Klau. The two are taken, along with the other slaves, to one of the Klau planets, an eerie machine-world where the only open space is in the mountains and the sea, where the upper atmosphere is shrouded with industrial fumes, where the single world-city is filled with the cacophony of heavy machines manufacturing other machines, where the night is brightly lit with furnace flares and electric lights. Here they escape, jumping out the cargo hatch when their spaceship is coming in for a landing, using the extraterrestrial's levitation shoes to avoid being killed by the fall. They land in an isolated mountain district some distance from a mine, where they join a group of escaped slaves, who are more or less tolerated by the Klau, who enjoy hunting them for recreation.
on a rock, licked his fingers. "It even tastes good." Komeitk Lelianr ate without comment. "It's not too filling," said Barch, "but we won't starve today." He looked back to the green thorn-berries. "They didn't taste good-but I don't feel any pangs yet." He covered over the fire. "Now we'd better explore." A distant explosion jarred the air. Echoes rumbled away down the valley. "What's that?" Komeitk Lelianr stood listening. "Probably there's a stone quarry somewhere over a mountain." Barch
drifted. Colored flares fumed and dazzled; the air rolled with sound: clanging, chugging, roaring, hissing. Tick flew confidently, almost happily, as if he were in a favorite stamping-ground. Barch shook his head in wonder, giving grudging respect to a brain which so casually encompassed and accepted this appalling bedlam. The raft halted. Tick gestured with a hand like a monkey-paw. "That's it." They hung over what appeared to be a funnel of concentric terraces, vast as a crater, shining with
leaden rings of light. A great black building, diamond-shaped, hung precariously over the gap, the sharp corner reaching to the center. Pillars of green light, like thick neon-tubes, rose from each of the steps into the building. The diamond-shaped building expanded, the funnel opened out like a target. "Hold it!" cried Barch. "Are you going to land on that roof?" Tick waved his arm in a kind of lunatic light-hearted reassurance. "That's where the loaded barges come out; you want a loaded one›
be interminably long. The barges are insufficiently powered to generate second-order acceleration; you would float clumsily through first-order space, the deck pushing at your feet." "Five years in space is no worse than five years on Magarak. At the end of five years we're home. And maybe you can work out some system to give us more speed." The Lenape muttered nervously. "A grand concept. Is it practicable?" Barch said angrily, "You don't act like you want to get home." "No, no-Lenau is life
to us!" "A few months ago a dozen Lenape escaped Magarak." "A simple affair for them; they merely bred a secret blister into the rind of the space-ship; that was all there was to it… None of this painful fitting and piecing and improving." "Any fool can spear fish in a barrel." And Barch said in a disgusted voice, "Are you with me or not?" The little round men muttered anxiously together, all speaking at once. Barch failed to understand how communication of any sort was possible. The