Anderson, Poul - Call Me Joe by Anderson Poul

Anderson, Poul - Call Me Joe by Anderson Poul

Author:Anderson, Poul
Language: eng
Format: epub

In the long brazen sunset light, beneath dusky cloud banks brood-ing storm, he strode up the hill slope with a sense of day’s work done.

Across his back, two woven baskets balanced each other, one laden with the pungent black fruit of the thorn tree and one with cable-thick creepers to be used as rope. The ax on his shoulder caught the waning sunlight and tossed it blindingly back.

It had not been hard labor, but weariness dragged at his mind and he did not relish the household chores yet to be performed, cooking and cleaning and all the rest. Why couldn’t they hurry up and get him some helpers?

His eyes sought the sky resentfully. Moon Five was hidden; down here, at the bottom of the air ocean, you saw nothing but the sun and the four Galilean satellites. He wasn’t even sure where Five was just now, in relation to himself.Wait a minute, it’s sunsethere,but i/I went out to the viewdome i’d see Jupiter in the last quarter, or would 1, oh, hell, it only takes us half an Earthdayto swingaround theplanet anyhow—Joe shook his head. After all this time, it was stifi damnably hard, now and then, to keep his thoughts straight.I, the essential I, am up in heaven, riding Jupiter Five between cold stars. Rememberthat.Open your eyes, if you will, and seethedead control room super-imposed on a living hillside.

He didn’t, though. Instead, he regarded the boulders strewn wind-blasted gray over the tough mossy vegetation of the slope. They were not much like Earth rocks, nor was the soil beneath his feet like ter-restrial humus.

For a moment Anglesey speculated on the origin of the silicates, aluminates, and other stony compounds.

Theoretically, all such ma-terials should be inaccessibly locked in the Jovian core, down where the pressure got vast enough for atoms to buckle and collapse. Above the core should lie thousands of miles of allotropic ice, and then the metallic-hydrogen layer. There should not be complex minerals this far up,

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but there were.

Well, possibly Jupiter had formed according to theory, but had thereafter sucked enough cosmic dust, meteors, gases and vapors down its great throat of gravitation to form a crust several miles thick. Or more likely the theory was altogether wrong. What did they know, whatcouldthey know, the soft pale worms of Earth?

Anglesey stuck his—Joe’s—fingers in his mouth and whistled. A baying sounded in the brush, and two midnight forms leaped toward him. He grinned and stroked their heads; training was progressing faster than he’d hoped, with these pups of the black caterpillar beasts he had taken. They would make guardians for him, herders, servants. On the crest of the hill, Joe was building himself a home. He had

logged off an acre of ground and erected a stockade. Within the grounds there now stood a lean-to for himself and his stores, a methane well, and the beginnings of a large, comfortable cabin.

But there was too much work for one being. Even with the half-intelligent caterpillars to help, and with cold storage for meat, most of his time would still go to hunting.


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