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Chapter 1
 The protozoic recorder chirped like a bird. Not only would there be life traces on that little moon, but it would be a lively place. So they skipped several steps in the procedure. The chordata discerner read Positive over most of the surface. There was spinal fluid on that orb, rivers of it. So again they omitted several tests and went to the cognition scanner. Would it show Thought on the body?
Naturally they did not get results at once, nor did they expect to; it required a fine adjustment. But they were disappointed that they found nothing for several hours as they hovered high over the rotation. Then it came—clearly and definitely, but from quite a small location only.
"Limited," said Steiner, "as though within a pale. As though there were but one city, if that is its form. Shall we follow the rest of the surface to find another, or concentrate on this? It'll be twelve hours before it's back in our ken if we let it go now."
"Let's lock on this one and finish the scan. Then we can do the rest of the world to make sure we've missed nothing," said Stark.
There was one more test to run, one very tricky and difficult of analysis, that with the Extraordinary Perception Locator. This was designed simply to locate a source of superior thought. But this might be so varied or so unfamiliar that often both the machine and the designer of it were puzzled as to how to read the results.
The E. P. Locator had been designed by Glaser. But when the Locator had refused to read Positive when turned on the inventor himself, bad blood developed between machine and man. Glaser knew that he had extraordinary perception. He was a much honored man in his field. He told the machine so heatedly.
The machine replied, with such warmth that its relays chattered, that Glaser did not have extraordinary perception; he had only ordinary perception to an extraordinary degree. There is a difference, the machine insisted.
It was for this reason that Glaser used that model no more, but built others more amenable. And it was for this reason also that the owners of Little Probe had acquired the original machine so cheaply.
And there was no denying that the Extraordinary Perception Locator (or Eppel) was a contrary machine. On Earth it had read Positive on a number of crack-pots, including Waxey Sax, a jazz tootler who could not even read music. But it had also read Positive on ninety per cent of the acknowledged superior minds of the Earth. In space it had been a sound guide to the unusual intelligences encountered. Yet on Suzuki-Mi it had read Positive on a two-inch-long worm, only one of them out of billions. For the countless identical worms no trace of anything at all was shown by the test.
So it was with mixed expectations that Steiner locked onto the area and got a flick. He then narrowed to a smaller area (apparently one individual, though this could not be certain) and got very definite action. Eppel was busy. The machine had a touch of the ham in it, and assumed an air of importance when it ran these tests.
Finally it signaled the result, the most exasperating result it ever produces: the single orange light. It was the equivalent of the shrug of the shoulders in a man. They called it the "You tell me light."
So among the intelligences there was at least one that might be extraordinary, though possibly in a crackpot way. It is good to be forewarned.
"Scan the remainder of the world, Steiner," said Stark, "and the rest of us will get some sleep. If you find no other spot then we will go down on that one the next time it is in position under us, in about twelve hours."
"You don't want to visit any of the other areas first? Somewhere away from the thoughtful creature?"
"No. The rest of the world may be dangerous. There must be a reason that thought is in one spot only. If we find no others then we will go down boldly and visit this."
So they all, except Steiner, went off to their bunks then: Stark, the Captain; Gregory Gilbert, the executive officer; Wolfgang Langweilig, the engineer; Casper Craig, super-cargo, tycoon and 51% owner of the Little Probe, and F. R. Briton, S.J., a Jesuit priest who was linguist and checker champion of the craft.
Dawn did not come to the moon-town. The Little Probe hovered stationary in the light and the moon-town came up under the dawn. Then the Probe went down to visit whatever was there.
"There's no town," said Steiner. "Not a building. Yet we're on the track of the minds. There's nothing but a meadow and some boscage, a sort of fountain or pool, and four streams coming out of it."
"Keep on towards the minds," said Stark. "They're our target."
"Not a building, not two sticks or stones placed together. That looks like an Earth-type sheep there. And that looks like an Earth-lion, I'm almost afraid to say. And those two ... why, they could well be Earth-people. But with a difference. Where is that bright light coming from?"
"I don't know, but they're right in the middle of it. Land here. We'll go to meet them at once. Timidity has never been an efficacious tool with us."
Well, they were people. And one could only wish that all people were like them. There was a man and a woman, and they were clothed either in very bright garments or in no garments at all, but only in a very bright light.
"Talk to them, Father Briton," said Stark. "You are the linguist."
"Howdy," said the priest.
He may or may not have been understood, but the two of them smiled at him, so he went on.
"Father Briton from Philadelphia," he said, "on detached service. And you, my good man, what is your handle, your monicker, your tag?"
"Ha-Adamah," said the man.
"And your daughter, or niece?"
It may be that the shining man frowned momentarily at this; but the woman smiled, proving that she was human.
"The woman is named Hawwah," said the man. "The sheep is named sheep, the lion is named lion, the horse is named horse and the hoolock is named hoolock."
"I understand. It is possible that this could go on and on. How is it that you use the English tongue?"
"I have only one tongue; but it is given to us to be understood by all; by the eagle, by the squirrel, by the ass, by the English."
"We happen to be bloody Yankees, but we use a borrowed tongue. You wouldn't have a drink on you for a tubful of thirsty travellers, would you?"
"The fountain."
"Ah—I see."
But the crew all drank of the fountain to be sociable. It was water, but water that excelled, cool and with all its original bubbles like the first water ever made.
"What do you make of them?" asked Stark.
"Human," said Steiner. "It may even be that they are a little more than human. I don't understand that light that surrounds them. And they seem to be clothed, as it were, in dignity."
"And very little else," said Father Briton, "though that light trick does serve a purpose. But I'm not sure they'd pass in Philadelphia."
"Talk to them again," said Stark. "You're the linguist."
"That isn't necessary here, Captain. Talk to them yourself."
"Are there any other people here?" Stark asked the man.
"The two of us. Man and woman."
"But are there any others?"
"How would there be any others? What other kind of people could there be than man and woman?"
"But is there more than one man or woman?"
"How could there be more than one of anything?"
The captain was a little puzzled by this, but he went on doggedly: "Ha-Adamah, what do you think that we are? Are we not people?"
"You are not anything till I name you. But I will name you and then you can be. You are named Captain. He is named Priest. He is named Engineer. He is named Flunky."
"Thanks a lot," said Steiner.
"But are we not people?" persisted Captain Stark.
"No. We are the people. There are no people but two. How could there be other people?"
"And the damnest thing about it," muttered Langweilig, "is, how are you going to prove him wrong? But it does give you a small feeling."
"Can we have something to eat?" asked the Captain.
"Pick from the trees," said Ha-Adamah, "and then it may be that you will want to sleep on the grass. Being not of human nature (which does not need sleep or rest), it may be that you require respite. But you are free to enjoy the garden and its fruits."
"We will," said Captain Stark.
They wandered about the place, but they were uneasy. There were the animals. The lion and lioness were enough to make one cautious, though they offered no harm. The two bears had a puzzling look, as though they wanted either to frolic with you or to mangle you.
"If there are only two people here," said Casper Craig, "then it may be that the rest of the world is not dangerous at all. It looked fertile wherever we scanned it, though not so fertile as this central bit. And those rocks would bear examining."
"Flecked with gold, and possibly with something else," said Stark. "A very promising site."
"And everything grows here," added Steiner. "Those are Earth-fruits and I never saw finer. I've tasted the grapes and plums and pears. The figs and dates are superb, the quince is as flavorsome as a quince can be, the cherries are ............
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