By Frederik Pohl
Wealth ...or dying. these have been the alternatives Gateway provided. people had found this man made spaceport, filled with operating interstellar ships left at the back of by means of the mysterious, vanished Heechee. Their locations are preprogrammed. they're effortless to function, yet most unlikely to regulate. a few got here again with discoveries which made their intrepid pilots wealthy; others lower back with their continues to be slightly identifiable. It used to be the last word online game of Russian roulette, yet during this resource-starved destiny there has been no scarcity of determined volunteers.
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Extra info for Gateway (Sf Masterworks 09)
Perhaps they are the same thing. 322 ,S, I don't know why I keep 17,095 coming back to you 17,100 Sigfrid. WHY. 17,110 324 ,C, I remind you, Robby, 17,115 you've already used up 17,120 three stomachs and, let me 17,125 see, nearly five meters 17,130 of intestine. 17,135 325 ,C, Ulcers, cancer. 17,140 328 ,C, Something appears to be 17,145 eating away at you, 17,150 Bob. 17,155 Chapter 4 So there was Gateway, getting bigger and bigger in the ports of the ship up from Earth: An asteroid. Or perhaps the nucleus of a comet.
That's how naive I was then. KEEPING GATEWAY GOING In order to meet the costs of maintaining Gateway, all persons are required to pay a daily per-capita assessment for air, temperature control, administration, and other services. If you are a guest, this cost is included in your hotel bill. Rates for other persons are posted. The tax may be prepaid up to one year in advance if desired. Failure to pay the daily per-capita tax will result in immediate expulsion from Gateway. Note: Availability of a ship to receive expelled persons cannot be guaranteed.
Then you pile out of the bucket and slip and stumble on the duckboards for a kilometer or more till you come to the working face. You drill your shaft. You set your charges. Then you back out into a cul-de-sac while they blast, hoping you figured it right and the whole reeking, oily mass doesn't come down on you. (If you're buried alive you can live up to a week in the loose shale. People have. ) Then, if everything has gone all right, you dodge the handling loaders as they come creeping in on their tracks, on your way to the next face.