By Robert Silverberg
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Additional resources for Earthmen & Strangers: Nine Stories of Science Fiction
After five minutes of that sort of thing, Zandoplith said: "That's enough, Your Splendor; it checks out; his nervous system wasn't affected by the pain. " "From now on, you will answer truthfully," Thagobar said. "Otherwise, you will be punished again. " "Perfectly clear," said Magruder. Although his voice sounded perfectly calm, Magruder, on the other side of the transparent wall, felt just a trifle shaky. He would have to think quickly and carefully from now on. He didn't believe he'd care to take too much time in answering, either.
You know what I mean. When he came up to us and stared soulfully into our eyes. He was trying to form a new gestalt—out of us! " "He couldn't do it, though," Willendorf said fervently. "Of course not. Human beings don't have whatever need it is that forced those people to merge. " "He just couldn't do it," Willendorf repeated. "No. And then he ran out of strength," I said somberly, feeling the heavy weight of my guilt. "He was like an organ removed from a living body. It can exist for a little while by itself, but not indefinitely.
With a quick shift of viewpoint, Magruder thought of Mars, so many light-years away. There had been a scientific outpost on Mars for a long time, but it was a devil of a long way from being a habitable planet. " Before Thagobar could ask anything else, another thought occurred to the Earthman. The thousand-inch telescope on Luna had discovered, spectroscopically, the existence of large planets in the Andromeda Nebula. " There! That ought to confuse them! Again the sound was cut off, and Magruder could see the two aliens in hot discussion.