By Poul Anderson
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Additional info for A Stone In Heaven
Banner took a protracted sip. Her free hand fumbled in her sash pocket for a cigarette case. " "Hoy? " Runeberg drew breath for an argument. "Maybe he is being ungenerous. We could afford it. But he may well deem--in fact, you've quoted him to me to that effect--that our duty to ourselves is overriding. Hermes isn't poor, but it's not the rich, powerful world it used to be, either, and we're developing plenty of problems, both domestic and vis-a-vis the Imperium. " Banner started her smoke before she said bitterly, "Yes, he must feel insecure, yes, indeed.
In between adventures and enjoyments, an Intelligence officer--a spy--must needs do a vast amount of grubby foundation-laying. He sought the fancier office and keyed for information on Edwin Cairncross, Grand Duke of Hermes. That meant a historical and social review of the planet itself. The sun, Maia (not to be confused with giant 20 Tauri), was in Sector Antares. Its attendants included a terrestroid globe which had been colonized early on, largely by northern Europeans. Basic conditions, including biology, were homelike enough that the settlement did well.
Between, the thick extensors did more than help support the body; they gripped, pulled, shoved, let go, seized hold afresh on the ground. Aft of the hump where saddles or packs were, dorsal fins wagged, black triangles as high as a rider's head. Sweat gleamed on gray skin, sparse brown hair, big ears. Breath went loud, harsh, in and out of muzzles. Thews pulsed to the rocking motion. Yewwl topped the ridge and glanced aloft. Sharply through the thin, clear air of the heights, she saw her goal. The tomb of Kulembarach stood on a ledge a third of the way up the mountainside.
A Stone In Heaven by Poul Anderson