By ROBERT SHECKLEY
Destroying the spirit of the enemy is the goal of war and the aliens had the best way!
THEY never did discover whose fault it was. Fannia pointed out that if Donnaught had had the brains
Of an ox, as well as the build, he would have remembered to check the tanks. Donnaught, although twice
As big as him, wasn’t quite as fast with an insult. He intimated, after a little thought, that Fannia’s nose
Might have obstructed his reading of the fuel guage.
This still left them twenty light-years from Thetis, with a cupful of transformer fuel in the emergency
“All right,” Fannia said presitly. “What’s done is done. We can squeeze about three light years out of
The fuel before we’re back on atomics. Hand me The Galactic Pilot – unless you forgot that, too.”
Donnaught dragged the bulky microfilm volume out of its locker, and they explored its pages.
The Galactic Pilot told them they were in a sparse, seldom-visited section of space, which they
Already knew. The nearest planetary system was Hatterfield; no intelligent life there. Sersus had a native
Population, but no refueling facilities. The same with Illed, Hung and Porderai.
“Ah-ha!” Fannia said. “Read that, Donnaught. If you can read, that is.”
“Cascella,” Donnaught read, slowly and clearly, following the line with a thick forefinger. “Type M
Sun. Three planets, intelligent (AA3C) human-type life on second. Oxygen-breathers. Non-mechanical.
Religious. Friendly. Unique social structure, described in Galactic Survey Report 33877242. Population
Estimate: stable at three billion. Basic Cascellan vocabulary taped under Cas33b2. Scheduled for
Resurvey 2375A. D. Cache of transformer fuel left, beam coordinate 8741 kgl. Physical descript : Unocc.
fuel, boy!” Fannia said gleefully. “I believe we will get to Thetis, after all.” He punched
The new direction on the ship’s tape. “If that fuel’s still there.”
“Should we read up on the unique social structure?” Donnaught asked, still poring over The Galactic
“Certainly,” Fannia said. “Just step over to the main galactic base on Earth and buy me a copy.”
“I forgot,” Donnaught admitted slowly.
“Let me see,” Fannia said, dragging out the ship’s language library. “Cascellan, Cascellan… Here it is.
Be good while I learn the language.” He set the tape in the hypnophone and switched it on. “Another
Useless tongue in my overstuffed head,” he murmured, and then the hypnophone took over.
COMING out of transformer with at least a drop of fuel left, they switched to atomics. Fannia rode
The beam right across the planet, locating the slender metal spire of the Galactic Survey cache. The plain
Was no longer unoccupied, however, The Cascellans had built a city around the cache, and the spire
Dominated the crude wood-and-mud buildings.
“Hang on,” Fannia said, and brought the ship down on the outskirts of the city, in a field of stubble.
“Now look,” Fannia said, unfastening his safety belt. “We’re just here for fuel. No souvenirs, no
Side-trips, no fraternizing.”
Through the port, they could see a cloud of dust from the city. As it came closer, they made out
Figures running toward their ship.
“What do you think this unique social structure is?” Donnaught asked, pensively checking the charge
In a needler gun.
“I know not and care less,” Fannia said, struggling into space armor. “Get dressed.”
“The air’s breathable.”
“Look, pachyderm, for all we know, these Cascellans think the proper way to greet visitors is to