The Good Neighbors

Cover of book The Good Neighbors
Categories: Fiction » Classic

The ship was sighted a few times, briefly and without a good fix. It wasspherical, the estimated diameter about twenty-seven miles, and was inan orbit approximately 3400 miles from the surface of the


Earth. No oneobserved the escape from it.The ship itself occasioned some excitement, but back there at thetattered end of the 20th century, what was one visiting spaceship moreor less? Others had appeared before, and gone away discouraged--or justnot bothering. 3-dimensional TV was coming out of the experimentalstage. Soon anyone could have Dora the Doll or the Grandson of Tarzansmack in his own living-room. Besides, it was a hot summer.The first knowledge of the escape came when the region of Seattlesuffered an eclipse of the sun, which was not an eclipse but a nearshadow, which was not a shadow but a thing. The darkness drifted out ofthe northern Pacific. It generated thunder without lightning and withoutrain. When it had moved eastward and the hot sun reappeared, windfollowed, a moderate gale. The coast was battered by sudden high waves,then hushed in a bewilderment of fog.Before that appearance, radar had gone crazy for an hour.The atmosphere buzzed with aircraft. They went up in readiness to shoot,but after the first sighting reports only a few miles offshore, thatorder was vehemently canceled--someone in charge must have had a grainof sense. The thing was not a plane, rocket or missile. It was ananimal.If you shoot an animal that resembles an inflated gas-bag with wings,and the wingspread happens to be something over four miles tip to tip,and the carcass drops on a city--it's not nice for the city.The Office of Continental Defense deplored the lack of precedent. Butactually none was needed. You just don't drop four miles of dead ordying alien flesh on Seattle or any other part of a swarming homeland

The Good Neighbors
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