By Jules Verne
This reproduction of Jules Verne's "Off on a Comet" is sourced through an internet college Library.
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Additional info for Off on a Comet! a Journey through Planetary Space
A small courtyard had been roofed over with smoked plastic that made it gloomy even under a See-Why noon, and the plastic itself was set with thin pipes that sprayed a constant fine mist. In the middle of the yard a rath had been built of reeds. An attempt to grow fungi had been made on the patch of ground surrounding it. Dom pulled aside the drenched door-curtain and stooped inside. Hrsh-Hgn was sitting in a shallow bath of tepid water, reading a cube by the light of a fish-oil lamp. He waved one double-jointed hand at Dom and swivelled one eye towards him.
His fingers sought for the right spot. He found it. The shell stopped its frenzied rush through the wavetops, hitting the water again with a slap that jarred Dom’s teeth. The sail wavered uncertainly. Dom continued stroking until the creature was soothed and then stood up. It didn’t count unless you stood up. The best dagon fishers could ride a shell with their toes. How he had envied them – and how carefully he had watched from the family barge on feast days, when the fishermen came in two or three hundred abreast on their half-tame shells with See-Why setting, a bright purple star, into the sea.
Dom knelt and kissed it. ‘So,’ she said, ‘enter the master of the world. ’ ‘Isaac, my lady,’ said Dom. ’ ‘But of course,’ said Vian, ‘we are all of us in chains, even if they be only of chance and entropy. ’ ‘You have a fine grasp of essentials,’ said Isaac, bowing. ‘And you are presumptuous, robot. But I thank you. Dom, I wish you would donate that swamp creature to a museum or a zoo or something. ’ Ig scratched himself and sniffed – then gave a long drawn-out hiss. Dom looked over his mother’s shoulder and caught the eye of a tall man in a long blue cloak, who wore a heavy gold collar at his neck.