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Starman's Quest
written by "Mack, Stan"
...erhaps five minutes and returned with an old, fragile, almost impossibly delicate-looking book. Alan took it and scanned the opening page. There were the words he had read so many times: "The present system of interstellar travel is so grossly inefficient as to be virtually inoperable on an absolute level." "Yes, that's the book. I'll take it." His first stop on his round-the-globe jaunt was London, where Cavour had been born and educated more than thirteen centuries before. The stratoliner made the trip across the Atlantic in a little less than three hours; it took half an hour more by Overshoot from the airport to the heart of London. Somehow, from Cavour's few autobiographical notes, Alan had pictured London as a musty old town, picturesque, reeking of medieval history. He couldn't have been more wrong. Sleek towers of plastic and concrete greeted him. Overshoots roared by the tops of the buildings. A busy network of bridges connected them.[156] He went in search of Cavour's old home in Bayswater, with the nebulous idea of finding some important document wedged in the woodwork. But a local security officer shook his head as Alan asked for directions. "Sorry, lad. I've never heard of that street. Why don't you try the information robot up there?" The information robot was a blocky green-skinned synthetic planted in a kiosk in the middle of a broad well-paved street. Alan approached and gave the robot Cavour's thirteen-century-old address. "There is no record of any such address in the current files," the steely voice informed him. "No. It's an old address. It dates back to at least 2570. A man named Cavour lived there." The robot digested the new data; relays hummed softly within it as it scanned its memory banks. Finally it grunted, "Data on the address you seek has been reached." "Fine! Where's the house?" "The entire district was demolished during the general rebuilding of London in 2982-2997. Nothing...

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