A Time For Revenge can be found in

ISFDB.org Magazine Entry


Vol. 1 — No. 5 October. 1937



The Vordillans were alien beings, human but alien.
They thought in different categories, and a Terran
had to respect this vital difference in their life

FENTON didn't have much to go by when he landed on Vordil IX. but he thought it would be enough to find the alien who had killed his brother. The Vordillans, like any aliens, looked pretty much alike to a Terran—angle-bodied lemon-colored leathery men with dark black fur collars sprouting round their throats—but Fenton had a few stray scraps of description, of differentiation, to cling to.

The Terran liner angled down out of the skies and left Fenton at the spaceport, half a mile out of the main settlement. Immediately three bright-yellow Vordillans came scuttling toward him, and asked with their clicking ac cents if they could carry his baggage into town.

Almost automatically he looked them over, looking for the pale grey forehead-stripe and the reddening of the collar that marked the one who had killed Jamie. But these were ordinary Vordillans. He picked the least ugly and handed over his bags; the other two melted into the crowd.

The baggage-boy hailed a two-passenger cab that took them to town. "Staying long?" he asked Fenton.

"As long as I need to." Broodingly, Fenton stared out at the alien scene, at the blueblack carpet of grass and the needle-thin trees on both sides of the road. "I'm on vacation. Spending a couple of months touring the galaxy."

"You will enjoy Vordil IX, sir."

Jamie took his vacation here, Fenton thought. And one of these little clowns killed him.

As they rode into town, Fenton tried to remember the last time he had seen his younger brother. Jamie had been big, topping Fenton's six-two by at least two inches, and there had been something warm and smiling about him that the older brother had never had.

And now Jamie was dead. But a friend of Jamie's had sent word to Fenton, who had been living on Aquillon VII, and Fenton was here to even the score for Jamie.

The cab rumbled into a hot little town of square little buildings strung out in endless rows. "Do you have a hotel reservation, sir?" the baggage-boy asked.

Fenton told him the name of the hotel; the boy repeated it to the driver in Vordillan, clicking it out. The cab veered sharply to the left. They jounced down a rutted road and stopped before a building somewhat more imposing than the rest. Its gray sides seemed 1o be made of slabs of mud. Hanging over the entrance was a gaudy sign:

— Terrans Welcomed —

The baggage-boy flipped open the side of the cab—the whole thing lifted away, like the top of a trapdoor spider's home—and dragged Fentons baggage out into the street. Fenton handed the driver an octagonal Vordillan coin, received three tiny slivers of metal in change, and followed the baggage-boy into the hotel.

A chubby Terran stood just within, wearing seersuckers and sweating heavily. He grinned as Fenton entered.

"You Fenton?"

"That's right. McGill?"

The fat man nodded. "Glad to see you got here. I was wondering whether you'd bother to come."

"He was my brother," Fenton said quietly.

A Vordillan came bustling up to him, jingling keys. "I am the proprietor," he said. "You are Mr. Fenton? Come—I shall show you your room."

Fenton glanced at McGill. "Why don't you come along with us? I'd like to talk to you."

THE room was small and very square; a filter-stat kept the dusty Vordillan air circulating, but otherwise there was no real air conditioning. A hell of a planet, Fenton thought. A hell of a place for a man to die.

McGill was sitting on the edge of the bed, sweating. Fenton said, "You were the last to see my brother alive, weren't you?"

"That's so. Jamie stayed at this hotel; we were very friendly." Perspiration oozed down McGill's flabby cheeks. "I saw him just before he was —killed. The alien came and got him in the hotel bar. They left together. Only ...

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