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Future combined with Science Fiction Stories

May/June 1950

The woman was known at the "glowing girl" because of the visible aura surrounding her.

Battle of the Unborn

by James Blish

There was a hidden war going on, war between the mutants and "normal" men. But only a few of the mutants could be recognized, and no "normal" man could be sure about his neighbor...

DR. BARNES stood reflectively before the heavy oak door, his hand resting lightly upon the handle. In a way, he was reluctant to go inside and face what was to come; and yet, at the same time, he was fiercely eager to have it over and done with.

This was the show-down meeting. If it did not evolve into that, Barnes was ready to force it. His left hand carried a briefcase full of aces.

A hand touched him lightly on the shoulder. "Dr, Barnes—"

"Eh? Oh, it's you, Ling. What have you found?"

The Chinese technician, only very lately discovered among the long-scattered children of the labor gangs the Japanese had imported, made a curious gesture, as of a woman working a crude loom. "Everywhere. It is as we suspected, Dr. Barnes. I have tapped walls on every floor, and—in each one, I find the web."

"Have you tried cutting it?" Barnes asked.

"Certainly," Han Ling said. "But it will not cut. Anything powerful enough to sever the strands would doubtless destroy the girders of the building as well."

Barnes frowned. Han stood silently, waiting for orders, stroking one lobeless ear absent-mindedly.

"And no current flowing in it? But Ling, that's hardly likely. It can't be putting out all that radiation from nothing. See if the power's being broadcast in. As a last resort, try an Ehrenhaft test."

"Enrenhaft? But—very well, Dr. Barnes." The young Chinese padded away. Barnes watched him until he disappeared into the polite maw of an elevator. Then, with a sudden, decisive gesture, he turned the handle and went in.

It was rather an anticlimax to find the big conference room still deserted. Barnes put his briefcase carefully upon the table before his usual seat, made su...

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