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ISFDB.org Magazine Entry



Imagination Stories of Science and Fantasy February 1953.

The Invader

by Alfred Coppel

The Triomed advanced stealthily across the floor of the dark cell toward the sleeping figure huddled in the corner. After the long, lonely voyage, the nearness to a host filled the Triomed with eager anticipation.

The tiny spaceship that had carried him into this lush planetary system far from the galaxy's heart lay well hidden behind him. So far as he could tell, his descent had not been detected, and that was as it should be—for he was a Triomed and a scientist. One of the finest in the service of his dying race. Dying that is, until now, he thought. No longer would the race of Triomeds weaken and die for lack of suitable hosts. This third planet of the yellow sun was a paradise thick with warm-blooded biped mammals... .

 

The sleeping creature stirred uneasily, as though sensing the approach of danger. The Triomed froze into immobility. It was unlikely that he could be seen, he knew, though the sense of sight was only a synthesized abstraction to him. It was not one of his own proper senses, but he had been able to detect at long distance that almost every living creature on this planet received impressions through certain specialized organs mounted on and within their structure. There were plants, of course, as there were on Triom, but they were unimportant.

There were viruses, too, and he had been afraid when he had discovered this fact that he had arrived too late. But the first attempts at establishing communication had relieved the Triomed of his fears. The indigenous viruses were primitive; not at all like his own illustrious ancestors of ancient Triom.

The sleeping biped relaxed and the Triomed inched forward again, a flat, almost two dimensional smear of glistening matter on the floor in front of the biped.

From high above the planet's night side, the Triomed had sensed the city. He had absorbed its shape and size and meaning while his craft settled through the heavy, oxygen-rich air. It was not enough that his instruments told of suitable hosts. He was a scientist and believed in absolute proof. Also, he had been in space long—without the sat...

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