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Amazing Stories April-May 1953.

Turnover Point

by Alfred Coppel

Pop Ganlon was no hero—he was only a spaceman. A spaceman and a father. In fact, Pop was rather no-account, even in a profession that abounded with drifters. He had made a meagre living prospecting asteroids and hauling light freight and an occasional passenger out in the Belt Region. Coffee and cakes, nothing more. Not many people knew Pop had a son in the Patrol, and even fewer knew it when the boy was blasted to a cinder in a back alley in Lower Marsport.

Pop went on eating and breathing, but his life was over after that. He hit the bottle a little harder and his ship, The Luck, grew rustier and tackier, and those were the only outward signs that Pop Ganlon was a living dead man. He kept on grubbing among the cold rocks and pushing The Luck from Marsport to Callisto and back with whatever low-mass payloads he could pick up. He might have lived out his string of years like that, obscure and alone, if it hadn't been for John Kane. Kane was Pop Ganlon's ticket to a sort of personal immortality—if there is such a thing for an old spaceman.

It was in Yakki, down-canal from Marsport, that Kane found Pop. There is a small spaceport there—a boneyard, really—for buckets whose skippers can't pay the heavy tariff imposed by the big ramp. All the wrecks nest there while waiting hopefully for a payload or a grubstake. They have all of Solis Lacus for a landing field, and if they spill it doesn't matter much. The drifting red sands soon cover up the scattered shards of dural and the slow,...

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