By C. J. Cherryh

"Set within the related destiny because the Hugo-winning Downbelow Station, yet totally self-contained, this can be a tale at the vintage subject of human figuring out of the alien. . . . once more, Cherryh proves herself a regularly considerate and exciting writer."--Publishers Weekly. Reissue.

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It headed out the best way Ruffles could head out if startled indoors…and it knew the best way. It went towards the breeze. She sucked in wind back, obtained to fingers and knees and scrambled after—up and up a humid earth slope, blind, retaining low for worry of hitting her head if she tried to face. And a dim gentle grew forward, a brighter and brighter mild. She broke out into the sunlight blind and wiping at her eyes…saw stream then, and appeared apart. She scrambled to her toes, seeing a human shape—seeing the azi-born younger guy crouched there, the 1st who had touched her. by myself. “Where are the remainder of them? ” she requested. “Hiding up there? ” there has been brush adequate, during this bowl among the mounds, up at the ridges, all approximately. after which a sweep of her eye towards the left—up and up towards a caliban form that rested at the hill, 4 meters tall and more—brown and significant, huger than any caliban she had imagined. It looked her with that lofty, onesided stare of a caliban, however the scholar used to be around, no longer slit. The ft clutched the curved floor and a fallen department snapped underneath its ahead leaning weight because the head grew to become towards her. She stared—fixed, disbelieving whilst it moved first one leg after which the opposite, serpentining ahead. Then the risk got here domestic to her, and she or he yelled and scrambled backward, yet brush got here among her and it, and timber, as she climbed better at the additional slope. nobody stopped her. She seemed back—at the caliban which threaded its means one of the timber; back on the azi-born, who sat there placid within the course of that monster. Very slowly the younger guy bought to his toes and walked towards the large brown caliban—stopped back, in retrospect at her, his hand on its shoulder. She started to run, up and over the mound—scrambling one of the brush and the rocks. a grey caliban was once there, down the slope and another—near her, that jolted her middle. It lashed approximately within the brush, caliban-like: it skittered down the slope and alongside the ridge, headed towards the river prior the rocks—it has to be going to the river… In a flash she discovered the place she most likely used to be, close to rocks that thrust during the mounds: rocks and the river under the cliffs. She stopped working whilst she had spent her breath, slumped down among the bushes and took inventory of herself, her remnant of garments, that she placed to rights with trembling fingers. She sat there within the brush with tears and exhaustion tugging at her, and she or he fought the tears off with swipes of a muddy hand. “Hey,” an individual acknowledged; and she or he began, whirled to her knees and part to her ft, like whatever wild. From the Camp: they have been of the lads from the Camp, Ogden and Masu. She stood up, shaking within the knees, and the blood tired from her face, surprising disgrace as she stood there along with her outfits in rags and her satisfaction in query. “There,” she yelled, and pointed again over the ridge, “there—they stuck me and dragged me off—they’re there…” “Who? ” Masu requested. “Who did? the place? ” “Over the ridge,” she stored crying, no longer desirous to clarify, now not short of whatever yet to work out it burnt up, the reminiscence and the smiling, silent lot of them.

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