By Andre Norton
First printing as in step with the quantity line [sixth over-all Ace printing]. said "This Ace printing July 1982." moment publication within the "Forerunner" sequence. different novels during this series contain: typhoon Over Warlock (1960), Forerunner Foray (1973), Forerunner (1981) and Forerunner: the second one enterprise (1985).
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Study of an alien under certain conditions? Was she being used as an experimental animal? It was one answer and a logical one to what had happened to her so far. But at least “they” had kept her from real harm—her left hand folded over the lump of food inside her coverall; as yet any active move on “their” part had been to her advantage. So sleepy . . Why fight this leaden cloud? But—where would she wake again? On the ledge, chilled and stiff, and in a dark which was not a true dark because of those splotches of light-diffusing plants and shrubs.
To be on the safe side, she put the food in its leaf-wrapping into the front of her coverall and tied the loose end of the scarf weapon about her wrist. When she went this time, she would take what small supplies she had with her. Tired as she was, Charis tried to fight that perhaps betraying sleep. There was no use speculating about what force was in power here. To keep going she must concentrate on the mechanics of living. Something had turned the clakers and the sea beast from attack. Could she ascribe that to the will of the same presence which had left the food?
The brown animal rose and went to him, rubbing against his legs. ” he demanded in Basic. “Charis Nordholm,” she replied mechanically. Then she added, “That beast of yours—he frightens Tsstu—” “Taggi? ” The brown animal reared against the man’s thigh and he fondled its head, scratched behind the small ears. ” He was gazing now with almost as great surprise at Tsstu. “Where did you get it? ” Some of Tsstu’s fear had lessened. She wriggled about in Charis’s arms as if settling herself in a more comfortable position, watching both man and animal with wary interest.