IN ALL probability you've never heard of Kinsolving—most people, and that includes the majority
of spacemen, have not. It's one of the Rim Worlds, which means that it's well off the beaten track even
for the Commission's Epsilon Class tramps. It's an Earth-type planet, but not sufficiently similar to Earth
to make it attractive to colonists. The gravity is a little too heavy and the air is a little too thin and a little
too rich in carbon dioxide. Its sun is hot enough, but not very bright, and its light is so blue as to convey
the impression of chilliness. Then, of course, there is that aching emptiness of the night sky for six months
of the year without even a moon to take the curse off it.
Kinsolving, then, is just a name in the Survey Commission's files—just a name and a few lines of
relevant data. Discovered and charted by Commodore Pearson of the Survey Ship Magellan, named
after his second-in-command. Survey team left on planet, taken off after the usual two years of
exploration and research. Colony established, complete with machinery and necessary flora and fauna.
After ten years colony removed, at its own request, and transferred to Clarency, q.v.
"What do you know about Kinsolving?" Warburton asked me.
Warburton is my immediate superior and is the Director of the Survey Commission's little publicized
Department of Investigation. Boiled down to essentials his job is to read reports—reports written by
captains of Survey ships, by masters of the Interstellar Transport Commission's vessels and, now and
again, by the masters of ships owned by those few alien races that meet us on equal terms on a
technological level. Sometimes he finds something of interest in these reports—and when he does he
sends an investigatory team which, in its turn, makes out its own report. What happens next is up to the
"What do you know about Kinsolving?" he asked again. "Rear Admiral, Retired," I said. "Useful but
undistinguished career. That's all."
"Not the man," snapped Warburton. "The planet. He