Ullr Uprising, by Henry Beam Piper FREE PAUL ORBAN IMAGE: The big armor-tender vibrated, gently and not unpleasantly, as the contragravity field alternated on and off. Sometimes it rocked slightly, like a boat on the water, and, in the big screen which served in lieu of a window at the front of the control-cabin, the dingy-yellow landscape would seem to tilt a little. The air was faintly yellow, the sky was yellow with a greenish cast, and the clouds were green-gray.
No human had ever set foot on the surface, or breathed the air, of Niflheim. To have done so would have been instant death; the air was a mixture of free fluorine and fluoride gasses, the soil was metallic fluorides, damp with acid rains, and the river was pure hydrofluoric acid. Even the ordinary spacesuit would have been no protection; the glass and rubber and plastic would have disintegrated in a matter of minutes. People came to Niflheim, and worked the mines and uranium refineries and chemical plants, but they did so inside power-driven and contragravity-lifted armor, and they lived on artificial satellites two thousand miles off-planet. Niflheim was worse than airless; much worse.
The chief engineer sat at his controls, making the minor lateral adjustments in the vehicle's position which were not possible to the automatic controls. At his own panel of instruments, a small man with grizzled black hair around a bald crown, and a grizzled beard, chewed nervously at the stump of a dead cigar and listened intently. A large, plump-faced, young man in soiled khaki shirt and shorts, with extremely hairy legs, was doodling on his notepad and eating candy out of a bag. And a black-haired girl in a suit of coveralls three sizes too big for her, and, apparently, not much of anything else, lounged with one knee hooked over her chair-arm, staring into the screen at the distant horizon.
"I can see them," the girl said, lifting a hand in front of her. "At two o'clock, about one of my hand's-breaths above the horizon. But only four of them."
The man with the grizzled beard put his face into the fur around the eyepiece of the telescopic-'visor and twisted a dial. "You have good eyes, Miss Quinton," he complimented. "The fifth's inside the handling machine. One of the Ullrans. Gorkrink."
Ullr Uprising, by Henry Beam Piper (March 23, 1904 – c. November 6, 1964) This etext was produced from Space Science Fiction, February and March, 1953. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.
This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office.
This image may however not be in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris), in this case PAUL ORBAN (1896-1974), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year. This image may not be in the public domain in these countries, which moreover do not implement the rule of the shorter term to US works, If your use will be outside the United States please check your local law.
TEXT and IMAGE CREDIT: Space Science Fiction, February and March, 1953. Ullr Uprising, by Henry Beam Piper PAUL ORBAN. +sookie tex