|'Question of Cruelty' (5250 words.)
The great flying wing, its controls sluggish in the high, rarefied
air, came slowly out of the dive and pulled its nose up in a forty-five
"We have been judge and executioner to many planets such as this.
Very few have not been found wanting and allowed to survive.
This one will be given exactly what it deserves . . ." So
sayeth Srilla, hanging-judge captain of an alien Execution Ship,
about the latest planetary case on his docket. He must figure
out Earth's first spacebeing, who bears only an evolutionary relationship
to Yuri Gagarin. The last line almost, but not quite, matches
that from A.E. van Vogt's 'Recruitng Station' (Astounding, February
1942), aka Masters of Time and Earth's Last Fortress.
Synopsis by graham Andrews