Friday, August 3, 2007

Mike Resnick's "All the Things You Are": Galactic Red Cross!

Great fantasy. There are coincidental & occasionally illogical events, but they can be brushed aside.

Heart of the story is a very lovable species of aliens that essentially do the work of Red Cross at galactic scale, & end up having some unfortunate consequences for the beneficiaries - for no fault of the benefactors.

Full text of this story is available online.

Story summary.
Gregory Donovan, the narrator, is a member of security team at OceanPort, a spaceport 8 km off Miami coast. When following up on an incident at OceanPort, he gets into the details of the curious deaths of two rather ordinary men - Myron Seymour & Daniel Daniels.

Both had acted suicidally brave - battling armed thugs unarmed - on more than one occasions, & finally died. In a discussion with his boss, Captain Symmes, he learns of a third very similar case of Creighton Mortenson Jr.

Investigation reveals a common thread - Kobernykov II aka Nikita - a planet a 1000 light years from earth. There was a war some years back where earth was on the side opposing Patruka Alliance (Patrukans are some kind of aliens). These three were soldiers that were part of a sneaker team sent to Nikita to blow up an enemy ammunition dump. All three had had a medical discharge from space service - apparently the fighting unit.

Some more investigations, & things get even more curious. Of the human sneaker teem of 30, only 5 survived the battle. Tracking other two made mystery deeper - each of them too had courted death several times till it caught up with them!

Queries with Patrukans revealed that their 4 survivors of battle are also dead - 2 of natural cause, & two of especially brave behavior!

Obviously, something happened on Nikita.

Rest of the story is of Gregory's visit to Nikita to learn its secrets, & a very charming adventure there. And he comes back ready to put himself in suicidal situations!

Related.

  1. All stories by Mike Resnick.
  2. All Hugo Award stories.
Fact sheet.
"All the Things You Are", short story, review
Rating: A
First published: Jim Baen's Universe, Oct 2006
Nominated for Hugo Awards 2007 in novelette category

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