Orion and King Arthur by Ben Bova

By Ben Bova

Orion, greater than human, under god, has fought throughout time and house on the whim of his vainglorious writer, Aten the Golden One, who desires Arthur useless and forgotten. Orion disagrees, and seeks Anya, the ageless Goddess who's his one real love

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Besides the Massood, only the Chirinaldo made decent soldiers, and those dizzy heliox-breathers were poor companions on a blasted battlefield. He adjusted his dress vest and shorts, smoothing out the short gray fur that peered from beneath the hems. The irises of his eyes were a lighter gray, the vertical pupils almost black. At the same time he tried to relax. That was something of a contradiction in terms. A Massood could not really relax. Immaterial on the battlefield, it often kept them from promotion to command positions, where the presence of a calmer S’van was more reassuring.

Even the traditional show of force had failed to convince, serving only to warn them of what was to come and allowing them time to prepare. The Amplitur knew that might be the result, but they tried it anyway. The peoples of the Purpose did not attack without first trying persuasion. They were integrators, not conquerors. Next had come the traditional attempt at subverting the government, through innuendo and bribery carried out by allies who physically resembled the Sspari. The morality of such methods was often questioned, but the Amplitur would do anything to avoid war, that obscene offense against reason.

If necessary, a pill could be taken. Golden eyes studied the vast arc of the transparent wall, pondering the expanse of space outside the ship. Much beauty was to be found in the cascade of stars and worlds, in the iridescent wash of nebulae so like the changing gold and silver patterns that highlighted Amplitur skin. Underspace shifting diffused the shapes beyond, reducing great suns to ethereal blurs of color which only added to their loveliness. Only in the full light of the Purpose could such magnificence be truly appreciated.

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