ENCOUTNER AT DAWN ( Originally published as "Encounter In The Dawn" 1953 by Ziff - Davis Publishing Co.
Arthur C. Clarke
It was in the last days of the Empire. The tiny ship was far from home, and almost a hundred light-years from the great parent
The ship held only three occupants, but between them they carried knowledge of many sciences, and the experience of half a
They found the first planet within minutes of coming to rest. It was a giant, of a familiar type, too cold for protoplasmic life and
It was a world that made their hearts ache for home, a world where everything was hauntingly familiar, yet never quite the sam
They gazed hungrily at the expanding landscape as they fell down into the atmosphere, heading toward noon in the subtropic
No one moved: there was nothing to be done until the automatic instruments had finished their work. Then a bell tinkled softly
We're in luck, he said. "We can go outside without protection, if the pathogenic tests are satisfactory. What did you make of th
Geologically stable-no active volcanoes, at least. I didn't see any trace of cities, but that proves nothing. If there's a civilization
Or not reached it yet?
Bertrond shrugged. "Either's just as likely. It may take us some time to find out on a planet this size."
More time than we've got, said Clindar, glancing at the communications panel that linked them to the mother ship and thence
With a slight jar, a section of the hull slid aside and the fourth member of the crew stepped out onto the new planet, flexing me
Which way shall we go? Clindar asked.
Let's have a look at those trees, Altman replied. "If there's any animal life we'll find it there."
Look! cried Bertrond. "A bird!"
Clindar's fingers flew over the keyboard: the picture centered on the tiny speck that had suddenly appeared on the left of the s
You're right, he said. "Feathers-beak-well up the evolutionary ladder. This place looks promising. I'll start the camera."
The swaying motion of the picture as the robot walked forward did not distract them: they had grown accustomed to it long ag
A robot could laugh at all these dangers and even if, as sometimes happened, it encountered a beast powerful enough to des
They met nothing on the walk across the grasslands. If any small animals were disturbed by the robot's passage, they kept ou
The forest was full of life. It lurked in the undergrowth, clambered among the branches, flew through the air. It Red chattering
Clindar breathed a sigh of relief when the trees suddenly thinned. It was exhausting work, keeping the robot from smashing in
What's that? cried Altman. "Did you trip?"
No, said Clindar grimly, his fingers flying over the keyboard.
Something attacked from the rear. I hope . . . ah . . . I've still got control.