The Indulgance of Negu Mah by Robert Arthur Page 1 of 12

The Indulgence of Negu Mah


In his garden, Negu Mah, the Callisto uranium merchant, sat sipping a platinum mug of molkai with his guest, Sliss the Venusian.

Nanlo, his wife, pushing before her the small serving cart with its platinum molkai decanter, paused for an instant as she entered the shell of pure vitrite which covered the garden, giving it the illusion of out-of-doorness.

Negu Mah sat at his ease, his broad, merry, half-Oriental face good-humored, his features given a ruddy tinge by the light of rising Jupiter, the edge of whose sphere was beginning to dominate the horizon. Sliss, the intelligent amphibian, squatted across from him in the portable tub of water which he carried with him whenever absent from the swamps of his native Venus.

The amphibian's popping eyes turned toward her, the wide frog-face split in a smile of appreciation as Nanlo approached. She refilled their mugs deftly and withdrew. But before she reentered the house she could not resist hesitating to glance toward rising Jupiter and the slim shaft of the rocketship silhouetted now against its surface.

The ship was the cargo rocket Vulcan, newest and swiftest of Negu Mah's freighter fleet. Fully fueled and provisioned, storage space jammed with refrigerated foods that in space the cold of the encompassing void would keep perfectly for generations were it necessary, she would take off in the morning from the close-by landing port for Jupiter's other satellites, then go on to the Saturnian system, returning finally with full holds of uranium for Negu Mah's refineries on Callisto.

She was a beautiful craft, the Vulcan, and one man could manage her, though her normal crew was seven. She had cost a great sum. But Negu Mah was wealthy.

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