The Sensitive Man by Poul Anderson Page 1 of 80
The Sensitive Man by ... Poul Anderson
One man stood between a power-hungry cabal
and world mastery --but a man of unusual talents.
The Mermaid Tavern had been elaborately decorated. Great blocks of hewn coral for pillars and booths, tarpon and barracuda on the walls, murals of Neptune and his court --including an outsize animated picture of a mermaid ballet, quite an eye-catcher.
But the broad quartz windows showed merely a shifting greenish-blue of seawater, and the only live fish visible were in an aquarium across from the bar. Pacific Colony lacked the grotesque loveliness of the Florida and Cuba settlements. Here they were somehow a working city, even in their recreations.
The sensitive man paused for a moment in the foyer, sweeping the big circular room with a hurried glance. Less than half the tables were filled. This was an hour of interregnum, while the twelve to eighteen hundred shift was still at work and the others had long finished their more expensive amusements. There would always be a few around, of course --Dalgetty typed them as he watched.
A party of engineers, probably arguing about the compression strength of the latest submarine tank to judge from the bored expressions of the three or four rec girls who had joined them.
A biochemist, who seemed to have forgotten his plankton and seaweed for the time being and to have focussed his mind on the pretty young clerk with him. A couple of hard-handed caissoniers, settling down to some serious drinking.