They had almost finished with the loading. Outside stood the Optus, his arms folded, his face sunk in gloom. Captain Franco walked leisurely down the gangplank, grinning.
“What’s the matter?” he said. “Your getting paid for all this.”
The Optus said nothing. He turned away, collecting his robes. The Captain put his boot on the hem of the robe.
“Just a minute. Don’t go off. I’m not finished.”
“Oh?” The Optus turned with dignity. “I am going back to the village.” He looked toward the animals and birds being driven up the gangplank into the spaceship. “I must organize a new hunts.”
Franco lit a cigarette. “Why not? You people can go out into the veldt and track it all down again. But when we run out halfway between Mars and Earth—”
The Optus went off, wordless. Franco joined the first mate at the bottom of the gangplank.
“How’s it coming?” he said. He looked at his watch. “We got a good bargain here.”
The mate glanced at him sourly. “How do you explain that?”
“What’s the matter with you? We need it more than they do.”
“I’ll see you later, Captain.” The mate threaded his way up the plank, between the long-legged Martian go-birds, into the ship. Franco watched him disappear. He was just starting up after him, up to the plank toward the port, when he saw it.
At the end of the page, the captain sees something that makes him stop in his tracks.
One thing that drives me to this story is its setting. I like the fact that it takes place in another world, and will probably talk about things that cannot be experienced in real life. However, even though this is the case the characters are described realistically and have human problems, so it seems like the story will still relate to real life in that way. I also like the description used. Even though many terms are vague or made up, they still sound important and can be figured out by how the story describes them, like the “Optus” or the “Martian go-birds.”
The story starts with action, in the captain and his men taking the native’s food, and also with some tension between the various characters. The action and the way it described are good because they pull me into the story right away. The tension is just as important because it means something interesting is probably going to happen in the story later on and it makes me want to keep reading.