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The Tar-aiym Krang

Cover of The Tar-aiym Krang

The Tar-aiym Krang

Pip and Flinx Series, Book 2
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Moth was a beautiful planet, the only one with wings -- two great golden clouds suspended in space around it.Here was a wide-open world for any venture a man might scheme. The planet attracted unwary...More
Moth was a beautiful planet, the only one with wings -- two great golden clouds suspended in space around it.Here was a wide-open world for any venture a man might scheme. The planet attracted unwary...More
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Description-
  • Moth was a beautiful planet, the only one with wings -- two great golden clouds suspended in space around it.

    Here was a wide-open world for any venture a man might scheme. The planet attracted unwary travelers, hardened space-sailors, and merchant buccaneers -- a teeming, constantly shifting horde that provided a comfortable income for certain quick-witted fellows like Flinx and his pet flying snake Pip. With his odd talents, the pickings were easy enough so that Flinx did not have to be dishonest ... most of the time.

    In fact, it hardly seemed dishonest at all to steal a starmap from a dead body that didn't really need it anymore. But Flinx wasn't quite smart enough. He should have wondered why the body was dead in the first place...

    From the Paperback edition.

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    Chapter One

    The Flinx was an ethical thief in that he stole only from the crooked. And at that, only when it was absolutely necessary. Well, perhaps not absolutely. But he tried to. Due to his environment his morals were of necessity of a highly adaptable nature. And when one is living alone and has not yet reached one's seventeenth summer, certain allowances in such matters must be made.

    It could be argued, if the Flinx were willing to listen (a most unlikely happenstance), that the ultimate decision as to who qualified as crooked and who did not was an awfully totalitarian one to have to make. A philosopher would nod knowingly in agreement. Flinx could not afford that luxury. His ethics were dictated by survival and not abstracts. It was to his great credit that he had managed to remian on the accepted side of current temporal morality as much as he had so far. Then again, chance was also due a fair share of the credit.

    As a rule, though, he came by his modest income mostly honestly. This was made necessary as much by reason of common sense as by choice. A too-successful thief always attracts unwanted attention. Eventually, a criminal "law of diminishing returns" takes over.

    And anyway, the jails of Drallar were notoriously inhospitable.

    Good locations in the city for traveling jongleurs, minstrels, and such to display their talents were limited. Some were far better than others. That he at his comparatively slight age had managed to secure one of the best was a tribute to luck and the tenacity of old Mother Mastiff. From his infancy she had reserved the small raised platform next to her shop for him, driving off other entrepreneurs with shout or shot, as the occasion and vehemence of the interloper required. Mother Mastiff was not her real name, of course, but that was what everyone called her. Flinx included. Real names were of little use in Drallar's marketplaces. They served poorly for identification and too well for the tax-gatherers. So more appropriate ones were rapidly bestowed upon each new inhabitant. Mother Mastiff, for example, bore a striking resemblance to the Terran canine of the same name. It was given in humor and accepted with poor grace, but accepted, nevertheless. Her caustic personality only tended to compliment the physical similarity.

    The man-child had been an orphan. Probably involuntary, as most of his ilk were. Still, who could tell? Had she not been passing the slave coops at that time and glanced casually in a certain direction, she would never have noticed it. For reasons she had never fully understood she had bought it, raised it, and set it to learning a trade as soon as it was old enough. Fortunately his theatrical proclivities had manifested themselves at quite an early stage, along with his peculiar talents. So the problem of choosing a trade solved itself. He proved to be a keen if somewhat solemn observer, and so his own best apprentice. Fine and well, because the older performers always became more nervous in his presence than they cared to admit. Rather than admit it, they pronounced him unteachable, and left him to his own devices.

    She had also taught him as early as was practical that in Drallar independence was ever so much more than an intangible thought. It was a possession, even if it would not fit into one's pocket or pouch, and to be valued as such. Still, when he had taken to her word and moved out to live on his own, the sadness lingered with her as a new coat of paint.

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The Tar-aiym Krang
The Tar-aiym Krang
Pip and Flinx Series, Book 2
Alan Dean Foster
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Alan Dean Foster
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