Under emptied blue skies the party of eight camels zigzagged onward southeast through the parallel dunes of the vast Bani Mukassar, keeping to the gravelly desert floor and crossing the dunes at shallow gaps that notched the mountains of sand like passes. All four of the travelers preferred to ride during the day, when the sun blotted out the malign stars, but twice when they had had to march for a long distance along a dune to find a crossing place, they made up for the lost time by riding at night -- and though on one of these long, plodding nights there was no moon, the planet Jupiter glowed brightly enough in the sky to cast shadows on the dimply glowing sand, and Hale could see a faint luminosity around his companions and the camels. His party was now very far away from any outposts of men, and when he looked up at the stars of the Southern Cross in the infinite vault overhead, or gauged his course by the position of Antares in Scorpio on the southern horizon, it seemed that the postwar world of London and Paris and Berlin was astronomically distant and that he and his companions were the only human beings seeing these stars.
While his mate searched deebies, Bhatterji turned away from the damaged cage. He noticed that he was casting a shadow and, turning to look, saw the smoky opal gleam of Jupiter off the fore starside quarter. It was a minute disk, not even a tenth the size of the Moon over the Bay of Bengal, and for just a moment, Bhatterji wondered what he was doing here, so far from the temples and the forests and the jangly cities. He remembered that Miko came from Amalthea and one of the wranglers from Callisto. They had signed the articles within a day of each other on the previous transit. Yet Circumjovia was the new frontier. Odd, how people fled from heavens that others scrambled to reach.
The Wreck of The River of Stars
They passed by the rows of spacecraft until they arrived at a small open space at then end of the port. There, a small spaceship -- a dinghy, really -- sat by itself. Next to it stood a group of people who had apparently been waiting for her. The Milky Way slowly swept by the open side of the port, and its light cast long shadows from the dinghy and those standing next to it, turning the open space into a giant clock, over which the roving shadows acted as hands.