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Martian Knightlife
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Summary

Martian Knightlife contains two stories, "His Own Worst Enemy," and "The Kahl of Tadzhikstan." In the first, Kieran Thane and his Doberman-Labrador cross, "Guinness," arrive on Mars to take a break from adventuring and spend time with their longstanding friend June Holland. But breaks never seem to last long when Thane appears on any scene. June is involved with an entrepreneurial research organization called Quantonix, who believe they have achieved the long-sought breakthrough of teleportation technology, for which, if successful, the large trans-Solar-System communications carriers will pay billions. In a confidential, pioneering experiment, the scientist responsible for developing the method, Leo Sarda, was "sent" from a basement laboratory to rematerialize in a reconstitution machine on the floor above. However, when Thane's curiosity leads him to delve further into exactly how the transfer is brought about, it turns out that the process is more messy than the hype that the public has been hearing for years depicts. Glossed over in all the popularizations and dreams of fabulous profits is the small point that the "original," which is put into a frozen-like suspended state, has to be disposed of. Complications begin when the considerable amount of money that Sarda was paid by Quantonix in recognition of the risk, and as retainers by various media interests, vanishes from Sarda's secure bank account. Only one person could have known the ID codes and passed the checks. . . . The original is still loose out there somewhere. And he has a grudge.

In the second story, Thane, looking to lie low for a period from the attentions of certain netherworld persons who would very much like to talk to him concerning two people who have gone missing, along with a quarter of a billion dollars, takes to the desert as stand-in medic on a Martian archeological expedition. The expedition includes specialists rushed out from Earth to investigate an exciting discovery of artificial structures that show indications of being related to ancient buildings on Earth now believed to predate the earliest known civilizations. But this priceless find is threatened when a major construction and mining conglomerate asserts first claim on the area, with plans for mineral extraction and development. But a mysterious Asian mystic, known as the Kahl of Tadzhikstan, intervenes to convince the directors of the corporation that the powers possessed by the lost builders are not to be trifled with. Initials, of course, purely coincidental.

 
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