each other to allow the artifact through. The answer was yes-that was one problem down. Ivanova, however, being Ivanova, was naturally certain that the next problem- whatever that was going to be-would be forthcoming quite shortly. "Roger that, C and C. We're coming in."
She signaled the other Starfuries to begin and, firing on all thrusters, the ships strained against their tether lines and endeavored to haul the artifact. Now they seemed more like a hundred tiny fishermen trying to use a hundred fishing rods to reel in the carcass of a humpback whale.
Objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by another force, and objects at rest tend to stay at rest. There were basic laws of physics, and the artifact-for all its age, and whatever its strange nature-was as bound by those laws as anything else. Consequently it proceeded to stay at rest, sitting there stubbornly as the Starfuries redoubled their efforts.
Finally, after what seemed an agonizingly long interval, the artifact began to move. It was almost imperceptible at first, and then Ivanova became aware that she had actually managed to advance by a few inches. Inches was a ludicrously short distance to be concerned with in space, where distances were mea sured in terms of light-years, but at this point she was going to be satisfied with whatever she could get. She felt as if all she had to do was just get the thing moving in the first place, and then it became a matter of keeping it going. After all, it wasn't as if there were friction in hyperspace that would act as a drag. She suspected that if the Starfuries were capable of moaning a protest, they would do so. As it was, the ships silently and diligently proceeded upon the path that had been set for them, and slowly-ever so slowly-they started