“The Cosmic Poachers”/”Burglar” 22 October 1952
Captain Shure and navigator Nelson are in the Sirius system, which the Terrans have closed to others. An armed Adharan freighter appears to the consternation of the Terrans. The ship lands on a barren planet, and the Adharan human-sized insect-creatures scurry off in cars that appear as black dots to the Terran observers. Shure is nonplussed by their presence and activities since the Terrans have already carefully searched the planets in the system and found nothing. The Adharans methodically continue to the other planets repeating their investigations. What might they be taking away? Shure and Nelson wait for the ship on the fourth planet. They examine the ship’s cargo. It consists of many orbs glowing with milky fire and they assume they are some type of jewels they themselves had not managed to find. They take the jewels and send away the Adharans who did not die in the brief firefight with the Terrans. They send the jewels back to Terra, assuming every woman will want to wear one around her neck. The story ends from the Adharan perspective. They are disappointed they lost half the cargo before they could place the rest on the other warm planets in the Sirius system. No matter, the eggs will hatch on Terra just as well.
- We Can Remember It for You Wholesale: And Other Classic Stories* by Philip K. Dick