Neutron Star (Short Story) by Niven, Larry, 1967

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Neutron Star, (1966): Beowulf Shaffer, the former pilot for the bankrupt Nakamura Lines, is hired by the Pierson’s Puppeteers to fly to and investigate BVS-1, the first known neutron star. The Puppeteers have already had one mission to BVS-1 fail, which killed the husband and wife team that had gone there. Their cause of death is a mystery, but Shaffer agrees to go for the million crown fee that the Puppeteers promise him. They also give him a number two General Products hull, which is long like a traditional rocket and tapered on each end. It also is supposedly indestructible and the safest hull on the market, and the Puppeteers are concerned that the market will assume that some problem with the hull killed the earlier explorers. Shaffer jumps to about a million miles out from the star, and orbits inward. As he drops to the star the ship oriented itself nose in and stern out, and accelerated to over ½ light speed. Shaffer learns that at relativistic speeds even over the short 300’ from nose to stern a tide is created, as the stern is moving faster than the nose. The tide was so powerful that it ripped the inside of the ship apart and killed the occupants. Shaffer survives and collects his reward. Sigmund Ausfaller, another recurring Niven character also appears in this tale.

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