To see the stars.
This was the great and paradoxical dream. To stand and look upward into space, at the myriad pin-points of light, forever out of reach, just as their forebears on Earth had in the long gone days before the building of the planetary shells.
Mars, Jupiter, Saturn... Shell had succeeded shell, each studded with its captive caged worlds, each progressively populated by men who could look up only into a sky of artificial luminaries and space debris.
Always Zeus, man-created prime mover, was at work beyond them, the giant space machines forming and working the next shell.
Uranus, Neptune, Pluto...The last shell.
Again they journeyed: Maq Ancor, Master Assassin, Magician Cherry and Sine Anura, Mistress of the Erotic, to reach the outer shell, to return to the past when Man could see the stars.
Colin Kapp (1928 - 2007)
Born in 1928, Colin Kapp was both a British SF author and a worker in electronics, later becoming a freelance consultant in electroplating. His writing career began with the publication of 'Life Plan' in New Worlds in November 1958. Kapp is best known for his stories about the Unorthodox Engineers, which gained a modest cult following. He passed away in 2007.