Three compelling novelettes of mankind's distant past and far future, encompassing his ardent hopes, desperate wishes, and dreadful fears. The Ninth Circle: An agent from the future is sent into the past to retrieve a scientist who holds the key to mankind's future. Previously published in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. The Darkness to Come: An alien scientist has to convince the population of his world that the future of their planet is very limited unless they take immediate action. Previously published in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. Memories: Two human archeologists try to discover the origin of the aliens who built incredible ruins about to be devoured by a black hole. Previously published in the anthology Ruins Extraterrestrial.