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My impression is that the hunt occurred in the dark in an abandoned city. The intelligences of different species of aliens were closely graded, for example 13.7 compared to 13.5. For some reason I associate the story with another plot in which humanity has fled the Earth but centuries later a ship returns to the "Hall of Departure" on Earth. Any clues or leads appreciated.

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    Do you recall why the alien was hunting the earthman? And did the alien get him in the end, or did the earthman escape, or kill the alien? Also, did you read this in a magazine, or in an anthology? Aug 5, 2021 at 4:22
  • If anyone correctly identifies the story you're looking for, please mark that answer as accepted by clicking on the check mark beneath the voting buttons. Or if the only answers posted are incorrect, please indicate that with a comment so we know to keep looking. Thanks. Aug 5, 2021 at 18:10

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This sounds very much like Star Rangers by Andre Norton from 1953.

The Central Control ship Starfire crashes on an unknown planet. They discover native inhabitants on the planet after initially believing there was no intelligent life there.

After some time, they discover an abandoned city. Other people from Central Control planets have settled there.

The crew of the Starfire and the people who have taken refuge in the city are from various planets that individually developed life - there's humans and lizard men and other variants of upright bipedal humanoids.

Common to all of them are telepathic abilities. The abilities are rated by numbers. That's your "13.7 compared to 13.5."

There is a (telepathic and physical) fight (at night, in the rain) in the city between one of the refugees (known as "the Arcturian") and a member of the crew of the Starfire. The Arcturian loses - despite having the higher rating. He was sick (had a fever and hallucinations) during the fight. Besides being a megalomaniac he had also accidentally/negligently infected some of the native inhabitants with whatever virus he had.

In the end, it turns out that the planet is Earth. They do indeed find a "Hall of Departure" from which humans had set forth to colonise the other planets thousands of years before. Earth had become a legend, and no one knew really where it was any more.

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  • Aka The Last Planet, as noted in the link. This was one of Norton's earliest SF novels in her "galactic" setting. Critics have remarked that The Hall of Leave-Taking mentioned lots of nearby stars, even Alpha Centauri(!), and it was implied those names were still familiar. So how could Earth--and Sol--have been lost? In her subsequent "galactic" books Norton seemed careful not to mention any real stars.
    – slgwv
    Aug 20, 2021 at 22:37

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