This feels like a story from the 1950s or so, and like a Hal Clement story, but I can't bring it to mind.

The story is about a disabled alien vessel in some isolated place on Earth (the American West, perhaps, or Alaska), and is discovered by one or two humans, who don't know that it is occupied. The alien captain is very dictatorial towards his crew, and the crew have unusual senses (perhaps something like telepathy). While the humans manage to get into part of the ship, the aliens hide (per their captain's orders), intending to attack when they are sure that they understand human capabilities. I think the humans figure out some of the controls, allowing them to avoid being captured or killed.

1 Answer 1


Possibly Impediment by Hal Clement.


  • a crashed alien spaceship
  • north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska
  • a dictatorial captain
  • the aliens hide
  • one (at least) of the aliens is telepathic-ish

I do not have time to reread the story right now but there are many points of overlap.

  • Collected in a book I have, too.
    – Andrew
    Jun 2, 2023 at 1:05
  • 1
    @Andrew I just realized looking at isfdb.org that I have three books with this story in it! Jun 2, 2023 at 1:35

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