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The young spacer flushed. "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't know who you were."
He pointed to the door behind him. "You may go through there. Straight
down the corridor until you reach the fourth ward."
"Doctor Zuloe will be there?"
"I think so."
Lors shoved the door open and walked down the long hall toward the
fourth ward, not quite sure in his mind how he could spring the Terran
from the hospital and get him down to where the scout ships were
hangared. But it had to be done. If he failed, and they all ended up
dead, or thrown into the penal colonies on Thista, the trade program
with Terra would be set back at least fifty years. All the ground they
had gained, all the knowledge and plans they had formulated, would be
useless. They would have to start from scratch.
The wrecked scout ship could be covered up, but the loss of Detective
Lieutenant Brice and Nicholas Danson would not go unnoticed, especially
when Beth Danson spilled her story about the strange events that had
gone on at the cabin. Of course, Terra would never be able to
corroborate what she had experienced - yet they were on the verge of
space travel, and they were a war-like race. They could cause all sorts
of unnecessary trouble in space.
It had to work. He had to get both of them back to the planet, even if
it meant stopping a slug from an auto-rifle to do it.
He reached the door to the fourth ward and went in to look for Doctor
Zuloe. The man wasn't hard to find; he was the only person in the small
"What can I do for you, Firstspacer?" He asked. "I'm Doctor Zuloe."
For a moment, they stared at each other. The doctor was a middle-aged
man with a weathered skin stretched over a rather aquiline set of
features. His small, bird-like eyes were piercing in their study of
Lors' face. He smiled thinly and ran a hand through greying hair.
"Lors, huh? You the one who went down there?"
"I was in the accident. In a sense, I suppose I'm to blame for having
brought Brice up here."
"You know him?" Doctor Zuloe's eyes narrowed visibly.
"Yes. At least, I think I know him better than you people do."
"Then perhaps you can help us with him. When he arrived here, he was in
a state of acute shock in which he was almost violent. He kept screaming
about witchcraft and all sorts of Terran nonsense. We gave him as much
treatment as we could, under the circumstances, and he stopped acting
like a wildman."
"How is he now?"
"Numb. He's sitting on his bed, in a special room, and staring at the
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