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impatiently as the big door rolled away and the stars burned in at him.
Then he shoved the speed control forward and the scout ship surged out
into the blackness of space. His feet kicked at the pedals and his hands
worked the stick. The scout ship rolled over and streaked toward the
lighted ball of the earth.
He turned his head, looking over his shoulder at the mother-ship. Tiny
flashes of brilliant light speared from the starship. They lifted,
fluttered and followed him like a swarm of bees.
They were giving chase!
He had thought there would be a pursuit. He kicked at the rudder pedals
and threw the stick; the scout ship rolled over and plunged toward the
ice cap at the north pole of the planet. At 16,000 m.p.h., the rocket
was little more than a guided missile and he knew that when he reached
the ice cap, he'd have to throttle back - but then so would his
Beside him, on the seat, Nick Danson's head rolled from side to side as
the ship streaked toward the earth. The four scout ships were fanned out
behind him and trying to close, yet he was holding them at bay with a
mere 16,500 m.p.h. He wished frantically that he could have figured out
a way to stymie the chase, but starships were not built to be sabotaged.
The designers had done a damned good job on them, fitting them with
every device known to prevent crippling, or damaging by the enemy,
whoever it may be.
The four ships were hanging on him.
I've got to lose them, he thought feverishly. I've got to lose them long
enough to get Danson back to the cabin and get the hell out again. After
that, they can have me. But not now. He looked behind him, trying to
determine whether or not they were getting set to fire on him.
They didn't look it, but he couldn't tell. Weapons were not a scout
ship's strong point. Each ship was armed with a large rocket launcher,
but it was seldom used. Speed was the greatest weapon they needed and
the military designers of the home planet had poured all their energy
into the fast maneuvering of the craft.
The heavy caps of ice that covered the continent of Greenland loomed up
before him and he hoped that he could lose them in the white wilderness.
He would have to throttle back when he reached the jagged waste of ice,
but then so would the four behind him. They saw what he was attempting,
and poured all the power they could into their ships.
Lors flattened the ship out in a shallow dive and pushed the throttle
control until it stopped. The needle on the airspeed indicator leaped
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