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violently. 24,000 m.p.h. The ice rose against the windshield swiftly.
One of the scout ships closed and fired a rocket.
He kicked at the rudder pedal and threw the ship to the left. The scout
ship responded like a nervous horse and fluttered away as the rocket
burned and arced beneath the underbelly.
He pulled the throttle control back, cutting the speed of the ship and
shoving on the rudder as he hauled at the stick. The maneuver was too
fast for the ships behind him. They tore past him in silver flashes,
trying to correct their error. He streaked off toward the Azores
Islands, slicing into the atmosphere viciously, while he watched the
other ships whirling off to come back at him. They would soon have to
break radio silence, or they would never get him. It was almost
impossible to close on a quarry at these speeds, unless each man knew
what his buddy was doing.
At 15,000 miles per hour, a micro-second of delay before acting, could
slam two ships together with a violence that would atomize everything.
Still they refused to make radio contact with each other.
Lors watched them coming back at him, minute silver specks on the radar
sweep. He shoved the stick forward and dived for the ocean in a shallow
plunge. He had the biggest advantage, in that they had to anticipate
_his_ moves, in order to get him into their sights. One of them got him
in his sights and fired.
He watched the rocket spearing toward his ship and slammed the stick
over to the right. The discus-like scout ship flipped over in a slow
roll, the rocket barely missing the ship. Lors felt a little sick. He
eased the throttle back, flattening the ship out not fifty feet above
the water of the Atlantic Ocean. Then he shoved the throttle to the wall
and raced north.
The Scout ship speed indicator swung crazily and stopped at 24,500
m.p.h. Behind him, the other four were firewalling their throttles just
to keep within range. They couldn't possibly fire at him, because going
away at speeds like they were using, he could outrun any rocket made.
Not only was that in his favor, but should one of them fire, they would
fly into their own weapon.
He glanced at Danson. Nick had awakened and was staring wide eyed at the
ocean that was spinning past them as they streaked north. Then Nick's
mouth opened and Lors looked ahead. They were almost on the freighter!
Lors lifted the ship and whipped over the spars of the ship in a rush
that had probably broken lines and smashed windows all over the vessel.
Behind him, the others were streaking over the ship and Lors could
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