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falling in love with you..."
"That's why you brought him back? Because you love me?"
He nodded, trying vainly to brush aside the trembling emotion that
lifted within him at the touch of her flesh. It was a weird feeling.
"I thought about taking his place, Beth. I thought about it - but I knew
it wouldn't work. It was a half crazy thing in the beginning. I ... I'm
A faint smile tugged at her lips. "Don't be. I'm not the least bit
sorry, but I'm glad I know the truth. Now it doesn't seem so ridiculous
- Brice disappearing into thin air." She looked about the room. "Where
"Dead?" Her eyes widened.
Lors nodded. "I brought your husband back against my Commander's orders.
When I tried to get Brice out of the hospital, he went berserk and began
shooting things up. One of the spacers killed him."
"Poor Nolan," she whispered and he could see the tears welling in her
eyes. Then she looked at him sharply. "You acted against orders?"
He nodded again.
"What will happen to you?"
"Nothing. It'll all come out all right. But, Beth, how did you know? Who
told you about this?"
Lors whirled about, his eyes swinging against those of the husky blond
in the dress suit who stood in the doorway of the cabin. Automatically,
his hand dropped toward the pistol at his side, but the blond stopped
"Don't bother with that, Lors," he grinned. "I'm not about to draw."
"Who are you," Lors demanded.
"Here, I'm Cartwell, of the Secret Service. But actually I'm
Firstspacer Nesso of the 6th. Terran Command."
"You told her?" Lors asked, amazed.
The blond nodded. "I had to. I came here to check on Brice and found her
ready to call the police because first Nolan had disappeared and then
you had. I had to think of something to keep her quiet, and the only
thing I could think of was the truth. I'm a lousy agent," he added
Lors nodded and bit his lower lip. "How do things stand now?" He asked.
"Not too bad," Cartwell told him. "I've made arrangements to have the
wrecked ship hauled out of the area for study. This will be hush-hush
for awhile, then left to dissolve of itself. Everyone will forget it..."
"What about Brice?"
Cartwell pursed his lips. "That was a rough break, but unavoidable. We
can cover up by saying that he was searching the wooded area with the
rescue squads and apparently became lost. After searching and finding
nothing, we can let the people draw their own conclusions."
"Risky," Lors told him.
"It'll work, unless you have a better idea."
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