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Lors shook his head. "You can handle things down here, Cartwell. I have
my own problems up there." He pointed at the ceiling to indicate the
starship. "And I'd better get Danson's uniform off and move."
Beth caught has arm. "Let him keep it, Lors. It won't get into the wrong
hands. I promise."
Lors looked at Cartwell, who nodded. "Let them have it," he said.
"They're on our side anyhow."
"All right." He paused. "I'll be going..."
Beth linked her arm in his. "I'd like to walk to the ship with you."
"I'd like that."
He grinned at Cartwell and led her outside into the afternoon sunlight.
They didn't speak until they reached the small clearing where the scout
ship waited for them. Then Beth pulled his head down and kissed him.
"Good-by, Lors," she whispered.
"I'll come back, Beth, I'll come back. One of these days both our people
will be friends and we'll meet again."
"I hope so."
He glanced up at the sky and saw two of the scout ships flashing about,
high above the clouds. "My escort," he told her grinning.
"You'll have trouble..."
He kissed her lightly on the mouth. "No. I'll marry the Commander's
daughter and it'll all be okay."
"Is she beautiful?"
"Yes." He caught the sudden flash of womanly hurt rise in her eyes and
smiled. "Almost as beautiful as you."
He kissed her lightly again and leaped to the cockpit of the scout ship.
He motioned her away from the blast area and eased the ship up above the
trees. She waved to him and looked very small among the trees. He lifted
a hand to her, then swung the ship upward, slamming the throttle forward
to head back to the starship.
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