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Outside, in the corridor, Lors nodded to the guards and began walking
toward Thesa's quarters. In his mind, now that he again _had_ a whole
mind, was the feeling of being trapped, the feeling of being caught in a
mesh-like web that was about to strangle him.
Perhaps they could patch things up on Terra, but the two Terrans would
have to die, or at least one - merely to gain him another month, or two,
with Beth. Was it worth it? In the long run, was it practical? Perhaps
he didn't really love the Terran woman - maybe it was just infatuation,
or gratitude, or even the result of long abstinence. If that was the
case, it would be brutal for them to kill the one man who could make her
Then, on the other hand, suppose his love was genuine. If he really
loved her, the coming accident which he was to stage would never come to
pass. He knew himself too well to believe that. He would take Beth and
run, get away into another country, change his name, his features...
He smiled to himself and remembered his training on Mars, and the
ability of the spacemen to reach out with a long arm to stop anything.
Anything! _We are the gods, he remembered. We are the gods who move with
lightning and speak in thunder. The Terrans are like so many cows that
need a watchful eye upon them at all times..._
Gods. Yes, in a manner of speaking, he decided that they were gods ...
but what did the book say about one of the minor gods being caught up
in a crazy thing like this? It had never happened before.
Without actually realizing it, he found himself standing at the door to
his own quarters. A single guard, armed with an auto-rifle stopped him
when he approached the door.
"I'm sorry, sir," the Spacer said. "You cannot enter here."
Danson was on the other side, he knew. Nicholas Danson, the artist, the
man with whom he had traded places. Suddenly he wanted to speak with the
man, find out about him. All at once, Danson was not just another Terran
- he was a man, with feelings, emotion...
"I'm Firstspacer Lors," he heard his voice rumble with authority. "I'd
like to speak with the Terran."
The guard stiffened. "I'm sorry, sir. I didn't know who you were."
"You will open the door, spacer?"
"Yes, sir, but you'd best leave your sidearm with me."
Lors nodded and pulled his auto-pistol from the black leather holster
and handed it to the guard who stuffed it into his belt. He reached back
and unlocked the door. As it swung open, Lors stepped inside.
The room was not large; it couldn't be very big on a starship, but it
was serviceable. There was a dresser and locker for uniforms, as well as
a visi-screen, a couch and a small bed. The Terran was lying on the bed,
Lors smiled at him. They could have been twins of the same mother, were
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