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Danson grunted. "Yeah. Yeah, ace, I'm all finished. In a way, I'm sorry
... but it felt good. I've wanted to get all that off my chest for a
"I can see your position, Danson," Lors told him. "I know what you've
been through, but I can't do anything about it. I follow orders."
Danson grinned. "Who're you trying to kid, pal. You got Commander Zark's
daughter eating out of the palm of your hand. Hell, I'll bet you pull
more strings around this ship than a puppeteer."
"I've underestimated you, Danson," Lors told him in a soft voice. "You
have an interesting mind. Quite a grasp."
Danson snorted again. "You guys aren't the sharpest people in the world.
I will give you a bit of advice, for free. You better either return me
to earth, or kill me. In another thirteen months, I'll figure out a way
to blow this hulk into a million pieces."
"I doubt that," Lors mused.
"Go ahead and doubt it, but you'd better keep the powder magazine under
double guard. And while you're at it, you better have the boys be
careful of what they say around me, since I know the lingo."
"How many Spacers have you talked to?" Lors asked. "How many of them
know how intelligent you are?"
Danson shrugged. "Why?"
Nick Danson looked at him narrowly. "You have something on your mind,
"Maybe. Right now, I'll keep it to myself. Until then, keep your mouth
shut about how smart you are. A weapon, Nick, is only useful when the
enemy doesn't know how well it will work. When they know, a
counter-weapon can be made." Lors moved to the door. "I'll be back,
probably," he said and went out into the corridor, leaving the Terran to
ponder on what he had said.
The guard snapped to attention, then handed Lors his auto-pistol. The
Firstspacer slipped it into the holster and snapped the flap. Then he
walked rapidly toward Firstspacer Thesa's quarters with the germ of an
idea filtering and dancing through his mind.
It wasn't a complete idea, but it certainly was a wild one. The chances
of its working were about a thousand to one, but if it did things might
He hoped so.
He reached the door of Thesa's quarters and jerked it open. His fingers
fumbled for the button, inside the door, that would switch on the
lighted walls. When he found it, he closed the door and flicked on the
lights. He stared at the inside of the room in amazement.
She was lying on the bed, with her golden hair falling about her
shoulders like a waterfall of sunlight, and her lips pulled back over
white teeth to smile at him. But he was stunned, frozen to the spot.
"Jela," he whispered, in shock.
For a moment, she didn't move and, in the silence, he allowed his eyes
to finger her.
Beneath the blond tumble of hair, her blue eyes watched him, her lips
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