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keep doing all these goofy things for you, I'll never make commander. I
won't even make Vice-commander."
Lors smiled. "Don't worry about it. If things work out, you'll have had
a hand in opening up a new planet for our trade rockets."
Narvi sighed. "All right. I'll do it, although I should have my head
examined by the ship's doctors."
Lors grinned at him and finished the last of his drink. "It'll work out,
Narvi, and you'll probably get a medal."
"A prison cell, likely," Narvi snorted, "on Thista."
Lors slapped him lightly on the arm and left the ship's wardroom. He had
a lot to do, and damned little time to do it in.
Lors left the wardroom and walked along the hollow, brightly lighted
corridors toward the hospital where Detective Nolan Brice was being kept
a prisoner. He would be the tough one of the two, because his mental
roots were still very close to the witchcraft believing parents who had
given him birth.
Brice was a Pennsylvanian; he was fairly intelligent, but like all
Pennsylvanians he had an unconscious closeness with tradition. He was of
the type who would stoutly deny he was superstitious, yet would refuse
to walk under a ladder. How would he react to Lors' proposal? Would he,
with typical Dutch stubbornness, tell him to go to hell, or would he
co-operate? It was a difficult thing to predict.
Lors shoved the door to the hospital open and grinned at the spacer
behind the desk. "You've a Terran here?" He asked.
The spacer nodded and laid down the sheets of paper he had been ruffling
as Lors came in. "Yes sir, we have one. He's in the care of Doctor
"What are they doing to him?"
"I'm not sure, sir. I understand he was in a great state of shock when
he arrived. I would imagine they're giving him rehabilitative
Lors grinned again. Apparently the method by which they had snatched the
detective had completely unnerved him. "I'd like to see him," he told
the spacer. "Where can I find Doctor Zuloe?"
"I'm sorry, sir. Only authorized personnel will be allowed to
"I'm authorized, I believe. I captured him. I'm Lors."
The young spacer flushed. "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't know who you were."
He pointed to the door behind him. "You may go through there. Straight
down the corridor until you reach the fourth ward."
"Doctor Zuloe will be there?"
"I think so."
Lors shoved the door open and walked down the long hall toward the
fourth ward, not quite sure in his mind how he could spring the Terran
from the hospital and get him down to where the scout ships were
hangared. But it had to be done. If he failed, and they all ended up
dead, or thrown into the penal colonies on Thista, the trade program
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