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Lors dashed down the hallway into the main corridor, passing the limp
body of the doctor and the young spacer who had been on duty at the
desk. Apparently, Brice had come into the place fast, swinging the
auto-rifle like it was a club. Both of the men were unconscious, but
there was no blood in sight.
"Crazy fool," Lors said aloud and slammed the door as he dashed into the
Brice was running blindly.
"Brice! Stop!" Lors fired the auto-pistol over the fleeing man's head.
Brice stopped and whirled, dropping to one knee to bring up the rifle he
carried. He snapped off a fast burst and Lors dived across the polished
corridor to hug the wall. He landed, rolling, his pistol zeroed on the
Terran, but he couldn't bring himself to shoot.
Nolan Brice, however, had no scruples about shooting at Lors. He fired
continually, cursing as the bullets missed. Beyond the Terran, Lors
could see four other spacers running down the hall toward Brice. One of
Brice whirled, spotted them, and brought up his rifle. The gunfire, in
the emptiness of the hall, sounded like a machinegun being fired in a
cave. Lors saw a spacer slam backwards, rolling crazily from the impact
of the bullet that Brice had triggered.
The Terran was hunched over in a crouch, like an old gunfighter,
shooting from the hip. Suddenly he jerked to his feet, spun crazily in
two directions at once and fell flopping to the floor. The auto-rifle
clattered as he let it fall.
Lors came slowly to his feet and shoved his gun back into its holster;
then he walked over to where Brice was staring at the ceiling through
unseeing eyes. It was a damned shame, but he had brought it on himself.
One of the spacers looked at him.
"Are you all right, sir?"
"Is he a spacer?" One of them asked, looking at the uniform.
"An escaped Terran," Lors said, then he remembered that Danson was
probably down at the hangar. "Don't jettison this body until I give you
the orders. Put it in quick freeze."
"Yes, sir," the spacer said.
But Lors was already on his way down the corridor. He could do nothing
for Brice now ... perhaps it had even been a good thing. The shooting
would have drawn most of the high ranking officers toward the end of the
ship, leaving a comparatively clear space between him and the hangar. He
hoped that the doctor would stay out for awhile.
As the Terrans said, they weren't out of the woods yet.
He found a vacant elevator and took it down to the hangar level. As the
door whirled open, he raced into the corridor, nearly upsetting a
startled spacer with his rush. He had no idea how long it would be until
it was discovered that Narvi had let Danson out, but he knew the escape
would not remain unnoticed for long.
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