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had to do now, was dump Danson and get out. Nick could tell his wife
everything and get things straightened out. Brice could be reported as
missing in the woods and the wrecked scout ship could be covered up by
the men in Washington.
He eased his way into the house and flopped Danson's unconscious body on
the couch. He had started to pull off Danson's borrowed uniform when he
heard the footstep. He whirled about!
She stood there for a moment and stared at the two of them, and he could
see from her face that she was not sure which one was her husband. Lors
came to his feet and looked at her, not quite sure what to say or do.
"Don't explain, Lors," she told him. Her voice was as calm and as
unruffled as though she found men from outer space in the cabin every
"I brought him back," Lors began and felt silly. He wondered vaguely how
she had known about him and his being a spaceman.
She came into the room and up to where he stood, her eyes boring into
his. "Why did you bring him back? You could have come back by yourself
and continued the whole thing."
The realization of her words dawned upon him slowly and he blinked. "You
_know_ about me? How..."
"I'll tell you later. Why did you bring him back?"
"You want him, don't you? It couldn't work out. Any fool can see that."
He reached out and gripped her shoulders firmly. "It wasn't supposed to
happen this way, Beth. It was all supposed to go like clockwork; we
never figured on the scout ship being wrecked, and I never figured on
falling in love with you..."
"That's why you brought him back? Because you love me?"
He nodded, trying vainly to brush aside the trembling emotion that
lifted within him at the touch of her flesh. It was a weird feeling.
"I thought about taking his place, Beth. I thought about it - but I knew
it wouldn't work. It was a half crazy thing in the beginning. I ... I'm
A faint smile tugged at her lips. "Don't be. I'm not the least bit
sorry, but I'm glad I know the truth. Now it doesn't seem so ridiculous
- Brice disappearing into thin air." She looked about the room. "Where
"Dead?" Her eyes widened.
Lors nodded. "I brought your husband back against my Commander's orders.
When I tried to get Brice out of the hospital, he went berserk and began
shooting things up. One of the spacers killed him."
"Poor Nolan," she whispered and he could see the tears welling in her
eyes. Then she looked at him sharply. "You acted against orders?"
He nodded again.
"What will happen to you?"
"Nothing. It'll all come out all right. But, Beth, how did you know? Who
told you about this?"
Lors whirled about, his eyes swinging against those of the husky blond
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