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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Eleven"><SPAN name="p97" id="p97"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>97<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER ELEVEN</h2> <p>The ship came to rest upon a flat, ochre colored plain beside a brilliant white city encased in thick, heavy walls. There was a dull pain in his head and fire in his leg, but he was alive. He lay limply upon the bed while Firstspacer Narvi plied him with honeywine to dull the pain.</p> <p>He grinned, studying the blond giant’s warm, friendly face. He was among friends; the tall, yellow eyed Thistians had failed to kill him and Narvi had whisked him away into the violet sky.</p> <p>“Thought we’d lost you, Lors,” Narvi grinned. “You almost did,” he replied, choking on the Thista honeywine. “Haven’t you anything else, something from Darkkan?”</p> <p>“Sorry, friend,” Narvi grinned, “but you can be glad to get this. The 36th Command has been drinking up even this stuff. I’ll see you later, in the hospital.”</p> <p>“All right, Narvi.” The big man started away, but Lors stopped him by grabbing his blue sleeve. “Narvi?”</p> <p>“Yes.”</p> <p>“Thanks. Thanks a lot.”</p> <p>Firstspacer Narvi punched him playfully on the arm and left the compartment. The medical men came in then, hooking the anti-gravity capsules to the bed and setting them into motion. The cot-like stretcher lifted and the men towed him out to the freight elevator. As they stowed him into the ambulance, he could see Narvi’s staff car skimming toward the Commandant’s building to make out his report.</p> <p><SPAN name="p98" id="p98"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>98<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>No doubt Commandant Imry would be coming to see him, later on.</p> <p class="tb">&nbsp;</p> <p>Nick groaned. Another dream that was beginning to clear things up a little...</p> <p>“He’s coming around.” The words were not English, but Nick understood them.</p> <p>The big blond cursed softly. “Speak English, Thesa. Someone might hear you!”</p> <p>“There hasn’t been anyone around this farm in months,” Thesa replied, lapsing into English. “But if you’re getting particular, don’t call me Thesa.”</p> <p>Nick opened his eyes and blinked at them. It was the two watch dogs, the blond and his sandy haired friend. The giant was grinning at him.</p> <p>“Hello,” he beamed. “Remember me?”</p> <p>“No! Who in hell are you?” Nick struggled to get out of the chair he’d been dumped in, but was pushed back firmly.</p> <p>“When you didn’t report, we went out to find you. The old guy at the gas station covered up for you, so we had to watch Beth’s house. Used all kinds of tricks, Lors. Why in the blue heaven didn’t you make contact?”</p> <p>“You’re Narvi!” Nick stared with wide eyes. “You’re the man in the dream!”</p> <p>“Dream? Say, what’s wrong with you, Lors? You refuse to report, you take pot shots at us... That crash was a bad thing; don’t tell me your head...”</p> <p>“Narvi,” Thesa put in quickly. “The crash! He was lucky to get out of it alive. Maybe he can’t remember what went on. That right, Lors?”</p> <p>Nick stared at them and foggy pictures swung vaguely into his mind. Galaxies of stars whirled <SPAN name="p99" id="p99"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>99<span class="ns">] </span></span>about, silver ships streaking in the sky and tiny points of light whipping across ochre deserts. Men in blue uniforms drilling beneath a violet sky in the heat of a solar wafer splotched above them. It was real! The fears he had had, the crazy alternative that the dreams presented to him ... it was all real.</p> <p>“It wasn’t a dream,” Nick muttered, shaking his head like a punch-drunk fighter. “I really am Firstspacer Lors! And I know you! I know you!”</p> <p>“Take it easy, boy,” Narvi said softly. “You’ve had a bad time. I might have known you <em>couldn’t</em> report to us. Thesa, get some water! He looks as though he’s going to pass out!”</p> <p>“I’m all right, I’m all right.” He looked at Narvi and the memories, at least a few of them, came fluttering into place. The temporary amnesia slipped aside and the veil began to rise.</p> <p>“You’re sure you’re all right, Lors?”</p> <p>“Yes, Narvi. Things are beginning to make sense. Tell me about what I’m doing here.”</p> <p>Narvi cursed angrily. “Commander Imry, the stupid thistlebug! It’s all his fault! All this fouled<!-- TN: no hyphen in original --> up thing is his doing. It would have been bad enough even without your ship crashing; that just added to it. Luckily, Imry has been ordered back. Someone back home heard of his idiotic plan and the government is yelling for his hide.”</p> <p>“What plan? I ... can’t...”</p> <p>Thesa came in with a glass of water and handed it to Lors, who sipped at it slowly while the big blond explained things to him. While Narvi talked, it all began to come into sharp focus in his <SPAN name="p100" id="p100"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>100<span class="ns">] </span></span>mind.</p> <p>“After you and I finished campaigning on Darkkan and Thista, we applied for assignment in this galaxy. They wanted to split us up, at first,” Narvi grinned, “but we got mad, so they left us together and we were shipped here under old Commander Imry. After a couple of years, Terran time, studying on Mars we became agents on this planet. I got an easy one here with Thesa, but Imry had bigger plans for you. Damn him!”</p> <p>“But why are we spying on these people, Narvi? For war?”</p> <p>“I hope not. The Terrans are getting close to space travel, and you know what that would do to our colonies in this galaxy. They’re entering a primitive Atomic civilization and they’re like little children playing with weapons. Oh, they’re serious enough, but they’re so damned careless they’re likely to ruin the planet in atomic wars...”</p> <p>“Sounds like the ancient history of our own planet,” Lors said softly. The memories were coming in faster now.</p> <p>“True. And you know what happened to us? Damned near lost the whole planet. Anyhow, you know the other planets in this galaxy? Well, since Terra has a life form like ours, we could use this place as a link in the supply chain. That is our main purpose. Trade.</p> <p>“But these people have a strange attitude. Why, if we would land a ship now, they’d rip us to shreds before you knew it. These people fear what they don’t understand, and anything they can’t understand they kill. So, right now, we’re sending agents, or spies, down here with instructions to probe about. They’re coming along <SPAN name="p101" id="p101"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>101<span class="ns">] </span></span>rather well, getting out of the trees, you might say; but we’ll have to keep an eye on them for awhile yet.”</p> <p>Lors finished the water. “But what has this got to do with Commander Imry and me? Apparently I was to take the place of Nick Danson, but why?”</p> <p>“That was Imry. You see, many times our agents are handicapped by the very lives they lead. In order to learn about people, one has to live with them; when our agents do this, they have to get jobs and settle down in one area. Imry picked Danson because he’s a footloose artist who paints illustrations for magazines. All he had to do was snatch Danson, work a little plastic surgery on you and put you in Nick Danson’s place. You then, would not be confined and could roam all over the planet without being questioned.”</p> <p>“That’s crazy,” Lors told him. “I couldn’t take Danson’s place for the rest of my life. He was gambling on a hell of a lot.”</p> <p>Narvi grunted. “You’re a good spacer, Lors. You follow orders, even when they’re dictated by a madman. When you left the ship, you <em>were</em> Danson. You were processed so beautifully that no one could tell the difference. When you cracked up, a blow on the head, or something, must have created a temporary amnesia and you thought you <em>were</em> Danson. We certainly had a time locating you. Anyhow, you’re to go back to the ship as soon as you can. The new commander wants to talk with you.” Narvi grinned slyly. “I imagine you’ll want to talk to him too. It’s Zark, our old friend from Thista.”</p> <p>“Zark. Yes. I remember him.” Lors stood up <SPAN name="p102" id="p102"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>102<span class="ns">] </span></span>and paced the room in thought. He remembered grey haired, friendly Zark, but more than that, he remembered Commander Zark’s beautiful, blond daughter, Jela. “I remember a lot now, Narvi. It’s too bad they didn’t send him sooner. Things wouldn’t be so messed up.”</p> <p>“It’s not so bad.”</p> <p>“No?”</p> <p>“No. You’ll probably be going back to the home planet now.”</p> <p>“I can’t go back,” Lors mused. “I have to stay and see this through. It’s personal, now.”</p> <p>“Personal?” Narvi was clearly puzzled. “What can be personal about a Spacer and an alien race?”</p> <p>He looked at his friend levelly. “I can’t leave this planet, Narvi, because of Beth Danson. I’m in love with her.”</p> <p>“Love!” Narvi exploded.</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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