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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Thirteen"><SPAN name="p115" id="p115"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>115<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER THIRTEEN</h2> <p>Outside, in the corridor, Lors nodded to the guards and began walking toward Thesa’s quarters. In his mind, now that he again <em>had</em> a whole mind, was the feeling of being trapped, the feeling of being caught in a mesh-like web that was about to strangle him.</p> <p>Perhaps they could patch things up on Terra, but the two Terrans would have to die, or at least one - merely to gain him another month, or two, with Beth. Was it worth it? In the long run, was it practical? Perhaps he didn’t really love the Terran woman - maybe it was just infatuation, or gratitude, or even the result of long abstinence. If that was the case, it would be brutal for them to kill the one man who could make her happy.</p> <p>Then, on the other hand, suppose his love was genuine. If he really loved her, the coming accident which he was to stage would never come to pass. He knew himself too well to believe that. He would take Beth and run, get away into another country, change his name, his features...</p> <p>He smiled to himself and remembered his training on Mars, and the ability of the spacemen to reach out with a long arm to stop anything. Anything! <i>We are the gods, he remembered. We are the gods who move with lightning and speak in thunder. The Terrans are like so many cows that need a watchful eye upon them at all times...</i></p> <p>Gods. Yes, in a manner of speaking, he decided that they were gods ... but what did the book say about one of the minor gods being <SPAN name="p116" id="p116"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>116<span class="ns">] </span></span>caught up in a crazy thing like this? It had never happened before.</p> <p>Without actually realizing it, he found himself standing at the door to his own quarters. A single guard, armed with an auto-rifle stopped him when he approached the door.</p> <p>“I’m sorry, sir,” the Spacer said. “You cannot enter here.”</p> <p>Danson was on the other side, he knew. Nicholas Danson, the artist, the man with whom he had traded places. Suddenly he wanted to speak with the man, find out about him. All at once, Danson was not just another Terran - he was a man, with feelings, emotion...</p> <p>“I’m Firstspacer Lors,” he heard his voice rumble with authority. “I’d like to speak with the Terran.”</p> <p>The guard stiffened. “I’m sorry, sir. I didn’t know who you were.”</p> <p>“You will open the door, spacer?”</p> <p>“Yes, sir, but you’d best leave your sidearm with me.”</p> <p>Lors nodded and pulled his auto-pistol from the black leather holster and handed it to the guard who stuffed it into his belt. He reached back and unlocked the door. As it swung open, Lors stepped inside.</p> <p>The room was not large; it couldn’t be very big on a starship, but it was serviceable. There was a dresser and locker for uniforms, as well as a visi-screen, a couch and a small bed. The Terran was lying on the bed, reading.</p> <p>Lors smiled at him. They could have been twins of the same mother, were it not for the fact that Terran’s disposition was different. He hadn’t shaved in a few days, and his black hair was <SPAN name="p117" id="p117"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>117<span class="ns">] </span></span>tangled. Even the fatigue uniform he wore was rumpled badly.</p> <p>“Hello, Danson,” Lors said, in English, and to his acute surprise, the Terran answered in Lors’ tongue.</p> <p>“This mortal bids welcome to the great god, Lors,” Danson said, with a faint smirk.</p> <p>“You speak my language?” Lors asked, puzzled.</p> <p>“Why not? You speak mine. When they checked my brain, they found that I had a rather high I.Q. Besides, I’ve read all your reading material and decided that you have lousy taste. So I decided to learn the language, and try to make conversation with my watch dogs.”</p> <p>“You are comfortable?”</p> <p>Danson nodded. “Wonderful. First rate. Now that I know the language, I’m going to get a deck of cards and teach my jailers how to play draw poker. Then I’m going to win this starship and take it to Washington for analysis.”</p> <p>“I didn’t come here to jest.”</p> <p>Danson lit a cigarette and smiled thinly. “Why did you come here?”</p> <p>“To see you. Are you well taken care of?”</p> <p>“Certainly. They’ve hooked up my pint sized T.V. set so that I can look at the earth. I’ve been to the Lunar Base ... terrific real estate. A rock pile. Elaborate, but still a rock pile. I eat very well. I sleep occasionally, except that I cannot get used to the total darkness, and I have minor grievances ... like I want to get the hell out of here!” He stood up suddenly and glared at Lors. “Am I happy! Am I content! Hell, yes! I’m so goddam content I’m going stir crazy from it!</p> <p>“I’m sick of the whole damned mess, <SPAN name="p118" id="p118"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>118<span class="ns">] </span></span>Firstspacer Lors, plain downright sick and...”</p> <p>“Take it easy, Danson.”</p> <p>“Shut up! Shut your damned mouth because I’m not finished! Tell me, god, have you ever been confined to a pint sized prison? You ever had your brain picked clean by a flock of intellectual buzzards? You ever sat in a room, with the walls closing in on you, listening to a couple of blue-uniformed knotheads stand outside your door talking a babble of language that sounded like Chinese, and not be able to speak to them? Not be able to take a piss because you don’t know how to find the toilet and don’t know how to ask where it is?</p> <p>“Well, I have. I have and I’m up to my ears with this whole bit. I lie here every night and dream about taking this so-called starship and ramming it up your ass, plate by plate...”</p> <p>Danson broke off suddenly, unable to continue his wild tirade. He sat there on the edge of the bunk, his face a livid white, with the cigarette dangling from his lips. His left eye closed against the bite of the smoke and his jaws knotted as he stared at the wall.</p> <p>“All finished,” Lors demanded quietly.</p> <p>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 long time.”</p> <p>“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.”</p> <p>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.”</p> <p><SPAN name="p119" id="p119"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>119<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“I’ve underestimated you, Danson,” Lors told him in a soft voice. “You have an interesting mind. Quite a grasp.”</p> <p>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.”</p> <p>“I doubt that,” Lors mused.</p> <p>“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.”</p> <p>“How many Spacers have you talked to?” Lors asked. “How many of them know how intelligent you are?”</p> <p>Danson shrugged. “Why?”</p> <p>“Just wondered.”</p> <p>Nick Danson looked at him narrowly. “You have something on your mind, Lors?”</p> <p>“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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p><SPAN name="p120" id="p120"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>120<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>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 work out.</p> <p>He hoped so.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>“Jela,” he whispered, in shock.</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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