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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Seventeen"><SPAN name="p143" id="p143"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>143<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER SEVENTEEN</h2> <p>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.</p> <p>“Crazy fool,” Lors said aloud and slammed the door as he dashed into the corridor.</p> <p>Brice was running blindly.</p> <p>“Brice! Stop!” Lors fired the auto-pistol over the fleeing man’s head.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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 them fired.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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 <SPAN name="p144" id="p144"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>144<span class="ns">] </span></span>auto-rifle clattered as he let it fall.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>“Are you all right, sir?”</p> <p>Lors nodded.</p> <p>“Is he a spacer?” One of them asked, looking at the uniform.</p> <p>“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.”</p> <p>“Yes, sir,” the<!-- TN: original reads 'The' --> spacer said.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>As the Terrans said, they weren’t out of the woods yet.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>He burst into the repair bin area of the hangar and jerked his head toward the tubes. When a ship <SPAN name="p145" id="p145"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>145<span class="ns">] </span></span>came into the side of the mother-ship, they entered through a large port which made it easier for the pilot of the scout ship. But to leave the starship, one had to install the smaller craft into one of the many blast tubes on either side of the big hangar.</p> <p>He looked frantically about the area for Danson and spotted the Terran standing unobtrusively<!-- TN: original reads 'unobstrusively' --> near the pilot entry to one of the blast tubes. Nick Danson, garbed in the blue and yellow of a Firstspacer, was a twin for Lors. He hoped anxiously that none of the repairmen would notice the trick.</p> <p>Lors grabbed a mechanic by the arm. “Spacer! I’m on an urgent mission. Where can I get a ship?”</p> <p>The young spacer looked thoughtful for a moment, then pointed toward a tube on the other side of the hangar. “In that tube, sir.”</p> <p>“Thank you.”</p> <p>“I’ll help you rig it,” the spacer said.</p> <p>“Never mind, I’ll do it myself. Go about your work.”</p> <p>“Yes, sir.” The spacer turned away, a puzzled look on his face.</p> <p>Lors motioned to Danson and headed toward the tube door. He could well understand the spacer’s bewilderment. While it was possible for the pilot of a scout ship to launch his own craft, it was highly impractical and not normally done. He hoped it didn’t arouse their suspicions. He yanked the door open and looked over his shoulder. Danson was almost to him, running hard. Heads turned as the mechanics watched him run.</p> <p>“Hurry!”</p> <p>Danson reached the door and Lors shoved him into the tube.</p> <p><SPAN name="p146" id="p146"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>146<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>“Where’s Brice,” Danson demanded.</p> <p>Lors slammed the door and whirled the wheel of the spider lock. He didn’t answer. He was too concerned with getting the door secured. Through the port in the heavy door, he could see spacers gesturing and pointing at the blast tube.</p> <p>“Where’s Brice!”</p> <p>“He’s dead.” Lors secured the wheel and noticed that a Vice-commander had come into the hangar area. “Get in the ship! Fast!”</p> <p>Outside, the hanger workers were milling about like a fleet of bees. Lors turned to Danson and saw him standing beside the ship, his eyes wild with disbelief.</p> <p>“Get in the ship!”</p> <p>“Not without Brice!”</p> <p>Lors exploded in his native tongue. “Get in that ship, Danson! How long do you think it’ll be before they come in the emergency door?”</p> <p>Nick’s eyes were wide and violent. “I’m not leaving Nolan up here, goddammit! Get out of my way!”</p> <p>Lors shoved the Terran as he came in and watched him backpedal into the side of the scout ship. Danson muttered a curse and dived at the spaceman. Lors had no choice in the matter. He swung hard, Terran style, in what had come to be known as the “ole one-two.” His left fist dug into Nick’s stomach and, when he bent with the blow, Lors brought his right fist up from the floor and felt it smash into Danson’s face. The Terran slammed backwards against the ship, his head striking the metal sides. He crumpled into an unconscious blue mound beside the ship.</p> <p>He wasted no time. Casting a glance at the <SPAN name="p147" id="p147"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>147<span class="ns">] </span></span>lifeless panel that was the emergency door at the far end of the blast tube, he grabbed Danson under the arms and hauled him up the short ladder to the cockpit of the ship. If they came through that emergency door, he was finished. He could not push the button in the wall that would open the huge port in the side of the starship.</p> <p>They would die if he did!</p> <p>It would be one thing, to free an alien, but to intentionally kill members of his own race would mean disaster. Thirty seconds after he pushed the wall button, would open the port at the end of the tube and send the void of space rushing into the chamber. Anyone who did not have adequate pressurization would be a fond memory.</p> <p>He stuffed Danson’s body into the cockpit seat and buckled the strap about him. Lors left the cockpit canopy open and leaped to the floor of the tube. How long do I have? A minute? Two? Keep them outside, he pleaded, and dived for the button.</p> <p>“Lors!”</p> <p>The shout echoed hollowly in the tube. He glanced toward the door and saw three mechanics inside the tube. Thunder and lightning! One second after he had slammed the button and all the doors would have locked automatically and the port would have opened.</p> <p>Panicked by the sight of them, he whipped out his pistol and fired. In the tube, the weapon sounded like a firecracker going off in a steel drum. The unarmed mechanics stopped dead, whirled and ducked back through the door. In another four seconds, the armed guards would show up.</p> <p><SPAN name="p148" id="p148"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>148<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>Lors shoved the weapon back into the holster and slammed his hand against the button. It would lock them out now! He had his thirty seconds now. He dived for the ship, dropped into the cockpit and slammed the canopy forward, twisting the lock into place.</p> <p>His fingers moved over the controls and the engines whined into life as the port opened before him. He was on his way! He revved the engines impatiently as the big door rolled away and the stars burned in at him. Then he shoved the speed control forward and the scout ship surged out into the blackness of space. His feet kicked at the pedals and his hands worked the stick. The scout ship rolled over and streaked toward the lighted ball of the earth.</p> <p>He turned his head, looking over his shoulder at the mother-ship. Tiny flashes of brilliant light speared from the starship. They lifted, fluttered and followed him like a swarm of bees.</p> <p>They were giving chase!</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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