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Sex Life of the Gods, The

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<h2 title="Chapter Eighteen"><SPAN name="p151" id="p151"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>151<span class="ns">]<br /></span></span>CHAPTER EIGHTEEN</h2> <p>He had thought there would be a pursuit. He kicked at the rudder pedals and threw the stick; the scout ship rolled over and plunged toward the ice cap at the north pole of the planet. At 16,000&nbsp;m.p.h., the rocket was little more than a guided missile and he knew that when he reached the ice cap, he’d have to throttle back - but then so would his pursuers.</p> <p>Beside him, on the seat, Nick Danson’s head rolled from side to side as the ship streaked toward the earth. The four scout ships were fanned out behind him and trying to close, yet he was holding them at bay with a mere 16,500&nbsp;m.p.h. He wished frantically that he could have figured out a way to stymie the chase, but starships were not built to be sabotaged. The designers had done a damned good job on them, fitting them with every device known to prevent crippling, or damaging by the enemy, whoever it may be.</p> <p>The four ships were hanging on him.</p> <p>I’ve got to lose them, he thought feverishly. I’ve got to lose them long enough to get Danson back to the cabin and get the hell out again. After that, they can have me. But not now. He looked behind him, trying to determine whether or not they were getting set to fire on him.</p> <p>They didn’t look it, but he couldn’t tell. Weapons were not a scout ship’s strong point. Each ship was armed with a large rocket launcher, but it was seldom used. Speed was the greatest weapon they needed and the military designers <SPAN name="p152" id="p152"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>152<span class="ns">] </span></span>of the home planet had poured all their energy into the fast maneuvering of the craft.</p> <p>The heavy caps of ice that covered the continent of Greenland loomed up before him and he hoped that he could lose them in the white wilderness. He would have to throttle back when he reached the jagged waste of ice, but then so would the four behind him. They saw what he was attempting, and poured all the power they could into their ships.</p> <p>Lors flattened the ship out in a shallow dive and pushed the throttle control until it stopped. The needle on the airspeed indicator leaped violently. 24,000&nbsp;m.p.h. The ice rose against the windshield swiftly. One of the scout ships closed and fired a rocket.</p> <p>He kicked at the rudder pedal and threw the ship to the left. The scout ship responded like a nervous horse and fluttered away as the rocket burned and arced<!-- TN: original reads 'arcked' --> beneath the underbelly.</p> <p>He pulled the throttle control back, cutting the speed of the ship and shoving on the rudder as he hauled at the stick. The maneuver was too fast for the ships behind him. They tore past him in silver flashes, trying to correct their error. He streaked off toward the Azores Islands, slicing into the atmosphere viciously, while he watched the other ships whirling off to come back at him. They would soon have to break radio silence, or they would never get him. It was almost impossible to close on a quarry at these speeds, unless each man knew what his buddy was doing.</p> <p>At 15,000 miles per hour, a micro-second of delay before acting, could slam two ships together with a violence that would atomize everything. <SPAN name="p153" id="p153"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>153<span class="ns">] </span></span>Still they refused to make radio contact with each other.</p> <p>Lors watched them coming back at him, minute silver specks on the radar sweep. He shoved the stick forward and dived for the ocean in a shallow plunge. He had the biggest advantage, in that they had to anticipate <em>his</em> moves, in order to get him into their sights. One of them got him in his sights and fired.</p> <p>He watched the rocket spearing toward his ship and slammed the stick over to the right. The discus-like scout ship flipped over in a slow roll, the rocket barely missing the ship. Lors felt a little sick. He eased the throttle back, flattening the ship out not fifty feet above the water of the Atlantic Ocean. Then he shoved the throttle to the wall and raced north.</p> <p>The Scout ship speed indicator swung crazily and stopped at 24,500&nbsp;m.p.h. Behind him, the other four were firewalling their throttles just to keep within range. They couldn’t possibly fire at him, because going away at speeds like they were using, he could outrun any rocket made. Not only was that in his favor, but should one of them fire, they would fly into their own weapon.</p> <p>He glanced at Danson. Nick had awakened and was staring wide eyed at the ocean that was spinning past them as they streaked north. Then Nick’s mouth opened<!-- TN: original reads 'open' --> and Lors looked ahead. They were almost on the freighter!</p> <p>Lors lifted the ship and whipped over the spars of the ship in a rush that had probably broken lines and smashed windows all over the vessel. Behind him, the others were streaking over the ship and Lors could imagine the terrified crew-members who had probably been knocked flat <SPAN name="p154" id="p154"></SPAN><span class="pagenum"><span class="ns">[p</span>154<span class="ns">] </span></span>by the wash from the scout ships.</p> <p>Danson had fainted.</p> <p>Ahead of him was a heavy cloud cover. He streaked for it, with his four buddies in hot pursuit. He hit the cloud cover and began dodging recklessly through it, changing his course constantly to throw his pursuers off. He burst out on the far side of the bank of clouds and couldn’t see the other four ships. He streaked for the cabin in the mountain country of Pennsylvania, with Danson still out.</p> <p>Lors throttled back and hovered over the cabin. It was deserted. In the sunlight, it looked like a child’s toy house in a miniature clearing. He settled the ship in another small clearing, in the woods beyond the house and shut off the engines. He threw back the canopy and removed the belt from around Danson.</p> <p>He slung the Terran over his shoulder and headed for the cabin. Still nothing moved about the place. Lors breathed a sigh of relief. All he 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.</p> <p>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!</p> <p>Beth!</p> </div> <div class="chapter">
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