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softlyHosato ignored him and moved to the desk, arming himself from his own
arsenal, which Gedge had so conveniently laid out for him.
As he had noted earlier, his blasters were goneWell, no matterThey'd gotten new
ones from the guardsThrowing spikes in his belt, knife in his boot One by one he
secured the deadly tools of his trade at various points on his bodyItems such as
clothing, he ignoredThis was a combat mission.
"I've got the blasters, Hosato," Rick said, joining him"Now what?"
Hosato gestured at Gedge's huddled form"Ask our friend there where they took
Sasha."
Rick frowned"I don't think hell tell me."
"They've taken her off to interrogate her," Hosato informed him"Thinking about
that might help you find the right way to ask him."
"Right!" Rick said, his face hardening.
Hosato felt a twinge of guilt as he turned his back on the inevitable scene in the
cornerHe shouldn't delegate such a task to someone else, but forcing in-
formation out of people, especially injured people, had never been his forteStill,
he winced at Gedge's first gasp of pain.
"Hosato?"
He turned, to find James at his side.
"I had to do it," the boy mumbled"He was going to kill you."
Hosato seized the boy's shoulders in an iron grip and shook him"You said you
wanted to come with me, JamesRemember?"
"Yes, but-"
"Well, this is what I doI kill peopleWe may have to kill some more before we get
out of hereIf we don't, they'll kill usI'm not saying you should like it, but accept
itAccept it now, or when the next time comes, you'll hesitate and we'll all be
dead."
The boy's eyes cleared"I'll be all right," he said levelly.
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"You're sure?"
"Yes." His voice was surer now.
"GoodThen fetch my throwing spikeIt's in the guard's forehead over there."
It was a brutal thing to do, and Hosato watched the boy covertly as he went about
his assignmentThe boy was a bit wooden-limbed, but his hands shoot only slightly
as he withdrew the weapon from the corpse's skull.
"I've got your answer, Hosato," Rick called"Sasha is in the room directly below
usThe stairs are across the hall."
"Here's your spike," James said, passing him the weapon.
Hosato took it absently and tucked it in his belt.
"Shall I kill him?" Rick asked, jerking his head at Gedge.
"NoHang on to himHe's our hostage for now."
"Okay, you're the bossWhere do we go from here?"
"I go after Sasha," Hosato corrected"You try to find if one of these uniforms
comes close to fitting youJames,"-Hosato pressed a blaster into the boy's hand -
"watch the doorIf anybody but me or Sasha comes through it, kill 'emAnd keep an
eye on our friend there."
Their eyes met; then the boy smiled and nodded.
There was no one in sight as Hosato ghosted across the corridor and down the
stairsLikewise, there was no one in the lower corridor, not even a guard.
His suspicions aroused, he crossed the corridor in one long stride and hurtled
himself against the doorIt flew open with surprising ease, and he fell headlong
into a dark roomAs he hit the floor, he realized what a beautiful target he made
silhouetted against the open door, and rolled sideways into the shadows.
"Hosato?" came a cautious call.
"Sasha?" he answered.
There was a soft shuffle of movement, and the door closed behind himA moment
later the lights came on, flooding the scene in the room with their harsh
brilliance.
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'Til say one thing for you, HosatoYou never miss a chance to make a big
entrance."
Sasha was standing there, a blaster gripped loosely in her left handAside from her
disheveled appear-ance, she seemed unharmed.
"Are you all right?" Hosato asked, rolling to his feet.
"Sure," she replied easily"Nothing like the smell of truth serum to clear away the
cobwebsLuckily they didn't seem to think I was dangerous enough, to strap
down." She gestured at the two crumpled and bloody forms on the floor.
Hosato whistled in silent appreciation.
"It looks like they were wrong in the worst wayHow did you do it?"
"With my trusty desk lamp," Sasha replied mod-estly, pointing at the
implement"You know, they ought to outlaw those thingsThey're dangerous."
"I meant, how did you do it at all?"
Sasha shot an annoyed glance at him"By taking the one with the blaster firstAfter
that, the other one was easyI'm surprised you didn't know that, Hosato."
"As a matter of fact, I am familiar with that tactic," Hosato retorted"But when I
do it, it's neater."
Sasha shook her head and held up her blaster"Okay, HosatoIf we're done rattling
our sabers at each other, maybe we can get a few basic questions answeredFor
one, where the hell are weLast thing I remember, I was fighting robots at the
main corri-dor, then I wake up here with DrFrankenstein there about to shoot a
load of goop into me."
Hosato' shook his head"McCrae isn't anymoreThe robots overran the place and
killed everybody."
"Everybody?"
"Everybody except you, me, Rick Handel, and JamesWe were in the sand-crawler
bay when they made their big push out, or we wouldn't have gotten out either."
Sasha whistled"I guess I shouldn't gripe about los-ing an arm, thenHow about
what's-her-name SuziYour little robotDid she-?"
"Got chopped up by an ore scout on our way here."
"That's too badWait a minute, Hosato'On our way here'Are you trying to tell me
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we're at. ?"
She shot another glance at the uniform on the fallen guard.
"at Ravensteel," Hosato finished for her"It was our only chanceI thought they
might help us."
"You're nuts, HosatoI'd rather take my chances with the robotsRavensteelGod
protect me from in-nocents."
"I've managed to figure it out all by myself,"
Hosato commented grimly"Anyway, that brings us up to the presentWe're trying
to bust out of here before they have another chance to lavish some of their
Ravensteel hospitality on us."
"Now you're talkingWhere are the others?"
"Upstairs in the room above this oneI suggest it's time to regroup our forces and
plan our next move."
"You know, Hosato," Sasha said, "sometimes you show a positive brilliance for
tacticsLet's goOh, one more thing."
She wiggled her stump at him.
"They gave me some kind of stimulant to counter-act the shock before they went
to the truth serumRight now I'm pillow-walking, and I don't know how long it will
last or how I'll react to this arm once it wears off, so keep an eye on me, okay?"
Hosato nodded his understanding.
"OkayLet's go."
They were halfway up the stairs when they heard the blaster fire from above.
Hosato bounded the rest of the way up the stairs, Sasha trailing close behindAfter [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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