Second Variety

half hour you’ll be dead. Your only chance of survival—” She broke off.

Along the slope, by some crumbling ruins, something moved. Something in the ash. Tasso turned quickly, aiming. She fired. A puff of flame leaped. Something scuttled away, rolling across the ash. She fired again. The claw burst apart, wheels flying.

“See?” Tasso said. “A scout. It won’t be long.”

“You’ll bring them back here to get me?”

“Yes. As soon as possible.”

Hendricks looked up at her. He studied her intently. “You’re telling the truth?” A strange expression had come over his face, an avid hunger. “You will come back for me? You’ll get me to the Moon Base?”

“I’ll get you to the Moon Base. But tell me where it is! There’s only a little time left.”

“All right.” Hendricks picked up a piece of rock, pulling himself to a sitting position. “Watch.”

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