Second Variety

end of the ladder. “I’m going above and try the transmitter once more. If I can’t get them we’re moving back toward my lines tomorrow morning.”

Klaus rose quickly. “I’ll come up with you and give you a hand.”

The night air was cold. The earth was cooling off. Klaus took a deep breath, filling his lungs. He and Hendricks stepped onto the ground, out of the tunnel. Klaus planted his feet wide apart, the rifle up, watching and listening. Hendricks crouched by the tunnel mouth, tuning the small transmitter.

“Any luck?” Klaus asked presently.

“Not yet.”

“Keep trying. Tell them what happened.”

Hendricks kept trying. Without success. Finally he lowered the antenna. “It’s useless. They can’t hear me. Or they hear me and won’t answer. Or—”

“Or they don’t exist.”

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