The Earthman

really felt. "Nearly a quarter mile of wire. We'll string it in a circle around this clearing, six inches above the ground. The natives will never notice it. If they attack us, they'll snap the wire and set off the thermal reaction. We'll be surrounded for a second or two in a blazing ring of fire."

"Maybe it'll work, Captain."

The two men strung the wire while Tynia lugged the weapons and the canned goods into the abandoned building. When the Sergeant and Tchassen went inside, they found that she had started a fire in a pot-bellied stove. The Captain stood holding his hands over the flames and gradually he began to feel warm again. He knew that the pillar of smoke rising from the chimney might invite an attack by the natives, but there was also a good chance that the smoke would disperse before it could be spotted.

The warmth of the fire acted like an opiate, but

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