He ignored her but kept her within the range of his peripheral vision while he glanced through the window, trying to locate what had set off the alarm. The circle of heat had melted all the snow and ice in the clearing; the trunks of the pines were smoldering and a corner of the building was beginning to burn.
Tchassen saw a chunk of flesh lying on the road—an animal of some sort which had blundered into the alarm wire. Then they had not been attacked by natives. The dead animal made it very clear that wild beasts still survived on the Earth. No wonder the natives were meat eaters! And, since they were, that meant they could live indefinitely in the remote mountain areas. They did not depend upon hidden caches of food; starvation would never drive them back to the prison compounds. The occupation policy was based upon a false assumption; more than ever it was vitally imperative for Tchassen to reach the coast and report the truth to his superiors.