safely, she told him to keep watch for her and ap-
proached the window of the room adjacent to the base
of the discharge stack.
And there he was, in a large room full of medical
equipment, watching a musical recording and sipping a
cup of wine. No one else was in the room with him, but
there were open communicators on both sides of the
bed, and a medical scanner was focused on his torso.
Her original plan had ended with the location of Jus-
tin Kolb and his removal to a point from which the
Corps could send down a ship to retrieve him, and she
was glad that she had acquired information leading to a
change of plan. It would have been far too easy, as she
had envisaged it. Just fire the radio-fuse, wait ten
minutes until everyone in the house was unconscious,
smash a way in to bring Kolb to the boat, andend.
Tame. This way was much better.
She had seen enough of the house now, and led Bracy
away from it towards the high ground. They kept a
course parallel to the road, but out of sight of it, a pre-
caution she was glad of when a fast ground-skimmer
hummed up from the house to the concealing trees
ahead, and within minutes came back.
The trees were thickly leaved and prickly, some local
species she hadn’t been warned about; before Bracy was
able to show her how to avoid the dropping branches,
she sustained several scratches on her face. They made
the last stretch of their )oumey interminably slow, but at
length they emerged into sight of a small plateau crown-
ing the island.
Maddalena pursed her lips. Even without more help
than starlight, she could see that this was one of the
best-equipped private landing-grounds she had ever
heard of. A squat building dominated it, with an im-
pressive array of antennae on top, mcinding one unmis-
takable one meant for subspace communication over
interstellar distancesa real shock, to find that sort of
equipment here. Maybe the Cyclopean government was
conniving at Rimerley’s actions’
And what could it be that was expected at or soon af-
ter midnight? A new leg for Justin Kolb? Such a
gruesome piece of evidence as that would be enough to
convict Rimerley and his associates even in a Cyclopean
court, let alone a galactic one!
“What now?” Bracy whispered, touching her arm to
attract her attention.
“I’m going to try and plan an ambush for the people
who are coming from space,” Maddalena told him,
equally softly. “I don’t know how many there may be of
them, nor how many of the staff from the house will
come with Rimerley to greet the ship. Those who stay
behind, of course, won’t pose any problems . . . Oh,
She clapped her hand to her forehead.
“What’s wrong?” Bracy demanded. He had put on a
wolfish grin at the thought of what was to hold back
those in the house from interferingit was a trick that
tickled him immensely, especially since he had had per-
sonal experience of the same brand of anaesthetic gas
when he was cornered in the operations control room of
the Corps base. The grin had vanished immediately Mad-
dalena let out her stifled exclamation.
“Rimerley may not come up here by ground-skimmer.
He may prefer to use the ‘copter, and if he does, it’ll be
brought down instantly. I’ll have to go back and unbug
the damned thing!”
“Let me go,” Bracy suggested.
She hesitated. But so far he had shown himself reliable,
and after all there was little time now . . .
“Okay!” she decided. “All you have to do is get close
enough to take off the sticky thingyon saw -where I
“Yes. I can do it quicidy and come back soon!”
“Good luck!” she shot after him as he disappeared.
Then, furious with her own excess of ingenuity, she
set off on a tour of the miniature spaceport, looking for
the best hiding-places and points of vantage. To ambush
the crew of an interstellar ship with only two persons
was a tall order, but there was equipment in the trawler