Fall of the White Ship Avatar

Fall of the White Ship Avatar by Brian Daley Read Free Book Online

Book: Fall of the White Ship Avatar by Brian Daley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Brian Daley
Tags: Fiction, Literary, General, Science-Fiction, 0345329198, 9780345329196
    file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/harry%20kruis...y%20-%20Fall%20of%20the%20White%20Ship%20Avatar.htm (24 of 242)23-2-2006 17:03:12
    Two gunmen took up firing positions inside the hatchway; the others and Plantos closed in on the service unit with infantry-style rushes. Plantos invoked an icy calm; he maneuvered to his right, scatterbeam leveled. At his command, his men advanced on the open access plate. He prayed that the targets were still within range of a dropped grenade; the thought of chasing armed enemies down through some underground maze made his skin crawl.
    "Suppression fire." Plantos got ready to open up.
    They would riddle the service unit and inspect for subsurface escape shafts afterward.
    All at once a tremendous gunbolt crashed across the warehouse to blast out one of the viewblebs. There was an eternal instant as an ocean of air, drawn irresistibly to vacuum, mobilized itself, during which Plantos whirled and saw Alacrity standing in the half-closed hatchway, the Captain's Sidearm held cup-in-saucer style. Though the hunter-killer team couldn't see him, Floyt was struggling from hiding too, shoving himself from the cramped hiding place that had been left when the hatch, like a number of others, was gutted for salvage.
    The hatch was moving as the lashup's tremendous mountain of air surged into motion. Alacrity was putting another shot into the shattered viewbleb to be sure; a spectral wind-howl had begun.
    Most of the assassins were too startled to move, but one began bringing his pulsed-laser alley broom around. Floyt fired the Webley again and again as the wind tore at him, throwing the man into convulsions of pain, the air whiplashing them all in a monumental surge.
    Plantos was yelling, drowned out by the howling air-leak, and Alacrity dropped the Captain's Sidearm to grab Floyt, who was in danger of being whisked into the warehouse. Alacrity dragged his friend to one side, reaching for purchase with hands and feet, the light gravity working against him as the hatch was swung shut by the vast atmospheric flow. It nearly sucked them through, and the hatch came close to chopping off half of Alacrity's left foot.
    The hatch whammed shut with such force that Alacrity feared it would split up the middle and give way.
    A few feeble alarms began, tribute to the Foragers' endlessly cautious engineering.
    There were some few screams and impacts from the ruptured warehouse, but they grew fainter as the atmosphere bled away.
    Floyt only had to wave the Webley around once or twice and that was it; the boxtowners kept an emphatic distance. They were scavengers, with no taste for gunplay and firefights.
    When Alacrity showed up at last, in the repaired vac-suit he'd rented from the local protection committee, he looked several shades paler than usual. The raptured viewbleb wasn't very big, so Floyt file:///C|/Documents%20and%20Settings/harry%20kruis...y%20-%20Fall%20of%20the%20White%20Ship%20Avatar.htm (25 of 242)23-2-2006 17:03:12
    didn't want to think about what the assassins' remains looked like strewn across the airless lunar landscape.
    "One of them was Langstretch," Alacrity said, throwing down carry-pouches and proteuses and an armload of guns. Searching quickly, they found that only the Langstretch man had much cash, but he was pretty well heeled.
    "We don't have time to fence the guns," Alacrity admitted, "so I propose we give 'em to the protection committee, where they'll do some good."
    Floyt fingered through the money solemnly. "It isn't enough to get us very far on our way to Windfall, though, is it?"
    "No. This is." Alacrity held up a spacecraft code-key, smiling triumphantly. "That skinny guy who had all the money—Plantos, his name was—he was a Field Op Two. We needed a break, and it came to us the strangest way I ever saw: Plantos."
    Floyt held up one hand. "Wait; slow down. You're saying to me that

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