Rolf raised his voice. "Gentlemen, the goal is not to destroy the fortress. We have to ascertain some measure of understanding of the aliens' purpose. Need I remind you that this ship is but one of many?"The supreme commander cleared his throat loudly. "Let's keep theology out of this," he directed at Byron. "Just stick to the facts, Doctor."
Without warning, a group of bats flew straight at them out of the darkness. Dana screamed, launched, and latched herself onto Zor's arm, instantly regretting her show of weakness.She was headed back into the club. "Don't worry about me. I just want to say good night. Take off. I'll catch up with you later."Bowie sighed, exasperated, though he had little doubt she would catch up.Dana went in through the stage entrance this time, noticing inside that some comedian had tampered with the sign above the door-instead of reading EXIT DOOR, it now read EXEDORE. The rear portion of the building was shared by an adjacent store, and there were numerous packing crates stacked here and there, and very little light. Dana called out to George in the darkness, and headed toward that meager light she could discern. Finally she heard the clacking of keyboard tabs and closed on that.It was a small cubicle, brightly lit, with a cloth curtain for a doorway, and apparently served as both dressing room and office. George was seated at the desk, tapping data into a portable computer terminal. She called his name, but he was obviously too wrapped up in his task to hear her. So she waited silently by the door, wondering what he could be working on so diligently. Song lyrics, maybe, or a detailed account of the two hours they had just spent together...Dana looked again at the portable unit. There was something familiar about it...Then she noticed the small insignia: the fluted column above the atomic circle...emblem of the Global Military Police!Reflexively she drew in her breath and backed out of sight, hoping she hadn't tipped her hand. George had stopped. But then she heard him say: "Just as I thought...I suspected the enemy fortress had an outer hull weakness."Pretty weird lyrics, thought Dana.Cautiously, she peered into the room once again. Had she missed seeing someone, or was George talking to himself? Indeed, he was alone and a moment later gave voice to-her worst fear:"Now if I can just pry some more information out of the lovely Lieutenant Sterling, maybe I'll be able to put my theories to the test."A detailed account of their two hours, all right, Dana said to herself. Sullivan was a GMP spy. And what those double-dealers couldn't pull from HQ, they hoped to learn from her! And she had told them! All about the raid on the fortress, the recon mission, the bio-gravitic network...George muttered something, then surprised her further when she heard him say: "Oh, Marlene, if you were only here!"She might have charged in at that moment if the stage manager hadn't appeared at the opposite door. "Five minutes," he told Sullivan.Sullivan thanked the man and closed up the computer.Dana backed away and ran to the exit door, her hand at her mouth.
"That's a lot of rot!" Dana returned, back on Bowie's side all at once. "I wonder if I'm man enough?! I hope you taught him a lesson. I'm proud of you."Nova expected as much, but played her part by growing angry."Go ahead, praise him, Lieutenant Sterling. You're digging his grave deeper."The bolt did just what everyone feared it would: it impacted against the wall to no effect and headed straight back from whence it came, narrowly missing Dana who ducked down into the cockpit at the last second, then caroming around the room like a homicidal billiard ball of energy, giving everyone an equal chance to dodge or be fried. Ultimately the crazed thing hit the floor of the chamber and exploded, right at the foot of Dana's mecha.There didn't seem to be a hope that she had survived the shot. Where the Hovertank stood there was now only a huge garbage crater, smoking like a cookpot in hell. Blessedly the damn compactor had ceased its downward motion, and the hole was letting light into the room. They were all thinking that Dana had died for nothing, when suddenly they heard her voice rising from the hole. The garbage-spattered 15th grouped around the crater, peering in.Dana was still seated in the mecha, which was now on the floor of a corridor that ran underneath the compactor. Several other Hovertanks had fallen with her, along with Xavez and Marino who were covered with grime and shaking like palsy victims."See-I knew it would work," Dana was saying unsteadily but knowingly. "The floor wasn't laser resistant."No one bothered to tell her that the compactor had stopped on its own. One by one they lowered themselves through the hole, wiping off what garbage they could.A corridor monitor blinked once and brought the reversed situation to the attention of the Masters. Things had not gone quite as planned, but the aged trio was willing to concede that no matter what happened, they were learning more about the Terrans and that was the purpose of the exercise-even though the female soldier had gotten a lucky break by finding her cannon round returned to the unprotected floor. And if anything, this only suggested that luck itself should be figured into the equation when dealing with this race.The Masters next plan was to separate this most fortunate one, the apparent commander, from her team, to see how the underlings would function without her. Just how much independent thought was available to them; how resourceful were they without adequate leadership?...They had managed to retrieve seven of the nine remaining Hovertanks; two were so hopelessly mired in the garbage sludge that even the mecha's thrusters couldn't break the things free-not without a good deal more time than they had to spare.The 15th was mounted in its mecha now, Bowie still riding behind Dana, Xavez behind Marino, Woodruff behind Cranston. The sergeant, Louie, Sean, and Kuri were back in their original units."You sure beat the odds that time, Lieutenant," Louie commented.Dana adjusted her helmet and made a face as she picked sticky bits of refuse from the pauldrons of her uniform. "Let's not celebrate until we're out of here," she warned all of them."But which way?" Louie threw to the team. "Without our helmet monitors, we can't tell one direction from another. We've gotta be down at least one level, maybe two, and unless we can find a way up I don't know how we're gonna get outta this thing.""Dead reckoning'll get us back to that hole; I'll bet I could find my way blindfolded," the sarge announced."We'll just blow our way out," Dana said. "We got in: we can get out. But stay alert...I've got that funny feeling that we're being watched again..."No sooner had she said it than something leapt at her from the corridor ceiling. She heard Sean's warning and the rapid report of his rifle-adrenaline coursing through her like high octane-and caught the movement of the thing peripherally.Oddly, something said to her: snake. And when she raised her head to look back on the thing Sean's blast had downed, she realized that that image her mind's eye conjured wasn't far from wrong: it looked like an oldfashioned wire-coiled vacuum cleaner hose, only a lot wider, and capped with an evil-looking nipplelike device. In its final moments, before Sean's second round severed the thing's tubular body, the hose loosed a massive electrical charge that narrowly missed Dana's head and exploded against the far wall of the corridor. The hose spasmed around on its ruptured neck spewing a foul-smelling smoke, but no more fire."Good shooting, Sean!" Bowie shouted.Louie watched the techno-assassin flail about for a moment, then glanced down at his console, noticing instantly that the radio had begun to function again. He told the team, and they realized that they must be close to the exterior wall of the fortress. There was a good chance Headquarters was monitoring them once again."Good," Dana said, bringing the face shield down. "Let's move out."
"We discovered that the relay we thought was a control device is actually some kind of sonic frequency receiver.""So?" Dana asked him.Just now they shared a table in one of Monument's most popular cafes-a checkerboard-patterned tile floor, round tables of oak, and chairs of wrought iron-with a view of the fortress that surpassed the barracks' overlook.
At the same time, Louie exclaimed, "Gone?!" Bowie asked, "Isn't that a song?" and Dana said, "Knock it off."Sean acknowledged the rebuke with a bemused smile. "You're right," he told Dana. "This mission is more important than my miss. What's it matter, right? We're tough.""That's the right stuff," Dana enthused. "And there's no other way to pull this mission off but to, well, to just do it!"The sergeant was nodding in agreement now, wondering where his earlier comments had come from. If Dana the halfbreed could get behind it, he could, too."All right," he said rallying to the cause. "We'll make them rue the day they touched down on this planet."The 15th had a little over twelve hours to kill, and sleep was out of the question. Dana had her doubts about giving anybody permission to leave the barracks, but realized that keeping them cooped up would only give them time to ferment and perhaps explode. She issued "cinderella" passes-good until midnight-along with dire threats about what Nova's MPs would do to anybody who screwed up in town or came back late.Sean left to visit a good friend who found prebattle good-byes aphrodisiac. Louie Nichols sat down to tinker with his helmet video transmitters. Angie nursed drinks and cigars in the dark privacy of his own quarters. And Bowie Grant insisted on treating Dana to the finest beers to be had in Monument City.And George Sullivan was dead.She screamed his name and flew into the face of the angry fireball, hoping, expecting to find who knew what. And as her scorched tank emerged she recalled his last words to her: The rest is up to you.Inside the grounded fortress, the Masters watched a schematic display of their descending rescuer, a hundred yards overhead now and already extending the grapplers and tendrils that would secure the link-up."We are ready," Dag reported.Shaizan nodded eagerly. "Good. Deploy the Zor clone toward their strongest defenses...We must make certain that he is conveniently captured by the Micronians..."One minute Angelo Dante was sitting in the cockpit of the Gladiator doing his lethal best, and the next thing he knew he was airborne, turning over and over...He hit the ground with a thud that knocked the breath from his lungs and left him unconscious for a moment. When the world refocused itself, he recognized what was left of his mangled Hovertank, toppled on its side and burning.Dante got to his feet, promising to tear the aliens apart, even as a sledded Bioroid dropped in for the kill. It was that gleaming red job, Angelo noticed, already outside himself and braving it out, the hero he was born to be. But just then a strange thing happened: a pinpoint blast from the fortress bull's-eyed the Hovercraft, sending sled and pilot into a fiery crash in the craggy outcroppings near the Earth Forces front lines.Dante heard an atonal scream of agony issue from the craft as it fell."They shot down their own guy!" a puzzled Dante said out loud, figuring he would live to see another day after all...
Once in the turret seat, Marie quickly removed her helmet and strapped on the weapon's sensor-studded targeting cap. As computer-generated graphic displays flashed across the helmet's virtual cockpit, she immediately realized why the first-wave had failed to cripple the enemy flagship: Nordoff and the other commanders were completely disregarding intel analysis reports concerning the fortresses' vulnerable spots. Concentrated fire directed at any one of these would circumvent the shields' absorption potential and allow pulses to penetrate to the hull itself.Marie had been close enough to these things in the past to have committed their surface details to memory; in fact, during her recent hospitalization (when she wasn't glancing at muscle mags), she had done little else except replay the fortresses' topography over and over to herself. Ranging in the gun now, she felt as though she were directly over the fortress in her Logan and could place the shot precisely where she wanted it."Ah-ha! There you are!" she said out loud as the spot was centered in the cannon's reticle. Marie pulled home the twin hand-brake-like triggers and loosed a full ten seconds of plasma fire at the flagship, knowing almost before the fact that she had scored a direct hit.In the flagship command center, the three Masters hardly reacted to news that one of the fortress barriers had been breached. Absorbing the energy discs delivered by the Terrans' cruisers had enabled them to leave their own plasma reservoirs untouched and therefore shunt would-be weapons system power to the fortresses' shields and self-restorative systems.No sooner had Marie's well-aimed barrage holed the hull than new plating was already sliding into place to seal the breach.He spread his legs and clasped the weapon in both hands, empty of all thought and centered on picking out the sequenced target. As number one came in behind him, he crouched, turned, and squeezed off a charge, disintegrating the substanceless thing in a fiery flash. Number two flew in from his right and he holed it likewise, remaining in place for numbers three and four.He risked a gaze at the numerical countdown and realized that he would have to press himself harder if he was to destroy all of them. His next blast took out two at once.Now they were coming at him on edge, but still his aim proved true, as two, then three more targets were splintered and destroyed. He took out the final one with an overhead shot just as the countdown reached zero-zero-zero-zero.
"So I made a mistake, Doc-is that any reason for these gorillas of yours to jump down my throat?!"CHAPTER SIXTEEN"AJACs, my butt! They're nothing but goddamned Protocopters!"Remark attributed to an unknown TASC pilotThe United Earth Government flag flew high over the copper-domed Neo-Post-Federalist Senate Building. Inside, Supreme Commander Leonard addressed a combined audience of UEG personnel, Southern Cross officers (Dana Sterling and Marie Crystal among them), representatives of the press, and privileged civilians, from the podium of the structure's vast senatorial hall. Behind him on the stage sat General Rolf Emerson, Colonels Rochelle and Rudolf, and the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff."We fully realize there has been much debate over the advisability of a preemptive strike against the alien fleet at this juncture. These concerns have been taken into careful consideration by the High Command of the Armed Forces. But the time has come to put an end to debate, and to unite all our voices behind a common effort."Proto-engineering has completed the first consignment of the new Armored Jet Attack Copters, henceforth designated as AJACs. These will form the nucleus of the first assault wave. Your corps commanders will have your individual battle assignments.
"Me?! Why?" Dana pointed to herself. "Jeez, I didn't shoot her down!"He recognized at once that he had frightened her and moved quickly to soften his aspect, shouldering his weapon and keeping his voice calm as he spoke to her."Don't be scared. Is that better?" he asked, gesturing to his now slung rifle. "Believe me, you have nothing to fear from me." Bowie risked a small step toward her. "I just wanted to compliment you on your playing. I'm a musician myself."She sat unmoving in the harp's equally unusual seat, her eyes wide and fixed on him. Bowie kept up the patter, noticing details as he approached: the thick band she wore on her right wrist, the fact that the hair bracketing her innocent face was cut short..."So you see we have something in common. They say that music is the universal language-"Suddenly she was on her feet, ready to run, and Bowie stopped short. "Easy now," he repeated. "I'm not a monster. I'm just a person-like you." As he heard himself, he imagined how he must appear to her in his helmet and full-body armor. He rid himself of the "thinking cap" and saw her relax some. Encouraged, he introduced himself and asked for her name, tried a joke about being deaf, and finally dropped himself into the harp's cushioned, highbacked chair."I'm forgetting that music is the universal language," he said, turning to the instrument itself and wondering where to begin. "Maybe this'll work," he smiled up at the green-haired girl, who stood puzzled beside him, taking in all his words but uttering nothing in return.
So often he would try to run his thoughts back in time, searching for the patterns that had led all of them to this juncture. Had there been signs along the way, omens he had missed, premonitions he had ignored? When the Sterlings and Grants had opted to leave aboard the SDF-3 as members of the Hunters' crew did it occur to them that they might not return from that corner of space ruled by the Robotech Masters, or that the Masters might come here instead? Emerson remembered the optimism that characterized those days, some fifteen years ago, when the newly-built ship had been launched, Rick and Lisa in command. Rolf and his wife had taken both Dana and infant Bowie: After all, they had so often watched over the kids while the Grants spent time on the Factory Satellite, and the Sterlings combed the jungles of the Zentraedi Control Zone-what used to be called Amazonia-for Malcontents; it seemed a perfect solution then that the kids should remain here while their parents embarked on the Expeditionary Mission that was meant to return peace to the galaxy...That Emerson had chosen to enroll both of them in the military had resulted in a divorce from his wife. Laura never understood his reasons; childless herself, Dana and Bowie had become her children, and what mother-what parent!-would choose to wish war on her offspring? But Rolf was merely honoring the promises he had made to Vince and Jean, Max and Miriya. Perhaps each of them did have a sense of what the future held, and perhaps they reasoned that the kids would have a better chance on Earth than they would, lost in space? Certainly they recognized why Rolf had decided to remain behind, just as surely as Supreme Commander Leonard recognized it...Emerson pressed his hands to his face, fingers massaging tired eyes. When he looked up again, Lieutenant Milton, an energetic young aide, was standing over his right shoulder. Milton saluted and bent close by his shoulder to report that Bowie was in the guardhouse. It seemed that the GMP had caught him involved in a barroom brawl.Rolf nodded absently, watching the displays, and thinking of a little boy who had cried so inconsolably when his parents left him behind. He wondered whether Bowie had purposely provoked a fight in order to absent himself from the mission. He had to be made to understand that rules were meant to be followed. The 15th had been chosen and as a member of that team he owed it to the others. Of course, it was equally plausible that Dana was behind this; she didn't seem to comprehend that her overprotectiveness wasn't doing Bowie any good, either."Tell Lieutenant Satori that General Emerson would consider it a personal favor if she could find a way to release Private Grant," Rolf told his aide in low tones. "Ask her for me to see to it that Bowie rejoins his unit as soon as possible."Nova made a gesture of exasperation, then smiled in self-amusement and led Bowie away.
"Musica..." Zor heard himself tell her, as she helped him get up. "When I first saw her, she was playing this beautiful music. Then I used her as a shield...I didn't think they'd kill her, but they did!"Dana was staring at him, her eyes wide. "No, Zor, they didn't," she tried to tell him. "Bowie saw her-alive! It must have been a dream-"Zor was up and walking away from her, fixed on his angry reflection in the shattered mirror."Oh, terrific!" Bowie exclaimed. "Can you imagine what he'd say to that-'You expect me to believe this balderdash about flowers and strange emanations?'...That's what he'd say! He'd think we're crazy, Dana."
Leonard whirled on the situation screen, raised and waved his fist, a gesture as meaningful as it was pathetic.A radiant rash broke out across the pointed bow of the Masters' flagship, pinpoints of blinding energy that burst a nanosecond later, emitting devastating lines of hot current that ripped into the helpless cruiser, destroying in a series of explosions the entire rear quarter of the ship.Nova's updated reports to General Emerson concerning Zor's identification with the Macross mounds and his ravings about Protoculture convinced Rolf that it was time to open up the case to the general staff. Commander Leonard agreed and an ad hoc interagency session was convened in the Ministry's committee room.
Zor rode the elevator down to the compound's workout room; it was deserted, as he'd hoped it would be. He took a seat against the room's mirrored wall, regarding the many exercise machines and weight benches in bewilderment, then turned to glance at his reflection.He had no memory of Eddie Jordon's brother, or of any of the evil deeds the team seemed to hold him responsible for. And without those memories he felt victimized, as much by his own mind as by the teams' often unvoiced accusations. Worse still, the more he did remember, the more correct those accusations appeared. Without exception his dreams and incomplete memory flashbacks were filled with violence and an undefinable but pervasive evil. It must be true, he decided. I have killed other Human beings...I'm a killer, he told himself-a killer!Zor pressed his hands to his face, his heart filled with remorse for wrongdoings as yet unrevealed. And how different this felt than the angry mood he had found himself in earlier the same day!"We discovered that the relay we thought was a control device is actually some kind of sonic frequency receiver.""So?" Dana asked him.
The situation room was as busy as a hive, but the three massive screens opposite the command balcony told a woeful tale of defeat.Emerson cleared his voice, loud enough to cut through the separate conversations that were in progress, and the table fell silent. The audio monitors brought the noise of battle to them once again; in concert, permaplas windowpanes rattled to the sounds of distant explosions."This battle requires more than just hardware and manpower, gentlemen...We'll give them back the ground we've taken because it's of no use to us right now. We'll withdraw our forces temporarily, until we have a workable plan."The 15th acknowledged the orders to pull back and ceased fire. Other units were reporting heavy casualties, but their team had been fortunate: seven dead, three wounded-counts that would have been judged insignificant twenty years ago, when Earth's population was more than just a handful of hardened survivors.Emerson dismissed his staff, returned to his office, and requested to meet with the supreme commander. But Leonard surprised him by telling him to stay put, and five minutes later burst through the door like an angry bull."There's got to be some way to crack open that ship!" Leonard railed. "I will not accept defeat! I will not accept the status quo!"Emerson wondered if Leonard would have accepted the status quo if he had sweated out the morning in the seat of a Hovertank, or a Veritech.The supreme commander was every bit Emerson's opposite in appearance as well as temperament. He was a massive man, tall, thick-necked, and barrel-chested, with a huge, hairless head, and heavy jowls that concealed what had once been strong, angular features, Prussian features, perhaps. His standard uniform consisted of white britches, black leather boots, and a brown longcoat fringed at the shoulders. But central to this ensemble was an enormous brass belt buckle, which seemed to symbolize the man's foursquare materialistic solidity.Emerson, on the other hand, had a handsome face with a strong jaw, thick eyebrows, long and well drawn like gulls' wings, and dark, sensitive eyes, more close-set than they should have been, somewhat diminishing an otherwise intelligent aspect.Leonard commenced pacing the room, his arms folded across his chest, while Emerson remained seated at his desk. Behind him was a wallscreen covered with schematic displays of troop deployment."Perhaps Rudolph's plan," Leonard mused."I strongly oppose it, Comman-""You're too cautious, Emerson," Leonard interrupted. "Too cautious for your own good.""We had no choice, Commander. Our losses-""Don't talk to me of losses, man! We can't let these aliens run roughshod over us! I propose we adopt Rudolph's strategy. A surgical strike is our only recourse."
"Well aren't you the lucky little hotshot, Marie," Dana returned in her sarcastic best. "You're through licking your wounds, huh?" Dana never had paid her that visit-not after what Sean had reported of Marie's continuing quest for a scapegoat.Marie's cat's-eyes flashed. "Believe me, I'm completely recovered," she told Dana, with a sly grin. "I never felt better in my entire life. But I think it's just awful that the Hovertanks won't be seeing any action this time around. Guess you'll be able to get some training done while we're gone-heaven knows you need it."Suddenly, without warning, the room was sectioned by laser fire."Stand clear!" Dana warned Bowie and Louie.The two of them returned to their Hovertanks as Dana primed the laser and aimed it at the armored gate.Dana's mecha had managed to stop just short of the thing, hind end almost fully around, two meters from collision. She had repositioned it in the center of the corridor now, thirty meters from the gate. The barrier was some sort of high-density metal, unlike the durceramic of the corridor walls, and Louie had every confidence that the laser would do the trick.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------Robotech: Metal FireBook Eight of the Robotech SeriesCopyright 1987 by Jack McKinney--------------------------------------------------------------------------------arranged by dayuan [ robotech zone ]--------------------------------------------------------------------------------CHAPTER ONEEXEDORE: So, Admiral, there is little doubt: [Zentraedi and Human] genetic makeup points directly at a common point of origin.ADMIRAL GLOVAL: Incredible.EXEDORE: Isn't it. Furthermore, while examining the data we noticed many common traits, including a penchant on the part of both races to indulge in warfare...Yes, both races seem to enjoy making war.From Exedore's intel reports to the SDF-2 High CommandOnce before, an alien fortress had crashed on Earth...Leonard broke in again. "These aliens are not even the micronized Zentraedi we first thought, but an army of programmed androids in control of devastating bio-mechanical weapons. It's obvious to me that the Robotech Masters found it much easier to use androids than clones." He looked around the tables, then stood up, hands pressed to the table. "So much the easier for us, then. We are waging a war against an artificial lifeform, gentlemen, and we should have no qualms about destroying it-utterly."Suddenly Dana was on her feet. "Commander, you're mistaken," she said. She raised her voice a notch to cut through the comments. "That Bioroid pilot may have been an android, but I believe that we're dealing with a race of living beings-not a soulless army of machines."Byron narrowed his eyes and rocked forward on the balls of his feet. "My observations are completely documented," he countered. "What proof do you have to back up this absurd position?"
After Zor was made to understand that Dana's screams were the result of exhilaration and not terror, he, too, began to surrender to the experience. It was only when they entered the infamous swirling-disc tunnel that things started to come apart.There was something about the placement of those light discs along the tunnel walls, something about their vaguely oval shape and curious concavity that elicited a fearful memory...one he could not connect to anything but horror and capture. It seemed to tug at the very fabric of his mind, rending open places better left sealed and forgotten...Zor's nostrils flared. "There's only one way to defeat them-I must destroy myself!""No," Dana pleaded with him. "There's always hope..." She caught sight of the fresh blood dripping down the mirror and reached out for his hands. "Your hands!" she gasped. She pulled her kerchief out and wrapped it around his right, which appeared far more lacerated then the left. "Androids don't bleed," she said to him between sobs. "You're Human, Zor-"
"We'll rendezvous back here in exactly two hours," she said to Angelo from the open cockpit. "Okay, move out."Dante's group swung their vehicles out of formation and followed the sergeant's slow lead into the corridor. Dana gave a wave and the A team fell in behind her tank. Behind the 15th, unseen, three curious, Human-size figures stealthily crossed the corridor. One of them depressed a ruby-red button that seemed part of a medallion's design. From pockets concealed in the archway slid five concentrically-etched panels of impervious metal, sealing off the corridor.Dana's group passed quickly through domed chambers, empty and discomforting, with riblike support trusses and walls like stretched skin. Beyond that was the selfsame hexagonal corridor and yet another Y intersection."Which way now?" Bowie asked.Dana was against breaking the team up into yet smaller groups, but they had to make the most of their time. "Bowie, you and Louie come with me down the right corridor," she said after a moment. "Sean, you and the others take the left one-got it?"While Dana was issuing the orders, Bowie happened to glance over his shoulder in time to see what appeared to be the retreating shadow of a being of some sort. But the light here was so unsettling that he resisted alarming the others; his eyes had been playing tricks on him since they entered the fortress and he didn't want the team to think him paranoid. Nevertheless, Dana caught his sharp intake of breath and asked him what he had seen."Just my imagination, Lieutenant," he told her as Sean's group split off and moved their Hovertanks into the left corridor.Dana also had the feeling that they were being watched-how could it not be so, given the technosystems of the ship? But that was all right: she wanted to be seen.The right corridor proved to be a new world: hexagonal still, but fully enclosed, with an overhead "bolstered" ridge and numerous riblike trusses. Gone were the medallions and ruby ovals; the walls, upper and lower, were an unbroken series of rectangular light panels. A new world, but a worrisome one.Without success, Dana tried to raise Sergeant Dante on the net."I haven't been able to raise him, either," Louie said, a note of distress in his voice. "Do you think we should go look for him?"Dana was considering this when the silence that had thus far accompanied them was suddenly broken by a distant sound of servo-motors slamming and clanking into operation. The three teammates turned around and watched as a solid panel began its steady descent from overhead.The corridor was sealing itself off.Ahead of them, a second door was descending; and beyond that a third, and fourth. As far as they could see, massive curtains of armor-plate were dropping from pockets built into the ceiling trusses, echos of descent and closure filling the air."Hit it!" Dana exploded. "Full power!"The Hovertanks shot forward at top speed, barely clearing the first gate. They tore beneath a dozen more in the same fashion, seemingly gaining on the progression-three urban joyriders beating the traffic lights downtown.
Zor's nostrils flared. "There's only one way to defeat them-I must destroy myself!""No," Dana pleaded with him. "There's always hope..." She caught sight of the fresh blood dripping down the mirror and reached out for his hands. "Your hands!" she gasped. She pulled her kerchief out and wrapped it around his right, which appeared far more lacerated then the left. "Androids don't bleed," she said to him between sobs. "You're Human, Zor-"Out of sight the pollinator watched her, and began to head toward the same mound.She saw nothing that might indicate a way into the mound and considered attempting to power her cycle up the sides for a look at the top; but first decided to circle around the thing once or twice to see what she could find. Just shy of completing the circle she found what she was looking for: something like the mouth of a cave, large, dark and fanged by stalactite-like deposits. She called out for Bowie and Zor to join her, and in moments they were by her side.They dismounted their cycles and made their way up to the mouth of the opening, scrambling over rocks and through the barbed and tenacious growth that covered the mound's inclined lower base. At the mouth, Bowie bravely stepped in, and stood for a moment in the darkness waiting for his eyes to dark-adapt.60 70 80 90一老妇人 详情
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