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1711 5233 y(15)p eop
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b(harsh)g(expanse)h(of)d(scenery)k(w)m(as)e(in)m(terupted)g(b)m(y)515
4142 y(a)e(large)f(mostly)h(featureless)h(blac)m(k)g(buildings.)661
4262 y(\\Ab)s(e,)28 b(can)e(y)m(our)h(hear)g(me?")41
b(inquired)26 b(Bill,)f(sending)h(a)g(signal)f(bac)m(k)i(to)f(his)h
(ship.)661 4383 y(Ab)s(e)32 b(Burns,)h(who)f(w)m(as)g(in)f(c)m(harge)h
(of)g(the)g(ship)f(in)g(Bill's)e(absense,)34 b(replied)d(\\Y)-8
b(es,)515 4503 y(y)m(our)38 b(signal)e(is)h(v)m(ery)i(strong.)58
b(W)-8 b(e'll)37 b(try)h(to)f(k)m(eep)i(the)f(transp)s(orter)g(system)g
(lo)s(c)m(k)m(ed)515 4623 y(on,)32 b(and)f(the)i(ship)e(ready)i(to)e
(jump)g(through)h(T)-8 b(ai)31 b(Stargate.")42 b(Ab)s(e,)33
b(who)f(sto)s(o)s(d)f(just)515 4744 y(under)38 b(six)g(feet)g(tall,)f
(w)m(as)h(the)g(same)g(age)g(as)f(Dennis,)i(and)f(had)g(studied)g(with)
f(him)515 4864 y(man)m(y)k(y)m(ears)h(ago)e(on)h(Earth.)69
b(A)41 b(concerned)h(lo)s(ok)e(sw)m(ept)j(across)e(Ab)s(e's)h(face.)69
b(He)515 4984 y(w)m(as)34 b(more)f(comfortable)e(and)j(happier)f(while)
f(engaged)i(in)f(his)g(researc)m(h)i(than)e(when)p eop
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25 24 bop 3281 266 a Fg(25)141 530 y(commanding)35 b(a)i(space)h
(exploration)d(ship.)57 b(Nonetheless,)39 b(Ab)s(e)e(w)m(as)h(a)f(sup)s
(erb)h(and)141 651 y(brillian)m(t)29 b(o\016cer)34 b(and)e(Bill)e(felt)
i(he)h(could)f(rely)g(on)h(him.)287 771 y(Bac)m(k)f(on)f(the)h
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(suggest)f(that)f(the)g(en)m(tire)g(planet)g(can)g(p)s(oten)m(tially)
141 1012 y(activ)-5 b(ate)36 b(a)h(shield)f(if)f(danger)i(is)g(susp)s
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(the)141 1132 y(planet)42 b(and)h(launc)m(h)g(a)f(v)m(olley)g(of)h(w)m
(eap)s(ons,)j(they)e(will)c(probably)i(ha)m(v)m(e)i(no)f(e\013ect.)141
1253 y(Moreo)m(v)m(er,)c(w)m(e'd)f(b)s(e)f(attac)m(k)m(ed)h(b)m(y)f
(droid)f(defense)i(ships,)g(of)e(whic)m(h)h(there)g(m)m(ust)g(b)s(e)141
1373 y(man)m(y)c(as)f(this)h(is)f(where)i(they)f(are)g(man)m
(ufactured.")287 1493 y(Nathaniel)44 b(inquired,)k(\\Wh)m(y)e(don't)g
(w)m(e)g(simply)e(b)s(eam)g(a)h(collection)e(of)i(time-)141
1614 y(activ)m(ed)33 b(megab)s(om)m(bs)f(on)m(to)g(the)h(surface)h(of)e
(the)h(planet?")287 1734 y(Dennis)i(resp)s(onded)h(\\Extensiv)m(e)h
(researc)m(h)g(has)e(sho)m(wn)h(that)f(they)h(w)m(ould)e(prob-)141
1854 y(ably)f(explo)s(de)g(the)g(momen)m(t)f(their)g(other)h(spatial)e
(dimension)h(is)g(mo)s(di\014ed,)g(and)h(our)141 1975
y(ship)25 b(w)m(ould)f(b)s(e)h(destro)m(y)m(ed.)43 b(Our)25
b(equipmen)m(t)g(and)g(b)s(o)s(dies)f(are)g(able)g(to)h(stand)g(a)f
(sligh)m(t)141 2095 y(bit)j(of)h(spatial)e(distortion)h(but)h(it's)f
(far)h(to)s(o)f(risky)h(to)g(ask)h(the)f(same)g(of)g(a)f(megab)s(om)m
(b.)141 2216 y(I'd)33 b(lo)m(v)m(e)g(suc)m(h)h(a)e(w)m(eap)s(on,)i(but)
e(alas.")287 2336 y(Thom)41 b(then)h(suggested,)j(\\Nathaniel,)c(if)f
(w)m(e)i(can)g(get)f(y)m(ou)h(safely)f(in)m(to)f(one)h(of)141
2456 y(these)34 b(buildings,)d(do)h(y)m(ou)i(think)e(y)m(ou)h(could)f
(cause)i(it)e(to)g(self)g(destruct?")287 2577 y(Nathaniel)25
b(resp)s(onded,)k(\\Sure.)41 b(Not)26 b(only)f(that,)j(but)e(judging)f
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(buildings)c(are)j(connected,)k(I)40 b(migh)m(t)f(ev)m(en)k(b)s(e)e
(able)f(to)g(start)141 2818 y(a)f(carefully)f(timed)f(c)m(hain)i
(reaction,)h(whic)m(h)f(w)m(ould)g(result)g(in)f(all)f(of)h(the)i
(buildings)141 2938 y(explo)s(ding)48 b(almost)f(sim)m(ultaneously)-8
b(.)91 b(That)49 b(migh)m(t)e(ev)m(en)j(rip)e(this)h(go)s(d-forsak)m
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3179 y(sense)35 b(of)d(glee.)287 3299 y(Dennis,)f(Thom,)f(and)f(Bill)e
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3540 y(\\Y)-8 b(es,)41 b(I)d(b)s(et)h(I)f(can,")i(a\016rmed)e
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3660 y(get)33 b(us)g(o\013)f(this)g(planet)g(quic)m(kly)-8
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4021 y(\\I'm)46 b(surprised,)k(but)d(a)f(few)g(droids)g(are)g(headed)h
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4142 y(m)m(ust)h(ha)m(v)m(e)g(detected)h(us.)86 b(T)-8
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141 4864 y(can.")287 4984 y(Bolts)35 b(of)f(energy)i(\015ared)f(b)m(y)g
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26 25 bop 515 266 a Fg(26)1723 b Fd(CHAPTER)35 b(3.)75
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(stronger)g(than)g(the)f(one)h(that)f(had)h(imprisoned)515
1614 y(them)26 b(on)h(earth)g(long)f(ago.)41 b(Thom)26
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b(suggested)e(Nathaniel,)515 1975 y(\\Thom,)28 b(stand)h(bac)m(k.")43
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2336 y(appro)m(ximately)31 b(10)h(p)s(ercen)m(t.)661
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3781 y(v)m(ery)h(dark)e(corridor)f(whose)j(ligh)m(ts)d(had)i(all)d
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3901 y(ripp)s(ed)48 b(apart)g(so)h(badly)g(that)f(m)m(uc)m(h)h(of)g
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b(The)515 4744 y(corridor)31 b(turns)j(righ)m(t)d(and)i(they)g(con)m
(tin)m(ue)h(to)e(follo)m(w)f(it.)661 4864 y(As)24 b(they)h(pass)g(t)m
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b(get)g(through)f(with)h(the)g(con)m(trol)f(ro)s(om)f(w)m(e'll)i(b)s(e)
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27 26 bop 3281 266 a Fg(27)141 530 y(on)40 b(our)g(w)m(a)m(y)i(out.")65
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(what)g(m)m(ust)f(b)s(e)h(the)141 651 y(con)m(trol)32
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(telligen)m(t.)71 b(P)m(erhaps)44 b(if)d(w)m(e)141 891
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1012 y(us)44 b(an)m(yw)m(a)m(ys.")79 b(As)44 b(Thom)f(sp)s(eaks,)k(his)
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1132 y(helmet.)81 b(The)47 b(sounds)f(are)g(receiv)m(ed)h(b)m(y)f(a)f
(small)e(microphone,)48 b(encrypted,)j(and)141 1253 y(broadcast)42
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b(radio)f(w)m(a)m(v)m(es.)287 1493 y(Dennis's)40 b(signal)e(is)h(a)g
(little)e(stronger|\\Bill,)h(this)h(is)g(Dennis.)63 b(The)41
b(situation)141 1614 y(out)c(here)g(is)f(b)s(ecoming)f(critical!)54
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(o\013,)j(but)141 1734 y(they)29 b(seem)f(to)g(b)s(e)g(quic)m(kly)g
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(defense)h(this)141 1854 y(long)k(b)s(ecause)j(of)d(our)i(sup)s(erior)e
(w)m(eap)s(ons)j(tec)m(hnology)-8 b(.)48 b(Y)-8 b(ou're)35
b(team)e(b)s(etter)i(h)m(urry)141 1975 y(up.)44 b(Also,)32
b(I'v)m(e)i(not)e(b)s(een)i(able)e(to)g(re-establish)g(comm)m
(unications)e(with)j(Ab)s(e.")287 2095 y(Bill)k(had)j(little)c(time)i
(to)i(consider)f(other)h(p)s(ossibilities)c(and)k(decided)g(to)f(follo)
m(w)141 2216 y(Thom's)46 b(plan.)81 b(They're)47 b(shots)f(explo)s(ded)
g(to)m(w)m(ards)g(the)g(con)m(trol)e(ro)s(om.)81 b(As)46
b(the)141 2336 y(smok)m(ed)35 b(died)e(do)m(wn,)i(there)f(w)m(as)h(no)e
(sign)h(that)f(the)h(droids)f(had)h(relinquished)f(their)141
2456 y(p)s(osition)22 b(in)h(the)h(con)m(trol)f(ro)s(om,)h(whic)m(h)g
(deeply)g(puzzled)g(Thom.)41 b(Suddenly)24 b(a)f(searing)141
2577 y(laser)32 b(b)s(olt)g(ripp)s(ed)g(through)h(the)g(air)e(from)h(b)
s(ehind,)g(and)h(burned)h(Nathaniel's)e(righ)m(t)141
2697 y(arm.)81 b(Thom)45 b(and)g(Bill)e(returned)j(\014re)g(as)f(the)h
(approac)m(hing)f(Droid)f(tossed)i(itself)141 2818 y(through)29
b(the)h(air)e(sho)s(oting)g(t)m(w)m(o)h(laser)g(pistols,)g(an)g
(automated)f(v)m(ersion)i(of)f(the)g(Hong)141 2938 y(Kong)39
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b(at.)64 b(A)40 b(curse)h(escap)s(ed)g(Thom's)f(lips)f(as)g(he)141
3058 y(do)s(dged)k(to)f(the)h(ground.)74 b(Time)41 b(slo)m(w)m(ed)j(as)
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3179 y(last)36 b(the)h(droid's)f(sho)s(c)m(king)h(tec)m(hnique)g
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3299 y(w)m(eap)s(ons.)45 b(It)32 b(sh)m(ut)i(o\013.)287
3419 y(A)44 b(similar)d(scene)k(ensued)g(as)f(the)g(three)g(desp)s
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y(ro)s(om.)59 b(As)39 b(droids)e(jump)s(ed)h(through)g(the)h(air)e
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b(and)j(Thom's)h(scatter)g(guns.)76 b(Nathaniel)42 b(sw)m(ore)141
3781 y(the)j(droids)g(fough)m(t)g(for)f(their)h(\\life".)78
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3901 y(commen)m(ted,)h(as)d(he)h(b)s(egan)e(his)h(w)m(ork)g(on)g(the)g
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4021 y(promised,)37 b(ev)m(en)h(with)e(his)g(righ)m(t)g(arm)f(badly)h
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4142 y(p)s(o)m(w)m(er)26 b(to)f(the)g(droids)g(in)f(the)i(building.)38
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4383 y(re-establish)35 b(comm)m(unication)d(with)j(Ab)s(e)h(and)f(b)s
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4623 y(reaction)i(in)g(motion)f(there)j(is)e(no)h(turning)f(bac)m(k.)58
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4744 y(con)m(tact)c(Ab)s(e)g(and)g(get)f(out)h(of)f(here.)44
b(Just)33 b(giv)m(e)g(the)g(order)g(Bill.")287 4864 y(A)28
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1253 y(out)i(his)h(windo)m(w,)h(whic)m(h)f(rev)m(ealed)h(blac)m(k)f
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(announced)141 1493 y(\\The)34 b(meeting)f(is)f(o)m(v)m(er.)47
b(Nathaniel)32 b(and)i(Dennis)f(come)g(with)g(me.)45
b(It)34 b(is)f(absolutely)141 1614 y(imp)s(erativ)m(e)e(that)i(w)m(e)g
(\014nd)g(Kelly)f(W)-8 b(ong.")287 1734 y(Bill,)35 b(Nathaniel,)h(and)h
(Dennis)f(en)m(tered)i(the)f(ro)s(om,)f(whic)m(h)h(w)m(as)h(recen)m
(tly)f(o)s(ccu-)141 1854 y(pied)25 b(b)m(y)h(Kelly)-8
b(.)40 b(Thom)25 b(glanced)g(up)g(for)g(a)g(momen)m(t,)h(then)g(turned)
g(bac)m(k)g(to)f(his)g(scans,)141 1975 y(still)h(ba\017ed)i(b)m(y)h(ho)
m(w)g(an)e(en)m(tire)h(h)m(uman)g(b)s(eing)f(could)h(v)-5
b(anish)27 b(from)g(his)g(sensors,)k(and)141 2095 y(on)38
b(his)h(o)m(wn)g(ship)f(nonetheless!)63 b(Ma)m(yb)s(e,)41
b(he)e(tried)e(not)i(to)f(think,)i(he)f(also)e(missed)141
2216 y(her)c(a)f(little)e(bit.)287 2336 y(Mean)m(while,)39
b(Kelly)d(W)-8 b(ong)37 b(relaxed)h(in)e(fron)m(t)i(of)e(a)i
(holographic)d(computer)i(ter-)141 2456 y(minal)26 b(in)h(a)g
(forgotten)h(storage)g(area,)h(learning)d(ab)s(out)h(the)i(Stein)f
(ship.)41 b(No)28 b(scanners)141 2577 y(detected)43 b(her,)h(b)s
(ecause)f(she)f(told)e(them)h(not)g(to.)69 b(The)43 b(ship's)e
(scanners)i(w)m(ere)g(old)141 2697 y(friends.)53 b(She)36
b(help)s(ed)f(design)h(them)f(while)g(a)g(securit)m(y)i(appren)m(tice)f
(in)f(Hong)g(Kong.)141 2818 y(Putting)d(bac)m(kdo)s(ors)i(in)d(securit)
m(y)j(systems)g(is)e(irresp)s(onsible;)g(so)g(are)h(some)f(p)s(eople.)
287 2938 y(Kelly)c(disco)m(v)m(ered)j(that)d(the)h(Stein)g(ship)f(w)m
(as)i(purc)m(hased)h(b)m(y)e(Dennis)g(Stein)f(three)141
3058 y(y)m(ears)36 b(ago)d(using)h(funds)h(from)e(the)i(Stein)f(F)-8
b(oundation.)47 b(While)33 b(at)h(the)h(Star)f(O\016cer)141
3179 y(academ)m(y)-8 b(,)39 b(Dennis)d(made)h(in)m(v)m(estmen)m(ts)h
(as)f(\\hobb)m(y",)i(and)e(w)m(as)h(so)f(successful)h(that)141
3299 y(he)k(w)m(as)f(able)g(to)f(buy)i(one)f(of)g(Earth's)h(top)e
(space)i(ships.)70 b(When)41 b(Dennis)g(and)g(his)141
3419 y(class)30 b(graduated,)h(sev)m(eral)f(formed)f(a)h(priv)-5
b(ate)29 b(exploration)f(crew)j(on)f(the)g(Stein)g(ship,)141
3540 y(instead)42 b(of)f(follo)m(wing)d(the)k(usual)g(route)f(of)g
(joining)f(the)i(Space)g(Corps.)71 b(Priv)-5 b(ately)141
3660 y(funded)40 b(space)f(ships)g(w)m(ere)h(quite)e(rare,)j(but)d
(these)i(indep)s(enden)m(t)g(ships)f(had)f(made)141 3781
y(some)22 b(of)f(the)i(most)e(imp)s(ortan)m(t)f(disco)m(v)m(eries)j(of)
f(the)g(last)g(few)g(decades.)42 b(Kelly)21 b(though)m(t,)141
3901 y(\\P)m(erhaps)36 b(this)d(is)h(one)h(reason)f(this)g(ship)g(w)m
(asn't)h(captured)g(b)m(y)g(the)g(in)m(v)-5 b(ading)33
b(droid)141 4021 y(armies)f(along)f(with)h(Earth's)h(Space)h(Corps)f
(ships.")287 4142 y(Kelly)38 b(con)m(vulsed)i(as)f(memories)e(of)i(the)
g(droid)f(armies)f(\015o)s(o)s(ded)i(her)g(mind;)i(her)141
4262 y(recen)m(t)h(injuries)d(ac)m(hed,)44 b(and)c(she)h(bled)f(a)g
(little.)65 b(She)41 b(thougt)f(bac)m(k)h(on)f(what)h(had)141
4383 y(happ)s(ened)46 b(long)d(ago.)78 b(T)-8 b(otally)43
b(b)m(y)j(surprise,)i(h)m(uge)d(n)m(um)m(b)s(ers)g(of)f(droids)g(had)h
(de-)141 4503 y(scended)38 b(on)e(Hong)g(Kong.)53 b(Massiv)m(e)37
b(droid)e(ships)i(ho)m(v)m(ered)g(o)m(v)m(er)g(Victoria)d(Harb)s(or.)
141 4623 y(She)i(remem)m(b)s(ered)f(those)h(last)e(momen)m(ts.)50
b(Guns)35 b(w)m(ere)i(disc)m(harging)d(ev)m(erywhere)k(in)141
4744 y(a)f(Tsim)g(Tsha)h(Tc)m(hoi)g(\(sp)s(elling?\))55
b(high)37 b(rise)g(as)g(she)i(battled)e(the)g(Diad)f(Renegade)141
4864 y(F)-8 b(orces.)75 b(The)44 b(battle)e(w)m(as)i(the)f(culmination)
d(of)j(a)f(carefully)g(orc)m(hestrated)j(co)m(v)m(ert)141
4984 y(op)s(eration.)63 b(Her)39 b(righ)m(t)g(fo)s(ot)f(crac)m(k)m(ed)k
(a)d(nose)h(as)f(her)h(left)f(hand)g(\015ew)h(around)g(and)p
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32 31 bop 515 266 a Fg(32)1779 b Fd(CHAPTER)34 b(4.)76
b(KELL)-8 b(Y)33 b(W)m(ONG)515 530 y Fg(crushed)43 b(a)f(kidney)-8
b(.)72 b(Then,)46 b(from)40 b(no)m(where,)46 b(massiv)m(e)d(n)m(um)m(b)
s(ers)f(of)g(droids)f(cast)i(a)515 651 y(shado)m(w)33
b(o)m(v)m(er)h(the)f(cit)m(y)-8 b(.)661 771 y(Though)48
b(Kelly)e(destro)m(y)m(ed)k(man)m(y)d(droids,)k(ev)m(en)m(tually)c(she)
i(fell)c(unconscious.)515 891 y(When)40 b(she)f(a)m(w)m(ok)m(e,)k(she)d
(felt)e(lik)m(e)g(she)i(w)m(as)g(bac)m(k)g(in)e(Hong)g(Kong,)j(and)e
(the)g(droids)515 1012 y(w)m(ere)29 b(gone.)43 b(In)28
b(fact,)h(she)h(w)m(as)f(lying)e(on)h(a)h(table)e(a)h(v)-5
b(ast)29 b(distance)g(from)e(Hong)h(Kong,)515 1132 y(giving)j(un)m
(wittingly)g(helping)g(the)i(droids!)43 b(Eigh)m(t)33
b(hours)g(ago)f(she)h(\014gured)g(this)g(out.)661 1253
y(Eigh)m(t)22 b(hours)h(ago)e(Kelly)g(W)-8 b(ong)22 b(w)m(as)h(encased)
h(on)e(a)g(table)g(with)g(h)m(undreds)i(of)e(small)515
1373 y(wires)27 b(connected)i(to)e(her)g(b)s(o)s(dy)-8
b(.)42 b(When)28 b(Bill)c(and)j(his)g(crew)h(landed)f(on)g(Planet)g(Ro)
m(xy)-8 b(,)515 1493 y(Kelly)30 b(w)m(as)j(b)s(eing)e(fed)h(signals)e
(that)h(con)m(vinced)i(her)f(that)g(the)g(Diad)e(w)m(ere)j(attac)m
(king)515 1614 y(her)38 b(headquarters)h(in)d(Hong)h(Kong.)58
b(When)38 b(Bill,)e(Thom,)j(and)e(Nathaniel)f(en)m(tered)515
1734 y(the)42 b(con)m(trol)g(area,)i(Kelly)d(w)m(as)i(con)m(vinced)g
(the)f(Diad)f(had)h(en)m(tered)i(an)d(imp)s(ortan)m(t)515
1854 y(zone,)c(and,)g(in)e(her)i(dellusions,)f(she)g(did)g(ev)m
(erything)h(she)g(could)e(to)h(\014gh)m(t)g(them)g(o\013.)515
1975 y(Her)30 b(com)m(bat)g(in)m(telligence)e(w)m(as)j(c)m(hannelled)f
(in)m(to)f(the)i(droids.)42 b(Kelly)29 b(had)h(con)m(vulsed)515
2095 y(a)f(little,)f(while)g(she)j(la)m(y)e(on)g(that)g(table;)h(in)f
(her)h(mind)e(she)i(w)m(as)h(\015ipping)d(through)h(the)515
2216 y(air,)34 b(kic)m(king,)g(and)h(punc)m(hing.)50
b(She)35 b(had)g(though)m(t)g(she)g(sa)m(w)h(her)f(enem)m(y)g(and)g
(fough)m(t)515 2336 y(to)d(destro)m(y!)661 2456 y(While)40
b(she)j(w)m(as)f(\014gh)m(ting,)h(she)g(though)m(t,)h(one)d(of)g(the)h
(droid)f(wires)h(m)m(ust)f(ha)m(v)m(e)515 2577 y(snapp)s(ed.)61
b(When)39 b(it)e(had)h(snapp)s(ed,)j(she)e(conjectured,)i(she)e(m)m
(ust)g(ha)m(v)m(e)g(con)m(vulsed)515 2697 y(and)f(jerk)m(ed)h(her)g(b)s
(o)s(dy)f(ev)m(en)h(more.)59 b(This)39 b(m)m(ust)f(ha)m(v)m(e)h(snapp)s
(ed)g(more)f(wires)g(un)m(til)515 2818 y(\014nally)30
b(she)i(a)m(w)m(ok)m(e.)45 b(She)32 b(though)m(t)f(bac)m(k)i(to)e(when)
h(she)g(had)g(op)s(ened)g(her)g(ey)m(es,)h(lifted)515
2938 y(her)d(head)h(a)f(little)e(o\013)i(the)h(table,)f(and)g(sa)m(w)i
(small)c(golden)h(threads)i(protruding)f(from)515 3058
y(all)g(o)m(v)m(er)j(her)g(b)s(o)s(dy)-8 b(.)43 b(She)33
b(remem)m(b)s(ed)f(ho)m(w)h(she)g(felt)e(su\013o)s(cated)i(b)m(y)g(the)
g(transparen)m(t)515 3179 y(co)m(v)m(er)e(o)m(v)m(er)g(the)g(table)e
(on)h(whic)m(h)g(she)h(la)m(y)-8 b(,)30 b(and)g(ho)m(w,)h(in)f(the)g
(distance,)h(she)g(sa)m(w)g(men)515 3299 y(in)j(space)j(suits.)52
b(She)36 b(also)f(remem)m(b)s(ed)g(seeing)h(other)f(tables)g(with)g(p)s
(eople)g(on)h(them)515 3419 y(lik)m(e)k(her,)j(some)e(of)f(them)g(part)
h(of)f(her)h(team.)67 b(There)42 b(w)m(as)g(Chan)f(Chai,)h(who)f(had)
515 3540 y(often)29 b(made)f(her)h(laugh)f(o)m(v)m(er)i(tea)f(b)s
(efore)g(a)g(dangerous)g(mission.)41 b(And)29 b(near)h(him)d(la)m(y)515
3660 y(John)k(Kurst)h(in)e(droid)g(wires,)i(a)f(h)m(uge)h(tough)f
(Australian,)f(who)h(alw)m(a)m(ys)h(understand)515 3781
y(her.)661 3901 y(When)c(she)g(sa)m(w)h(her)e(team)g(mem)m(b)s(ers)g
(trapp)s(ed,)i(she)f(knew)g(what)g(to)f(do.)42 b(She)27
b(had)515 4021 y(jerk)m(ed)42 b(and)g(ripp)s(ed)f(the)h(wires)f(a)m(w)m
(a)m(y)-8 b(,)45 b(tak)m(en)d(a)f(h)m(uge)h(breath,)i(then)e(smashed)g
(her)515 4142 y(arms)33 b(at)g(the)h(co)m(v)m(er.)47
b(But)34 b(it)e(didn't)h(break.)47 b(She)34 b(kic)m(k)m(ed)h(and)f
(punc)m(hed)h(it,)e(but)h(still)515 4262 y(it)h(didn't)i(break.)57
b(Finally)-8 b(,)35 b(in)h(desparation,)h(she)h(had)f(wrapp)s(ed)g(the)
h(wires)f(around)515 4383 y(her)e(hand)g(and)g(struc)m(k)i(out,)e
(smashing)f(her)h(prison)g(w)m(all.)49 b(She)35 b(couldn't)g(remem)m(b)
s(er)515 4503 y(what)e(happ)s(ened)g(next,)h(except)g(that)e(she)i(a)m
(w)m(ok)m(e)g(in)e(a)g(space)i(ship.)661 4623 y(Kelly)e(W)-8
b(ong)33 b(smiled,)e(her)j(hands)g(danced)g(around)f(her)g(holographic)
e(k)m(eyb)s(oard.)515 4744 y(It's)i(time)e(to)h(rescue)j(m)m(y)d(team,)
g(she)i(though)m(t)e(with)h(a)f(smile.)661 4864 y(Kelly)j(turned)h
(again)e(to)i(the)g(computer)g(and)g(searc)m(hed)h(for)e(information)e
(ab)s(out)515 4984 y(the)44 b(droids.)76 b(She)44 b(learned)f(that)g
(the)h(Stein)g(ship)f(had)h(b)s(een)g(captured,)j(but)d(then)p
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33 32 bop 3281 266 a Fg(33)141 530 y(escap)s(ed,)41 b(and)c(she)i(read)
f(ab)s(out)f(Jerrison's)h(forces.)60 b(Then)39 b(she)g(learned)e(ab)s
(out)h(the)141 651 y(mission)e(to)i(destro)m(y)h(the)g(droid)e(man)m
(ufacturing)f(facilit)m(y)-8 b(.)58 b(It)38 b(had)g(b)s(een)h(a)e
(success!)141 771 y(A)44 b(success?)78 b(\\No,)46 b(that)d(can't)g(b)s
(e,")k(she)d(said.)75 b(A)44 b(min)m(ute)e(later)h(her)g(\014st)h
(struc)m(k)141 891 y(the)36 b(computer)g(hologram)d(terminal,)h
(causing)h(her)h(kn)m(uc)m(kles)i(to)d(bleed.)53 b(\\No)35
b(w)m(a)m(y)-8 b(.")141 1012 y(Great)33 b(pain)f(and)i(anger)f(caugh)m
(t)h(\014re)g(deep)g(inside)f(her.)46 b(\\There)34 b(is)f(no)g(w)m(a)m
(y)-8 b(.)47 b(This)33 b(is)141 1132 y(not)i(p)s(ossible.")52
b(F)-8 b(or)34 b(a)i(few)g(min)m(utes)f(she)h(b)s(eliev)m(ed)g(that)f
(her)h(team)f(w)m(as)h(aliv)m(e,)f(still)141 1253 y(imprisoned)j(in)g
(the)h(droid)f(man)m(ufacture)h(facilit)m(y)-8 b(.)61
b(She)39 b(smashed)h(her)g(other)f(hand)141 1373 y(in)m(to)32
b(the)h(terminal,)d(hard,)j(then)g(curled)f(up)h(and)g(cried)f(lik)m(e)
g(she)h(hadn't)g(since)g(when)141 1493 y(her)g(b)s(o)m(yfriend)g(had)f
(killed)f(himself)g(10)h(y)m(ears)i(ago.)287 1614 y(\\I)e(found)g
(her,")g(announced)g(Thom.)43 b(\\She's)33 b(in)e(cargo)g(ba)m(y)h
(six.")43 b(Thom)31 b(mo)m(v)m(ed)141 1734 y(his)44 b(hand)h(and)g(a)g
(holographic)d(displa)m(y)i(of)h(cargo)f(ba)m(y)h(six)g(app)s(eared.)80
b(Kelly)43 b(la)m(y)141 1854 y(curled)33 b(up)g(in)f(a)g(distan)m(t)g
(corner.)44 b(The)34 b(displa)m(y)e(zo)s(omed)g(in)g(on)g(her.)287
1975 y(\\Let's)i(go!")42 b(shouted)34 b(Bill,)c(\\b)s(efore)i(it's)h
(to)s(o)e(late.)43 b(Come)32 b(with)g(us)i(Do)s(c.")287
2095 y(Momen)m(ts)i(later)f(Bill,)e(Thom,)j(Dr.)51 b(Shelly)-8
b(,)36 b(and)f(Dennis)g(carefully)g(en)m(tered)i(the)141
2216 y(cargo)j(ba)m(y)-8 b(.)69 b(Bill's)38 b(ey)m(es)43
b(scanned)f(the)f(smo)s(oth)f(distan)m(t)g(ceiling,)h(then)g(fell)e(on)
i(the)141 2336 y(pitiful)35 b(girl,)h(who)h(no)m(w)h(la)m(y)f(gasping)f
(on)h(the)g(\015o)s(or.)57 b(He)37 b(carefully)f(approac)m(hed)j(her)
141 2456 y(and)28 b(said,)h(\\Kelly)d(W)-8 b(ong,)29
b(I'm)e(Bill)f(Stein,)i(Captain)f(of)h(the)g(Stein)g(ship.)42
b(W)-8 b(e)28 b(rescued)141 2577 y(y)m(ou)33 b(from)f(a)g(droid)g(man)m
(ufacturing)f(facilit)m(y)-8 b(.")287 2697 y(Slo)m(wly)g(,)33
b(Kelly)f(b)s(ecame)h(a)m(w)m(are)h(that)f(she)h(w)m(as)g(not)f(alone.)
44 b(Bill's)31 b(v)m(oice)j(sounded)141 2818 y(syn)m(thetic)29
b(to)e(her)h(and)g(she)g(felt)f(lik)m(e)g(droids)g(w)m(ere)i(ev)m
(erywhere.)45 b(W)-8 b(eak)m(ened,)31 b(nothing)141 2938
y(but)c(her)h(instincts)e(supp)s(orted)i(her,)h(so)e(she)h(fough)m(t.)
41 b(She)28 b(sprung)g(from)d(the)j(\015o)s(or)e(and)141
3058 y(\015ew)35 b(in)m(to)e(the)i(air)e(spinning,)g(her)i(green)g(pap)
s(er)f(go)m(wn)g(barely)g(remaining)e(with)h(her.)141
3179 y(Her)g(righ)m(t)f(heal)h(extended)h(and)f(caugh)m(t)h(Bill)c
(squarely)j(in)g(the)g(head,)g(kno)s(c)m(king)g(him)141
3299 y(senseless)k(to)d(the)h(\015o)s(or.)50 b(As)35
b(she)h(landed,)f(with)f(ligh)m(tning)e(sp)s(eed)k(she)g(surv)m(ey)m
(ed)i(the)141 3419 y(\014eld,)31 b(and)g(sa)m(w)h(three)f(\014gures,)i
(whic)m(h)e(she)h(considered)f(her)h(enemies.)43 b(One)31
b(of)f(them,)141 3540 y(Dennis,)i(raised)f(some)g(kind)g(of)g(stun)h(w)
m(eap)s(on)g(and)f(\014red)h(at)f(her,)h(but)f(she)i(do)s(dged)e(it)141
3660 y(b)m(y)36 b(\015ipping)d(bac)m(kw)m(ard)j(in)m(to)e(the)h(air)e
(and)h(landing)f(on)i(a)f(3)g(meter)g(blac)m(k)h(cub)s(e)g(that)141
3781 y(sat)e(b)s(ehind)f(her.)287 3901 y(Thom)j(y)m(elled,)h(\\Dennis,)
g(lo)s(ok)e(what)i(she)g(did)f(to)f(Bill.)49 b(W)-8 b(e)36
b(ha)m(v)m(e)h(to)e(neutralize)141 4021 y(her!)44 b(She's)34
b(crazy!")287 4142 y(Thom)j(and)h(Dennis)f(spread)h(out,)h(as)e(they)i
(heard)e(Dr.)58 b(Shelly)36 b(shout)i(at)f(Kelly)-8 b(,)141
4262 y(\\Agen)m(t)45 b(W)-8 b(ong,)48 b(I'm)d(Dr.)80
b(Shelly)44 b(Man)m(ysuns!)83 b(W)-8 b(e)46 b(w)m(ere)g(together)f
(during)f(y)m(our)141 4383 y(Mars)e(assignmen)m(t!)71
b(Y)-8 b(ou)42 b(sa)m(v)m(ed)h(m)m(y)f(life!!")69 b(Thom)41
b(and)h(Dennis)f(lo)s(ok)m(ed)h(at)f(eac)m(h)141 4503
y(in)k(surprise,)51 b(then)46 b(sim)m(ultaneously)f(they)i(shot)f(stun)
h(ra)m(ys)g(at)f(Kelly)-8 b(,)48 b(who)f(easily)141 4623
y(do)s(dged)31 b(them)g(as)h(she)g(\015ipp)s(ed)f(through)g(the)h(air)e
(o\013)h(of)g(the)g(cub)s(e)h(and)f(landed)g(a)g(few)141
4744 y(meters)36 b(from)d(the)j(do)s(ctor.)51 b(Kelly)34
b(stared)i(directly)e(at)h(the)h(do)s(ctor,)f(and)g(a)g(glimmer)141
4864 y(of)40 b(recognition)f(app)s(eared)i(in)f(her)h(ey)m(es,)j(then)d
(Kelly)f(collapsed)f(on)i(the)g(\015o)s(or,)h(her)141
4984 y(hands)33 b(still)e(bleading.)p eop
%%Page: 34 34
34 33 bop 515 266 a Fg(34)1779 b Fd(CHAPTER)34 b(4.)76
b(KELL)-8 b(Y)33 b(W)m(ONG)661 530 y Fg(Dennis)c(shot)h(an)g(energy)g
(net)g(o)m(v)m(er)h(Kelly)-8 b(,)29 b(and)h(Thom)f(approac)m(hed)i(slo)
m(wly)-8 b(.)42 b(The)515 651 y(do)s(ctor)25 b(help)s(ed)h(Bill,)f(who)
i(w)m(as)g(dizzy)-8 b(,)27 b(confused,)i(and)d(had)g(quite)g(a)g
(headac)m(he.)43 b(Kelly)515 771 y(w)m(as)26 b(carried)e(directly)h(to)
g(the)g(do)s(ctor's)h(o\016ce,)h(where)f(she)g(w)m(as)g(gen)m(tly)g
(set)f(on)g(a)g(table,)515 891 y(whic)m(h)33 b(w)m(as)g(surrounded)h(b)
m(y)g(a)e(force)h(shield)f(and)g(carefully)g(guarded.)661
1012 y(The)40 b(Stein)f(ship)g(hid)f(in)h(h)m(yp)s(erw)m(arp)i(for)d
(sev)m(eral)i(da)m(ys,)i(during)d(whic)m(h)g(Kelly's)515
1132 y(ph)m(ysical)32 b(w)m(ounds)i(healed,)e(and,)g(with)g(Thom's)g
(help,)h(her)f(mind)f(b)s(egan)h(to)g(come)g(to)515 1253
y(grips)41 b(with)g(the)h(horrors)g(she)g(had)g(endured.)72
b(Mean)m(while)42 b(Bill,)g(Thom,)h(Jerrisons)515 1373
y(and)32 b(the)h(others)h(searc)m(hed)g(for)e(a)g(w)m(a)m(y)i(to)e
(\014gh)m(t)h(the)g(droid)f(in)m(v)-5 b(aders.)p eop
%%Page: 35 35
35 34 bop 141 1201 a Ff(Chapter)78 b(5)141 1623 y(Droid)f(Space)141
2082 y Fg(F)-8 b(ully)30 b(t)m(w)m(o)i(w)m(eeks)h(had)e(passed)i(while)
d(Bill's)f(crew)k(and)e(Jerrison's)g(ships)h(la)m(y)f(hidden)141
2202 y(in)40 b(h)m(yp)s(erw)m(arp.)70 b(Kelly)-8 b(,)42
b(da)m(wning)f(a)g(blac)m(k)g(and)g(silv)m(er)f(com)m(bat)g(o\016cer's)
j(uniform,)141 2323 y(to)s(ok)37 b(her)h(place)f(as)h(a)f(mem)m(b)s(er)
g(of)g(the)h(crew.)60 b(Thom)37 b(sp)s(en)m(t)h(long)f(hours)h(kno)s(c)
m(king)141 2443 y(his)24 b(head)h(against)f(man)m(y)g(w)m(alls)g(while)
g(he)h(searc)m(hed)h(for)e(a)h(w)m(a)m(y)g(to)g(successfully)g(attac)m
(k)141 2564 y(the)35 b(droids.)50 b(Dennis)35 b(frequen)m(tly)h(sat)f
(on)g(the)g(bridge)f(with)h(a)f(holographic)f(arra)m(y)i(of)141
2684 y(w)m(eap)s(ons)k(spread)f(b)s(efore)g(him;)g(he)h(searc)m(hed)g
(his)e(mind)f(for)h(a)h(w)m(a)m(y)g(to)g(address)h(the)141
2804 y(droid)e(situation.)57 b(Occassionally)-8 b(,)37
b(in)g(frustration,)h(he)g(\014red)g(o\013)f(a)g(laser)g(burst)i(in)m
(to)141 2925 y(the)k(v)m(oid.)71 b(This)42 b(w)m(as)h(safe;)48
b(Dennis)41 b(knew)j(what)e(he)h(w)m(as)g(doing.)70 b(Jerrisons)43
b(k)m(ept)141 3045 y(his)34 b(tro)s(ops)g(strong.)49
b(The)36 b(rest)f(of)f(the)h(crew)g(w)m(en)m(t)h(ab)s(out)e(its)g
(business,)i(though)f(the)141 3165 y(monoton)m(y)23 b(of)h(w)m(aiting)e
(to)h(do)g(something)g(ab)s(out)g(the)h(droids)g(slo)m(wly)f(extracted)
i(a)e(toll.)141 3286 y(Sometimes)j(they)j(v)m(ery)f(quietly)f
(suggested)i(that)e(their)g(leadership)g(w)m(asn't)i(up)e(to)h(the)141
3406 y(c)m(hallenge.)40 b(Though)23 b(hea)m(vily)f(armed,)i(the)e
(Stein)g(ship)h(w)m(as)g(primarily)c(an)j(exploration)141
3527 y(v)m(ehicle,)34 b(not)f(a)g(battle)g(cruiser,)h(and)g(the)g(crew)
g(w)m(ere)h(corresp)s(ondingly)e(accostomed)141 3647
y(to)h(frequen)m(t)i(lo)m(w)e(lev)m(el)g(excitemen)m(t)h(rather)g(than)
f(long)g(w)m(aits)g(in)m(terrupted)h(b)m(y)h(brief)141
3767 y(life)31 b(or)h(death)h(situations.)287 3894 y(Out)27
b(of)f(these)h(long)f(frustrating)f(da)m(ys)j(and)e(the)h(input)f(of)g
(man)m(y)g(ship)h(mem)m(b)s(ers,)g(a)141 4015 y(plan)k(slo)m(wly)h
(formed.)43 b(When)32 b(the)h(plan)e(crystallized,)g(Bill)f(gathered)i
(the)h(o\016cers)g(in)141 4135 y(the)g(mediev)-5 b(al)31
b(strategy)j(ro)s(om.)43 b(He)33 b(leaned)g(against)f(a)g(w)m(all)g(of)
g(cold)g(granite,)g(whic)m(h)141 4255 y(had)25 b(b)s(een)g(exca)m(v)-5
b(ated)27 b(from)c(the)i(moun)m(tains)f(of)g(north)m(w)m(estern)j
(America,)f(and)e(lo)s(ok)m(ed)141 4376 y(around)33 b(at)f(his)g
(o\016cers,)i(his)e(ally)f(Jerrisons,)i(and)g(the)g(dangerous)g
(O\016cer)g(W)-8 b(ong.)287 4503 y(Bill)41 b(stepp)s(ed)k(forw)m(ard)e
(and)h(said,)h(\\When)f(w)m(e)g(w)m(ere)h(detained)e(on)h(Earth,)i(w)m
(e)141 4623 y(escap)s(ed)h(b)s(ecause)f(Thom)f(w)m(as)h(able)f(to)f
(con)m(trol,)k(to)d(some)g(exten)m(t,)50 b(a)45 b(droid)f(that)141
4744 y(guarded)37 b(us.")54 b(He)37 b(turned)f(to)m(w)m(ards)i(Thom,)e
(then)h(lo)s(ok)m(ed)f(around)g(the)g(ro)s(om,)g(and)141
4864 y(con)m(tin)m(ued,)d(\\Thom)d(b)s(eliev)m(es)i(that)f(there)h(is)e
(a)h(v)-5 b(ast)31 b(net)m(w)m(ork)i(that)e(links)g(the)g(droids)141
4984 y(together.)41 b(This)25 b(m)m(ust)g(b)s(e)f(ho)m(w)h(they)h(comm)
m(unicate)d(and)i(distribute)f(the)h(in)m(telligence)1711
5233 y(35)p eop
%%Page: 36 36
36 35 bop 515 266 a Fg(36)1782 b Fd(CHAPTER)35 b(5.)75
b(DR)m(OID)32 b(SP)-8 b(A)m(CE)515 530 y Fg(they)43 b(parasitically)d
(dra)m(w)j(from)e(their)h(h)m(uman)h(and)f(other)h(hosts.)74
b(This)43 b(net)m(w)m(ork,)515 651 y(whic)m(h)34 b(Thom)f(calls)f
(Droid)g(Space,)j(is)e(the)h(droid)f(consciousness,)j(the)e(droid)f
(realit)m(y)-8 b(.)515 771 y(Thom)45 b(and)i(I)f(hop)s(e)g(to)g(gain)e
(access)k(to)e(Droid)e(Space,)51 b(searc)m(h)c(its)f(v)-5
b(ast)46 b(recesses)515 891 y(for)36 b(what)g(is)g(guiding)f(the)h
(droids,)h(and)g(reprogram)e(it,)h(so)h(that)f(the)h(droids)f(can)g(b)s
(e)515 1012 y(defeated.")661 1132 y(Bill)24 b(shot)j(a)f(p)s
(enetrating)g(glance)g(at)h(Dennis,)g(then)g(Kelly)-8
b(,)27 b(and)g(\014nally)e(Jerrisons.)515 1253 y(\\T)-8
b(o)27 b(access)i(Droid)d(Space,)k(w)m(e'll)c(ha)m(v)m(e)j(to)e(lea)m
(v)m(e)i(h)m(yp)s(erw)m(arp)g(and)e(\014gh)m(t)h(our)g(w)m(a)m(y)g(in)m
(to)515 1373 y(hea)m(vily)42 b(o)s(ccupied)i(droid)e(territory)-8
b(.)74 b(Y)-8 b(ou)43 b(will)d(ha)m(v)m(e)45 b(to)e(\014gh)m(t)g(them)g
(w)m(ell,)i(and)e(if)515 1493 y(Kelly's)f(exp)s(erience)i(is)f(an)m(y)h
(guide,)h(the)e(droids)g(will)e(b)s(e)i(smarter)f(no)m(w)i(than)f(ev)m
(er)515 1614 y(b)s(efore,)k(as)d(they)h(ha)m(v)m(e)g(had)f(more)f(time)
g(to)h(feed)g(on)g(their)g(captiv)m(es')h(kno)m(wledge.)515
1734 y(Thom)39 b(and)h(I)g(will)e(en)m(ter)i(a)g(capsule)g(lik)m(e)f
(O\016ce)i(W)-8 b(ong)39 b(w)m(as)i(imprisoned)d(in,)j(and,)515
1854 y(using)d(sp)s(ecial)f(equipmen)m(t)h(dev)m(elop)s(ed)h(b)m(y)h
(the)e(do)s(ctor,)h(w)m(e)h(will)c(en)m(ter)j(their)e(space)515
1975 y(and)28 b(\014gh)m(t)h(bac)m(k.)43 b(Mean)m(while,)29
b(y)m(ou)g(m)m(ust)f(k)m(eep)i(us)f(safe.)42 b(Y)-8 b(ou'll)27
b(receiv)m(e)i(y)m(our)g(orders)515 2095 y(shortly)-8
b(.")43 b(The)33 b(meeting)f(ended;)i(the)f(\014nal)e(battle)h(had)h
(just)g(b)s(egun.)p eop
%%Trailer
end
userdict /end-hook known{end-hook}if
%%EOF