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The Dark Edge

Taken by Force

Hidden from View





PSI-SINGING (or almost!) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Emerging from the cara-canes, she hurried over the short stretch of open grass and in through the doorway to the first generator room. A sickly stench of putrefying flesh assailed her nostrils.

She pulled a face. How could they leave it like that? But at least she knew that the evidence hadn't been moved.

The generators were thrumming quietly all around. She passed in under the blue wafer-lights and entered the second generator room. The blood on the floor was now jet black, the dismembered body parts were starting to glisten with tinges of green. But Vail had eyes only for the knife. It was still there on top of the pile of Stobber's clothing.

She deposited her bag near the pile and pulled on a pair of ultrathin plastic gloves. Then she picked up the knife. Both blade and handle were thickly clotted with dried blood. She selected an item of clothing, Stobber's overshirt, to use as a cleaning ra g. She sat down cross-legged on the floor and began to clean the knife.

The process took several minutes. She spat and wiped, spat and wiped. When the blood was removed, she polished the blade and the knit-plastic handle. By the time she had finished, the whole knife was shiny and spotless.

Then she stripped off her gloves, delved into her bag, and brought forth her psi-singer. It was an arced instrument like a bow, strung with metal wires. It widened out at one end into a solid wedge-shaped handgrip. At the base of the handgrip was the repl acement socket that Vail had installed yesterday morning.

Once more she delved into her bag. This time she brought forth a power-cell and a set of electrical leads. She connected the leads between the power-cell and the socket of the psi-singer. Finally she settled herself into a comfortable position and picked up the knife again.

She held the knife vertical with its point resting on the floor. Then she began to draw the bow of the psi-singer at an oblique angle across the blade. Smoothly, constantly, she stroked it back and forth against the cutting edge.

Back and forth, back and forth. She was totally absorbed. The blade gave off a metallic ringing sound. She bent her head and listened for harmonics.

But there was nothing there. An absolute negative. The test proved that at least.

She was so absorbed that she didn't hear the footsteps in the first generator room. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Richard Harland.