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.This did not displease me.The more men there wereoutside the complex the fewer there would be inside.The various hatches,also, I was confident, would not open from the outside.If they did, themechanisms could always be jammed or destroyed.I knew I had at least one ally within, Imnak, who would risk his life toprotect me.He had already done so.In short order I managed to find one of the ventilator shafts through whichfresh air was drawn into the complex; there was a system of such shafts, somefor drawing in fresh air and others for expelling used, stale air.Kurii, withtheir large lungs, and the need to oxygenate their large quantities of blood,are extremely sensitive to the quality of an atmosphere.Ship Kurii, crashedor marooned on Earth, have usually made their way to remote areas, not simplyto avoid human habitations but to secure access to a less polluted, moretolerable atmosphere.Kurii, incidentally, because of their unusual lungcapacity, can breathe easily even at relatively high altitudes.They havelittle tolerance, however, for pollutants.Kur agents on Earth are almostalways humans.I could not remove the grating at the top of the shaft.It was fixed into themetal, welded therein.I stepped back and depressed the firing switch on one of the tubular weapons.I then set another dart into the breech.It was not, however, necessary.Themetal was broken loose and twisted crookedly upward.The opening was not toolarge, but it would be enough.I felt around inside the darkened shaft with myhand, and then with the barrel of a weapon.I could find no handholds orfootholds.I did not know the depth of the shaft, but I supposed it must be ahundred or more feet, at least.I had no rope.I slipped into the shaft,sweating, my back against one side, my two feet against the other side.Thusbegan a slow and tortuous descent, inch by inch.The slightest mistake injudgment, as to position or leverage, and I would plummet within the shaft,helpless, until I struck its bottom, however far below it might be.It took more than a quarter of an Ahn to descend the shaft.The last twenty feet I slipped and, pushing and thrusting.fell clattering toits bottom.The grille at the lower end, some seven feet above a steel floor, and openinginto a hall, was not fixed as solidly as the one above.Indeed, to myamazement, I lifted it out."What kept you?" asked Imnak.He was sitting on two boxes, at the side, whittling a parsit fish from sleenbone."I was detained," I said."You were very noisy," said Imnak."Sorry," I said.I saw that the screws holding the lighter grille in place had been removed.That is why it lifted out."You removed the screws from the grille with your knife," I said."Would you have preferred to kick it loose?" asked Imnak."No," I said.Then I said, "How did you know to find me here?""I thought you would have difficulty explaining your right to enter to thePage 253 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlguards at the hatches,"said Imnak."Surely there are many ventilator shafts," I said."Yes," said Imnak, "but not many with people crawling down them.""Here," I said, handing Imnak one of the tubular weapons, and several of thedarts from the bag which I carried, "What good is this?" asked Imnak."Itblows apart the meat, and there is no place to put a line on the point.""It is good for shooting people," I said.file:///F|/rah/John%20Norman/12%20-%20Beasts%20Of%20Gor.txt (197 of 224)[1/20/03 3:26:44 AM]file:///F|/rah/John%20Norman/12%20-%20Beasts%20Of%20Gor.txt"Yes," said Imnak, "it might do for that.""It is my intention, Imnak," I said, "to locate and detonate the deviceconcealed in this complex which is intended to prevent the supplies here fromfalling into the hands of enemies.""That is a long thing to say," he said."I want to find a switch or lever," I said, "which will make this whole placego boom bang crash, as when the dart hits a target and makes a big noise.""I do not know the words 'boom' and 'bang'," said, Imnak."Are they Gorean?""I want to make a thing like thunder and lightning, crash, crash," I said,angrily."You want to cause an explosion?" asked linnak."Yes," I said."That seems like a good idea," said Imnak."Where did you hear about explosions?" I asked Imnak."Karjuk told me," said Imnak."Where is Karjuk?" I asked."He is somewhere outside," said Imnak."Did he ever speak to you of a device to destroy the complex?" I asked."Yes," said Ininak."Did he tell you where it is?" I asked."No," said Imnak."I do not think he knows where it is.""Imnak," I said, "I want you to take this weapon, and get yourself, and asmany of the girls as you can, out of the complex."Imnak shrugged, puzzled."Do not dally," I told him."What about you?" he asked."Do not worry about me," I said."All right," said Imnak.He turned to leave."If you see Karjuk," I said, "kill him.""Karjuk would not like that," said Imnak."Do it," I said."But where will we get another guard?" he asked."Karjuk does not guard the People," I said."He guards Kurii.""How do you know what he guards?" asked Imnak."Forget about Karjuk," I said."All right," said Imnak."Hurry, hurry!" I told him [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]