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datatime: 2022-12-02 05:24:47 Author:RePaUCyA

"Get behind the wheel!" He slid over, displacing her, and she settled herself, her feet feeling for the pedals.

Nicholas jerked open the door, slid behind the wheel. He looked under the floormat, above the sun visor for keys. Not finding them, he used a screwdriver he found on the floor to pry open the steering column.

Celeste gunned the engine just as the metal doors blew open with such force that one of them was ripped free of its hinges. She pressed herself back into the seat as she banged the gears into reverse and, with a squeal of tires, launched the truck out of the loading bay, swinging it round, a whoosh behind them which Celeste, rigid in her seat, refused to look at.

They found themselves in a wide service entrance, and they ran as best they could up the long ramp, through another set of metal doors, onto a loading platform, deserted save for a heavy-duty truck.

Watching him hot-wire the truck. Celeste felt her stomach rebelling. It was eerie seeing the face of the Mes-sulethe, knowing because she was linked with it that Nicholas's mind lay beneath it. Still, she had thought she would pass out the first time she saw his eyes staring at her from out of that face she had learned to fear above all others.

Watching him hot-wire the truck. Celeste felt her stomach rebelling. It was eerie seeing the face of the Mes-sulethe, knowing because she was linked with it that Nicholas's mind lay beneath it. Still, she had thought she would pass out the first time she saw his eyes staring at her from out of that face she had learned to fear above all others.

This time Nicholas had lowered himself far enough so that one knee was on the ground. Very fast now, he intercepted the blow with the callused edge of his left hand and, rising up, swept the Messulethe's extended arm out and away in an unnatural arc intended to break bones.

Watching him hot-wire the truck. Celeste felt her stomach rebelling. It was eerie seeing the face of the Mes-sulethe, knowing because she was linked with it that Nicholas's mind lay beneath it. Still, she had thought she would pass out the first time she saw his eyes staring at her from out of that face she had learned to fear above all others.

The engine barked to life and Nicholas slumped back in the seat, near exhaustion.

The Messulethe fell and, as his concentration shifted, the numbing force of his psyche lifted. Nicholas slammed the edge of his hand into the spot between and just above the Messulethe's eyes, a crucial point in the line of the major conception meridian. The Messulethe's eyes crossed, and Nicholas could feel the almost total withdrawal of his psyche as he hovered at the point of unconsciousness. Still, Nicholas felt the squirming of his enemy's powerful mind, trying to break through the temporary paralysis, and he knew he had only moments in which to act.

Crack like a bolt of thunder and she whimpered, the percussion shaking the floor, and then Nicholas was dragging her to her feet and, as she was pulled past a section of wall, she stared wide-eyed at the ovoid indentation in it, as if it had been struck by a gigantic fist.

Watching him hot-wire the truck. Celeste felt her stomach rebelling. It was eerie seeing the face of the Mes-sulethe, knowing because she was linked with it that Nicholas's mind lay beneath it. Still, she had thought she would pass out the first time she saw his eyes staring at her from out of that face she had learned to fear above all others.

His own head snapped back, but he was already caught ill the vise-like grip of the Messulethe's powerful legs. Kneed in the stomach, he tried to twist away, and caught another kite on the jaw.

This time Nicholas had lowered himself far enough so that one knee was on the ground. Very fast now, he intercepted the blow with the callused edge of his left hand and, rising up, swept the Messulethe's extended arm out and away in an unnatural arc intended to break bones.

But the blow never landed. The heel of his hand stopped perhaps a centimeter from its objective, hanging in the air. Then the muscles of his wrist and forearm began to spasm as if he had plunged them into a bed of live coals.

The Messulethe moved with astonishing speed, twisting his torso into the attack so as to negate the unnatural position of his arm. At the same time, he delivered a vicious kite meant for Nicholas's kidneys.

The Messulethe moved with astonishing speed, twisting his torso into the attack so as to negate the unnatural position of his arm. At the same time, he delivered a vicious kite meant for Nicholas's kidneys.

Celeste looked up, shivering. At the edge of her mind was that awful sensation, as if some beast were snuffling obscenely through her innermost thoughts. She felt the onset of the heat, rushing up the ramp at them, and she screamed wordlessly, her terror an anodyne for her nausea.

"Nicholas!" She shook him and he groaned, his forehead coming up off the steering wheel, his fingers resuming their work on the wiring.

The Messulethe moved with astonishing speed, twisting his torso into the attack so as to negate the unnatural position of his arm. At the same time, he delivered a vicious kite meant for Nicholas's kidneys.

But, with a.heavy grunt, she hauled him to his feet, propelled him on, and kept him at it, with that thing so near her mind she could feel it singe her like a bright leap of flame. The terror running through her, but she kept him at it, out across the ferro-concrete beehive of the robotics factory with its spinning blue lightning arcs, its scents of hot metal and fused plastics, the presence in her mind growing stronger, seeking to fill her limbs with lead, as they stumbled past lines of stainless-steel heads being fitted onto blocky inhuman shoulders. Infra-red-lensed eyes stared unblinking as the running shadows struck them and were gone. Kept him going in this cold crucible where machines created more machines, where the miracle of creation in a manner inconceivable even decades ago was occurring every minute of the day and night.

Nicholas, deep in mind-no-mind, continued to resist the Messulethe with his upper body, even while his left leg kicked out, mindless, as if in galvanic response. The toe of Nicholas's shoe caught his enemy on the point of his hip, where the flexor muscles covered an important nerve nexus for the lower body.

But the blow never landed. The heel of his hand stopped perhaps a centimeter from its objective, hanging in the air. Then the muscles of his wrist and forearm began to spasm as if he had plunged them into a bed of live coals.

The Messulethe staggered, his grip on Nicholas broken, and Nicholas was up, kicking him a glancing blow. He fell on him, knowing he had only moments in which to kill him before his superior psyche reasserted itself. He used the heel of his hand, in an atemi meant to splinter the nose cartilage, send it directly into the brain. It was invariably a lethal blow, and the mind had to be absolutely centered, the organism in mortal danger, the resolve wholly unimpaired, because once committed there was no turning back; death was the only possible result.

Celeste gunned the engine just as the metal doors blew open with such force that one of them was ripped free of its hinges. She pressed herself back into the seat as she banged the gears into reverse and, with a squeal of tires, launched the truck out of the loading bay, swinging it round, a whoosh behind them which Celeste, rigid in her seat, refused to look at.

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