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datatime: 2022-11-27 15:59:14 Author:VjvqOanx

"Celeste, you'll have to drive."

Down! The voice in her head confused her. Get down!

Nicholas, in the right-angle horse position, directed a snap-kick to the Messulethe's groin. Both blows struck almost simultaneously, and both men went down. But Nicholas rolled and, angling his knuckles down, struck the Messulethe, delivered a short twan ch'uan to the Messu-lethe's forehead.

Once, Nicholas fell heavily, bringing them both down, and Celeste cried out, blood on her palms as she skidded, feeling the creeping along her nerves of not only what had been done to him, but what was coming after them, the heat through the vivid electric discharges, billowing along the reinforced concrete floor, a low mist with form and substance, the lethal rhythms of the Messulethe reaching out for them.

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.

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

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.

"Celeste, you'll have to drive."

Nicholas was certain he had that resolve in him, the conviction that this soul must be dispatched, that there was no other option available, that without this singular attack his risk was intolerable.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

He threw himself headlong across the enervated form, ripped the key from the Messulethe's belt and, leaping at the doorway, unlocked it.

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.

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

Nicholas, in the right-angle horse position, directed a snap-kick to the Messulethe's groin. Both blows struck almost simultaneously, and both men went down. But Nicholas rolled and, angling his knuckles down, struck the Messulethe, delivered a short twan ch'uan to the Messu-lethe's forehead.

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.

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.

A fusillade of needles scourged his mind as the Messulethe, recovering with appalling rapidity, lashed out with his psyche, trying to keep Nicholas from leaving the cage. Nicholas stumbled, fell to one knee, almost in Celeste's Up. She wrapped her arm around his waist, and together they loped awkwardly away from the cage. Celeste looked back, terrified, but the Messulethe was still lying on the ground. Had Nicholas killed him? She hurried them on.

A fusillade of needles scourged his mind as the Messulethe, recovering with appalling rapidity, lashed out with his psyche, trying to keep Nicholas from leaving the cage. Nicholas stumbled, fell to one knee, almost in Celeste's Up. She wrapped her arm around his waist, and together they loped awkwardly away from the cage. Celeste looked back, terrified, but the Messulethe was still lying on the ground. Had Nicholas killed him? She hurried them on.

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.

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.

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