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After about three hours of maneuvering, both colonies were fixed up. Jim took his helmet off first. The air seemed fine. Scooter mentioned what was, by now, on everybody's mind, "That new re-breather must be catalyzing something in the gas. It's amazing that it goes away so fast. Even the smell!" With the helmets off, they radioed Ferguson to tell him the bad news about their failure to take Metafire.

Scooter was maneuvering the Bluebird to its position about a mile from the Metafire colony, when Ferguson stated his conclusion, "Boys, we've failed. It's interesting that those Metafire guys were as calm as they were. Get the laser listening device back on them. We're working on another plan."

Chapter 32 Death

On board of Metafire, Steven was just waking up. The nylon ties that he had intended to use on the Metafire people were now binding him. His arms were stretched behind his back, with ties holding his elbows behind as well as holding his hands, back to back. Ties held his legs together and also held his legs to his body. There must have been twenty ties linked end to end that formed the lengths necessary to bind him up like this.

As he woke, we remembered what had happened. He turned a corner and saw a contraption, brightly glowing in his infrared vision. The infrared showed the characteristic cylinders positioned a couple of inches off each other. They were bombs just like the nuclear artillery shells he had been taught to recognize! A prick in his side! He yelled. Then he lost consciousness.

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