Quest of the Darkome
"Satan, with vast and hauty strides advanced,
Came towering, armed in adamant and gold."
The pursuit needle indicated a dizzy succession of zigs and zags in front of my straining eyes. The huge dread-nor, the Darkome, slewed in sickening curves as my hand on the swivel-jet stick tried to follow the crazily dancing needle. Was it--or was it not--the erratic ion trail of a dodging ship?
"Are we following one ship or a dozen?" asked Lt. Tyron, tightening the straining straps of the co-pilot's chair beside me.
"I don't know--but sure as the God's vengeance we're following something with plenty of reason to want to escape. And we will follow as long as the fool's drivers leave us a trail.
"Too much trail right now. A few more of those sudden jerks and either the Darkome or me is going off in two directions at once--and the Darkome is tough."
"There's no question we can catch the ship or ships on this trail, but, what I am wondering... what has me worried... is, will our quarry be a big enough fish to be important, or some expandable decoy of Sathanas?"
I turned from my inspection of the dials and looked at my first officer. Tyron was a good man, but too impatient for action and too continually worried that he wouldn't see any. But he was intelligent and, in the two centuries he'd been in my command, there had never been a question of his reliability. He had the familiar look of fearing that action was going to get away from him again. I couldn't help laughing down at him.
"Well, Tyron, before this is over you'll have a chance to catch a lot of those devils--and when we do you may get those hands you're so proud of, singed. Carry on!"