But something else about Tiger's defense of him bothered Dal far more than the falsehood something that had vaguely disturbed him ever since he had known the big Earthman, and that now seemed to elude him every time he tried to pinpoint it. Lying in his bunk during a sleep period, Dal remembered vividly the first time he had met Tiger, early in the second year of medical school.
The alien was pleasant enough, in spite of his position. He seemed to accept his imprisonment as one of the fortunes of war. He didn't threaten or bluster, although he tended to maintain an air of superiority that would have been unbearable in an Earthman. Was that the reason for his uneasiness in the general's presence? No.
Luis knew the area. He might have a good idea. "There is one which is perfect. It is called Steamboat." "But that's a town," Rick objected. "People would notice a truck from the base." Luis chuckled. "People, yes. Ghosts, no. An evil man like this Earthman would not care what a ghost saw, would he? Ah, but you are new here, and you do not know. Steamboat is a town without people.
For that reason, the thieves had driven without hesitation to Careless Mesa to pick up the latest batch of stolen equipment and had received the shock of their lives. Rick thought that the trail of the Earthman had been a pretty devious one, complicated as it was by a gang of thieves as well as the saboteur himself.
He had almost thought that this supine listless race of his was not worth rescuing. He reached the terminal in Great New York without untoward incident. No one challenged this meek, shabby-looking Earthman. The Mercutians gave him barely a glance; the Earthmen disregarded him when they whispered together. Hilary was content; he was not seeking undue notice.
Hank Leeming, Rick's security officer roommate, and an older man he identified as Colonel Tom Preston, Chief of Security, pulled up at the door in a jeep and hurried inside. Preston took over. "All right, Jimmy. What's this about the Earthman?" The clerk silently handed him the slip of paper. The Security Chief examined it. "His mark, all right. Where did you find it?"
MacMaine could accept the reason for that attitude; the general's background was different from that of an Earthman, and therefore he could not be judged by Terrestrial standards. Besides, MacMaine could acknowledge to himself that Tallis was superior to the norm not only the norm of Keroth, but that of Earth.
Not at first there's hostility for a while but in the long run it gives them a new slant on us." "Then you'd better get an Earthman," Duke snapped. "You're talking to a citizen of Meloa! By choice!" "I hadn't finished my explanation," Flannery reminded. Duke snorted. "I was brought up on explanations.
I had no conception of the power of that ray. I was as horrified to see the city disappear as you were; I only wanted to protect my people." Torlos smiled bitterly. "I have lived among these treacherous people for many years, and I cannot say that I had no provocation to destroy their city and everyone in it. But I had no intention of doing it, Earthman." Arcot knew he was sincere.
Look, this is a ship from Hospital Earth. When somebody calls for help, they expect to see an Earthman turn up in response. What are they going to think when a patrol ship lands and he walks out?" Tiger's face darkened. "They'll be able to see his collar and cuff, won't they?" "Maybe. But they may wonder what he's doing wearing them." "Well, they'll just have to learn," Tiger snapped.