Notification of promotion to base-admiral, and blank commission as line-commodore; that would be Patrique Morvill. And advice that one transport-cruiser, Algol, with an Army contragravity brigade aboard, and two engineering ships, would leave Odin for Aditya in fifteen days. The last two words erased much of the new base-admiral's pleasure. "Fifteen days, great Ghu!

If there were big cities somewhere else on the planet, it would figure. But there aren't. They blew out the two biggest cities, and all the loot in them." "Then they wanted to terrorize somebody off the planet." "But nobody'd hear about it off-planet," somebody protested. "The Mardukans would; they trade with Tetragrammaton," the acknowledged bastard of somebody named Morvill said.

Trevannion and Erskyll and Patrique Morvill and Lanze Degbrend joined these; subordinates guided the rest of the party a couple of Ravney's officers and Erskyll's numerous staff of advisors and specialists to distribute themselves with their opposite numbers in the Mastership.

His air-reconn tells him that that's the lot of them. I have an officer of one of the parties that participated. You ought to hear what he has to say, sir." "Well, good!" Vann Shatrak whooshed out his breath. "I don't mind admitting, I was a little on edge about that." "Wait till you hear what Lieutenant Carmath has to say." Morvill seemed to be strangling a laugh. "Ready for him, Commodore?"

I wish these people had never heard of this planet." "That makes at least two of us," Patrique Morvill said, sotto voce. "Well, the planetary constitution can wait just a bit," Prince Trevannion suggested. "We have a great many items on the agenda which must be taken care of immediately. For instance, there's this thing about finding a proconsular palace...."

Beside Shatrak, Erskyll and himself, there were Lanze Degbrend, and Count Erskyll's charge-d'affaires, Sharll Ernanday, and Patrique Morvill and Pyairr Ravney and the naval intelligence officer, Commander Andrey Douvrin. Ordinarily, he deplored serious discussion at meals, but under the circumstances it was unavoidable; nobody could think or talk of anything else.

Shatrak nodded; Morvill made a hand-signal and vanished in a flicker of rainbow colors; when the screen cleared, a young Landing-Troop lieutenant in battle-dress was looking out of it. He saluted and gave his name, rank and unit. "This missile-launching site I'm occupying, sir; it's twenty miles north-west of the city. We took it thirty minutes ago; no resistance whatever.

Count Erskyll sat frozen, staring white-faced and horror-sick into the screen. Some of the others had begun to recover and were babbling excitedly. Vann Shatrak was at a communication-screen, talking to Commodore Patrique Morvill, aboard the Empress Eulalie: "All the Landing-Troops, and all the crewmen you can spare and arm. And every vehicle you have.

Obray of Erskyll seemed to have doubts, but before he could articulate them, Shatrak's communication-screen was calling attention to itself. The commodore flicked the switch, and his executive officer, Captain Patrique Morvill, appeared in it. "We've just gotten reports, sir, that some of Ravney's people have captured a half-dozen missile-launching sites around the city.