The treacherous double agent aimed his needler pistol at me as he prepared to escape. I didn't think he could kill me with one shot from the small weapon, but I didn't want to find out. Dalmor was working for the Sathar, that mysterious, evil race of intelligent worms who were trying to conquer and destroy peaceful worlds. I knew he was ruthless. Out of the corner of my eye I could see my Vrusk partner, C'hting. The eight-legged insect man had faster reflexes than I, and I knew he was calculating whether he could draw his blaster and fire before Dalmor could shoot.

The thought was still in my mind when one of C'hting's arms flashed in a lightning-swiff draw. I dived to the floor as Datmor swung his pistol, but the needles whizzed harmlessly past C'hting and me. C'hting's laser beam only grazed Dalmor as he dashed out the door. We charged aher him, but my curse was echoed by C'hting as we watched Dalmor leap aboard the monorail.

We jumped into my waiting skimmer and maneuvered into traffic, gliding smoothly above the road. ''It is fortunate Bakchu the Yazirian is guarding the spaceport,'' C'hting rasped.

"If that big monkey can't handle Dalmor, no one can," I replied. "That's only if Dalmor's going to the spaceport, though," I added. "There are two other monorail terminals on the way. Maybe we can get to one of them before his car does." The skimmer was running at top speed, but I clenched the controls in frustration at every corner as the magnetic control fields slowed us to a safe speed. We arrived at the terminal just as Dalmor's car was pulling in.

Leaping from the skimmer, we ran to the exit ramp. Both C'hting and I crouched behind the polycrete wall and aimed our weapons at a very surprised Dalmor as he stepped from the car barely 10 meters away. "You are under arrest, Dalmor. Do not move," clicked C'hting. With a desperate cry, Dalmor drew the needler from his coat. C'hting and I fired before he could aim. Both shots hit Dalmor and he sprawled across the platform, unconscious but still alive.

After filing our reports with our contact at the Pan-Galactic Corporation, C'hting, Bakchu and I drove to the Spacer's Rest to celebrate over a few mugs of thick Yazirian ale. We were discussing what we would dowith the 100 credits each of us had earned for the mission when all three of our communicators signalled incoming calls at once. Bakchu snarled in dismay when the face of Beren Tiu, our contact at PGC, appeared on the tiny screens. "Ah, I'm glad I've got all of you together," he smiled. "Nice job on Dalmor, though it's a shame you had to shoot him in public. I calied to tell you that while we were interrogating him we got a lead on a lime job you might...''

"Hold it, Beren," I growled. "You promised us we could take a week off aher this mission and, by the stars, I'm going to take a week off!'' C'hting and Bakchu rumbled in agreement, and Tiu looked disappointed.

"All right," he said, "if you're not interested in 200 credits I'm not going to force you to..."

Two hundred credits! The three of us looked at each other, and Bakchu curled his lips in a knowing smile.

"What's the job?" I asked.