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fell until his upper body caught in the too-small opening, nearly dislocating his arm. At the same moment, something like an angry hornet stung his ear. He wriggled frantically, his feet kicking free in a large, open space, his upper body still stuck in the shaft. Then something hammered unbelievably hard into the top of his shoulder, and he was through, falling free.

Then slamming into something that broke with a lot of noise. That part wasn't even so bad; all of the air had been knocked out of him by whatever had hit his shoulder.

He grunted and sat up. He was on the ruins of a coffee table, in the middle of someone's living room. The someones, an elderly couple, gaped at him from a dingy sofa. "Hi. Sorry," he managed.

A dizzying wave of pain hit him as he stood. His left arm hung like a noodle, and he realized that he was bleeding, though not heavily. A bullet had shattered his collarbone, but not penetrated any further into his body. He looked up at the gaping hole in the roof of the apartment, then, thinking better of remaining beneath it, moved aside. With Garibaldi's luck, even a blind ricocheting shot might hit him right between the eyes. Or maybe Bester had grenades, who knew?

Bester. A floor or two above him!

He picked up the drained PPG and popped another charge into it.

The old people were yelling at him, now-in French, naturally.

"Okay, okay. Keep your shirts on. I'm not here to hurt you. And I'm going. If I were you, I'd do the same, at least for the next hour or two."

He didn't wait to see if they understood him or not, but found their front door and left as fast as he could, which, given the fact that the world was doing a slow spin, wasn't too fast.

Back in the hall, he located the stairs and stumbled toward them.



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