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"Well. Mr. Garibaldi. We meet again. And under very odd circumstances, I must say. I always knew you were beneath me, but to have it brought home so graphically, well, it's really quite amusing."

"Bester. Damn you, I'll-"

"Sorry. No time for chit-chat. I'll be back in a few minutes, though."



* * *



Bester closed the garbage chute and surveyed his handiwork. Thompson was down but still breathing, and would probably continue to. The big telepath wasn't so lucky. He had shot him in the head, first thing, while he was concentrating on taking the inhibitions off Marie and Pierre. Crude and amateurish, but he was a P12 and Bester still wasn't as strong as he ought to be.

Bester had sparked out the police officer and Paul-they would recover any moment now. Only Thompson had given him a minute of real worry. Someone had removed the failsafe he had planted in the ex-EarthForce officer, so he'd had to clobber him. Fortunately, the teep had been busy talking to Garibaldi.

Garibaldi, who would die next. But first Bester had something else to attend to.

It had all worked out pretty well, really. It had taken him only a few moments to do what was needed to Marie and Pierre-both were pretty weak-minded, and after all, he didn't do much to them. He planted the very strong suggestion that he had gone down the garbage chute, forbade them to remember his real exit, then forbade them to get up and walk around. None of these suggestions bore the force of permanence, though quick had also meant brutal. At the very least the two were going to suffer bad dreams for a few weeks.

What he had actually done, before his pursuers had arrived, was leave the apartment, cross the hall, and knock on a neighboring door. The sleepy tenant who answered had been easy to control,
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