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assessing what might be useful. An armoured car rested closest to him, although what use it would be in Torvag's narrow streets Vance did not know. Around it were various automobiles, but Vance's eyes came to rest on something much more useful: a skimmer, mainly used for desert travel, but just what he needed under the circumstances. It was probably one of the fastest vehicles in Torvag.

The ignition was a simple button, so he didn't have to waste time hotwiring it. Vance gunned the engine and the skimmer came to life, gliding across the floor of the basement and up the ramp to the surface. By the time he arrived at street level, Vance understood the controls, which were much the same as those of dust bikes he'd ridden back on Earth.

Vance had to push his nostalgic thoughts to the back of his mind as he saw movement above. The Ky'Thain were on the move. Vance turned several corners, hoping to leave the creatures behind, but they followed via the rooftops, saving valuable seconds by not having to navigate Torvag's winding streets.

When Vance grew accustomed to the skimmer's controls, he pulled out the autopistol, waiting for one of the Ky'Thain to show itself. So intent was he on spotting an aerial attack, he didn't see the danger straight ahead. One of the creatures, anticipating his route to the spaceport, crouched low in the street in front of him. Vance saw it at the last second and manoeuvred the skimmer just in time. The Ky'Thain's wrist weapon took a chunk out of the skimmer's rear exhaust, but the vehicle was otherwise undamaged.

With the creature's screeching alien curses fading behind him, Vance gunned the skimmer and sped away. Smoke sputtered from the damaged exhaust, but the vehicle maintained its speed. He continued through the streets, now keeping
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