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guard was left on duty there. It was considered one of the easier posts: in all the years of the station's operation, no one had ever actually made any sort of assault on the Maintenance control room. And the guard who had that post had a clear view in all directions, so anyone sneaking up on him would be seen coming a mile off. There shouldn't really have been any problem down there.

Clearly, however, there was.

Zack yanked his jacket back on as he said over his link, "I'm on it." He bolted out the door, first trying to raise the guard, McAvennie, who was on duty at Maintenance that night. But McAvennie wasn't answering, just as C&C had said, and Zack quickly alerted a security squad. Half a dozen men met him on a dead run about a hundred feet away from the Maintenance control room as Zack stepped out of the transport tube.

"Miller, Jankowski, hang back, seal off this section; the rest of you with me," Zack said. No one would have suspected that he'd been effectively dead to the world five minutes earlier.

They approached the control room and discovered McAvennie unconscious on the floor, the pressure door sealed. Zack was no doctor, but he'd been at his job long enough to be able to discern severe injuries, and there didn't seem to be any on McAvennie. In fact, there were no marks of any kind. McAvennie hadn't been shot, and there was no mark of any impact. No swelling on his skull, nothing. It was as if he'd simply lapsed into unconsciousness for no reason.

"He's okay," Zack said, although he wasn't precisely sure just why McAvennie was okay. He certainly wasn't about to knock it, however, nor was he going to take it for granted. "Jason, get a med team up here, just to be sure."

He moved to the door and tried to open it. As he'd thought when he'd looked
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