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just outside Deuce's "office." His appointment with Deuce had been set for one in the morning, mostly because the Drazi was not someone who liked to be seen out and about during times when the rest of the station was hopping. Besides, he was planning to get the hell off the station as soon as possible in order to meet a contact. "Deuce!" hissed the smuggler. "Deuce! Hey! You forget our appointment? Wrong night to fall asleep before..."

There was sudden movement, a howl of fear from within, after which Deuce came out swinging, his eyes wild. The Drazi was caught completely flat-footed as a roundhouse from the normally restrained Deuce caught him squarely in the side of the head and dropped him like a busted alibi.

Deuce let out one more outraged yell... and then the pain registered from his fist. Deuce had a fairly low threshold of pain, and it cut through the confusion in his head. He looked down at the insensate Drazi and wondered what in the world the smuggler was doing on the floor.

He stood there, rubbed his fist, and his eyes glazed over again. He whispered in a low voice, "They have to make it work. They have to go faster." And as he said it, a part of him couldn't help but wonder just who "they" were and what "it" was.

He turned around and went back to his bed, in hopes that it all would become clear.

What Zack had been looking forward to as some quiet time, when he could catch up on his paperwork, had developed into a full-blown incident. Sector heads from the various levels had arrived, one after another, and were clustered in his office, all of them wearing identical expressions of grim worry. The only bright spot that Zack could find in the entire mess was that he hadn't been foolish enough to go back to his quarters and try to get some sleep.


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