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wouldn't do her a damn bit of good. Trent had already killed once and wasn't intending to listen to reason. Clearly her reason had been destroyed by the artifact. Ivanova's only chance, as negligible as that was, was to attack.

In accordance with the best rules of self-defense, she swung her leg around as fast as she could, aiming squarely for Trent's solar plexus.

At the split instant she did so, Trent took a step back, angling her body away and bringing the gun up for the purpose of giving Ivanova a PPG burn on her front that would match the burn mark on Morishi's back.

Consequently, Ivanova missed Trent's upper torso entirely.

Instead she kicked the gun out of Trent's hand.

It clattered to the floor some feet away, and Ivanova could scarcely believe her luck. She did not, however, have time to dwell on it overmuch, for Trent came right at her.

Ivanova was astounded at what she was facing, because Trent was displaying an impressive martial arts array. The scientist advanced on Ivanova with a barrage of arm and leg moves, and it took every bit of training Ivanova possessed in order to block them. A wildness had sprung up in Trent's eyes, a crazed determination to knock Ivanova's head off her shoulders. She wasn't at all recognizable as the sedate, if somewhat annoying, scientist who had arrived on the station only days ago.

She slipped in under Ivanova's guard and landed a shot in the gut. Ivanova doubled over and Trent's foot lashed upward. If it connected, it would have put her down for good, but Ivanova knocked it aside with a sweep of her forearm. The upward motion was completed, and for just a moment Trent was caught with her center off balance.

Ivanova took that moment to slam her hands upward into Trent's upraised knee. Trent was knocked flat
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