By Roger Zelazny

Hell Tanner isn't this sort of man you'd mistake for a hero: he's a fast-driving motor vehicle thief, a smuggler, and a stone-cold killer. He's additionally expendable - a minimum of within the eyes of the Secretary of site visitors for the country of California. Tanner doesn't care a lot for these eyes. You'd additionally by no means mistake Hell Tanner for a humanitarian. dealing with lifestyles in felony for his numerous crimes, he's given a decision; rot away his ultimate years in a tiny prison phone, or force cross-country and convey a case of antiserum to the plague-ridden humans of Boston, Massachusetts...if somebody remains to be alive there to obtain it, that's. the opportunity of a whole pardon does wonders for purchasing his cognizance. And don't mistake this venture of mercy for any type of general highway journey - no longer while there are radioactive storms, hordes of carniverous beasts, and large, mutated scorpions to be came upon alongside each lethal mile among la and the East Coast. yet then, this can be no basic a part of the US, you notice. this is often DAMNATION ALLEY...

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He spun around in a circle of fury, lashing out with both fists. "MOTHERFUCKER! We almost bought it! " Barris, standing visible by the side of the freeway with all its heavy traffic whizzing by, got out a little horn snuffbox of death tabs and took several. He passed the snuffbox to Luckman, who took a few, then passed it to Arctor. "Maybe that's what's fucking us up," Arctor said, declining irritably. " "Dope can't screw up an accelerator linkage and carb-idle adjustment," Barris said, still holding the snuffbox out to Arctor.

He'll flash on that and rap at us for days. Somebody got in who was hip to his device and cleverly unplugged it. So, he decided, if they find it unplugged I hope they think to plug it in, and not only that, make it run right. In fact, what they really should do is test out his whole detection system, run it through its cycle as thoroughly as they do their own, be absolutely certain it functions perfectly, and then wind it back to a blank state, a tablet on which nothing is inscribed but on which something would for sure be had anyone--themselves, for example--entered the house.

They may have left some. And he thought, Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then, briefly. Under very specialized conditions, such as today. Next thing, Barris will be reasoning that I lured everyone out of the house deliberately to permit secret intruders to accomplish their thing here. And later on he will discern why and who and everything else, and in fact maybe he already has. Had a while ago, in fact; long-enough ago to initiate sabotage and destruct actions on the cephscope, car, and God knows what else.

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