Virgil disappeared. And
all his interfering holograms went with him leaving the circular room an empty
shell.

Scott dodged her thrust,
swinging himself around to jab her firmly in the side as he called out to his
brother. “Virgil!”

No answer.

Hell.

Grabbing the struggling
woman’s arm, he attempted to bend it backwards and up to immobilise her, but
the woman either had an extremely high threshold for pain or didn’t feel it at
all. Kicking out she tripped him mid-air, flipping him bodily over her and
almost reversing their positions. Scott twisted enough to bring up a fist and
slammed it into the side of her head. She lost her balance and fell sideways
into one of the walls.

He grabbed the opportunity.
Never afraid to back down from a superior opponent, Scott slammed open the
inner airlock and pushed himself through, fighting against the brief decompression
of the connecting corridor. He struggled to turn as fast as possible and shut
it in her face.

He whipped out his laser
cutter, altered its setting, and sealed the hatch shut.

It wouldn’t hold her for
long, but hopefully it would be long enough.

Slapping the atmosphere
regulator at the other end of the connecting corridor, he re-pressurised the
tube before opening the locks into the gravity ring.

He sealed those behind him
too.

“Virgil? Are you there?”
No answer.

Coasting along the ring,
he desperately tried to think of how to get the woman out of the comms module.
She couldn’t stay there. She would only break in again.

He had to kill the power
to the module.

“Virgil!” Still no answer.
Something in his stomach twisted. He hit his comms. “Gordon, status!”

The voice that came back from
far below was his professional but frantic younger brother. “Busy, Scott.
Brains, we are going to need the ventilator.” A voice said something he couldn’t
understand. “He is not responding! He needs life support.”

The something in his
stomach tore. “Gordon!”

“Virgil is…critical,
Scott. I can’t talk. Will report asap. Tracy Island out.”

And his world fell silent
and still.

A moment.

Another.

And he moved. No time.

Halfway to the controls he
was slammed to the glass floor as the gravity ring abruptly started spinning.

Fast.

-o-o-o-

Il Mago

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