At last, he saw the Hirlaji. They were slowly mounting the steps of one of the largest of the buildings and passing into the shadows of the interior. This building was not as deteriorated as most of the others; as Mara’s flyer dipped low over it Rynason could see its characteristic lines unbroken and clear.
With a start, he sat up and said hurriedly, “Mara, take another close pass over that building, the one they’re entering.”
In a moment she came in again over the smooth stone structure, and Rynason looked closely at the screen. There was no mistaking it now: the high steep steps leading up to a colonnade which almost circled the building, the large carvings over the main entrance.
“You’d better set down away from them!” he said. “That’s the Temple of Kor!” But even as he finished speaking the image on the screen jolted and rocked, and the flyer dipped even closer toward the jumbled ruins below.
“They’re firing something!”
He saw that she was trying to gain altitude, but something was wrong; the buildings on the screen dipped and wavered, up and down, spinning.
“Mara! Pull up—get out of there!”
“One of the wings is damaged,” she said quickly, and suddenly there was another jolt on the screen and he heard her gasp. The picture spun and righted itself, seemed to hang motionless for a moment, and then the stone wall of one of the buildings was directly ahead and growing larger.
The image spun wildly, the building filled the screen, and then it went black; he heard a crash from the speaker, cut off almost before it had sounded. The room was silent.
Rynason stared at the dead screen for only a moment; he wheeled and ran back to the outer room.
“Let’s get those flyers up! Mara’s found them, but they’ve brought her down.” He was already going out the door as he spoke.
Manning and the others were right behind him as he dashed out onto the field. Rynason headed for the nearest flyer, a small runabout which had been discarded as obsolete on the inner worlds and consigned to use out here on the Edge, where equipment was scarce. He leaped through the port and was shutting the door when Manning caught it.
“Where are they? What’s happened to the woman?”
“They were shooting something!” Rynason snapped. The knife-scar over his right eye stood out sharply in his anger. “She crashed—may be badly hurt. She didn’t have too much altitude, though. The hell with where she is—follow me!”
He slammed the door and squeezed into the flying seat. While he warmed the engines he saw the others scattering across the field to the other flyers. In a moment the hum of the radioset told him that their communications were open. He saw the props of the other flyers starting to turn, and flicked on his mike.