Chapter Forty

North advised the Engineer what he was planning. "I don't see any reason why it won't work, sir,” the
Engineer commented, "but how are we going to get to the men in the section where there's no air lock?"
2 "We'll attach the air lock to the hull with its magnetic collar and cut through. They'll be cramped in there, but the air lock systems will keep them alive 'til we reach the scout's air lock. The one that cuts through can stay in the section 'til the others are safely away."
3 "Should work, sir," the Engineer agreed. "Wouldn't it be best, though, just to leave them where they are a few more hours?"
4 "When we get down there," instructed North, "take a look at the adjoining sections then give me your opinion."
5 They reached the air lock and with both of them cutting were pulling it free in a matter of minutes. It took them no time at all to clamp on the propulsion units and move the air lock to the scout. A joyous throb went through North when he felt the two decks lock. He plugged into the intercom. "O.k., Flaming Cloud," he ordered, "you can cycle now, and open the hatch."
6 "Will do, sir," came a shaky reply.
7 A few moments later with his helmet against the metal North could hear the "POP!" as the air lock's hatch opened. A moment later he heard Thundering River's startled cry over the radio. "Get them out of there! For God's sake, be careful! Easy! Watch his legs!"
8 North opened his microphone. "Thundering River, what's going on in there?"
9 "These two are in a pretty bad way, sir. Looks like they put each other back together with the emergency kit in the air lock."

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