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. There was a brief and silent struggle between the twins for control of the motor nerves to their right arm, a clash of will below the level of physical activity. Joe gave in.
"All right," he agreed surlily, "but if I go to the Converter, I want to take this one with me for company."
"Stow it," said Jim. "You'll have me for company."
"Why do you believe him?"
"He has nothing to gain by lying. Ask Alan."
Alan Mahoney, Hugh's friend and boyhood chum, had listened to the argument round-eyed, without joining it. He, too, had suffered the nerve-shaking experience of viewing the outer stars, but his ignorant peasant mind had not the sharply formulated opinions of Ertz, the Chief Engineer. Ertz had been able to see almost at once that the very existence of a world outside the Ship changed all his plans and everything he had believed in; Alan was capable only of wonder.
"What about this plan to fight the muties, Alan?"
"Huh? Why, I don't know anything about it. Shucks, I'm not a scientist. Say, wait a minute; there was a junior officer sent in to help our village scientist, Lieutenant Nelson." He stopped and looked puzzled.
"What about it? Go ahead."
"Well, he has been organizing the cadets in our village, and the married men, too, but not so much. Making 'em practice with their blades and slings. Never told us what for, though."
Ertz spread his hands. "You see?"