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"O.K.," Hugh agreed, "but you will have to say the word to them."
"Right away." Joe-Jim stepped out of his apartment into the passageway where Bobo had assembled a couple of dozen of Joe-Jim's henchmen among the muties. Save for Long Arm, Pig, and Squatty, who had taken part in the rescue of Hugh, they were all strangers to Hugh, Alan, and Bill, and they were all sudden death to strangers.
Joe-Jim motioned for the three from the lower decks to join him. He pointed them out to the muties, and ordered them to look closely and not to forget: these three were to have safe passage and protection wherever they went. Furthermore, in Joe-Jim's absence his men were to take orders from any of them.
They stirred and looked at each other. Orders they were used to, but from Joe-Jim only.
A big-nosed individual rose up from his squat and addressed them. He looked at Joe-Jim, but his words were intended for all. "I am Jack-of-the-Nose. My blade is sharp and my eye is keen. Joe-Jim with the two wise heads is my Boss and my knife fights for him. But Joe is my Boss, not strangers from heavy decks. What do say, knives? Is that not the Rule?"
He paused. The others had listened to him stealing glances at Joe-Jim. Joe muttered something of the corner of his mouth to Bobo. Jack O'Nose opened his mouth to continue. There was a smash of splintering teeth, a crack from a broken neck; his mouth stopped with a missile