How black is the blackest treachery? Is the most callous traitor entitled to mercy? Steve pondered these questions. His decision? That at times the villain should possibly be spoken of as a hero.
The first night, they camped in the lee of low sandhills. The second night they found a small spring with brackish but drinkable water. On the third day, having covered half the distance to the Kumaji settlement, they began to encounter Kumaji patrols, on foot or thlotback, the six-legged desert animals running so swiftly over the sands and so low to the ground that they almost seemed to be gliding. Steve and Mary hardly spoke. Talk was unnecessary. But slowly a bond grew between them. Steve liked this slim silent girl who had come out here with him risking her life although she must have known deep in her heart that her father had almost certainly decided to turn traitor in order to regain his fortune.
On the fourth day, they spotted the unicopter from a long way off and made their way toward it. It had come much further than Steve had expected. With sinking heart he realized that Tobias Whiting, if he escaped the crash-landing without injury, must surely have reached the Kumaji enca