even chance the car itself held something useful, this far from any settlements. He checked, finding more blankets and rations, a military- issue medikit -- and the jackpot, a fusion lamp/stove combination. He grinned, lighting the lamp and stacking his fresh loot inside the cave entrance, then finished programming the car and sent it on its way.
It lifted off, climbing to well above treetop height, then oriented itself to a heading that would take it -- if it didn't blow itself up or get shot down first -- to the Planetary Palace an hour or so after dawn. Dave listened until it was out of hearing range, then carried his finds further into the cave and braced himself to check the Ranger's condition. First he cleaned his patient's face, recognizing him as soon as he'd washed the blood off: Esteban Tarlac, newest and youngest of the Emperor's personal representatives and troubleshooters. Then he started pulling Tarlac's uniform shirt off, trying not to get sick as the wounds were exposed. When he had it