General Max Shorter
"Between fifteen and twenty minutes, if I don't hit too much cross wind."
Mr. Ryan, one of the other two civilians, commented, "A long time between cigars, eh, Jim?"
The question was out of place and was ignored without hostility.
Mr. Ryan twisted uncomfortably. At length he said, apologetically, "Dirty, filthy business. I wish it were over with."
"So do I," Mr. Tucker said.
Captain Meford activated the ramp and eased the scout out. It was immediately buffeted by the winds.
"Sorry," he said. "It'll take a minute. Hold tight." The scout moved in three dimensions, erratically. "Wow! Let's set it at about twenty-six inches. Sorry. This will slow us down, but it will ease the bumps on down draft. There. That's better. We're okay now, I think. I guess we can settle back."
Thirty-five minutes later, they came to what was left of the alien city.
* * * * *
Back in the Richardson dome, General Sho