the roomful of spacemen and riffraff. The babble of a hundred tongues still went on amid the clink of glasses and the disturbing strains of Xanabian music. Smoke from a hundred semi-noxious weeds lay in strata across the room, and at a table in the far corner two men faced one another, their expressions a mixed pair. One held heavily begrudged admiration as he paid off five hundredweight of crystal-cut in the legal tender of Xanabar to the other, whose expression was greedy self-confidence. One of His Excellency's Peacekeepers presided over the exchange. Coldly he extracted a fiftyweight from the pile and folded it into the signed and completed wager-contract. For his own coffer he extracted a fiveweight and slipped it into his boot top.
Peter Hawley and Buregarde passed on, went through the far door dragging their late adversary ignominiously by the heels. Amid the lessened publicity of the distant hall, Peter checked the man and shrugged. "He may live," he said coldly, "if he doesn't bleed to death."