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A short story by

Kal-El Bogdanove

Champlain was already packed by the time Rin pulled up in her rattletrap LAV at dawn the next day. Shaw and Champlain had spent part of the evening bolting the professor's lab pod to the Flyswatter, aft of the body, behind and under the missiles, where it was mostly out of harm's way. Now it sat there like a backpack on the goliath—a little scientific jump seat.

"Damn thing is still gonna pull five, ten percent off my forward top speed," Shaw grumbled.

"Just tell the op-con to replace the energy with twenty percent off your giant missile swivels while we travel. That won't interfere with the drive action chain. You can drop me when we sight the spire and have all your combat capability back," said Champlain.

Shaw raised an eyebrow. "That'll do."

"Morning, boys," said Rin. "Ready to move?"

"I wonder if you are, Marshal," said Shaw forebodingly, and as he climbed into the cradle of the helm, Rin saw Champlain roll his eyes.

Soon the odd trio trundled off into the desert, Rin's LAV trailing the bizarrely outfitted goliath into the heat of the day.

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