The Dueling Machine

By Ben Bova

Think a mechanism that might finish all wars and bloodshed. A desktop which can create a digital international the place conflicts appear to be fought, yet not anyone dies. Dr. Leo's Dueling desktop is simply that. but if a warrior from the Kerak Empire reveals how to stay away from the desktop, really killing his rivals, the implications are devastating. His mystery wisdom of the laptop could lead on to real, now not digital, battle. Dr. Leo and his assistant needs to paintings fast to find what Kerak understands. Their lives, their planet, and the protection of peace rely on it.

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With no Dulaq, they've got no head, no mind to direct them. on your half during this triumph"—Kanus snapped his arms, and one in every of his advisors fast stepped to his part and passed him a small ebony box—"I current you with this token of the esteem of the Kerak Worlds, and of my own excessive regard. " He passed the field to Odal, who opened it and took out a small jeweled pin. "The celebrity of Kerak," Kanus introduced. "This is the 1st time it's been provided to an individual other than a warrior at the battlefield.

Massan approved? " Leoh requested. Hector nodded. Leoh leaned throughout his table and reached for the telephone unit. It took a couple of minutes and some degrees of secretaries and assistants, yet ultimately Massan's darkish, bearded face seemed at the reveal above the table. "You have permitted Odal's problem? " Leoh requested, with out preliminaries. "We meet subsequent week," Massan responded gravely. "You must have refused. " "On what pretext? " "No pretext. A flat refusal, in keeping with the knowledge that Odal or another individual from Kerak is tampering with the dueling computer.

He is nonetheless thoroughly withdrawn? " Hector nodded. "The medicos imagine that ... good, perhaps in a couple of months, with medicines and psychotherapy and all that ... they may have the capacity to deliver him again. " "It will not be quickly sufficient. now we have in simple terms obtained 4 days. " "I understand. " Leoh was once silent for numerous mins. Then: "Who is Dulaq's closest residing relative? Does he have a spouse? " "I imagine his spouse is, uh, lifeless. Has a daughter notwithstanding. beautiful lady. ran into her within the sanatorium as soon as or twice—" Leoh smiled within the darkness.

Hector scratched his head. "Well, uh, sir ... i am not very ... that's, my mechanical flair ratings on the Academy—" Leoh smiled at him. "No want for mechanical flair, my boy. You have been informed to struggle, were not you? we will be able to do the task mentally. " VIII * It used to be the strangest week in their lives. Leoh's plan was once elementary: to check the dueling computing device, push it to the boundaries of its functionality, via truly working it—by battling duels. They started out simply adequate, tentatively probing and flexing their psychological muscle tissue.

Dulaq moved quickly up the ramp. Odal was once passed by the time he reached the higher point. He couldn't have got a long way, Dulaq reasoned. Slowly, yet very definitely, Dulaq's hallucination become a nightmare. He noticed Odal within the crowd, basically to have him soften away. He observed him back, lolling in a small park, but if he obtained nearer, the fellow became out to be one other stranger. He felt the nippiness of the duelist's ice-blue eyes on him repeatedly, but if he became to discover his antagonist, nobody was once there however the impersonal crowd.

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