The Sum of the Parts

Dorothy J. Heydt

Morning found them on the cliffside, the Terran belaying Marguerida's bark rope round a tree trunk while she scrambled down the steep face to the wreckage of her plane. "I ought to be doing this," he protested once more.

"Oh, be sensible for once," she said. "Would you know a matrix drive if you saw one, to say nothing of the ten contact points that have to be taken off in one piece? There, now, I'm in the tree and it's rock steady; it must have roots as deep as the mountain's own. Make the rope fast, will you? Then you can come to the edge and watch." She climbed over a branch, ducked under another, and slid cautiously down the trunk to the gaping hole where the plane's windshield had been. The matrix drive looked all right, felt all right: now to get at it without putting her foot through it.

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