Excerpt from “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard ~~Terl~~

picture-BattlefieldEarth-HubbardHe grabbed the hilt of the knife and tried to yank it out of Snith’s heart. It was stuck. He looked at Terl.
The Psychlo, still raving, was clawing at the access plate. Tearing his claw points he was actually cutting into the hard metal to make a circle and remove the core.
It was quieter outside. Dwight’s voice came out of the mine radio at his belt, “Ten seconds to withdraw!”
Jonnie knew he was late.
The wires were still humming.
Jonnie made himself concentrate. He still had a job to do. He could feel his heart revving up.
He got a hand under Sir Robert’s armpit and dragged him through the slush. He got to the console. He knew it had a bomb in it he would have to disarm fast. But he tucked Sir Robert in close to the console so the dome coming down would not amputate his arms or legs.
He glanced at the console. The switch was in the up position. It would have to be in the down position when next this was fired. He wished he had time to tell somebody.
He fumbled for his remote control box. There was broken glass in his pouch. His arm felt like it was on fire. The broken glass was the serum ampule! He had no serum.
The remote shook. No, it was his hand shaking. He threw the switch and swung the crane. No. He had to turn off the armor curtain first. He was getting flashes of blackness. His heart was beating faster and faster.
The armor curtain! He crawled to the bus bar and got it off. Back at the console he looked up at the dome. He operated the remote, positioning the dome exactly above them so it would come down correctly. He threw the switch to lower it. It was coming down too slowly. The cables must be stiff. He could not help that.
He got a hatchet out of his belt for the cables. He would have to be ready to hack them off the instant the humming stopped.
Jonnie lost track of time. He could still hear the humming of the wires.
He looked toward Terl over the platform. The monster seemed to have succeeded in opening the access plate. He was handling the bomb with great care, extracting the heavy metal core.
Suddenly Jonnie knew what Terl was going to do. He would throw that core at him. It would travel like a bullet! It could go straight through him.
Abruptly Jonnie saw something else.
Brown Limper!
He was rushing forward with a Thompson submachine gun in his hands. He had gone through where the armor curtain had been at the far end of the platform. He was trying to get so close to Jonnie he couldn’t miss.
The dome was not yet down.
Terl had the core in his paw now. He was going to throw it at Jonnie.
It was quieter. There was only smoke and falling snow and the creak of the cables lowering the dome. Jonnie pointed at Brown Limper.
“Terl! He is going to shoot!” he shouted.
Terl spun around and saw Brown Limper. He saw him raising the Thompson to aim it. One shot at this moment would shatter the firing.
Terl threw. He threw with all his strength.
The core hit Brown Limper in the side. It ripped through and hit his spine. The Thompson clattered to the ground.
Brown Limper fell in a jerking tangle of arms and legs, screaming: “Damn you, Tyler! Damn you!” He laid still.
The wires were still humming.
Terl yelled at Jonnie, “I still win, rat brain!” He knew better than to move now.
Jonnie’s head was pounding. His heart was going too fast. But he could shout back. And he felt he had to pin Terl there, distract him.
“Those coffins are full of sawdust! They were changed in your bedroom this morning!” shouted Jonnie.
Terl whirled to look at them.
“And the gold never went to Psychlo! We changed those too!” yelled Jonnie.
Terl opened his mouth to shout.
The platform cargo shimmered. The coffins full of sawdust shimmered. The Brigante corpses on the platform shimmered. Terl shimmered. And it was all gone. The platform was empty, clean even of slush.

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1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “Battlefield Earth” by L. Ron Hubbard ~~Terl~~

  1. L. Ron Hubbard was born in Tilden, Nebraska, USA on 13 March 1911, and died on 24 January, 1986, aged 74 years. ‘Battlefield Earth’ was published in 1982.

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