Jandrax 37

Marcel Dumezil, colonist, organizer, leader, a man of immense talents, immense potential for good in his community – he was so like old Daniel Andrax.

Daniel Andrax had never been captured. He would be over fifty now – no, nearly sixty. About the same age as the patriarch. For all Jan knew he might still be hiding in the mountains of Hallam, planning raids, killing or sending out younger men to kill, still secure in his beliefs.

Jan looked down at Marcel and saw his father and, seeing him, saw himself had the roads of his life branched differently.

***

Lucien Dubois was guarding the house that Helene and Valikili had shared. He had one of the double rifles in his hands and was settled in the shadows a dozen meters away with a clear field of fire. He was a very unhappy man. Though he liked Valikili well enough and had known Helene since her childhood, he could not say the same for Andrax. Lucien Dubois was not a subtle man; he understood himself well enough, for his motives were simple. He wanted Angi Dumezil; he had asked her repeatedly to marry him, but she always refused. It was clear that she wanted Andrax, but he would not have her. Why that was, Dubois had never understood.

Now he waited with orders to kill anyone who might try to rescue Helene. Normally that would have been Valikili, but Val, if he lived, was sorely wounded. The rescuer would be Jan Andrax, for no other member of the renegade party was better equipped for stealth.

Lucien wanted Angi and Andrax stood in his way; yet, he did not want to kill the scout. Dubois remembered too well his own actions in the forest above the first colony when aiding young Dumezil to cover the evidence of the murder he had committed. His hand still shook at the thought, at the guilt he had felt, at the uncertainty thereafter. Dubois would never forget the look on Andrax’s face as the scout examined Jason’s body, nor would he forget the thoughtful way he examined the bits of moss embedded in the wound.

For Angi and for his own peace of mind he wanted Andrax out of the way, yet he respected the scout. If Andrax came to rescue Helene it would be up to Lucien to kill him, but would he? Could he? Should he? Lucien loved God as much as the next man, but that didn’t make the patriarch infallible.

Dubois was still debating what he might do when Jan garroted him. His uncertainty disappeared with his consciousness.

Jan did not kill Dubois; he merely choked him into insensibility, then bound and gagged him. The scout had already done this with the other two hidden guards, men he had hunted with, had worked and built with. Together they had raised the walls that barred the herds and made human life viable on the inhospitable planet. Andrax wished them no harm.

Still, with this last one it had been harder to release the garrote in time to let him live. Jan remembered too well Jason D’Angelo’s death and was more than half convinced that Dubois, Chambard, and the dead Dumezil boy were equally responsible.

He left the rifle where it had fallen as he had the others. He could have taken them, but to do so would have jeopardized the survival of the colony. Besides, his express pistol was worth twenty rifles.

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