42. TROUBLE ON OGOHOI 8*

What are the Ogohoians planning in their secret camp?
Tony and Bea join an undercover mission to find out.

They expect problems when Wellington himself commands the mission, and sends Rigel, a senior Investigator to supervise Tony.  By the time they learn the Ogohoians’ plans, Rigel’s bungling has put them in danger.  Can they escape, and stop the Ogohoians?

1

“REMEMBER YOUR ORDERS.”

Rigel grinned to me.  “Ready, Tony?”

“Yeah.”  I didn’t grin.

“Remember your orders.”  When I didn’t speak, he called the order to put the light out.  We pulled the night-vision screens from the peaks of our helmets, and took our stun-guns from the clips at our waists.  “Open.”  The spaceship’s door slid aside.

We stepped out, onto the planet Ogohoi 8, and the door slid shut behind us.  I knew what to expect, because I’d seen it from the ship’s cameras. We were in the gap between two long, low buildings.  Each had a row of windows, but the soldiers inside should be asleep at this time in the planet’s night.

We stood in the deep shadow, watching and listening.  The floodlights, on their big towers at the corners of the camp, were aiming outside the walls, but a little light spread inside, enough for our night-vision screens to show the place in shades of grey.

I started cautiously forward, until Rigel grabbed my arm, and pulled me back.  I thought unkind thoughts, but I daren’t speak, and a glare would be wasted, behind the night-vision screen.

Rigel waited for a while – until it would seem his idea to move – then he crept forward, leaving me to follow.

He peeped round the end of the building for ages, while nothing happened except that we got older.  I knew why he hesitated.  He was checking the wide avenue that ran through the middle of the camp, past the ends of the buildings.  We had to go that way.  We couldn’t go round the other end of the buildings, because they were near the outer wall, in plain sight of the towers.

At last, Rigel moved, along the front of the building.  From here, we could look across the corner of the parade ground, and over the big store, to one of the towers.  But, even if the guards happened to look our way, they shouldn’t see our black expedition suits in the shadows.

We passed the door of the building – shut.  It was the soldiers’ dining hall, so it would be empty at this time of the night.

I had a long wait at the other corner of the building, while Rigel looked around.  The next bit was the most dangerous – across open ground, in view of the guard tower.  But, the longer we hung about there, the more likely we were to be spotted.  I was tempted to give Rigel a shove, but I forced myself to wait.

At last, Rigel ran.  I followed, across the bare ground to the shadows at the end of the commander’s house.  We waited breathlessly, but the camp stayed silent.  If anybody had spotted us, he was keeping quiet about it.

We lurked there for a while, as Rigel peeped round the corner, checking the front of the house.

The commander’s house was shaped like an H.  We were at the end of the side containing the office, with a door in the middle, facing the parade ground.  The other side had the rooms where he lived.

While Rigel was dithering, I looked back, at the sleeping camp.  Everything was dark and….  A bright patch appeared on the ground behind me.  This end of the house had one small window.  When we ran up, it was dark. Now, it was lit.

I tapped Rigel’s back.  He ignored me.

I tapped it, harder.  Without turning, he waved.

I gave it a good smack.  He spun round.  No doubt he was glaring, behind the night-vision screen.  He poked his gloved finger in my chest.

I pointed to the lighted window.  His arm fell to his side, and he flattened himself against the wall.

Noises came from round the corner.  A door opened.  Two men chatted. The door shut.  Footsteps padded across the ground – towards us.