} The dark figure stood unmoving for a moment, and then began to quiver
} and to emit a low, choaking sound. The three travellers were confused,
} until they realized that the new arrival was laughing!
} "Oh, oh, oh my," it panted, in a disturbingly deep and echoing voice.
} "Brought here? Me? Oh, no, my friends, you mistake me. *I* brought
} *you*, and not by any feeble sorcery." Chuckling, the being fell back
} into an overstuffed chair, throwing a dense cloud of dust into the room.
} A stale smell, as of unwashed clothes and old, greasy food wrappers,
} pervaded the poorly-lit room.
} "Then, thou wouldst appear to be our host," spoke the tall Viking, "but
} not much of a host, methinks."
} The figure in the chair went silent, and very, very still. "Do not try
} my patience, Bjarnason. Sit." The figure reached out toward a strange
} wall panel, and his fingers flashed across its surface.
} > mv /usr/local/furniture/chairs .
} > sed "s/standing/sitting" /tmp/travellers /tmp/travellers.~1~
} Instantly, the three found themselves seated in badly upholstered chairs
} that had not previously been present. "Why have you brought us here?"
} shouted the thin Scotsman, sweat appearing on his brow.
} "I needed... data. You will do."
} The three looked at each other with apprehension. Suddenly, the fat
} Frenchman sprang to his feet, drawing both swords and lunging toward the
} still unidentified figure looming across the room.
} > cat \!1 > /dev/null
} The Frenchman vanished, his swords clanging against the flagstones where
} he had stood.
} "I advise you both to avoid such foolish antics," spat the dark figure.
} Horror settled deep into Bjarnason's soul, like ice between his toes.
} He knew. He should have known earlier, but he couldn't have saved
} Pierre. "You're a UNIX wizard, aren't you?"
} "Exactly, my friend. I assume that I will now have you cooperation?"
} Bjarnason stared at the shadowed face, realizing that his long travels
} had come to an end.
} You owe the Oracle a signed copy of "Sysops of Gor."