Dan slumped back against the seat with a sigh. Now that he was in the clear, he would have to decide on his next move--fast. There was no telling what other resources Blote might have. He would have to hide the carrier, then--
A low growling was coming from somewhere, rising in pitch and volume.
Dan sat up, alarmed. This was no time for a malfunction.
The sound rose higher, into a penetrating wail. There was no sign of mechanical trouble. The carrier glided on, swooping now over a nebulous landscape of trees and houses. Dan covered his ears against the deafening shriek, like all the police sirens in town blaring at once. If the carrier stopped it would be a long fall from here. Dan worked the controls, dropping toward the distant earth.
The noise seemed to lessen, descending the scale. Dan slowed, brought the carrier in to the corner of a wide park. He dropped the last few inches and cut the switch.
As the glow died, the siren faded into silence.
Dan stepped from the carrier and looked around. Whatever the noise was, it hadn't attracted any attention from the scattered pedestrians in the park. Perhaps it was some sort of burglar alarm. But if so, why hadn't it gone into action earlier? Dan took a deep breath. Sound or no sound, he would have to get back into the carrier and transfer it to a secluded spot where he could study it at leisure. He stepped back in, reached for the controls--
There was a sudden chill in the air. The bright surface of the dials before him frosted over. There was a loud pop! like a flashbulb exploding. Dan stared from the seat at an iridescent rectangle which hung suspended near the carrier. Its surface rippled, faded to blankness. In a swirl of frosty air, a tall figure dressed in a tight-fitting white uniform stepped through.
Dan gaped at the small rounded head, the dark-skinned long-nosed face, the long, muscular arms, the hands, their backs tufted with curly red-brown hair, the strange long-heeled feet in soft boots. A neat pillbox cap with a short visor was strapped low over the deep-set yellowish eyes, which turned in his direction. The wide mouth opened in a smile which showed square yellowish teeth.
"Alors, monsieur," the new-comer said, bending his knees and back in a quick bow. "Vous ete une indigine, n'est ce pas?"
"No compree," Dan choked out "Uh ... juh no parlay Fransay...."
"My error. This is the Anglic colonial sector, isn't it? Stupid of me. Permit me to introduce myself. I'm Dzhackoon, Field Agent of Class five, Inter-dimensional Monitor Service."
"That siren," Dan said. "Was that you?"
Dzhackoon nodded. "For a moment, it appeared you were disinclined to stop. I'm glad you decided to be reasonable."
"What outfit did you say you were with?" Dan asked.
"The Inter-dimensional Monitor Service."
"Dimensional. The word is imprecise, of course, but it's the best our language coder can do, using the Anglic vocabulary."
"What do you want with me?"