By Donald Moffitt
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Extra resources for Crescent in the Sky (Book One of the Mechanical Sky)
Yezid seemed to be everywhere that day, squelching rumors before they got started, issuing warnings—in a couple of cases using the rattan on members of the office help. Hamid-Jones managed to see the Clonemaster about midmorning, but the Clonemaster wasn't much help. He seemed preoccupied, distant. "Just go on as you Ve been doing, ya Abdul," he said vaguely. " "But I'll need some additional nucleotide samples, and I've got to know if—" "That will do, ya Abdul. " But he never did. Shortly before the noon prayer, a security squad swooped down on the lab—four burly gorillas in camou-flage keffias and a plainclothes officer in charge.
The only concession to security was a Cerberus stretched out on the floor beside the Vizier, its three heads chained by their jeweled collars to a sturdy stanchion. But the Cerberus seemed more a pet than a watchdog; as Hamid-Jones watched, the Vizier stretched out a many-ringed hand and absently patted the one head that was awake. The Vizier was eating breakfast—Spartan fare of green figs, yogurt and Turkish coffee from a large brass tray that was set on a low stand before him. Seen up close, Rubinstein was even more shrunken than Hamid-Jones remembered him.
He stiffened when he saw a delivery van across from the Clone-master's gate, but it really was a delivery van, with a driver unloading a caged sheep onto a dolly; Hamid-Jones had a look through the van's open tailgate and there were no men inside, only caterer's supplies. No one seemed to be loitering anywhere along the street, though he could see passersby slowing down as they passed the Clonemaster's house, then resuming a normal walking pace. Rubberneckers. That was a good sign, too. They'd heard about the Clonemaster's arrest on the holovid and felt safe in indulging a little morbid curiosity.