Planet of the Damned
Brion entered the temple and stood as if rooted to the ground. There was a horror in this place-it clung to everything. Muffled and hooded men stood silent and unmoving about the room, their attention rigidly focused on a figure in the center. Brion wondered how he knew they were men-only their eyes showed, eyes completely empty of expression yet somehow reminding him of a bird of prey. Then suddenly the figure in the center moved. It was a weird, crazily menacing action-and in an instant Brion knew he had found the enemy, the source of the evil that infected the PLANET OF THE DAMNED.
Sweat covered Brion’s body, trickling into the tight loincloth that was the only garment he wore. The light fencing foil in his hand felt as heavy as a bar of lead to his exhausted muscles, worn out by a month of continual exercise. These things were of no importance. The cut on his chest, still dripping blood, the ache of his overstrained eyes-even the soaring arena around him with the thousands of spectators-were trivialities not worth thinking about. There was only one thing in his universe: the button-tipped length of shining steel that hovered before him, engaging his own weapon. He felt the quiver and scrape of its life, knew when it moved and moved himself to counteract it. And when he attacked, it was always there to beat him aside.