The air was alive with the vicious buzzing of the stunguns. The smuggler was frozen in his squatting posture, paralyzed, unable to stir so much as a finger. But the robot moved. Its drive unit hammered shockingly and unrhythmically and it shot straight upwards. Beams from hastily switched on police searchlights swept the sky like the antennae of disturbed insects—then caught it, held it, a tiny bright star in a firmament that had never known any stars. At least four machine rifles were hammering, and an incandescent tracer arched upwards with deceptive slowness.
The lieutenant had drawn his laser pistol and the purple beam slashed across the darkness, power-wasting and desperate. Some hapless night-flying creature caught by the sword of lethal light exploded smokily.
It might have been the machine rifles that found their mark, it might have been the laser pistol. Nobody ever knew. But the broken beat of the inertial drive ceased abruptly and the robot was falling, faster and faster . . .
"Down!" shouted somebody. "Get down!"