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Tessa grabbed Chrissie and hustled her away from the struggling men, to the wall beside the hall door. They crouched there, where she hoped they would be out of the line of fire.

Sam had come up under the shotgun before Shaddack could swing back from the distraction. He grabbed the barrel with his left hand and Shaddack’s wrist with his weakened right hand, and pressed him backward, pushing him off balance, slamming him against another lab bench.

When Shaddack cried out, Sam snarled with satisfaction, as if he might turn into something that howled in the night.

Tessa saw him ram a knee up between Shaddack’s legs, hard into his crotch. The tall man screamed.

“All right, Sam!” Chrissie said approvingly.

As Shaddack gagged and spluttered and tried to double over in an involuntary reaction to the pain in his damaged privates, Sam tore the shotgun out of his hands and stepped back—

— and a man in a police uniform came into the room from the chemistry storage closet, carrying a shotgun of his own. “No! Drop your weapon. Shaddack is mine.”

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