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They seldom spoke in the operations shack, which wasn't a shack at all but an elaborate hacienda old Soong, the Chinese, had acquired somehow. When they met Buchalter would incline slightly, stiffly from the hips in a jerky little bow, and Clyde would nod coldly; and if they sat at the same table in the bar-it was small, and sometimes crowded-they sat and drank in a chilly silence. And old Soong watched them from under his hooded lids, sitting impassive in his rumpled white pongee suit alone at his small table by the bar.

Russian Roulette #2 panel 2

When the trouble came, it wasn't over anything so obvious as a woman, it wasn't over anything as tangible as the things that used to cause flare-ups among the rest of us. And the warnings weren't as obvious, either, the whole thing was as subtle and as profound as the difference between them and the likeness that intensified the difference. And yet old Soong caught it all, followed every bit of it, and that is why it seems sometimes that the old Chinese might have been a third exception to the general rule of our mongrel breeding.

When Buchalter came into the room that night the place was crowded, and even Clyde hadn't been able to find a place to sit by himself, he was at the large table in the center of the room, surrounded by a couple of Americans, a Pole, a Swede, and a fellow who claimed to be French but might have been almost anything else. And the only vacant chair in the place was at that large table, directly across from Clyde.

Buchalter stood in the doorway a moment, his head high, and flicked a contemptuous glance around the room. Then, with the faintest hesitation, he marched stiffly to the one vacant chair and sat down, acknowledging no one's presence. Clyde wasn't speaking to anyone either, of course, and the two sat there stiffly and tried not to look at one another while the talk at the table eddied around them.

Then the table conversation, which had been noisy and boisterous, died away gradually into an uneasy silence, and it was increasingly impossible not to notice that the Englishman and the German were staring coldly and unwinkingly at each other. The Pole shoved his chair back abruptly and muttered something and got up and left the room, and old Soong picked up his glass of hot wine and moved over from his solitary table to take the place the Pole had vacated. He didn't say anything, he just sat there, his seamed yellow face impassive, and waited.

Russian Roulette #2 panel 4

Clyde's gaze shifted from the German's face to his immaculate Luftwaffe uniform, and although his face was blank and he said nothing Buchalter shifted in his chair presently and said stiffly, "My brother died over London, wearing the uniform of the Luftwaffe."

Russian Roulette #2 panel 6
Russian Roulette #2 panel 7
Neural Network Novellas series cover
Russian Roulette #2 episode cover
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Neural Network Novellas

AI generated art using text prompts are a new, controversial means of creating visual art. The cowboy and the shepherd have working dogs to assist them. The spaceman relies on his blaster and android assistant to complete his mission. The writer can now use an AI artist to create art for his written creations. Join us as we explore this new creative process by taking classic prose stories, feeding them to our supportive silicon sketcher, and share the results with you.
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