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Paths Not Taken was the thirteenth story in the Bernice Summerfield anthology Life During Wartime. It was written by Rupert Booth and Barry Williams.

Summary Edit

Trac and Cript are standing guard over a statue of Volf Gator one evening. Ben Tarrant is hiding nearby, waiting for a chance to plant a bomb while a lizard chews at her boot. Cript slips away for cigarettes. While he is gone, the statue comes to life and fires a bolt of energy at Trac, killing him. When Cript returns, he is killed the same way.

Bev sees her chance and plants the bomb. She puts some distance between herself and the statue, carrying the firing key. She is knocked out by someone she recognises.

In her rooms, Benny is surprised to see someone let themselves in with a key. It is an older woman, who smells bad, and Benny realises it's an older version of her. The older Benny doesn't care about the Axis occupation, but is on a mission from Brax. She can't give Benny too much information, but they can't let Bev's bomb go off. Older Benny took the firing key from Bev. They head for Brax' rooms.

In Brax' rooms, the older Benny tries to use an energy weapon on Brax, but he stops her. Benny is confused, but Brax tells her it is not Benny, but an intelligence impersonating her. The older "Benny" liquifies, and Brax said she was just a reanimated corpse, which explained the bad smell.

Brax explains the intelligence was an organic part of his technology that he had to replace. He removed the information from it and destroyed it, but a "root" must have survived. The Axis built their statue of Volf Gator over the location in which Brax buried the intelligence.

Security officer Bertram leads Benny, Brax and Axis soldiers to the statue. It turns its head to look at them. When Bertram gives the order to fire, Benny almost wants to stop them, knowing that Bev's bomb is here. When the soldiers fire, the statue explodes. Benny says it must have been very volatile.

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Continuity Edit

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