"What have you gotten yourself into this time?" Preminger said under his breath, standing at the foot of the hospital bed. "Just when I thought we were both safe, you show up. Who got you? They took your medallion, you know. Whoever it was." His throat tightened and he twisted his hand around the med rail to keep from making any sound.
It was crazy, he knew. For the last year and a half, he had been hunting Bennu. For the last year they had been friends of a sort, one of them showing up just when the other needed help.
Too often he had been on the verge of being taken off the case, afraid a superior realized he was deliberately letting Bennu slip by. Then Bennu would show up and get past the latest hot-shot agent so easily as to make the man look a fool. And Preminger would be back on the case where he wanted to be.
For three months, nothing had been heard of Bennu, let alone seen. The agency was sure the communists had caught him -- it didn't matter which ones. Preminger had spent his 'free time' studying the Indian ruins, trying to figure out what Bennu was up to now that Mira was gone. He was coming to like the subject as much as he was coming to like the alien.
And now this had to happen. Some farmer had heard an explosion in the middle of the night and called the sheriff before investigating. They found a crater, five feet deep, ten feet wide, with an injured man in the bottom. The sheriff was only too happy when he recognized Bennu. Now he was in the hospital, under guard, still unconscious since they had brought him in ten hours before.