By Timothy Zahn
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Additional resources for Cobra
The evening lectures were replaced by extra training sessions, giving them the chance to practice with their enhanced night vision the techniques they had so far used only in daylight and dusk. All of it seemed to be building to a head... and then, almost unexpectedly—though they all knew the schedule—it was over. Almost. "There comes a time, Cobras," Bai told them that final afternoon, "when training reaches a saturation point; where drills and practice don't hone so much as fine-polish. Finepolishing is okay if you're a gemstone or an athlete, but you're neither: you're warriors.
But each time the opportunity arose he choked his anger back down and said nothing. They were all just barely surviving with one of their number under an emotional handicap; to multiply that burden and spread it around would be not only unfair but likely lethal as well. The other logical alternative occurred to him only once, and for an hour afterward he actually regretted the fact that his ethical training forbade him to simply shoot Viljo in the back. The missions went on, oblivious to Jonny's internal turmoil.
The pulsecode message last night from off-planet had sparked a desperate flurry of activity as the underground tried to prepare for their new Cobras—Cobras who, with lousy planning, would be landing virtually in the lap of the Troft buildup going on in and around Cranach. Jonny's jaw tightened at the thought, but there'd been nothing anyone had been able to do about it. Receiving a coded signal that in essence blanketed half a continent was one thing; signaling back again, even if the courier ship could afford to stick around that long, was a whole lot dicier.