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After the death of Jo, and the escape of two of his companions with their recovered bombs, the Ricop commander ordered an intensified search of the plain. The searchers worked in twos, not threes, to maximise the number of patrols. The leader of the first patrol knew that the aliens were cunning and desperate, and it was surprised when they found the two of them almost immediately. Perhaps tiredness was making them careless.

The two, both young and small, wre standing in the middle of the track that led to the plain, almost as if they wanted to be seen. When the Ricops spotted them, they turned and ran off between the rocks. They moved slowly, as if every tired, and the patrol was soon right behind them. "Pursue and exterminate," ordered the patrol leader. "The commander advise no prisoners to be taken. They must be exterminated !"

The aliens disappeared once they were among the rocks and the Ricops were forced to hunt for them. Although there were only two of the, they moved confidently forward, quite sure of their ability to deal with the escapees.

Zip and Parot collapsed panting behind a rock. "Are you all right, Parot ?" gasped Zip.

"Just about. Never run so fast in my life !"

Zip peered from behind the rock. "They're coming. Ready ?" Parot nodded. They sprang from the rock and sprinted off with the pursues hot on their heels.

They reached the giant boulder they had carefully chosen. The path was narrow here, and the Ricops would have to move in single file. They waited. When the two pursuers came in sight, Zip stepped from hiding, then instantly ducked back. even so, he moved only just in time. The blast from its gun charred the rock above his head.

The patrol leader ordered, "Give protective fire," and moved off alone. The second Ricop followed more slowly, its gun swiveling suspiciously all around. The patrol leader rounded the boulder and moved cautiously along the trail that bordered the ice pool. Suddenly Zip appeared from behind one of the rocks, disappearing again almost immediately. The Ricop moved forward. Another blast from its gun seared the rocks very close to Zip. It was near to the edge of the pool now. Suddenly Parot appeared from hiding. He charged the pursuer gripping it from behind so that the gun could not be aimed at him. He shoved the Ricop by force towards the ice pool.

Slowly he edged it towards the pool. The Ricop resisted with all its strength. All the time it was calling, "Assist ! Assist ! I am being attacked !"

Further down the trail, Zip saw the second Ricop speed forward to answer the call, and realized that he had to delay it. He dashed across the trail and the pursuer swung round in pursuit. Zip's foot turned on a small rock and he crashed to the ground, sprawled helplessly on the path as his pursuer bore down on him.

As his enemy was bout to fire, Parot jumped on it from the top of a near-by boulder. He had a piece of cloth in his hands which he threw over the Ricop, covering the eye-stalk completely. The Ricop spun around helplessly, shrieking, "Vision circuits impaired. I am losing control."

Somehow Parot stayed perched on top of the Ricop, holding the cloth firmly in place. Zip recovered and ran to grab the Ricop's gun and jammed it upwards, so that the blast of its firing exploded harmlessly into the air. Between them, they shoved the helpless Ricop along the path taken by the patrol leader. As they rounded the boulder, they gave it a mighty shove that sent it splashing into the ice pool. The water bubbled and hissed, and its cries ended abruptly as it shared the fate of its leader.

Answer the following questions using complete sentences
  1. Why was there an urgent and intensified search of Jo's escaped companions ?
  2. How did the Ricop commander ensure that the two escapees were located quickly ?
  3. Why were the two aliens found so quickly ?
  4. What were the Ricops supposed to do when they find the aliens ?
  5. The patrol leader described the aliens as cunning. How was it correct in its assessment ?
  6. List two reasons why the two escapees chose the giant boulder to carry out their plan.
  7. What did the patrol leader do when it was attacked ?
  8. What did Zip hope to achieve by dashing across the path of the second Ricop ?
  9. How did Parot destroy the patrol leader ?
  10. What are Ricops ?
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There was an urgent and intensified search because they escaped with some bombs.


The Ricop commander divided the searchers into smaller groups to form more patrols.


They chose to be found as part of their plan.


They were supposed to destroy the aliens.


The aliens were so cunning they managed to plan and destroy the Ricops.
  6. The giant boulder was chosen for the narrow path that led to it and for the icy pool that was near it.
  7. The patrol leader called for help.
  8. Zip hoped to delay the second Ricop in its bid to help the patrol leader.
  9. Parot pushed the patrol leader into the icy pool.
  10. Ricops are robots.

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Comprehension 1


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