Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

their isolation period. Now, One’s spokesmen are mostly

keeping quiet, and we’re hoping they will eventually

plump for non-interference themselves.

“In their place, we have Cyclops beating the drum, as

a result of the Carrig affair in my personal opinion, and a

whole lot of charitably-minded but short-sighted people

from the older worlds, including and especially Earth.

What they fail to understand1 sayis that Earth-type

luxury isn’t the perfect human way of life. They want to

impose it as a standard everywhere, whether or not the

recipients enjoy the cultures they have at present,

whether or not these cultures are productive, creative


“Thirteen’s certainly isn’t,” Maddalena muttered.

Langenschmidt didn’t answer. His eyes had turned

towards the window, and widened on seeing a line of

brilliant sparks like stitches sewn upward across the blue

of the sky.

“Hullo!” he exclaimed. “That’s an emergency rocket.

Some fisherman in difficulties, presumably. We’re always

having to nursemaid local folkeither fisherman who go

too far to sea with inadequate equipment, or upper-crust

playboys out wolfshark-hunring whose nerve fails them

at the crucial moment. Still, it interrupts the monotony.”

He addressed himself to a communicator panel

discreetly blended with the room’s no-nonsense decor.

“Anyone taking action on that emergency rocket just


Pause. Then a disembodied voice, sounding irritated,

answered him. “Sorry, commandant, what was that?”

And, as if re-hearing the question in memory: “Oh! The

rocket! Yes, I’ll send someone dut to gaff the guy and

drag hmi ashore.”

“Fine.” Langenschmidt’s attention reverted to Mad-

dalena. “You know,’ I think before we finish this argu-

ment, I’d better give you a chance to see galactic

civilisation, Cyclops-style, so that you can learn all over

again what a shallow thing it really is. Take the situation

here at present as a shining example. We have this

woman Alura Quist, who runs things, as I told you. She’s

certainly very capable and ruthless. But to have to con-

fine her efforts to Cyclops, which is so poor it still runs

on fission rather than fusion, galls her. She doesn’t see

why Corps personnel should enjoy longevity payments,

to start with, when she is aging and having to send clear

back to Earth for even her cosmetic treatments. I think

in fact some of her hostility to us is due to nothing more

abstract than simple jealousy. A woman afraid of losing

her youthful looks is a sad case. She has an official lover,

one of the handsomest men I’ve ever seen, who’s also a

kind of planetary hero, a former spaceman who suffered

some kind of crippling injury in creditable circum-

stances. I don’t know the full details. She treats him like

aa tame animal, as it were. Shows him off: here he is,

the famous Justin Kolb, and he’s my lover. Follow me?”

Maddalena gave a listless nod. She had heard all this,

apart from the story of Kolb, at the time of the Carrig

affair, when a group of Cyclopean entrepreneurs learned

from a failed Corps probationer the location of ZRP

Fourteen and its deposits of high-yield radioactives.

They had operated a mine with local slave-labour for a

considerable time before the Patrol managed to displace

them, and Cyclops had smarted ever since under the

knowledge that a bunch of ZRP barbarians had dropped

civilised menso-calleddown a volcano, the standard

punishment for the crimes they had committed by the

local ethical yardstick.

“I honestly don’t think Quist has any interest in the

ZRP’s as such,” Langenschmidt pursued. “She wants to

get back at the Corps for personal reasons of jealousy,

and the existence of a fund of hostility due to the ep-

isode on Fourteen provides her with a handle. If we

were to abandon non-interference for sound, rational

reasons. I’d swallow the decision gagging, maybe, but

I’d stomach it. But to do it for such a”

The disembodied voice spoke again from the commu-

nicator. “Commandant? ”

“Yes?” Langenschmidt half-turned in his chair.

“That signal rocket. I thought you’d be interested to

know about it.”

“Not especially, but tell me anyway.”

“We’ve found one of the Grarignol fishermena boy,

rather, not more than seventeen, they say. He’s tangled

with a wolfshark being hunted by auhrather notori-

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