Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

“You’re not stupid, are you?” Langenschmidt said af-

fectionately, and put his arm through hers to lead her


“I think you’re glad to see me in spite of what I said

earlier,” she murmured when they had gone a short dis-


“Hm? Oh, of course I am!”

“You have learned the socially correct things here!”

she snapped, and withdrew her arm.

He seemed still to be puzzling over that crack when

they reached the hospital and were shown into the

presence of a tall, brown-bearded man in self-sterilising

whites, passing time with a chess problem.

“This isDr Anstey Nole, our senior medical officer,”

Langenschmidt told Maddalena in passing. “Doc! It’s

about this Justin Kolb. How is he?”

“As well as you’d expect, seeing he’s lost half his right

calf and the foot, endured a medisuit tourniquet for long

enough to starve the tissues of blood, and been

frightened nearly out of his wits by that wolfshark. Not

to mention almost being blown to pieces when this

fisher-lad let go his rockets.”

“What? I saw one of the rockets go up myself

seemed to work perfectly.” Langenschmidt biinked.

“Oh, not the one he used to call for help. Didn’t they

tell you how he dealt with the wolfshark? Set up two of

these damned great fireworks on the foredeck of his

trawler and let them go pointblank. Tore the wolfshark

to ribbons, I gather. Quite a bright kid, I can tell you.

He’s in here too, being treated for malnutrition, incipient

lupus and minor burns sustained when he let the rockets

go. Lost half his hair.”

“Lupus? ” Maddalena put in inquiringly.

“Strictly that’s incorrect, I grant you, but it’s the term

we apply. A skin disease common among the fisher-

folkthey get it from overexposure to sunlight and the

irritants secreted by oilfish scales. Life on a backward

world like this is a pretty unpleasant business sometimes.

Sorry to have brought the subject up.” Nole looked


“You don’t have to tell me,” Maddalena snapped. “I

just completed a twenty-year tour on a ZRP.”

Nole looked still more uncomfortable and changed the

subject hastily.

“Alatter of fact, as soon as he recovers I mean to send

this kid to see you, commandant. His name’s Bracy

Dyge, by the way. Says he wants to be considered for

Corps membership. I laughed at him at first, frankly.

Then I thought it over, and finally decided: hell, he has

initiative, anyway!”

“Every waterfront on the planet is swarming with kids

who think they want to join the Corps,” Langenschmidt

said cynically. “I’m surprised at you, doc. It’s the pay

they’re after.”

“He doesn’t know about the pay,’* the doctor said.

“At least, I don’t think he can.”

“What? Of course he must! Everybody”

Nole interrupted firmly. “No, all the time we were

talking it was never mentioned. He just wants to be able

to support his familyparents are both deadsome better

way than by chasing oilfish. His fish-finder has been out

of order, and . . . I asked for it to be seen to in our

workshops, by the way. Hope you’ve no objection. It

seemed liketheleastwe ”

“Hell, I didn’t come down here to talk about thisthis

Bracy Dyge!” exclaimed Langenschmidt. “I came to talk

about Kolb. In particular, about Kolb’s leg.”

Nole shrugged. “I’ve told you all I can, I guess.”

“Wrong. You haven’t started. You didn’t even men-

tion that he’d lost it before.”

It was Nole’s turn to be astonished, “Nobody told me

so! Are you sure about that? Why, it looked like a

natural legwhat was left of itwhen I examined him


“You wouldn’t expect it to look like a false one, would

you? Does the name of Dr Aleazar Rimerley mean any-

thing to you?”

“No, I don’t believe so. A local sawbones, perhaps?”

“You could call him that. The most successful doctor

on Cyclopshas been retamed by Quist at least once.

Would he be able to regenerate Kolb’s leg?”

Nole pursed his lips and looked dubious. “Just pos-

sibly. Regeneration of a legahyes, with half a mega-

brain computer capacity you could do a fair job from

the knee down. It is conceivable, but I didn’t realise Cy-

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63

Categories: John Brunner