Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

clops could afford medical computers on this scale.”

“This wasn’t for a knee-down job. This was from


“Then I don’t believe it,” Nole said. “You’d need a

full megabrain, and at that the job might not come off.”

He gave Maddalena an apologetic glance, as though fear-

ing this was distasteful to her. “It’s the joint, you seees-

pecially the synovial membranes. Very tricky to

programme well.”

“What are you standing there for?” Langenschmidt

inquired sweetly. “Has, or has not, Justin Kolb two func-

tioning knees?”

Nole made a wordless noise and spun on his heel.

Maddalena sat down on the corner of the table where

Nole had set out his chessboard, and stared at Langen-


“I don’t quite see the significance of this,” she ven-

tured. “There are places where regeneration is available,

and if this man Kolb is the uh accepted lover of Alura

Quist, could she not have pulled strings to have him

treated on some more advanced planet?”

“If she had done so, the memory bank would have

mentioned it.” Langenschmidt began to pace the room.

“I didn’t. It gave me an unequivocal answer when I

asked who was responsible for Kolb’s eventual recov-

cry it named a Cyclopean doctor, who’s probably very

good in his limited sphere, but simply hasn’t got access

to the medical computer capacity needed for regener-


Maddalena paled. “But what alternative treatment

could he have offered? Kolb did regain his leg, didn’t

he? Nole might have overlooked the fact that the limb

wasn’t an original, but he couldn’t have overlooked a


“Exactly,” Langenschmidt muttered, and fell silent.

They waited, neither saying anything, for twenty

minutes before Nole returned, his face pale above his full

brown beard.

“I don’t know what put you onto this, commandant,”

he began, “and equally I don’t know how I came to


“Save the apologies. What have you found now yon

have looked?”

“His right leg isn’t his own. It’s not regenerated is

what I meanregeneration counts as own-tissue sub-

stance.” Nole combed his beard with agitated fingers.

“That leaves one possibility. It’s a graft. An exception-

ally good one, what’s moreit must have been selected

most carefully to make a pair with the left leg. Well, of

course, the moment I discovered this I took a cell-sample

and processed it for genetic structure, and I’ve come up

with the most alarming result.”

Langenschmidt’s face was quite calm, as though he had

already worked out what revelation Nole had brought

them. He said merely, “Go on.”

“Well, it’s hard to be absolutely certain, but I’d say on

the basis of what I’ve just seen that the leg’s not merely

not his ownit’s also not Cyclopean in origin. At any

rate, the particular gene-structure of the cells I processed

has never been recorded on Cyclops.”

“Can you tell me where it is from?” Langenschmidt


“I’ve set the computers to search, but there may not

be a definite reading.” Nole combed his beard again.

“Commandant, this is the most extraordinary thing I ever

heard of!”


The screen of the subspace communicator lit. The

venture was a profitable one; the partners in it had be-

come able to allow themselves such refinements as inter-

stellar vision circuits. It showed a man with a face as

cruelly beaked as a Jackson’s buzzard, clad in the decent

black robe of a Receiver of the Sick, with the hood

thrown back on his shoulders. His hair was greying but

still luxuriant, and his face was lined more by reflected

concentration than by the passage of time.

This was Lors Heirndall, on whom Rimerley was to-

tally dependent.

“What is it?” he grunted, eyes scanning the image of

the doctor confronting him. Vaguely in the background

could be seen the interior of his headquarters, with a

rack of robes hanging like dead bats on the wall, a video-

graph playing over a recording of some music-drama or


If he can’t read the crisis straight off my face, Rimer-

ley thought, / must be over the worst of the shock.

Indeed, he felt considerably better than he had done

when he finished speaking to Quist. As well as taking an-

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Categories: John Brunner