Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

other stiff drink, he had given himself a shot of mixed

tranquillisers and mind-keeners, a blend which he usually

only relied on when making the preparations for a major

operation. But this affair, of course, might turn out to be

a major operation in its own way…

“Two things,” he said crisply. “Sorry to disturb you,

by the way, but you’ll see the urgency when I tell you

the background. Did I interrupt anything?”

“No, it’s early morning here, half an hour past dawn.

We weren’t ready to move off yet.” Heirndall was

doubtless impatient, but his tone was superficially affable.

“Where are you at present?”

“Working south from Idiot’s Head towards Encamp-

ment Hills. Am I to take it you have a special order for


Rimerley nodded. “A double. First off, how would

you like to do a favour for Justin Kolb?”

“Another?” Heirndall said acidly. “The bastard has

had too many breaks in life already. True, but for his in-

competence I wouldn’t be where I am nowbut I’ve

settled that score, and I’d rather not know. Cosmos, he

wasn’t even a moderately capable spacemanjust a

hothead with a specious brand of charmand they made

him a hero. Or rather, Quist did.” He scowled. “Okay.

What sort of a favour?”

Rimerley had to wipe away a trace of itching sweat.

“Hot herefull summer,” he muttered in explanation to

Heirndall. “Well, as a matter of fact he’s lost his leg

again. To a wolfshark ‘this time. The same leg.”

“And Quist no doubt wants her tame monkey cured,”

Heirndall agreed briskly. “Also we must fill the order

quickly to keep her sweet against the day when she be-

comes our biggest client. We have the specifications on

record, so it should be fairly easy. Yes?”

“Not altogether,” Rimerley muttered. “I mean, that

part of it is. But what’s resulted from his encounter with

the wolfshark isn’t so cheerful. He was rescued by some

ignorant fisherman and taken to the Corps Galacdca hos-

pitalit was the nearest point from which help could get

to him, I suppose.”

Heirndall’s face darkened like the sky before a thun-

derstorm. “In that case, we’re leaving here at once! I

want to be on some good and distant planet before the

pan boils over, with a change of name and a change of


“Wait!” Rimerley instructed in a soothing tone. “All

is not lost, you know. I told Quist to get her boyfriend

out of there tomorrow morning at the latest, and bring

him to me. There’s an excellent chance they won’t be in-

terested enough in Cyclopean scandal to know Kolb’s

historythere’s little contact between the Corps and the

Cyclopeans, as you’re well aware.”

“Any atall is too much for me,” Heirndall scowled.

“How about the genetic pattern of the graft, though?”

“Why should it occur to them to check it?” Rimerley

countered. “If they don’t know Kolb’s story, they’ll as-

sume it’s his original legthe mafch was eye-perfect,

remember. Didn’t I give you hell finding the exact

match, and reject who knows how many faulty samples


Heirndall nodded, but looked worried even so. Rimer-

ley plunged on.

“Even if they do know his story, they’ll most likely

take it for a regenerated limb. After all, if he’s Quist’s

lover, who would be more likely to afford the journey

offworld to somewhere he could find that standard of

medical computation? The only thing which would

make them stumble on the unmatched genetic pattern

would be if they attempted a fresh regeneration them-

selves, and cross-checked to the left leg.”

“Might they not do that?” Heirndall suggested. “It’s

an open secret that Quist has no love for them, and

would discontinue their lease on the island they use if

she could. It might occur to them to fix up Kolb to

sweeten her a little. A sort of bribe.”

“If that were their intention,” Rimerley said with ex-

aggerated confidence, “she wouldn’t have offered, of her

own accord, to have him brought here tomorrow morn-

ing, would she? She’d never have bothered to get in

touch with me at all, in fact.”

“No, I guess that figures,” conceded Heirndall.

“And besides,” Rimerley pursued, leaning closer to the

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