Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

Alarmed attendants moved close, uncertain whether to

try and restrain Haust or wait till he actually struck

their mistress. She was frozen and could offer them no

clue for guidance.

“You’re as bad as the rest!” the old man raved. “Who

keeps the ZRP’s in subjusubju’arion? The Corps stink-

ing Galacrica, that’s who, and their whining lackeys in

the Patrol! And who leases a base right here on Cy-

closhShyclopsright on this filthy world whatever its

name is!to the triply damned Corps? Why, you do!

Aargh! Give me some more drink to wash away the

taste of you!”

H snatched at the nearest goblet, which happened to

be Quist’s own, and as he made to raise it to his lips lost

his precarious grip on stability and went crashing to the


“I am sure,” said the next speaker, “we ought to learn

a lesson from what too many of us took simply as a dis-

gusting exhibition.” He was a lean man from the twin

worlds of Alpha and Beta Lobulae, which having been

blessed with few internal troubles had much surplus en-

ergy for meddling in those of other systems. “It should

have reminded us all that we are not dealing with ab-

stracts, but with human beings, with a capacity to suffer,

and suffer more greatly than we fortunate children of

happier worlds can know. Indeed, it comes as no great

surprise to me to realise that Omar Haust feels himself

unnecessarily mocked by the presence of the Corps

Galacrica base on this planetwhose hospitality and

whose government’s sympathy with our aims I do not

question, but whose action in this respect perhaps casts

doubt in the minds of waverers about our ultimate deter-


That, Quist realised with a sinking heart, called for a

reply. And it would be useless to state the truththat but

for the income the leasing of that island to the Corps

brought to Cyclops, the delegates would not be here; the

revenue tipped the balance between Cyclops affording

and not affording an interstellar fleet, small though it had

to be.

She rose and looked around. She could use the opening

of her original speech, she decided, and began on it. The

compositor had worked well, and it soon had the dele-

gates listening in calm self-approval, bar the man from


To him, finally, she said with an air of desperation, “It

must of course be recalled that in the days when the

agreement between my our government and the Corps

was reached, the first of the ZRP’s had not yet been

chanced upon. Far be it from me to decry the useful

work the Corps has done, in its capacity as the interstel-

lar counterpart to a police force. It seems only to be in

the area of framing policy that they have exceeded their

intended brief.”

Nods to that.

“However, we are grateful for the suggestion. I’ll have

the proposal investigated, and if on balance it does ap-

pear th;kt such an action would be an effective lever in

securing our aims against the opposition of the Corps, I

will make a formal statement to that effect.”

Appla?ase. She sat down, wishing with all her heart

that justin were here to shower his praise on her, forced

though she knew it to be.

Heaven help Cyclops if I have to act on that vaporous

promise, she thought grimly, and turned to smile at those

delegates who were complimenting her on what she had


Nole had gone off again, still in a state of agitation, to

see whether there was a print-out from the computer

which he had set to tracking the gene-type of the tissue

in Kolb’s leg-graft.

It was very quiet in the office where Maddalena and

Langenschmidt waited for news. The hospital hummed

with the same soft efficient noise as an advanced auto-

matic factory; since its business was the repair and main-

tenance of what were after all the highly complex

mechanisms of human flesh, that wasn’t surprising. Dimly

from beyond the walls noise of other repair work reached

them: clashing as hull-plates were fitted to ships under-

going overhaul, the subdy disturbing moan of drive units

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Categories: John Brunner