Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

the chrome ear-ring he wore, once they were satisfied it

was adequately sterile. As soon as he came in range of

the eddy-currents surrounding the machinery, the metal

heated up. It was as well Cyclops was not so totally

backward as still to use metal tooth-fillings, for the effect

on those would have been agonising. As it was, he felt as

though he had been seized by the ear-lobe in a pair of

red-hot pincers, and screamed, and incontinently fled

back towards the door.

And that was where they gassed him down, but not

before he had acquired a dose of hard radiation sufficient

to strip the other half of his head bare of his prized black


“We got him,” Nole said unnecessarily as the limp

body was placed on a trolley for removal to the wards.

“But he’ll be one sick boy for at least a week.”

“You’re an idiot, Nole,” Langenschmidt said in a tone-

less voice. “That’s only the start of the trouble. How

about the family he’s said to have left in Grarignol?

Now we’ll have to send them some sort of relief, and if

we don’t gauge it exactly right we’ll have half the poor

fisherfolk of the planet begging for handouts to match

those given to this one family . . . Hell, that’s my worry,

and it can wait for tomorrow. I’m getting tired, you

know? I’ve had a pretty wearing time lately, and dealing

with emergencies when I ought to be catching up on lost

sleep isn’t helping me any! ”

Nole hesitated. “Uh don’t you want to know about

the data I got on Kolb’s leg?”

It seemed like last year, instead of an hour earlier,

when they had set out to the computing room to inspect

these carious findings. Langenschmidt ran a weary hand

through his hair.

“Okay, I guess so. But there’s not much point, really. I

can hardly take any action before the morning, and even

thenoh. I’m rambling! Hurry up, then, before I keel

over and take my nap on the floor!”

Following him down the corridor with Nole, Madda-

lena found herself regretting that she had. ever uttered

her contrary opinion when Langenschmidt told her

about the ZRP controversy. The pleasure he had felt on

seeing her had masked the toll the problem had taken

from him. Now, she was coming to realise that if it af-

fected him so deeply she had no right to judge it on the

basis of her own miserable experience on a single ZRP

which, after all, she had chosen herself, with her eyes


“Here’s the print-out,” Nole said, with a kind of eager

nervousness perhaps intended to disguise his embarrass-

ment at letting the Dyge boy get out of his room and

cause so much bother. “You’ll see it come in three sec-

tions. First off, I asked for a local identificationin other

words, for a likely point of origin on Cyclops.”

“And got a zero reading, hm?” Langenschmidt’s brow

was furrowing; he seemed to have recovered a little

from his fit of exhaustion.

“That’s right. The gene-type is non-Cyclopean, yoa

may take that as definite. His other leg, from which I

took a comparison sample, is local and quite common.

“Now the memory does contain a list of those

worldssome eight or ten of them, I believewhere do-

nor-grafting is still accepted medical practice. Some cul-

tures regard it as an honorable thing to permit part of

one’s body to continue in service after one’s death. But

there’s nowhere within about thirty parsecs where this


“Anyway, I got another zero out of that line of in-

quiry. So I set for all-galaxy parameters, and I got non-


He made an impatient gesture at the print-out, and

Langenschmidt read it through very slowly and care-


“How many’s that? Ninety-some worlds.?” he grunted.

“Ninety-twobut blazes, look at them, will you?

Highest probability, which isn’t a match even so, is

Earth! And who would conceivably have got Kolb a

limb-graft from Earth?”

“What do you think, Maddalena?” Langenschmidt de-


“Unless things have changed beyond belief,” Mad-

dalena said slowly, “no Earthborn person would consider

letting part of his body be exported after death.”

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