Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

with such complete calm she was again tempted to be-

lieve him.


“That I’m not telling you. Yet. I’m simply making the

offer. Twenty years, possibly a lot more.” He studied

her with insolent directness. “How’s the unsupported

shape of your breasts these days? Flabby, I imagine! And

the belly-muscles must be giving way by now, in spite of

cosmetic treatment. I could fix all that.”

Once more, silence filled the room. It dragged on and

dragged on. Rimerley broke it, shrugging and rising.

“Too bad. I didn’t really expect you to prefer public

humiliation and probably trial for an infringement of the

laws against interference with ZRP’s. Which will be a

very ironical climax to your campaign, won’t it?”

“Wait,” she whispered. “Damn you! You knew there

was one bribe I couldn’t resist!”

“Of course I did,” Rimerley said with a sneer.

“Whatwhat do I have to do? ”

He told her, in a single crackling sentence, and added,



As promised, they had fetched Justin Kolb away early

in the morning. Maddalena saw him go, in a white-paint-

ed hospital ‘copter which went droning towards the

southwest. Its design strucK her as somehow archaic, but

after twenty years in surroundings absolutely devoid of

technology beyond crude tool-making, she found she

was ill-attuned to refinements in engineering practice.

“I wish there was some way we could have put a

tracer on him,” Langenschmidt had muttered as he stood

beside her, gazing at the diminishing white speck against

the vivid blue sky.

“I’d have thought there was!”

“I asked Nole what a reasonably thorough medical

check might overlook, and he said, point-blank, ‘Noth-

ing.’ Rimerley can’t be incompetenthis patients have

included some of the most notable people on Cyclops.”

“Did you ask Nole how it was in that case he came to

overlook the nature of Kolb’s mended leg?”

“As a matter of fact”Langenschmidt looked slightly

uncomfortable”I did. We had some words about it. But

the point stands; no tracer, for fear of alerting them.”

“Surely you know where he’s going, though.”

“Allegedly, to Rimerely’s private island. But I’d be

happier if I was convinced of that. As you said last

night, he’s our evidence.”

“You’ve kept some tissue-samples, presumably.”

“Nole took some from places where they wouldn’t be

noticed, and they’re preserved as a calibration standard

for this analysis of gene-types he’s doing. At least, that’s

our story if the matter comes up.” The ‘copter had van-

ished. Briskening: “Well, I can’t stand here all day. I

have a base to run.”

“I haven’t,” Maddalena said demurely. “And since you

had me brought to Cyclops, I guess there’s something

you can have me do instead of ‘standing here all day’.”

“Actually there are a couple of things . . . I wasn’t

very eager to ask you, since it seems unfair when

you’re theoretically on long furlough, but as the subject

has come up”

“You’re a poor diplomat, Gus, in spite of your boast-

ing. Well?”

“What spare time I have right now is generally taken

up with studying the progress of this damned conference

of Quist’s. The local news bulletins are full of it,

painting it as an unselfish venture by Cyclops on behalf

of their poor brothers neglected by the rich greedy

worlds ofetcetera; why should I tell you what you can

imagine easily enough? There was some land of outburst

at an official banquet last nightthe delegate from ZRP

One got drunk and uttered a few home truths which

embarrassed the organisers dreadfully. Catch the reports

of the morning session of the conference, will you? Let

me have a digest of their progress if any at the noon

break. That’s one thing. And the other is of your own

making. Go help my overworked programming staff to

get a line on the probable location of Twenty-two. We

probably won’t get the margin of error lower than a

hundred parsecs, but if we can possibly shave it to fifty I

think I can swing the assignment of a couple of search


The problem was fascinating, and intensely compli-

cated. It was known what the populations distribution

had been on Zarathustra at the time of the nova, so it

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Categories: John Brunner