Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

which should make it possible, if she could get back

there, collect it, and get it installed in time . . . What was

keeping Bracy? Was it necessary to wait for himcould

she not meet him on the way back to the shore and save


Better not.

The stars crept around the sky towards the midnight

configuration, and still no Bracy. With a start she real-

ised that if he took any longer it would already be too

late to fetch what she needed from the trawler.

And it was too late! From the direction of the house

came the distinctive drone of the ‘copter’s engines; she

could see lights moving around its parking-place, and

shadowy figures crossing bright lamps.

It began to rise, and for long moments she was imagin-

ing the whish and crash of the rocket which was keyed

to home on the sticky beacon. But nothing happened.

The ‘copter merely turned towards the tiny spaceport.

There was a rusde in the undergrowth beside her, and

she spun, hand slapping the butt of her gun.

“Bracy!” the boy said in alarm, and she recognized

him. Furious, she railed at him.

“What kept yon? Now we have no time to go to the

trawler and get what we need!”

“I’m sorry. I dared not go close. They were working

on the machinefitting something like a tray under its

belly. In the end I could not wait any more. I caught

one of the men, about my size, as he went out of sight of

the others, and did so.” Graphically, he closed his hand

on his own throat and groaned. “Then I took his clothes

and went openly to the machine to remove the sticky

thing. I was just in timea man of great importance

came from the house to see that all was well with the

work. So I went back and killed the man I had taken

clothes from, and got rid of his body. They looked for

as long as I was near enough to hear, but I think they

will not find him. There is a wolfshark in the baydid

you see it, earlier?”

“No r’Maddalena exclaimed.

“Yes. Not feeding, not followed by buzzards, but they

are always hungry for human meat.”

Maddalena digested that information as well as she


“What now?” Bracy pressed her.

She shrugged. “We play by ear, I guess.”


“Never mind. Watch, and listen, and take your orders

from my signals. We shall simply have to do as well as

we can with two energy guns and the advantage of sur-


She motioned him silent, for the ‘copter was humming

down over the treetops, and the last scene of the night’s

drama was all set


As the ship slanted through the fringes of the air, Lors

Heirndall wondered grimly )ust how much of his ex-

planation his men had believed. He’d told them that this

deal was so profitable they could afford to return home

ahead of schedule, and there weren’t likely to be many

complaints about thatthe natives could get along with-

out Receivers of the Sick for a while, until the next time

some death-fearing client put in for a new heart or some

wealthy idiot crossed up another wolfshark, like Justin


Nonetheless, it was quite unprecedented in the history

of their venture to pull the entire team off the ZRP and

go home en masse.

He’d taken the decision to do this in cold blood. If by

any chance Rimerley had been wrong in his estimate of

the effect on the Corps of Quist’s ultimatum, and some

too-nosy doctor had thought to check the gene-type of

Kolb’s leg, he didn’t want to be trapped by the Patrol on

a noisome, dirty, mud-grubbing planet not worth a snap

of the fingers.

There wasn’t any question of cancelling their long-

term plans completely, of course. In a few years more,

he himself would inevitably become a customer for Ri-

merley’s skilled attentionssometimes, after great effort,

he found it hard to breathe, and knew that his lungs and

bronchi were aging. And why should he squander most

of his hard-earned fortune on a trip to some prosperous

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Categories: John Brunner