Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

an executive officer of the Corps Galacrica, and you arc

under arrest for violations of the Unified Galactic


The effect of the roaring order was all Maddalena had

hoped for. Long seconds passed with everyone on the

port immobilised by shock; during the passage of those

seconds, she pressed the little button on a device clipped

to her belt and transmitted the signal which would ex-

plode the cord tying the three glass cylinders together at

the top of the intake stack supplying the house’s air.

Enough anaesthetic to knock out an army flowed slug-

gishly down to the ventilators.

Then the man whom she had managed to identify as

Rimerley quicker-witted than his companionsbroke

from the group and ran hell-bent for the ‘copter. Shouts

greeted this act, and someone with good sense yelled,

“Stop him!”

“Patrol Probationer Bracy!” Maddalena shouted into

her loud-hailer. “Disable that helicopter!”

And for pity’s sake, do it without injuring the girl

slung underneath!

She thought he would never respond, and was lifting

her own gun when at last he did.


He had displayed the unexpected good sense not to

hurry over this first use of his weapon; he had remained

calm enough to sight as he had been told, to steady his

arm, hold his breath, and only then let go the bolt.

It blazed across the field, illuminating the entire island

as brilliantly as lightning, and sheared away the rotor

from the ‘copter just as Rimerley got the power on and

turned the blades into a shimmering disc.

Droplets of molten metal shattered the transparent

roof of the pilot compartment into shards of opaque

plastic, and Rimerley screamed like a frightened beast.

But it was unlikely the girl, protected by the craft’s hull,

had suffered any hurt.

“Thank you, Bracy,” Maddalena said at full volume.

“The rest of you, stay where you are, and if one of these

disgusting butchers makes a move, or tries to run for it,

burn him, understood? Bracy, come over and help me

disarm them.”

There was a powerful psychological impact in the un-

leashed violence of an energy gun, even to people raised

on Cyclops, where violence was far commoner than on

most civilised worlds. Sullen, sick-faced with terror, the

cluster d { men waited as patiently as cattle in a slaugh-

terhouse for Bracy and Maddalena to come up to them.

Bracy was grinning all over his face, he was so pleased

with his contribution to the night’s work; Maddalena

had to scowl ferociously before he smoothed his features

into a pattern more suited to a probationer on official


The technique Maddalena had devised for this stage of

the proceedings worked beautifully. Bracy came up to

each man in turn, gun in his right hand, palming in his

left an anaesthetic capsule with a self-injector attached.

He clapped the victim on the shoulder and left the cap-

sule sticking to the flesh while he withdrew any weapon

the man had at his belt: in all, four of them had arms. A

look of vague surprise would cross the man’s face, and

he would slump about half a minute later.

Meantime, Maddalena had gone over to the ‘copter,

playing a handlight on the wreckage. Rimerley was sit-

ting still and moaning. Below him, the girl lay uncaring,

long black hair draped over the end of the stretcher.

Hminm! Very pretty! I wonder if they toere going

toto dismantle her for spares!

But she had no time for such gruesome reflections.

There was a flash from behind her, and she whirled. The

tall, cruel-nosed man who had supervised the bringing of

the girl from the shipHeirndall, Rimerley had called

himhad broken from the group and was dashing

towards the dark shelter of the trees. Bracy had loosed a

bolt at him, and fired wide.

Maddalena’s gun was np on the instant, and her bolt

did not miss.

Those of the group who were still conscious gaped,

and then, in comical unison, doubled up to vomit on the

ground. At this range, an energy gun turned a man into

a handful of calcined bones, and a smell, sickeningly de-

licious, of well-roasted meat…

Maddalena waited till she was sure Bracy had the situ-

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