Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

ation under control again, holstered her gun, and turned

back to Rimerley. He had regamed some of his self-pos-

session, and was bieating into the communicator, trying

to raise his staff back at the house.

“That won’t do you any good,” Maddalena said curt-

ly. “I gassed the house and they’ll sleep till morning.

Come onget down from there! ”

Like a badly operated marionette, Rimerley complied,

falling awkwardly and twisting his ankle. He limped

when Maddalena ordered him to move towards his col-

leagues, and made a whimpering complaint about such


“If you complain once more,” Maddalena told him

stonily, “I’ll take a leg off you, the way you did to the

poor bastard who provided a graft for Jusdn Kolb. Is

that clear?”

Rimerley gulped enormously, and began to waddle

hastily forward.

“That’s the lot,” Bracy said proudly, indicating the

scattered forms oa the ground. “And I’ve piled their

guns over there.”

“Excellent,” Maddalena said. “I never thought we’d do

it, to be frank. You’ve been quite amazing.” She clapped

him on the shoulder, forgetful for the moment of what

he had )ust been doing, and was first startled, then

amazed, when he put up his hand anxiously to make cer-

tain it was not the end of his usefulness and his turn to

be knocked unconscious.

Rimerley, breathing raggedly, fought to recover his

dignity. He said, “I demand to know by what right


“I told you,” Maddalena snapped. “If you want spe-

cific charges, the main one will probably be murder, and

the subsidiary, interference with a Zarathustra Refugee


Rimerley gave an oily smile. He said, “My govern-

ment contests the legality of the non-interference rule, as

you ought to know. And plenty of planets recognise the

right of euthanasia. If you’re assuming that we commit-

ted murder to obtain the grafts we have employed,

you’re wrong. I can show you a release for each of the

donors, agreeing to euthanasia because of incurable

illness or serious injury.”

“Including the girl over there?” Maddalena countered,

and saw with satisfaction the look of horror that wiped

away the doctor’s smile.

“What now?” Bracy pressed her.

“Well, since they’ve been so kind as to provide the

means,” Maddalena said, “I think we might as well go

directly to see Commandant Langenschmidt. I haven’t

flown a spaceship for several years, but I was taught how

in Corps indoctrination, and they say what the Corps

teaches you can never be forgotten. Want to try space

for a change, Bracy?”

The boy hesitated. Then self-respect overcame his

doubts, and he pat his shoulders back and nodded vigor-


“Then help me drag this load of carrion aboard, and

we’ll leave.” Maddalena said.


The ship bringing the three-merober board of inquiry

from Earth, which had pat the parsecs behind it at a

speed to make light look like a tired snail, dropped into

its assigned slot at the Cy-clops base. The three board

members emerged: Senior General Lyia Baden, small of

build but large of voice, and two colonelsa staff rank,

indicating that they had not served in the Patrol, but had

spent their entire careers in administration.

“General Baden?” said Dr Anstey Nole, stepping for-

ward to greet them. “My name is Nole, second senior

officer here at present.”

General Baden looked at her surroundings with an icy

blue eye. She said at length, “You’re under ultimatum to

leave this base by tomorrow at latest, aren’t you? Where

are your preparations for departure?”

Indeed, it was obvious to the most casual glance that

the work of the base was proceeding normallyfar from

tearing down the installations, men and robots were at

work on repair and renovation, a fact which had given

the Cyclopean inspectors a bad time recently. It made

them feel peculiarly helpless, for there was nothing

whatever a backward world like Cyclops could do

against the Corps if it decided to dig in its heels.

Major Barly strode forward from where he had been

standing, next to Nole. “I want to register the strongest

possible protest against the defiant behaviour of your

base commandant!” he thundered. “Until yesterday he

was according us full cooperation. Then suddenly he

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Categories: John Brunner