Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

moured men had stamped to Quist’s side and pinioned

her arms, and confronted the cowering Cyclopeans in

the public seats. He had intercepted a list of those invited

which was supplied to the news service, and knew that

all those he would name were present.

“Sophy Alt, I charge you with conspiracy with Alea-

zar Rimerley and Lors Heirndall and others to kill one

Mara Rustum and dismember her corpse. Don Ambon-

ine, I charge you with conspiracy with the same parties

to kill one Ali Qurab and dismember his corpse. Ved

Conakry, I charge you”

And so on, the entire miserable tale of Rimerley’s rich

clients and their miserable victims, until there were more

than thirty men and women shivering with terror before


Then he handed the documents from which he had

been reading to one of his men, threw back his helmet,

and strode to the dais. With the entire attention of the

planet riveted on him, he began.

“People of Cyclops, and in particular you offworld

visitors who have come here to attend the conference I

so rudely interrupted”he gave them a a sidelong glance

and saw they were listening as inteody as everyone

else”I want to explain the story behind the shocking

scene you have just witnessed.

“You all know about the Zarathustra Refugee Planets.

You perhaps also know that many moreperhaps well

over a million morepeople escaped from the Zarathus-

tra nova than we have to date accounted for.

“Well, we have learned in the past few days that an-

other shipload survived, on a world whose existence was

discovered by accident and not notified to my Corps.

The discoverer was the captain of a tramp space-

freighter, named Lors Heirndall. He was making a some-

what unusual journey along a route served by no regular

space-lines, when the strain proved too great for his en-

gines and he was forced to make an emergency landing

to conduct repairs on a Class Athat’s a tolerably habit-

ableplanet in an unvisited system.

“There, he discovered the descendants of a group of

Irani-stock Zarathustrans, making the best of what they


“He kept the discovery to himself and his crew, be-

lieving that in some way he would eventually be able to

exploit this secret. Not long afterwards, his chance oc-

curred. A certain Justin Kolb, celebrated on Cyclops for

his part in an accident in space, required the replacement

of his right leg. Although he was in the care of your

planet’s leading surgeon, Aleazar Rimerley, the facilities

here were not adequate for full-scale limb regeneration,

and sending a patient to a more prosperous world is


“Heirndall went to Rimerley with a proposition. He

could secure for Kolb a replacement graft, a limb

matched closely to his own, for a fraction of the cost of

regeneration; Rimerley could charge his clientnot

Kolb; Alura Quist was paying, out of your planetary

fundsthe cost of a regeneration, and Heirndall and Ri-

merley could split the surplus profit.

“Rimericy accepted the offer. And Heirndall sectired

the limb as promised, by a peculiarly unpleasant decep-

tion practised on the unfortunate inhabitants of his pri-

vate ZRP.

“In the early days of their life there, they had insti-

tuted a humane system of quarantine for people suffering

from disease beyond their limited resources to cureand

there were plenty of those. Volunteers acted as what

they called Receivers of the Sick, to convey them away

from their community and the danger of infecting oth-

ers, and tended them until they recovered or died.

“This system was on the verge of disappearanceso

often had the Receivers died of the same illness as their

patients, the idea seemed no longer practical. But Heim-

dall set himself and his men up as a new team of Re-

ceivers, worming their way into the natives’ confidence

and taking away not the truly ill, whom they preferred

to disregard, but those whose bodily characteristics ren-

dered them suitable as suppliers of spare parts.

“For Rimerley had seen the possibilities in an unlim-

ited supply of graft material. Not many people on Cy-

clops are rich, but those who are are disproportionately

so, and as greedy for youth as for material wealth. As

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Categories: John Brunner