Repairmen of Cyclops by John Brunner

you have heard, no fewer than thirty people in this hall

have enjoyed the fruits of Rimerley’s butcherynew

limbs, new eyes, new vital organs!

“It is being pleaded that they did no more than offer

euthanasia to the hopelessly sick, a practice tolerated

here and on most inhabited planets. This is not true.

How do we know?

“You may have heard that the Corps base is under or-

ders to close, ostensibly as a symbol of protest against

non-interference with ZRP’s.” He twisted his mouth

around the words, and knew the irony was not lost on

his hearers. “You may have seen this as an idealistic ges-

ture, since Cyclops can ill afford to lose the revenue

from the base. Or you may equally have wondered what

possessed Alura Quist to issue her ultimatum.

“She issued it because Rimerley offered her a bribe: a

new lease of life. He knew we were within sight of his

secret; he thought to provide us with a distraction that

would make our half-formed suspicions seem not worth

the trouble of investigation. And the bait he dangled be-

fore Quist was the body, complete and healthy, of a

young girl named Soraya: a source of new organs to re-

place her failing ones.

“That girl is aliveby a miracleand in our hands.

And she has told how, perfectly well, she was caused to

appear to her friends as the victim of a fatal disease, a

suitable subject for the ministrations of the Receivers of

the Sick. She was not ill at all; she was not offered an

easy death under the pretence that she was sick and in-

curableshe was simply shipped to Cyclops like an ani-

mal to the slaughter.”

Langenschmidt paused. “People of Cyclops, it is no

part of the Corps’s duty to tell you what you should do.

But I have worked on your planet for many years, and

come to know you at least a little. I am sure you will

knowwha.t you should do.”

He turned to look at the pale, trembling conference

delegates. “And as for you,” he said, “I hardly need say

that you have seen a Zarathustra Refugee Planet ‘inter-

fered with’. Think it over. Andgo home.”

For long moments, no one moved. Then, as if in a

dream, the old man from ZRP One, Omar Haust, stood

up and approached Quist. He looked at her as though at

something disgusting found under a stone. Pursed his

lips. Spat full in her face.

Langenschmidt snapped his helmet back over his head

and gave the signal to his men. They left their stations

and went to take hold of the men and women named in

the long criminal indictment. Some passive and hopeless,

some struggling and yelling hysterically, they were led


Last of all, with Langenschmidt at her heels, Qnist was

taken to endure the execration of her planet’s people as

she was marched towards the waiting spaceship.


“Made up your mind about non-interference?” Lan-

genschmidt said to Maddalena with a tone of false jocu-


There was no attempt to match it in her reply-

depressed, abstracted.

“Gus, that isn’t fair. Cyclops isn’t a typical civilised

planet, and come to that Heirndall and Rimerley aren’t

typical Cyclopeans.”

“Granted.” He looked down from the wall-length

window of his villa towards the base, now back in full

operation after the cancellation of the evacuation. “On

the other hand, they do seem to be typical of those who

get power, get influence, get wealth simply because they

desire them so greedily. Truly civilised people don’t crave

power. They havewhat would one call it?empathy,

perhaps, which holds them back.”

“There’s another and much older word,” Maddalena


“Which is?”

“Conscience.” Maddalena stirred as though unable to

find a comfortable position on the luxuriously padded

seat she was using. “But look at it another way, Gus. It’s

also empathy which makes me curse when I remember

all the poor sick and crippled people I saw on Thir-

teenin twenty solid years, remember. You’ve never had

an on-planet assignment lasting longer then weeks or

months. We ought to fix a limitwe ought to say if

these people don’t show signs of progress within such a

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