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The Ambassador   By: (1910-1996)

The Ambassador by Sam Merwin

First Page:

THE AMBASSADOR

By Sam Merwin, Jr.

Illustrated by Kelly Freas

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from IF Worlds of Science Fiction March 1954. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: All Earth needed was a good stiff dose of common sense, but its rulers preferred to depend on the highly fallible computers instead. As a consequence, interplanetary diplomatic relations were somewhat strained until a nimble witted young man from Mars came up with the answer to the "sixty four dollar" question. ]

Zalen Lindsay stood on the rostrum in the huge new United Worlds auditorium on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain and looked out at an ocean of eye glasses. Individually they ranged in hue from the rose tinted spectacles of the Americans to the dark brown of the Soviet bloc. Their shapes and adornments were legion: round, harlequin, diamond, rhomboid, octagonal, square, oval; rimless, gem studded, horn rimmed, floral rimmed, rimmed in the cases of some of the lady representatives with immense artificial eyelashes.

The total effect, to Lindsay, was of looking at an immense page of printed matter composed entirely of punctuation marks. Unspectacled, he felt like a man from Mars. He was a man from Mars first Martian Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Second United Worlds Congress.

He wished he could see some of the eyes behind the protective goggles, for he knew he was making them blink.

He glanced down at the teleprompter in front of him purely to add effect to a pause, for he had memorized his speech and was delivering it without notes. On it was printed: HEY, BOSS DON'T FORGET YOU GOT A DINNER DATE WITH THE SEC GEN TONIGHT.

[Illustration]

Lindsay suppressed a smile and said, "In conclusion, I am qualified by the governors of Mars to promise that if we receive another shipment of British hunting boots we shall destroy them immediately upon unloading and refuse categorically to ship further beryllium to Earth.

"On Mars we raise animals for food, not for sport we consider human beings as the only fit athletic competition for other humans and we see small purpose in expending our resources mining beryllium or other metals for payment that is worse than worthless. In short, we will not be a dumping ground for Earth's surplus goods. I thank you."

The faint echo of his words came back to him as he stepped down from the rostrum and walked slowly to his solitary seat in the otherwise empty section allotted to representatives of alien planets. Otherwise there was no sound in the huge assemblage.

He felt a tremendous lift of tension, the joyousness of a man who has satisfied a lifelong yearning to toss a brick through a plate glass window and knows he will be arrested for it and doesn't care.

There was going to be hell to pay and Lindsay was honestly looking forward to it. While Secretary General Carlo Bergozza, his dark green spectacles resembling parenthesis marks on either side of his thin eagle beak, went through the motions of adjourning the Congress for forty eight hours, Lindsay considered his mission and its purpose.

Earth a planet whose age old feuds had been largely vitiated by the increasing rule of computer judgment and Mars, the one settled alien planet on which no computer had ever been built, were drifting dangerously apart.

It was, Lindsay thought with a trace of grimness, the same ancient story of the mother country and her overseas colonies, the same basic and seemingly inevitable trend, social and economic, that had led to the revolt of North America against England, three hundred years earlier.

On a far vaster and costlier scale, of course.

Lindsay had been sent to Earth, as his planet's first representative at the new United Worlds Congress, to see that this trend was halted before it led to irrevocable division... Continue reading book >>




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