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The Cartels Jungle   By:

The Cartels Jungle by Irving E. Cox

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Fantastic Universe September 1955. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[ In most ideally conceived Utopias the world as it exists is depicted as a mushrooming horror of maladjustment, cruelty and crime. In this startlingly original short novel that basic premise is granted, but only to pave the way for an approach to Utopia over a highway of the mind so daringly unusual we predict you'll forget completely that you're embarking on a fictional excursion into the future by one of the most gifted writers in the field. And that forgetfulness will be accompanied by the startling realization that Irving E. Cox has a great deal more than a storyteller's magic to impart. ]

the cartels jungle

by ... Irving E. Cox, Jr.

It was a world of greedy Dynasts each contending for the right to pillage and enslave. But one man's valor became a shining shield.

... and he who overcomes an enemy by fraud is as much to be praised as he who does so by force.

Machiavelli, DISCORSI, III, 1531

The captain walked down the ramp carrying a lightweight bag. To a discerning eye, that bag meant only one thing: Max Hunter had quit the service. A spaceman on leave never took personal belongings from his ship, because without a bag he could by pass the tedious wait for a customs clearance.

From the foot of the ramp a gray haired port hand called up to Hunter, "So you're really through, Max?"

"I always said, by the time I was twenty six "

"Lots of guys think they'll make it. I did once myself. Look at me now. I'm no good in the ships any more, so they bust me back to port hand. It's too damn easy to throw your credits away in the crumb joints."

"I'm getting married," Hunter replied. "Ann and I worked this out when I joined the service. Now we have the capital to open her clinic and ninety six thousand credits, salted away in the Solar First National Fund."

"Every youngster starts out like you did, but something always happens. The girl doesn't wait, maybe. Or he gets to thinking he can pile up credits faster in the company casinos." The old man saluted. "So long, boy. It does my soul good to meet one guy who's getting out of this crazy space racket."

Max Hunter strode along the fenced causeway toward the low, pink walled municipal building, shimmering in the desert sun. Behind him the repair docks and the launching tubes made a ragged silhouette against the sky.

Hunter felt no romantic inclination to look back. He had always been amused by the insipid, Tri D space operas. To Hunter it had been a business a job different from other occupations only because the risks were greater and the bonus scale higher.

Ann would be waiting in the lobby, as she always was when he came in from a flight. But today when they left the field, it would be for keeps. Anticipation made his memory of Ann Saymer suddenly vivid the caress of her lips, the delicate scent of her hair, her quick smile and the pert upturn of her nose.

Captain Hunter thought of Ann as small and delicate, yet neither term was strictly applicable except subjectively in relation to himself. Hunter towered a good four inches above six feet. His shoulders were broad and powerful, his hips narrow, and his belly flat and hard. He moved with the co ordination that had become second nature to him after a decade of frontier war. He was the typical spaceman, holding a First in his profession.

As was his privilege, he still wore his captain's uniform dress boots of black plastic, tight fitting trousers, and a scarlet jacket bearing the gold insignia of Consolidated Solar Industries... Continue reading book >>

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