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The Ethical Way   By:

The Ethical Way by Joseph Farrell

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Galaxy Science Fiction March 1958. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

The Ethical Way


There is a way around every tabu, knock on wood but just watch out that the wood doesn't knock back!

Illustrated by JOHNSON

"Is it time?" Jarth Rolan asked anxiously. Pilot Lan Barda pushed him gently back into a seat. "No, but very soon. And be calm you're jumpier than a human."

"But we've waited so long yes, a long time. And I am anxious to get home."

Lan peered calmly out of his vehicle. They were hovering in Earth's upper atmosphere, at the permitted limit.

"Be patient. These people have almost reached the critical point. We'll get the signal before long."

Jarth Rolan popped out of his chair and danced about in nervous excitement.

"Won't it be dangerous? For us, I mean. Going down into that radioactive atmosphere. And how about them will any of them live? Suppose we wait too long?"

Lan Barda laughed. He was a husky humanoid, pinkish of skin and completely hairless, like all galactics. He slapped Jarth Rolan's back.

"We have experts watching. These humans have used four cobalt bombs, and plenty of smaller stuff. The fallout is close to the danger point. Our observers will know just when we can move in because " he winked and his voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper "they're using automatically controlled instruments."

"Oh, my!" Jarth Rolan clapped his hands to his cheeks. "But those are robots and the use of robots is against religion."

"I know, Jarth. But we won't be using them much longer, will we?" He poked a playful finger into Jarth's ribs. "We'll have slaves and it'll be completely ethical."

Jarth Rolan winced. "Must you use that word 'slaves,' Lan? It sounds so " He waved his hands.

Lan laughed again. "Be honest with yourself, Jarth. You're out to make a few dopolins for yourself as a slave raider."

"An entrepreneur," said Jarth. "In personal services."

Lan Barda became serious. "There's the signal it's time to go down. Let's go, Jarth, before somebody else gets them all."

An hour later, it was Lan Barda's turn to be nervous. He watched a needle creep into the red zone.

"Hurry, Jarth. We've been on this planet long enough. That fifth cobalt bomb is sending the index up fast. Can't you skip these last few?"

"Oh, no. Very unethical to leave these three here to die. Must take a small chance, you know. Besides, see the sign on that taxi just married. A fine young couple. And a fine young taxi driver. Couldn't sleep if I didn't help these three."

"Couldn't sleep thinking of the profit you'd passed up. Here, let me take that one. We have to get out of here fast."

Jarth Rolan fluttered anxiously about the pilot until they were safely above the poisoned atmosphere.

"How many?" he asked. "Did we fill the ship?"

Lan Barda checked off items on his clipboard. "A thousand and three, with these last ones. You'll make a good profit."

"Not so much the profit. Oh, no. More than that involved. Ethics and religion, Lan. Yes. With all these sla servants, our people will never have to use robots. They'll be relieved of routine labor and can devote their lives to art and science. And it's all ethical oh, yes, for these people were doomed."

"Want to know something, Jarth?" Lan Barda bent closer and whispered wickedly. "This ship has automatic controls. Has to. No living being has fast enough reactions to handle an interstellar ship. All robot driven, at least in part."

"Robots! May we be forgiven!" Jarth stared suspiciously at Lan Barda. "Sometimes, Lan, I think you are an agnostic."

The pilot became more serious. "Maybe, Jarth. In our work, we must use robots... Continue reading book >>

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