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Political Application   By:

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This etext was produced from Fantastic Universe, September 1956. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

John Victor Peterson lives in Jackson Heights, almost a stone's throw from La Guardia Airfield. But he doesn't just stand and watch the big planes roar past overhead. He has the kind of brilliant technical know how which makes what goes on inside of a plane of paramount interest to him. He's interested, too, in the future superduper gadgetry, as this hilarious yarn attests.

POLITICAL APPLICATION

by ... John Victor Peterson

If matter transference really works neanderthalers can pop up anywhere. And that's very hard on politicians!

Some say scientists should keep their noses out of politics. Benson says it's to prevent damage to their olfactory senses. Benson's a physicist.

I've known Allan Benson for a long time. In fact I've bodyguarded him for years and think I understand him better than he does himself. And when he shook security at White Sands, my boss didn't hesitate to tell me that knowing Benson as I do I certainly shouldn't have let him skip off. Or crisp words to that effect.

The pressure was on. Benson was seeking a new fuel or a way of compressing a known fuel to carry a torchship to Mars. His loss could mean a delay of decades. We knew he'd been close, but not how close.

My nickname's Monk. I've fought it, certainly, but what can you do when a well wishing mother names you after a wealthy uncle and your birth certificate says Neander Thalberg? As early as high school some bright pundit noted the name's similarity to that of a certain prehistoric man. Unfortunately the similarity is not in name alone: I'm muscular, stooped, and, I must admit, not handsome hero model material.

Well, maybe the nickname's justified, but still, Al Benson didn't have to give the crowning insult. And yet, if he hadn't, there probably wouldn't be a torchship stern ending on Mars just about now.

C. I. (Central Intelligence, that is) at the Sands figured Benson would head for New York. Which is why the boss sent me here. I registered in a hotel in the 50's and, figuring that whatever Benson intended to do would have spectacular results, I kept the stereo on News.

Benson's wife hadn't yielded much info. Sure she described the clothes he was wearing and said he'd taken nothing else except an artist's case. What was in that was anybody's guess; his private lab is such a jumble nobody could tell what, if anything, was missing.

C. I. knew his political feelings. Seems he'd been talking wild about the upcoming presidential election and had sworn he'd nip the draft Cadigan movement in the bud. Cadigan's Mayor of New York City. He's anti space. In fact, Cadigan's anti just about everything in science except intercontinental missiles. Strictly for defense, of course. Cadigan says.

A weathercaster was making rash promises on the stereo when the potray dinged. The potray? I certainly wasn't expecting mail. Only C. I. knew where I was and they'd have closed circuited me on visio if they wanted contact.

The potray dinged and there was a package in it.

Now matter transference I knew. It put mailmen out of business. There's a potray in every domicile and you can put things in it, dial the destination and they come out there. They come out the same size and weight and in the same condition as they went in, provided they didn't go in alive. Life loses, as many a shade of a hopeful guinea pig could relate.

So the potray dinged and here was this package. At first glance it looked like one of those cereal samples manufacturers have been everlastingly sending through since postal rates dropped after cost of the potrays had been amortized. But cereal samples don't come through at midday; they're night traffic stuff.

The package was light, its wrapping curiously smooth. There was an envelope attached with my correct name and potray number... Continue reading book >>




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