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The Green Beret   By:

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Analog, January 1961. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.






It's not so much the decisions a man does make that mark him as a Man but the ones he refrains from making. Like the decision "I've had enough!"

Illustrated by Schoenherr

Read locked the door and drew his pistol. Sergeant Rashid handed Premier Umluana the warrant.

"We're from the UN Inspector Corps," Sergeant Rashid said. "I'm very sorry, but we have to arrest you and bring you in for trial by the World Court."

If Umluana noticed Read's gun, he didn't show it. He read the warrant carefully. When he finished, he said something in Dutch.

"I don't know your language," Rashid said.

"Then I'll speak English." Umluana was a small man with wrinkled brow, glasses and a mustache. His skin was a shade lighter than Read's. "The Inspector General doesn't have the power to arrest a head of state especially the Premier of Belderkan. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must return to my party."

In the other room people laughed and talked. Glasses clinked in the late afternoon. Read knew two armed men stood just outside the door. "If you leave, Premier, I'll have to shoot you."

"I don't think so," Umluana said. "No, if you kill me, all Africa will rise against the world. You don't want me dead. You want me in court."

Read clicked off the safety.

"Corporal Read is very young," Rashid said, "but he's a crack shot. That's why I brought him with me. I think he likes to shoot, too."

Umluana turned back to Rashid a second too soon. He saw the sergeant's upraised hand before it collided with his neck.

"Help! Kidnap. "

Rashid judo chopped him and swung the inert body over his shoulders. Read pulled a flat grenade from his vest pocket. He dropped it and yellow psycho gas hissed from the valve.

"Let's be off," Rashid said.

The door lock snapped as they went out the window. Two men with rifles plunged into the gas; sighing, they fell to the floor in a catatonic trance.

A little car skimmed across the lawn. Bearing the Scourge of Africa, Rashid struggled toward it. Read walked backward, covering their retreat.

The car stopped, whirling blades holding it a few inches off the lawn. They climbed in.

"How did it go?" The driver and another inspector occupied the front seat.

"They'll be after us in half a minute."

The other inspector carried a light machine gun and a box of grenades. "I better cover," he said.

"Thanks," Rashid said.

The inspector slid out of the car and ran to a clump of bushes. The driver pushed in the accelerator. As they swerved toward the south, Read saw a dozen armed men run out of the house. A grenade arced from the bushes and the pursuers recoiled from the cloud that rose before them.

"Is he all right?" the driver asked.

"I don't think I hurt him." Rashid took a syrette from his vest pocket. "Well, Read, it looks like we're in for a fight. In a few minutes Miaka Station will know we're coming. And God knows what will happen at the Game Preserve."

Read wanted to jump out of the car. He could die any minute. But he had set his life on a well oiled track and he couldn't get off until they reached Geneva.

"They don't know who's coming," he said. "They don't make them tough enough to stop this boy."

Staring straight ahead, he didn't see the sergeant smile.

Two types of recruits are accepted by the UN Inspector Corps: those with a fanatic loyalty to the ideals of peace and world order, and those who are loyal to nothing but themselves. Read was the second type... Continue reading book >>

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