Clifford Donald Simak
A Powerful Novel of Intrigue and Action in the
Not-So-Distant Future
by Clifford D. Simak
A Complete ORIGINAL Book, unabridged
Copyright 1951
Spencer Chambers frowned at the space gram on the desk before him.
John Moore Mallory. That was the man who had caused so much
trouble in the Jovian elections. The trouble maker who had shouted for
an investigation of Interplanetary Power. The man who had said that
Spencer Chambers and Interplanetary Power were waging economic
war against the people of the Solar System.
Chambers smiled. With long, well-kept fingers, he rubbed his iron-gray
John Moore Mallory was right; for that reason, he was a dangerous man.
Prison was the place for him, but probably a prison outside the Jovian
confederacy. Perhaps one of the prison ships that plied to the edge of

the System, clear to the orbit of Pluto. Or would the prison on Mercury
be better?
Spencer Chambers leaned back in his chair and matched his fingertips,
staring at them, frowning again.
Mercury was a hard place. A man's life wasn't worth much there.
Working in the power plants, where the Sun poured out its flaming
blast of heat, and radiations sucked the energy from one's body, in six
months, a year at most, any man was finished.
Chambers shook his head. Not Mercury. He had nothing against
Mallory. He had never met the man but he rather liked him. Mallory
was just a man fighting for a principle, the same as Chambers was
He was sorry that it had been necessary to put Mallory in prison. If the
man only had listened to reason, had accepted the proposals that had
been made, or just had dropped out of sight until the Jovian elections
were over... or at least had moderated his charges. But when he had
attempted to reveal the offers, which he termed bribery, something had
to be done.
Ludwig Stutsman had handled that part of it. Brilliant fellow, this
Stutsman, but as mean a human as ever walked on two legs. A man
utterly without mercy, entirely without principle. A man who would
stoop to any depth. But a useful man, a good one to have around to do
the dirty work. And dirty work sometimes was necessary.
Chambers picked up the spacegram again and studied it. Stutsman, out
on Callisto now, had sent it. He was doing a good job out there. The
Jovian confederacy, less than one Earth year under Interplanetary
domination, was still half rebellious, still angry at being forced to turn
over its government to the hand-picked officials of Chambers' company.
An iron heel was needed and Stutsman was that iron heel.
SO the people on the Jovian satellites wanted the release of John Moore
Mallory. "They're getting ugly," the spacegram said. It had been a

mistake to confine Mallory to Callisto. Stutsman should have thought
of that.
Chambers would instruct Stutsman to remove Mallory from the
Callisto prison, place him on one of the prison ships. Give instructions
to the captain to make things comfortable for him. When this furor had
blown over, after things had quieted down in the Jovian confederacy, it
might be possible to release Mallory. After all, the man wasn't really
guilty of any crime. It was a shame that he should be imprisoned when
racketeering rats like Scorio went scot-free right here in New York.
A buzzer purred softly and Chambers reached out to press a stud.
"Dr. Craven to see you," his secretary said. "You asked to see him. Mr.
"All right," said Chambers. "Send him right in."
He clicked the stud again, picked up his pen, wrote out a spacegram to
Stutsman, and signed it.
Dr. Herbert Craven stood just inside the door, his black suit wrinkled
and untidy, his sparse sandy hair standing on end.
"You sent for me," he said sourly.
"Sit down, Doctor," invited Chambers.
* * *
Craven sat down. He peered at Chambers through thick-lensed glasses.
"I haven't much time," he declared acidly.
"Cigar?" Chambers offered.
"Never smoke."
"A drink, then?"

"You know I don't drink," snapped Craven.
"Doctor," said Chambers, "you're the least sociable man I've ever
known. What do you do to enjoy yourself?"
"I work," said Craven. "I find it interesting."
"You must. You even begrudge the time it takes to talk with me."
"I won't deny it. What do you want this time?"
Chambers swung about to face him squarely across the desk. There was
a cold look in the financier's gray eyes and his lips were grim.
"Craven," he said, "I don't trust you. I've never trusted you. Probably
that's no news to you."
"You don't trust anyone,"
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