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´╗┐Title: Political Application
Author: Peterson, John Victor
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Political Application" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



    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. Whoever had
mailed it must be in C. I. or must know someone in C. I. who knew
where I was.

The postmark was blurred but I could make out that it had been cast
from Grand Central. Time didn't matter. It couldn't have been cast
more than a microsecond earlier.

The envelope contained a card upon which was typed:

"Caution! Site on cylinder of 2 ft. radius and 6 ft. height. Unwrap at
armslength."

Now what? A practical joke? If so, it must be Benson's work. He's
played plenty, from pumping hydrogen sulphide (that's rotten egg gas,
as you know) into the air-conditioning system at high school to
calling a gynecologist to the launching stage at the Sands to sever an
umbilical cord which he neglected to say was on a Viking rocket.

I followed the instructions. As I bent back the first fold of the
strange wrapping it came alive, unfolding itself with incredible
swiftness.

Something burst forth like a freed djinn--almost instantaneously
lengthening, spreading--a thing with beetling brows, low, broad
forehead, prognathous jaw, and a hunched, brutally muscular body, with
a great club over its swollen shoulder.

I went precipitously backward over a coffee table.

It stabilized, a dead mockery, replica of a Neanderthal.

A placard hung on its chest. I read this:

"Even some of the early huntsmen weren't successful. Abandon the
chase, Monk. I've things to do and this--your blood brother, no
doubt--couldn't catch me any more than you can!"

Which positively infuriated me.

Do you blame me?

A few cussing, cussed minutes later I realized what Al Benson had
apparently done: solved the torchship's fuel problem.

Oh, I'd seen Klein bottles and Mobius strips and other things that
twist in on themselves and into other dimensions, twisting into
microcosms and macrocosms--into elsewhere, in any event. And here I
had visual evidence that Benson had had something nearly six feet tall
and certainly two feet in breadth enclosed in a nearly weightless
carton less than eight inches on the side!

Sufficient fuel for a Marstrip? Just wrap it up!

The stereo's audio was saying: "... from the Museum of Natural
History. Curators are compiling a list of the missing exhibits which
we will reveal to you on this channel as soon as it's available. Now
we switch to Dick Joy at City Hall with news of the latest exhibit
found. Come in, Dick!"

On the steps of City Hall was a full size replica of a mastodon over
whose massive back was draped a banner bearing the slogan: "The
Universal Party is for you! Don't return to prehistory with Cadigan!
Re-elect President Ollie James and go to the stars!"

And there was a closeup of Mayor Cadigan standing pompous and
wrathful--and looking very diminutive--behind the emblem of his
opposition party.

Dick Joy was saying, "Eyewitnesses claim that this replica--obviously
one of the items stolen from the Museum of Natural History--suddenly
materialized here. Immediately prior to the alleged materialization a
man--whose photograph we show now--ostensibly bent down to tie a
shoelace, setting a shoebox beside him. He left the box, walking off
into the gathering crowd, and this mastodon _seemed_ to spring into
being where the shoebox had been.

"The mastodon replica has been examined. A report just handed me says
it is definitely that from the Museum and that it could not
conceivably have been contained in a shoebox. It's obviously a case of
mass hypnotism. The replica must have been trucked here. There's no
other possible explanation. Excuse me!"

Dick Joy turned away, then back.

"I have just been handed a notice that Mayor Cadigan wishes to say a
few words and I hereby introduce him, His Honor the Mayor, Joseph F.
Cadigan!"

His balding, fragmentarily curly-haired Honor glared.

"Friends," he said chokingly, "whatever madman is responsible for this
outrageous act will not go unpunished. I call upon the City's Finest
to track him down and bring him to justice.

"I am for justice, for equality and peace. I--"

His Honor was apparently determined to use all the time he could.
Being a newscast, it was for free.

I killed the stereo. And the visio rang. It was Phil Pollini, the C.
I. Chief.

"Monk," he said, "guess you've seen the stereo. Al's out to fix the
Mayor's wagon."

"Say that again," I said, having a brainstorm.

"Now, look--" he started.

"Maybe you've got something there, Chief," I cut in. "Cadigan's got
the superduper of all wagons--a seven passenger luxury limousine with
bulletproof glass, stereo, a bar, venetian blinds and heaven knows
what else. Hot and cold running androids, maybe. He prowls the
elevated highways with an 'In Conference' sign flashing over the
windshield. So's he can't be wire-tapped or miked, I guess. It'd be a
natch for Al Benson to go for."

Pollini grinned.

"So if you were Benson what'd you do to fix the Mayor's wagon?"

"Hitch it to a star," I said, "and the closest spot to a star would be
the observation platform of the Greater Empire State."

"You're probably right," the Chief said. "Get going!"

I got.

Ten minutes later I walked out onto the observation platform on the
150th floor of the Greater Empire State Building--and found an
incredulous crowd gathered around the mayor's limousine. I felt good.
I'd predicted.

I asked a guard, "How'd it get here?"

His eyebrows were threatening a back somersault.

"Don't know," he said. "I was looking over the side; then turned
around and here it was! You have any ideas?"

Which is when I spotted Al Benson.

I settled for shoving Benson toward the elevator, being careful since
he had a box under each arm. We made the elevator and went down and it
stopped on the 120th floor and the operator said, "Change here for all
lower floors and the street--"

As we waited on the 120th for the down elevator, the P. A. system
barked:

"Attention all building occupants. By order of the Mayor no one will
be permitted to leave the building until further notice. Please remain
where you are. We will try not to inconvenience you for any great
time."

There was no one close to us.

"Al," I said, "look, stinker, you've had your fun but this is it. I
don't know what you've got in those boxes but you've got to turn them
over--and yourself--to the next copper who shows. This is a civil
matter, strictly local, and not C. I."

Benson grinned. "Got to make a delivery first, Monk. Look, there's a
potray over there. Can I use it?"

His grin was infectious. "So what are you going to send where?" I
asked as sternly as I could.

"The Mayor's personal files," he said. "I managed to carry them out of
City Hall--once they'd been suitably wrapped, of course! I'm sending
them to the Senate Investigation Committee. Don't worry, Monk, His
Honor won't be President this or any year!"

I helped him dial the SIC number.

"What about the other package?" I asked him then.

"Insurance," he said. "Come out on the setback."

He placed the last package on the mosaic tile of the terrace, untied
its string, flipped open the edge of the Benson wrapping and jumped
back.

It was an NYC police helicopter.

We potrayed it back from the Sands. Suitably wrapped, of course.

That was a month ago. Most of it never came out in the papers. Nothing
of Benson's invention. C. I. thought it should be squelched, at least
until Benson and the boys get back from Mars.

Which would be the end except for the packages. Yes, Benson left a
gross of them with me and I've been mailing them one a day to the
leaders of the opposition party. I don't truly know what's in them, of
course. But it's very curious that the day before the torchship left
exactly one hundred and forty-four cylinders of hydrogen sulphide were
missing from quartermaster stores. Coincidentally one of my C. I.
friends tells me Benson had him rig up a gross of automatic releases
for gas cylinders.

Adding it up, it could be a good lesson for politicians to keep their
noses out of science.





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