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Title: Status Quo
Author: Reynolds, Mack, 1917-1983
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 "Status Quo" ***

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                                Status Quo

                        by Dallas McCord Reynolds

                      Illustrated by John Schoenherr

                      Analog Science Fact & Fiction

                               August 1961



[Transcriber’s Note: This text was produced from Analog Science Fact &
Fiction August 1961.  Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

In his income bracket and in the suburb in which he lived, government
employees in the twenty-five to thirty-five age group were currently
wearing tweeds. Tweeds were in. Not to wear tweeds was Non-U.

Lawrence Woolford wore tweeds. His suit, this morning, had first seen the
light of day on a hand loom in Donegal. It had been cut by a Swede widely
patronized by serious young career men in Lawrence Woolford’s status
group; English tailors were out currently and Italians unheard of.

Woolford sauntered down the walk before his auto-bungalow, scowling at the
sportscar at the curb—wrong year, wrong make. He’d have to trade it in on
a new model. Which was a shame in a way, he liked the car. However, he had
no desire to get a reputation as a weird among colleagues and friends.
What was it Senator Carey MacArthur had said the other day? Show me a
weird and I’ll show you a person who has taken the first step toward being
a Commie.

Woolford slid under the wheel, dropped the lift lever, depressed gently
the thrust pedal and took off for downtown Greater Washington.
Theoretically, he had another four days of vacation coming to him. He
wondered what the Boss wanted. That was the trouble in being one of the
Boss’ favorite trouble shooters, when trouble arose you wound up in the
middle of it. Lawrence Woolford was to the point where he was thinking in
terms of graduating out of field work and taking on a desk job which meant
promotion in status and pay.

He turned over his car to a parker at the departmental parking lot and
made his way through the entrance utilized by second-grade departmental
officials. In another year, he told himself, he’d be using that other
door.

The Boss’ reception secretary looked up when Lawrence Woolford entered the
anteroom where she presided. “Hello, Larry,” she said. “Hear they called
your vacation short. Darn shame.”

LaVerne Polk was a cute little whizz of efficiency. Like Napoleon and his
army, she knew the name of every member of the department and was on a
first-name basis with all. However, she was definitely a weird. For
instance, styles might come and styles might go, but LaVerne dressed for
comfort, did her hair the way she thought it looked best, and wore
low-heeled walking shoes on the job. In fact, she was ready and willing to
snarl at anyone, no matter how kindly intentioned, who even hinted that
her nonconformity didn’t help her promotion prospects.

Woolford said, “Hi, LaVerne. I think the Boss is expecting me.”

“That he is. Go right in, Larry.”

She looked after him when he turned and left her desk. Lawrence Woolford
cut a pleasant figure as thirty year old bachelors go.

The Boss looked up from some report on his desk which he’d been frowning
at, nodded to his field man and said, “Sit down, Lawrence. I’ll be with
you in a minute. Please take a look at this while you’re waiting.” He
handed over a banknote.

Larry Woolford took it and found himself a comfortable chair. He examined
the bill, front and back. It was a fifty dollar note, almost new.

Finally the Boss, a stocky but impeccable career bureaucrat of the
ultra-latest school, scribbled his initials on the report and tossed it
into an Out chute. He said to Woolford, “I am sorry to cut short your
vacation, Lawrence. I considered giving Walter Foster the assignment, but
I think you’re the better choice.”

Larry decided the faint praise routine was the best tactic, said earnestly
about his closest rival. “Walt’s a good man, sir.” And then, “What’s the
crisis?”

“What do you think of that fifty?”

His trouble shooter looked down at it. “What is there to think about it?”

The Boss grunted, slid open a desk drawer and brought forth another bill.
“Here, look at this, please.”

It was another fifty. Larry Woolford frowned at it, not getting whatever
was going on.

“Observe the serial numbers,” the Boss said impatiently.

They were identical.

Woolford looked up. “Counterfeit. Which one is the bad one?”

“That is exactly what we would like to know,” the Boss said.

Larry Woolford stared at his superior, blinked and then examined the bills
again. “A beautiful job,” he said, “but what’s it got to do with us, sir?
This is Secret Service jurisdiction, counterfeiting.”

“They called us in on it. They think it might have international
ramifications.”

Now they were getting somewhere. Larry Woolford put the two bills on the
Boss’ desk and leaned back in his chair, waiting.

His superior said, “Remember the Nazis turning out American and British
banknotes during the Second War?”

“I was just a kid.”

“I thought you might have read about it. At any rate, obviously a
government—with all its resources—could counterfeit perfectly any currency
in the world. It would have the skills, the equipment, the funds to
accomplish the task. The Germans turned out hundreds of millions of
dollars and pounds with the idea of confounding the Allied financial
basics.”

“And why didn’t it work?”

“The difficulty of getting it into circulation, for one thing. However,
they did actually use a quantity. For a time our people were so alarmed
that they wouldn’t allow any bills to come into this country from Mexico
except two-dollar denomination—the one denomination the Germans hadn’t
bothered to duplicate. Oh, they had the Secret Service in a dither for a
time.”

Woolford was frowning. “What’s this got to do with our current situation?”

The Boss said, “It is only a conjecture. One of those bills is counterfeit
but such an excellent reproduction that the skill involved is beyond the
resources of any known counterfeiter. Secret Service wants to know if it
might be coming from abroad, and, if so, from where. If it’s a
governmental project, particularly a Soviet Complex one, then it comes
into the ken of our particular cloak-and-dagger department.”

“Yes, sir.” Woolford said. He got up and examined the two bills again.
“How’d they ever detect that one was bad?”

“Pure fortune. A bank clerk with an all but eidetic memory was going
through a batch of fifties. It’s not too commonly used a denomination, you
know. Coincidence was involved since in that same sheaf the serial number
was duplicated.”

“And then?”

“The reproduction was so perfect that Secret Service was in an immediate
uproar. Short of the Nazi effort, there has never been anything like it. A
perfect duplication of engraving and paper identically the same. The
counterfeiters have even evidently gone to the extent of putting a certain
amount of artificial wear on the bills before putting them into
circulation.”

Larry Woolford said, “This is out of my line. How were they able to check
further, and how many more did they turn up?”

“The new I.B.M. sorters help. Secret Service checked every fifty dollar
bill in every institution in town both banking and governmental. Thus far,
they have located ten bills in all.”

“And other cities?”

“None. They’ve all been passed in Greater Washington, which is suspicious
in itself. The amount of expense that has gone into the manufacture of
these bills does not allow for only a handful of them being passed. They
should be turning up in number. Lawrence, this reproduction is such that a
pusher could walk into a bank and have his false currency changed by any
clerk.”

“Wow,” Larry whistled.

“Indeed.”

“So you want me to work with Secret Service on this on the off chance that
the Soviet Complex is doing us deliberate dirt.”

“That is exactly the idea, Lawrence. Get to work, please, and keep in
touch with me. If you need support, I can assign Walter Foster or some of
the other operatives to assist you. This might have endless
ramifications.”

                  -------------------------------------

Back in the anteroom, Woolford said to the Boss’ receptionist, “I’m on a
local job, LaVerne, how about assigning me a girl?”

“Can do,” she said.

“And, look, tell her to get hold of every available work on counterfeiting
and pile it on my desk.”

“Right. Thinking of going into business, Larry?”

He grinned down at her. “That’s the idea. Keeping up with the Jones clan
in this man’s town costs roughly twice my income.”

LaVerne said disapprovingly, “Then why not give it up? With the
classification you’ve got a single man ought to be able to save half his
pay.” She added, more quietly, “Or get married and support a family.”

“Save half my pay?” Larry snorted. “And get a far out reputation, eh? No
thanks, you can’t afford to be a weird these days.”

She flushed—and damn prettily, Larry Woolford decided. She could be an
attractive item if it wasn’t for obviously getting her kicks out of being
individualistic.

Larry said suddenly, “Look, promise like a good girl not to make us
conspicuous and I’ll take you to the Swank Room for dinner tonight.”

“Is that where all the bright young men currently have to be seen once or
twice a week?” she snapped back at him. “Get lost, Larry. Being a healthy,
normal woman I’m interested in men, but not necessarily in walking
status-symbols.”

It was his turn to flush, and, he decided wryly, he probably didn’t do it
as prettily as she did.

On his way to his office, he wondered why the Boss kept her on.
Classically, a secretary-receptionist should have every pore in place, but
in her time LaVerne Polk must have caused more than one bureaucratic
eyebrow to raise. Efficiency was probably the answer; the Boss couldn’t
afford to let her go.

Larry Woolford’s office wasn’t much more than a cubicle. He sat down at
the desk and banged a drawer or two open and closed. He liked the work,
liked the department, but theoretically he still had several days of
vacation and hated to get back into routine.

Had he known it, this was hardly going to be routine.

He flicked the phone finally and asked for an outline. He dialed three
numbers before getting his subject. The phone screen remained blank.

“Hans?” he said. “Lawrence Woolford.”

The Teutonic accent was heavy, the voice bluff. “Ah, Larry! you need some
assistance to make your vacation? Perhaps a sinister, exotic young lady,
complete with long cigarette holder?”

Larry Woolford growled, “How’d you know I was on vacation?”

The other laughed. “You know better than to ask that, my friend.”

Larry said, “The vacation is over, Hans. I need some information.”

The voice was more guarded now. “I owe you a favor or two.”

“Don’t you though? Look, Hans, what’s new in the Russkie camp?”

The heartiness was gone. “How do you mean?”

“Is there anything big stirring?  Is there anyone new in this country from
the Soviet Complex?”

“Well now—” the other’s voice drifted away.

Larry Woolford said impatiently, “Look, Hans, let’s don’t waste time
fencing. You run a clearing agency for, _ah_, information. You’re strictly
a businessman, nonpartisan, so to speak. Fine, thus far our department has
tolerated you. Perhaps we’ll continue to. Perhaps the reason is that we
figure we get more out of your existence than we lose. The Russkies
evidently figure the same way, the proof being that you’re alive and have
branches in the capitals of every power on Earth.”

“All right, all right,” the German said. “Let me think a moment. Can you
give me an idea of what you’re looking for?” There was an undernote of
interest in the voice now.

“No. I just want to know if you’ve heard anything new anti-my-side, from
the other side. Or if you know of any fresh personnel recently from
there.”

“Frankly, I haven’t. If you could give me a hint.”

“I can’t,” Larry said. “Look, Hans, like you say, you owe me a favor or
two. If something comes up, let me know. Then I’ll owe you one.”

The voice was jovial again. “It’s a bargain, my friend.”

After Woolford had hung up, he scowled at the phone. He wondered if Hans
Distelmayer was lying. The German commanded the largest professional spy
ring in the world. It was possible, but difficult, for anything in
espionage to develop without his having an inkling.

The phone rang back. It was Steve Hackett of Secret Service on the screen.

Hackett said, “Woolford, you coming over? I understand you’ve been
assigned to get in our hair on this job.”

“Huh,” Larry grunted. “The way I hear it, your whole department has given
up, so I’m assigned to help you out of your usual fumble-fingered
confusion.”

Hackett snorted. “At any rate, can you drop over? I’m to work in liaison
with you.”

“Coming,” Larry said. He hung up, got to his feet and headed for the door.
If they could crack this thing the first day, he’d take up that vacation
where it’d been interrupted and possibly be able to wangle a few more days
out of the Boss to boot.

At this time of day, parking would have been a problem, in spite of
automation of the streets. He left his car in the departmental lot and
took a cab.

                  -------------------------------------

The Counterfeit Division of the Secret Service occupied an impressive
section of an impressive governmental building. Larry Woolford flashed his
credentials here and there, explained to guards and receptionists here and
there, and finally wound up in Steve Hackett’s office which was all but a
duplicate of his own in size and decor.

Steve Hackett himself was a fairly accurate carbon copy of Woolford,
barring facial resemblance alone.  The fact was, Steve was almost
Lincolnesque in his ugliness. Career man, about thirty, good university,
crew cut, six foot, one hundred and seventy, earnest of eye. He wore
Harris tweed. Larry Woolford made a note of that; possibly herringbone was
coming back in. He winced at the thought of a major change in his
wardrobe; it’d cost a fortune.

They’d worked on a few cases together before when Steve Hackett had been
assigned to the presidential bodyguard and co-operated well.

Steve came to his feet and shook hands. “Thought that you were going to be
down in Florida bass fishing this month. You like your work so well you
can’t stay away, or is it a matter of trying to impress your chief?”

Larry growled, “Fine thing. Secret Service bogs down and they’ve got to
call me in to clean up the mess.”

Steve motioned him to a chair and immediately went serious. “Do you know
anything about pushing queer, Woolford?”

“That means passing counterfeit money, doesn’t it?  All I know is what’s
in the TriD crime shows.”

“I can see you’re going to be a lot of help. Have you got anywhere at all
on the possibility that the stuff might be coming from abroad?”

“Nothing positive,” Larry said. “Are you people accomplishing anything?”

“We’re just getting underway. There’s something off-trail about this deal,
Woolford. It doesn’t fit into routine.”

Larry Woolford said, “I wouldn’t think so if the stuff is so good not even
a bank clerk can tell the difference.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about now. Let me give you a run down on
standard counterfeiting.” The Secret Service agent pushed back in his
swivel chair, lit a cigarette, and propped his feet onto the edge of a
partly open desk drawer. “Briefly, it goes like this. Some smart lad gets
himself a set of plates and a platen press and—”

Larry interrupted, “Where does he get the plates?”

“That doesn’t matter now,” Steve said. “Various ways. Maybe he makes them
himself, sometimes he buys them from a crooked engraver. But I’m talking
about pushing green goods once it’s printed. Anyway, our friend runs off,
say, a million dollars worth of fives. But he doesn’t try to pass them
himself. He wholesales them around netting, say, fifty thousand dollars.
In other words, he sells twenty dollars in counterfeit for one good
dollar.”

Larry pursed his lips. “Quite a discount.”

“Um-m-m. But that’s safest from his angle. The half dozen or so
distributors he sold it to don’t try to pass it either. They also are
playing it carefully. They peddle it, at say ten to one, to the next rung
down the ladder.”

“And these are the fellows that pass it, eh?”

“Not even then, usually. These small timers take it and pass it on at five
to one to the suckers in the trade, who take the biggest risks. Most of
these are professional pushers of the queer, as the term goes. Some,
however, are comparative amateurs. Sailors for instance, who buy with the
idea of passing it in some foreign port where seamen’s money flows fast.”

Larry Woolford shifted in his chair. “So what are you building up to?”

Steve Hackett rubbed the end of his pug nose with a forefinger in quick
irritation. “Like I say, that’s standard counterfeit procedure. We’re all
set up to meet it, and do a pretty good job. Where we have our
difficulties is with amateurs.”

Woolford scowled at him.

Hackett said, “Some guy who makes and passes it himself, for instance.
He’s unknown to the stool pigeons, has no criminal record, does up
comparatively small amounts and dribbles his product onto the market over
a period of time. We had one old devil up in New York once who actually
_drew_ one dollar bills. He was a tremendous artist. It took us years to
get him.”

Larry Woolford said, “Well, why go into all this? We’re hardly dealing
with amateurs now.”

Steve looked at him. “That’s the trouble. We are.”

“Are you batty? Not even your own experts can tell this product from real
money.”

“I didn’t say it was being _made_ by amateurs. It’s being _pushed_ by
amateurs—or maybe amateur is the better word.”

“How do you know?”

“For one thing, most professionals won’t touch anything bigger than a
twenty. Tens are better, fives better still. When you pass a fifty, the
person you give it to is apt to remember where he got it.” Steve Hackett
said slowly, “Particularly if you give one as a tip to the _maître
d’hôtel_ in a first-class restaurant. A _maître d’_ holds his job on the
strength of his ability to remember faces and names.”

                             [Illustration.]

“What else makes you think your pushers are amateurs?”

“Amateur,” Hackett corrected. “Ideally, a pusher is an inconspicuous type.
The kind of person whose face you’d never remember. It’s never a teenage
girl who’s blowing money.”

It was time to stare now, and Larry Woolford obliged. “A teenager!”

“We’ve had four descriptions of her, one of them excellent. Fredrick, the
_maître d’_ over at La Calvados, is the one that counts, but the others
jibe. She’s bought perfume and gloves at Michel Swiss, the swankiest shop
in town, a dress at Chez Marie—she passed three fifties there—and a hat at
Paulette’s over on Monroe Street.

“That’s another sign of the amateur, by the way. A competent pusher buys a
small item and gets change from his counterfeit bill. Our girl’s been
buying expensive items, obviously more interested in the product than in
her change.”

“This doesn’t seem to make much sense,” Larry Woolford protested. “You
have any ideas at all?”

“The question is,” Hackett said, “where did she get it? Is she connected
with one of the embassies and acquired the stuff overseas? If so, that
puts it in your lap again possibly—”

The phone rang and Steve flicked the switch and grumbled, “Yeah? Steven
Hackett speaking.”

He listened for a moment then banged the phone off and jumped to his feet.
“Come on, Larry,” he snapped. “This is it.”

Larry stood, too. “Who was that?”

“Fredrick, over at La Calvados. The girl has come in for lunch. Let’s go!”

                  -------------------------------------

La Calvados was the swankiest French restaurant in Greater Washington, a
city not devoid of swank restaurants. Only the upper-echelons in
governmental circles could afford its tariffs; the clientele was more apt
to consist of business mucky-mucks and lobbyists on the make. Larry
Woolford had eaten here exactly twice. You could get a reputation spending
money far beyond your obvious pay status.

Fredrick, the _maître de hôtel_, however, was able to greet them both by
name. “Monsieur Hackett, Monsieur Woolford,” he bowed. He obviously didn’t
approve of La Calvados being used as a hangout where counterfeiters were
picked up the authorities.

“Where is she?” Steve said, looking out over the public dining room.

Fredrick said, unprofessionally agitated, “See here, Monsieur Hackett, you
didn’t expect to, ah, arrest the young lady _here_ during our lunch hour?”

Steve looked at him impatiently. “We don’t exactly beat them over the head
with blackjacks, slip the bracelets on and drag them screaming to the
paddywagon.”

“Of course not, monsieur, but—”

Larry Woolford’s chief dined here several times a week and was probably on
the best of terms with Fredrick whose decisions on tables and whose degree
of servility had a good deal of influence on a man’s status in Greater
Washington. Larry said wearily, “We can wait until she leaves. Where is
she?”

Fredrick had taken them to one side.

“Do you see the young lady over near the window on the park? The rather
gauche appearing type?”

It was a teenager, all right. A youngster up to her eyebrows in the
attempt to project sophistication.

Steve said, “Do you know who she is?”

“No,” Fredrick said. “Hardly our usual clientele.”

“Oh?” Larry said. “She looks like money.”

Fredrick said, “The dress appears as though it is of Chez Marie, but she
wears it as though it came from Klein’s. Her perfume is Chanel, but she
has used approximately three times the quantity one would expect.”

“That’s our girl, all right,” Steve murmured. “Where can we keep an eye on
her until she leaves?”

“Why not at the bar here, Messieurs?”

“Why not?” Larry said. “I could use a drink.”

Fredrick cleared his throat. “Ah, Messieurs, that fifty I turned over you.
I suppose it turned out to be spurious?”

Steve grinned at him. “Afraid so, Fredrick. The department is holding it.”

Larry took out his wallet. “However, we have a certain leeway on expenses
on this assignment and appreciate your co-operation.” He handed two
twenties and a ten to the _maître d’_. Fredrick bowed low, the money
disappearing into his clothes magically. “_Merci bien_, monsieur.”

At the bar, Steve scowled at his colleague. “Ha!” he said. “Why didn’t I
think of that first? He’ll get down on his knees and bump his head each
time he sees you in the joint from now on.”

Larry Woolford waggled a finger at the other. “This is a status conscious
town, my boy. Prestige means everything. When I take over my Boss’ job,
maybe we can swing a transfer and I’ll give you a position suitable to
your attainments.” He pursed his lips judiciously. “Although, come to
think of it, that might mean a demotion from the job you’re holding now.”

“Vodka martini,” Steve told the bartender. “Polish vodka, of course.”

“Of course, sir.”

Larry said, “Same for me.”

The bartender left and Steve muttered, “I hate vodka.”

“Yeah,” Larry said, “But what’re you going to do in a place like this,
order some weird drink?”

Steve dug into his pocket for money. “We’re not going to have to drink
them. Here she comes.”

She walked with her head held high, hauteur in every step. Ignoring the
peasants at the tables she passed.

“Holy smokes,” Steve grunted. “It’s a wonder Fredrick let her in.”

She hesitated momentarily before the doorway of the prestige restaurant
allowing the passers-by to realize she’d just emerged, and then turned to
her right to promenade along the shopping street.

Fifty feet below La Calvados, Steve said, “Let’s go, Woolford.”

One stepped to one elbow, the other to the other. Steve said quietly, “I
wonder if we could ask you a few questions?”

Her eyebrows went up, “I _beg_ your pardon!”

Steve sighed and displayed the badge pinned to his wallet, keeping it
inconspicuous. “Secret Service, Miss,” he murmured.

“Oh, devil,” she said. She looked up at Larry Woolford, and then back at
Steve.

Steve said, “Among other things, we’re in charge of counterfeit money.”

She was about five foot four in her heels, had obviously been on a round
of beauty shops and had obviously instructed them to glamorize her. It
hadn’t come off. She still looked as though she’d be more at home as
cheerleader of the junior class in small town high school. She was honey
blond, green-blue of eye, and had that complexion they seldom carry even
into the twenties.

“I ... I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Her chin began to tremble.

Larry said gently, “Don’t worry. We just want to ask you some questions.”

“Well ... like what?” She was going to be blinking back tears in a moment.
At least Larry hoped she’d blink them back. He’d hate to have her start
howling here in public.

Larry said, “We think you can be of assistance to the government, and we’d
like your help.”

Steve rolled his eyes upward, but turned and waved for a street level cab.

In the cab, Larry said, “Suppose we go over to my office, Steve?”

“O.K. with me,” Steve muttered, “but by the looks of the young lady here,
I think it’s a false alarm from your angle. She’s obviously an American.
What’s your name, Miss?”

“It’s Zusanette. Well, really, Susan.”

“Susan what?”

“I ... I’m not sure I want to tell you. I ... I want a lawyer.”

“A lawyer!” Steve snorted. “You mean you want the juvenile authorities,
don’t you?”

“Oh, what a mean thing to say,” she sputtered.

                  -------------------------------------

In the corridor outside the Boss’ suite of offices, Larry said to Steve,
“You take Miss ... ah, Zusanette to my office, will you Steve. I’ll be
there in a minute.”

He opened the door to the anteroom and said, “LaVerne, we’ve got a girl in
my office—”

“Why, Larry!”

He glowered at her. “A suspect. I want a complete tape of everything said.
As soon as we’re through, have copies made, at least three or four.”

“And, who, Mr. Woolford, was your girl Friday last year?”

“This is important, honey. I suppose you’ve supplied me with a secretary
but I haven’t even met her yet. Take care of it, will you?”

“Sure enough, Larry.”

He followed Steve and the girl to his office.

Once seated, the girl and Steve in the only two extra chairs the cubicle
boasted and Larry behind his desk, he looked at her in what he hoped was
reassurance. “Just tell us where you got the money, Zusanette.”

Steve reached out a hand suddenly and took her bag from her lap. She
gasped and snatched at it, but he eluded her and she sat back, her chin
trembling again.

Steve came up with a thick sheaf of bills, the top ones, at least, all
fifties and tossed them to Larry’s desk. He took out a school pass and
read, “Susan Self, Elwood Avenue.” He looked up at Larry and said, “That’s
right off Eastern, near Paterson Park in the Baltimore section of town,
isn’t it?”

Larry said to her, “Zusanette, I think you’d better tell us where you got
all this money.”

“I found it,” she said defiantly. “You can’t do anything to me if I simply
found it. Anybody can find money. Finders keepers—”

“But if it’s counterfeit,” Steve interrupted dryly, “it might also be,
finders weepers.”

“Where did you find it, Zusanette?” Larry said gently.

She tightened her lips, and the trembling of her chin disappeared. “I ...
I can’t tell you that. But it’s not counterfeit. Daddy ... my father said
it was as good as any money the government prints.”

“That it is,” Steve said sourly. “But it’s still counterfeit, which makes
it very illegal indeed to spend, Miss Self.”

She looked from one of them to the other, not clear about her position.
She said to Larry, “You mean it’s not _real_ money?”

He kept his tone disarming, but shook his head, “I’m afraid not,
Zusanette. Now, tell us, where did you find it?”

“I can’t. I promised”

“I see. Then you don’t know to whom it originally belonged?”

“It didn’t belong to anybody.”

Steve Hackett made with a disbelieving whistle. He was taking the part of
the tough, suspicious cop; Larry the part of the understanding,
sympathetic officer, trying to give the suspect a break.

Susan Self turned quickly on Steve. “Well, it didn’t. You don’t even
know.”

Larry said, “I think she’s telling the truth, Steve. Give her a chance.
She’s playing fair.” He looked back at the girl, and frowned his
puzzlement. “All money belongs to _somebody_ doesn’t it?”

She had them now. She said superiorly. “Not necessarily to some_body_. It
can belong to, like, an organization.”

Steve grunted skepticism. “I think we ought to arrest her,” he said.

Larry held up a hand, his face registering opposition. “I’ll handle this,”
he said sharply. “Zusanette is doing everything she can to co-operate.” He
turned back to the girl. “Now, the question is, what organization did this
money belong to?”

She looked triumphantly at Steve Hackett. “It belonged to the Movement.”

They both looked at her.

Steve said finally, “What movement?”

She pouted in thought. “That’s the only name they call it.”

“Who’s they?” Steve snapped nastily.

“I ... I don’t know.”

Larry said, “Well, you already told us your father was a member,
Zusanette.”

Her eyes went wide. “I did? I shouldn’t have said that.” But she evidently
took him at his word.

Larry said encouragingly, “Well, we might as well go on. Who else is a
member of this Movement besides your father?”

She shifted in her chair uncomfortably. “I don’t know any of their names.”

Steve looked down at the school pass in his hands. He said to Larry, “I’d
better make a phone call.”

He left.

                  -------------------------------------

Larry said, “Don’t worry about him, Zusanette. Now then, this _movement_.
That’s kind of a funny name, isn’t it? What does it mean?”

She was evidently glad that the less than handsome Steve Hackett had left
the room. Her words flowed more freely. “Well, Daddy says that they call
it the Movement rather than a revolution....”

An ice cube manifested itself in the stomach of Lawrence Woolford.

“... Because people get conditioned, like, to words. Like revolution.
Everybody is against the word because they all think of killing and
everything, and, Daddy says, there doesn’t have to be any shooting or
killing or anything like that at all. It just means a fundamental change
in society. And, Daddy says, take the word propaganda. Everybody’s got to
thinking that it automatically means lies, but it doesn’t at all. It just
means, like, the arguments you use to convince people that what you stand
for is right and it might be lies or it might not. And, Daddy says, take
the word socialism. So many people have the wrong idea of what it means
that the socialists ought to scrap the word and start using something else
to mean what they stand for.”

Larry said gently, “Your father is a socialist?”

“Oh, no.”

He nodded in understanding. “Oh, a Communist, eh?”

Susan Self was indignant. “Daddy thinks the Communists are strictly awful,
really weird.”

Steve Hackett came back into the office. He said to Larry, “I sent a
couple of the boys out to pick him up.”

Susan was on her feet, a hand to mouth. “You mean my father! You’re going
to arrest him!”

Larry said soothingly, “Sit down, Zusanette. There’s a lot of things about
this that I’m sure your father can explain.” He said to Steve, “She tells
me that the money belonged to a movement. A revolutionary movement which
doesn’t use the term revolutionary because people react unfavorably to
that word. It’s not Commie.”

Susan said indignantly, “It’s American, not anything foreign!”

Steve growled, “Let’s get back to the money. What’s this movement doing
with a lot of counterfeit bills and where did you find them?”

She evidently figured she’d gone too far now to take a stand. “It’s not
Daddy’s fault,” she said. “He took me to headquarters twice.”

“Where’s headquarters?” Larry said trying to keep his voice soothing.

“Well ... I don’t know. Daddy was awfully silly about it. He tied his
handkerchief around my eyes near the end. But the others complained about
me anyway, and Daddy got awfully mad and said something about the young
people of the country participating in their emancipation and all, but the
others got mad too, and said there wasn’t any kind of help I could do
around headquarters anyway, and I’d be better off in school. Everybody got
awfully mad, but after the second time Daddy promised not to take me to
headquarters any more.”

“But where did you find the money, Zusannette?” Larry said.

“At headquarters. There’s tons and tons of it there.”

Larry cleared his throat and said, “When you say tons and tons, you mean a
great deal of it, eh?”

She was proudly definite. “I mean tons and tons. A ton is two thousand
pounds.”

“Look, Zusanette,” Larry said reasonably. “I don’t know how much money
weighs, exactly, but let’s say a pound would be, say, a thousand bills.”
He took up a pencil and scribbled on a pad before him. “A pound of fifties
would be $50,000. Then if you multiply that by 2,000 pounds to make a ton,
you’d have $100,000,000. And you say there’s tons and tons?”

“And that’s just the fifties,” Susan said triumphantly. “So you can see
the two little packages I picked up aren’t really important at all. It’s
just like I found them.”

“I don’t think there’s quite a thousand bills in a pound,” Steve said
weakly.

Larry said, “How much other money is there?”

“Oh, piles. Whole rooms. Rooms after rooms. And hundred dollar bills, and
twenties, and fives, and tens—”

Larry said, “Look, Zusanette, I don’t think you’re in any position to be
telling us whoppers. This whole story doesn’t make much sense, does it?”

Her mouth tightened. “I’m not going to say anything more until Daddy gets
here, anyway,” she said.

Which was when the phone rang.

“I have an idea that’s for me,” Steve said.

The screen lit up and LaVerne Polk said, “Call for Steve Hackett, Larry.”

Larry pushed the phone around so Steve could look into it. LaVerne flicked
off and was replaced by a stranger in uniform. Steve said, “Yeah?”

The cop said, “He’s flown the coop, sir. Must have got out just minutes
before we arrived. Couldn’t have taken more than a suitcase. Few papers
scattered around the room he used for an office.”

Susan gasped, “You mean Daddy?”

Steve Hackett rubbed a hand over his flattened nose. “Holy Smokes,” he
said. He thanked the cop and flicked off.

Larry said, “Look Zusanette, everything’s going to be all right. Nothing
will happen to you. You say you managed to pick up two packets of all this
money they have at headquarters. O.K. So you thought it wouldn’t be missed
and you’ve always wanted to spend money the way you see the stars do on
TriD and in the movies.”

She looked at him, taken back. “How did you know?”

Larry said dryly, “I’ve always wanted to myself. But I would like to know
one more thing. The Movement. What was it going to do with all this
money?”

That evidently puzzled her. “The Professor said they were going to spend
it on chorus girls. I guess ... I guess he was joking or something. But
Daddy and I’d just been up to New York and we saw those famous precision
dancers at the New Roxy Theatre and all and then when we got back the
Professor and Daddy were talking and I heard him say it.”

Steve said, carefully, “Professor who?”

Susan said, “Just the Professor. That’s all we ever call him.” Her chin
went to trembling still again.

                  -------------------------------------

Larry summed it up for the Boss later.

His chief scoffed his disbelief. “The child is full of dreams, Lawrence.
It comes from seeing an over-abundance of these TriD shows. I have a girl
the same age. I don’t know what is happening to the country. They have no
sense of reality.”

Larry Woolford said mildly, “Well, she might be full of nonsense, but she
did have the fifties, and she’s our only connection with whoever printed
them whether it’s a movement to overthrow the government, or what.”

The Boss said tolerantly, “Movement, indeed. Obviously, her father
produced them and she purloined a quantity before he was ready to attempt
to pass them. Have you a run down on him yet?”

“Susan Self says her father, Ernest Self, is an inventor. Steve Hackett is
working on locating him.”

“He’s an inventor indeed. Evidently, he has invented a perfect
counterfeiting device. However, that is the Secret Service’s headache, not
ours. Do you wish to resume that vacation of yours, Lawrence?”

His operative twisted his face in a grimace. “Sure, I do, but I’m not
happy about this, sir. What happens if there really is an organization, a
Movement, like she said?  That brings it back under our jurisdiction,
anti-subversion.”

The other shook his head tolerantly. “See here, Lawrence, when you begin
scheming a social revolution you can’t plan on an organization composed of
a small number of persons who keep their existence secret. In spite of
what a good many persons seem to believe, revolutions are not accomplished
by handfuls of conspirators hiding in cellars and eventually overthrowing
society by dramatically shooting the President, or King, or Czar, or
whoever. Revolutions are precipitated by masses of people. People who have
ample cause to be against whatever the current government happens to be.
Usually, they are on the point of actual starvation. Have you ever read
Machiavelli?”

Niccolo Machiavelli was currently _the thing_ to read. Larry said with a
certain dignity, “I’ve gone through ‘The Prince,’ the ‘Discourses’ and
currently I’m amusing myself with his ‘History of Florence.’ ”

“Anybody who can amuse himself reading Machiavelli,” the Boss said dryly,
“has a macabre sense of humor. At any rate, what I was alluding to was
where he stated that the Prince cannot rule indefinitely in the face of
the active opposition of his people. Therefore, the people always get a
government that lies within the limits of their tolerance. It may be on
one edge or the other of their limits of tolerance—but it’s always within
their tolerance zone.”

Larry frowned and said, “Well, what’s your point, sir?”

The Boss said patiently, “I’m just observing that cultures aren’t
overthrown by little handfuls of secret conspirators. You might eliminate
a few individuals in that manner, in other words change the personnel of
the government, but you aren’t going to alter a socio-economic system.
That can’t be done until your people have been pushed outside their limits
of tolerance. Very well then. A revolutionary organization must get out
and propagandize. It has got to convince the people that they are being
pushed beyond endurance. You have got to get the _masses_ to moving. You
have to give speeches, print newspapers, books, pamphlets, you have got to
send your organizers out to intensify interest in your program.”

Larry said, “I see what you mean. If this so-called Movement actually
existed it couldn’t expect to get anywhere as long as remained secret.”

The Boss nodded. “That is correct. The _leaders_ of a revolutionary
movement might be intellectuals, social scientists, scholars—in fact they
usually are—take our own American Revolution with Jefferson, Madison,
Franklin, Washington. Or the French Revolution with Robespierre, Danton,
Marat, Engels and Lenin. All were well educated intellectuals from the
middle class. But the revolution itself, once it starts, comes from below,
from the mass of people pushed beyond tolerance.”

It came to Lawrence Woolford that his superior had achieved to his
prominent office not through any fluke. He knew what he was talking about.

The Boss wound it up. “If there was such an organization as this Movement,
then this department would know about it. You don’t keep a revolutionary
movement secret. It doesn’t make sense to even try. Even if it is forced
underground, it makes as much noise as it can.”

His trouble shooter cleared his throat. “I suppose you’re right, sir.” He
added hesitantly. “We could always give Susan Self a few drops of
Scop-Serum, sir.”

The Boss scowled disapprovingly. “You know how the Supreme Court ruled on
that, Lawrence. And particularly since the medics revealed its effect on
reducing sexual inhibitions. No, Mr. Hackett and Secret Service will have
to get the truth out of the girl by some other means. At any rate, it is
out of our hands.”

Larry came to his feet. “Well, then, I’ll resume my vacation, eh?”

His chief took up a report from his desk an frowned at it, his attention
already passing to other matters. He grunted, “Clear it with LaVerne,
please. Tell her I said to take another week to make up for our intruding
on you in this manner.”

                  -------------------------------------

In the back of his head, Larry Woolford had misgivings. For one thing,
where had the kid, who on the face of her performance was no great brain
even as sixteen or seventeen old’s go, picked up such ideas as the fact
that people developed prejudices against words like revolution and
propaganda?

However, he was clear of it now. Let Steve Hackett and his people take
over. He, Lawrence Woolford, was due for a quick return to Astor, Florida
and the bass fishing on the St. John’s River.

He stopped at LaVerne’s desk and gave her his address to be, now that his
vacation was resumed.

She said, smiling up at him. “Right. The boss already told me to get in
touch with Secret Service and let them know we’re pulling out. What
happened to Susan Self?”

Larry looked at her. “How’d you know about Susan?”

Her tone was deprecating. “Remember? You had me cut some tapes on you and
that hulking Steve Hackett grilling the poor kid.”

Larry snorted. “Poor kid, yet. With her tastes for living-it-up, and that
father she has, she’ll probably spend the rest of her life getting in
Steve’s hair as a counterfeit pusher.”

“What are they going to do with her? She’s just a child.”

The agent shrugged. “I feel sorry for her, too, LaVerne. Steve’s got her
in a suite at the Greater Washington Hilton, until things are cleared up.
They don’t want the newspapers to get wind of this until they’ve got that
inventor father of hers and whatever he’s cooked up to turn out perfect
reproductions of Uncle Sam’s money. Look, I won’t be leaving until
tomorrow. What’d you say we go out on the town tonight?”

“Why, Larry Woolford! How nice of you to ask me. Poor Little, Non-U me.
What do you have in mind? I understand Mort Lenny’s at one of the night
clubs.”

Larry winced. “You know what he’s been saying about the administration.”

She smiled sweetly at him.

Larry said, “Look, we could take in the Brahms concert, then—”

“Do you like Brahms? I go for popular music myself. Preferably the sort of
thing they wrote back in the 1930s. Something you can dance to, something
you know the words to. Corny, they used to call it. Remember ‘Sunny Side
of the Street,’ and ‘Just the Way You Look Tonight’.”

Larry winced again. He said, “Look, I admit, I don’t go for concerts
either but it doesn’t hurt you to—”

“I know,” she said sweetly. “It doesn’t hurt for a bright young bureaucrat
to be seen at concerts.”

“How about Dixieland?” he said. “It’s all the thing now.”

“I like corn. Besides, my wardrobe is all out of style. Paris, London, and
Rome just got in a huddle a couple of weeks ago and antiquated everything
I own. You wouldn’t want to be seen with a girl a few weeks out of date,
would you?”

“Oh, now, LaVerne, get off my back.” He thought about it. “Look, you must
have _something_ you could wear.”

“Get out of here, you vacant minded conformist! I _like_ Mort Lenny, he
makes me laugh; I _hate_ vodka martinis, they give me sour stomach; I
don’t _like_ the current women’s styles, nor the men’s either.” LaVerne
spun back to her auto-typer and began to dictate into it.

Larry glared down at her. “All right. O.K. What _do_ you like?”

She snapped back irrationally, “I like what _I_ like.”

He laughed at her in ridicule.

This time she glared at him. “That makes more sense than you’re capable of
assimilating, Mr. Walking Status Symbol. My likes and dislikes aren’t
dictated by someone else. If I like corny music, I’ll listen to it and the
devil with Brahms or Dixieland or anything else that somebody else tells
me is all the thing!”

He turned on his heel angrily. “O.K., O.K., it takes all sorts to make a
world, weirds and all.”

“One more label to hang on people,” she snarled after him. “Everything’s
labels. Be sure and never come to any judgments of your own!”

What a woman! He wondered why he’d ever bothered to ask her for a date.
There were so many women in this town you waded through them, and here he
was exposing himself to be seen in public with a girl everybody in the
department knew was as weird as they came. It didn’t do your standing any
good to be seen around with the type. He wondered all over again why the
Boss tolerated her as his receptionist-secretary.

He got his car from the parking lot and drove home at a high level.
Ordinarily, the distance being what it was, he drove in the lower and
slower traffic levels but now his frustration demanded some expression.

                  -------------------------------------

Back at his suburban auto-bungalow, he threw all except the high priority
switch and went on down into his small second cellar den. He didn’t really
feel like a night on the town anyway. A few vodka martinis under his belt
and he’d sleep late and he wanted to get up in time for an early start for
Florida. Besides, in that respect he agreed with the irritating wench.
Vermouth was never meant to mix with Polish vodka. He wished that Sidecars
would come back.

In his den, he shucked off his jacket, kicked off his shoes and shuffled
into Moroccan slippers. He went over to his current reading rack and
scowled at the paperbacks there. His culture status books were upstairs
where they could be seen. He pulled out a western, tossed it over to the
cocktail table that sat next to his chair, and then went over to the bar.

Up above in his living room, he had one of the new autobars. You could
dial any one of more than thirty drinks. Autobars were all the rage. The
Boss had one that gave a selection of a hundred. But what difference did
it make when nobody but eccentric old-timers or flighty blondes drank
anything except vodka martinis? He didn’t like autobars anyway. A well
mixed drink is a personal thing, a work of competence, instinct and art,
not something measured to the drop, iced to the degree, shaken or stirred
to a mathematical formula.

Out of the tiny refrigerator he brought a four-ounce cube of frozen
pineapple juice, touched the edge with his thumbnail and let the ultra
thin plastic peel away. He tossed the cube into his mixer, took up a
bottle of light rum and poured in about two ounces. He brought an egg from
the refrigerator and added that. An ounce of whole milk followed and a
teaspoon of powdered sugar. He flicked the switch and let the
conglomeration froth together.

He poured it into a king-size highball glass and took it over to his
chair. Vodka martinis be damned, he liked a slightly sweet long drink.

He sat down in the chair, picked up the book and scowled at the cover. He
ought to be reading that Florentine history of Machiavelli’s, especially
if the Boss had got to the point where he was quoting from the guy. But
the heck with it, he was on vacation. He didn’t think much of the Italian
diplomat of the Renaissance anyway; how could you be that far back without
being dated?

He couldn’t get beyond the first page or two.

And when you can’t concentrate on a Western, you just can’t concentrate.

He finished his drink, went over to his phone and dialed _Department of
Records_ and then _Information_. When the bright young thing answered, he
said, “I’d like the brief on an Ernest Self who lives on Elwood Avenue,
Baltimore section of Greater Washington. I don’t know his code number.”

She did things with switches and buttons for a moment and then brought a
sheet from a delivery chute. “Do you want me to read it to you, sir?”

“No, I’ll scan it,” Larry said.

Her face faded to be replaced by the brief on Ernest Self.

It was astonishingly short. _Records_ seemed to have slipped up on this
occasion. A rare occurrence. He considered requesting the full dossier,
then changed his mind. Instead he dialed the number of the _Sun-Post_ and
asked for its science columnist.

Sam Sokolski’s puffy face eventually faded in.

Larry said to him sourly, “You drink too much. You can begin to see the
veins breaking in your nose.”

Sam looked at him patiently.

Larry said, “How’d you like to come over and toss back a few tonight?”

“I’m working. I thought you were on vacation.”

Larry sighed. “I am,” he said. “O.K., so you can’t take a night off and
lift a few with an old buddy.”

“That’s right. Anything else, Larry?”

“Yes. Look, have you ever heard of an inventor named Ernest Self?”

“Sure I’ve heard of him. Covered a hassle he got into some years ago. A
nice guy.”

“I’ll bet,” Larry said. “What does he invent, something to do with
printing presses, or something?”

“Printing presses? Don’t you remember the story about him?”

“Brief me,” Larry said.

“Well—briefly does it—it got out a couple of years ago that some of our
rocketeers had bought a solid fuel formula from an Italian research outfit
for the star probe project. Paid them a big hunk of Uncle’s change for it.
So Self sued.”

Larry said, “You’re being _too_ brief. What d’ya mean, he sued? Why?”

“Because he claimed he’d submitted the same formula to the same agency a
full eighteen months earlier and they’d turned him down.”

“Had he?”

“Probably.”

Larry didn’t get it. “Then why’d they turn him down?”

Sam said, “Oh, the government boys had a good alibi. Crackpots turn up all
over the place and you have to brush them off. Every cellar scientist who
comes along and says he’s got a new super-fuel developed from old coffee
grounds can’t be given the welcome mat. Something was wrong with his math
or something and they didn’t pay much attention to him. Wouldn’t even let
him demonstrate it. But it was the same formula, all right.”

Larry Woolford was scowling. “Something wrong with his math? What kind of
a degree does he have?”

Sam grinned in memory. “I got a good quote on that. He doesn’t have any
degree. He said he’d learned to read by the time he’d reached high school
and since then he figured spending time in classrooms was a matter of
interfering with his education.”

“No wonder they turned him down. No degree at all. You can’t get anywhere
in science like that.”

Sam said, “The courts rejected his suit but he got a certain amount of
support here and there. Peter Voss, over at the university, claims he’s
one of the great intuitive scientists, whatever that is, of our
generation.”

“Who said that?”

“Professor Voss. Not that it makes any difference what he says. Another
crackpot.”

After Sam’s less than handsome face was gone from the phone, Larry walked
over to the bar with his empty glass and stared at the mixer for several
minutes. He began to make himself another flip, but cut it short in the
middle, put down the ingredients and went back to the phone to dial
_Records_ again.

He went through first the brief and then the full dossier on Professor
Peter Luther Voss. Aside from his academic accomplishments, particularly
in the fields of political economy and international law, and the dozen or
so books accredited to him, there wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy.
A bachelor in his fifties. No criminal record of any kind, of course, and
no military career. No known political affiliations. Evidently a strong
predilection for Thorstein Veblen’s theories. And he’d been a friend of
Henry Mencken back when that old nonconformist was tearing down
contemporary society seemingly largely for the fun involved in the
tearing.

On the face of it, the man was no radical, and the term “crackpot” which
Sam had applied was hardly called for.

Larry Woolford went back to the bar and resumed the job of mixing his own
version of a rum flip.

But his heart wasn’t in it. _The Professor_, Susan had said.

                  -------------------------------------

Before he’d gone to bed the night before, Larry Woolford had ordered a
seat on the shuttle jet for Jacksonville and a hover-cab there to take him
to Astor, on the St. Johns River. And he’d requested to be wakened in
ample time to get to the shuttleport.

But it wasn’t the saccharine pleasant face of the Personal Service
operator which confronted him when he grumpily answered the phone in the
morning. In fact, the screen remained blank.

Larry decided that sweet long drinks were fine, but that anyone who took
several of them in a row needed to be candied. He grumbled into the phone,
“All right, who is it?”

A Teutonic voice chuckled and said, “You’re going to have to decide
whether or not you’re on vacation, my friend. At this time of day, why
aren’t you at work?”

Larry Woolford was waking up. He said, “What can I do for you,
Distelmayer?” The German merchant-of-espionage wasn’t the type to make
personal calls.

“Have you forgotten so soon, my friend?” the other chuckled. “It was I who
was going to do you a favor.” He hesitated momentarily, before adding, “In
possible return for future—”

“Yeah, yeah,” Larry said. He was fully awake now.

The German said slowly, “You asked if any of your friends from, ah, abroad
were newly in the country. Frol Eivazov has recently appeared on the
scene.”

Eivazov! In various respects, Larry Woolford’s counterpart. Hatchetman for
the _Chrezvychainaya Komissiya_. Woolford had met him on occasion when
they’d both been present at international summit meetings, busily working
at counter-espionage for their respective superiors. Blandly shaking hands
with each other, blandly drinking toasts to peace and international
co-existence, blandly sizing each other up and wondering if it’d ever come
to the point where one would _blandly_ treat the other to a hole in the
head, possibly in some dark alley in Havana or Singapore, Leopoldville or
Saigon.

Larry said sharply, “Where is he? How’d he get in the country?”

“My friend, my friend,” the German grunted good-humoredly. “You know
better than to ask the first question. As for the second, Frol’s command
of American-English is at least as good as your own. Do you think his
_Komissiya_ less capable than your own department and unable to do him up
suitable papers so that he could be, perhaps, a ‘returning tourist’ from
Europe?”

Larry Woolford was impatient with himself for asking. He said now, “It’s
not important. If we want to locate Frol and pick him up, we’ll probably
not have too much trouble doing it.”

“I wouldn’t think so,” the other said humorously. “Since 1919, when they
were first organized, the so-called Communists in this country, from the
lowest to the highest echelons, have been so riddled with police agents
that a federal judge in New England once refused to prosecute a case
against them on the grounds that the party was a United States government
agency.”

Larry was in no frame of mind for the other’s heavy humor. “Look, Hans,”
he said, “what I want to know is what Frol is over here for.”

“Of course you do,” Hans Distelmayer said, unable evidently to keep note
of puzzlement from his voice. “Larry,” he said, “I assume your people know
of the new American underground.”

“_What_ underground?” Larry snapped.

The professional spy chief said, his voice strange, “The Soviets seem to
have picked up an idea somewhere, possibly through their membership in
this country, that something is abrewing in the States. That a change is
being engineered.”

Larry stared at the blank phone screen.

“What kind of a change?” he said finally. “You mean a change to the Soviet
system?” Surely not even the self-deluding Russkies could think it
possible to overthrow the American socio-economic system in favor of the
Soviet brand.

“No, no, no,” the German chuckled. “Of course not. It’s not of their
working at all.”

“Then what’s Frol Eivazov’s interest, if they aren’t engineering it?”

Distelmayer rumbled his characteristic chuckle with humor. “My dear
friend, don’t be naive. Anything that happens in America is of interest to
the Soviets. There is delicate peace between you now that they have
changed their direction and are occupying themselves largely with the
economic and agricultural development of Asia and such portions of the
world as have come under their hegemony, and while you put all efforts
into modernizing the more backward countries among your satellites.”

Larry said automatically, “Our allies aren’t satellites.”

The spy-master went on without contesting the statement. “There is
immediate peace but surely governmental officials on both sides keep
careful watch on the internal developments of the other. True, the current
heads of the Soviet Complex would like to see the governments of all the
Western powers changed—but only if they are changed in the direction of
communism. They are hardly interested in seeing changes made which would
strengthen the West in the, ah, Battle For Men’s Minds.”

Larry snorted his disgust. “What sort of change in government would
strengthen the United States in—”

The German interrupted smoothly, “Evidently, that’s what Frol seems to be
here for, Larry. To find out more about this movement and—”

“This _what_?” Larry blurted.

“The term seems to be _movement_.”

Larry Woolford held a long silence before saying, “And Frol is actually
here in this country to buck this ... this movement.”

“Not necessarily,” the other said impatiently. “He is here to find out
more about it. Evidently Peking and Moscow have heard just enough to make
them nervous.”

Larry said, “You have anything more, Hans?”

“I’m afraid that’s about it.”

“All right,” Larry said. He added absently, “Thanks, Hans.”

“Thank me some day with deeds, not with words,” the German chuckled.

                  -------------------------------------

Larry Woolford looked at his watch and grimaced. He was either going to
get going now or forget about doing any fishing in Florida this afternoon.

Grudgingly, he dialed the phone company’s Personal Service and said to the
impossibly cheerful blonde who answered, “Where can I find Professor Peter
Voss who teaches over at the University in Baltimore? I don’t want to talk
with him, just want to know where he’ll be an hour from now.”

While waiting for his information, he dressed, deciding inwardly that he
hated his job, the department in which he was employed, the Boss and
Greater Washington. On top of that, he hated himself. He’d already been
taken off this assignment, why couldn’t he leave it lay?

The blonde rang him back. Professor Peter Voss was at home. He had no
classes today. She gave him the address.

Larry Woolford raised his car from his auto-bungalow in the Brandywine
suburb and headed northwest at a high level for the old Baltimore section
of the city.

The Professor’s house, he noted, was of an earlier day and located on the
opposite side of Paterson Park from Elwood avenue, the street on which
Susan Self and her father had resided. That didn’t necessarily hold
significance, the park was a large one and the Professor’s section a
well-to-do neighborhood, while Self’s was just short of a slum these days.

He brought his car down to street level, and parked before the scholar’s
three-story, brick house. Baltimore-like, it was identical to every other
house in the block; Larry wondered vaguely how anybody ever managed to
find his own place when it was very dark out.

There was an old-fashioned bell at the side of the entrance and Larry
Woolford pushed it. There was no identification screen in the door,
evidently the inhabitants had to open up to see who was calling, a tiring
chore if you were on the far side of the house and the caller nothing more
than a salesman.

It was obviously the Professor himself who answered.

He was in shirtsleeves, tieless and with age-old slippers on his
stockingless feet. He evidently hadn’t bothered to shave this morning and
he held a dog-earred pamphlet in his right hand, his forefinger tucked in
it to mark his place. He wore thick-lensed, gold-rimmed glasses through
which he blinked at Larry Woolford questioningly, without speaking.
Professor Peter Voss was a man in his mid fifties, and, on the face of it,
couldn’t care less right now about his physical appearance.

A weird, Larry decided immediately. He wondered at the University, one of
the nation’s best, keeping on such a figure.

“Professor Voss?” he said. “Lawrence Woolford.” He brought forth his
identification.

The Professor blinked down at it. “I see,” he said. “Won’t you come in?”

The house was old, all right. From the outside, quite acceptable, but the
interior boasted few of the latest amenities which made all the difference
in modern existence. Larry was taken back by the fact that the phone which
he spotted in the _entrada_ hadn’t even a screen—an old model for speaking
only.

The Professor noticed his glance and said dryly, “The advantages of
combining television and telephone have never seemed valid to me. In my
own home, I feel free to relax, as you can observe. Had I a screen on my
phone, it would be necessary for me to maintain the same appearance as I
must on the streets or before my classes.”

Larry cleared his throat without saying anything. This was a weird one,
all right.

The living room was comfortable in a blatantly primitive way. Three or
four paintings on the walls which were probably originals, Larry decided,
and should have been in museums. Not an abstract among them. A Grant Wood,
a Marin, and that over there could only be a Grandma Moses. The sort of
things you might keep in your private den, but hardly to be seen as
culture symbols.

The chairs were large, of leather, and comfortable and probably belonged
to the period before the Second War. Peter Voss, evidently, was little
short of an exhibitionist.

The Professor took up a battered humidor. “Cigar?” he said. “Manila. Hard
to get these days.”

A cigar? Good grief, the man would be offering him a chaw of tobacco next.

“Thanks, no,” Larry said. “I smoke a pipe.”

“I see,” the Professor said, lighting his stogie. “Do you really like a
pipe? Personally, I’ve always thought the cigar by far the most
satisfactory method of taking tobacco.”

What can you say to a question like that? Larry ignored it, as though it
was rhetorical. Actually, he smoked cigarettes in the privacy of his den.
A habit which was on the proletarian side and not consistent with his
status level.

He said, to get things under way, “Professor Voss, what is an intuitive
scientist?”

The Professor exhaled blue smoke, shook out the old-time kitchen match
with which he’d lit it, and tossed the matchstick into an ashtray.
“Intuitive scientist?”

“You once called Ernest Self a great intuitive scientist.”

“Oh, Self. Yes, indeed. What is he doing these days?”

Larry said wryly, “That’s what I came to ask you about.”

The Professor was puzzled. “I’m afraid you came to the wrong place, Mr.
Woolford. I haven’t seen Ernest for quite a time. Why?”

“Some of his researches seem to have taken him rather far afield.
Actually, I know practically nothing about him. I wonder if you could fill
me in a bit.”

Peter Voss looked at the ash on the end of his cigar. “I really don’t know
the man that well. He lives across the park. Why don’t—”

“He’s disappeared,” Larry said.

The Professor blinked. “I see,” he said. “And in view of the fact that you
are a security officer, I assume under strange circumstances.” Larry
Woolford said nothing and the Professor sank back into his chair and
pursed his lips. “I can’t really tell you much. I became interested in
Self two or three years ago when gathering materials for a paper on the
inadequate manner in which our country rewards its inventors.”

Larry said, “I’ve heard about his suit against the government.”

The Professor became more animated. “Ha!” he snorted. “One example among
many. Self is not alone. Our culture is such that the genius is smothered.
The great contributors to our society are ignored, or worse.”

Larry Woolford was feeling his way. Now he said mildly, “I was under the
impression that American free enterprise gave the individual the best
opportunity to prove himself and that if he had it on the ball he’d get to
the top.”

“Were you really?” the Professor said snappishly. “And did you know that
Edison died a comparatively poor man with an estate somewhere in the
vicinity of a hundred thousand dollars? An amount that might sound like a
good deal to you or me, but, when you consider his contributions,
shockingly little. Did you know that Eli Whitney realized little, if
anything, from the cotton gin? Or that McCormick didn’t invent the reaper
but gained it in a dubious court victory? Or take Robert Goddard, one of
the best examples of modern times. He developed the basics of rocket
technology—gyroscopic stabilizers, fuel pumps, self-cooling motors,
landing devices. He died in 1945 leaving behind twenty-two volumes of
records that proved priceless. What did he get out of his researches?
Nothing. It was fifteen years later that his widow won her suit against
the government for patent infringements!”

                             [Illustration.]

Larry held up a hand. “Really,” he said. “My interest is in Ernest Self.”

The Professor relaxed. “Sorry. I’m afraid I get carried away. Self, to get
back to your original question, is a great intuitive scientist.
Unfortunately for him, society being what it is today, he fits into few
grooves. Our educational system was little more than an irritation to him
and consequently he holds no degrees. Needless to say, this interfered
with his gaining employment with the universities and the large
corporations which dominate our country’s research, not to mention
governmental agencies.

“Ernest Self holds none of the status labels that count. The fact that he
is a genius means nothing. He is supposedly qualified no more than to hold
a janitor’s position in laboratories where his inferiors conduct
experiments in fields where he is a dozenfold more capable than they. No
one is interested in his genius, they want to know what status labels are
pinned to him. Ernest has no respect for labels.”

                  -------------------------------------

Larry Woolford figured he was picking up background and didn’t force a
change of subject. “Just what do you mean by intuitive scientist?”

“It’s a term I have used loosely,” the Professor admitted. “Possibly a
scientist who makes a break-through in his field, destroying formerly held
positions—in Self’s case, without the math, without the accepted theories
to back him. He finds something that works, possibly without knowing why
or how and by using unorthodox analytical techniques. An intuitive
scientist, if I may use the term, is a thorn in the side of our
theoretical physicists laden down with their burden of a status label but
who are themselves short of the makings of a Leonardo, a Newton, a
Galileo, or even a Nicholas Christofilos.”

“I’m afraid that last name escapes me,” Larry said.

“Similar to Self’s case and Robert Goddard’s,” Voss said, his voice
bitter. “Although his story has a better ending. Christofilos invented the
strong-focusing principle that made possible the multi-billion-volt
particle accelerators currently so widely used in nuclear physics
experimentation. However, he was nothing but a Greek elevator electrical
system engineer and the supposed experts turned him down on the grounds
that his math was faulty. It seems that he submitted the idea in
straight-algebra terms instead of differential equations. He finally won
through after patenting the discovery and rubbing their noses in it.
Previously, none of the physics journals would publish his paper—he didn’t
have the right status labels to impress them.”

Larry said, almost with amusement, “You seem to have quite a phobia
against the status label, as you call it. However, I don’t see how as
complicated a world as ours could get along without it.”

The Professor snorted his contempt. “Tell me,” he said, “to which class do
you consider yourself to belong?”

Larry Woolford shrugged. “I suppose individuals in my bracket are usually
thought of as being middle-middle class.”

“And you have no feeling of revolt in having such a label hung on you?
Consider this system for a moment. You have lower-lower, middle-lower, and
upper-lower; then you have lower-middle, middle-middle, upper-middle; then
you have lower-upper, middle-upper, and finally we achieve to upper-upper
class. Now tell me, when we get to that rarified category, who do we find?
Do we find an Einstein, a Schweitzer, a Picasso; outstanding scientists,
humanitarians, the great writers, artists and musicians of our day?
Certainly not. We find ultra-wealthy playboys and girls, a former king and
his duchess who eke out their income by accepting fees to attend parties,
the international born set, bearers of meaningless feudalistic titles.
These are your upper-upper class!”

Larry laughed.

The Professor snapped, “You think it funny? Let me give you another
example of our status label culture. I have a friend whom I have known
since childhood. I would estimate that Charles has an I.Q. of
approximately 90, certainly no more. His family, however, took such
necessary steps as were needed to get Charles through public school. No
great matter these days, you’ll admit, although on occasion he needed a
bit of tutoring. On graduation, they recognized that the really better
schools might be a bit difficult for Charles so he was entered in a
university with a good name but without—shall we say?—the highest of
scholastic ratings. Charles plodded along, had some more tutoring,
probably had his thesis ghosted, and eventually graduated. At that point
an uncle died and left Charles an indefinite amount to be used in
furthering his education to any extent he wished to go. Charles, motivated
probably by the desire to avoid obtaining a job and competing with his
fellow man, managed to wrangle himself into a medical school and
eventually even graduated. Since funds were still available, he continued
his studies abroad, largely in Vienna.”

The Professor wound it up. “Eventually, he ran out of schools, or his
uncle’s estate ran out—I don’t know which came first. At any rate, my
friend Charles, laden down with status labels, is today practicing as a
psychiatrist in this fair city of ours.”

Larry stared at him blankly.

The Professor said snappishly, “So any time you feel you need to have your
brains unscrambled, you can go to his office and expend twenty-five
dollars an hour or so. His reputation is of the highest.” The Professor
grunted his contempt. “He doesn’t know the difference between an aspirin
tablet and a Rorschach test.”

Larry Woolford stirred in his chair. “We seem to have gotten far off the
subject. What has this got to do with Self?”

The Professor seemed angry. “I repeat, I’m afraid I get carried away on
this subject. I’m in revolt against a culture based on the status label.
It eliminates the need to judge a man on his merits. To judge a person by
the clothes he wears, the amount of money he possesses, the car he drives,
the neighborhood in which he lives, the society he keeps, or even his
ancestry, is out of the question in a vital, growing society. You wind up
with nonentities as the leaders of your nation. In these days, we can’t
afford it.”

He smiled suddenly, rather elfishly, at the security agent. “But
admittedly, this deals with Self only as one of many victims of a culture
based on status labels. Just what is it you wanted to know about Ernest?”

“When you knew him, evidently he was working on rocket fuels. Have you any
idea whether he later developed a method of producing perfect
counterfeit?”

The Professor said, “Ernest Self? Surely you are jesting.”

Larry said unhappily, “Then here’s another question. Have you ever heard
him mention belonging to a movement, or, I think, he might word it _The
Movement_.”

“Movement?” the Professor said emptily.

“Evidently a revolutionary group interested in the overthrow of the
government.”

“Good heavens,” the Professor said. “Just a moment, Mr. Woolford. You
interrupted me just as I was having my second cup of coffee. Do you mind
if I—”

“Certainly not,” Woolford shook his head.

“I simply can’t get along until after my third cup,” the Professor said.
“You just wait a moment and I’ll bring the pot in here.”

He left Larry to sit in the combined study and living room while he
shuffled off in his slippers to the kitchen. Larry Woolford decided that
in his school days he’d had some far out professors himself, but it would
really be something to study under this one. Not that the old boy didn’t
have some points, of course. Almost all nonconformists base their
particular peeves on some actuality, but in this case, what was the
percentage? How could you buck the system? Particularly when, largely, it
worked.

                  -------------------------------------

The Professor returned with an old-fashioned coffeepot, two cups, and
sugar and cream on a tray. He put them on a side table and said to Larry,
“You’ll join me? How do you take it?”

Larry still had the slightest of hang-overs from his solitary drinking of
the night before. “Thanks. Make it black,” he said.

The Professor poured, served, then did up a cup for himself. He sat back
in his chair and said, “Now, where were we? Something about a
revolutionary group. What has that to do with counterfeiting?”

Larry sipped the strong coffee. “It seems there might be a connection.”

The Professor shook his head. “It’s hard to imagine Ernest Self being
connected with a criminal pursuit.”

Larry said carefully, “Susan seemed to be of the opinion that you knew
about a large amount of counterfeit currency that this Movement had on
hand and that you were in favor of spending it upon chorus girls.”

The Professor gaped at him.

Larry chuckled uncomfortably.

Professor Voss said finally, his voice very even, “My dear sir, I am
afraid that I evidently can be of little assistance to you.”

“Admittedly, it doesn’t seem to make much sense.”

“Susan—you mean that little sixteen year old?—said _I_ was in favor of
spending counterfeit money on chorus girls?”

Larry said unhappily, “She used the term _the Professor_.”

“And why did you assume that the title must necessarily allude to me? Even
if any of the rest of the fantastic story was true.”

Larry said, “In my profession, Professor Voss, we track down every
possible clue. Thus far, you are the only professor of whom we know who
was connected with Ernest Self.”

Voss said stiffly, “I can only say, sir, that in my estimation Mr. Self is
a man of the highest integrity. And, in addition, that I have never spent
a penny on a chorus girl in my life and have no intention of beginning,
counterfeit or otherwise.”

Larry Woolford decided that he wasn’t doing too well and that he’d need
more ammunition if he was going to return to this particular attack. He
was surprised that the old boy hadn’t already ordered him from the house.

He finished the coffee preparatory to coming to his feet. “Then you think
it’s out of the question, Ernest Self belonging to a revolutionary
organization?”

The Professor protested. “I didn’t say that at all. Mr. Self is a man of
ideals. I can well see him belonging to such an organization.”

Larry Woolford decided he’d better hang on for at least a few more words.
“You don’t seem to think, yourself, that a subversive organization is
undesirable in this country.”

The Professor’s voice was reasonable. “Isn’t that according to what it
means to subvert?”

“You know what I mean,” Woolford said in irritation. “I don’t usually
think of revolutionists, even when they call themselves simply members of
a _movement_, as exactly idealists.”

“Then you’re wrong,” the Professor said definitely, pouring himself
another cup of coffee. “History bears out that almost invariably
revolutionists are men of idealism. The fact that they might be either
right or wrong in their revolutionary program is beside the point.”

Larry Woolford began to say, “Are you sure that you aren’t interested in
this _move—_”

But it was then that the knockout drops hit him.

                  -------------------------------------

He came out of the fog feeling nausea and with his head splitting. He
groaned and opened one eye experimentally.

Steve Hackett, far away, said, “He’s snapping out of it.”

Larry groaned again, opened the other eye and attempted to focus.

“What happened?” he muttered.

“Now that’s an original question,” Steve said.

Larry Woolford struggled up into a sitting position. He’d been stretched
out on a couch in the Professor’s combined living room and study.

Steve Hackett, his hands on his hips, was looking down at him
sarcastically. There were two or three others, one of whom Larry vaguely
remembered as being a Secret Service colleague of Steve’s, going about and
in and out of the room.

Larry said, his fingers pressing into his forehead, “My head’s killing me.
Damn it, what’s going on?”

Steve said sarcastically, “You’ve been slipped a mickey, my cloak and
dagger friend, and the bird has flown.”

“You mean the Professor? He’s a bird all right.”

“Humor we get, yet,” Hackett said, his ugly face scowling. “Listen, I
thought you people had pulled out of this case.”

Larry sat up and swung his two feet around to the floor. “So did I,” he
moaned, “but there were two or three things that bothered me and I thought
I’d tidy them up before leaving.”

“You tidied them up all right,” Steve grumbled. “This Professor Voss was
practically the only lead I’ve been able to discover. An old friend of
Self’s. And you allowed him to get away before we even got here.”

One of Hackett’s men came up and said, “Not a sign of him, Steve. He
evidently burned a few papers, packed a suitcase, and took off. His things
look suspiciously as though he was ready to go into hiding at a moment’s
notice.”

Steve growled to him, “Give the place the works. He’s probably left some
clues around that’ll give us a line.”

The other went off and Steve Hackett sat down in one of the leather chairs
and glowered at Larry Woolford. “Listen,” he said, “what did you people
want with Susan Self?”

Larry shook his head for clarity and looked at him. “Susan? What are you
talking about? You don’t have any aspirin, do you?”

“No. What’d you mean, what am I talking about? You called Betsy Hughes and
then sent a couple of men over to pick the Self kid up.”

“Who’s Betsy Hughes?”

Steve shook his head. “I don’t know what kind of knockout drops the old
boy gave you, but they sure worked. Betsy’s the operative we had minding
Susan Self over in the Greater Washington Hilton. About an hour ago you
got her on the phone, said your department wanted to question Susan, and
that you were sending two men over to pick her up. The two men turned up
with an order from you, and took the girl.”

Larry stared at him. Finally he said, “What time is it?”

“About two o’clock.”

Larry said, “I came into this house in the morning, talked to the
Professor for about half an hour and then was silly enough to let him give
me some loaded coffee. He was such a weird old buzzard that it never
occurred to me he might be dangerous. At any rate, I’ve been unconscious
for several hours. I _couldn’t’ve_ called this Betsy Hughes operative of
yours.”

It was Steve Hackett’s turn to stare.

“You mean your department doesn’t have Susan Self?”

“Not so far as I know. The Boss told me yesterday that we were pulling
out, that it was all in your hands. What would we want with Susan?”

“Oh, great,” Steve snarled. “There goes our last contact. Ernest Self,
Professor Voss, and now Susan Self; they’ve all disappeared.”

“Look,” Larry said unhappily, “let’s get me some aspirin and then let’s go
and see my chief. I have a sneaking suspicion our department is back on
this case.”

Steve snorted sarcastically. “If you can foul things up this well when
you’re off the case, God only knows what you’ll accomplish using your
facilities on an all-out basis.”

                  -------------------------------------

The Boss said slowly, “Whoever we are working against evidently isn’t
short of resources. Abducting that young lady was no simple matter.” The
career diplomat worked his lips in and out, in all but a pout.

Larry Woolford, who’d taken time out to go home, shower, change clothes
and medicate himself out of his dope induced hangover, sat across the desk
from him, flanked by Steve Hackett.

The Boss said sourly, “It would seem that I was in error. That our young
Susan Self was not spouting fantasy. There evidently actually is an
underground movement interested in changing our institutions.” He stirred
in his chair and his scowl went deeper. “And evidently working on a basis
never conceived of by subversive organizations of the past. The fact that
they have successfully remained secret even to this department is the
prime indication that they are attempting to make their revolutionary
changes in a unique manner.”

Larry said, “The trouble is, we don’t even know what it is they want.”

“However,” his superior said slowly, “we are beginning to get inklings.”

Steve Hackett said, “What inklings, sir? This sort of thing might be
routine for you people, but my field is counterfeit. I, frankly, don’t
know what it’s all about.”

The Boss looked at him. “We have a clue or two, Mr. Hackett. For one
thing, we know that this Movement of ours has no affiliations with the
Soviet Complex, nor, so far as we know, any foreign element whatsoever. If
we take Miss Self’s word, it is strictly an American phenomenon. From what
little we know of Ernest Self and Peter Voss they might be in revolt
against some of our current institutions but there is no reason to believe
them, ah, _un-American_ in the usually accepted sense of the word.”

The two younger men looked at him as though he was joking.

He shook his heavy head negatively. “Actually, what do we have on this
so-called Movement thus far? Aside from treating Lawrence, here, to some
knockout drops—and let us remember that Lawrence was present in the
Professor’s home without a warrant—all we have is the suspicion that they
have manufactured a quantity of counterfeit.”

“A _quantity_ is right,” Steve Hackett blurted. “If we’re to accept what
that Self kid told us, they have a few billion dollars worth of perfect
bills on hand.”

“A strange amount for counterfeiters to produce,” The Boss said
uncomfortably. “That is what puzzles me. Any revolutionary movement needs
funds. Remember Stalin as a young man? He used to be in charge of the
Bolshevik gang which robbed banks to raise funds for their underground
newspapers. But a billion dollars? What in the world can they expect to
need that amount for?”

Larry said, “Sir, you keep talking as though these characters were a bunch
of idealistic do-gooders bleeding for the sake of the country. Actually,
from what we know, they’re nothing but a bunch of revolutionists.”

The Boss was shaking his head. “You’re not thinking clearly, Lawrence.
Revolution, _per se_, is not illegal in the United States. Our
Constitution was probably the first document of its kind which allowed for
its own amendment. The men who wrote it provided for changing it either
slightly or _in toto_. Whenever the majority of the American people decide
completely to abandon the Constitution and govern themselves by new laws,
they have the right to do it.”

“Then what’s the whole purpose of this department, sir?” Larry argued.
“Why’ve we been formed to combat foreign and domestic subversion?”

His chief sighed. “You shouldn’t have to ask that, Lawrence. The present
government cannot oppose the will of the majority if it votes, by
constitutional methods, to make any changes it wishes. But we can, and do,
unmask the activities of anyone trying to overthrow the government by
force and violence. Any culture protects itself against that.”

“What are we getting at, sir?” Steve Hackett said, impatiently.

The Boss shrugged. “I’m trying to point out that so far as my department
is concerned, thus far we have little against this Movement. Secret
Service may have, what with this wholesale counterfeiting, even though
thus far they seem to have made no attempt to pass the currency they have
allegedly manufactured. We wouldn’t even know of it, weren’t it for our
young Susan pilfering an amount.”

Larry said, desperately, “Sir, you just pointed out a few minutes ago that
this Movement is a secret organization trying to make changes in some
unique manner. In short, they don’t figure on using the ballot to put over
their revolution. That makes them as illegal as the Commies, doesn’t it?”

The Boss said, “That’s the difficulty; we don’t know what they want. From
your conversations with Susan Self and especially Professor Voss,
evidently they think the country needs some basic changes. What these
changes are, and how they expect to accomplish them, we don’t know. Unless
a foreign government is involved, or unless they plan to alter our
institutions by violence, this department just doesn’t have much
jurisdiction.”

Steve Hackett snorted, “Secret Service does! If those bales of money the
Self kid told us about are ever put into circulation, there’ll be hell to
pay.”

The Boss sighed. “Well,” he said, “Lawrence can continue on the
assignment. If it develops in such manner as to indicate that this
department is justified in further investigation, we’ll put more men on
it. Meanwhile, it is obviously more a Secret Service matter. I am sorry to
intrude upon your vacation again, Lawrence.”

On awakening in the morning, Larry Woolford stared glumly at the ceiling
for long moments before dragging himself from bed. This was, he decided,
the strangest assignment he’d ever been on. In his day he’d trekked
through South America, Common Europe, a dozen African states, and even
areas of Southern Asia, combatting Commie pressures here, fellow-traveler
organizations there, disrupting plots hatched in the Soviet Complex in the
other place. On his home grounds in the United States he’d covered
everything from out and out Soviet espionage, to exposing Communist
activities of complexions from the faintest of pinks to the rosiest
Trotskyite red. But, he decided he’d never expected to wind up after a
bunch of weirds whose sole actionable activity to date seemed to be the
counterfeiting of a fantastic amount of legal tender which thus far they
were making no attempt to pass.

He got out of bed and went through the rituals of showering, shaving and
clothing, of coffee, sausage, and eggs, toast and more coffee.

What amazed Larry Woolford was the shrug-it-off manner in which the Boss
seemed to accept this underground Movement and its admitted subversive
goals—whatever they were. Carry the Boss’ reasoning to its ultimate and
subversion was perfectly all right, just as it didn’t involve force and
violence. If he was in his chief’s position, he would have thrown the full
resources of the department into tracking down these crackpots. As it was,
he, Larry Woolford was the only operative on the job.

He needed a new angle on which to work. Steve Hackett was undoubtedly
handling the tracing down of the counterfeit with all the resources of the
Secret Service. Possibly there was some way of detecting the source of the
paper they’d used.

He finished his final cup of coffee in the living room and took up the
pipe he was currently breaking in. He loaded it automatically from a
humidor and lit it with his pocket lighter. Three drags, and he tossed it
back to the table, fumbled in a drawer and located a pack of cigarettes.
Possibly his status group was currently smoking British briars in public,
but, let’s face it, he hated the confounded things.

He sat down before the phone and dialed the offices of the _Sun-Post_ and
eventually got Sam Sokolski who this time beat him to the punch.

Sam said, “You shouldn’t drink alone. Listen, Larry, why don’t you get in
touch with Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s a great outfit.”

“You ought to know,” Larry growled. “Look, Sam, as science columnist for
that rag you work for you probably come in touch with a lot of eggheads.”

“Laddy-buck, you have said it,” Sam said.

“Fine. Now look, what I want to know is have you ever heard—even the
slightest of rumors—about an organization called the Movement?”

“What’d’ya mean, slightest of rumors? Half the weirds I run into are
interested in the outfit. Get two or three intellectuals, scientists,
technicians, or what have you, together and they start knocking themselves
out on the pros and cons of the Movement.”

Larry Woolford stared at him. “Are you kidding, Sam?”

The other was mystified. “Why should I kid you? As a matter of fact, I was
thinking of doing a column one of these days on Voss and this Movement of
his.”

“_Voss_ and this movement of his!”

“Sure,” Sam said, “he’s the top leader.”

“Oh, great,” Larry growled. “Look, Sam, eventually there is probably a
story in this for you. Right now, though, we’re trying to keep the lid on
it. Could you brief me a little on this Movement? What are they trying to
put over?”

“I seem to spend half my time briefing you in information any semi-moron
ought to be up on,” Sam said nastily. “However, _briefly_, they’re in
revolt against social-label judgments. They think it’s fouling up the
country and that eventually it’ll result in the Russkies passing us in all
the fields that really count.”

“I keep running into this term,” Larry complained. “What do you mean,
social-label judgments, and how can they possibly louse up the country?”

Sam said, “I was present a month or so ago when Voss gave an informal
lecture to a group of twenty or so. Here’s one of the examples he used.

“Everybody today wants to be rated on a (1) personal, or, (2) social-label
basis, depending on which basis is to his greatest advantage. The Negro
who is a no-good, lazy, obnoxious person demands to be accepted because
Negroes should not be discriminated against. The highly competent, hard
working, honest and productive Negro wants to be accepted because he is
hard-working, honest and productive—and should be so accepted.

“See what I mean? This social-label system is intended to relieve the
individual of the necessity of judging, and the consequences of being
judged. If you have poor judgment, and are forced to rely on your own
judgment, you’re almost sure to go under. So persons of poor judgment
support our social-label system. If you’re a louse, and are correctly
judged as being a louse, you’d prefer that the social dictum ‘Human beings
are never lice’ should apply.”

Larry said, “What in the devil’s this got to do with the race between this
country and the Russkies?”

Sam said patiently, “Voss and the Movement he leads contend that a
social-label system winds up with incompetents running the country in all
fields. Often incompetent scientists are in charge of our research;
incompetent doctors, in charge of our health; incompetent politicians run
our government; incompetent teachers, laden with social-labels, teach our
youth. Our young people are going to college to secure a degree, not an
education. It’s the label that counts, not the reality.

“Voss contends that it’s getting progressively worse. That we’re sinking
into an equivalent of a ritual-taboo, tribal social-like situation. This
is the system the low-level human being wants, yearns for and seeks. A
situation in which no one’s judgment is of any use. Then _his_ lack of
judgment is no handicap.

“According to members of the Movement, today the tribesman type is seeking
to reduce civilization back to ritual-taboo tribalism wherein no one man’s
judgment is of any value. The union wants advancement based on seniority,
not on ability and judgment. The persons with whom you associate socially
judge you by the amount of money you possess, the family from which you
come, the degrees you hold, by social-labels—not by your proven abilities.
Down with judgment! is the cry.”

“It sounds awfully weird to me,” Larry grumbled in deprecation.

Sam shrugged. “There’s a lot of sense in it. What the Movement wants is to
develop a socio-economic system in which judgment produces a maximum
advantage.”

Larry said, “What gets me is that you talk as though half the country was
all caught up in debating this Movement. But I haven’t even heard of it,
neither has my department chief, nor any of my colleagues, so far as I
know. Why isn’t anything about it in the papers or on the TriD?”

Sam said mildly, “As a matter of fact, I took in Mort Lenny’s show the
other night and he made some cracks about it. But it’s not the sort of
thing that’s even meant to become popular with the man in the street. To
put it bluntly, Voss and his people aren’t particularly keen about the
present conception of the democratic ideal. According to him, true
democracy can only be exercised by peers and society today isn’t composed
of peers. If you have one hundred people, twenty of them competent,
intelligent persons, eighty of them untrained, incompetent and less than
intelligent, then it’s ridiculous to have the eighty dictate to the
twenty.”

Larry looked accusingly at his long-time friend. “You know, Sam, you sound
as though you approve of all this.”

Sam said patiently, “I listen to it all, Larry my boy. I think Voss makes
a lot of sense. There’s only one drawback.”

“And that is?”

“How’s he going to put it over? This social-label system the Movement
complains about was bad enough ten years ago. But look how much worse it
is today. It’s a progressive thing. And, remember, it’s to the benefit of
the incompetent. Since the incompetent predominates, you’re going to have
a hard time starting up a system based on judgment and ability.”

Larry thought about it for a moment.

Sam said, “Look, I’m working, Larry. Was there anything else?”

Larry said, “You wouldn’t know where I could get hold of Voss, would you?”

“At his home, I imagine, or at the University.”

“He’s disappeared. We’re looking for him.”

Sam laughed. “Gone underground, eh? The old boy is getting romantic.”

“Does he have any particular friends who might be putting him up?”

Sam thought about it. “There’s Frank Nostrand. You know, that rocket
expert who was fired when he got in the big hassle with Senator McCord.”

                  -------------------------------------

When Sam Sokolski had flicked off, Larry stared at the vacant phone screen
for a long moment, assimilating what the other had told him. He was
astonished that an organization such as the Movement could have spread to
the extent it evidently had through the country’s intellectual circles,
through the scientifically and technically trained, without his department
being keenly aware of it.

                             [Illustration.]

One result, he decided glumly, of labeling everything contrary to the
_status quo_ as _weird_ and dismissing it with contempt. Admittedly, that
would have been his own reaction only a week ago.

Suppose that he’d been at a cocktail party, and had drifted up to a group
who were arguing about social-label judgments and the need to develop a
_movement_ to change society’s use of them. The discussion would have gone
in one ear, out the other, and he would have muttered inwardly, “Weirds,”
and have drifted on to get himself another vodka martini.

Larry snorted and dialed the Department of Records. He’d never heard of
Frank Nostrand before, so he got Information.

The bright young thing who answered seemed to have a harried expression
untypical of Records employees. Larry said to her, “I’d like the brief on
a Mr. Frank Nostrand who is evidently an expert on rockets. The only other
thing I know about him is that he recently got in the news as the result
of a controversy with Senator McCord.”

“Just a moment, sir,” the bright young thing said.

She touched buttons and reached into a delivery chute. When her eyes came
up to meet his again, they were more than ever harried. They were
absolutely confused.

“Mr. Franklin Howard Nostrand,” she said, “currently employed by Madison
Air as a rocket research technician.”

“That must be him,” Larry said. “I’m in a hurry, Miss. What’s his
background?”

Her eyes rounded. “It says ... it says he’s an Archbishop of the Anglican
Church.”

Larry Woolford looked at her.

She looked back, pleadingly.

Larry scowled and said, “His university degrees, please.”

Her eyes darted to the report and she swallowed. “A bachelor in Home
Economics, sir.”

“Look here, Miss, how could a Home Economics degree result in his becoming
either an Archbishop or a rocket technician?”

“I’m sorry, sir. That’s what it says.”

Larry was fuming but there was no point in taking it out on this junior
employee of the Department of Records. He snapped, “Just give me his
address, please.”

She said agonizingly, “Sir, it says, Lhasa, Tibet.”

A red light flicked at the side of his phone and he said to her, “I’ll
call you back. I’m getting a priority call.”

He flicked her off, and flicked the incoming call in. It was LaVerne Polk.
She seemed to be on the harried side, too.

“Larry,” she said, “you better get over here right away.”

“What’s up, LaVerne?”

“This Movement,” she said, “it seems to have started moving! The Boss says
to get over here soonest.”

                  -------------------------------------

The top of his car was retracted. Larry Woolford slammed down the walk of
his auto-bungalow and vaulted over the side and into the seat. He banged
the start button, dropped the lift lever, depressed the thrust pedal and
took off at maximum acceleration.

He took the police level for maximum speed and was in downtown Greater
Washington in flat minutes.

So the Movement had started moving. That could mean almost anything. It
was just enough to keep him stewing until he got to the Boss and found out
what was going on.

He turned his car over to a parker and made his way to the entrance
utilized by the second-grade department officials.  In another year, or at
most two, he told himself all over again, he’d be using that other door.
He had an intuitive feeling that if he licked this current assignment it’d
be the opening wedge he needed and he’d wind up in a status bracket unique
for his age.

LaVerne looked up when he hurried into her anteroom. She evidently had two
or three calls going on at once, taking orders from one phone, giving them
in another. Something was obviously erupting. She didn’t speak to him,
merely nodded her head at the inner office.

In the Boss’ office were six or eight others besides Larry’s superior.
Their expressions and attitudes ran from bewilderment to shock. They
weren’t the men you’d expect to have such reactions. At least not those
that Larry Woolford recognized. Three of them, Ben Ruthenberg, Bill Fraina
and Dave Moskowitz were F.B.I. men with whom Larry had worked on occasion.
One of the others he recognized as being a supervisor with the C.I.A. Walt
Foster, Larry’s rival in the Boss’ affections, was also present.

The Boss growled at him, “Where in the heavens have you been, Lawrence?”

“Following our leads on this so-called Movement, sir,” Larry told him.
“What’s going on?”

Ruthenberg, the Department of Justice man, grunted sour amusement.
“So-called Movement, isn’t exactly the correct phrase. It’s a Movement,
all right.”

The Boss said, “Please dial Records and get your dossier, Lawrence.
That’ll be the quickest way to bring you up on developments.”

Mystified, but already with a growing premonition, Larry dialed Records.
Knowing his own classification code, he had no need of Information this
time. He got the hundred-word brief and stared at it as it filled the
screen. The only items really correct were his name and present
occupation. Otherwise his education was listed as grammar school only. His
military career had him ending the war as a General of the Armies, and his
criminal career record included four years on Alcatraz for molesting small
children.

Blankly, he faded the brief and dialed his full dossier.  It failed to
duplicate the brief, but that was no advantage. This time he had an M.D.
degree from Johns Hopkins, but his military career listed him as a
dishonorable discharge from the navy where he’d served in the steward
department. His criminal record was happily nil, but his religion was
listed as Holy Roller. Political affiliations had him down as a  member of
the Dixiecrats.

The others were looking at him, most of them blankly, although there were
grins on the faces of Moskowitz and the C.I.A. man.

Moskowitz said, “With a name like mine, yet, they have me a Bishop of the
Orthodox Greek Catholic Church.”

Larry said, “What’s it all about?”

Ruthenberg said unhappily, “It started early this morning. We don’t know
exactly when as yet.” Which didn’t seem to answer the question.

Larry said, “I don’t get it. Obviously, the Records department is fouled
up in some manner. How, and why?”

“How, we know,” the Boss rumbled disgustedly. “Why is another matter.
You’ve spent more time than anyone else on this assignment, Lawrence.
Perhaps you can tell us.” He grabbed up a pipe from his desk, tried to
light it noisily, noticed finally that it held no tobacco and threw it to
the desk again. “Evidently, a large group of these Movement individuals
either already worked in Records or wriggled themselves into key positions
in the technical end of the department. Now they’ve sabotaged the files.”

“We’ve caught most of them already,” one of the F.B.I. men growled, “but
damn little good that does us at this point.”

The C.I.A. supervisor made a gesture indicating that he gave it all up.
“Not only here but in Chicago and San Francisco as well. All at once.
Evidently perfectly rehearsed. Personnel records from coast to coast are
bollixed. Why?”

Larry said slowly, “I think I know that now. Yesterday, I wouldn’t have
but I’ve been picking up odds and ends.”

They all looked at him.

                  -------------------------------------

Larry sat down and ran a hand back through his hair. “The general idea is
to change the country’s reliance on social-label judgments.”

“On _what_,” the Boss barked.

“On one person judging another according to social-labels. Voss and the
others—”

“Who did you say?” Ruthenberg snapped.

“Voss. Professor Peter Voss from the University over in Baltimore section.
He’s the ring leader.”

Ruthenberg snapped to Fraina, “Get on the phone and send out a pick-up
order for him.”

Fraina was on his feet. “What charge, Ben?”

Ben Ruthenberg snorted. “Rape, or something. Get moving, we’ll figure out
a charge later. The guy’s a fruitcake.”

Larry said wearily, “He’s evidently gone into hiding. I’ve been trying to
locate him. He managed to slip me some knockout drops and got away
yesterday.”

The Boss looked at him in disgust.

Ruthenberg said evenly, “We’ve had men go into hiding before. Get going,
Fraina.”

Fraina left the office and the others looked back to Larry.

The Boss said, “About this social-label nonsense—”

Larry said, “They think the country is going to pot because of it. People
hold high office or places of responsibility not because of superior
intelligence, or even acquired skill, but because of the social-labels
they’ve accumulated, and these can be based on something as flimsy—from
the Movement’s viewpoint—as who your grandparents were, what school you
attended, how much seniority you have on the job, what part of town you
live in, or what tailor cuts your clothes.”

Their expressions ran from scowls and frowns to complete puzzlement.

Walt Foster grumbled, “What’s all this got to do with sabotaging the
country’s Records tapes?”

Larry shrugged. “I don’t have the complete picture, but one thing is sure.
It’s going to be harder for a while to base your opinions on a quick
hundred-word brief on a man. Yesterday, an employer, considering hiring
somebody, could dial the man’s dossier, check it, and form his opinions by
the status labels the would-be employee could produce. Today, he’s damn
well going to have to exercise his own judgment.”

LaVerne’s face lit up the screen on the Boss’ desk and she said, “Those
two members of the Movement who were picked up in Alexandria are here,
sir.”

“Send them in,” the Boss rumbled. He looked at Larry. “The F.B.I. managed
to arrest almost everyone directly involved in the sabotage.”

The two prisoners seemed more amused than otherwise. They were young men,
in their early thirties—well dressed and obviously intelligent. The Boss
had them seated side by side and glared at them for a long moment before
speaking. Larry and the others took chairs in various parts of the room
and added their own stares to the barrage.

The Boss said, “Your situation is an unhappy one, gentlemen.”

One of the two shrugged.

The Boss said, “You can, ah, hedge your bets, by co-operating with us. It
might make the difference between a year or two in prison—and life.”

One of them grinned and then yawned. “I doubt it,” he said.

The Boss tried a slightly different tack. “You have no reason to maintain
a feeling of obligation to Voss and the others. You have obviously been
abandoned. Had they any feeling for you there would have been more
efficacious arrangements for your escape.”

The more articulate of the two shrugged again. “We were expendable,” he
said. “However, it won’t be long before we’re free again.”

“You think so?” Ruthenberg grunted.

The revolutionist looked at him. “Yes, I do,” he said. “Six months from
now and we’ll be heroes since by that time the Movement will have been a
success.”

The Boss snorted. “Just because you deranged the Records? Why that’s but
temporary.”

“Not so temporary as you think,” the technician replied. “This country has
allowed itself to get deeply enmeshed in punch-card and tape records. Oh,
it made sense enough. With the population we have, and the endless files
that result from our ultra-complicated society, it was simply a matter
finally of developing a standardized system of records for the nation as a
whole. Now, for all practical purposes, _all_ of our records these days
are kept with the Department of Records, confidential as well as public
records. Why should a university, for instance, keep literally tons of
files, with all the expense and space and time involved, when it can
merely file the same records with the governmental department and have
them safe and easily available at any time? Now, the Movement has
completely and irrevocably destroyed almost all files that deal with the
social-labels to which we object. An excellent first step, in forcing our
country back into judgment based on ability and intelligence.”

“First step!” Larry blurted.

The two prisoners looked at him. “That’s right,” the quieter of the two
said. “This is just the first step.”

“Don’t kid yourselves,” Ben Ruthenberg snapped at them. “It’s also the
last!”

The two members of the Movement grinned at him.

                  -------------------------------------

When the others had gone, the Boss looked at Larry Woolford. He said
sourly, “When this department was being formed, I doubt anyone had in mind
this particular type of subversion, Lawrence.”

Larry grunted. “Give me a good old-fashioned Commie, any time. Look, sir,
what are the Department of Justice boys going to do with those prisoners?”

“Hold them on any of various charges. We’ve conflicted with the F.B.I. in
the past on overlapping jurisdiction, but thank heavens for them now.
Their manpower is needed.”

Larry leaned forward. “Sir, we ought to take all members of the Movement
we’ve already arrested, feed them a dose of Scop-Serum, and pressure them
to open up on the organization’s operations.”

His superior looked at him, waiting for him to continue.

Larry said urgently, “Those two we just had in here thought the whole
thing was a big joke. The first step, they called it. Sir, there’s
something considerably bigger than this cooking. Uncle Sam might pride
himself on the personal liberties guaranteed by this country, but unless
we break this organization, and do it fast, there’s going to be trouble
that will make this fouling of the records look like the minor matter
those two jokers seemed to think it.”

The Boss thought about that. He said slowly, “Lawrence, the Supreme Court
ruled against the use of Scop-Serum. Not that it is over efficient,
anyway. Largely, these so-called truth serums don’t accomplish much more
than to lower resistance, slacken natural inhibitions, weaken the will.”

“Sure,” Larry said. “But give a man a good dose of Scop-Serum and he’d
betray his own mother. Not because he’s helpless to tell a lie, but
because under the influence of the drug he figures it just isn’t important
enough to bother about. Sir, Supreme Court or not, I think those two ought
to be given Scop-Serum along with all other Movement members we’ve picked
up.”

The Boss was shaking his head. “Lawrence, these men are not wide-eyed
radicals picked up in a street demonstration. They’re highly respected
members of our society. They’re educators, scientists, engineers,
technicians. Anything done to them is going to make headlines. Those that
were actually involved in the sabotage will have criminal charges brought
against them, but they’re going to get a considerable amount of publicity,
and we’re going to be in no position to alienate any of their
constitutional rights.”

Larry stood up, approached his chief’s desk and leaned over it urgently.
“Sir, that’s fine, but we’ve got to move and move fast. Something’s up and
we don’t even know what! Take that counterfeit money. From Susan Self’s
description, there’s actually billions of dollars worth of it.”

“Oh, come now, Lawrence. The child exaggerated. Besides, that’s a problem
for Steven Hackett and the Secret Service, we have enough on our hands as
it is. Forget about the counterfeit, Lawrence. I think I shall put you in
complete control of field work on this, to co-operate in liaison with Ben
Ruthenberg and the F.B.I. So far as we’re concerned, the counterfeit angle
belongs to Secret Service, we’re working on subversion, and until the
Civil Liberties Union or whoever else proves otherwise, we’ll consider
this Movement an organization attempting to subvert the country by illegal
means.”

Larry Woolford made a hard decision quickly. He was shaking his head.
“Sir, I’d rather you gave the administrative end to someone else and let
me continue in the field. I’ve got some leads—I think. If I get bogged
down in interdepartmental red tape, and in paper work here at
headquarters, I’ll never get to the heart of this and I’m laying bets that
we either crack this within days or there are going to be some awfully big
changes in this country.”

The Boss glared at him. “You mean you’re refusing this assignment,
Woolford. Confound it, don’t you realize it’s a promotion?”

Larry was worriedly dogged. “Sir, I’d rather stay in the field.”

“Very well,” the other snapped disgustedly, “I hope you deliver some
results, Woolford, otherwise I am afraid I won’t feel particularly happy
about your somewhat cavalier rejection of this opportunity.” He flicked on
the phone and snapped to LaVerne Polk, “Miss Polk, locate Walter Foster
for me. He is to take over our end of this Movement matter.”

LaVerne said, “Yes, sir,” and her face was gone.

The Boss looked up, still scowling. “What are you waiting for, Woolford?”

“Yes, sir,” Larry said. It was just coming home to him now, what he’d
done. There possibly went his yearned for promotion in the department.
There went his chance of an upgrading in status. And Walt Foster, of all
people, in his place.

                  -------------------------------------

At LaVerne’s desk, Larry stopped off long enough to say, “Did you ever
assign that secretary to me?”

LaVerne shook her head at him. “She’s come and gone, Larry. She sat around
for a couple of days, after seeing you not even once, and then I gave her
another assignment.”

“Well, bring her back again, will you? I want her to do up briefs for me
on all the information we accumulate on the Movement. It’ll be coming in
from all sides now. From the Press, from those members we’ve arrested,
from our F.B.I. pals, now that they’re interested, and so forth.”

“I’ll give you Irene Day,” LaVerne said. “Where are you off to now,
Larry?”

“Probably a wild goose chase,” Larry growled. “Which reminds me. Do me a
favor, LaVerne. Call Personal Service and find out where Frank Nostrand
is. He’s some kind of rocket technician at Madison Air Laboratories. I’ll
be in my office.”

“Frank Nostrand,” LaVerne said briskly. “Will do, Larry.”

Back in his own cubicle, Larry stood for a moment in thought. He was
increasingly aware of the uncomfortable feeling that time was running out
on them. That things were coming to a dangerous head.

He stared down at the dozen or more books and pamphlets that his never
seen secretary had heaped up for him. Well, he certainly didn’t have time
for them now.

He sat down at the desk and dialed an inter-office number.

The harassed looking face of Walter Foster faded in. On seeing Larry
Woolford he growled accusingly, “My pal. You’ve let them dump this whole
thing into my lap.”

Larry grinned at him. “Better you than me, old buddy. Besides, it’s a
promotion. Pull this off and you’ll be the Boss’ right-hand man.”

“That’s a laugh,” Foster said. “It’s a madhouse. This Movement gang is as
weird as they come.”

“I bleed for you,” Larry said. “However, here’s a tip. Frol Eivazov, of
the _Chrezvychainaya Komissiya_ is somewhere in the country.”

“Frol Eivazov!” Foster blurted. “What’ve the Commies got to do with this?
Is this something the Boss knows about?”

“Haven’t had time to go into it with him,” Larry said. “However, it seems
that friend Frol is here to find out what the Movement is all about.
Evidently the big boys in Peking and Moscow are nervous about any changes
that might take place over here. I suggest you have him picked up, Walt.”

                             [Illustration.]

Walt Foster said, “O.K. I’ll put some people on it. Maybe the F.B.I. can
help.”

Larry flicked off as he saw the red priority light on his phone shining.
He pushed it and LaVerne’s face faded in.

She said, “This Franklin Nostrand you wanted to know about. He’s evidently
working at the laboratories over in Newport News, Larry. He’ll be on the
job until five this afternoon.”

“Fine,” he said. Larry grinned at her. “When are we going to have that
date, LaVerne?”

She made a face. “Some day when the program involves having fun instead of
parading around in the right places, driving the right model car, dressed
in exactly the right clothes, and above all associating with the right
people.”

It was his turn to grimace. “I’m beginning to think you ought to sign up
with Voss and this Movement of his. You’d be right at home with his
weirds.”

She stuck out her tongue at him, and flicked off.

He looked at the empty screen and chuckled. He had half a mind to get a
record of their conversation, strip out just the section where she’d stuck
out her tongue, and then play it back to her. She’d be taken aback by
being confronted by her own image making faces at her.

As he made his way to the parking lot for his car, something in their
conversation nagged at him, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He
considered the girl, all over again. She had almost all the qualities he
looked for. She was attractive, without being overly so. He disliked women
out of the ordinarily beautiful, it became too much to live up to. She was
sharp, but not objectionably so. Not to the point of giving you an
inferiority complex.

But, Holy Smokes, she’d never do as a career man’s wife. He could just see
the Boss’ ultraconservative better half inviting them to dinner. It would
happen exactly once, never again.

He obtained his car, lifted it to one of the higher levels and headed for
Newport News. It was a half-hour trip and he wasn’t particularly expectant
of results. The tip Sam Sokolski had given him, wasn’t much to go by.
Evidently, Frank Nostrand was a friend of the Professor’s but that didn’t
necessarily mean he was connected with the movement, or that he knew Voss’
whereabouts.

He might have saved himself the trip.

The bird had flown again. Not only was Frank Nostrand not at the Madison
Air Laboratories, but he wasn’t at home either. Larry Woolford, mindful of
his departmental chief’s words on the prestige these people carried, took
a full hour in acquiring a search warrant before breaking into the
Nostrand home.

Nostrand was supposedly a bachelor, but the auto-bungalow, similar to
Larry Woolford’s own, showed signs of double occupancy, and there was
little indication that the guest had been a woman.

Disgruntled, Larry Woolford dialed the offices, asked for Walt Foster. It
took nearly ten minutes before his colleague faded in.

“I’m up to my eyebrows, Larry. What’d you want?”

Larry gave him Frank Nostrand’s address. “This guy’s disappeared, Walt.”

“So?”

“He was a close friend of Professor Voss. I got a warrant to search his
house. It shows signs that he had a guest. Possibly it was the Professor.
Do you want to get some of the boys down here to go through the place?
Possibly there’s some clue to where they took off for. The Professor’s on
the run and he’s no professional at this. If we can pick _him_ up, I’ve
got a sneaking suspicion we’ll have the so-called Movement licked.”

Walt Foster slapped a hand to his face in anguish. “You knew where the
Professor was hiding, and you tried to pick him up on your own and let him
get away. Why didn’t you discuss this with either the Boss or me? I’m in
charge of this operation! I would have had a dozen men down there. You’ve
fouled this up!”

Larry stared at him. Already Walt Foster was making sounds like an enraged
superior.

He said mildly, “Sorry, Walt. I came down here on a very meager tip. I
didn’t really expect it to pan out.”

“Well, in the future, clear with either me or the Boss before running off
half cocked into something, Woolford. Yesterday, you had this whole
assignment on your own. Today, it’s no longer a minor matter. Our
department has fifty people on it. The F.B.I. must have five times as many
and that’s not even counting the Secret Service’s interest. It’s no longer
your individual baby.”

“Sorry,” Larry repeated mildly. Then, “I don’t imagine you’ve got hold of
Frol Eivazov yet?”

The other was disgusted. “You think we’re magicians? We just put out the
call for him a few hours ago. He’s no amateur. If he doesn’t want to be
picked up, he’ll go to ground and we’ll have our work cut out for us
finding him. I can’t see that it’s particularly important anyway.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Larry said. “But you never know. He might know
things we don’t. See you later.”

Walt Foster stared at him for a moment as though about to say something,
but then tightened his lips and faded off.

Larry looked at the phone screen for a moment. “Did that phony expect me
to call him _sir_,” he muttered.

                  -------------------------------------

The next two days dissolved into routine.

Frustrated, Larry Woolford spent most of his time in his office digesting
developments, trying to find a new line of attack.

For want of something else, he put his new secretary, a brightly efficient
girl, as style and status conscious as LaVerne Polk wasn’t, to work typing
up the tapes he’d had cut on Susan Self and the various phone calls he’d
had with Hans Distelmayer and Sam Sokolski. From memory, he dictated to
her his conversation with Professor Peter Voss.

He carefully read the typed sheets over and over again. He continually had
the feeling in this case that there were loose ends dangling around.
Several important points he should be able to put his finger upon.

On the morning of the third day he dialed Steve Hackett and on seeing the
other’s worried, pug-ugly face fade in on the phone, decided that if
nothing else the Movement was undermining the United States government by
dispensing ulcers to its employees.

Steve growled, “What is it Woolford? I’m as busy as a whirling dervish in
a revolving door.”

“This is just the glimmer of an idea, Steve. Look, remember that
conversation with Susan, when she described her father taking her to
headquarters?”

“So?” Steve said impatiently.

“Remember her description of headquarters?”

“Go on,” Steve rapped.

“What did it remind you of?”

“What are you leading to?”

“This is just a hunch,” Larry persisted, “but the way she described the
manner in which her father took her to headquarters suggests they’re in
the Greater Washington area.”

Steve was staring at him disgustedly. How obvious could you get?

Larry hurried on. “What’s the biggest business in this area, Steve?”

“Government.”

“Right. And the way she described headquarters of the Movement, was rooms,
after rooms, after rooms into which they’d stored the money.”

“And?”

Larry said urgently, “Steve, I think in some way the Movement has taken
over some governmental buildings, or storage warehouse. Possibly some
older buildings no longer in use. It would be a perfect hideout. Who would
expect a subversive organization to be in governmental buildings? All
they’d need would be a few officials here and there who were on their side
and—”

Steve said wearily, “You couldn’t have thought of this two days ago.”

Larry cut himself off sharply, “Eh?”

Steve said, “We found their headquarters. One of their members cracked.
Ben Ruthenberg of the F.B.I. found he had a morals rap against him some
years ago and scared him into talking by threats of exposure. At any rate,
you’re right. They had established themselves in some government buildings
going back to Spanish-American War days. We’ve arrested eight or ten
officials that were involved.”

“But the money?”

“The money was gone,” Steve said bitterly. “But Susan was right. There had
evidently been room after room of it, stacked to the ceiling. Literally
billions of dollars. They’d moved out hurriedly, but they left kicking
around enough loose hundreds, fifties, twenties, tens and fives to give us
an idea. Look, Woolford, I thought you’d been pulled off this case and
that Walt Foster was handling it.”

Larry said sourly, “I’m beginning to think so, too. They’re evidently not
even bothering to let me know about developments like this. See you later,
Steve.”

The other’s face faded off.

Larry Woolford looked across the double desk at Irene Day. “Look,” he
said, “when you’re offered a promotion, take it. If you don’t, someone
else will and you’ll be out in the cold.”

Irene Day said brightly, “I’ve always know that, sir.”

He looked at her. The typical eager beaver. Sharp as a whip. Bright as a
button. “I’ll bet you have,” he muttered.

“I beg your pardon, Mr. Woolford?”

The phone lit as LaVerne said, “The Boss wants to talk to you, Larry.” Her
face faded and Larry’s superior was scowling at him.

He snapped, “Did you get anything on this medical records thing,
Woolford?”

“Medical records?” Larry said blankly.

The Boss grunted in deprecation. “No, I suppose you haven’t. I wish you
would snap into it, Woolford. I don’t know what has happened to you of
late. I used to think that you were a good field man.” He flicked off
abruptly.

Larry dialed LaVerne Polk. “What in the world was the Boss just talking
about, LaVerne? About medical records?”

LaVerne said, frowning, “Didn’t you know? The Movement’s been at it again.
They’ve fouled up the records of the State Medical Licensing bureaus, at
the same time sabotaging the remaining records of most, if not all, of the
country’s medical schools. They struck simultaneously, throughout the
country.”

He looked at her, expressionlessly.

LaVerne said, “We’ve caught several hundred of those responsible. It’s the
same thing. Attack of the social-label. From now on, if a man tells you
he’s an Ear, Eye and Throat specialist, you’d better do some investigation
before letting him amputate your tongue. You’d better use your judgment
before letting _any_ doctor you don’t really know about, work on you. It’s
a madhouse, Larry.”

                  -------------------------------------

Larry Woolford, for long moments after LaVerne had broken the connection,
stared unseeingly at his secretary across from him until she stirred.

He brought his eyes back to the present. “Another preliminary move, not
the important thing, yet. Not the big explosion they’re figuring on. Where
have they taken that money, and why?”

Irene Day blinked at him. “I don’t know, I’m sure, sir.”

Larry said, “Get me Mr. Foster on the phone, Irene.”

When Walt Foster’s unhappy face faded in, Larry said, “Walt did you get
Frol Eivazov?”

“Eivazov?” the other said impatiently. “No. We haven’t spent much effort
on it. I think this hunch of yours is like the other ones you’ve been
having lately, Woolford. Frol Eivazov was last reported by our operatives
as being in North Korea.”

“It wasn’t a hunch,” Larry said tightly. “He’s in this country on an
assignment dealing with the Movement.”

“Well, that’s your opinion,” Foster said snappishly. “I’m busy, Woolford.
See here, at present you’re under my orders on this job. In the way of
something to do, instead of sitting around in that office, why don’t you
follow up this Eivazov thing yourself?” He considered it a moment. “That’s
an order, Woolford. Even if you don’t locate him, it’ll keep you out of
our hair.”

After the other was gone, Larry Woolford leaned back in his chair, his
face flushed as though the other had slapped it. In a way, he had.

Larry said slowly, “Miss Day, dial me Hans Distelmayer. His offices are
over in the Belmont Building.”

As always, the screen remained blank as the German spy master spoke.

Larry said, “Hans, I want to talk to Frol Eivazov.”

“Ah?”

“I want to know where I can find him.”

The German’s voice was humorously gruff. “My friend, my friend.”

Larry said impatiently, “I’m not interested in arresting him at this time.
I want to talk to him.”

The other said heavily. “This goes beyond favors, my friend. On the face
of it, I am not in business for my health. And what you ask is dangerous
from my viewpoint. You realize that upon occasion my organization does
small tasks for the Soviets....”

“Ha!” Larry said bitterly.

“... And,” the German continued, unruffled, “it is hardly to my interest
to gain the reputation of betraying my sometimes employers. Were you on an
assignment in, say, Bulgaria or Hungary, would you expect me to betray you
to the _Chrezvychainaya Komissiya_?”

“Not unless somebody paid you enough to make it worth while,” Larry said
dryly.

“Exactly,” the espionage chief said.

“Look,” Larry said. “Send your bill to this department, Hans. I’ve been
given carte blanche on this matter and I want to talk to Frol. Now, where
is he?”

The German chuckled heavily. “At the Soviet Embassy.”

“What! You mean they’ve got the gall to house their top spy right in—”

Distelmayer interrupted him. “Friend Eivazov is currently accredited as a
military attaché and quite correctly. He holds the rank of colonel, you
know. He entered this country quite legally, the only precaution taken was
to use his second name, Kliment, instead of Frol, on his papers.
Evidently, your people passed him by without a second look. Ah, I
understand he went to the trouble of making some minor changes in his
facial appearance.”

“We’ll expect your bill, Distelmayer,” Larry said. “Good-by.”

He got up and reached for his hat, saying to Irene Day, “I don’t know how
long I’ll be gone.” He added, wryly, “If either Foster or the Boss try to
get in touch with me, tell them I’m carrying out orders.”

He drove over to the Soviet Embassy, parked his car directly before the
building.

                  -------------------------------------

The American plainclothesmen stationed near the entrance, gave him only a
quick onceover as he passed. Inside the gates, the impassive Russian
guards didn’t bother to flicker an eyelid.

At the reception desk in the immense entrada, he identified himself. “I’d
like to see Colonel Frol Eivazov.”

“I am afraid—” the clerk began stiffly.

“I suppose you have him on the records as Kliment Eivazov.”

The clerk had evidently touched a concealed button. A door opened and a
junior embassy official approached them.

Larry restated his desire. The other began to open his mouth in denial,
then shrugged. “Just a moment,” he said.

He was gone a full twenty minutes. When he returned, he said briefly,
“This way, please.”

Frol Eivazov was in an inner office, in full uniform. He came to his feet
when Larry Woolford entered and said to the clerk, “That will be all,
Vova.” He was a tall man, as Slavs go, but heavy of build and heavy of
face.

He shook hands with Larry. “It’s been a long time,” he said in perfect
English. “That conference in Warsaw, wasn’t it? Have a chair, Mr.
Woolford.”

Larry took the offered chair and said, “How in the world did you expect to
get by with this nonsense? We’ll have you declared _persona non grata_ in
a matter of hours.”

“It’s not important,” Eivazov shrugged. “I have found what I came to find.
I was about to return to report any way.”

“We won’t do anything to hinder you, colonel,” Larry said dryly.

Eivazov snapped his fingers. “It’s all amusing,” he said. “In our country
we would quickly deal with this Movement nonsense. You Americans with your
pseudo-democracy, your labels without reality, your—”

Larry said wearily, “Please, Frol, I promise not to convert you if you
promise not to convert me. Needless to say, my department isn’t happy
about your presence in this country. You’ll be watched from now on. We’ve
been busy with other matters....”

Here the Russian laughed.

“... Or we’d already have flushed you.” He allowed his voice to go
curious. “We’ve wondered about your interest in this phase of our internal
affairs.”

The Russian agent let his facade slip over farther, his heavy lips
sneering. “We are interested in all phases of your antiquated
socio-economic system, Mr. Woolford. In the present peaceful economic
competition between East and West, we would simply _loathe_ to see
anything happen to your present culture.” He hesitated deliberately. “If
you can call it a culture.”

Larry said, unprovoked, “If I understand you correctly, you are not in
favor of the changes the Movement advocates.”

The Russian shrugged hugely. “I doubt if they are possible of achievement.
The organization is a sloppy one. Revolutionary? Nonsense,” he scoffed.
“They have no plans to change the government. No plans for overthrowing
the regime. Ultimately, what this country needs is true Communism. This
so-called Movement doesn’t have that as its eventual goal. It is
laughable.”

Larry said, interestedly, “Then perhaps you’ll tell me what little you’ve
found out about the group.”

“Why not?” The Russian pursed his lips. “They are composed of impractical
idealists. Scientists, intellectuals, a few admitted scholars and even a
few potential leaders. Their sabotage of your Department of Records was an
amusing farce, but, frankly, I have been unable to discover the purpose of
their interest in rockets. For a time I contemplated the possibility that
they had a scheme to develop a nuclear bomb, and to explode it over
Greater Washington in the belief that in the resulting confusion they
might seize power. But, on the face of it their membership is incapable of
such an effort.”

“Their interest in rockets?” Larry said softly.

“Yes, as you’ve undoubtedly discovered, half the rocket technicians of
your country seem to have joined with them. We got the tip through”—the
Russian cleared his throat—“several of our converts who happen to be
connected with your space efforts groups.”

“Is that so?” Larry said. “I wondered what you thought about their
interest in money.”

It was the other’s turn to look blank. “Money?” he said.

“That’s right. Large quantities of money.”

The Russian said, frowning, “I suppose most citizens in your capitalist
countries are interested largely in money. One of your basic failings.”

                  -------------------------------------

Driving back to the office, Larry Woolford let it pile up on him.

Ernest Self had been a specialist in solid fuel for rockets. When Larry
had questioned Professor Voss that worthy had particularly stressed his
indignation at how Professor Goddard, the rocket pioneer, had been treated
by his contemporaries. Franklin Nostrand had been employed as a technician
on rocket research at Madison Air Laboratories. It was too darn much for
coincidence.

And now something else that had been nagging away at the back of his mind
suddenly came clear.

Susan Self had said that she and her father had seen the precision dancers
at the New Roxy Theater in New York and later the Professor had said they
were going to spend the money on chorus girls. Susan had got it wrong. The
Rockettes—the precision chorus girls. The Professor had said they were
going to spend the money on _rockets_, and Susan had misunderstood.

But billions of dollars expended on rockets? How? But, above all, to what
end?

If he’d only been able to hold onto Susan, or her father; or to Voss or
Nostrand, for that matter. Someone to work on. But each had slipped
through his fingers.

Which brought something else up from his subconscious. Something which had
been tugging at him.

At the office, Irene Day was packing her things as he entered. Packing as
though she was leaving for good.

“What goes on?” Larry growled. “I’m going to be needing you. Things are
coming to a head.”

She said, a bit snippishly, Larry thought, “Miss Polk, in the Boss’
office, said for you to see her as soon as you came in, Mr. Woolford.”

“Oh?”

He made his way to LaVerne’s office, his attention actually on the ideas
churning in his mind.

She looked up when he entered.

Larry said, “The Boss wanted to see me?”

LaVerne ducked her head, as though embarrassed. “Not exactly, Larry.”

He gestured with his thumb in the direction of his own cubicle office.
“Irene just said you wanted me.”

LaVerne looked up into his face. “The Boss and Mr. Foster, too, are
boiling about your authorizing that Distelmayer man to bill this
department for information he gave you. The Boss hit the roof. Something
about the Senate Appropriations Committee getting down on him if it came
out that we bought information from professional espionage agents.”

Larry said, “It was information we needed, and Foster gave me the go ahead
on locating Frol Eivazov. Maybe I’d better see the Boss.”

LaVerne said, “I don’t think he wants to see you, Larry. They’re up to
their ears in this Movement thing. It’s in the papers _now_ and nobody
knows what to do next. The President is going to make a speech on TriD,
and the Boss has to supply the information. His orders are for you to
resume your vacation. To take a month off and then see him when you get
back.”

Larry sank down into a chair. “I see,” he said, “And at that time he’ll
probably transfer me to janitor service.”

“Larry,” LaVerne said, almost impatiently, “why in the world didn’t you
take that job Walt Foster has now when the Boss offered it to you?”

“Because I’m stupid, I suppose,” Larry said bitterly. “I thought I could
do more working alone than at an administrative post tangled in red tape
and bureaucratic routine.”

She said, “Sorry, Larry.” She sounded as though she meant it.

Larry stood up. “Well, tonight I’m going to hang one on, and tomorrow it’s
back to Florida.”  He said in a rush, “Look LaVerne, how about that date
we’ve been talking about for six months or more?”

She looked up at him. “I can’t stand vodka martinis.”

“Neither can I,” he said glumly.

“And I don’t get a kick out of prancing around, a stuffed shirt among
fellow stuffed shirts, at some goings-on that supposedly improves my
culture status.”

Larry said “At the house I have every known brand of drinkable, and a
stack of ... what did you call it? ... corny music.  We can mix our own
drinks and dance all by ourselves.”

She tucked her head to one side and looked at him suspiciously. “Are your
intentions honorable?”

“We can even discuss that later,” he said sourly.

She laughed. “It’s a date, Larry.”

                  -------------------------------------

He picked her up after work, and they drove to his Brandywine
auto-bungalow, largely quiet the whole way.

At one point she touched his hand with hers and said, “It’ll work out,
Larry.”

“Yeah,” he said sourly. “I’ve put ten years into ingratiating myself with
the Boss. Now, overnight, he’s got a new boy. I suppose there’s some moral
involved.”

When they pulled up before his auto-bungalow, LaVerne whistled
appreciatively. “Quite a neighborhood you’re in.”

He grunted. “A good address. What our friend Professor Voss would call one
more status symbol, one more social-label. For it I pay about fifty per
cent more rent than my budget can afford.”

He ushered her inside and took her jacket. “Look,” he said, indicating his
living room with a sweep of hand. “See that volume of Klee reproductions
there next to my reading chair? That proves I’m not a weird. Indicates my
culture status. Actually, my appreciation of modern art doesn’t go any
further than the Impressionists. But don’t tell anybody. See those books
up on my shelves. Same thing. You’ll find everything there that _ought_ to
be on the shelves of any ambitious young career man.”

She looked at him from the side of her eyes. “You’re really soured,
Larry.”

“Come along,” he said. “I want to show you something.”

He took her down the tiny elevator to his den.

“How hypocritical can you get?” he asked her. “This is where I really
live. But I seldom bring anyone here. Wouldn’t want to get a reputation as
a weird. Sit down, LaVerne, I’ll make a drink. How about a Sidecar?”

She sank onto the couch, kicked her shoes off and slipped her feet under
her. “I’d love one,” she said.

His back to her, he brought brandy and cointreau from his liquor cabinet,
lemon and ice from the tiny refrigerator.

“What?” LaVerne said mockingly. “No auto-bar?”

“Upstairs with the rest of the status symbols,” Larry grunted.

He put her drink before her and turned and went to the record player.

“In the way of corny music, how do you like that old-timer, Nat Cole?”

“King Cole? Love him,” LaVerne said.

The strains of “For All We Know” penetrated the room.

Larry sat down across from her, finished half his drink in one swallow.

“I’m beginning to wonder whether or not this Movement doesn’t have
something,” he said.

She didn’t answer that. They sat in silence for a while, appreciating the
drink. Nat Cole was singing “The Very Thought of You” now. Larry got up
and made two more cocktails. This time he sat next to her. He leaned his
head back on the couch and closed his eyes.

Finally he said softly, “When Steve Hackett and I were questioning Susan,
there was only one other person who knew that we’d picked her up. There
was only one person other than Steve and me who could have warned Ernest
Self to make a getaway. Later on, there was only one person who could have
warned Frank Nostrand so that he and the Professor could find a new
hideout.”

She said sleepily, “How long have you known about that, darling?”

“A while,” Larry said, his own voice quiet. “I figured it out when I also
decided how Susan Self was spirited out of the Greater Washington Hilton,
before we had the time to question her further. Somebody who had access to
tapes made of me while I was making phone calls cut out a section and
dubbed in a voice so that Betsy Hughes, the Secret Service matron who was
watching Susan, was fooled into believing it was I ordering the girl to be
turned over to the two Movement members who came to get her.”

LaVerne stirred comfortably and let her head sink onto his shoulder.
“You’re so warm and ... comfortable,” she said.

Larry said softly, “What does the Movement expect to do with all that
counterfeit money, LaVerne?”

She stirred against his shoulder, as though bothered by the need to talk.
“Give it all away,” she said. “Distribute it all over the country and
destroy the nation’s social currency.”

It took him a long moment to assimilate that.

“What have the rockets to do with it?”

She stirred once again, as though wishing he’d be silent. “That’s how it
will be distributed. About twenty rockets, strategically placed, each with
a _warhead_ of a couple of tons of money. Fired to an altitude of a couple
of hundred miles and then the money is spewed out. In falling, it will be
distributed over cities and countryside, everywhere. Billions upon
billions of dollars worth.”

Larry said, so softly as hardly to be heard, “What will that accomplish?”

“Money is the greatest social-label of them all. The Professor believes
that through this step the Movement will have accomplished its purpose.
That people will be forced to utilize their judgment, rather than depend
upon social-labels.”

Larry didn’t follow that, but he had no time to go further now. He said,
still evenly soft, “And when is the Movement going to do this?”

La Verne moved comfortably. “The trucks go out to distribute the money
tonight. The rockets are waiting. The firing will take place in a few
days.”

“And where is the Professor now?”

“Where the money and the trucks are hidden, darling. What difference does
it make?” LaVerne said sleepily.

“And where is that?”

“At the Greater Washington Trucking Corporation. It’s owned by one of the
Movement’s members.”

He said. “There’s a password. What is it?”

“Judgment.”

Larry Woolford bounced to his feet. He looked down at her, then over at
the phone. In three quick steps he was over to it. He grasped its wires
and yanked them from the wall, silencing it. He slipped into the tiny
elevator, locking the door to the den behind him.

As the door slid closed, her voice wailed, still sleepily husky, “Larry,
darling, where are you—”

He ran down the walk of the house, vaulted into the car and snapped on its
key. He slammed down the lift lever, kicked the thrust pedal and was
thrown back against the seat by the acceleration.

Even while he was climbing, he flicked on the radio-phone, called Personal
Service for the location of the Greater Washington Trucking Corporation.

Fifteen minutes later, he parked a block away from his destination, noting
with satisfaction that it was still an hour or more to go until dark. His
intuition, working doubletime now, told him that they’d probably wait
until nightfall to start their money-laden trucks to rolling.

He hesitated momentarily before turning on the phone and dialing the Boss’
home address.

When the other’s face faded in, it failed to display pleasure when the
caller’s identity was established. His superior growled, “Confound it,
Woolford, you know my privacy is to be respected. This phone is to be used
only in extreme emergency.”

“Yes, sir,” Larry said briskly. “It’s the Movement—”

The other’s face darkened still further. “You’re not on that assignment
any longer, Woolford. Walter Foster has taken over and I’m sympathetic to
his complaints that you’ve proven more a hindrance than anything else.”

Larry ignored his words, “Sir, I’ve tracked them down. Professor Voss is
at the Greater Washington Trucking Corporation garages here in the
Alexandria section of town. Any moment now, they’re going to start
distribution of all that counterfeit money on some scatterbrain plan to
disrupt the country’s exchange system.”

Suddenly alert, the department chief snapped, “Where are you, Woolford?”

“Outside the garages, sir. But I’m going in now.”

“You stay where you are,” the other snapped. “I’ll have every department
man and every Secret Service man in town over there within twenty minutes.
You hang on. Those people are lunatics, and probably desperate.”

Inwardly, Larry Woolford grinned. He wasn’t going to lose this opportunity
to finish up the job with him on top. He said flatly, “Sir, we can’t
chance it. They might escape. I’m going in!” He flicked off the set,
dialed again and raised Sam Sokolski.

“Sam,” he said, his voice clipped. “I’ve cornered the Movement’s leader
and am going in for the finish. Maybe some of you journalist boys better
get on over here.” He gave the other the address and flicked off before
there were any questions.

                  -------------------------------------

From the dash compartment he brought a heavy automatic, and checked the
clip. He put it in his hip pocket and left the car and walked toward the
garages. Time was running out now.

He strode into the only open door, without shift of pace. Two men were
posted nearby, neither of them truckmen by appearance. They looked at him
in surprise.

Larry clipped out, “The password is _Judgment_. I’ve got to see Professor
Voss immediately.”

One of them frowned questioningly, but the other was taken up with the
urgency in Woolford’s voice. He nodded with his head. “He’s over there in
the office.”

Now ignoring them completely, Larry strode past the long rows of sealed
delivery vans toward the office.

He pushed the door open, entered and closed it behind him.

Professor Peter Voss was seated at a paper-littered desk. There was a cot
with an army blanket in a corner of the room, some soiled clothing and two
or three dirty dishes on a tray. The room was being lived in, obviously.

At the agent’s entry, the little man looked up and blinked in distress
through his heavy lenses.

Larry snapped, “You’re under arrest, Voss.”

The professor was obviously dismayed, but he said in as vigorous a voice
as he could muster, “Nonsense! On what charge?”

“Counterfeiting, among many. Your whole scheme has fallen apart, Voss. You
and your Movement, so-called, are finished.”

The professor’s eyes darted, left, right. To Larry Woolford’s surprise,
the Movement’s leader was alone in here. Undoubtedly, he was awaiting
others, drivers of the trucks, technicians involved in the rockets, other
subordinates. But right now he was alone.

If Woolford correctly diagnosed the situation, Voss was playing for time,
waiting for the others. Good enough, so was Larry Woolford. Had the
Professor only known it, a shout would have brought at least two followers
and the government agent would have had his work cut out for him.

Woodford played along. “Just what is this fantastic scheme of yours for
raining down money over half the country, Voss? The very insanity of it
proves your whole outfit is composed of a bunch of nonconformist weirds.”

The Professor was indignant—and stalling for time. He said,
“Nonconformists is correct! He who conforms in an incompetent society is
an incompetent himself.”

Larry stood, his legs apart and hands on hips. He shook his head in
simulated pity at the angry little man. “What’s all this about raining
money down over the country?”

“Don’t you see?” the other said. “The perfect method for disrupting our
present system of social-labels. With billions of dollars, perfect
counterfeit, strewing the streets, the fields, the trees, available for
anyone to pick up, all social currency becomes worthless. Utterly
unusable. And it’s no use to attempt to print more with another design,
because we can duplicate it as well. Our experts are the world’s best,
we’re not a group of sulking criminals but capable, trained, dedicated
men.

“Very well! We will have made it absolutely impossible to have any form of
mass-produced social currency.”

Larry stared at him. “It would completely foul the whole business system!
You’d have chaos!”

“At first. Private individuals, once the value of money was seen to be
zero, would have lost the amount of cash they had on hand. But banks and
such institutions would lose little. They have accurate records that show
the actual values they held at the time our money rains down.”

Larry was bewildered. “But what are you getting at? What do you expect to
accomplish?”

The Professor, on his favorite subject, said triumphantly, “The only form
of currency that can be used under these conditions is the _personal_
check. It’s not mass produced, and mass-production can’t duplicate it.
It’s immune to the attack. Business has to go on, or people will starve—so
personal checks will have to replace paper money. Credit cards and
traveler’s checks won’t do—we can counterfeit them, too, and will, if
necessary. Realize of course that hard money will still be valid, but it
can’t be utilized practically for any but small transactions. Try taking
enough silver dollars to buy a refrigerator down to the store with you.”

“But what’s the purpose?” Larry demanded, flabbergasted.

“Isn’t it obvious? Our whole Movement is devoted to the destruction of
social-label judgments. It’s all very well to say: _You should not judge
your fellow men_ but when it comes to accepting another man’s personal
check, friend, you damn well have to! The bum check artist might have a
field day to begin with—but only to begin with.”

Larry shook his head in exasperation. “You people are a bunch of
anarchists,” he accused.

“No,” the Professor denied. “Absolutely not. We are the antithesis of the
anarchist. The anarchist says, ‘No man is capable of judging another.’ We
say, ‘Each man must judge his fellow, must demand proper evaluation of
him.’ To judge a man by his clothes, the amount of money he owns, the car
he drives, the neighborhood in which he lives, or the society he keeps, is
out of the question in a vital culture.”

Larry said sourly, “Well, whether or not you’re right, Voss, you’ve lost.
This place is surrounded. My men will be breaking in shortly.”

Voss laughed at him. “Nonsense. All you’ve done is prevent us from
accomplishing this portion of our program. What will you do after my
arrest? You’ll bring me to trial. Do you remember the Scopes’ Monkey Trial
back in the 1920s which became a world appreciated farce and made
Tennessee a laughingstock? Well, just wait until you get _me_ into court
backed by my organization’s resources. We’ll bring home to every thinking
person, not only in this country, but in the world, the fantastic
qualities of our existing culture. Why,
Mr.-Secret-Agent-of-Anti-Subversive-Activity you aren’t doing me an injury
by giving me the opportunity to have my day in court. You’re doing me a
favor. Newspapers, radios, TriD will give me the chance to expound my
program in the home of every thinking person in the world.”

There was a fiery dedication in the little man’s eyes. “This will be my
victory, not my defeat!”

There were sounds now, coming from the other rooms—the garages. Some
shouts and scuffling. Faintly, Larry Woolford could hear Steve Hackett’s
voice.

He was staring at the Professor, his eyes narrower.

The Professor was on his feet. He said in defiant triumph, “You think that
you’ll win prestige and honor as a result of tracking the Movement down,
don’t you, Mr. Woolford? Well, let me tell you, you won’t! In six months
from now, Mr. Woolford, you’ll be a laughingstock.”

That did it.

Larry said, “You’re under arrest. Turn around with your back to me.”

The Professor snorted his contempt, turned his back and held up his hands,
obviously expecting to be searched.

In a fluid motion, Larry Woolford drew his gun and fired twice. The other
with no more than a grunt of surprise and pain, stumbled forward to his
knees and then to the floor, his arms and legs akimbo.

The door broke open and Steve Hackett, gun in hand, burst in.

“Woolford!” he barked. “What’s up?”

Larry indicated the body on the floor. “There you are, Steve,” he said.
“The head of the counterfeit ring. He was trying to escape. I had to shoot
him.”

Behind Steve Hackett crowded Ben Ruthenberg of the F.B.I. and behind him
half a dozen others of various departments.

The Boss came pushing his way through.

He glared down at the Professor’s body, then up at Larry Woolford.

“Good work, Lawrence,” he said. “How did you bring it off?”

Larry replaced the gun in his holster and shrugged modestly. “The Polk
girl gave me the final tip-off, sir. I gave her some Scop-Serum in a drink
and she talked. Evidently, she was a member of the Movement.”

The Boss was nodding wisely. “I’ve had my eye on her, Lawrence. An obvious
weird. But we will have to suppress that Scop-Serum angle.” He slapped his
favorite field man on the arm jovially. “Well, boy, this means promotion,
of course.”

Larry grinned. “Thanks, sir. All in a day’s work. I don’t think we’ll have
much trouble with the remnants of this Movement thing. The pitch is to
treat them as counterfeiters, not subversives. Try them for that. Their
silly explanations of what they were going to do with the money will never
be taken seriously.” He looked down at the small corpse. “Particularly now
that their kingpin is gone.”

A new wave of agents, F.B.I. men and prisoners washed into the room and
Steve Hackett and Larry were for a moment pushed back into a corner by
themselves.

Steve looked at him strangely and said, “There’s one thing I’d like to
know: Did you really have to shoot him, Woolford?”

Larry brushed it off. “What’s the difference? He was as weird as they
come, wasn’t he?”

THE END





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