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´╗┐Title: My Lady Greensleeves
Author: Pohl, Frederik
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 "My Lady Greensleeves" ***

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



                         My Lady Greensleeves

                           By FREDERIK POHL

                        Illustrated by GAUGHAN

           [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from
                 Galaxy Science Fiction February 1957.
         Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
         the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]



              This guard smelled trouble and it could be
              counted on to come--for a nose for trouble
                was one of the many talents bred here!


I

His name was Liam O'Leary and there was something stinking in his
nostrils. It was the smell of trouble. He hadn't found what the trouble
was yet, but he would. That was his business. He was a captain of
guards in Estates-General Correctional Institution--better known to
its inmates as the Jug--and if he hadn't been able to detect the scent
of trouble brewing a cell-block away, he would never have survived to
reach his captaincy.

And her name, he saw, was Sue-Ann Bradley, Detainee No. WFA-656R.

He frowned at the rap sheet, trying to figure out what got a girl like
her into a place like this. And, what was more important, why she
couldn't adjust herself to it, now that she was in.

He demanded: "Why wouldn't you mop out your cell?"

The girl lifted her head angrily and took a step forward. The block
guard, Sodaro, growled warningly: "Watch it, auntie!"

O'Leary shook his head. "Let her talk, Sodaro." It said in the _Civil
Service Guide to Prison Administration_: "Detainees will be permitted
to speak in their own behalf in disciplinary proceedings." And O'Leary
was a man who lived by the book.

She burst out: "I never got a chance! That old witch Mathias never told
me I was supposed to mop up. She banged on the door and said, 'Slush
up, sister!' And then, ten minutes later, she called the guards and
told them I refused to mop."

The block guard guffawed. "Wipe talk--that's what she was telling you
to do. Cap'n, you know what's funny about this? This Bradley is--"

"Shut up, Sodaro."

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain O'leary put down his pencil and looked at the girl. She was
attractive and young--not beyond hope, surely. Maybe she had got off
to a wrong start, but the question was, would putting her in the
disciplinary block help straighten her out? He rubbed his ear and
looked past her at the line of prisoners on the rap detail, waiting for
him to judge their cases.

He said patiently: "Bradley, the rules are you have to mop out your
cell. If you didn't understand what Mathias was talking about, you
should have asked her. Now I'm warning you, the next time--"

"Hey, Cap'n, wait!" Sodaro was looking alarmed. "This isn't a first
offense. Look at the rap sheet. Yesterday she pulled the same thing in
the mess hall." He shook his head reprovingly at the prisoner. "The
block guard had to break up a fight between her and another wench,
and she claimed the same business--said she didn't understand when the
other one asked her to move along." He added virtuously: "The guard
warned her then that next time she'd get the Greensleeves for sure."

Inmate Bradley seemed to be on the verge of tears. She said tautly: "I
don't care. I don't care!"

O'Leary stopped her. "That's enough! Three days in Block O!"

It was the only thing to do--for her own sake as much as for his. He
had managed, by strength of will, not to hear that she had omitted
to say "sir" every time she spoke to him, but he couldn't keep it up
forever and he certainly couldn't overlook hysteria. And hysteria was
clearly the next step for her.

All the same, he stared after her as she left. He handed the rap sheet
to Sodaro and said absently: "Too bad a kid like her has to be here.
What's she in for?"

"You didn't know, Cap'n?" Sodaro leered. "She's in for conspiracy to
violate the Categoried Class laws. Don't waste your time with her,
Cap'n. She's a figger-lover!"

Captain O'Leary took a long drink of water from the fountain marked
"Civil Service." But it didn't wash the taste out of his mouth, the
smell from his nose.

What got into a girl to get her mixed up with that kind of dirty
business? He checked out of the cell blocks and walked across the
yard, wondering about her. She'd had every advantage--decent Civil
Service parents, a good education, everything a girl could wish for. If
anything, she had had a better environment than O'Leary himself, and
look what she had made of it.

The direction of evolution is toward specialization and Man is no
exception, but with the difference that his is the one species that
creates its own environment in which to specialize. From the moment
that clans formed, specialization began--the hunters using the weapons
made by the flint-chippers, the food cooked in clay pots made by the
ceramists, over fire made by the shaman who guarded the sacred flame.

Civilization merely increased the extent of specialization. From
the born mechanic and the man with the gift of gab, society evolved
to the point of smaller contact and less communication between the
specializations, until now they could understand each other on only the
most basic physical necessities--and not even always then.

But this was desirable, for the more specialists, the higher the degree
of civilization. The ultimate should be the complete segregation
of each specialization--social and genetic measures to make them
breed true, because the unspecialized man is an uncivilized man,
or at any rate he does not advance civilization. And letting the
specializations mix would produce genetic undesirables: clerk-laborer
or Professional-GI misfits, for example, being only half specialized,
would be good at no specialization.

And the basis of this specialization society was: "The aptitude groups
are the true races of mankind." Putting it into law was only the legal
enforcement of a demonstrable fact.

"Evening, Cap'n." A bleary old inmate orderly stood up straight and
touched his cap as O'Leary passed by.

"Evening."

       *       *       *       *       *

O'Leary noted, with the part of his mind that always noted those
things, that the orderly had been leaning on his broom until he'd
noticed the captain coming by. Of course, there wasn't much to
sweep--the spray machines and sweeperdozers had been over the
cobblestones of the yard twice already that day. But it was an inmate's
job to keep busy. And it was a guard captain's job to notice when they
didn't.

There wasn't anything wrong with that job, he told himself. It was a
perfectly good civil-service position--better than post-office clerk,
not as good as Congressman, but a job you could be proud to hold. He
_was_ proud of it. It was _right_ that he should be proud of it. He was
civil-service born and bred, and naturally he was proud and content to
do a good, clean civil-service job.

If he had happened to be born a fig--a _clerk_, he corrected
himself--if he had happened to be born a clerk, why, he would have been
proud of that, too. There wasn't anything wrong with being a clerk--or
a mechanic or a soldier, or even a laborer, for that matter.

Good laborers were the salt of the Earth! They weren't smart, maybe,
but they had a--well, a sort of natural, relaxed joy of living. O'Leary
was a broad-minded man and many times he had thought almost with a
touch of envy how _comfortable_ it must be to be a wipe--a _laborer_.
No responsibilities. No worries. Just an easy, slow routine of work and
loaf, work and loaf.

Of course, he wouldn't _really_ want that kind of life, because he was
Civil Service and not the kind to try to cross over class barriers that
weren't _meant_ to be--

"Evening, Cap'n."

He nodded to the mechanic inmate who was, theoretically, in charge of
maintaining the prison's car pool, just inside the gate.

"Evening, Conan," he said.

Conan, now--he was a big buck greaser and he would be there for the
next hour, languidly poking a piece of fluff out of the air filter on
the prison jeep. Lazy, sure. Undependable, certainly. But he kept the
cars going--and, O'Leary thought approvingly, when his sentence was up
in another year or so, he would go back to his life with his status
restored, a mechanic on the outside as he had been inside, and he
certainly would never risk coming back to the Jug by trying to pass as
Civil Service or anything else. He knew his place.

So why didn't this girl, this Sue-Ann Bradley, know hers?


II

Every prison has its Greensleeves--sometimes they are called by
different names. Old Marquette called it "the canary;" Louisiana State
called it "the red hats;" elsewhere it was called "the hole," "the
snake pit," "the Klondike." When you're in it, you don't much care what
it is called; it is a place for punishment.

And punishment is what you get.

Block O in Estates-General Correctional Institution was the
disciplinary block, and because of the green straitjackets its
inhabitants wore, it was called the Greensleeves. It was a community of
its own, an enclave within the larger city-state that was the Jug. And
like any other community, it had its leading citizens ... two of them.
Their names were Sauer and Flock.

Sue-Ann Bradley heard them before she reached the Greensleeves. She
was in a detachment of three unfortunates like herself, convoyed by an
irritable guard, climbing the steel steps toward Block O from the floor
below, when she heard the yelling.

"Owoo-o-o," screamed Sauer from one end of the cell block and
"Yow-w-w!" shrieked Flock at the other.

The inside deck guard of Block O looked nervously at the outside deck
guard. The outside guard looked impassively back--after all, he was on
the outside.

The inside guard muttered: "Wipe rats! They're getting on my nerves."

The outside guard shrugged.

"Detail, _halt_!" The two guards turned to see what was coming in as
the three new candidates for the Greensleeves slumped to a stop at the
head of the stairs. "Here they are," Sodaro told them. "Take good care
of 'em, will you? Especially the lady--she's going to like it here,
because there's plenty of wipes and greasers and figgers to keep her
company." He laughed coarsely and abandoned his charges to the Block O
guards.

The outside guard said sourly: "A woman, for God's sake. Now O'Leary
knows I hate it when there's a woman in here. It gets the others all
riled up."

"Let them in," the inside guard told him. "The others are riled up
already."

Sue-Ann Bradley looked carefully at the floor and paid them no
attention. The outside guard pulled the switch that turned on the
tanglefoot electronic fields that swamped the floor of the block
corridor and of each individual cell. While the fields were on, you
could ignore the prisoners--they simply could not move fast enough,
against the electronic drag of the field, to do any harm. But it was a
rule that, even in Block O, you didn't leave the tangler fields on all
the time--only when the cell doors had to be opened or a prisoner's
restraining garment removed.

Sue-Ann walked bravely forward through the opened gate--and fell flat
on her face. It was her first experience of a tanglefoot field. It was
like walking through molasses.

The guard guffawed and lifted her up by one shoulder. "Take it easy,
auntie. Come on, get in your cell." He steered her in the right
direction and pointed to a greensleeved straitjacket on the cell cot.
"Put that on. Being as you're a lady, we won't tie it up, but the rules
say you got to wear it and the rules--Hey. She's crying!" He shook his
head, marveling. It was the first time he had ever seen a prisoner cry
in the Greensleeves.

However, he was wrong. Sue-Ann's shoulders were shaking, but not from
tears. Sue-Ann Bradley had got a good look at Sauer and at Flock as she
passed them by and she was fighting off an almost uncontrollable urge
to retch.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sauer and Flock were what are called prison wolves. They were
laborers--"wipes," for short--or, at any rate, they had been once.
They had spent so much time in prisons that it was sometimes hard even
for them to remember what they really were, outside. Sauer was a big,
grinning redhead with eyes like a water moccasin. Flock was a lithe
five-footer with the build of a water moccasin--and the sad, stupid
eyes of a calf.

Sauer stopped yelling for a moment. "Hey, Flock!"

"What do you want, Sauer?" called Flock from his own cell.

"We got a lady with us! Maybe we ought to cut out this yelling so
as not to disturb the lady!" He screeched with howling, maniacal
laughter. "Anyway, if we don't cut this out, they'll get us in trouble,
Flock!"

"Oh, you think so?" shrieked Flock. "Jeez, I wish you hadn't said that,
Sauer. You got me scared! I'm so scared, I'm gonna have to yell!"

The howling started all over again.

The inside guard finished putting the new prisoners away and turned off
the tangler field once more. He licked his lips. "Say, you want to take
a turn in here for a while?"

"Uh-uh." The outside guard shook his head.

"You're yellow," the inside guard said moodily. "Ah, I don't know why I
don't quit this lousy job. Hey, you! Pipe down or I'll come in and beat
your head off!"

"Ee-ee-ee!" screamed Sauer in a shrill falsetto. "I'm scared!" Then he
grinned at the guard, all but his water-moccasin eyes. "Don't you know
you can't hurt a wipe by hitting him on the head, Boss?"

"Shut _up_!" yelled the inside guard.

Sue-Ann Bradley's weeping now was genuine. She simply could not help
it. The crazy yowling of the hard-timers, Sauer and Flock, was getting
under her skin. They weren't even--even _human_, she told herself
miserably, trying to weep silently so as not to give the guards the
satisfaction of hearing her--they were animals!

Resentment and anger, she could understand. She told herself doggedly
that resentment and anger were natural and right. They were perfectly
normal expressions of the freedom-loving citizen's rebellion against
the vile and stifling system of Categoried Classes. It was _good_ that
Sauer and Flock still had enough spirit to struggle against the vicious
system--

But did they have to scream so?

The senseless yelling was driving her crazy. She abandoned herself to
weeping and she didn't even care who heard her any more. Senseless!

It never occurred to Sue-Ann Bradley that it might not be senseless,
because noise hides noise. But then she hadn't been a prisoner very
long.


III

"I smell trouble," said O'Leary to the warden.

"Trouble? Trouble?" Warden Schluckebier clutched his throat and his
little round eyes looked terrified--as perhaps they should have. Warden
Godfrey Schluckebier was the almighty Caesar of ten thousand inmates in
the Jug, but privately he was a fussy old man trying to hold onto the
last decent job he would have in his life.

"Trouble? _What_ trouble?"

O'Leary shrugged. "Different things. You know Lafon, from Block A? This
afternoon, he was playing ball with the laundry orderlies in the yard."

The warden, faintly relieved, faintly annoyed, scolded: "O'Leary, what
did you want to worry me for? There's nothing wrong with playing ball
in the yard. That's what recreation periods are for."

"You don't see what I mean, Warden. Lafon was a professional on the
outside--an architect. Those laundry cons were laborers. Pros and wipes
don't mix; it isn't natural. And there are other things."

O'Leary hesitated, frowning. How could you explain to the warden that
it didn't _smell_ right?

"For instance--Well, there's Aunt Mathias in the women's block. She's
a pretty good old girl--that's why she's the block orderly. She's a
lifer, she's got no place to go, she gets along with the other women.
But today she put a woman named Bradley on report. Why? Because she
told Bradley to mop up in wipe talk and Bradley didn't understand. Now
Mathias wouldn't--"

The warden raised his hand. "Please, O'Leary, don't bother me about
that kind of stuff." He sighed heavily and rubbed his eyes. He poured
himself a cup of steaming black coffee from a brewpot, reached in a
desk drawer for something, hesitated, glanced at O'Leary, then dropped
a pale blue tablet into the cup. He drank it down eagerly, ignoring the
scalding heat.

He leaned back, looking suddenly happier and much more assured.

"O'Leary, you're a guard captain, right? And I'm your warden. You have
your job, keeping the inmates in line, and I have mine. Now your job is
just as important as my job," he said piously. "_Everybody's_ job is
just as important as everybody else's, right? But we have to stick to
our own jobs. We don't want to try to _pass_."

O'Leary snapped erect, abruptly angry. Pass! What the devil way was
that for the warden to talk to him?

"Excuse the expression, O'Leary," the warden said anxiously. "I mean,
after all, 'Specialization is the goal of civilization,' right?" He was
a great man for platitudes, was Warden Schluckebier. "_You_ know you
don't want to worry about _my_ end of running the prison. And _I_ don't
want to worry about _yours_. You see?" And he folded his hands and
smiled like a civil-service Buddha.

       *       *       *       *       *

O'Leary choked back his temper. "Warden, I'm telling you that there's
trouble coming up. I smell the signs."

"Handle it, then!" snapped the warden, irritated at last.

"But suppose it's too big to handle. Suppose--"

"It isn't," the warden said positively. "Don't borrow trouble with
all your supposing, O'Leary." He sipped the remains of his coffee,
made a wry face, poured a fresh cup and, with an elaborate show of not
noticing what he was doing, dropped three of the pale blue tablets into
it this time.

He sat beaming into space, waiting for the jolt to take effect.

"Well, then," he said at last. "You just remember what I've told you
tonight, O'Leary, and we'll get along fine. 'Specialization is the--'
Oh, curse the thing."

His phone was ringing. The warden picked it up irritably.

That was the trouble with those pale blue tablets, thought O'Leary;
they gave you a lift, but they put you on edge.

"Hello," barked the warden, not even glancing at the viewscreen. "What
the devil do you want? Don't you know I'm--What? You did _what_?
You're going to WHAT?"

He looked at the viewscreen at last with a look of pure horror.
Whatever he saw on it, it did not reassure him. His eyes opened like
clamshells in a steamer.

"O'Leary," he said faintly, "my mistake."

And he hung up--more or less by accident; the handset dropped from his
fingers.

The person on the other end of the phone was calling from Cell Block O.

Five minutes before, he hadn't been anywhere near the phone and it
didn't look as if his chances of ever getting near it were very good.
Because five minutes before, he was in his cell, with the rest of the
hard-timers of the Greensleeves.

His name was Flock.

He was still yelling. Sue-Ann Bradley, in the cell across from him,
thought that maybe, after all, the man was really in pain. Maybe the
crazy screams were screams of agony, because certainly his face was the
face of an agonized man.

The outside guard bellowed: "Okay, okay. Take ten!"

Sue-Ann froze, waiting to see what would happen. What actually did
happen was that the guard reached up and closed the switch that
actuated the tangler fields on the floors of the cells. The prison
rules were humanitarian, even for the dregs that inhabited the
Greensleeves. Ten minutes out of every two hours, even the worst case
had to be allowed to take his hands out of the restraining garment.

"Rest period" it was called--in the rule book. The inmates had a less
lovely term for it.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the guard's yell, the inmates jumped to their feet.

Bradley was a little slow getting off the edge of the steel-slat
bed--nobody had warned her that the eddy currents in the tangler fields
had a way of making metal smoke-hot. She gasped but didn't cry out.
Score one more painful lesson in her new language course. She rubbed
the backs of her thighs gingerly--and slowly, slowly, for the eddy
currents did not permit you to move fast. It was like pushing against
rubber; the faster you tried to move, the greater the resistance.

The guard peered genially into her cell. "You're okay, auntie." She
proudly ignored him as he slogged deliberately away on his rounds.
He didn't have to untie her and practically stand over her while
she attended to various personal matters, as he did with the male
prisoners. It was not much to be grateful for, but Sue-Ann Bradley was
grateful. At least she didn't have to live _quite_ like a fig--like an
underprivileged clerk, she told herself, conscience-stricken.

Across the hall, the guard was saying irritably: "What the hell's
the matter with you?" He opened the door of the cell with an
asbestos-handled key held in a canvas glove.

Flock was in that cell and he was doubled over.

The guard looked at him doubtfully. It could be a trick, maybe.
Couldn't it? But he could see Flock's face and the agony in it was real
enough. And Flock was gasping, through real tears: "Cramps. I--I--"

"Ah, you wipes always got a pain in the gut." The guard lumbered around
Flock to the draw-strings at the back of the jacket. Funny smell in
here, he told himself--not for the first time. And imagine, some people
didn't believe that wipes had a smell of their own! But this time, he
realized cloudily, it was a rather unusual smell. Something burning.
Almost like meat scorching.

It wasn't pleasant. He finished untying Flock and turned away; let the
stinking wipe take care of his own troubles. He only had ten minutes to
get all the way around Block O and the inmates complained like crazy if
he didn't make sure they all got the most possible free time. He was
pretty good at snowshoeing through the tangler field. He was a little
vain about it, even; at times he had been known to boast of his ability
to make the rounds in two minutes, every time.

Every time but this.

For Flock moaned behind him, oddly close.

The guard turned, but not quickly enough. There was
Flock--astonishingly, he was half out of his jacket; his arms hadn't
been in the sleeves at all! And in one of the hands, incredibly, there
was something that glinted and smoked.

"All right," croaked Flock, tears trickling out of eyes nearly shut
with pain.

But it wasn't the tears that held the guard; it was the shining,
smoking thing, now poised at his throat. A shiv! It looked as though
it had been made out of a bed-spring, ripped loose from its frame God
knows how, hidden inside the greensleeved jacket God knows how--filed,
filed to sharpness over endless hours.

No wonder Flock moaned--the eddy currents in the shiv were slowly
cooking his hand; and the blister against his abdomen, where the shiv
had been hidden during other rest periods, felt like raw acid.

"All right," whispered Flock, "just walk out the door and you won't get
hurt. Unless the other screw makes trouble, you won't get hurt, so tell
him not to, you hear?"

He was nearly fainting with the pain.

But he hadn't let go.

He didn't let go. And he didn't stop.


IV

It was Flock on the phone to the warden--Flock with his eyes still
streaming tears, Flock with Sauer standing right behind him, menacing
the two bound deck guards.

Sauer shoved Flock out of the way. "Hey, Warden!" he said, and the
voice was a cheerful bray, though the serpent eyes were cold and
hating. "Warden, you got to get a medic in here. My boy Flock, he hurt
himself real bad and he needs a doctor." He gestured playfully at the
guards with the shiv. "I tell you, Warden. I got this knife and I got
your guards here. Enough said? So get a medic in here quick, you hear?"

And he snapped the connection.

O'Leary said: "Warden, I told you I smelled trouble!"

The warden lifted his head, glared, started feebly to speak, hesitated,
and picked up the long-distance phone. He said sadly to the prison
operator: "Get me the governor--fast."

_Riot!_

The word spread out from the prison on seven-league boots.

It snatched the city governor out of a friendly game of Seniority
with his manager and their wives--and just when he was holding the
Porkbarrel Joker concealed in the hole.

It broke up the Base Championship Scramble Finals at Hap Arnold Field
to the south, as half the contestants had to scramble in earnest to a
Red Alert that was real.

It reached to police precinct houses and TV newsrooms and highway
checkpoints, and from there it filtered into the homes and lives of the
nineteen million persons that lived within a few dozen miles of the Jug.

Riot. And yet fewer than half a dozen men were involved.

A handful of men, and the enormous bulk of the city-state quivered in
every limb and class. In its ten million homes, in its hundreds of
thousands of public places, the city-state's people shook under the
impact of the news from the prison.

For the news touched them where their fears lay. Riot! And not merely
a street brawl among roistering wipes, or a bar-room fight of greasers
relaxing from a hard day at the plant. The riot was down among the
corrupt sludge that underlay the state itself. Wipes brawled with wipes
and no one cared; but in the Jug, all classes were cast together.

       *       *       *       *       *

Forty miles to the south, Hap Arnold Field was a blaze of light. The
airmen tumbled out of their quarters and dayrooms at the screech of
the alert siren, and behind them their wives and children stretched
and yawned and worried. An alert! The older kids fussed and complained
and their mothers shut them up. No, there wasn't any alert scheduled
for tonight; no, they didn't know where Daddy was going; no, the kids
couldn't get up yet--it was the middle of the night.

And as soon as they had the kids back in bed, most of the mothers
struggled into their own airwac uniforms and headed for the briefing
area to hear.

They caught the words from a distance--not quite correctly. "Riot!"
gasped an aircraftswoman first-class, mother of three. "The wipes! I
_told_ Charlie they'd get out of hand and--Alys, we aren't safe. You
know how they are about GI women! I'm going right home and get a club
and stand right by the door and--"

"Club!" snapped Alys, radarscope-sergeant, with two children
querulously awake in her nursery at home. "What in God's name is the
use of a club? You can't hurt a wipe by hitting him on the head. You'd
better come along to Supply with me and draw a gun--you'll need it
before this night is over."

But the airmen themselves heard the briefing loud and clear over the
scramble-call speakers, and they knew it was not merely a matter of
trouble in the wipe quarters. The Jug! The governor himself had called
them out; they were to fly interdicting missions at such-and-such
levels on such-and-such flight circuits around the prison.

The rockets took off on fountains of fire; and the jets took off with a
whistling roar; and last of all, the helicopters took off ... and they
were the ones who might actually accomplish something. They took up
their picket posts on the prison perimeter, a pilot and two bombardiers
in each 'copter, stone-faced, staring grimly alert at the prison below.

They were ready for the breakout.

But there wasn't any breakout.

The rockets went home for fuel. The jets went home for fuel. The
helicopters hung on--still ready, still waiting.

The rockets came back and roared harmlessly about, and went away again.
They stayed away. The helicopter men never faltered and never relaxed.
The prison below them was washed with light--from the guard posts on
the walls, from the cell blocks themselves, from the mobile lights of
the guard squadrons surrounding the walls.

North of the prison, on the long, flat, damp developments of reclaimed
land, the matchbox row houses of the clerical neighborhoods showed
lights in every window as the figgers stood ready to repel invasion
from their undesired neighbors to the east, the wipes. In the crowded
tenements of the laborers' quarters, the wipes shouted from window to
window; and there were crowds in the bright streets.

"The whole bloody thing's going to blow up!" a helicopter bombardier
yelled bitterly to his pilot, above the flutter and roar of the
whirling blades. "Look at the mobs in Greaserville! The first breakout
from the Jug's going to start a fight like you never saw and we'll be
right in the middle of it!"

He was partly right. He would be right in the middle of it--for every
man, woman and child in the city-state would be right in the middle of
it. There was no place anywhere that would be spared. _No mixing._ That
was the prescription that kept the city-state alive. There's no harm in
a family fight--and aren't all mechanics a family, aren't all laborers
a clan, aren't all clerks and office workers related by closer ties
than blood or skin?

But the declassed cons of the Jug were the dregs of every class; and
once they spread, the neat compartmentation of society was pierced. The
breakout would mean riot on a bigger scale than any prison had ever
known.

But he was also partly wrong. Because the breakout wasn't seeming to
come.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Jug itself was coming to a boil.

Honor Block A, relaxed and easy at the end of another day, found itself
shaken alert by strange goings-on. First there was the whir and roar of
the Air Force overhead. _Trouble._ Then there was the sudden arrival
of extra guards, doubling the normal complement--day-shift guards,
summoned away from their comfortable civil-service homes at some urgent
call. _Trouble for sure._

Honor Block A wasn't used to trouble. A Block was as far from the
Greensleeves of O Block as you could get and still be in the Jug. Honor
Block A belonged to the prison's halfbreeds--the honor prisoners, the
trusties who did guards' work because there weren't enough guards to go
around. They weren't Apaches or Piutes; they were camp-following Injuns
who had sold out for the white man's firewater. The price of their
service was privilege--many privileges.

Item: TV sets in every cell. Item: Hobby tools, to make gadgets for
the visitor trade--the only way an inmate could earn an honest dollar.
Item: In consequence, an exact knowledge of everything the outside
world knew and put on its TV screens (including the grim, alarming
reports of "trouble at Estates-General"), and the capacity to convert
their "hobby tools" to--other uses.

An honor prisoner named Wilmer Lafon was watching the TV screen with an
expression of rage and despair.

Lafon was a credit to the Jug--he was a showpiece for visitors.
Prison rules provided for prisoner training--it was a matter of
"rehabilitation." Prisoner rehabilitation is a joke and a centuries-old
one at that; but it had its serious uses, and one of them was to keep
the prisoners busy. It didn't much matter at what.

Lafon, for instance, was being "rehabilitated" by studying
architecture. The guards made a point of bringing inspection
delegations to his cell to show him off. There were his walls, covered
with pin-ups--but not of women. The pictures were sketches Lafon had
drawn himself; they were of buildings, highways, dams and bridges; they
were splendidly conceived and immaculately executed.

"Looka that!" the guards would rumble to their guests. "There isn't an
architect on the outside as good as this boy! What do you say, Wilmer?
Tell the gentlemen--how long you been taking these correspondence
courses in architecture? Six years! Ever since he came to the Jug."

And Lafon would grin and bob his head, and the delegation would go,
with the guards saying something like: "Believe me, that Wilmer could
design a whole skyscraper--and it wouldn't fall down, either!"

And they were perfectly, provably right. Not only could Inmate Lafon
design a skyscraper, but he had already done so. More than a dozen of
them. And none had fallen down.

Of course, that was more than six years back, before he was convicted
and sent to the Jug. He would never design another. Or if he did, it
would never be built. For the plain fact of the matter was that the
Jug's rehabilitation courses were like rehabilitation in every prison
since crime and punishment began. They kept the inmates busy. They
made a show of purpose for an institution that had never had a purpose
beyond punishment.

And that was all.

For punishment for a crime is not satisfied by a jail sentence. How
does it hurt a man to feed and clothe and house him, with the bills
paid by the state? Lafon's punishment was that he, as an architect, was
_through_.

Savage tribes used to lop off a finger or an ear to punish a criminal.
Civilized societies confine their amputations to bits and pieces of the
personality. Chop-chop, and a man's reputation comes off; chop-chop
again, and his professional standing is gone; chop-chop, and he has
lost the respect and trust of his fellows.

The jail itself isn't the punishment. The jail is only the shaman's
hatchet that performs the amputation. If rehabilitation in a jail
worked--if it were _meant_ to work--it would be the end of jails.

Rehabilitation? Rehabilitation for what?

       *       *       *       *       *

Wilmer Lafon switched off the television set and silently pounded his
fist into the wall.

Never again to return to the Professional class! For, naturally, the
conviction had cost him his membership in the Architectural Society and
_that_ had cost him his Professional standing.

But still--just to be out of the Jug, that would be something! And his
whole hope of ever getting out lay not here in Honor Block A, but in
the turmoil of the Greensleeves, a hundred meters and more than fifty
armed guards away.

He was a furious man. He looked into the cell next door, where a
con named Garcia was trying to concentrate on a game of Solitaire
Splitfee. Once Garcia had been a Professional, too; he was the closest
thing to a friend Wilmer Lafon had. Maybe he could now help to get
Lafon where he wanted--_needed!_--to be.

Lafon swore silently and shook his head. Garcia was a spineless
milksop, as bad as any clerk--Lafon was nearly sure there was a touch
of the inkwell somewhere in his family. Shrewd and slippery enough,
like all figgers. But you couldn't rely on him in a pinch.

Lafon would have to do it all himself.

He thought for a second, ignoring the rustle and mumble of the other
honor prisoners of Block A. There was no help for it; he would have to
dirty his hands with physical activity.

Outside on the deck, the guards were grumbling to each other. Lafon
wiped the scowl off his black face, put on a smile, rehearsed what he
was going to say, and politely rattled the door of his cell.

"Shut up down there!" one of the screws bawled. Lafon recognized the
voice; it was the guard named Sodaro. That was all to the good. He knew
Sodaro and he had some plans for him.

He rattled the cell door again and called: "Chief, can you come here a
minute, please?"

Sodaro yelled: "Didn't you hear me? Shut up!" But he came wandering by
and looked into Lafon's tidy little cell.

"What the devil do you want?" he growled.

Lafon said ingratiatingly: "What's going on, Chief?"

"Shut your mouth," Sodaro said absently and yawned. He hefted his
shoulder holster comfortably. That O'Leary, what a production he had
made of getting the guards back! And here he was, stuck in Block A on
the night he had set aside for getting better acquainted with that
little blue-eyed statistician from the Census office.

"Aw, Chief. The television says there's something going on in the
Greensleeves. What's the score?"

Sodaro had no reason not to answer him, but it was his unvarying
practice to make a con wait before doing anything the con wanted. He
gave Lafon a ten-second stare before he relented.

"The score? Sauer and Flock took over Block O. What about it?"

Much, much about it! But Lafon looked away to hide the eagerness in his
eyes. Perhaps, after all, it was not too late....

He suggested humbly: "You look a little sleepy. Do you want some
coffee?"

"Coffee?" Sodaro scratched. "You got a cup for me?"

"Certainly! I've got one put aside--swiped it from the messhall--not
the one I use myself."

"Um." Sodaro leaned on the cell door. "You know I could toss you in the
Greensleeves for stealing from the messhall."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Aw, chief!" Lafon grinned.

"You been looking for trouble. O'Leary says you were messing around
with the bucks from the laundry detail," Sodaro said halfheartedly.
But he didn't really like picking on Lafon, who was, after all, an
agreeable inmate to have on occasion. "All right. Where's the coffee?"

They didn't bother with tanglefoot fields in Honor Block A. Sodaro just
unlocked the door and walked in, hardly bothering to look at Lafon. He
took three steps toward the neat little desk at the back of the cell,
where Lafon had rigged up a drawing board and a table, where Lafon kept
his little store of luxury goods.

Three steps.

And then, suddenly aware that Lafon was very close to him, he turned,
astonished--a little too late. He saw that Lafon had snatched up a
metal chair; he saw Lafon swinging it, his black face maniacal; he saw
the chair coming down.

He reached for his shoulder holster, but it was very much too late for
that.


V

Captain O'Leary dragged the scared little wretch into the warden's
office. He shook the con angrily. "Listen to this, Warden! The boys
just brought this one in from the Shops Building. Do you know what he's
been up to?"

The warden wheezed sadly and looked away. He had stopped even answering
O'Leary by now. He had stopped talking to Sauer on the interphone when
the big convict called, every few minutes, to rave and threaten and
demand a doctor. He had almost stopped doing everything except worry
and weep. But--still and all, he was the warden. He was the one who
gave the orders.

O'Leary barked: "Warden, this little greaser has bollixed up the whole
tangler circuit for the prison. If the cons get out into the yard now,
you won't be able to tangle them. You know what that means? They'll
have the freedom of the yard, and who knows what comes next?"

The warden frowned sympathetically. "Tsk, tsk."

O'Leary shook the con again. "Come on, Hiroko! Tell the warden what you
told the guards."

The con shrank away from him. Sweat was glistening on his furrowed
yellow forehead. "I--I had to do it, Cap'n! I shorted the wormcan in
the tangler subgrid, but I had to! I got a signal--'Bollix the grid
tonight or some day you'll be in the yard and we'll static you!' What
could I do, Cap'n? I didn't want to--"

O'Leary pressed: "Who did the signal come from?"

The con only shook his head, perspiring still more.

The warden asked faintly: "What's he saying?"

O'Leary rolled his eyes to heaven. And this was the warden--couldn't
even understand shoptalk from the mouths of his own inmates!

He translated: "He got orders from the prison underground to
short-circuit the electronic units in the tangler circuit. They
threatened to kill him if he didn't."

The warden drummed with his fingers on the desk.

"The tangler field, eh? My, yes. That is important. You'd better get it
fixed, O'Leary. Right away."

"Fixed? Warden, who's going to fix it? You know as well as I do that
every mechanic in the prison is a con. Even if one of the guards would
do a thing like that--and I'd bust him myself if he did!--he wouldn't
know where to start. That's mechanic work."

The warden swallowed. He had to admit that O'Leary was right. Naturally
nobody but a mechanic--and a specialist electrician from a particular
subgroup of the greaser class at that--could fix something like the
tangler field generators.

He said absently: "Well, that's true enough. After all, 'Specialization
is the goal of civilization,' you know."

O'Leary took a deep breath. He needed it.

He beckoned to the guard at the door. "Take this greaser out of here!"

The con shambled out, his head hanging.

       *       *       *       *       *

O'Leary turned to the warden and spread his hands.

"Warden," he said, "don't you see how this thing is building up? Let's
not just wait for the place to explode in our faces! Let me take a
squad into Block O before it's too late."

The warden pursed his lips thoughtfully and cocked his head, as though
he were trying to find some trace of merit in an unreasonable request.

He said at last: "No."

O'Leary made a passionate sound that was trying to be bad language, but
he was too raging mad to articulate it. He walked stiffly away from the
limp, silent warden and stared out the window.

At least, he told himself, _he_ hadn't gone to pieces. It was his
doing, not the warden's, that all the off-duty guards had been dragged
double-time back to the prison, his doing that they were now ringed
around the outer walls or scattered on extra-man patrols throughout the
prison.

It was something, but O'Leary couldn't believe that it was enough.
He'd been in touch with half a dozen of the details inside the prison
on the intercom and each of them had reported the same thing. In all
of E-G, not a single prisoner was asleep. They were talking back and
forth between the cells and the guards couldn't shut them up. They
were listening to concealed radios and the guards didn't dare make a
shakedown to find them. They were working themselves up to something.
To what?

O'Leary didn't want ever to find out what. He wanted to go in there
with a couple of the best guards he could get his hands on--shoot his
way into the Greensleeves if he had to--and clean out the infection.

But the warden said no.

O'Leary stared balefully at the hovering helicopters.

The warden was the warden. He was placed in that position through
the meticulously careful operations of the Civil Service machinery,
maintained in that position year after year through the penetrating
annual inquiries of the Reclassification Board. It was _subversive_ to
think that the Board could have made a mistake!

But O'Leary was absolutely sure that the warden was a scared,
ineffectual jerk.

       *       *       *       *       *

The interphone was ringing again. The warden picked up the handpiece
and held it bonelessly at arm's length, his eyes fixed glassily on the
wall. It was Sauer from the Greensleeves again. O'Leary could hear his
maddened bray.

"I warned you, Warden!" O'Leary could see the big con's contorted face
in miniature, in the view screen of the interphone. The grin was broad
and jolly, the snake's eyes poisonously cold. "I'm going to give you
five minutes, Warden, you hear? Five minutes! And if there isn't a
medic in here in five minutes to take care of my boy Flock--your guards
have had it! I'm going to slice off an ear and throw it out the window,
you hear me? And five minutes later, another ear. And five minutes
later--"

The warden groaned weakly. "I've called for the prison medic, Sauer.
Honestly I have! I'm sure he's coming as rapidly as he--"

"Five minutes!" And the ferociously grinning face disappeared.

O'Leary leaned forward. "Warden, let me take a squad in there!"

The warden gazed at him for a blank moment "Squad? No, O'Leary. What's
the use of a squad? It's a medic I have to get in there. I have a
responsibility to those guards and if I don't get a medic--"

A cold, calm voice from the door: "I am here, Warden."

O'Leary and the warden both jumped up.

The medic nodded slightly. "You may sit down."

"Oh, Doctor! Thank heaven you're here!" The warden was falling all over
himself, getting a chair for his guest, flustering about.

O'Leary said sharply: "Wait a minute, Warden. You can't let the doctor
go in alone!"

"He isn't alone!" The doctor's intern came from behind him, scowling
belligerently at O'Leary. Youngish, his beard pale and silky, he was a
long way from his first practice. "I'm here to assist him!"

O'Leary put a strain on his patience. "They'll eat you up in there,
Doc! Those are the worst cons in the prison. They've got two hostages
already. What's the use of giving them two more?"

The medic fixed him with his eyes. He was a tall man and he wore his
beard proudly. "Guard, do you think you can prevent me from healing a
sufferer?" He folded his hands over his abdomen and turned to leave.

The intern stepped aside and bowed his head.

O'Leary surrendered. "All right, you can go. But I'm coming with
you--with a squad!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Inmate Sue-Ann Bradley cowered in her cell. The Greensleeves
was jumping. She had never--no, _never_, she told herself
wretchedly--thought that it would be anything like this. She listened
unbelievingly to the noise the released prisoners were making, smashing
the chairs and commodes in their cells, screaming threats at the bound
guards.

She faced the thought with fear, and with the sorrow of a murdered
belief that was worse than fear. It was bad that she was in danger
of dying right here and now, but what was even worse was that the
principles that had brought her to the Jug were dying, too.

Wipes were _not_ the same as Civil-Service people!

A bull's roar from the corridor and a shocking crash of glass--that was
Flock, and apparently he had smashed the TV interphone.

"What in the world are they _doing_?" Inmate Bradley sobbed to herself.
It was beyond comprehension. They were yelling words that made no sense
to her, threatening punishments on the guards that she could barely
imagine. Sauer and Flock were laborers; some of the other rioting cons
were clerks, mechanics--even Civil-Service or Professionals, for all
she could tell. But she could hardly understand any of them. Why was
the quiet little Chinese clerk in Cell Six setting fire to his bed?

There did seem to be a pattern, of sorts. The laborers were rocketing
about, breaking things at random. The mechanics were pleasurably
sabotaging the electronic and plumbing installations. The white-collar
categories were finding their dubious joys in less direct ways--liking
setting fire to a bed. But what a mad pattern!

The more Sue-Ann saw of them, the less she understood.

It wasn't just that they _talked_ differently. She had spent endless
hours studying the various patois of shoptalk and it had defeated her;
but it wasn't just that.

It was bad enough when she couldn't understand the words--as when that
trusty Mathias had ordered her in wipe shoptalk to mop out her cell.
But what was even worse was not understanding the thought behind the
words.

Sue-Ann Bradley had consecrated her young life to the belief that
all men were created free and equal--and alike. Or alike in all the
things that mattered, anyhow. Alike in hopes, alike in motives, alike
in virtues. She had turned her back on a decent Civil-Service family
and a promising Civil-Service career to join the banned and despised
Association for the Advancement of the Categoried Classes--

Screams from the corridor outside.

Sue-Ann leaped to the door of her cell to see Sauer clutching at one
of the guards. The guard's hands were tied, but his feet were free; he
broke loose from the clumsy clown with the serpent's eyes, almost fell,
ran toward Sue-Ann.

There was nowhere else to run. The guard, moaning and gasping, tripped,
slid, caught himself and stumbled into her cell. "Please!" he begged.
"That crazy Sauer--he's going to cut my ear off! For heaven's sake,
ma'am--stop him!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Sue-Ann stared at him, between terror and tears. Stop Sauer! If only
she could. The big redhead was lurching stiffly toward them--raging,
but not so angry that the water-moccasin eyes showed heat.

"Come here, you figger scum!" he roared.

The epithet wasn't even close--the guard was Civil Service through and
through--but it was like a reviving whip-sting to Sue-Ann Bradley.

"Watch your language, Mr. Sauer!" she snapped incongruously.

Sauer stopped dead and blinked.

"Don't you dare hurt him!" she warned. "Don't you see, Mr. Sauer,
you're playing into their hands? They're trying to divide us. They
pit mechanic against clerk, laborer against armed forces. And you're
helping them! Brother Sauer, I beg--"

The redhead spat deliberately on the floor.

He licked his lips, and grinned an amiable clown's grin, and said in
his cheerful, buffoon bray: "Auntie, go verb your adjective adjective
noun."

Sue-Ann Bradley gasped and turned white. She had known such words
existed--but only theoretically. She had never expected to _hear_
them. And certainly she would never have believed she would hear them,
applied to her, from the lips of a--a _laborer_.

At her knees, the guard shrieked and fell to the floor.

"Sauer! Sauer!" A panicky bellow from the corridor; the red-haired
giant hesitated. "Sauer, come on out here! There's a million guards
coming up the stairs. Looks like trouble!"

Sauer said hoarsely to the unconscious guard: "I'll take care of
_you_." And he looked blankly at the girl, and shook his head, and
hurried back outside to the corridor.

Guards were coming, all right--not a million of them, but half a dozen
or more. And leading them all was the medic, calm, bearded face looking
straight ahead, hands clasped before him, ready to heal the sick,
comfort the aged or bring new life into the world.

"Hold it!" shrieked little Flock, crouched over the agonizing blister
on his abdomen, gun in hand, peering insanely down the steps. "Hold it
or--"

"Shut up." Sauer called softly to the approaching group: "Let only the
doc come up. Nobody else!"

The intern faltered; the guards stopped dead; the medic said calmly: "I
must have my intern with me." He glanced at the barred gate wonderingly.

Sauer hesitated. "Well--all right. But no guards!"

A few yards away, Sue-Ann Bradley was stuffing the syncoped form of the
guard into her small washroom.

It was time to take a stand. No more cowering, she told herself
desperately. No more waiting. She closed the door on the guard, still
unconscious, and stood grimly before it. Him, at least, she would save
if she could. They could get him, but only over her dead body.

Or anyway, she thought with a sudden throbbing in her throat, over her
body.


VI

After O'Leary and the medic left, the warden tottered to a chair--but
not for long. His secretary appeared, eyes bulging. "The governor!" he
gasped.

Warden Schluckebier managed to say: "Why, Governor! How good of you to
come--"

The governor shook him off and held the door open for the men who
had come with him. There were reporters from all the news services,
officials from the township governments within the city-state. There
was an Air GI with major's leaves on his collar--"Liaison, sir," he
explained crisply to the warden, "just in case you have any orders for
our men up there." There were nearly a dozen others.

The warden was quite overcome.

The governor rapped out: "Warden, no criticism of you, of course, but
I've come to take personal charge. I'm superseding you under Rule
Twelve, Paragraph A, of the Uniform Civil Service Code. Right?"

"Oh, _right_!" cried the warden, incredulous with joy.

"The situation is bad--perhaps worse than you think. I'm seriously
concerned about the hostages those men have in there. And I had a call
from Senator Bradley a short time ago--"

"Senator Bradley?" echoed the warden.

"Senator _Sebastian_ Bradley. One of our foremost civil servants," the
governor said firmly. "It so happens that his daughter is in Block O as
an inmate."

The warden closed his eyes. He tried to swallow, but the throat muscles
were paralyzed.

"There is no question," the governor went on briskly, "about the
propriety of her being there. She was duly convicted of a felonious
act, namely conspiracy and incitement to riot. But you see the
position."

The warden saw all too well.

"Therefore," said the governor. "I intend to go in to Block O myself.
Sebastian Bradley is an old and personal friend--as well," he
emphasized, "as being a senior member of the Reclassification Board. I
understand a medic is going to Block O. I shall go with him."

The warden managed to sit up straight. "He's gone. I mean they already
left, Governor. But I assure you Miss Brad--Inmate Bradley--that is,
the young lady is in no danger. I have already taken precautions," he
said, gaining confidence as he listened to himself talk. "I--uh--I
was deciding on a course of action as you came in. See, Governor,
the guards on the walls are all armed. All they have to do is fire
a couple of rounds into the yard and then the 'copters could start
dropping tear gas and light fragmentation bombs and--"

The governor was already at the door. "You will _not_," he said; and:
"Now which way did they go?"

       *       *       *       *       *

O'Leary was in the yard and he was smelling trouble, loud and strong.
The first he knew that the rest of the prison had caught the riot fever
was when the lights flared on in Cell Block A.

"That Sodaro!" he snarled, but there wasn't time to worry about that
Sodaro. He grabbed the rest of his guard detail and double-timed it
toward the New Building, leaving the medic and a couple of guards
walking sedately toward the Old. Block A, on the New Building's lowest
tier, was already coming to life; a dozen yards, and Blocks B and C
lighted up.

And a dozen yards more and they could hear the yelling; and it wasn't
more than a minute before the building doors opened.

The cons had taken over three more blocks. How? O'Leary didn't take
time even to guess. The inmates were piling out into the yard. He took
one look at the rushing mob. Crazy! It was Wilmer Lafon leading the
rioters, with a guard's gun and a voice screaming threats! But O'Leary
didn't take time to worry about an honor prisoner gone bad, either.

"Let's get out of here!" he bellowed to the detachment, and they ran.

Just plain ran. Cut and ran, scattering as they went.

"Wait!" screamed O'Leary, but they weren't waiting. Cursing himself for
letting them get out of hand, O'Leary salvaged two guards and headed on
the run for the Old Building, huge and dark, all but the topmost lights
of Block O.

They saw the medic and his escort disappearing into the bulk of the Old
Building and they saw something else. There were inmates between them
and the Old Building! The Shops Building lay between--with a dozen more
cell blocks over the workshops that gave it its name--and there was a
milling rush of activity around its entrance, next to the laundry shed--

The laundry shed.

O'Leary stood stock still. Lafon leading the breakout from Block A. The
little greaser who was a trusty in the Shops Building sabotaging the
yard's tangler circuit. Sauer and Flock taking over the Greensleeves
with a manufactured knife and a lot of guts.

Did it fit together? Was it all part of a plan?

That was something to find out--but not just then. "Come on," O'Leary
cried to the two guards, and they raced for the temporary safety of the
main gates.

The whole prison was up and yelling now.

O'Leary could hear scattered shots from the beat guards on the
wall--_Over their heads, over their heads!_ he prayed silently.
And there were other shots that seemed to come from inside the
walls--guards shooting, or convicts with guards' guns, he couldn't
tell which. The yard was full of convicts now, in bunches and clumps;
but none near the gate. And they seemed to have lost some of their
drive. They were milling around, lit by the searchlights from the wall,
yelling and making a lot of noise ... but going nowhere in particular.
Waiting for a leader, O'Leary thought, and wondered briefly what had
become of Lafon.

"You Captain O'Leary?" somebody demanded.

       *       *       *       *       *

He turned and blinked. Good Lord, the governor! He was coming through
the gate, waving aside the gate guards, alone. "You him?" the governor
repeated. "All right, glad I found you. I'm going into Block O with
you."

O'Leary swallowed and waved inarticulately at the teeming cons. True,
there were none immediately near by--but there were plenty in the
yard! Riots meant breaking things up; already the inmates had started
to break up the machines in the laundry shed and the athletic equipment
in the yard lockers. When they found a couple of choice breakables like
O'Leary and the governor, they'd have a ball!

"But, Governor--"

"But my foot! Can you get me in there or can't you?"

O'Leary gauged their chances. It wasn't more than fifty feet to the
main entrance to the Old Building--not at the moment guarded, since all
the guards were in hiding or on the walls, and not as yet being invaded
by the inmates at large.

He said: "You're the boss. Hold on a minute--" The searchlights were
on the bare yard cobblestones in front of them; in a moment, the
searchlights danced away.

"Come on!" cried O'Leary, and jumped for the entrance. The governor was
with him and a pair of the guards came stumbling after.

They made it to the Old Building.

Inside the entrance, they could hear the noise from outside and the
yelling of the inmates who were still in their cells. But around them
was nothing but gray steel walls and the stairs going all the way up
to Block O.

"Up!" panted O'Leary, and they clattered up the steel steps.

They would have made it--if it hadn't been for the honor inmate, Wilmer
Lafon, who knew what he was after and had headed for the Greensleeves
through the back way. In fact, they did make it--but not the way
they planned. "Get out of the way!" yelled O'Leary at Lafon and
the half-dozen inmates with him; and "Go to hell!" screamed Lafon,
charging; and it was a rough-and-tumble fight, and O'Leary's party lost
it, fair and square.

So when they got to Block O, it was with the governor marching before
a convict-held gun, and with O'Leary cold unconscious, a lump from a
gun-butt on the side of his head.

As they came up the stairs, Sauer was howling at the medic: "You got to
fix up my boy! He's dying and all you do is sit there!"

The medic said patiently: "My son, I've dressed his wound. He is under
sedation and I must rest. There will be other casualties."

Sauer raged, but that was as far as it went. Even Sauer wouldn't attack
a medic. He would as soon strike an Attorney, or even a Director of
Funerals. It wasn't merely that they were Professionals. Even among
the Professional class, they were special; not superior, exactly, but
_apart_. They certainly were not for the likes of Sauer to fool with
and Sauer knew it.

"Somebody's coming!" bawled one of the other freed inmates.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sauer jumped to the head of the steps, saw that Lafon was leading the
group, stepped back, saw whom Lafon's helpers were carrying and leaped
forward again.

"Cap'n O'Leary!" he roared. "Gimme!"

"Shut up," said Wilmer Lafon, and pushed the big redhead out of the
way. Sauer's jaw dropped and the snake eyes opened wide.

"Wilmer," he protested feebly. But that was all the protest he made,
because the snake's eyes had seen that Lafon held a gun. He stood back,
the big hands half outstretched toward the unconscious guard captain,
O'Leary, and the cold eyes became thoughtful.

And then he saw who else was with the party. "Wilmer! You got the
governor there!"

Lafon nodded. "Throw them in a cell," he ordered, and sat down on a
guard's stool, breathing hard. It had been a fine fight on the steps,
before he and his boys had subdued the governor and the guards, but
Wilmer Lafon wasn't used to fighting. Even six years in the Jug hadn't
turned an architect into a laborer; physical exertion simply was not
his metier.

Sauer said coaxingly: "Wilmer, won't you leave me have O'Leary for a
while? If it wasn't for me and Flock, you'd still be in A Block and--"

"Shut up," Lafon said again, gently enough, but he waved the gun
muzzle. He drew a deep breath, glanced around him and grinned. "If
it wasn't for you and Flock," he mimicked. "If it wasn't for you and
Flock! Sauer, you wipe clown, do you think it took _brains_ to file
down a shiv and start things rolling? If it wasn't for _me_, you and
Flock would have beaten up a few guards, and had your kicks for half an
hour, and then the whole prison would fall in on you! It was me, Wilmer
Lafon, who set things up and you know it!"

He was yelling and suddenly he realized he was yelling. And what was
the use, he demanded of himself contemptuously, of trying to argue
with a bunch of lousy wipes and greasers? They'd never understand the
long, soul-killing hours of planning and sweat. They wouldn't realize
the importance of the careful timing--of arranging that the laundry
cons would start a disturbance in the yard right after the Greensleeves
hard-timers kicked off the riot, of getting the little greaser Hiroko
to short-circuit the yard field so the laundry cons could start their
disturbances.

It took a _Professional_ to organize and plan--yes, and to make sure
that he himself was out of it until everything was ripe, so that if
anything went wrong, _he_ was all right. It took somebody like Wilmer
Lafon--a _Professional_, who had spent six years too long in the Jug--

And who would shortly be getting out.


VII

Any prison is a ticking bomb. Estates-General was in process of going
off.

From the Greensleeves, where the trouble had started, clear out to the
trusty farms that ringed the walls, every inmate was up and jumping.
Some were still in their cells--the scared ones, the decrepit oldsters,
the short-termers who didn't dare risk their early discharge. But for
every man in his cell, a dozen were out and yelling.

A torch, licking as high as the hanging helicopters, blazing up from
the yard--that was the laundry shed. Why burn the laundry? The cons
couldn't have said. It was burnable and it was there--burn it!

The yard lay open to the wrath of the helicopters, but the helicopters
made no move. The cobblestones were solidly covered with milling men.
The guards were on the walls, sighting down their guns; the helicopter
bombardiers had their fingers on the bomb trips. There had been a few
rounds fired over the heads of the rioters, at first.

Nothing since.

In the milling mob, the figures clustered in groups. The inmates from
Honor Block A huddled under the guards' guns at the angle of the wall.
They had clubs--all the inmates had clubs--but they weren't using them.

Honor Block A: On the outside, Civil Service and Professionals. On the
inside, the trusties, the "good" cons.

They weren't the type for clubs.

With all of the inmates, you looked at them and you wondered what
twisted devil had got into their heads to land them in the Jug. Oh,
perhaps you could understand it--a little bit, at least--in the
case of the figgers in Blocks B and C, the greasers in the Shop
Building--that sort. It was easy enough for some of the Categoried
Classes to commit a crime and thereby land in jail.

Who could blame a wipe for trying to "pass" if he thought he could
get away with it? But when he didn't get away with it, he wound up in
the Jug and that was logical enough. And greasers liked Civil-Service
women--everyone knew that.

There was almost a sort of logic to it, even if it was a sort of
inevitable logic that made decent Civil-Service people see red. You
_had_ to enforce the laws against rape if, for instance, a greaser
should ask an innocent young female postal clerk for a date. But you
could understand what drove him to it. The Jug was full of criminals of
that sort. And the Jug was the place for them.

But what about Honor Block A?

Why would a Wilmer Lafon--a certified public architect, a Professional
by category--do his own car repairs and get himself jugged for
malpractice? Why would a dental nurse sneak back into the laboratory at
night and cast an upper plate for her mother? She must have realized
she would be caught.

But she had done it. And she had been caught; and there she was, this
wild night, huddled under the helicopters, uncertainly waving the
handle of a floor mop. It was a club.

She shivered and turned to the stocky convict next to her. "Why don't
they break down the gate?" she demanded. "How long are we going to hang
around here, waiting for the guards to get organized and pick us all
off one at a time?"

The convict next to her sighed and wiped his glasses with a beefy hand.
Once he had been an Income-Tax Accountant, disbarred and convicted on
three counts of impersonating an attorney when he took the liberty of
making changes in a client's lease. He snorted: "They expect us to do
_their_ dirty work."

The two of them glared angrily and fearfully at the other convicts in
the yard.

And the other convicts, huddled greaser with greaser, wipe with wipe,
glared ragingly back. It wasn't _their_ place to plan the strategy of a
prison break.

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain Liam O'Leary muttered groggily: "They don't want to escape. All
they want is to make trouble. I know cons!"

He came fully awake and sat up and focused his eyes. His head was
hammering.

That girl, that Bradley, was leaning over him. She looked scared and
sick. "Sit still! Sauer is just plain crazy--listen to them yelling out
there!"

O'Leary sat up and looked around, one hand holding his drumming skull.

"They _do_ want to escape," said Sue-Ann Bradley. "Listen to what
they're saying!"

       *       *       *       *       *

O'Leary discovered that he was in a cell. There was a battle going on
outside. Men were yelling, but he couldn't see them.

He jumped up, remembering. "The governor!"

Sue-Ann Bradley said: "He's all right. I _think_ he is, anyway. He's in
the cell right next to us, with a couple guards. I guess they came up
with you." She shivered as the yells in the corridor rose. "Sauer is
angry at the medic," she explained. "He wants him to fix Flock up so
they can--'crush out,' I think he said. The medic says he can't do it.
You see, Flock got burned pretty badly with a knife he made. Something
about the tanglefoot field--"

"Eddy currents," said O'Leary dizzily.

"Anyway, the medic--"

"Never mind the medic. What's Lafon doing?"

"Lafon? The Negro?" Sue-Ann Bradley frowned. "I didn't know his name.
He started the whole thing, the way it sounds. They're waiting for
the mob down in the yard to break out and then they're going to make a
break--"

"Wait a minute," growled O'Leary. His head was beginning to clear.
"What about you? Are you in on this?"

She hung between laughter and tears. Finally: "Do I _look_ as if I am?"

O'Leary took stock. Somehow, somewhere, the girl had got a length of
metal pipe--from the plumbing, maybe. She was holding it in one hand,
supporting him with the other. There were two other guards in the cell,
both out cold--one from O'Leary's squad, the other, O'Leary guessed, a
desk guard who had been on duty when the trouble started.

"I wouldn't let them in," she said wildly. "I told them they'd have to
kill me before they could touch that guard."

O'Leary said suspiciously: "You belonged to that Double-A-C, didn't
you? You were pretty anxious to get in the Greensleeves, disobeying
Auntie Mathias's orders. Are you sure you didn't know this was going
to--"

It was too much. She dropped the pipe, buried her head in her hands. He
couldn't tell if she laughed or wept, but he could tell that it hadn't
been like that at all.

"I'm sorry," he said awkwardly, and touched her helplessly on the
shoulder.

       *       *       *       *       *

He turned and looked out the little barred window, because he couldn't
think of any additional way to apologize. He heard the wavering beat
in the air and saw them--bobbing a hundred yards up, their wide
metal vanes fluttering and hissing from the jets at the tips. The GI
'copters. Waiting--as everyone seemed to be waiting.

Sue-Ann Bradley asked shakily: "Is anything the matter?"

O'Leary turned away. It was astonishing, he thought, what a different
perspective he had on those helicopter bombers from inside Block O.
Once he had cursed the warden for not ordering at least tear gas to be
dropped.

He said harshly: "Nothing. Just that the 'copters have the place
surrounded."

"Does it make any difference?"

He shrugged. Does it make a difference? The difference between trouble
and tragedy, or so it now seemed to Captain O'Leary. The riot was
trouble. They could handle it, one way or another. It was his job, any
guard's job, to handle _prison_ trouble.

But to bring the GIs into it was to invite race riot. Not prison
riot--race riot. Even the declassed scum in the Jug would fight back
against the GIs. They were used to having the Civil-Service guards over
them--that was what guards were for. Civil-Service guards guarded.
What else? It was their job--as clerking was a rigger's job, and
machines were a greaser's, and pick-and-shovel strong-arm work was a
wipe's.

But the Armed Services--their job was to defend the country against
forces outside--in a world that had only inside forces. The cons
wouldn't hold still under attack from the GIs. _Race riot!_

But how could you tell that to a girl like this Bradley? O'Leary
glanced at her covertly. She _looked_ all right. Rather nice-looking,
if anything. But he hadn't forgotten why she was in E-G. Joining a
terrorist organization, the Association for the Advancement of the
Categoried Classes.

Actually getting up on street corners and proposing that greasers'
children be allowed to go to school with GIs, that wipes inter-marry
with Civil Service. Good Lord, they'd be suggesting that doctors eat
with laymen next!

The girl said evenly: "Don't look at me that way. I'm not a monster."

O'Leary coughed. "Sorry. I didn't know I was staring." She looked at
him with cold eyes. "I mean," he said, "you don't _look_ like anybody
who'd get mixed up in--well, miscegenation."

"Miscegenation!" she blazed. "You're all alike! You talk about the
mission of the Categoried Classes and the rightness of segregation,
but it's always just the one thing that's in your minds--sex! I'll tell
you this, Captain O'Leary--I'd rather many a decent, hard-working clerk
any day than the sort of Civil-Service trash I've seen around here!"

O'Leary cringed. He couldn't help it. Funny, he told himself, I thought
I was shockproof--but this goes too far!

A bull-roar from the corridor. Sauer.

O'Leary spun. The big redhead was yelling: "Bring the governor out
here. Lafon wants to talk to him!"

       *       *       *       *       *

O'Leary went to the door of the cell, fast.

A slim, pale con from Block A was pushing the governor down the hall,
toward Sauer and Lafon. The governor was a strong man, but he didn't
struggle. His face was as composed and remote as the medic's; if he was
afraid, he concealed it extremely well.

Sue-Ann Bradley stood beside O'Leary. "What's happening?"

He kept his eyes on what was going on. "Lafon is going to try to use
the governor as a shield, I think." The voice of Lafon was loud, but
the noises outside made it hard to understand. But O'Leary could make
out what the dark ex-Professional was saying: "--know damn well you
did something. But what? _Why don't they crush out?_"

Mumble-mumble from the Governor. O'Leary couldn't hear the words.

But he could see the effect of them in Lafon's face, hear the rage
in Lafon's voice. "Don't call me a liar, you civvy punk! You did
something. I had it all planned, do you hear me? The laundry boys were
going to rush the gate, the Block A bunch would follow--and then I
was going to breeze right through. But you loused it up somehow. You
must've!"

His voice was rising to a scream. O'Leary, watching tautly from the
cell, thought: He's going to break. He can't hold it in much longer.

"All _right_!" shouted Lafon, and even Sauer, looming behind him,
looked alarmed. "It doesn't matter what you did. I've got you now and
_you_ are going to get me out of here. You hear? I've got this gun and
the two of us are going to walk right out, through the gate, and if
anybody tries to stop us--"

"Hey," said Sauer, waking up.

"--if anybody tries to stop us, you'll get a bullet right in--"

"_Hey!_" Sauer was roaring loud as Lafon himself now. "What's this talk
about the _two_ of you? You aren't going to leave me and Flock!"

"Shut up," Lafon said conversationally, without taking his eyes off the
governor.

But Sauer, just then, was not the man to say "shut up" to, and
especially he was not a man to take your eyes away from.

"That's torn it," O'Leary said aloud. The girl started to say something.

But he was no longer there to hear.

It looked very much as though Sauer and Lafon were going to tangle. And
when they did, it was the end of the line for the governor.

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain O'Leary hurtled out of the sheltering cell and skidded down the
corridor. Lafon's face was a hawk's face, gleaming with triumph. As he
saw O'Leary coming toward him, the hawk sneer froze. He brought the gun
up, but O'Leary was a fast man.

O'Leary leaped on the lithe black honor prisoner. Lafon screamed and
clutched; and O'Leary's lunging weight drove him back against the wall.
Lafon's arm smacked against the steel grating and the gun went flying.
The two of them clinched and fell, gouging, to the floor.

Grabbing the advantage, O'Leary hammered the con's head against the
deck, hard enough to split a skull. And perhaps it split Lafon's,
because the dark face twitched and froth appeared at the lips; and the
body slacked.

One down!

Now Sauer was charging. O'Leary wriggled sidewise and the big redhead
blundered crashing into the steel grate. Sauer fell and O'Leary caught
at him. He tried hammering the head as he swarmed on top of the huge
clown. But Sauer only roared the louder. The bull body surged under
O'Leary and then Sauer was on top and O'Leary wasn't breathing. Not at
all.

Good-by, Sue-Ann, O'Leary said silently, without meaning to say
anything of the kind; and even then he wondered why he was saying it.

O'Leary heard a gun explode beside his head.

Amazing, he thought, I'm breathing again! The choking hands were gone
from his throat.

It took him a moment to realize that it was Sauer who had taken the
bullet, not him. Sauer who now lay dead, not O'Leary. But he realized
it when he rolled over, and looked up, and saw the girl with the gun
still in her hand, staring at him and weeping.

He sat up. The two guards still able to walk were backing Sue-Ann
Bradley up. The governor was looking proud as an eagle, pleased as a
mother hen.

The Greensleeves was back in the hands of law and order.

The medic came toward O'Leary, hands folded. "My son," he said, "if
your throat needs--"

O'Leary interrupted him. "I don't need a thing, Doc! I've got
everything I want right now."


VIII

Inmate Sue-Ann Bradley cried: "They're coming! O'Leary, they're coming!"

The guards who had once been hostages clattered down the steps to
meet the party. The cons from the Greensleeves were back in their
cells. The medic, after finishing his chores on O'Leary himself, paced
meditatively out into the wake of the riot, where there was plenty to
keep him busy. A faintly guilty expression tinctured his carven face.
Contrary to his oath to care for all humanity in anguish, he had not
liked Lafon or Sauer.

The party of fresh guards appeared and efficiently began re-locking the
cells of the Greensleeves.

"Excuse me, Cap'n," said one, taking Sue-Ann Bradley by the arm. "I'll
just put this one back--"

"I'll take care of her," said Liam O'Leary. He looked at her sideways
as he rubbed the bruises on his face.

The governor tapped him on the shoulder. "Come along," he said, looking
so proud of himself, so pleased. "Let's go out in the yard for a
breath of fresh air." He smiled contentedly at Sue-Ann Bradley. "You,
too."

O'Leary protested instinctively: "But she's an inmate!"

"And I'm a governor. Come along."

They walked out into the yard. The air was fresh, all right. A handful
of cons, double-guarded by sleepy and irritable men from the day shift,
were hosing down the rubble on the cobblestones. The yard was a mess,
but it was quiet now. The helicopters were still riding their picket
line, glowing softly in the early light that promised sunrise.

"My car," the governor said quietly to a state policeman who appeared
from nowhere. The trooper snapped a salute and trotted away.

"I killed a man," said Sue-Ann Bradley, looking a little ill.

"You saved a man," corrected the governor. "Don't weep for that Lafon.
He was willing to kill a thousand men if he had to, to break out of
here."

"But he never did break out," said Sue-Ann.

The governor stretched contentedly. "He never had a chance. Laborers
and clerks join together in a breakout? It would never happen. They
don't even speak the same language--as you have discovered, my dear."

       *       *       *       *       *

Sue-Ann blazed: "I still believe in the equality of Man!"

"Oh, please do," the governor said, straight-faced. "There's nothing
wrong with that. Your father and I are perfectly willing to admit that
men are equal--but we can't admit that all men are the _same_. Use your
eyes! What you believe in is your business, but," he added, "when your
beliefs extend to setting fire to segregated public lavatories as a
protest move, which is what got you arrested, you apparently need to be
taught a lesson. Well, perhaps you've learned it. You were a help here
tonight and that counts for a lot."

Captain O'Leary said, face furrowed: "What about the warden, Governor?
They say the category system is what makes the world go round; it fits
the right man to the right job and keeps him there. But look at Warden
Schluckebier! He fell completely apart at the seams. He--"

"Turn that statement around, O'Leary."

"Turn--?"

The governor nodded. "You've got it reversed. Not the right man for the
job--the right job for the man! We've got Schluckebier on our hands,
see? He's been born; it's too late to do anything about that. He will
go to pieces in an emergency. So where do we put him?"

O'Leary stubbornly clamped his jaw, frowning.

"We put him," the governor went on gently, "where the best thing
to _do_ in a crisis is to go to pieces! Why, O'Leary, you get some
hot-headed man of action in here, and every time an inmate sneezes,
you'll have bloodshed! And there's no harm in a prison riot. Let the
poor devils work off steam. I wouldn't have bothered to get out of bed
for it--except I was worried about the hostages. So I came down to make
sure they were protected in the best possible way."

O'Leary's jaw dropped. "But you were--"

The governor nodded. "I was a hostage myself. That's one way to protect
them, isn't it? By giving the cons a hostage that's worth more to them."

He yawned and looked around for his car. "So the world keeps going
around," he said. "Everybody is somebody else's outgroup and maybe it's
a bad thing, but did you ever stop to realize that we don't have wars
any more? The categories stick tightly together. Who is to say that
that's a bad thing?"

He grinned. "Reminds me of a story, if you two will pay attention to
me long enough to listen. There was a meeting--this is an old, _old_
story--a neighborhood meeting of the leaders of the two biggest
women's groups on the block. There were eighteen Irish ladies from
the Church Auxiliary and three Jewish ladies from B'nai B'rith. The
first thing they did was have an election for a temporary chairwoman.
Twenty-one votes were cast. Mrs. Grossinger from B'nai B'rith got three
and Mrs. O'Flaherty from the Auxiliary got eighteen. So when Mrs.
Murphy came up to congratulate Mrs. O'Flaherty after the election, she
whispered: 'Good for you! But isn't it terrible, the way these Jews
stick together?'"

He stood up and waved a signal as his long official car came poking
hesitantly through the gate.

"Well," he declared professionally, "that's that. As we politicians
say, any questions?"

Sue-Ann hesitated. "Yes, I guess I do have a question," she said.
"What's a Jew?"

       *       *       *       *       *

It was full dawn at last. The recall signal had come and the
helicopters were swooping home to Hap Arnold Field.

A bombardier named Novak, red-eyed and grumpy, was amusing himself
on the homeward flight by taking practice sights on the stream of
work-bound mechanics as they fluttered over Greaserville.

"Could pick 'em off like pigeons," he said sourly to his pilot, as he
dropped an imaginary bomb on a cluster of a dozen men. "For two cents,
I'd do it, too. The only good greaser is a dead greaser."

His pilot, just as weary, said loftily: "Leave them alone. The best way
to handle them is to leave them alone."

And the pilot was perfectly right; and that was the way the world went
round, spinning slowly and unstoppably toward the dawn.





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