A SOLI Original Document.
You won't find it anywhere else.


Or, Don Juan is Alive and . . . Hell.

Copyright Robert J Hustwit 1975

Randall's Revenge

"'Not intelligent, only opinionated.'  What the Hell does that mean?" The
chief of operations of the Inter Stellar Exploitation Company had a way of
verbally underlining words as he kept his voice about ten decibels below a
roar. He read the film once more.
"'Not intelligent, only opinionated.' What in the Hell does it  mean?" He
"Well, chief," began his timid (some called him 'mousey') aide, "I think
that he's referring to . . ."
"Who the Hell asked you! Get me Randall's file."
"I've got it right here, sir, and it says that Randall was due for . . ."
"Let me read it." The chief grabbed the film, and set it on the reader.
"It says here that Randall was due for Rec-leave this trip."
"Yes, sir."
"Well, who the Hell overrode his leave authorization?"
"I'd have to check, sir, that information is in . . ."
"Check it out.  That information is in BioPsych."
"Yes, sir." The aide turned to go, "I'll be back in about fifteen
minutes, sir." When he got no reply, he left.
The chief stared at the screen, which now had both Randall's service record
and his latest ITS (Interim Trip Scan) Report on it. Neither one made much
sense to the chief. Randall never should have been admitted as a scout. He
was too short, too fat and too smart. He was also recognized as the best
scout InterStel had, which meant he was the best scout anybody had.
The Inter Stellar Exploitation Company was unique on earth. It was the only
company on the planet which invested heavily in the exploration of outer
space for profit. It was the only company on the planet which had
consistently shunned any kind of governmental subsidies. So, naturally,
when the political system finally caved in, it was the only company
prepared for inter-planetary, and then the first company to be prepared for
interstellar travel.
As a matter of fact, the chief of operations, as he looked woefully at the
screen, was thinking about the last board meeting, where it was disclosed
that preparations were underway to change the name to The Inter Galactic
Exploitation Company.  Apparently, Dr. Stockton was close to perfecting his
Lateral Space Transfer Generator, and when he did--oh, holy positrons!--
everything would grow faster than ever before.
That had been the purpose of the board meeting: "How to plan ahead to be
able to handle this growth." The chief stood to gain immensly by this
projected surge--as long as he didn't make any major blunders. And if
Randall went off the deep end after making contact with an intelligent
species, that was a major blunder. (the chief even underlined words in his
Damn. If only he could figure it out. Randall wasn't known for sending
coherent ITS Reports, but this . . . this was ridiculous. No co-ordinates,
no D-beam, no BioPsychCiv graph, nothing. Only the two  messages, the first
of which should have alerted him that something was wrong; it read,
Have located new, repeat, new heavenly bodies. Am checking for
Nobody referred to planets or stars as "heavenly bodies" any more. That
hadn't been done for over a hundred years. Of course, Randall was a history
nut, reading all those old books and what-not, and that might have
accounted for it. It still should have put him on his guard, but it hadn't.
When the second message came, two days later, it had created a stir even
before it got to the chief's office.
"How in Hell," the chief wondered, echoing the thoughts of many of his
subordinates, "can he have found something opinionated without it being
intelligent? Damn, damn, damn!  When I get my hands on the guy who overrode
his Rec-leave, I will at the very least, kill him."
"Kill who?" The question came from a stocky man who entered the room with a
quiet authority.
The chief was startled both at the presence of his visitor and the fact
that he had spoken aloud.
"Damnit, Thav, I wish you'ld make more noise; and it's none of your
business who I would like to kill."
"On the contrary, as staff psych, that is my only business. Fine thing for
me, if you went out and killed somebody, and I didn't know anything about
it. I might not get promoted." This last was a gentle dig at the chief.
Thav Price had known the chief for forty years. They were good friends
personally, but, on a professional basis, they shared that
interdepartmental jealousy present in all large organizations. The chief's
proclivity for advancement was well-known throughout Inter Stel. It was a
standing joke among the chief's subordinates that anything from a 90-day
leave to the chief's beautiful 19-year-old daughter could be had simply by
offering him a promotion.
Looking at the chief of operations and the head of BioPsych standing
together, the observer would invariably think that the chief was the Bio-
Psychologist and that the BioPsych man was the chief of operations.
The chief looked too delicate to be the head of this operation. He was
balding and grey, wore his clothes well, hanging a slight build on a tall
frame,--and his face was almost benignly radiant most of the time. In
short, he looked like a sensitive, kind man; which he probably was-to his
daughter. On the other hand, the BioPsych head was short, squat, built
solidly, had a dark, intimidating stare and a bushy head of black hair
accompanied by a salt-and-pepper beard, all of which gave the impression of
an intelligent, wild man.
Thav Price's dark stare had a twinkle in it now though, as he said,
"Actually, Chris, I wanted to discuss some information with you, and . . .
oh yes; your aide said to tell you that he, uh, had something he had to
take care of and that he'd be back later."
The chief was still too concerned with Randall's report, or he would have
noticed the trace of a smile on his friend's stolid face.
"Randall should never have gone on that trip, and I want to know who
authorized the override on his Rec-leave. Dammit, I think he's gone crazy.
Why the Hell can't your department warn me about these things, Thav?
Thav was setting a vid-disk on the machine, and shook his head, "We just
don't know enough about space scouts yet--there's not enough data. Not one
profile we have constructed on 'the perfect space scout' has been valid. We
have over one-hundred and fifty scouts, and none of them has enough in
common to be worth mentioning."
The chief knowingly agreed.
"By the way, Chris, you'll be interested in what we have found that they
all have in common; we don't know what to do with it yet, but it's a
The chief was immediatly interested.
"It's the great-great grandson of Jet Lag."
"The great-what of the who?" The chief was beginning to have his doubts
about Thav.
"Oh boy! You have about as much culture as a cantaloupe, you know that?
Haven't you read any history?" (Thav was beginning to underline just like
the chief--he knew he'd better be careful, or the chief would think Thav
was poking fun at him.)
"History!" The chief's contempt was obvious,"Once it's done, it's done. You
read the reports and get ready for the next project. I don't have time for
"O.K.," Thav went on, "what about the inter-stellar time shift?"
"Well what about it? That's not history, that's now." The chief thought
about his first encounter with "The Shift."
The Inter Stellar Time Shift was one of those problems that had never
occurred to anybody until inter-stellar travel was a reality. Just as, two-
hundred years ago, a person could be seriously disoriented going from one
time zone to another in those ancient jets, now, if steps weren't taken, a
person returning from inter-stellar travel could actually die from being
completely out-of-synch with everything in his solar system.
The incredible effect of the Sun and planets of a home system on the
biopsych 'clocks' had never been fully appreciated until man had gotten
completely away from their influence. When it was first discovered that the
speed of light could be surpassed with impunity, the door to interstellar
travel, and the problems of 'the shift' had been opened. All of the
physical effect associated with the speed of light which had been observed
in the early days before man achieved S1 (Stockton one, named after Niel
Stockton, the first man to 'break' the speed of light), had proven to be
false indicators. The expansions of mass, the contractions of length had
all reversed themselves (in matter of a certain mass or greater) at 92% of
the speed of light, and thereafter the effects decreased until, at Sl,
everything was normal--except of course, time.
The space scouts would be gone for five or six years, earth-time, and when
they came back, have aged only a few months. The first scout to do this,
Eiler Jansen, died within a week of his return. That was the first recorded
case of 'the shift', and it was fatal. His body's clocks could not adjust
to the gigantic shift in the planets and sun. His clocks told him that
five-and-a-half months had passed. The solar system told him otherwise.
Scientists were just now beginning, to understand the whys of the solar
system's 'clock', and how it was tied in with the human clock. Of course,
before they knew why, they could still discover methods of circumventing
the problem on an operational basis. Those methods basically consisted of
choosing people whose clocks would 'reset' themselves with little
That's when InterStel's problems began. For some reason that BioPsych
couldn't fathom, those who had the most adaptable clocks seemed to be least
qualified to be space scouts.
Not that InterStel had any trouble finding people. Oh, no, just the
reverse--they were flooded with applications. The incredibly high pay and
the idea of being famous appealed to thousands of those whose
biopsychochemistry qualified them as potential space-scouts.
It took Inter Stel's BioPsych department almost three years to cull the 150
most likely candidates from all who applied. The trouble was that they had
no standards to go by. And earth-bound scientists are notorious for their
lack of forsight. A minor detail, magnified by the time and distance
involved just in interplanetary travel, turned into a major problem. In
inter-stellar travel, the margin of allowable error was reduced by a factor
of about one million. They had to plan and choose carefully.
Out of the 150 finalists, 83 were chosen as bona-fide space-scout trainees.
There were 47 men and 36 women--and no one qualified to be an instuctor.
The only man who had ever travelled to another star-system, Eiler Jansen,
was dead.  So InterStel had to rely on Jansen's reports, BioPsych's
projections and common sense for their training.
Seven of the men and two of the women didn't make it through; their
biopsych clocks were too responsive, and the Artificial BioPsych-Rhythym
Inducer, while it provided adequate stimuli to alter the biopsych clocks on
a gradual basis, couldn't entirely screen out the effects of the other
large-mass bodies in the area. These nine 'super-sensitive' trainees were
instantly affected and the bio-clock confusion resulting from space travel
whould have been deadly to them.
Of the remaining 74 scouts, it was a toss-up as to who was best, since
nobody really knew what was best--yet.
In the first fifteen years of the program, much had happened. Thirty scouts
were known to have died on the job, seventeen were simply missing. There
was no way to send a search and rescue ship, even if it had been feasable,
as there was no way of knowing where the scout ship was. All contact was
made through the use of a transfer-type satellite, orbiting outside of the
solar system proper. The only time a scout sent a message was when he
either did or didn't find something. In either case, he had slowed down
from his travel velocity to below the speed of light, and if he were to
send a message via ordinary radio beam, and then later, speed up to travel
velocity, he would probably reach earth before his message.
A system had been devised for speeding up the message beams similar to that
used on the scout ships. Because of the mass differential, the message beam
travelled four times the speed of the ship, or about 1.892 X l0 to the 18th
cm/sec.  A scout ship, crawling along at one-quarter that speed, took a
little more than eight hours to reach Alpha-Centauri. That's where Jansen
had gone, only to find, after more than five months, that Alpha Centauri
didn't even have a planetary system.
In any event, very, very bridef communication(one-way) was possible, even
though complete reports had to wait for the scout's return, or at least the
return of his ship. The energy required for transmittal of a lengthy report
was prohibitive.
The scout him/herself did not have to be alive for his ship to return, as
BioPsych had built life-sensors into the ship's system, and if the scout
died, the ship was programmed to return home on its own. That's how
InterStel knew that thirty scouts had died in the first fifteen years.  Of
course those scouts were replaced from the steady stream of hopefuls who
applied to InterStel every year, and the ranks even grew.
Over the years, while BioPsych had not been able to draw up a satisfactory
profile for scouts, they could at least now tell what a good scout was. It
was called "The Man Who Delivers the Goods" syndrome Simply stated if it
could be more simply stated), "success succeeds.
In that category, James M. Randall was the best scout available by far. His
biopsych-clocks were beautifully adaptable, and he was smart. "Too smart,"
according to BioPsych's first analysis.  Space scouts had to have,
according to the initial data sheet: courage, daring, resourcefulness,
quick reflexes, the ability to exist alone for long periods--and not too
much in the way of intelligence.  Now that's not to say that the first
space scouts were stupid; they just weren't very bright. (that is still a
sore spot with the scouts of today, and many a fight in many a bar has been
started by reference to the intelligence, or, lack of same of members of
the scout corps)  BioPsych figured that if a scout was too smart he would
get bored.  Mostly, they were right.
But Randall was one of the major exceptions. He used the time in transit
for study, meditation and relaxation. His final reports were the most
complete and valuable that InterStel had received. Randall had discovered
some form of life on four of his sixteen trips--twice the average of the
rest of the scouts.  InterStel hoped that Randall's higher discovery rate
was merely coincidence, not an indication that the others were doing a poor
job, but, of course, they had no way of knowing.
Because Randall was so good, InterStel chose to overlook or at least
tolerate his . . . faults? He didn't like the heirarchy at InterStel, and
told them so, often; but that was fairly common among the space scouts;
then, too, he had a bad habit of finding the technician or scientist who
had, through incompetence or ovcrsight, caused him some problem on his last
trip and punching him in the mouth--several times. This presented a minor
problem, because one-half of BioPsych's staff refused to work on his ship
out of fear, and the other half was volunteering to work on it--to get
Then there were Randall's women, but even that could be handled (god, what
bodies they had!).
The real problem, the bad one, was his ITS Reports. These were the short
messages sent back from wherever the scout happened to be, and were
supposed to let the company officials know what was happening --sort of an
inter-stellar progress report.
Randall had vigorously objected to these reports, and when he was ordered
to make them, he agreed only after every possible pressure had been brought
to bear."
It hadn't done much good.
To date, no one at InterStel had been able to decipher one of Randall's
ITSR's, although when he returned with his full report, he could always
demonstrate a definite correlation between what he was trying to
communicate and the text of his ITSR.  It was reliably reported that three
of InterStell's top board members had gotten ulcers(!) by misinterpreting
Randall's messages.
There was the one that had read,
"Ozymandias: ditto. P.S. '17"
The research department had quickly discovered that Ozyrmandias was a ruler
of ancient Egypt, but no one could figure out what Randall was trying to
say. The reference to an Egyptian could mean that he had discovered an
intelligent race, like the Egyptians. And maybe not. And what was P.S. '17?
It could mean Public Shool, they used to have such things; or it could mean
'post script', meaning an afterthought, tagged on at the end of a message.
Everyone thought that at least it meant intelligent life had been
discovered. That was one of the dreams of InterStel; to discover another
intelligent species in the universe.  The whole company was on pins and
needles until Randall returned, hoping that he had made contact. The chief
could still remember Randall's wide-eyed, innocent look as he explained to
the assembled board of directors what his message meant.
Randall strode into the Board Room (he never walked, he always strode), and
began the normal debriefing. He was interrupted at once and asked if he had
discovered intelligent life.
"No, sir," he had replied, "Arcturus doesn't even have a planetary system."
"Well, then, would you please explain your ITSReport?" The director asking
the question was red-faced with anger.
"Oh, you mean, 'Ozymandias: ditto. P.S. 1817?" there was that innocent
"You're damned right, that's what I mean!" The director exploded.
"Why I thought you'd all get the message."
"God, that look of his is sickening," the chief thought.
"Isn't it obvious?" Randall continued, "In 1817, Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote
a poem called Ozymandias, and in it, he has this King say, 'My name is
Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'"
"I kcnew how badly you wanted to find planetary systems, and of course,
intelligent life, so when I found niether, I sent the message--'Ozymandias:
ditto.' That meant that what Ozymandias said, went for me, too. 'Look on my
works, ye mighty,' that's you," he gestured to the board,"'and despair.'
After I had written it I figured you might not understand, so I put in
'P.S. '17', Percy Shelley, 1817--the year that he wrote it.  Simple."
The board had never gotten to hear the rest of the report which had
accompanied that trip; they had to read it. Several board members had
jumped over their tables and physically assaualted Randall, and even though
Randall was tough, for all his fat, he was no match for six irate board
members. Security had finally dragged the members from Randall, who only
suffered a broken nose and some bruises.
The chief was snapped out of his thoughts, as Thav went on, "Well, we have
established that in the 'shift, . . . "
He was interrupted by an insistent tone.
"That's message central," said the chief, "they've got another ITS Report
from Randall." He flashed the center to transmit the message to his office.
The screen over his desk lit up, and the message appeared.
Not courageous, only quarrlesome.
Thav stole a worried glance at the chief, who had almost immediately sat
down and turned purple.
"I knew it," he was muttering, "I knew it! Randall's gone off his rocker.
The damn-blasted fool has discovered the first intelligent life in space,
and he's gone crazy.  Who overrode his goddamnned Rec-leave? That s.o.b.,
whoever he is, is going, to die.  I think I'll strap him to a shuttle
rocket tube. Damn Sedgewick!(his aide)  He was supposed to bring me that
damned report."
Thav Price said innocently, "Oh, yes, chief.  He asked me to bring is since
I was coming anyway."  The head of BioPsych indicated the disk he had just
placed in the machine.
"What's that?" The chief growled.
"That's a vid-disk."
"Dammit, I know it's a vid-disk!  Where's the report?"
"We have been video-disking all command overrides for months now, chief,
don't you remember? You gave the order."  Thav was trying not to smile.
The chief backed down just a little, "Oh, yes. Yes. I forgot." He placed
the disk into the view position, and watched as Randall's message faded
from the screen, and the image of Randall himself faded in.
"Yes, sir, I understand that this is an override," he was saying, "but you
see, I don't care. I have had the last two of my Recleaves overridden, and
I am not going anywhere before I take at least 90 days off. Period."
"You are going, and that's final!"  The chief looked startled. "This is an
official, top-priority command override!" His face crumbled, as he
recognized his own voice.
Sitting in his chair, the chief gurgled.
"You're gurgling, chief." The merriment in Thav's voice was too much.
"I'll gurgle if want to gurgle! Get the Hell out of here!" He had torn the
disk from the video and sent it smashing into the wall beside Thav's
retreating, laughing figure.
He sat alone in his office looking at the latest message, which had flashed
on the screen again.
"'Not courageous, only quarrelsome.'", he repeated to himself, over and
over as he fell into a troubled sleep, still at his desk.
Sedgewick the mousey aide woke him the next morning with breakfast, and, as
soon as he had eaten and cleaned up, the chief looked at his inter company
messages. There were requests from six of the board members for an
explanation of Randall's reports. He ignored them.
"God," he said aloud, "why can't Randall just send normal messages like
everybody else?  Why?"
"Well, sir, he doesn't feel that they accomplish anything worthwhile."
Sedgewick had spoken for the first time this morning.
"Huh? What the Hell do you know about it?" The chief fixed his aide with a
decidedly unfriendly stare.
"Oh, I talk eith Randall all the time when he's here.  Very ineresting man.
A real scholar on the history of arts and sciences." He didn't seem to
notice the chief's displeasure.
"All right, then, if you know him so well, you tell me what the Hell these
messages mean!"
"Y-yes, sir," the aide stammered, looking as mousey as he felt, "I-I think
. . ."
Beep-beep! Beep-beep!
It was message central again. The chief pressed the appropriate button,
read the message on his screen, got up and left the room. Sedgewick watched
him go, then walked around the chief's desk and read Randall's latest
Not kind, only sentimental.
The aide smiled knowingly.
Chief Lucas was sorry as soon as he stepped fromhis office into the hall.
Two of the mre objectionable board members, Nicholas Spencer, and Lee
Hargis, were waiting for him.
"Just a minute, Lucas," said Spencer as he hurried toward the tall man, "we
want to talk to you."
"Why certainly, gentlemen, what can I do for you?" He had to tell himself
to be courteous and calm.
Lee Hargis was holding some films in his hand, "We were just on our way to
see you. What the Hell are these?" He stuck out his hand holding the films.
"Well, sir, those are message films," the chief tried to mimic Randall's
innocent look.
"We know they are message films, chief," said Spencer threateningly, "They
are the message films."
"The message films?" The chief was making himself sick with his own acting.
"Dammit, Lucas, stop playing games!  You're the chief of operations, and
Randall is responsible to you.  If you can't control him . . ."  Lee Hargis
left the icy threat hanging.
"Gentlemen, you know that we have had a problem with Randall's ITS Reports,
but don't worry, I think I understand what he's trying to say." The chief
managed(somehow) to sound cheerful.
"What is he trying to say?"  Spencer put more sarcasm into the word
'trying', than the chief thought possible.
"I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I've got some message checking to do, I'm on my
way to message central right now, to. . .uh, to . . ." The chief faltered.
He really wasn't a very good liar.
"To what, chief?" Spencer and Hargis spoke in unison, and to the chief's
panic-stricken mind, it sounded like the Polar Space Acadamy Choir,
chorusing the question. He had never liked the Polar Space Acadamy Choir,
"To get a special briefing and . . .
Just then his office door opened and the aide stepped into the hall.  "Sir!
Chief!  Get down to message central right away, there's a special video
from . . ."
". . . And to get that special video." The chief continued loudly and with
much relief.
"But chief, this video is . . ."  Sedgewick was very excited.
"I know, I know.  I'm sorry, gentlemen, but I must leave."  He tried to
sound official and important, and it worked.  The two board members mumbled
something uncomplimentary under their breaths and let him go on his way.
As the chief and his aide walked down the hall, the chief turned and said,
"Now, what the Hell is this special video?"
"It's Randall, sir."
The chief stopped, staring straight ahead.  "That's not possible,
Sedgewick.  We can't get videos from anyplace further than Mars; you know
that."  His voice was unnaturally calm and high-pitched at the same time.
Almost cheerful.
His aide said, "Yes, sir. We'd better get down there, though, and see what
they've got."
As if in a dream, he followed Sedgewick down the hall to Message Central.
"I'm dreaming," Lucas thought, "That's it, I'm dreaming! Video from
Randall, ha! . . . it's just a joke--the guys in Message Central are just
having, some fun with me . . . maybe . . ."
"Here we are, sir."
He didn't want to go into Message Central, he was actually afraid. When he
did walk in, he wanted to turn around and leave.  The entire board of
directors(minus two) was there looking at a video screen with Randall's
face on it.  The chief's jaw dropped.
Randall, seeing him via the remote scanner, said, "Hello, chief, "it's
about time you got here."  He moved suddenly off the screen, and, as the
sensor-scanner automatically moved back to get him in the picture again,
the chief (and everyone else in the room) saw that they were both naked!
That is, both Randall and the blonde (god, what a body!) she-god with him--
boy, was she ever with him--and naked.
Hargis and Spencer walked in at that point; needless to say, noone noticed.
Randall laughed and sat up quickly, fending off another blonde attack.  As
the video moveed in on his face again, he said, "Listen, chief you read my
messages.  This place is Hell."
There was an unbelieving gasp from one of the older board members in the
silence that followed this remark.
"I can't take anymore."  White teeth and red lips nibbled at his earlobe.
Giggling and other sounds could be heard off-video.  "Please send a 'porter
to pick me up."  His face suddenly got a surprised look on it.  Several of
the board members were visibly agitated.  Randall's voice sounded like he
was battling for self-control--and losing.  "Scout Randall . . . uh,
signing. . . oh, ah . . . off . . ."  His voice just faded away.  The image
on the screen did not.  As a matter of fact, for some unknown reason (rumor
had it that InterStell's communications department was responsible), the
video scanner pulled back, revealing all of Randall's room.
The last view that the craning board of directors of The Inter Stellar
Exploitation Company(average age 67) had of their number one space scout
(age 28), showed that there were three other (god, what bodies!) girls in
that room with him, all naked.  And what Randall was doing to, with, and by
those girls . . . well, it was enough to secure him a permanent place in
InterStel's (unofficial) Living Legends Annals.
As the picture faded from the screen, everyone was shouting at once--all at
the chief.  He thought painfully of the Polar Space Acadaniy for the second
time that day.  Finally, the president and chairman of the board, Nathan
Stockton Quinn, got everyone quieted down.
Quinn was tall, dignified and seemed to be the only member of top
management with any sense of humor.  His grey eyes were twinkling now, as
his old face tried to look grave.
"Chief Lucas, please give us a report. Scout Randall is obviously in good--
er, ah--hands, but what is going on?  We've read his messages, and we just
don't understand.  Please explain."  The old man was almost kindly
"Explain.  Uh, yes, sir. I certainly can explain."  The chief was sizing up
his audience for their gullibility quotient, when a voice, one of the board
members, said,
"He wants a transporter to pick him up.  Where is he?"
"His location.  Yes sir.  Where he is." The chief was in trouble.
"Let me explain."  It was Sedgewick.
Now.chief of operations Lucas was many things, but one of them was not
stupid. He knew how to react in an emergency.  This was an emergency.
"My aide, Sedgewick, will give the report." He tried not to make it a
The young aide stood in front of the board, cleared his throat and began.
"Gentlemen, Scout Randall is not in space, he is here on Earth. In the city
of Seville, New Spain, as a matter of fact." He waited for the noise to die
down and continued, the chief and I have known this all along; and of
course, the chief thought that you would have figured it out, or we
certainly would have sent a memo, and avoided this misunderstanding."
The chief tried to look as if he understood and agreed--it wasn't easy.
"You gentlemen have already seen the 'heavenly bodies" he was referring to
in his first message.  You see, before Randall went on his next assignmentg
the chief ordered him to take a few days Rec-leave. Randall was just
keeping in touch, just keeping his department posted."  Looking at the
chief, Sedgewick noticed with relief that the glazed look was slowly
leaving his eyes.  "Anyway, he's decided to come back early.  He simply
isn't satisfied with the people there."
"He's not?" It was an older board member whose wistful voice was heard."
"No, he's not.  He said so in his messages:  Not intelligent, only
opinionated; not courageous, only quarrelsome, not kind, only sentimental.
These are all lines from a play called Don Juan in Hell, by one of the old
period masters, George Bernard Shaw.  And when Randall said that "this plac
is Hell," he'was referring to another line in the play, 'Hell is a city
much like Seville.'  And that gentlemen, is all there is to it."
Spencer stood up and looked at the chief, "YOU ordered him to take a Rec-
leave?  I don't believe it!"  The chief was not known for volunteering
company money for Rec-leave.
The chief didn't beieve it either.  Sedgewick had been piling it on a
little too thick there.  Just then, another voice, deeper, and commanding,
came from behind him.
"Of course he ordered it.  Chief Lucas is a fine administrator and an
excellent judge of human potential."  It was Thav Price.  The chief thought
he saw a halo around Thav's head at that moment, but later reflection told
him no.
With the words of the head of BioPsych, the subject was closed.  The board
members filed out, thinking good thoughts about their chief of operations.
And the next day, a 'bottle of Earth's finest, aged, genuine, honest-to-
god-not-artificial brandy(an almost unobtainable luxury) was on the
BioPsych head's desk. And an obscure aide named Sedgedick was promoted to
the position of Departmental Head, Operation's Personnel Interface, a newly
created department, with a five-fold raise in pay.
And Randall? Well, that's another story.