"What? That's impossible. Just from those small tips?"
"Small tips, but day after day; year after year. Add up some time what you've given and multiply by the number who've been doing it."
"Then that's behind our economic troubles. A currency shortage. Can we take it away from them?"
"Of course not. Besides being unethical, it would turn them against us. They wouldn't understand."
"Then we'll abolish tipping."
"Too late. What we need is an ethical way of getting back that currency."
A new member spoke: "I understand that on Earth these slaves were often addicted to alcohol, gambling and various alkaloids. Perhaps we could introduce these items, under government control, of course--"
He stopped. Eight pair of eyes were blazing at him.
"You're new here," the chairman said. "If you ever make another suggestion like that--"
They pondered. The chairman fingered some papers.
"Here's a suggestion. The slaves have been petitioning for the right to own land. It seems to be the only thing they'll spend their money for."
"We could limit the holdings."
"And have the land subject to condemnation by the government at a fair price."
The chairman called for order. "Let's argue this out. Remember the slaves will need time to work their land. Since their work day is down to nine hours, we'll have to arrange something."
Jean had been complaining about the lumps in the mattress. When Laurent took them out, there was enough in galactic currency to buy a piece of land in his name and hers, plus a plot for each of the children, and a new mattress as well. Sam was suspicious.
"They're out to get what little we've been able to save, Laurent. They can take the land anytime--for what they call a fair price. Fair! Fine chance they'll be fair about it."
But Laurent kept the land and was even able to buy a piece for each grandchild, although they arrived faster and faster as his own large family grew up and married. One day Jean called him to a new house at the edge of the widely expanded center to see the latest arrival.
Laurent poked a finger at the squalling creature. "So I'm another grandpa. Which one this?"
"This time you're a great-grandpa, Frenchy. This is Laurent 4th."
"You mean we gettin' that old? By damn! Well, I'm buy him a piece of land, too. So much new building, this land be worth plenty when he grows up."
The 512th amendment permitted slaves to retire at 65. Laurent was a leading real estate dealer by that time. He had twenty-three children and more grandchildren than he could count. The center was grown to a city, its main street running through what had been his first farm. Sometimes Laurent relaxed in his rocking chair and needled Sam.
"By gar, Sam, if you not the oldest-looking man of fifty-five I ever see. I think you a hundred years old when you retire. When you havin' that revolution?"
"The day will come if we keep after the young ones. But damn it, Laurent, it's hard to talk any sense into them. Some of them can't even understand me."
"Well, they all talk galactic, Sam. My grandson, he call himself Loran Kotay. But these young people, they have to live their own lives. Hey, look at old Jarth Rolan up there, washing his windows. Old guy should retire, Sam. I'm goin' see a couple of my boys give him a hand."
But Jarth Rolan died before he could afford to retire and was replaced by his only grandson, Jarro Kogar. Laurent and Jean passed on shortly after, leaving nearly four hundred descendants.
Jarro Kogar was a newly married galactic in his early thirties. He moved into the mansion and talked things over with his wife.
"Don't see how we can afford a child right now. Wouldn't be fair to the child. Things will improve in a few years."
"Of course," she said. "We're young--we'll have time to start our family. If we wait, we'll be able to give them more."
They held similar conversations later and one day realized it was too late. Jarro Kogar died in his sixties. His widow directed the center for several more years. The slaves liked her and took good care of her. She left them the estate when she died.
Loran Krotalu protested to the authorities that the slaves didn't want the estate. But the group heads ruled it legal under amendment 1,486, especially since no relatives could be located.
Loran left the center and moved to another city where he found a galactic couple who wanted a slave. He and his family served the galactic couple for many years. This couple, like Jarro Kogar and his wife, were childless and when they both died, Loran and his wife were very grieved.
After the funeral, Loran went into the city. He returned hours later, tired and depressed.
"It's no use," he told his wife. "There's not an unattached galactic in the area. We might get a few hours work a week with one, but we can't have one to ourselves."
"But, Loran, everybody in our set works for a galactic!"
"I know," he said miserably. "But it's no use. There must be fifty slaves for every galactic. I've taken a job at the spaceship factory. It's the best I can do."
Membership on the highest group council had become a killing job. Chief problem was the revision of the slave code, which had 3,697 articles. After trying for years to simplify the code, the council members called in Loran Krovalo to fill a vacancy and take over the job.
Loran was known and liked by galactic and slave alike for his brilliant essays on the master-slave relationship. While he was on the council, the Cerberan affair broke out. The Cerberans, an intelligent saurian race from a globular cluster, exploded into the Galaxy in vast numbers. Military action became necessary.
"We can handle them," Loran told the council. "Our factories are mobilized and we have any number of spacemen. We have robot instruments for fighting that are better than anything they have. We can carry the war to their home planets."
Some of the galactics objected.
"But the use of robots is forbidden. We can't fight the Cerberans with robot-controlled weapons."
"Don't worry, sir," Loran said kindly. "We slaves will take care of it. Our form of religion doesn't prohibit robots unless they are in the shape of a man. We think of real robots as being human in shape."
One of the galactics rose.
"I know you're right, but my conscience won't let me vote for robots in any form. Therefore I am resigning from the council."
A second rose, then a third and fourth. They looked at each other, and one spoke for the group.
"We are also resigning. I suggest that four slaves be appointed in our places for the duration of the war. Then they will have a majority and no galactic need violate his conscience by voting for the use of robots."
The Cerberans were crushed, but the infested area was huge and the invasion of the globular cluster took time. The war emergency lasted fifty years. When it was over, the slaves called on the galactics to take back control of the government.
But the widespread use of robot mechanisms in the war had caused a reaction among the galactics. Their consciences simmered and a wave of orthodoxy swept over their race. There was difficulty in persuading galactics to leave their home planets to sit on the council, because faster-than-light ships used robot controls.
The slaves scoured the planet that housed the council and kept two or three seats filled with galactics for a while. But they were generally old, and they died, and most of them were unmarried or childless.
Loran Crotay, twelfth-generation slave, sat in his home chatting with a friend from far-off Pornalu VI. Being in the space-shipping business, he had many friends throughout the Galaxy.
His wife answered the door and a pink humanoid shuffled in, mumbling greetings, and went into the other room. He was middle-aged, studious and bespectacled, and he wore a wig. Loran's friend watched him curiously.
"Haven't seen one of them in years, Loran. We have a reservation for the poor devils on my planet. Don't reproduce very fast, you know, and they may become extinct. Too bad--they're so likable. Always so ethical and conscientious."
"I know." Loran nodded. "We let poor Vendro make a few dopolins tutoring our son. He's very intelligent and a good teacher. I like to help them all I can--the only ethical thing to do. I wouldn't feel like a slave if I didn't give poor Vendro a break."
"That's true," said his friend. "A slave wouldn't feel right, being a member of the dominant race of the Galaxy, if he didn't help the less fortunate."
By Charles Fontenay
It was a race between the tortoise and the hare. But this hare was using some dirty tricks to make sure the ending would be different....
The two spaceship crews were friendly enemies, sitting across the table from each other for their last meal before blastoff. Outside the ports, the sky was nothing but light-streaked blackness, punctured periodically by Earth glare, for Space Station 2 whirled swiftly on its axis, creating an artificial gravity.
"Jonner, I figured you the last man ever to desert the rockets for a hot-rod tow-job," chided Russo Baat, captain of the Mars Corporation's gleaming new freighter, Marsward XVIII. Baat was fat and red-faced, and one of the shrewdest space captains in the business.
Jonner Jons, at the other end of the table, inclined his grizzled head and smiled.
"Times change, Russo," he answered quietly. "Even the Mars Corporation can't stop that."
"Is it true that you're pulling five thousand tons of cargo, Captain?" asked one of the crewmen of the Marsward XVIII.
"Something like that," agreed Jonner, and his smile broadened. "And I have only about twice the fuel supply you carry for a 100-ton payload."
The communicator above them squawked and blared: "Captain Jons and Captain Baat of Martian competition run, please report to control for final briefing."
"I knew it!" grumbled Baat, getting heavily and reluctantly to his feet. "I haven't gotten to finish a meal on this blasted merry-go-round yet."
In the space station's control section, Commander Ortega of the Space Control Commission, an ascetic officer in plain blues, looked them up and down severely.
"As you know, gentlemen," he said, "blastoff time is 0600. Tonnage of cargo, fuel and empty vessels cannot be a factor, under the law. The Mars Corporation will retain its exclusive franchise to the Earth-Mars run, unless the ship sponsored by the Atom-Star Company returns to Earth with full cargo at least twenty hours ahead of the ship sponsored by the Mars Corporation. Cargo must be unloaded at Mars and new cargo taken on. I do not consider the twenty-hour bias in favor of the Mars Corporation a fair one," said Ortega severely, turning his gaze to Baat, "but the Space Control Commission does not make the laws. It enforces them. Docking and loading facilities will be available to both of you on an equal basis at Phobos and Marsport. Good luck."
He shook hands with both of them.
"Saturn, I'm glad to get out of there!" exclaimed Baat, mopping his brow as they left the control section. "Every time I take a step, I feel like I'm falling on my face."
"It's because the control section's so close to the center," replied Jonner. "The station's spinning to maintain artificial gravity, and your feet are away from the center. As long as you're standing upright, the pull is straight up and down to you, but actually your feet are moving faster than your head, in a larger orbit. When you try to move, as in normal gravity, your body swings out of that line of pull and you nearly fall. The best corrective, I've found, is to lean backward slightly when you start to walk."
As the two space captains walked back toward the wardroom together, Baat said: "Jonner, I hear the Mars Corporation offered you the Marsward XVIII for this run first, and you turned them down. Why? You piloted the Marsward V and the Wayward Lady for Marscorp when those upstarts in the Argentine were trying to crack the Earth-Mars run. This Atom-Star couldn't have enough money to buy you away from Marscorp."
"No, Marscorp offered me more," said Jonner, soberly now. "But this atomic drive is the future of space travel, Russo. Marscorp has it, but they're sitting on it because they've got their fingers in hydrazine interests here, and the atom drive will make hydrazine useless for space fuel. Unless I can break the franchise for Atom-Star, it may be a hundred years before we switch to the atom drive in space."
"What the hell difference does that make to you?" asked Baat bluntly.
"Hydrazine's expensive," replied Jonner. "Reaction mass isn't, and you use less of it. I was born on Mars, Russo. Mars is my home, and I want to see my people get the supplies they need from Earth at a reasonable transport cost, not pay through the nose for every packet of vegetable seed."
They reached the wardroom door.
"Too bad I have to degrav my old chief," said Baat, chuckling. "But I'm a rocket man, myself, and I say to hell with your hot-rod atom drive. I'm sorry you got deflected into this run, Jonner; you'll never break Marscorp's orbit."
The Marsward XVIII was a huge vessel, the biggest the Mars Corporation ever had put into space. It was a collection of spheres and cylinders, joined together by a network of steel ties. Nearly 90% of its weight was fuel, for the one-way trip to Mars.
Its competitor, the Radiant Hope, riding ten miles away in orbit around the Earth, was the strangest looking vessel ever to get clearance from a space station. It looked like a tug towing a barge. The tug was the atomic power plant. Two miles behind, attached by a thin cable, was the passenger compartment and cargo.
On the control deck of the Radiant Hope, Jonner gripped a microphone and shouted profane instructions at the pilot of a squat ground-to-space rocket twenty miles away. T'an Li Cho, the ship's engineer, was peering out the port at the speck of light toward which Jonner was directing his wrath, while Qoqol, the Martian astrogator, worked at his charts on the other side of the deck.
"I thought all cargo was aboard, Jonner," said T'an.
"It is," said Jonner, laying the mike aside. "That G-boat isn't hauling cargo. It's going with us. I'm not taking any chances on Marscorp refusing to ferry our cargo back and forth at Mars."
"Is plotted, Jonner," boomed Qoqol, turning his head to peer at them with huge eyes through the spidery tangle of his thin, double-jointed arms and legs. He reached an eight-foot arm across the deck and handed Jonner his figures. Jonner gave them to T'an.
"Figure out power for that one, T'an," ordered Jonner, and took his seat in the cushioned control chair.
T'an pulled a slide rule from his tunic pocket, but his black almond eyes rested quizzically on Jonner.
"It's four hours before blastoff," he reminded.
"I've cleared power for this with Space Control," replied Jonner. "That planet-loving G-boat jockey missed orbit. We'll have to swing out a little and go to him."
On a conventional space craft, the order for acceleration would have sent the engineer to the engine deck to watch his gauges and report by intercom. But the Radiant Hope's "engine deck" was the atomic tug two miles ahead, which T'an, in heavy armor, would enter only in emergencies. He calculated for a moment, then called softly to Jonner: "Pile One, in ten."