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Produced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at CULTURAL EXCHANGE BY KEITH LAUMER It was a simple student exchange—but Retief gave them more of an education than they expected! [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from Worlds of If Science Fiction, September 1962. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.] I Second Secretary Magnan took his green-lined cape and orange-feathered beret from the clothes tree. "I'm off now, Retief," he said. "I hope you'll manage the administrative routine during my absence without any unfortunate incidents." "That seems a modest enough hope," Retief said. "I'll try to live up to it." "I don't appreciate frivolity with reference to this Division," Magnan said testily. "When I first came here, the Manpower Utilization Directorate, Division of Libraries and Education was a shambles. I fancy I've made MUDDLE what it is today. Frankly, I question the wisdom of placing you in charge of such a sensitive desk, even for two weeks. But remember. Yours is purely a rubber-stamp function." "In that case, let's leave it to Miss Furkle. I'll take a couple of weeks off myself. With her poundage, she could bring plenty of pressure to bear." "I assume you jest, Retief," Magnan said sadly. "I should expect even you to appreciate that Bogan participation in the Exchange Program may be the first step toward sublimation of their aggressions into more cultivated channels." "I see they're sending two thousand students to d'Land," Retief said, glancing at the Memo for Record. "That's a sizable sublimation." Magnan nodded. "The Bogans have launched no less than four military campaigns in the last two decades. They're known as the Hoodlums of the Nicodemean Cluster. Now, perhaps, we shall see them breaking that precedent and entering into the cultural life of the Galaxy." "Breaking and entering," Retief said. "You may have something there. But I'm wondering what they'll study on d'Land. That's an industrial world of the poor but honest variety." "Academic details are the affair of the students and their professors," Magnan said. "Our function is merely to bring them together. See that you don't antagonize the Bogan representative. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to practice your diplomatic restraint—not your strong point, I'm sure you'll agree." A buzzer sounded. Retief punched a button. "What is it, Miss Furkle?" "That—bucolic person from Lovenbroy is here again." On the small desk screen, Miss Furkle's meaty features were compressed in disapproval. "This fellow's a confounded pest. I'll leave him to you, Retief," Magnan said. "Tell him something. Get rid of him. And remember: here at Corps HQ, all eyes are upon you." "If I'd thought of that, I'd have worn my other suit," Retief said. Magnan snorted and passed from view. Retief punched Miss Furkle's button. "Send the bucolic person in." A tall broad man with bronze skin and gray hair, wearing tight trousers of heavy cloth, a loose shirt open at the neck and a short jacket, stepped into the room. He had a bundle under his arm. He paused at sight of Retief, looked him over momentarily, then advanced and held out his hand. Retief took it. For a moment the two big men stood, face to face. The newcomer's jaw muscles knotted. Then he winced. Retief dropped his hand and motioned to a chair. "That's nice knuckle work, mister," the stranger said, massaging his hand. "First time anybody ever did that to me. My fault though. I started it, I guess." He grinned and sat down. "What can I do for you?" Retief said. "You work for this Culture bunch, do you? Funny. I thought they were all ribbon-counter boys. Never mind. I'm Hank Arapoulous. I'm a farmer. What I wanted to see you about was—" He shifted in his chair. "Well, out on Lovenbroy we've got a serious problem. The wine crop is just about ready. We start picking in another two, three months. Now I don't know if you're familiar with the Bacchus vines we grow...?" "No," Retief said. "Have a cigar?" He pushed a box across the desk. Arapoulous took one. "Bacchus vines are an unusual crop," he said, puffing the cigar alight. "Only mature every twelve years. In between, the vines don't need a lot of attention, so our time's mostly our own. We like to farm, though. Spend a lot of time developing new forms. Apples the size of a melon—and sweet—" "Sounds very pleasant," Retief said. "Where does the Libraries and Education Division come in?" Arapoulous leaned forward. "We go in pretty heavy for the arts. Folks can't spend all their time hybridizing plants. We've turned all the land area we've got into parks and farms. Course, we left some sizable forest areas for hunting and such. Lovenbroy's a nice place, Mr. Retief." "It sounds like it, Mr. Arapoulous. Just what—" "Call me Hank. We've got long seasons back home. Five of 'em. Our year's about eighteen Terry months. Cold as hell in winter; eccentric orbit, you know. Blue-black sky, stars visible all day. We do mostly painting and sculpture in the winter. Then Spring; still plenty cold. Lots of skiing, bob-sledding, ice skating; and it's the season for woodworkers. Our furniture—" "I've seen some of your furniture," Retief said. "Beautiful work." Arapoulous nodded. "All local timbers too. Lots of metals in our soil and those sulphates give the woods some color, I'll tell you. Then comes the Monsoon. Rain—it comes down in sheets. But the sun's getting closer. Shines all the time. Ever seen it pouring rain in the sunshine? That's the music-writing season. Then summer. Summer's hot. We stay inside in the daytime and have beach parties all night. Lots of beach on Lovenbroy; we're mostly islands. That's the drama and symphony time. The theatres are set up on the sand, or anchored off-shore. You have the music and the surf and the bonfires and stars—we're close to the center of a globular cluster, you know...." "You say it's time now for the wine crop?" "That's right. Autumn's our harvest season. Most years we have just the ordinary crops. Fruit, grain, that kind of thing; getting it in doesn't take long. We spend most of the time on architecture, getting new places ready for the winter or remodeling the older ones. We spend a lot of time in our houses. We like to have them comfortable. But this year's different. This is Wine Year." Arapoulous puffed on his cigar, looked worriedly at Retief. "Our wine crop is our big money crop," he said. "We make enough to keep us going. But this year...." "The crop isn't panning out?" "Oh, the crop's fine. One of the best I can remember. Course, I'm only twenty-eight; I can't remember but two other harvests. The problem's not the crop." "Have you lost your markets? That sounds like a matter for the Commercial—" "Lost our markets? Mister, nobody that ever tasted our wines ever settled for anything else!" "It sounds like I've been missing something," said Retief. "I'll have to try them some time." Arapoulous put his bundle on the desk, pulled off the wrappings. "No time like the present," he said. Retief looked at the two squat bottles, one green, one amber, both dusty, with faded labels, and blackened corks secured by wire. "Drinking on duty is frowned on in the Corps, Mr. Arapoulous," he said. "This isn't drinking . It's just wine." Arapoulous pulled the wire retainer loose, thumbed the cork. It rose slowly, then popped in the air. Arapoulous caught it. Aromatic fumes wafted from the bottle. "Besides, my feelings would be hurt if you didn't join me." He winked. Retief took two thin-walled glasses from a table beside the desk. "Come to think of it, we also have to be careful about violating quaint native customs." Arapoulous filled the glasses. Retief picked one up, sniffed the deep rust-colored fluid, tasted it, then took a healthy swallow. He looked at Arapoulous thoughtfully. "Hmmm. It tastes like salted pecans, with an undercurrent of crusted port." "Don't try to describe it, Mr. Retief," Arapoulous said. He took a mouthful of wine, swished it around his teeth, swallowed. "It's Bacchus wine, that's all. Nothing like it in the Galaxy." He pushed the second bottle toward Retief. "The custom back home is to alternate red wine and black." Retief put aside his cigar, pulled the wires loose, nudged the cork, caught it as it popped up. "Bad luck if you miss the cork," Arapoulous said, nodding. "You probably never heard about the trouble we had on Lovenbroy a few years back?" "Can't say that I did, Hank." Retief poured the black wine into two fresh glasses. "Here's to the harvest." "We've got plenty of minerals on Lovenbroy," Arapoulous said, swallowing wine. "But we don't plan to wreck the landscape mining 'em. We like to farm. About ten years back some neighbors of ours landed a force. They figured they knew better what to do with our minerals than we did. Wanted to strip-mine, smelt ore. We convinced 'em otherwise. But it took a year, and we lost a lot of men." "That's too bad," Retief said. "I'd say this one tastes more like roast beef and popcorn over a Riesling base." "It put us in a bad spot," Arapoulous went on. "We had to borrow money from a world called Croanie. Mortgaged our crops. Had to start exporting art work too. Plenty of buyers, but it's not the same when you're doing it for strangers." "Say, this business of alternating drinks is the real McCoy," Retief said. "What's the problem? Croanie about to foreclose?" "Well, the loan's due. The wine crop would put us in the clear. But we need harvest hands. Picking Bacchus grapes isn't a job you can turn over to machinery—and anyway we wouldn't if we could. Vintage season is the high point of living on Lovenbroy. Everybody joins in. First, there's the picking in the fields. Miles and miles of vineyards covering the mountain sides, and crowding the river banks, with gardens here and there. Big vines, eight feet high, loaded with fruit, and deep grass growing between. The wine-carriers keep on the run, bringing wine to the pickers. There's prizes for the biggest day's output, bets on who can fill the most baskets in an hour.... The sun's high and bright, and it's just cool enough to give you plenty of energy. Come nightfall, the tables are set up in the garden plots, and the feast is laid on: roast turkeys, beef, hams, all kinds of fowl. Big salads. Plenty of fruit. Fresh-baked bread ... and wine, plenty of wine. The cooking's done by a different crew each night in each garden, and there's prizes for the best crews. "Then the wine-making. We still tramp out the vintage. That's mostly for the young folks but anybody's welcome. That's when things start to get loosened up. Matter of fact, pretty near half our young-uns are born after a vintage. All bets are off then. It keeps a fellow on his toes though. Ever tried to hold onto a gal wearing nothing but a layer of grape juice?" "Never did," Retief said. "You say most of the children are born after a vintage. That would make them only twelve years old by the time—" "Oh, that's Lovenbroy years; they'd be eighteen, Terry reckoning." "I was thinking you looked a little mature for twenty-eight," Retief said. "Forty-two, Terry years," Arapoulous said. "But this year it looks bad. We've got a bumper crop—and we're short-handed. If we don't get a big vintage, Croanie steps in. Lord knows what they'll do to the land. Then next vintage time, with them holding half our grape acreage—" "You hocked the vineyards?" "Yep. Pretty dumb, huh? But we figured twelve years was a long time." "On the whole," Retief said, "I think I prefer the black. But the red is hard to beat...." "What we figured was, maybe you Culture boys could help us out. A loan to see us through the vintage, enough to hire extra hands. Then we'd repay it in sculpture, painting, furniture—" "Sorry, Hank. All we do here is work out itineraries for traveling side-shows, that kind of thing. Now, if you needed a troop of Groaci nose-flute players—" "Can they pick grapes?" "Nope. Anyway, they can't stand the daylight. Have you talked this over with the Labor Office?" "Sure did. They said they'd fix us up with all the electronics specialists and computer programmers we wanted—but no field hands. Said it was what they classified as menial drudgery; you'd have thought I was trying to buy slaves." The buzzer sounded. Miss Furkle's features appeared on the desk screen. "You're due at the Intergroup Council in five minutes," she said. "Then afterwards, there are the Bogan students to meet." "Thanks." Retief finished his glass, stood. "I have to run, Hank," he said. "Let me think this over. Maybe I can come up with something. Check with me day after tomorrow. And you'd better leave the bottles here. Cultural exhibits, you know." II As the council meeting broke up, Retief caught the eye of a colleague across the table. "Mr. Whaffle, you mentioned a shipment going to a place called Croanie. What are they getting?" Whaffle blinked. "You're the fellow who's filling in for Magnan, over at MUDDLE," he said. "Properly speaking, equipment grants are the sole concern of the Motorized Equipment Depot, Division of Loans and Exchanges." He pursed his lips. "However, I suppose there's no harm in telling you. They'll be receiving heavy mining equipment." "Drill rigs, that sort of thing?" "Strip mining gear." Whaffle took a slip of paper from a breast pocket, blinked at it. "Bolo Model WV/1 tractors, to be specific. Why is MUDDLE interested in MEDDLE's activities?" "Forgive my curiosity, Mr. Whaffle. It's just that Croanie cropped up earlier today. It seems she holds a mortgage on some vineyards over on—" "That's not MEDDLE's affair, sir," Whaffle cut in. "I have sufficient problems as Chief of MEDDLE without probing into MUDDLE'S business." "Speaking of tractors," another man put in, "we over at the Special Committee for Rehabilitation and Overhaul of Under-developed Nations' General Economies have been trying for months to get a request for mining equipment for d'Land through MEDDLE—" "SCROUNGE was late on the scene," Whaffle said. "First come, first served. That's our policy at MEDDLE. Good day, gentlemen." He strode off, briefcase under his arm. "That's the trouble with peaceful worlds," the SCROUNGE committeeman said. "Boge is a troublemaker, so every agency in the Corps is out to pacify her. While my chance to make a record—that is, assist peace-loving d'Land—comes to naught." He shook his head. "What kind of university do they have on d'Land?" asked Retief. "We're sending them two thousand exchange students. It must be quite an institution." "University? D'Land has one under-endowed technical college." "Will all the exchange students be studying at the Technical College?" "Two thousand students? Hah! Two hundred students would overtax the facilities of the college." "I wonder if the Bogans know that?" "The Bogans? Why, most of d'Land's difficulties are due to the unwise trade agreement she entered into with Boge. Two thousand students indeed!" He snorted and walked away. Retief stopped by the office to pick up a short cape, then rode the elevator to the roof of the 230-story Corps HQ building and hailed a cab to the port. The Bogan students had arrived early. Retief saw them lined up on the ramp waiting to go through customs. It would be half an hour before they were cleared through. He turned into the bar and ordered a beer. A tall young fellow on the next stool raised his glass. "Happy days," he said. "And nights to match." "You said it." He gulped half his beer. "My name's Karsh. Mr. Karsh. Yep, Mr. Karsh. Boy, this is a drag, sitting around this place waiting...." "You meeting somebody?" "Yeah. Bunch of babies. Kids. How they expect—Never mind. Have one on me." "Thanks. You a Scoutmaster?" "I'll tell you what I am. I'm a cradle-robber. You know—" he turned to Retief—"not one of those kids is over eighteen." He hiccupped. "Students, you know. Never saw a student with a beard, did you?" "Lots of times. You're meeting the students, are you?" The young fellow blinked at Retief. "Oh, you know about it, huh?" "I represent MUDDLE." Karsh finished his beer, ordered another. "I came on ahead. Sort of an advance guard for the kids. I trained 'em myself. Treated it like a game, but they can handle a CSU. Don't know how they'll act under pressure. If I had my old platoon—" He looked at his beer glass, pushed it back. "Had enough," he said. "So long, friend. Or are you coming along?" Retief nodded. "Might as well." At the exit to the Customs enclosure, Retief watched as the first of the Bogan students came through, caught sight of Karsh and snapped to attention, his chest out. "Drop that, mister," Karsh snapped. "Is that any way for a student to act?" The youth, a round-faced lad with broad shoulders, grinned. "Heck, no," he said. "Say, uh, Mr. Karsh, are we gonna get to go to town? We fellas were thinking—" "You were, hah? You act like a bunch of school kids! I mean ... no! Now line up!" "We have quarters ready for the students," Retief said. "If you'd like to bring them around to the west side, I have a couple of copters laid on." "Thanks," said Karsh. "They'll stay here until take-off time. Can't have the little dears wandering around loose. Might get ideas about going over the hill." He hiccupped. "I mean they might play hookey." "We've scheduled your re-embarkation for noon tomorrow. That's a long wait. MUDDLE's arranged theater tickets and a dinner." "Sorry," Karsh said. "As soon as the baggage gets here, we're off." He hiccupped again. "Can't travel without our baggage, y'know." "Suit yourself," Retief said. "Where's the baggage now?" "Coming in aboard a Croanie lighter." "Maybe you'd like to arrange for a meal for the students here." "Sure," Karsh said. "That's a good idea. Why don't you join us?" Karsh winked. "And bring a few beers." "Not this time," Retief said. He watched the students, still emerging from Customs. "They seem to be all boys," he commented. "No female students?" "Maybe later," Karsh said. "You know, after we see how the first bunch is received." Back at the MUDDLE office, Retief buzzed Miss Furkle. "Do you know the name of the institution these Bogan students are bound for?" "Why, the University at d'Land, of course." "Would that be the Technical College?" Miss Furkle's mouth puckered. "I'm sure I've never pried into these details." "Where does doing your job stop and prying begin, Miss Furkle?" Retief said. "Personally, I'm curious as to just what it is these students are travelling so far to study—at Corps expense." "Mr. Magnan never—" "For the present. Miss Furkle, Mr. Magnan is vacationing. That leaves me with the question of two thousand young male students headed for a world with no classrooms for them ... a world in need of tractors. But the tractors are on their way to Croanie, a world under obligation to Boge. And Croanie holds a mortgage on the best grape acreage on Lovenbroy." "Well!" Miss Furkle snapped, small eyes glaring under unplucked brows. "I hope you're not questioning Mr. Magnan's wisdom!" "About Mr. Magnan's wisdom there can be no question," Retief said. "But never mind. I'd like you to look up an item for me. How many tractors will Croanie be getting under the MEDDLE program?" "Why, that's entirely MEDDLE business," Miss Furkle said. "Mr. Magnan always—" "I'm sure he did. Let me know about the tractors as soon as you can." Miss Furkle sniffed and disappeared from the screen. Retief left the office, descended forty-one stories, followed a corridor to the Corps Library. In the stacks he thumbed through catalogues, pored over indices. "Can I help you?" someone chirped. A tiny librarian stood at his elbow. "Thank you, ma'am," Retief said. "I'm looking for information on a mining rig. A Bolo model WV tractor." "You won't find it in the industrial section," the librarian said. "Come along." Retief followed her along the stacks to a well-lit section lettered ARMAMENTS. She took a tape from the shelf, plugged it into the viewer, flipped through and stopped at a squat armored vehicle. "That's the model WV," she said. "It's what is known as a continental siege unit. It carries four men, with a half-megaton/second firepower." "There must be an error somewhere," Retief said. "The Bolo model I want is a tractor. Model WV M-1—" "Oh, the modification was the addition of a bulldozer blade for demolition work. That must be what confused you." "Probably—among other things. Thank you." Miss Furkle was waiting at the office. "I have the information you wanted," she said. "I've had it for over ten minutes. I was under the impression you needed it urgently, and I went to great lengths—" "Sure," Retief said. "Shoot. How many tractors?" "Five hundred." "Are you sure?" Miss Furkle's chins quivered. "Well! If you feel I'm incompetent—" "Just questioning the possibility of a mistake, Miss Furkle. Five hundred tractors is a lot of equipment." "Was there anything further?" Miss Furkle inquired frigidly. "I sincerely hope not," Retief said. III Leaning back in Magnan's padded chair with power swivel and hip-u-matic concontour, Retief leafed through a folder labelled "CERP 7-602-Ba; CROANIE (general)." He paused at a page headed Industry. Still reading, he opened the desk drawer, took out the two bottles of Bacchus wine and two glasses. He poured an inch of wine into each and sipped the black wine meditatively. It would be a pity, he reflected, if anything should interfere with the production of such vintages.... Half an hour later he laid the folder aside, keyed the phone and put through a call to the Croanie Legation. He asked for the Commercial Attache. "Retief here, Corps HQ," he said airily. "About the MEDDLE shipment, the tractors. I'm wondering if there's been a slip up. My records show we're shipping five hundred units...." "That's correct. Five hundred." Retief waited. "Ah ... are you there, Retief?" "I'm still here. And I'm still wondering about the five hundred tractors." "It's perfectly in order. I thought it was all settled. Mr. Whaffle—" "One unit would require a good-sized plant to handle its output," Retief said. "Now Croanie subsists on her fisheries. She has perhaps half a dozen pint-sized processing plants. Maybe, in a bind, they could handle the ore ten WV's could scrape up ... if Croanie had any ore. It doesn't. By the way, isn't a WV a poor choice as a mining outfit? I should think—" "See here, Retief! Why all this interest in a few surplus tractors? And in any event, what business is it of yours how we plan to use the equipment? That's an internal affair of my government. Mr. Whaffle—" "I'm not Mr. Whaffle. What are you going to do with the other four hundred and ninety tractors?" "I understood the grant was to be with no strings attached!" "I know it's bad manners to ask questions. It's an old diplomatic tradition that any time you can get anybody to accept anything as a gift, you've scored points in the game. But if Croanie has some scheme cooking—" "Nothing like that, Retief. It's a mere business transaction." "What kind of business do you do with a Bolo WV? With or without a blade attached, it's what's known as a continental siege unit." "Great Heavens, Retief! Don't jump to conclusions! Would you have us branded as warmongers? Frankly—is this a closed line?" "Certainly. You may speak freely." "The tractors are for transshipment. We've gotten ourselves into a difficult situation, balance-of-payments-wise. This is an accommodation to a group with which we have rather strong business ties." "I understand you hold a mortgage on the best land on Lovenbroy," Retief said. "Any connection?" "Why ... ah ... no. Of course not, ha ha." "Who gets the tractors eventually?" "Retief, this is unwarranted interference!" "Who gets them?" "They happen to be going to Lovenbroy. But I scarcely see—" "And who's the friend you're helping out with an unauthorized transshipment of grant material?" "Why ... ah ... I've been working with a Mr. Gulver, a Bogan representative." "And when will they be shipped?" "Why, they went out a week ago. They'll be half way there by now. But look here, Retief, this isn't what you're thinking!" "How do you know what I'm thinking? I don't know myself." Retief rang off, buzzed the secretary. "Miss Furkle, I'd like to be notified immediately of any new applications that might come in from the Bogan Consulate for placement of students." "Well, it happens, by coincidence, that I have an application here now. Mr. Gulver of the Consulate brought it in." "Is Mr. Gulver in the office? I'd like to see him." "I'll ask him if he has time." "Great. Thanks." It was half a minute before a thick-necked red-faced man in a tight hat walked in. He wore an old-fashioned suit, a drab shirt, shiny shoes with round toes and an ill-tempered expression. "What is it you wish?" he barked. "I understood in my discussions with the other ... ah ... civilian there'd be no further need for these irritating conferences." "I've just learned you're placing more students abroad, Mr. Gulver. How many this time?" "Two thousand." "And where will they be going?" "Croanie. It's all in the application form I've handed in. Your job is to provide transportation." "Will there be any other students embarking this season?" "Why ... perhaps. That's Boge's business." Gulver looked at Retief with pursed lips. "As a matter of fact, we had in mind dispatching another two thousand to Featherweight." "Another under-populated world—and in the same cluster, I believe," Retief said. "Your people must be unusually interested in that region of space." "If that's all you wanted to know, I'll be on my way. I have matters of importance to see to." After Gulver left, Retief called Miss Furkle in. "I'd like to have a break-out of all the student movements that have been planned under the present program," he said. "And see if you can get a summary of what MEDDLE has been shipping lately." Miss Furkle compressed her lips. "If Mr. Magnan were here, I'm sure he wouldn't dream of interfering in the work of other departments. I ... overheard your conversation with the gentleman from the Croanie Legation—" "The lists, Miss Furkle." "I'm not accustomed," Miss Furkle said, "to intruding in matters outside our interest cluster." "That's worse than listening in on phone conversations, eh? But never mind. I need the information, Miss Furkle." "Loyalty to my Chief—" "Loyalty to your pay-check should send you scuttling for the material I've asked for," Retief said. "I'm taking full responsibility. Now scat." The buzzer sounded. Retief flipped a key. "MUDDLE, Retief speaking...." Arapoulous's brown face appeared on the desk screen. "How-do, Retief. Okay if I come up?" "Sure, Hank. I want to talk to you." In the office, Arapoulous took a chair. "Sorry if I'm rushing you, Retief," he said. "But have you got anything for me?" Retief waved at the wine bottles. "What do you know about Croanie?" "Croanie? Not much of a place. Mostly ocean. All right if you like fish, I guess. We import our seafood from there. Nice prawns in monsoon time. Over a foot long." "You on good terms with them?" "Sure, I guess so. Course, they're pretty thick with Boge." "So?" "Didn't I tell you? Boge was the bunch that tried to take us over here a dozen years back. They'd've made it too, if they hadn't had a lot of bad luck. Their armor went in the drink, and without armor they're easy game." Miss Furkle buzzed. "I have your lists," she said shortly. "Bring them in, please." The secretary placed the papers on the desk. Arapoulous caught her eye and grinned. She sniffed and marched from the room. "What that gal needs is a slippery time in the grape mash," Arapoulous observed. Retief thumbed through the papers, pausing to read from time to time. He finished and looked at Arapoulous. "How many men do you need for the harvest, Hank?" Retief inquired. Arapoulous sniffed his wine glass and looked thoughtful. "A hundred would help," he said. "A thousand would be better. Cheers." "What would you say to two thousand?" "Two thousand? Retief, you're not fooling?" "I hope not." He picked up the phone, called the Port Authority, asked for the dispatch clerk. "Hello, Jim. Say, I have a favor to ask of you. You know that contingent of Bogan students. They're traveling aboard the two CDT transports. I'm interested in the baggage that goes with the students. Has it arrived yet? Okay, I'll wait." Jim came back to the phone. "Yeah, Retief, it's here. Just arrived. But there's a funny thing. It's not consigned to d'Land. It's ticketed clear through to Lovenbroy." "Listen, Jim," Retief said. "I want you to go over to the warehouse and take a look at that baggage for me." Retief waited while the dispatch clerk carried out the errand. The level in the two bottles had gone down an inch when Jim returned to the phone. "Hey, I took a look at that baggage, Retief. Something funny going on. Guns. 2mm needlers, Mark XII hand blasters, power pistols—" "It's okay, Jim. Nothing to worry about. Just a mix-up. Now, Jim, I'm going to ask you to do something more for me. I'm covering for a friend. It seems he slipped up. I wouldn't want word to get out, you understand. I'll send along a written change order in the morning that will cover you officially. Meanwhile, here's what I want you to do...." Retief gave instructions, then rang off and turned to Arapoulous. "As soon as I get off a couple of TWX's, I think we'd better get down to the port, Hank. I think I'd like to see the students off personally." IV Karsh met Retief as he entered the Departures enclosure at the port. "What's going on here?" he demanded. "There's some funny business with my baggage consignment. They won't let me see it! I've got a feeling it's not being loaded." "You'd better hurry, Mr. Karsh," Retief said. "You're scheduled to blast off in less than an hour. Are the students all loaded?" "Yes, blast you! What about my baggage? Those vessels aren't moving without it!" "No need to get so upset about a few toothbrushes, is there, Mr. Karsh?" Retief said blandly. "Still, if you're worried—" He turned to Arapoulous. "Hank, why don't you walk Mr. Karsh over to the warehouse and ... ah ... take care of him?" "I know just how to handle it," Arapoulous said. The dispatch clerk came up to Retief. "I caught the tractor equipment," he said. "Funny kind of mistake, but it's okay now. They're being off-loaded at d'Land. I talked to the traffic controller there. He said they weren't looking for any students." "The labels got switched, Jim. The students go where the baggage was consigned. Too bad about the mistake, but the Armaments Office will have a man along in a little while to dispose of the guns. Keep an eye out for the luggage. No telling where it's gotten to." "Here!" a hoarse voice yelled. Retief turned. A disheveled figure in a tight hat was crossing the enclosure, arms waving. "Hi there, Mr. Gulver," Retief called. "How's Boge's business coming along?" "Piracy!" Gulver blurted as he came up to Retief, puffing hard. "You've got a hand in this, I don't doubt! Where's that Magnan fellow?" "What seems to be the problem?" Retief said. "Hold those transports! I've just been notified that the baggage shipment has been impounded. I'll remind you, that shipment enjoys diplomatic free entry!" "Who told you it was impounded?" "Never mind! I have my sources!" Two tall men buttoned into gray tunics came up. "Are you Mr. Retief of CDT?" one said. "That's right." "What about my baggage!" Gulver cut in. "And I'm warning you, if those ships lift without—" "These gentlemen are from the Armaments Control Commission," Retief said. "Would you like to come along and claim your baggage, Mr. Gulver?" "From where? I—" Gulver turned two shades redder about the ears. "Armaments?" "The only shipment I've held up seems to be somebody's arsenal," Retief said. "Now if you claim this is your baggage...." "Why, impossible," Gulver said in a strained voice. "Armaments? Ridiculous. There's been an error...." At the baggage warehouse Gulver looked glumly at the opened cases of guns. "No, of course not," he said dully. "Not my baggage. Not my baggage at all." Arapoulous appeared, supporting the stumbling figure of Mr. Karsh. "What—what's this?" Gulver spluttered. "Karsh? What's happened?" "He had a little fall. He'll be okay," Arapoulous said. "You'd better help him to the ship," Retief said. "It's ready to lift. We wouldn't want him to miss it." "Leave him to me!" Gulver snapped, his eyes slashing at Karsh. "I'll see he's dealt with." "I couldn't think of it," Retief said. "He's a guest of the Corps, you know. We'll see him safely aboard." Gulver turned, signaled frantically. Three heavy-set men in identical drab suits detached themselves from the wall, crossed to the group. "Take this man," Gulver snapped, indicating Karsh, who looked at him dazedly, reached up to rub his head. "We take our hospitality seriously," Retief said. "We'll see him aboard the vessel." Gulver opened his mouth. "I know you feel bad about finding guns instead of school books in your luggage," Retief said, looking Gulver in the eye. "You'll be busy straightening out the details of the mix-up. You'll want to avoid further complications." "Ah. Ulp. Yes," Gulver said. He appeared unhappy. Arapoulous went on to the passenger conveyor, turned to wave. "Your man—he's going too?" Gulver blurted. "He's not our man, properly speaking," Retief said. "He lives on Lovenbroy." "Lovenbroy?" Gulver choked. "But ... the ... I...." "I know you said the students were bound for d'Land," Retief said. "But I guess that was just another aspect of the general confusion. The course plugged into the navigators was to Lovenbroy. You'll be glad to know they're still headed there—even without the baggage." "Perhaps," Gulver said grimly, "perhaps they'll manage without it." "By the way," Retief said. "There was another funny mix-up. There were some tractors—for industrial use, you'll recall. I believe you co-operated with Croanie in arranging the grant through MEDDLE. They were erroneously consigned to Lovenbroy, a purely agricultural world. I saved you some embarrassment, I trust, Mr. Gulver, by arranging to have them off-loaded at d'Land." "D'Land! You've put the CSU's in the hands of Boge's bitterest enemies!" "But they're only tractors, Mr. Gulver. Peaceful devices. Isn't that correct?" "That's ... correct." Gulver sagged. Then he snapped erect. "Hold the ships!" he yelled. "I'm canceling the student exchange—" His voice was drowned by the rumble as the first of the monster transports rose from the launch pit, followed a moment later by the second, Retief watched them out of sight, then turned to Gulver. "They're off," he said. "Let's hope they get a liberal education." V Retief lay on his back in deep grass by a stream, eating grapes. A tall figure appeared on the knoll above him and waved. "Retief!" Hank Arapoulous bounded down the slope and embraced Retief, slapping him on the back. "I heard you were here—and I've got news for you. You won the final day's picking competition. Over two hundred bushels! That's a record!" "Let's get on over to the garden. Sounds like the celebration's about to start." In the flower-crowded park among the stripped vines, Retief and Arapoulous made their way to a laden table under the lanterns. A tall girl dressed in loose white, and with long golden hair, came up to Arapoulous. "Delinda, this is Retief—today's winner. And he's also the fellow that got those workers for us." Delinda smiled at Retief. "I've heard about you, Mr. Retief. We weren't sure about the boys at first. Two thousand Bogans, and all confused about their baggage that went astray. But they seemed to like the picking." She smiled again. "That's not all. Our gals liked the boys," Hank said. "Even Bogans aren't so bad, minus their irons. A lot of 'em will be staying on. But how come you didn't tell me you were coming, Retief? I'd have laid on some kind of big welcome." "I liked the welcome I got. And I didn't have much notice. Mr. Magnan was a little upset when he got back. It seems I exceeded my authority." Arapoulous laughed. "I had a feeling you were wheeling pretty free, Retief. I hope you didn't get into any trouble over it." "No trouble," Retief said. "A few people were a little unhappy with me. It seems I'm not ready for important assignments at Departmental level. I was shipped off here to the boondocks to get a little more experience." "Delinda, look after Retief," said Arapoulous. "I'll see you later. I've got to see to the wine judging." He disappeared in the crowd. "Congratulations on winning the day," said Delinda. "I noticed you at work. You were wonderful. I'm glad you're going to have the prize." "Thanks. I noticed you too, flitting around in that white nightie of yours. But why weren't you picking grapes with the rest of us?" "I had a special assignment." "Too bad. You should have had a chance at the prize." Delinda took Retief's hand. "I wouldn't have anyway," she said. "I'm the prize."
[ { "question_text": "What is the plot of the story?", "question_number": 1, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "18c9c61e7ecc4132b9ef185ffceda36f", "response_text": "Second Secretary Magnan will be away from the Manpower Utilization Directorate, Division of Libraries and Education (MUDDLE) for two weeks, leaving Retief in charge. Magnan reminds Retief that his role is to act as a rubber stamp, continuing Magnan’s actions. Magnan points out that Retief should appreciate that Bogan is participating in the Exchange Program. Its participation might be a step toward sublimating their aggression into more cultivated channels. The Bogans are sending two thousand students to d’Land as exchange students, and Magnan thinks this might end their aggression and bring them into the cultural life of the Galaxy. Retief wonders aloud what the students will study in such a poor, industrial land. Magnan points out that this is none of Retief’s concern and that his role is simply to facilitate bringing the two groups together. When Miss Furkle, the secretary, buzzes Magnan that the bucolic person from Lovenbroy is there again, Magnan pushes the meeting off onto Retief.\n\nThe person from Lovenbroy is named Hank Arapoulous. He is a farmer and tells Retief that the Bacchus vines that they use to make their wine mature every twelve years and that this year is a harvest year, but they are short on workers to harvest the grapes. They have a shortage of workers for the harvest due to their conflict over strip mining and the loss of several of their young men in the battles to prevent it. Also, Lovenbroy had to borrow money from Croanie, and the loan was due. The wine crop will put them in the clear if they can harvest it. The biggest concern is what Croanie will do with the land if they can’t pay the loan; Lovenbroy has offered half its grape acreage as security for the loan it received. Hank asks Retief for a loan, but Retief tells him that MEDDLE’s role is only for transportation. Hank says he also checked with the Labor Office, but it only offered to set them up with machinery. \n\nRetief attends a council meeting and learns that Croanie will receive a shipment of strip mining equipment. A spokesman for the Special Committee for Rehabilitation and Overhaul of Under-developed Nations’ General Economies (SCROUNGE) indicates he has been trying to get mining equipment for d’Land. He tells Retief that Boge is a troublemaker, so all the agencies in the Corps are trying to appease her. Upon further discussion, Retief learns that d’Land doesn’t have a university for the exchange students to attend, just a technical college that would be overwhelmed to receive 200, much less 2,000, students. \n\nRetief also learns that all the exchange students are males, and their “luggage” is full of weapons. He diverts their luggage and sends the exchange students to Lovenbroy, where they help harvest the grapes. Retief is also sent to Lovenbroy for exceeding his authority. Hank tells Retief that he has won the prize for the picking competition. The prize is a girl named Delinda.\n\n" }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "5eecd525b99b4c098873d1b84d8594ef", "response_text": "Retief is left in charge of his division while his superior, Magnan, is out of the office. After a farmer from the planet Lovenbroy tries to enlist his help with a labor shortage, Retief realizes a complex plot has been set into motion by the government of the planet Boge. The Bogans are sending two-thousand students to the planet D’Land, except there’s no school to accommodate them there and they’re not actually students but soldiers. They’ve also arranged to have weapons and war vehicles shipped under the guise of student baggage and tractors. Boge is using the financial leverage they have with the planet Croanie to get them to help with these shipments, and to ultimately allow the Bogans to take over Lovenbroy (a planet in debt to Lovenbroy that Boge has tried and failed to conquer in the past), D’Land, and potentially another planet. After Retief uncovers how all of these plans and planets are connected, he moves to disrupt them. He reroutes the “students” to Lovenbroy to help with their grape harvest and allow them to get out of their debt to Croanie, and the war machines to D’Land where they’ll be out of Bogan hands. The end of the story finds Retief on Lovenbroy, where he has been sent because his superiors aren’t happy that he meddled with the Bogan situation. Retief doesn’t seem to mind his exile to Lovenbroy at all, as he has just won the grape harvest competition and met the beautiful woman who claims to be his prize. \n" }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "89f91bacbaa542399d95ad7cd50f72ef", "response_text": "\tAfter Second Secretary Magnan took his temporary leave of the Manpower Utilization Directorate, Division of Libraries and Education (AKA MUDDLE), Retief, his subordinate, is put in charge. Retief’s first order of business is dealing with Hank Arapoulous who came to MUDDLE to ask for some help harvesting the Bacchus grapes. He shares that they are indebted to Croanie, who loaned them funds after a failed invasion from the Bogans. Arapoulous is worried that the Croanie’s will be able to come in and harvest the grapes (as well as take the land) for themselves if they can’t pay the debt since they hold the mortgage on some of the acreage. After sharing some wine (alternating between red and black), Retief agrees to try and see if he can send some helping hands to Lovenbroy, Arapoulous’ home planet. \n\tRetief soon discovers that MEDDLE, another division at the Manpower Utilization Director, has authorized a shipment of 500 tractors that will be sent to Croanie. Retief questions Mr. Whaffle about it, and he explains that they are in need of heavy mining equipment. However, Croanie is mostly made up of fisheries, so there’s nothing to mine there. Retief questions other shipments as well, including the authorized transport of 2,000 Bogan students to d’Land. He discovers that there is only one technical college on d’Land and that it would be overwhelmed with just 200 transfer students. As well, Boge and d’Land have a very tense relationship; such a trade would be very rare. Sensing something fishy, Retief continues his search. \n\tOn his way to greet the incoming students, Retief stops at a bar and meets their teacher, Mr. Karsh. He describes training them as if they were in the military, not as if they were students. They leave together to meet the students. Retief arranged for a variety of fun events for the students, but Mr. Karsh shuts it all down. He simply wants to know when their luggage, flying in on a Croanie ship, will get in and when they will leave. \n\tQuickly, their plot falls apart as Retief researches these tractors and discovers they are machines built for war. After interrogating Mr. Whaffle about the shipment, he discovers that the tractors are going to Lovenbroy. He speaks to Mr. Gulver, a Bogan representative, who reveals that he just submitted an application for transportation for another 2,000 students. Retief then discovers the student’s luggage was bound for Lovenbroy and filled with army-grade weaponry. Putting it all together, Retief sends the students to Lovenbroy without their weapons, hands Mr. Karsh off to Arapoulous for a frank talking to, and sends the tractors to d’Land. The plan now thwarted, the students help harvest the Bacchus grapes. \n\tRetief was sent to Lovenbroy as punishment. He joins the harvest and ends up picking the most grapes of them all. His prize is a beautiful blonde woman. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "ce65bca558e94733a2a713d042040902", "response_text": "Corps HQ is a diplomatic entity that houses a number of intergalactic departments, including the Manpower Utilization Directorate, Division of Libraries and Education (MUDDLE), which employs the story’s protagonist, Retief. Retief reports to Second Secretary Magnan, who is taking some time off and asks Retief to manage affairs in his absence. He reminds Retief of a group of students from the planet Boge who will be traveling to the planet d’Land as part of an Exchange Program. Magnan’s hope is this program will help the warring Bogans better assimilate into the Galaxy’s culture. While he is gone, Retief meets with a man named Hank Arapoulous, who represents a planet called Lovenbroy, known for its plentiful grape harvests. Over wine, Hank requests labor to harvest the crop essential to their livelihood on Lovenbroy, and Retief learns of their connection to a planet called Croanie. Several years ago, the farmers of Lovenbroy had to defend their mineral resources against their neighbors, and they lost a lot of money and men in the process. Therefore, they had to borrow money from Croanie, and Hank is afraid they won’t be able to pay their debt on time without enough hands to harvest their grape crop. In addition, in their desperation, the farmers of Lovenbroy pawned the mortgage of their vineyards to Croanie thinking the twelve-year crop rotation would buy them enough time to pay back their debts. Retief says he will try to find a solution to his problem, and he sets about to attend the Intergroup Council and meet with the Bogan students set to depart for d’Land. At the Council meeting, he learns Croanie is set to receive a shipment of mining equipment from the Corps, and the school on d’Land set to receive the 2,000 Bogan students could hardly accommodate 200. At a bar later, Retief meets a man named Karsh, who drunkenly reveals he is training the students for something other than studying. At the library later, Retief learns that the tractors being sent to Croanie are not mining equipment, but are heavily armored with firepower. When Retief questions why so many tractors are being sent to a planet without the capacity to process them, he learns the excess will be sent to Boge. Retief deduces the entire situation is a Bogan plot to send troops to d’Land and have Croanie provide the military equipment sourced from Corps grants. Instead, Retief has representatives from Armaments confiscate the students’ luggage (which are actually filled with guns) and sends the “students” to Lovenbroy instead, where they help the farmers harvest their grape crop. Later, on Lovenbroy, Retief wins the grape-picking competition and celebrates with a local woman named Delinda, his prize for winning." } ] }, { "question_text": "Who are the Bogans, and what happens to their plan?", "question_number": 2, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "18c9c61e7ecc4132b9ef185ffceda36f", "response_text": "The Bogans are people who have a history of aggression within the Nicodemean Cluster. In the last twenty years, they have launched four military campaigns against other Galaxy members; because of this, they are known as the Hoodlums of the Nicodemean Cluster. They have agreed to send 2,000 of their students to participate in the Exchange Program in d’Land that the Manpower Utilization Directorate, Division of Libraries and Education is facilitating. This agreement is a curiosity to Retief because d’Land is a poor, industrial society, so he wonders what the Bogans will study there. His superior, Second Secretary Magnan, tells him that is none of his business and to be sure not to antagonize the Bogan representative. According to the Special Committee for Rehabilitation and Overhaul of Underdeveloped Nations’ General Economies (SCROUNGE) committeeman, every agency in the Corps is trying to appease Boge since Boge is a well-known troublemaker. He also informs Retief that d’Land has no universities, just an under-endowed technical college that could not handle 200, much less 2,000, exchange students. He also tells Retief that most of d’Land’s problems result from an unwise trade agreement that it made with Boge.\n\n Retief meets Karsh, a Scoutmaster who trained the Bogan students; he made it like a game but says they know how to handle a CSU. As the Bogan students come through Customs and see Mr. Karsh, they snap to attention. Mr. Karsh refuses to let the students leave the airport. Retief notices that all the exchange students are males, and Karsh tells him they wanted to see how the first group of students was received before sending any females. Retief realizes that Bogan students are headed to a place that has no classrooms for the students. In the meantime, the tractors are being sent to Croanie, a world under obligation to Boge, and Croanie holds the mortgage to the best vineyards in Lovenbroy. Retief looks up the tractors that are being sent to Croanie and discovers they are armored vehicles with a half-megaton per second firepower. Retief learns that these continental siege units are ultimately being sent to Lovenbroy, which is rich in minerals, on behalf of Boge. Retief also learns that Boge has an application to send another 2,000 students to Croanie and is considering sending 2,000 more to Featherweight. Retief learns that Boge tried to take over Lovenbroy several years earlier and would have succeeded if not for bad luck. Retief calls a friend who works in transport and learns that the Bogan students’ luggage is all being sent to Lovenbroy, and when he looked in the luggage, it was all weapons. Retief diverts the luggage and sends the students on to Lovenbroy to help with the grape harvest for the vineyards. He impounds the luggage full of weapons.\n\n" }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "5eecd525b99b4c098873d1b84d8594ef", "response_text": "The Bogans are the people from the planet Boge. According to Retief’s superior, they are known as the “hoodlums” of the nearby universe and have launched multiple military campaigns in the recent past. Despite this, no one seems to suspect the Bogans when they claim to be participating in a “cultural exchange”. They plan to send “students” who are really intended to be soldiers and guns to D’Land, a planet that loves peace but isn’t on good terms with Boge. Another planet, Croanie, has fallen into debt to Boge and is facilitating a transshipment of “tractors” that are actually devices only useful for war or mining, making it seem like they might also be looking to take over Lovenbroy (which they tried, unsuccessfully, to do in the past, as well as another small nearby planet referenced in the story, Featherweight. Their plans are thwarted by Retief when he figures out what they are up to and reroutes the weaponry to D’Land and the students to Lovenbroy. \n" }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "89f91bacbaa542399d95ad7cd50f72ef", "response_text": "\tThe Bogans are the people of Boge, a planet that lies in the same cluster as Lovenbroy and Croanie. The Bogans attempted to invade Lovenbroy ten years back, and, though they managed to fight for one year, they were eventually defeated. Their goal was to mine the land for the rich minerals that lay below the surface. \n\tAfter scheming with Croanie (who loaned money and resources to Lovenbroy post-war), the Bogans were able to develop a plan to finally invade Lovenbroy successfully. By using grants and a ploy of educating 2,000 of their students, the Bogans were almost able to ship 2,000 male soldiers to Lovenbroy with an array of weaponry in their duffel bags. The Bogans lied and said that they were sending these “students” to d’Land to study there at the university. As well, Croanie aided them in acquiring 500 death tractors. These Bolo WV M-1s are incredibly dangerous tanks that can travel extremely fast and are outfitted with a bulldozer blade. Thanks to this added blade, they were able to market them as simply tractors, not the weapons of war they truly are. The tractors were on their way to Lovenbroy when Retief caught wind of their plan and stopped their shipment. He sent them to d’Land instead, an enemy of the Bogans. \n\tRetief further destroyed their plan by sending the trained boys to Lovenbroy without their weaponry. He sent them to this beautiful planet so they could help Arapoulous in harvesting the Bacchus grapes. Fully thwarted and upset, Mr. Gulver, the Bogan representative, admits defeat and somehow escapes any true diplomatic punishment. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "ce65bca558e94733a2a713d042040902", "response_text": "The Bogans are a warring people from the planet Boge who have started four wars in the past twenty years throughout the galaxy. Because of their warlike tendencies, the Corps bends over backward to work with them to restore diplomacy to the galaxy. Boge has a trade agreement with the small, underpopulated planet of d’Land, which they use to their advantage in hatching their plan to overtake them. They also have a hold over the planet of Croanie, which controls the vineyard mortgages on the planet of Lovenbroy. The Bogan representative, Mr. Gulver, manipulates the incompetent functions of the Corps to procure grants for 500 armored tractors to be sent to Croanie, which cannot process that amount. The plan is to send the excess to Boge. In addition, he has worked out an agreement with Second Secretary Magnan to send 2,000 students to d’Land’s technical college, which cannot accommodate that many students. Retief discovers that the students’ luggage contains guns, and so he puts all the pieces together and discovers the Bogans’ plan to overtake d’Land rather than sublimate themselves. Retief sends the students to Lovenbroy to help harvest the grapes, and the guns are confiscated by representatives from the Armaments department." } ] }, { "question_text": "Who is Hank Arapoulous, and what does he do in the story?", "question_number": 3, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "18c9c61e7ecc4132b9ef185ffceda36f", "response_text": "Hank Arapoulousis is first described as a “bucolic person from Lovenbroy.” He is a farmer, tall with bronze skin and gray hair, who comes to MUDDLE’s office to discuss the harvest problems in Lovenbroy. They grow Bacchus vines, which only mature once every twelve years. This year is a harvest year, but they don’t have enough people to harvest the grapes. Arapoulousis explains to Retief that a few years ago, Boge landed a force on Lovenbroy to try to mine their minerals by strip-mining. Lovenbroy fought back for a year but lost a lot of its men. This created financial problems, so Lovenbroy borrowed money from Croanie, mortgaging its crops. The loan is due, and the wine crop will cover the loan amount, but they don’t have enough people to harvest the grapes. He is worried that if they don’t have a great harvest, Croanie will come in and start mining. Also, if they default on the loan, Croanie will hold half of the grape acreage that they used to secure the loan. Arapoulousis has also asked for help from the Labor Office, but they only offered to send them machinery, and machines cannot harvest the grapes. He returns to see Retief the following day to find out if Retief has discovered a way to help. When Mr. Karsh makes a scene about the missing luggage for the exchange students, Retief has Arapoulousis take Karsh away and “take care of him.” When they return, Karsh is stumbling and needs support to stand up. Arapoulousis explains that Karsh fell. \nRetief sends the exchange students to Lovenbroy with Arapoulousis to help with the harvest. As the harvest is winding down, Arapoulousis tells Retief that Retief has won the award for the picking competition. Arapoulousis is also the person who judges the wine contest.\n" }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "5eecd525b99b4c098873d1b84d8594ef", "response_text": "Hank Arapolous is a farmer from the planet Lovenbroy, who beseeches Retief to send laborers to help with their grape harvest. He is described as tall and broad with gray hair and tanned skin, and he says he is 28 in Lovenbroy years, or 42 in terrestrial years. He is friendly, honest, and informal, though he is worried throughout most of the story about his people and his planet. He asks Retief for help getting labor to assist with Lovenbroy’s grape harvest so they don’t default on their debt to another planet, Croanie. He also informs Retief about Lovenbroy’s relationships and history with other planets, which helps Retief put the pieces together regarding what the Bogans are trying to do. He assists Retief with his plans and introduces him to Lovenbroy wine. \n" }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "89f91bacbaa542399d95ad7cd50f72ef", "response_text": "Hank Arapoulous is a farmer from Lovenbroy. He tends to the land and is very invested in the arts and architecture part of his culture as well. Although he hybridizes fruit as well for his job (apples the size of melons!), his love for his home planet comes first. He is a very stocky and sturdy man, around Retief’s height. He is middle-aged, in his early 40s in Terrestrial years but only 28 in Lovenbroy years. He’s a silver fox with gray hair and tan skin. \n\tArapoulous arrives at MUDDLE in need of help and assistance. The Bacchus wine, which he cultivates, has two varieties, red and black. The crop is only harvested every 12 years, but this year they have a shortage of harvesters. He asks Retief to send over some pickers since the other departments had already turned him down. \n\tArapoulous plays a very important role in this story as he introduces Retief to the diplomatic relations between Lovenbroy, Croanie, and the Borge. After explaining that the Lovenbroy are in debt to the Croanie (who came to their aid after a one-year war with the Boge), Retief soon realizes that a great plot is at hand. When all is discovered and Retief manages to thwart the Borge takeover of Lovenbroy, Arapoulous helps him interrogate and punish Karsh, the militaristic leader of the Borge boys. \n\tVictorious and proud, Arapoulous returns to Lovenbroy with 2,000 mighty helping hands. The Borge boys who were trained to take over Lovenbroy are now being used to harvest its mighty crop. Arapoulous is thrilled at the turn of events, especially since only hoped for 100 men, and is even more excited when he learns that Retief might be staying on Lovenbroy for a while. With his home safe from prying eyes and greedy hands, Arapoulous ends the story on a high note. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "ce65bca558e94733a2a713d042040902", "response_text": "Hank Arapoulous is a representative from the planet Lovenbroy. He is a farmer who is very passionate about the Bacchus vines they grow. These vines produce a crop on a twelve-year rotation, and he comes to Retief seeking labor to help harvest the crop. Without the labor, they will not be able to pay back their debt to Croanie, the planet that owns the mortgage on Lovenbroy’s vineyards. Hank tells Retief he is 28 years old, but later he learns Hank is closer to 42 because of the variation in the Terry years they use to track time on his planet. Hank is gregarious and passionate about the wine they produce, and he shares the red and black variations with Retief, who enjoys both. Retief agrees to help Hank, and during his inquiries, he discovers the Bogan plot to incite military action against d’Land. Later, Hank helps Retief in bamboozling the Bogan representative, Mr. Gulver, by joining Karsh and the students on the ship bound for Lovenbroy. After Retief returns to Lovenbroy and wins the grape-picking competition, Hank rewards him with a visit from a local woman named Delinda." } ] }, { "question_text": "What is Lovenbroy, and why is it important?", "question_number": 4, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "18c9c61e7ecc4132b9ef185ffceda36f", "response_text": "Lovenbroy is one of the members of the Nicodemean Cluster and part of the cultural life of the Galaxy. Lovenbroy is known for its exquisite wines produced from the Bacchus vines, which only mature once every twelve years. Lovenbroy is important for the Galaxy culture because, during the time when it is not raising and harvesting grapes and other crops, it makes important cultural contributions. They have created parks and farms and left sizable forests for hunting. They offer skiing, bob-sledding, and ice skating in the spring while it is still cold. They also create fine furniture, sculpture, and art. During the summer, they offer beach parties, drama, and symphonies. The land is full of minerals, which led Boge to land a force to strip-mine some of the resources. Lovenbroy fought back, but it took a year, and it lost many men. This has left Lovenbroy short-handed for this year’s grape harvest. It also took a financial toll on Lovenbroy, and it had to borrow money from Croanie, mortgage its crops, and export its artwork. The loan is due during the harvest year, and without enough men to pick the grapes, Croanie will come in and take over half the vineyard land and mine it. Croanie is under obligation to Boge, and Boge is behind the scheme of sending “exchange students” supposedly to d’Land but really to Lovenbroy to take its minerals. " }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "5eecd525b99b4c098873d1b84d8594ef", "response_text": "Lovenbroy is a small planet that depends on its grape crop and winemaking to sustain its economy. It is important to the story because a man from Lovenbroy asks Retief for help getting labor to harvest their grapes so they can pay their debts to Croanie. This interaction leads Retief to further investigate a series of events that has been set into motion wherein soldiers, weapons, and drilling equipment are being transported in disguise. In trying to right the wrongs that he discovers, Retief is also able to send two-thousand men to help with the harvest. Lovenbroy is also significant because it is where Retief is sent as punishment for his actions, though he doesn’t seem to mind being stationed on the agreeable planet. \n" }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "89f91bacbaa542399d95ad7cd50f72ef", "response_text": "Lovenbroy is a beautiful, lush, and rich planet mostly made up of islands. It is the only place where Bacchus grapes can be grown, and its resources are highly coveted. Lovenbroy has five seasons throughout one Lovenbroy year (which is six months longer than a Terrestrial year). Their winters are long and harsh, with little to no sunlight all day long. This forced indoor time led to a very artistic culture springing up. Many spend the winters painting and sculpting. This necessary indoor time has made the Lovenbroy very keen on architecture. Spring is also pretty cold, but warm and light enough to woodwork and play a few sports. Then comes the season of music, where it rains all day but the sun constantly shines. The summer is incredibly hot, which forces people indoors again during the day, but able to play come the evening! Then it’s autumn, which is harvest time for all crops, including the Bacchus grapes every 12 years. \n\tLovenbroy has many rich resources, most likely thanks to its mostly untouched landscape and erratic seasons. The land is ingrained with many minerals that have, so far, remained un-mined. Thanks to these minerals and metals in the soil, the trees (and then harvested timber) that are produced are colored differently. \n\tLovenbroy, being the home of so many invaluable resources, is fought for. A decade before the story began, Lovenbroy was invaded by the Boge who wanted to mine for minerals. After one year of war, the Lovenbroy managed to defeat the Boge, but it left them with a crippled economy and a depleted workforce. Croanie stepped in to help and gave them several loans. However, 10 years later, Lovenbroy is still in debt to Croanie. Harvesting the Bacchus grapes will give them enough revenue to pay off their loans, but they need more harvesters. \n\tLovenbroy is the main source of conflict in this story. Croanie and Boge work together to try and take over Lovenbroy and deplete the land of its resources. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "ce65bca558e94733a2a713d042040902", "response_text": "Lovenbroy is a planet known for its vast vineyards of Bacchus vines used to produce delicious red and black wines. The vineyards cover mountains, stretch along riversides, and snake through beautiful gardens. Fertile grass springs up throughout the vineyards, and every twelve years, the entire population comes together to celebrate the crop and harvest the fruit together. Lovenbroy also has a rich source of minerals use to enrich their wine, and a few years ago one of their neighbors came to fight for control of these minerals. Lovenbroy ultimately won the battle, but they lost a lot of money and men in the fight, and they had to turn to the planet Croanie for financial assistance. Ultimately, they sold control of the mortgage on their vineyards to Croanie as well, thinking the twelve-year gap between harvests would be enough time to repay the debt. They were wrong, and they send a representative—Hank Arapoulous—to Corps HQ to seek additional labor to help pick the new harvest in time. This visit to Retief’s office kickstarts the chain of events that lead to Retief’s discovery of the Bogan plan to take military action against d’Land." } ] }, { "question_text": "What is Croanie, and why is it important in the story?", "question_number": 5, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "18c9c61e7ecc4132b9ef185ffceda36f", "response_text": "Croanie is a member of the Nicodemean Cluster of the Galaxy and is an associate of Boge, a member known to be a troublemaker. They tried to steal minerals from Lovenbroy earlier by attacking them. Croanie is under obligation to Boge. Croanie is the world that gave Lovenbroy a loan when it needed money to help tide it over until its next grape harvest. Croanie gave Lovenbroy a mortgage on its crops and holds a security interest in half of the grape acreage that it will acquire if Lovenbroy cannot meet the loan payment that is coming due. This is the reason that Hank Arapoulous goes to MEDDLE and asks for help obtaining workers to go to Lovenbroy and harvest the crop. It also turns out that Croanie is involved in Boge’s efforts to attack Lovenbroy and gain access to its minerals. Mr. Whaffle reveals to Retief that Croanie is set to receive a shipment of heavy mining equipment, but Croanie is best known for its oceans and fishing and has no ore. In addition, when the Bogan exchange students arrive without their luggage, Mr. Karsh says their luggage is coming from Croanie. When their luggage does arrive, it is full of weapons. The “tractors” that are being shipped to Croanie are really armored vehicles that are continental siege units that carry four men and have a half-megaton/second firepower. Mr. Whaffle reveals that the tractors are for transshipment and that Croanie is in a difficult situation, balance-of-payments-wise, with Boge. There is also an application for 2,000 more “exchange students” to be sent to Croanie.\n" }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "5eecd525b99b4c098873d1b84d8594ef", "response_text": "Croanie is a planet that consists mostly of fisheries and is known for their seafood. They loaned another planet, Lovenbroy, some money when they were struggling, and the people of Croanie have also found themselves in debt to Boge, a nearby planet known as a local bully. Because of this, Croanie finds itself deeply entwined in Boge’s web of interplanetary plots by transshipping siege units and/or mining equipment and letting Boge take advantage of their mortgage on Lovenbroy’s best land. \n" }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "89f91bacbaa542399d95ad7cd50f72ef", "response_text": "Croanie is another planet that neighbors Lovenbroy and Boge. It is the home of many fisheries and seamen. Croanie has developed an alliance with the Bogans, who attempted to invade Lovenbroy ten years ago. When they failed, the Croanie swooped in and offered loans and assistance to the depleted and wounded Lovenbroy. \n\tLater on down the line, Croanie and the Bogans hatched a plot to take over Lovenbroy and mine their resources. The Croanie use grants and diplomatic immunity to acquire 500 Bolos, model WV M-1. These are essentially outfitted superpowered tanks that have a bulldozer blade attached (hence the ability to label them as tractors) to make demolition easier. Once Croanie acquired the “tractors,” Boge would send over 4,000 young Bogan boys to Lovenbroy who were trained and ready to invade. Together, their siege would completely overwhelm the Lovenbroy and destroy their home. \nThanks to Arapoulous coming to MUDDLE for help, Retief was able to piece together the random bits of the puzzle and thwart their plan. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "ce65bca558e94733a2a713d042040902", "response_text": "Croanie is a mostly-aquatic planet known for its exports of seafood. They provide foot-long prawn to Lovenbroy. They also have close ties to the planet of Boge, whose inhabitants are nicknamed the “Hoodlums of the Nicodemean Cluster.” Croanie owns the mortgage on Lovenbroy’s vast vineyards after a battle over their minerals left them financially wrecked. A Croanie ship brings the luggage bearing the Bogans’ weapons to meet the group of Bogan students who are set to fly to d’Land to attend the Exchange Program. The students are actually soldiers, who will supposedly use the weapons to overtake d’Land. They also are the recipients of a grant from the MEDDLE program that will supply them with 500 tractors—an amount they cannot process with the facilities they have on their planet. They will send the excess tractors to Boge, which will use them in turn to attack d’Land." } ] } ]
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THE RECRUIT BY BRYCE WALTON It was dirty work, but it would make him a man. And kids had a right to grow up—some of them! [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from Worlds of If Science Fiction, July 1962. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.] Wayne, unseen, sneered down from the head of the stairs. The old man with his thick neck, thick cigar, evening highball, potgut and bald head without a brain in it. His slim mother with nervously polite smiles and voice fluttering, assuring the old man by her frailty that he was big in the world. They were squareheads one and all, marking moron time in a gray dream. Man, was he glad to break out. The old man said, "He'll be okay. Let him alone." "But he won't eat. Just lies there all the time." "Hell," the old man said. "Sixteen's a bad time. School over, waiting for the draft and all. He's in between. It's rough." Mother clasped her forearms and shook her head once slowly. "We got to let him go, Eva. It's a dangerous time. You got to remember about all these dangerous repressed impulses piling up with nowhere to go, like they say. You read the books." "But he's unhappy." "Are we specialists? That's the Youth Board's headache, ain't it? What do we know about adolescent trauma and like that? Now get dressed or we'll be late." Wayne watched the ritual, grinning. He listened to their purposeless noises, their blabbing and yakking as if they had something to say. Blab-blab about the same old bones, and end up chewing them in the same old ways. Then they begin all over again. A freak sideshow all the way to nowhere. Squareheads going around either unconscious or with eyes looking dead from the millennium in the office waiting to retire into limbo. How come he'd been stuck with parental images like that? One thing—when he was jockeying a rocket to Mars or maybe firing the pants off Asiatic reds in some steamy gone jungle paradise, he'd forget his punkie origins in teeveeland. But the old man was right on for once about the dangerous repressed impulses. Wayne had heard about it often enough. Anyway there was no doubt about it when every move he made was a restrained explosion. So he'd waited in his room, and it wasn't easy sweating it out alone waiting for the breakout call from HQ. "Well, dear, if you say so," Mother said, with the old resigned sigh that must make the old man feel like Superman with a beerbelly. They heard Wayne slouching loosely down the stairs and looked up. "Relax," Wayne said. "You're not going anywhere tonight." "What, son?" his old man said uneasily. "Sure we are. We're going to the movies." He could feel them watching him, waiting; and yet still he didn't answer. Somewhere out in suburban grayness a dog barked, then was silent. "Okay, go," Wayne said. "If you wanta walk. I'm taking the family boltbucket." "But we promised the Clemons, dear," his mother said. "Hell," Wayne said, grinning straight into the old man. "I just got my draft call." He saw the old man's Adam's apple move. "Oh, my dear boy," Mother cried out. "So gimme the keys," Wayne said. The old man handed the keys over. His understanding smile was strained, and fear flicked in his sagging eyes. "Do be careful, dear," his mother said. She ran toward him as he laughed and shut the door on her. He was still laughing as he whoomed the Olds between the pale dead glow of houses and roared up the ramp onto the Freeway. Ahead was the promising glitter of adventure-calling neon, and he looked up at the high skies of night and his eyes sailed the glaring wonders of escape. He burned off some rubber finding a slot in the park-lot. He strode under a sign reading Public Youth Center No. 947 and walked casually to the reception desk, where a thin man with sergeant's stripes and a pansy haircut looked out of a pile of paperwork. "Where you think you're going, my pretty lad?" Wayne grinned down. "Higher I hope than a typewriter jockey." "Well," the sergeant said. "How tough we are this evening. You have a pass, killer?" "Wayne Seton. Draft call." "Oh." The sergeant checked his name off a roster and nodded. He wrote on a slip of paper, handed the pass to Wayne. "Go to the Armory and check out whatever your lusting little heart desires. Then report to Captain Jack, room 307." "Thanks, sarge dear," Wayne said and took the elevator up to the Armory. A tired fat corporal with a naked head blinked up at tall Wayne. Finally he said, "So make up your mind, bud. Think you're the only kid breaking out tonight?" "Hold your teeth, pop," Wayne said, coolly and slowly lighting a cigarette. "I've decided." The corporal's little eyes studied Wayne with malicious amusement. "Take it from a vet, bud. Sooner you go the better. It's a big city and you're starting late. You can get a cat, not a mouse, and some babes are clever hellcats in a dark alley." "You must be a genius," Wayne said. "A corporal with no hair and still a counterboy. I'm impressed. I'm all ears, Dad." The corporal sighed wearily. "You can get that balloon head ventilated, bud, and good." Wayne's mouth twitched. He leaned across the counter toward the shelves and racks of weapons. "I'll remember that crack when I get my commission." He blew smoke in the corporal's face. "Bring me a Smith and Wesson .38, shoulder holster with spring-clip. And throw in a Skelly switchblade for kicks—the six-inch disguised job with the double springs." The corporal waddled back with the revolver and the switchblade disguised in a leather comb case. He checked them on a receipt ledger, while Wayne examined the weapons, broke open the revolver, twirled the cylinder and pushed cartridges into the waiting chamber. He slipped the knife from the comb case, flicked open the blade and stared at its gleam in the buttery light as his mouth went dry and the refracted incandescence of it trickled on his brain like melted ice, exciting and scary. He removed his leather jacket. He slung the holster under his left armpit and tested the spring clip release several times, feeling the way the serrated butt dropped into his wet palm. He put his jacket back on and the switchblade case in his pocket. He walked toward the elevator and didn't look back as the corporal said, "Good luck, tiger." Captain Jack moved massively. The big stone-walled office, alive with stuffed lion and tiger and gunracks, seemed to grow smaller. Captain Jack crossed black-booted legs and whacked a cane at the floor. It had a head shaped like a grinning bear. Wayne felt the assured smile die on his face. Something seemed to shrink him. If he didn't watch himself he'd begin feeling like a pea among bowling balls. Contemptuously amused little eyes glittered at Wayne from a shaggy head. Shoulders hunched like stuffed sea-bags. "Wayne Seton," said Captain Jack as if he were discussing something in a bug collection. "Well, well, you're really fired up aren't you? Really going out to eat 'em. Right, punk?" "Yes, sir," Wayne said. He ran wet hands down the sides of his chinos. His legs seemed sheathed in lead as he bit inwardly at shrinking fear the way a dog snaps at a wound. You big overblown son, he thought, I'll show you but good who is a punk. They made a guy wait and sweat until he screamed. They kept a guy on the fire until desire leaped in him, ran and billowed and roared until his brain was filled with it. But that wasn't enough. If this muscle-bound creep was such a big boy, what was he doing holding down a desk? "Well, this is it, punk. You go the distance or start a butterfly collection." The cane darted up. A blade snicked from the end and stopped an inch from Wayne's nose. He jerked up a shaky hand involuntarily and clamped a knuckle-ridged gag to his gasping mouth. Captain Jack chuckled. "All right, superboy." He handed Wayne his passcard. "Curfew's off, punk, for 6 hours. You got 6 hours to make out." "Yes, sir." "Your beast is primed and waiting at the Four Aces Club on the West Side. Know where that is, punk?" "No, sir, but I'll find it fast." "Sure you will, punk," smiled Captain Jack. "She'll be wearing yellow slacks and a red shirt. Black hair, a cute trick. She's with a hefty psycho who eats punks for breakfast. He's butchered five people. They're both on top of the Undesirable list, Seton. They got to go and they're your key to the stars." "Yes, sir," Wayne said. "So run along and make out, punk," grinned Captain Jack. A copcar stopped Wayne as he started over the bridge, out of bright respectable neon into the murky westside slum over the river. Wayne waved the pass card, signed by Captain Jack, under the cop's quivering nose. The cop shivered and stepped back and waved him on. The Olds roared over the bridge as the night's rain blew away. The air through the open window was chill and damp coming from Slumville, but Wayne felt a cold that wasn't of the night or the wind. He turned off into a rat's warren of the inferiors. Lights turned pale, secretive and sparse, the uncared-for streets became rough with pitted potholes, narrow and winding and humid with wet unpleasant smells. Wayne's fearful exhilaration increased as he cruised with bated breath through the dark mazes of streets and rickety tenements crawling with the shadows of mysterious promise. He found the alley, dark, a gloom-dripping tunnel. He drove cautiously into it and rolled along, watching. His belly ached with expectancy as he spotted the sick-looking dab of neon wanly sparkling. FOUR ACES CLUB He parked across the alley. He got out and stood in shadows, digging the sultry beat of a combo, the wild pulse of drums and spinning brass filtering through windows painted black. He breathed deep, started over, ducked back. A stewbum weaved out of a bank of garbage cans, humming to himself, pulling at a rainsoaked shirt clinging to a pale stick body. He reminded Wayne of a slim grub balanced on one end. The stewbum stumbled. His bearded face in dim breaking moonlight had a dirty, greenish tinge as he sensed Wayne there. He turned in a grotesque uncoordinated jiggling and his eyes were wide with terror and doom. "I gotta hide, kid. They're on me." Wayne's chest rose and his hands curled. The bum's fingers drew at the air like white talons. "Help me, kid." He turned with a scratchy cry and retreated before the sudden blast of headlights from a Cad bulleting into the alley. The Cad rushed past Wayne and he felt the engine-hot fumes against his legs. Tires squealed. The Cad stopped and a teener in black jacket jumped out and crouched as he began stalking the old rummy. "This is him! This is him all right," the teener yelled, and one hand came up swinging a baseball bat. A head bobbed out of the Cad window and giggled. The fumble-footed rummy tried to run and plopped on wet pavement. The teener moved in, while a faint odor of burnt rubber hovered in the air as the Cad cruised in a slow follow-up. Wayne's breath quickened as he watched, feeling somehow blank wonder at finding himself there, free and breaking out at last with no curfew and no law but his own. He felt as though he couldn't stop anything. Living seemed directionless, but he still would go with it regardless, until something dropped off or blew to hell like a hot light-bulb. He held his breath, waiting. His body was tensed and rigid as he moved in spirit with the hunting teener, an omniscient shadow with a hunting license and a ghetto jungle twenty miles deep. The crawling stewbum screamed as the baseball bat whacked. The teener laughed. Wayne wanted to shout. He opened his mouth, but the yell clogged up somewhere, so that he remained soundless yet with his mouth still open as he heard the payoff thuds where the useless wino curled up with stick arms over his rheumy face. The teener laughed, tossed the bat away and began jumping up and down with his hobnailed, mail-order air force boots. Then he ran into the Cad. A hootch bottle soared out, made a brittle tink-tink of falling glass. "Go, man!" The Cad wooshed by. It made a sort of hollow sucking noise as it bounced over the old man twice. Then the finlights diminished like bright wind-blown sparks. Wayne walked over and sneered down at the human garbage lying in scummed rain pools. The smell of raw violence, the scent of blood, made his heart thump like a trapped rubber ball in a cage. He hurried into the Four Aces, drawn by an exhilarating vision ... and pursued by the hollow haunting fears of his own desires. He walked through the wavering haze of smoke and liquored dizziness and stood until his eyes learned the dark. He spotted her red shirt and yellow legs over in the corner above a murky lighted table. He walked toward her, watching her little subhuman pixie face lift. The eyes widened with exciting terror, turned even paler behind a red slash of sensuous mouth. Briefed and waiting, primed and eager for running, she recognized her pursuer at once. He sat at a table near her, watching and grinning and seeing her squirm. She sat in that slightly baffled, fearful and uncomprehending attitude of being motionless, as though they were all actors performing in a weirdo drama being staged in that smoky thick-aired dive. Wayne smiled with wry superiority at the redheaded psycho in a dirty T-shirt, a big bruiser with a gorilla face. He was tussling his mouse heavy. "What's yours, teener?" the slug-faced waiter asked. "Bring me a Crusher, buddyroo," Wayne said, and flashed his pass card. "Sure, teener." Red nuzzled the mouse's neck and made drooly noises. Wayne watched and fed on the promising terror and helplessness of her hunted face. She sat rigid, eyes fixed on Wayne like balls of frozen glass. Red looked up and stared straight at Wayne with eyes like black buttons imbedded in the waxlike skin of his face. Then he grinned all on one side. One huge hand scratched across the wet table top like a furious cat's. Wayne returned the challenging move but felt a nervous twitch jerk at his lips. A numbness covered his brain like a film as he concentrated on staring down Red the psycho. But Red kept looking, his eyes bright but dead. Then he began struggling it up again with the scared little mouse. The waiter sat the Crusher down. Wayne signed a chit; tonight he was in the pay of the state. "What else, teener?" "One thing. Fade." "Sure, teener," the waiter said, his breathy words dripping like syrup. Wayne drank. Liquored heat dripped into his stomach. Fire tickled his veins, became hot wire twisting in his head. He drank again and forced out a shaky breath. The jazz beat thumped fast and muted brass moaned. Drumpulse, stabbing trumpet raped the air. Tension mounted as Wayne watched her pale throat convulsing, the white eyelids fluttering. Red fingered at her legs and salivated at her throat, glancing now and then at Wayne, baiting him good. "Okay, you creep," Wayne said. He stood up and started through the haze. The psycho leaped and a table crashed. Wayne's .38 dropped from its spring-clip holster and the blast filled the room. The psycho screamed and stumbled toward the door holding something in. The mouse darted by, eluded Wayne's grasp and was out the door. Wayne went out after her in a laughing frenzy of release. He felt the cold strange breath of moist air on his sweating skin as he sprinted down the alley into a wind full of blowing wet. He ran laughing under the crazy starlight and glimpsed her now and then, fading in and out of shadows, jumping, crawling, running with the life-or-death animation of a wild deer. Up and down alleys, a rat's maze. A rabbit run. Across vacant lots. Through shattered tenement ruins. Over a fence. There she was, falling, sliding down a brick shute. He gained. He moved up. His labored breath pumped more fire. And her scream was a rejuvenation hypo in his blood. She quivered above him on the stoop, panting, her eyes afire with terror. "You, baby," Wayne gasped. "I gotcha." She backed into darkness, up there against the sagging tenement wall, her arms out and poised like crippled wings. Wayne crept up. She gave a squeaking sob, turned, ran. Wayne leaped into gloom. Wood cracked. He clambered over rotten lumber. The doorway sagged and he hesitated in the musty dark. A few feet away was the sound of loose trickling plaster, a whimpering whine. "No use running," Wayne said. "Go loose. Give, baby. Give now." She scurried up sagging stairs. Wayne laughed and dug up after her, feeling his way through debris. Dim moonlight filtered through a sagging stairway from a shattered skylight three floors up. The mouse's shadow floated ahead. He started up. The entire stair structure canted sickeningly. A railing ripped and he nearly went with it back down to the first floor. He heard a scream as rotten boards crumbled and dust exploded from cracks. A rat ran past Wayne and fell into space. He burst into the third-floor hallway and saw her half-falling through a door under the jagged skylight. Wayne took his time. He knew how she felt waiting in there, listening to his creeping, implacable footfalls. Then he yelled and slammed open the door. Dust and stench, filth so awful it made nothing of the dust. In the corner he saw something hardly to be called a bed. More like a nest. A dirty, lumpy pile of torn mattress, felt, excelsior, shredded newspapers and rags. It seemed to crawl a little under the moon-streaming skylight. She crouched in the corner panting. He took his time moving in. He snickered as he flashed the switchblade and circled it like a serpent's tongue. He watched what was left of her nerves go to pieces like rotten cloth. "Do it quick, hunter," she whispered. "Please do it quick." "What's that, baby?" "I'm tired running. Kill me first. Beat me after. They won't know the difference." "I'm gonna bruise and beat you," he said. "Kill me first," she begged. "I don't want—" She began to cry. She cried right up in his face, her wide eyes unblinking, and her mouth open. "You got bad blood, baby," he snarled. He laughed but it didn't sound like him and something was wrong with his belly. It was knotting up. "Bad, I know! So get it over with, please. Hurry, hurry." She was small and white and quivering. She moaned but kept staring up at him. He ripped off his rivet-studded belt and swung once, then groaned and shuffled away from her. He kept backing toward the door. She crawled after him, begging and clutching with both arms as she wriggled forward on her knees. "Don't run. Please. Kill me! It'll be someone else if you don't. Oh, God, I'm so tired waiting and running!" "I can't," he said, and sickness soured in his throat. "Please." "I can't, I can't!" He turned and ran blindly, half-fell down the cracking stairs. Doctor Burns, head of the readjustment staff at the Youth Center, studied Wayne with abstract interest. "You enjoyed the hunt, Seton? You got your kicks?" "Yes, sir." "But you couldn't execute them?" "No, sir." "They're undesirables. Incurables. You know that, Seton?" "Yes, sir." "The psycho you only wounded. He's a five-times murderer. And that girl killed her father when she was twelve. You realize there's nothing can be done for them? That they have to be executed?" "I know." "Too bad," the doctor said. "We all have aggressive impulses, primitive needs that must be expressed early, purged. There's murder in all of us, Seton. The impulse shouldn't be denied or suppressed, but educated . The state used to kill them. Isn't it better all around, Seton, for us to do it, as part of growing up? What was the matter, Seton?" "I—felt sorry for her." "Is that all you can say about it?" "Yes, sir." The doctor pressed a buzzer. Two men in white coats entered. "You should have got it out of your system, Seton, but now it's still in there. I can't turn you out and have it erupt later—and maybe shed clean innocent blood, can I?" "No, sir," Wayne mumbled. He didn't look up. "I'm sorry I punked out." "Give him the treatment," the doctor said wearily. "And send him back to his mother." Wayne nodded and they led him away. His mind screamed still to split open some prison of bone and lay bare and breathing wide. But there was no way out for the trapped. Now he knew about the old man and his poker-playing pals. They had all punked out. Like him.
[ { "question_text": "What is the plot of the story?", "question_number": 1, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "5", "uid": "220b7d4245314ae1bc5be811e3aeff6a", "response_text": "The story opens on a discussion at home between a husband and wife being overheard by their sixteen-year-old son, Wayne. They are distraught over their son’s attitude and attribute it to his age and the buildup of repressed impulses. Wayne views is parents with contempt. He reveals that he has been called to be drafted and leaves them to go to the authorities taking the family automobile.\n\nArriving at the Youth Center, Wayne navigates the bureaucracy of being drafted which involves registering and being issued with a firearm and a switchblade. He bristles against the military authority figures at the youth center, deriding their appearance and position. Wayne is cocky and confident even as he is warned about the dangers of his mission. Wayne is assigned a mission that involves killing a known murderer and his girl. He has six hours of autonomy where he is privileged to operate outside of the normal rule of law.\n\nWayne makes his way to a rougher neighborhood and witnesses another teenager hunt down and brutally murder a vagrant with a baseball bat. Wayne enters the bar which contains his target. He locates and engages them, shooting the man and chasing the woman out of the bar into a crumbling apartment building. When he eventually corners her, she begs him to kill her quickly. Wayne however is overcome with a physical aversion to the violence he was intending to commit.\n\nWayne is later being evaluated back at the Youth Center. It is revealed that society engages teenagers to execute criminals as a preferred outlet for their aggressive impulses. Those that go through with an execution are initiated into the military. Wayne mournfully contemplates that “punking out” in failing to execute his targets relegates him to a shameful, nondescript life much like that of his own father." }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "6cbe02858e1e451baab36f057a331c1f", "response_text": "Wayne Seton is a young man with an irrepressible urge. At 16 years old, he’s impatient, hormonal, and waiting for the draft, especially not that school is over. His mothers worries over him, but his father assures her that the draft is the right move. \nSeton receives his draft and quickly runs downstairs, grabs the keys to the car, and leaves, ignoring the fear in his father’s eyes. \nHe arrives at the 947th Youth Center. After checking in at the reception, he makes his way to the armory. He picks out a revolver, a shoulder hoster, and a switchblade disguised as a comb. His arrogance shows through his interactions with the many adults working at the Youth Center. They warn him of the trails he’ll face, and he simply laughs them off. \nFinally, he heads to the elevator that will take him to Captain Jack, the commander of this facility. Seton’s nervousness finally shows in his clammy palms and racing thoughts. Captain Jack intimidates him and questions his nerve and willingness to complete the mission. Captain Jack raises his bear-shaped cane to Seton, a blade sticking out the end of it. He tells Seton he has only six hours before the curfew sets back in. His target is at the Four Aces Club; a pretty woman with brightly colored clothes as well as a larger man, who’d killed five people. \nSeton begins his hunt, driving around town and searching for them. He’s pulled over by a cop trying to enforce the curfew, but one look at his pass card sends shivers down the officer’s spine, and Seton is sent on his way. \nOnce he’s arrived at the club, a bum grabs onto him and asks Seton to protect him. A car rushes in, and a young man jumps out. He beats the bum with a baseball bat, then runs him over with his car. Seton watches in awe. \nFinally, he walks into the bar and stalks his prey. After the man put his hands on the girl, he pulled out his revolver and shot him. The girl escapes and he runs after her. \nShe leads him on an epic chase, eventually stopping at what is assumedly her home.\nShe begs him to shoot her first and then beat her once she’s dead. Seton talks and talks, but his confidence fades. He realizes he feels bad for this girl and runs out, leaving her alive. \nSeton is examined by Doctor Burns back at the Youth Center, who questions him about his inability to complete the mission. He reveals that this system was set in place to rid the world of dangerous criminals and to expel the murderous impulses all people are born with. Since Seton failed, two men came in to take him away and treat him. He realizes that the others were like him; they had also refused to kill and had been given the same treatment.\n" }, { "worker_id": "3", "uid": "a8e62c037525496a80f4fcca4611c6c0", "response_text": "Wayne is a teenage boy who lives with his parents, but doesn’t respect them very much. Because he is 16, he is waiting for a draft call. His parents are worried about him, and suspect he has repressed some impulses to be violent, so they are a mix of relieved and concerned when Wayne tells them that he has received his call. Wayne takes the car that his parents were going to take for their night out, and heads toward the neon lights on the freeway. When he arrives at the Public Youth Center to check in for his draft call, he acts arrogantly to the sergeant at the reception desk. He heads to the armory to pick up two weapons: a Smith & Wesson .38, and a six-inch, spring-loaded Skelly switchblade. Afterwards, he heads to Captain Jack’s office. Captain Jack is the first person Wayne encounters in the story who makes him nervous. The Captain gives Wayne permission to go without curfew or law for six hours, and assigns him a task: a “beast” of a woman on the west side of town, at Four Aces Club, along with the man she is with. Wayne uses his signed pass to get past copy on his way there, driving through darker and darker streets, and eventually makes it to the club. He ran into a drunk man who tried to ask Wayne for help, but some other teenagers pulled up a car, beat the man to death with a baseball bat, and split. Wayne disappeared into the club and caught eye of his targets. He was able to match the woman’s description to the outfit Captain Jack said she would be wearing, and Wayne sits at a nearby table, watching the woman get nervous. He orders a drink; after he downs it, he gets up, and his targets try to run. He shoots the man before they all run out of the club, chasing each other through alleys and a building that was falling apart. He eventually cornered the woman in a pieced-together bedroom, and she begged him to kill her quickly. She is so tired of running from people sent to kill her that she would like it to be over as quickly as possible. Wayne pulls out his belt to whip her with, but after he swings it once, he starts to retreat. The woman still begs for him to kill her, but his attitude has completely shifted and he insists that he cannot, and runs away. When Wayne goes back to the Youth Center, the doctor in charge of “readjustment” of teenagers scolds Wayne for not killing the woman, both because he believes the two targeted people are terrible people, but also because that means Wayne did not get the violent energy out of his system. The team is sent to receive treatment and be sent back home, and Wayne realizes that these nights end like this more often than he had realized. " }, { "worker_id": "1", "uid": "eb62c63c6a794ecf83f22d34f85b3a22", "response_text": "Wayne listens at the top of the stairs as his parents discuss their concerns about him. Eva, his mother, worries that Wayne doesn’t eat, and his father explains that he’s only sixteen years old and he’s waiting on his draft card. His father reminds Eva that Wayne’s repressed impulses are not something they should be worrying about because the Youth Board takes care of those.\n\nWayne tells his parents that he just got his draft call, and he demands the car keys and leaves the house. He travels to the Youth Center. When he arrives, he chooses a gun and a knife for his weapons, and he meets up with Captain Jack. Captain Jack tells Wayne that he has one chance to prove himself, and he has six hours to complete his mission. Wayne needs to go to the Four Aces Club and murder two people who top the undesireable list. \n\nOutside of the club, he watches as a homeless person is beaten to death by a teenager. The bum calls out for help, but Wayne ignores his pleas.\n\nOnce he goes inside, he immediately recognizes his two targets, Red the psycho and a mousy girl. His gun fires accidentally, and the girl runs outside. Wayne chases her through dilapidated buildings and into her home where he sees the disgusting nest she sleeps in. Although he knows he is on a mission to bruise her and then kill her, and he has been asked to fulfill this duty, he cannot do it. He feels too badly for her. Even when she begs to be murdered so that she no longer has to live in fear of death, he refuses.\n\nWayne goes back to the Youth Center where Doctor Burns, the head of the readjustment staff at the Youth Center, tells him that he needed to get his impulses out of the way in a controlled environment. Now, he can’t be trusted not to hurt someone else since everyone has those impulses inside of themselves. Wayne is sent for treatment, and he realizes he is just like his father whom he despises. \n" } ] }, { "question_text": "Describe the setting of the story", "question_number": 2, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "5", "uid": "220b7d4245314ae1bc5be811e3aeff6a", "response_text": "The story is set in an urban environment in an unspecified time in the future. The story begins in a conventional domestic setting but quickly transitions to a Youth Center and then gritty underbelly of the city. The Youth Center is bureaucratic and clinical with Wayne making his way from registration to the Armory to his assignment. Later he returns to this center for psychological treatment. The inner-city area is known as Slumville and is filled with crumbling infrastructure and violent dealings. It is described as dark and mazelike with semi-abandoned buildings that are on the verge of collapse. The Four Aces Club where the main conflict of the story takes place is a seedy bar in Slumville where undesirables congregate. Smoky and filled with jazzy music, the club becomes a scene of tension and violence as Wayne confronts his targets there." }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "6cbe02858e1e451baab36f057a331c1f", "response_text": "The Recruit by Bryce Walton takes place in a modern society, similar to the one we exist in now. The story starts in a normal suburban household. A mother, father, and one son coexist without too much tension. \nHowever, as the story progresses, this world continues to differ from ours. A curfew is set in place, keeping in the acceptable people and allowing the undesirables to be hunted. As the main character continues to explore the city, we see more and more of its darkness. It is grimy and gritty, filled with crime and scared citizens. \nSquatters have taken over abandoned buildings, and the feeling is truly man vs. man, citizen vs. citizen.\n" }, { "worker_id": "3", "uid": "a8e62c037525496a80f4fcca4611c6c0", "response_text": "The story starts in the home of Wayne and his parents, which has at least two stories and is in the suburbs of some city. After a short drive on the freeway, Wayne arrives at the Public Youth Center where he navigates a series of rooms, first an armory with a wide variety of weapons, and then Captain Jack’s office, which had its own sets of weapons, taxidermied animals, and menacing stone walls. After some more driving into town, Wayne heads into darker and darker streets that twist their way towards the club he was told his targets would be at. He parked his car in the alley across from the club, next to a large collection of garbage cans, where he encountered a homeless man. When he made it into the club, he found it to be very hazy and dark, even though it had been night outside already. He sat at his own table in the smoky environment for a while, until it was time to chase his targets. Once outside, the alley turned into a maze of other alleys, parking lots, ruined buildings, and other infrastructure that seems to be falling apart. He followed her up a crumbling staircase in a building that was barely standing, and eventually cornered her in a small room where she had made a makeshift bed to sleep on, created entirely from scraps of anything she could find, including paper and rags. After he left this building after not successfully killing his target, he finds himself back at the Youth Center where the story ends. " }, { "worker_id": "1", "uid": "eb62c63c6a794ecf83f22d34f85b3a22", "response_text": "Wayne must leave the Youth Center and go out on a mission on a dark night in the city. There are rats, crumbling buildings, potholes, and dangerous happenings around every corner. Outside of the Four Aces Club, Wayne witnesses a deadly assault of a seemingly innocent homeless man. Once inside, he is served an alcoholic beverage even though he is only sixteen. \n\nIn his society, teenagers like Wayne are sent out into the streets to murder people who have committed crimes. The prevailing belief is that all humans have violent impulses inside of them, so allowing teenagers to murder legitimately terrible people will get rid of those impulses and allow for a peaceful society. In the past, the state was responsible for taking care of criminals, but at some point their way of dealing with violent offenders changed. Now, every child that turns sixteen is presented with a draft card. They must report to the local Youth Center, choose a weapon or two, and receive a target to eliminate. \n" } ] }, { "question_text": "How is slang used in the story?", "question_number": 3, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "5", "uid": "220b7d4245314ae1bc5be811e3aeff6a", "response_text": "Distinctive teenage or “teener” vernacular language is used extensively throughout the story. Wayne uses slang to communicate his dismissiveness of those in authority. People who live commonplace lives are “squareheads” and “punks”. Some typical proper nouns are shortened “Olds” for Oldsmobile, “Cad” for Cadillac. The effect is to cement the story in a future where language has evolved from its current state with teens communicating in a way that distinguishes them from other more conventional member of society. Wayne’s interaction with the waiter is emblematic of this effect. By saying, “Bring me a Crusher,” and then “Fade,” it is signaled to the reader that Wayne views himself as a member of a select group with its own cant." }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "6cbe02858e1e451baab36f057a331c1f", "response_text": "The author uses slang throughout the story as a way to designate actions/events that are unfamiliar and to fully immerse the reader. Although no clear definitions are given, the true meaning of the slang is discovered as the story unfolds. At first, the draft and make out are absolutely foreign terms. As the story continues, the reader learns that to make out is to take on the mission assigned to the youth by the Public Youth Center. These terms thrust the reader into the story and show how different this world is from ours." }, { "worker_id": "3", "uid": "a8e62c037525496a80f4fcca4611c6c0", "response_text": "Slang is the means by which the author denotes various categories of people throughout the story. In this world, people are categorized in large age groups. Wayne refers to people his parents’ age as the Olds, and Wayne himself is referred to multiple times as a teener. This use of slang separates the world in the story from the world of the reader. It seems that Wayne likes to refer to things in casual ways, referring to the family car as a bolt bucket, and really takes the label of punk to heart when he is called that by Captain Jack. When Wayne arrives at the club where his targets are, the car that the other teenagers show up in is referred to as a Cad, presumably short for Cadillac. Another way language is used to delineate groups of people is in calling the hunted people beasts, and using animal imagery to describe them. The targets Wayne was after referred to as beasts, the woman as a mouse, and the man is a cat. This is one way these people are portrayed as less than human. Even during the chase, the woman is regularly referred to as a mouse, even as actual rats are running by as well. However, others are not entirely exempt from this use of animal imagery at the point of comparison, as Wayne is also compared to wild deer when he is chasing after the woman in the alley." }, { "worker_id": "1", "uid": "eb62c63c6a794ecf83f22d34f85b3a22", "response_text": "Slang words are used throughout the story, not only when Wayne is talking, but also when the narrator is explaining characters’ actions. The specific word choices work to make the setting appear unique and mostly dreadful. \n\nWayne refers to his parents as “squareheads” as an insult. Wayne can’t wait to distinguish himself from his parents. He finds them to be monotonous, overbearing, and lame. The slang term is meant to portray them in the light that Wayne sees them. They are not bad people, and they are deeply for their son. They’re just normal, everyday parents, and Wayne wants a more adventurous life. \n\nIn a later scene, the narrator refers to a homeless person on the street as a “stewbum”. The word is definitely not a euphemism for alcoholic, and it doesn’t make the character appear sympathetic. Instead, the use of the term stewbum suggests that he is inferior and is almost deserving of the violence he faces from a seemingly random teenager. \n\nIn the text, teenagers are referred to as “teeners”. Since teenagers have a very important role in this society, and it’s definitely a rite of passage to fulfill the violent mission and purge the criminal that they’ve been assigned to, this slang term makes teenagers seem like a separate class of people. Their ability or inability to make good on their draft card will change the course of their lives, so it’s fitting that they are given a different name.\n\n" } ] }, { "question_text": "How does Wayne interact with the story’s other characters?", "question_number": 4, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "5", "uid": "220b7d4245314ae1bc5be811e3aeff6a", "response_text": "Wayne is a cocky, arrogant sixteen-year-old defined by his lack of respect for authority. His main goal in life is to be drafted into the military and lead an adventuring life.\n\nHis unnamed parents care for their son but are nonplussed by his attitude and general demeanor of rebelliousness. They seem to live commonplace lives with domestic trips to the movie theatre or a neighborhood poker game. Wayne views this type of life as detestable. His interaction with his parents is crude and condescending.\n\nThe military officials that Wayne meets in the Youth Center also elicit Wayne’s contempt. He views their desk jobs as an analog to his parents’ “punkie” existence. To Wayne, the only admirable way of life is one of high adventure. He disrespects most of the desk workers, but the commanding officer, Captain Jack, deflates his self-assurance.\n\nWayne is keenly intent on hunting his targets. He stares them down tensely before violently engaging them. female target, nicknamed the “mouse”, is revealed to be a woman without hope. She’s tired of running and just wants to be put out of her misery. Surprisingly, at the moment of truth, Wayne cannot bring himself to execute the woman in cold blood, in his own words, “punking out”. He admits to the doctor analyzing him after his assignment that he felt sorry for her. \n" }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "6cbe02858e1e451baab36f057a331c1f", "response_text": "In the beginning, Wayne Seton’s interactions are marked by his arrogance, ego, and desire to hunt. He treats his parents as one would children. He over-analyzes their behavior, and, instead of feeling pity for them, he finds them annoying and useless. He’s desperate to break free of this house and this planet. He views himself highly and dreams about his future on Mars or other such grand adventures. \nHis behavior doesn’t change when Seton finally arrives at the Youth Center. He continues to treat the officers with disrespect, although, as he meets with Captain Jack, he begins to become scared. \nHis desire to hunt and break free of his family drives him, as well as his belief that he is beyond all of this. He watches the other men kill the bum with awe and glee. It doesn’t disgust him, rather it interests him. \nHowever, when it comes time to kill his own undesirable, he finds himself unable. He begins to feel pity, empathy, and sympathy. These emotions make it impossible for him to complete his mission. Although he tries to use his arrogance to hype himself up, he ends up admitting that he doesn’t want to kill the woman and runs away. All bark, but no bite.\n" }, { "worker_id": "3", "uid": "a8e62c037525496a80f4fcca4611c6c0", "response_text": "In the first half of the story, Wayne is very cocky in his interactions with other people. He clearly has no respect for his parents, thinks they lack intelligence, and is annoyed with their routines. He felt he could explode at any moment, so being cold and short with them when they had to interact with them is his way of keeping them out of the line of fire of his impulses. He insists on taking the family car, and is still high and mighty when he gets to the Public Youth Center, throwing sass at the sergeant at the reception desk as well as the corporal in the armory. It is only when he meets Captain Jack that he starts to show some humility and nervousness. His hands start to sweat, and the captain calls him a punk a number of times and then startles him, almost whacking Wayne with his cane. Once he gets to the club, Wayne is nervous interacting with the homeless alcoholic who encountering the alley, and is terrified by the other teenagers who arrived to kill this man. After he retreats into the club, Wayne finds a sense of superiority again as he flashes his official documents to be able to order a drink, after he spots his targets. His goal is to make them as uncomfortable as possible, so he sits right near them, and enjoys the opportunity to have a drink on the government’s dime. After he decides to pursue his targets, he shoots the man once before both targets and Wayne make their way outside. Wayne taunts the woman as he chases her through the alley and the dilapidated buildings, and threatens her with what he intends to do to her once he has her cornered. Once he actually strikes her with his belt though, he retreats into himself and is very nervous all of a sudden, and runs away from the woman. He felt sorry for her, and told this to the doctor at the Youth Center as he is scolded. Wayne seems ashamed, apologizes for punking out, and quietly does what he is told by the doctor for the rest of the session." }, { "worker_id": "1", "uid": "eb62c63c6a794ecf83f22d34f85b3a22", "response_text": "Wayne looks down on the other characters in the story, including his own mother and father. He refers to them as squareheads, and he actually finds his mother’s distress and her arguments with his father to be funny. In a brief scene where Wayne demands the car keys from his parents, it’s clear that they are fearful of him. Instead of thanking them for allowing him to use the car, he repays them for their generosity by laughing at them and slamming the door in his mother’s face. Wayne is fully aware that his mother is terrified of his draft call, and he does not allow her to hug him or give him words of encouragement or advice before he leaves the house. \n\nWhen he arrives at the Youth Center, he treats the man at the front desk poorly, and then proceeds to make fun of the corporal who tries to give him advice. Wayne has a bad attitude, and it affects his interactions with everyone. \n\nThe only person that Wayne does not feel like he can treat badly is Captain Jack. Captain Jack is in a serious position of authority, and that makes Wayne nervous. He answers his questions politely. \n\nIt is truly shocking when Wayne is unable to kill the mousy woman that he was assigned to purge. He has her cornered in an abandoned and run-down building, but he can’t go through with the violence, no matter how much he wants to. In the meeting that takes place afterwards, he tells the doctor that he felt bad for the woman. Therefore, Wayne does have a conscience, even if he likes to pretend that he does not. \n" } ] }, { "question_text": "How does this society seek to deal with violence?", "question_number": 5, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "5", "uid": "220b7d4245314ae1bc5be811e3aeff6a", "response_text": "The expository dialogue by Doctor Burns at the end of the story provides some insight into how this society views the tendency toward violence in its citizens and retributive criminal justice. The prevailing understanding is that adolescents (presumably adolescent men) are subjected to aggressive and violent impulses. The society seeks to provide these teens a preferred outlet for these impulses in the form of a violent act in service of the state. Typical this seems to be the execution of an undesirable member of society who is viewed as beyond redemption. This permitted brutality is thought to get it out of a teen’s system and prepare him for a life as a contributing member in the state’s military apparatus. The result of this situation is a dramatically violent society where untrained youths are recruited to act as vicious vigilantes who terrorize anyone labelled as undesirable. " }, { "worker_id": "6", "uid": "6cbe02858e1e451baab36f057a331c1f", "response_text": " In the final passages of the story, Wayne Seton, the protagonist, sees a doctor after his failed attempt to eliminate two alleged criminals. Despite feeling the spark and need to hunt and kill earlier, when faced with a scared young woman, he was unable to complete his task. \nDoctor Burns, a member of the readjustment staff at the center where Seton was drafted, takes a look over Seton after he returned. Although Seton enjoyed the thrill of the chase, his empathy and sympathy got the better of him. \nAfter examining him, Dr. Burns reveals the reason why Seton was sent on this mission in the first place. In this abstract reality, those who have committed heinous crimes (in this case, paternal murder and multiple homicides) are labeled as unwanted and unable to change. Instead of sending them to prison for their crimes where they may spend the rest of their lives or receive the death penalty, they send young adults out to hunt them down. \nAt 16 years old, school ends for the teenagers in this society. Once school is over, all the young adults must wait for their draft to come in. \nThey believe that each person is born with a dangerous impulse to kill. If it can be expelled at a young age and used on a person who deserves it, then there’s no risk of a violent crime later on. \nThe justice system is executed by everyday people, instead of a team of soldiers or the government. \nAs well, if the 16-year-olds complete their mission, they will be shot off to space and continue their work in the galaxy.\n" }, { "worker_id": "3", "uid": "a8e62c037525496a80f4fcca4611c6c0", "response_text": "In this society, instead of imposing penalties like death row, the government uses teenagers to end the lives of the people the society has deemed the biggest criminals. Part of this is an attempt to acknowledge the violent impulses that they expect teenagers to have, so this program is meant to give teenagers an outlet to expend this energy in hopes of getting rid of it entirely. Violent tendencies are clearly expected of everyone, as part of a more primitive instinct of sorts. The two people that Wayne was given as targets both killed people outside of this designated time, and so society decided they had to die. There is this tension between government sanctioned murder and other murder. This opportunity for teenagers to address their aggression also serves as a sort of test, and their ability to successfully eliminate their targets determines their future in some way. Formally, this means that the teenagers are given their own choice of weapons, and a six-hour pass to do whatever they want, including breaking curfew and any other laws. However, what happens to them going forward depends on the success of killing their targets in the six hours." }, { "worker_id": "1", "uid": "eb62c63c6a794ecf83f22d34f85b3a22", "response_text": "When the children in this society turn sixteen, they are forced to take a draft call. They must go to a local Youth Center and take orders from an established captain. The kids choose the weapons they would like to use, and they head out to take down a dangerous individual or multiple individuals. When Wayne is stopped by a cop at the beginning of his mission, all he has to do is show the police officer the card he has, and he’s free to continue on into the darkness. This means that his mission is sanctioned by the state. \n\nAfter Wayne fails to commit the beatings and murders that he’s been assigned, he must receive some sort of treatment from a doctor. The thinking is that all people are born with impulses to commit violence, and those that cannot bring themselves to do it in a state sanctioned way are now in danger of hurting people that do not deserve it. The society asks the teenagers to kill the criminals because they believe it fulfills two necessities at once. Dangerous people are expelled from society, and adolescents can be trusted not to turn into violent individuals because they have already gotten it out of their systems. \n" } ] } ]
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Produced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at The Monster Maker By RAY BRADBURY "Get Gunther," the official orders read. It was to laugh! For Click and Irish were marooned on the pirate's asteroid—their only weapons a single gun and a news-reel camera. [Transcriber's Note: This etext was produced from Planet Stories Spring 1944. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.] Suddenly, it was there. There wasn't time to blink or speak or get scared. Click Hathaway's camera was loaded and he stood there listening to it rack-spin film between his fingers, and he knew he was getting a damned sweet picture of everything that was happening. The picture of Marnagan hunched huge over the control-console, wrenching levers, jamming studs with freckled fists. And out in the dark of the fore-part there was space and a star-sprinkling and this meteor coming like blazing fury. Click Hathaway felt the ship move under him like a sensitive animal's skin. And then the meteor hit. It made a spiked fist and knocked the rear-jets flat, and the ship spun like a cosmic merry-go-round. There was plenty of noise. Too damned much. Hathaway only knew he was picked up and hurled against a lever-bank, and that Marnagan wasn't long in following, swearing loud words. Click remembered hanging on to his camera and gritting to keep holding it. What a sweet shot that had been of the meteor! A sweeter one still of Marnagan beating hell out of the controls and keeping his words to himself until just now. It got quiet. It got so quiet you could almost hear the asteroids rushing up, cold, blue and hard. You could hear your heart kicking a tom-tom between your sick stomach and your empty lungs. Stars, asteroids revolved. Click grabbed Marnagan because he was the nearest thing, and held on. You came hunting for a space-raider and you ended up cradled in a slab-sized Irishman's arms, diving at a hunk of metal death. What a fade-out! "Irish!" he heard himself say. "Is this IT?" "Is this what ?" yelled Marnagan inside his helmet. "Is this where the Big Producer yells CUT!?" Marnagan fumed. "I'll die when I'm damned good and ready. And when I'm ready I'll inform you and you can picture me profile for Cosmic Films!" They both waited, thrust against the shipside and held by a hand of gravity; listening to each other's breathing hard in the earphones. The ship struck, once. Bouncing, it struck again. It turned end over and stopped. Hathaway felt himself grabbed; he and Marnagan rattled around—human dice in a croupier's cup. The shell of the ship burst, air and energy flung out. Hathaway screamed the air out of his lungs, but his brain was thinking quick crazy, unimportant things. The best scenes in life never reach film, or an audience. Like this one, dammit! Like this one! His brain spun, racketing like the instantaneous, flicking motions of his camera. Silence came and engulfed all the noise, ate it up and swallowed it. Hathaway shook his head, instinctively grabbed at the camera locked to his mid-belt. There was nothing but stars, twisted wreckage, cold that pierced through his vac-suit, and silence. He wriggled out of the wreckage into that silence. He didn't know what he was doing until he found the camera in his fingers as if it had grown there when he was born. He stood there, thinking "Well, I'll at least have a few good scenes on film. I'll—" A hunk of metal teetered, fell with a crash. Marnagan elevated seven feet of bellowing manhood from the wreck. "Hold it!" cracked Hathaway's high voice. Marnagan froze. The camera whirred. "Low angle shot; Interplanetary Patrolman emerges unscathed from asteroid crackup. Swell stuff. I'll get a raise for this!" "From the toe of me boot!" snarled Marnagan brusquely. Oxen shoulders flexed inside his vac-suit. "I might've died in there, and you nursin' that film-contraption!" Hathaway felt funny inside, suddenly. "I never thought of that. Marnagan die? I just took it for granted you'd come through. You always have. Funny, but you don't think about dying. You try not to." Hathaway stared at his gloved hand, but the gloving was so thick and heavy he couldn't tell if it was shaking. Muscles in his bony face went down, pale. "Where are we?" "A million miles from nobody." They stood in the middle of a pocked, time-eroded meteor plain that stretched off, dipping down into silent indigo and a rash of stars. Overhead, the sun poised; black and stars all around it, making it look sick. "If we walk in opposite directions, Click Hathaway, we'd be shaking hands the other side of this rock in two hours." Marnagan shook his mop of dusty red hair. "And I promised the boys at Luna Base this time I'd capture that Gunther lad!" His voice stopped and the silence spoke. Hathaway felt his heart pumping slow, hot pumps of blood. "I checked my oxygen, Irish. Sixty minutes of breathing left." The silence punctuated that sentence, too. Upon the sharp meteoric rocks Hathaway saw the tangled insides of the radio, the food supply mashed and scattered. They were lucky to have escaped. Or was suffocation a better death...? Sixty minutes. They stood and looked at one another. "Damn that meteor!" said Marnagan, hotly. Hathaway got hold of an idea; remembering something. He said it out: "Somebody tossed that meteor, Irish. I took a picture of it, looked it right in the eye when it rolled at us, and it was poker-hot. Space-meteors are never hot and glowing. If it's proof you want, I've got it here, on film." Marnagan winced his freckled square of face. "It's not proof we need now, Click. Oxygen. And then food . And then some way back to Earth." Hathaway went on saying his thoughts: "This is Gunther's work. He's here somewhere, probably laughing his guts out at the job he did us. Oh, God, this would make great news-release stuff if we ever get back to Earth. I.P.'s Irish Marnagan, temporarily indisposed by a pirate whose dirty face has never been seen, Gunther by name, finally wins through to a triumphant finish. Photographed on the spot, in color, by yours truly, Click Hathaway. Cosmic Films, please notice." They started walking, fast, over the pocked, rubbled plain toward a bony ridge of metal. They kept their eyes wide and awake. There wasn't much to see, but it was better than standing still, waiting. Marnagan said, "We're working on margin, and we got nothin' to sweat with except your suspicions about this not being an accident. We got fifty minutes to prove you're right. After that—right or wrong—you'll be Cosmic Films prettiest unmoving, unbreathin' genius. But talk all you like, Click. It's times like this when we all need words, any words, on our tongues. You got your camera and your scoop. Talk about it. As for me—" he twisted his glossy red face. "Keeping alive is me hobby. And this sort of two-bit death I did not order." Click nodded. "Gunther knows how you'd hate dying this way, Irish. It's irony clean through. That's probably why he planned the meteor and the crash this way." Marnagan said nothing, but his thick lips went down at the corners, far down, and the green eyes blazed. They stopped, together. "Oops!" Click said. "Hey!" Marnagan blinked. "Did you feel that ?" Hathaway's body felt feathery, light as a whisper, boneless and limbless, suddenly. "Irish! We lost weight, coming over that ridge!" They ran back. "Let's try it again." They tried it. They scowled at each other. The same thing happened. "Gravity should not act this way, Click." "Are you telling me? It's man-made. Better than that—it's Gunther! No wonder we fell so fast—we were dragged down by a super-gravity set-up! Gunther'd do anything to—did I say anything ?" Hathaway leaped backward in reaction. His eyes widened and his hand came up, jabbing. Over a hill-ridge swarmed a brew of unbelievable horrors. Progeny from Frankenstein's ARK. Immense crimson beasts with numerous legs and gnashing mandibles, brown-black creatures, some tubular and fat, others like thin white poisonous whips slashing along in the air. Fangs caught starlight white on them. Hathaway yelled and ran, Marnagan at his heels, lumbering. Sweat broke cold on his body. The immense things rolled, slithered and squirmed after him. A blast of light. Marnagan, firing his proton-gun. Then, in Click's ears, the Irishman's incredulous bellow. The gun didn't hurt the creatures at all. "Irish!" Hathaway flung himself over the ridge, slid down an incline toward the mouth a small cave. "This way, fella!" Hathaway made it first, Marnagan bellowing just behind him. "They're too big; they can't get us in here!" Click's voice gasped it out, as Marnagan squeezed his two-hundred-fifty pounds beside him. Instinctively, Hathaway added, "Asteroid monsters! My camera! What a scene!" "Damn your damn camera!" yelled Marnagan. "They might come in!" "Use your gun." "They got impervious hides. No use. Gahh! And that was a pretty chase, eh, Click?" "Yeah. Sure. You enjoyed it, every moment of it." "I did that." Irish grinned, showing white uneven teeth. "Now, what will we be doing with these uninvited guests at our door?" "Let me think—" "Lots of time, little man. Forty more minutes of air, to be exact." They sat, staring at the monsters for about a minute. Hathaway felt funny about something; didn't know what. Something about these monsters and Gunther and— "Which one will you be having?" asked Irish, casually. "A red one or a blue one?" Hathaway laughed nervously. "A pink one with yellow ruffles—Good God, now you've got me doing it. Joking in the face of death." "Me father taught me; keep laughing and you'll have Irish luck." That didn't please the photographer. "I'm an Anglo-Swede," he pointed out. Marnagan shifted uneasily. "Here, now. You're doing nothing but sitting, looking like a little boy locked in a bedroom closet, so take me a profile shot of the beasties and myself." Hathaway petted his camera reluctantly. "What in hell's the use? All this swell film shot. Nobody'll ever see it." "Then," retorted Marnagan, "we'll develop it for our own benefit; while waitin' for the U.S. Cavalry to come riding over the hill to our rescue!" Hathaway snorted. "U.S. Cavalry." Marnagan raised his proton-gun dramatically. "Snap me this pose," he said. "I paid your salary to trot along, photographing, we hoped, my capture of Gunther, now the least you can do is record peace negotiations betwixt me and these pixies." Marnagan wasn't fooling anybody. Hathaway knew the superficial palaver for nothing but a covering over the fast, furious thinking running around in that red-cropped skull. Hathaway played the palaver, too, but his mind was whirring faster than his camera as he spun a picture of Marnagan standing there with a useless gun pointed at the animals. Montage. Marnagan sitting, chatting at the monsters. Marnagan smiling for the camera. Marnagan in profile. Marnagan looking grim, without much effort, for the camera. And then, a closeup of the thrashing death wall that holed them in. Click took them all, those shots, not saying anything. Nobody fooled nobody with this act. Death was near and they had sweaty faces, dry mouths and frozen guts. When Click finished filming, Irish sat down to save oxygen, and used it up arguing about Gunther. Click came back at him: "Gunther drew us down here, sure as Ceres! That gravity change we felt back on that ridge, Irish; that proves it. Gunther's short on men. So, what's he do; he builds an asteroid-base, and drags ships down. Space war isn't perfect yet, guns don't prime true in space, trajectory is lousy over long distances. So what's the best weapon, which dispenses with losing valuable, rare ships and a small bunch of men? Super-gravity and a couple of well-tossed meteors. Saves all around. It's a good front, this damned iron pebble. From it, Gunther strikes unseen; ships simply crash, that's all. A subtle hand, with all aces." Marnagan rumbled. "Where is the dirty son, then!" "He didn't have to appear, Irish. He sent—them." Hathaway nodded at the beasts. "People crashing here die from air-lack, no food, or from wounds caused at the crackup. If they survive all that—the animals tend to them. It all looks like Nature was responsible. See how subtle his attack is? Looks like accidental death instead of murder, if the Patrol happens to land and finds us. No reason for undue investigation, then." "I don't see no Base around." Click shrugged. "Still doubt it? Okay. Look." He tapped his camera and a spool popped out onto his gloved palm. Holding it up, he stripped it out to its full twenty inch length, held it to the light while it developed, smiling. It was one of his best inventions. Self-developing film. The first light struck film-surface, destroyed one chemical, leaving imprints; the second exposure simply hardened, secured the impressions. Quick stuff. Inserting the film-tongue into a micro-viewer in the camera's base, Click handed the whole thing over. "Look." Marnagan put the viewer up against the helmet glass, squinted. "Ah, Click. Now, now. This is one lousy film you invented." "Huh?" "It's a strange process'll develop my picture and ignore the asteroid monsters complete." "What!" Hathaway grabbed the camera, gasped, squinted, and gasped again: Pictures in montage; Marnagan sitting down, chatting conversationally with nothing ; Marnagan shooting his gun at nothing ; Marnagan pretending to be happy in front of nothing . Then, closeup—of—NOTHING! The monsters had failed to image the film. Marnagan was there, his hair like a red banner, his freckled face with the blue eyes bright in it. Maybe— Hathaway said it, loud: "Irish! Irish! I think I see a way out of this mess! Here—" He elucidated it over and over again to the Patrolman. About the film, the beasts, and how the film couldn't be wrong. If the film said the monsters weren't there, they weren't there. "Yeah," said Marnagan. "But step outside this cave—" "If my theory is correct I'll do it, unafraid," said Click. Marnagan scowled. "You sure them beasts don't radiate ultra-violet or infra-red or something that won't come out on film?" "Nuts! Any color we see, the camera sees. We've been fooled." "Hey, where you going?" Marnagan blocked Hathaway as the smaller man tried pushing past him. "Get out of the way," said Hathaway. Marnagan put his big fists on his hips. "If anyone is going anywhere, it'll be me does the going." "I can't let you do that, Irish." "Why not?" "You'd be going on my say-so." "Ain't your say-so good enough for me?" "Yes. Sure. Of course. I guess—" "If you say them animals ain't there, that's all I need. Now, stand aside, you film-developing flea, and let an Irishman settle their bones." He took an unnecessary hitch in trousers that didn't exist except under an inch of porous metal plate. "Your express purpose on this voyage, Hathaway, is taking films to be used by the Patrol later for teaching Junior Patrolmen how to act in tough spots. First-hand education. Poke another spool of film in that contraption and give me profile a scan. This is lesson number seven: Daniel Walks Into The Lion's Den." "Irish, I—" "Shut up and load up." Hathaway nervously loaded the film-slot, raised it. "Ready, Click?" "I—I guess so," said Hathaway. "And remember, think it hard, Irish. Think it hard. There aren't any animals—" "Keep me in focus, lad." "All the way, Irish." "What do they say...? Oh, yeah. Action. Lights. Camera!" Marnagan held his gun out in front of him and still smiling took one, two, three, four steps out into the outside world. The monsters were waiting for him at the fifth step. Marnagan kept walking. Right out into the middle of them.... That was the sweetest shot Hathaway ever took. Marnagan and the monsters! Only now it was only Marnagan. No more monsters. Marnagan smiled a smile broader than his shoulders. "Hey, Click, look at me! I'm in one piece. Why, hell, the damned things turned tail and ran away!" "Ran, hell!" cried Hathaway, rushing out, his face flushed and animated. "They just plain vanished. They were only imaginative figments!" "And to think we let them hole us in that way, Click Hathaway, you coward!" "Smile when you say that, Irish." "Sure, and ain't I always smilin'? Ah, Click boy, are them tears in your sweet grey eyes?" "Damn," swore the photographer, embarrassedly. "Why don't they put window-wipers in these helmets?" "I'll take it up with the Board, lad." "Forget it. I was so blamed glad to see your homely carcass in one hunk, I couldn't help—Look, now, about Gunther. Those animals are part of his set-up. Explorers who land here inadvertently, are chased back into their ships, forced to take off. Tourists and the like. Nothing suspicious about animals. And if the tourists don't leave, the animals kill them." "Shaw, now. Those animals can't kill." "Think not, Mr. Marnagan? As long as we believed in them they could have frightened us to death, forced us, maybe, to commit suicide. If that isn't being dangerous—" The Irishman whistled. "But, we've got to move , Irish. We've got twenty minutes of oxygen. In that time we've got to trace those monsters to their source, Gunther's Base, fight our way in, and get fresh oxy-cannisters." Click attached his camera to his mid-belt. "Gunther probably thinks we're dead by now. Everyone else's been fooled by his playmates; they never had a chance to disbelieve them." "If it hadn't been for you taking them pictures, Click—" "Coupled with your damned stubborn attitude about the accident—" Click stopped and felt his insides turning to water. He shook his head and felt a film slip down over his eyes. He spread his legs out to steady himself, and swayed. "I—I don't think my oxygen is as full as yours. This excitement had me double-breathing and I feel sick." Marnagan's homely face grimaced in sympathy. "Hold tight, Click. The guy that invented these fish-bowls didn't provide for a sick stomach." "Hold tight, hell, let's move. We've got to find where those animals came from! And the only way to do that is to get the animals to come back!" "Come back? How?" "They're waiting, just outside the aura of our thoughts, and if we believe in them again, they'll return." Marnagan didn't like it. "Won't—won't they kill us—if they come—if we believe in 'em?" Hathaway shook a head that was tons heavy and weary. "Not if we believe in them to a certain point . Psychologically they can both be seen and felt. We only want to see them coming at us again." " Do we, now?" "With twenty minutes left, maybe less—" "All right, Click, let's bring 'em back. How do we do it?" Hathaway fought against the mist in his eyes. "Just think—I will see the monsters again. I will see them again and I will not feel them. Think it over and over." Marnagan's hulk stirred uneasily. "And—what if I forget to remember all that? What if I get excited...?" Hathaway didn't answer. But his eyes told the story by just looking at Irish. Marnagan cursed. "All right, lad. Let's have at it!" The monsters returned. A soundless deluge of them, pouring over the rubbled horizon, swarming in malevolent anticipation about the two men. "This way, Irish. They come from this way! There's a focal point, a sending station for these telepathic brutes. Come on!" Hathaway sludged into the pressing tide of color, mouths, contorted faces, silvery fat bodies misting as he plowed through them. Marnagan was making good progress ahead of Hathaway. But he stopped and raised his gun and made quick moves with it. "Click! This one here! It's real!" He fell back and something struck him down. His immense frame slammed against rock, noiselessly. Hathaway darted forward, flung his body over Marnagan's, covered the helmet glass with his hands, shouting: "Marnagan! Get a grip, dammit! It's not real—don't let it force into your mind! It's not real, I tell you!" "Click—" Marnagan's face was a bitter, tortured movement behind glass. "Click—" He was fighting hard. "I—I—sure now. Sure—" He smiled. "It—it's only a shanty fake!" "Keep saying it, Irish. Keep it up." Marnagan's thick lips opened. "It's only a fake," he said. And then, irritated, "Get the hell off me, Hathaway. Let me up to my feet!" Hathaway got up, shakily. The air in his helmet smelled stale, and little bubbles danced in his eyes. "Irish, you forget the monsters. Let me handle them, I know how. They might fool you again, you might forget." Marnagan showed his teeth. "Gah! Let a flea have all the fun? And besides, Click, I like to look at them. They're pretty." The outpour of animals came from a low lying mound a mile farther on. Evidently the telepathic source lay there. They approached it warily. "We'll be taking our chances on guard," hissed Irish. "I'll go ahead, draw their attention, maybe get captured. Then, you show up with your gun...." "I haven't got one." "We'll chance it, then. You stick here until I see what's ahead. They probably got scanners out. Let them see me—" And before Hathaway could object, Marnagan walked off. He walked about five hundred yards, bent down, applied his fingers to something, heaved up, and there was a door opening in the rock. His voice came back across the distance, into Click's earphones. "A door, an air-lock, Click. A tunnel leading down inside!" Then, Marnagan dropped into the tunnel, disappearing. Click heard the thud of his feet hitting the metal flooring. Click sucked in his breath, hard and fast. "All right, put 'em up!" a new harsh voice cried over a different radio. One of Gunther's guards. Three shots sizzled out, and Marnagan bellowed. The strange harsh voice said, "That's better. Don't try and pick that gun up now. Oh, so it's you. I thought Gunther had finished you off. How'd you get past the animals?" Click started running. He switched off his sending audio, kept his receiving on. Marnagan, weaponless. One guard. Click gasped. Things were getting dark. Had to have air. Air. Air. He ran and kept running and listening to Marnagan's lying voice: "I tied them pink elephants of Gunther's in neat alphabetical bundles and stacked them up to dry, ya louse!" Marnagan said. "But, damn you, they killed my partner before he had a chance!" The guard laughed. The air-lock door was still wide open when Click reached it, his head swimming darkly, his lungs crammed with pain-fire and hell-rockets. He let himself down in, quiet and soft. He didn't have a weapon. He didn't have a weapon. Oh, damn, damn! A tunnel curved, ending in light, and two men silhouetted in that yellow glare. Marnagan, backed against a wall, his helmet cracked, air hissing slowly out of it, his face turning blue. And the guard, a proton gun extended stiffly before him, also in a vac-suit. The guard had his profile toward Hathaway, his lips twisting: "I think I'll let you stand right there and die," he said quietly. "That what Gunther wanted, anway. A nice sordid death." Hathaway took three strides, his hands out in front of him. "Don't move!" he snapped. "I've got a weapon stronger than yours. One twitch and I'll blast you and the whole damned wall out from behind you! Freeze!" The guard whirled. He widened his sharp eyes, and reluctantly, dropped his gun to the floor. "Get his gun, Irish." Marnagan made as if to move, crumpled clumsily forward. Hathaway ran in, snatched up the gun, smirked at the guard. "Thanks for posing," he said. "That shot will go down in film history for candid acting." "What!" "Ah: ah! Keep your place. I've got a real gun now. Where's the door leading into the Base?" The guard moved his head sullenly over his left shoulder. Click was afraid he would show his weak dizziness. He needed air. "Okay. Drag Marnagan with you, open the door and we'll have air. Double time! Double!" Ten minutes later, Marnagan and Hathaway, fresh tanks of oxygen on their backs, Marnagan in a fresh bulger and helmet, trussed the guard, hid him in a huge trash receptacle. "Where he belongs," observed Irish tersely. They found themselves in a complete inner world; an asteroid nothing more than a honey-comb fortress sliding through the void unchallenged. Perfect front for a raider who had little equipment and was short-handed of men. Gunther simply waited for specific cargo ships to rocket by, pulled them or knocked them down and swarmed over them for cargo. The animals served simply to insure against suspicion and the swarms of tourists that filled the void these days. Small fry weren't wanted. They were scared off. The telepathic sending station for the animals was a great bank of intricate, glittering machine, through which strips of colored film with images slid into slots and machine mouths that translated them into thought-emanations. A damned neat piece of genius. "So here we are, still not much better off than we were," growled Irish. "We haven't a ship or a space-radio, and more guards'll turn up any moment. You think we could refocus this doohingey, project the monsters inside the asteroid to fool the pirates themselves?" "What good would that do?" Hathaway gnawed his lip. "They wouldn't fool the engineers who created them, you nut." Marnagan exhaled disgustedly. "Ah, if only the U.S. Cavalry would come riding over the hill—" "Irish!" Hathaway snapped that, his face lighting up. "Irish. The U.S. Cavalry it is!" His eyes darted over the machines. "Here. Help me. We'll stage everything on the most colossal raid of the century." Marnagan winced. "You breathing oxygen or whiskey?" "There's only one stipulation I make, Irish. I want a complete picture of Marnagan capturing Raider's Base. I want a picture of Gunther's face when you do it. Snap it, now, we've got rush work to do. How good an actor are you?" "That's a silly question." "You only have to do three things. Walk with your gun out in front of you, firing. That's number one. Number two is to clutch at your heart and fall down dead. Number three is to clutch at your side, fall down and twitch on the ground. Is that clear?" "Clear as the Coal Sack Nebula...." An hour later Hathaway trudged down a passageway that led out into a sort of city street inside the asteroid. There were about six streets, lined with cube houses in yellow metal, ending near Hathaway in a wide, green-lawned Plaza. Hathaway, weaponless, idly carrying his camera in one hand, walked across the Plaza as if he owned it. He was heading for a building that was pretentious enough to be Gunther's quarters. He got halfway there when he felt a gun in his back. He didn't resist. They took him straight ahead to his destination and pushed him into a room where Gunther sat. Hathaway looked at him. "So you're Gunther?" he said, calmly. The pirate was incredibly old, his bulging forehead stood out over sunken, questioningly dark eyes, and his scrawny body was lost in folds of metal-link cloth. He glanced up from a paper-file, surprised. Before he could speak, Hathaway said: "Everything's over with, Mr. Gunther. The Patrol is in the city now and we're capturing your Base. Don't try to fight. We've a thousand men against your eighty-five." Gunther sat there, blinking at Hathaway, not moving. His thin hands twitched in his lap. "You are bluffing," he said, finally, with a firm directness. "A ship hasn't landed here for an hour. Your ship was the last. Two people were on it. The last I saw of them they were being pursued to the death by the Beasts. One of you escaped, it seemed." "Both. The other guy went after the Patrol." "Impossible!" "I can't respect your opinion, Mr. Gunther." A shouting rose from the Plaza. About fifty of Gunther's men, lounging on carved benches during their time-off, stirred to their feet and started yelling. Gunther turned slowly to the huge window in one side of his office. He stared, hard. The Patrol was coming! Across the Plaza, marching quietly and decisively, came the Patrol. Five hundred Patrolmen in one long, incredible line, carrying paralysis guns with them in their tight hands. Gunther babbled like a child, his voice a shrill dagger in the air. "Get out there, you men! Throw them back! We're outnumbered!" Guns flared. But the Patrol came on. Gunther's men didn't run, Hathaway had to credit them on that. They took it, standing. Hathaway chuckled inside, deep. What a sweet, sweet shot this was. His camera whirred, clicked and whirred again. Nobody stopped him from filming it. Everything was too wild, hot and angry. Gunther was throwing a fit, still seated at his desk, unable to move because of his fragile, bony legs and their atrophied state. Some of the Patrol were killed. Hathaway chuckled again as he saw three of the Patrolmen clutch at their hearts, crumple, lie on the ground and twitch. God, what photography! Gunther raged, and swept a small pistol from his linked corselet. He fired wildly until Hathaway hit him over the head with a paper-weight. Then Hathaway took a picture of Gunther slumped at his desk, the chaos taking place immediately outside his window. The pirates broke and fled, those that were left. A mere handful. And out of the chaos came Marnagan's voice, "Here!" One of the Patrolmen stopped firing, and ran toward Click and the Building. He got inside. "Did you see them run, Click boy? What an idea. How did we do?" "Fine, Irish. Fine!" "So here's Gunther, the spalpeen! Gunther, the little dried up pirate, eh?" Marnagan whacked Hathaway on the back. "I'll have to hand it to you, this is the best plan o' battle ever laid out. And proud I was to fight with such splendid men as these—" He gestured toward the Plaza. Click laughed with him. "You should be proud. Five hundred Patrolmen with hair like red banners flying, with thick Irish brogues and broad shoulders and freckles and blue eyes and a body as tall as your stories!" Marnagan roared. "I always said, I said—if ever there could be an army of Marnagans, we could lick the whole damn uneeverse! Did you photograph it, Click?" "I did." Hathaway tapped his camera happily. "Ah, then, won't that be a scoop for you, boy? Money from the Patrol so they can use the film as instruction in Classes and money from Cosmic Films for the news-reel headlines! And what a scene, and what acting! Five hundred duplicates of Steve Marnagan, broadcast telepathically into the minds of the pirates, walking across a Plaza, capturing the whole she-bang! How did you like my death-scenes?" "You're a ham. And anyway—five hundred duplicates, nothing!" said Click. He ripped the film-spool from the camera, spread it in the air to develop, inserted it in the micro-viewer. "Have a look—" Marnagan looked. "Ah, now. Ah, now," he said over and over. "There's the Plaza, and there's Gunther's men fighting and then they're turning and running. And what are they running from? One man! Me. Irish Marnagan! Walking all by myself across the lawn, paralyzing them. One against a hundred, and the cowards running from me! "Sure, Click, this is better than I thought. I forgot that the film wouldn't register telepathic emanations, them other Marnagans. It makes it look like I'm a mighty brave man, does it not? It does. Ah, look—look at me, Hathaway, I'm enjoying every minute of it, I am." Hathaway swatted him on his back-side. "Look here, you egocentric son of Erin, there's more work to be done. More pirates to be captured. The Patrol is still marching around and someone might be suspicious if they looked too close and saw all that red hair." "All right, Click, we'll clean up the rest of them now. We're a combination, we two, we are. I take it all back about your pictures, Click, if you hadn't thought of taking pictures of me and inserting it into those telepath machines we'd be dead ducks now. Well—here I go...." Hathaway stopped him. "Hold it. Until I load my camera again." Irish grinned. "Hurry it up. Here come three guards. They're unarmed. I think I'll handle them with me fists for a change. The gentle art of uppercuts. Are you ready, Hathaway?" "Ready." Marnagan lifted his big ham-fists. The camera whirred. Hathaway chuckled, to himself. What a sweet fade-out this was!
[ { "question_text": "What is the plot of the story?", "question_number": 1, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "7", "uid": "2395af6d550e4c6b9137b6d7a2e785d1", "response_text": "“Click” Hathaway, a photographer, is on a spaceship with “Irish” Marnagan, the ship’s pilot, as the ship is hit by a meteor and crashes\n\nAfter the crash, Hathaway jokes about getting a shot of Marnagan emerging from the wreckage, which Marnagan takes offense to, pointing out he could have been dead; Hathaway says he took it for granted that Marnagan would survive. Marnagan states that they could walk the entire diameter of the planet they are on in four hours, but Hathaway points out that he has only an hour of oxygen. Hathaway states that he has photo evidence that the meteor that hit their ship was thrown at them, probably by Gunther, the person Marnagan is trying to capture, but Marnagan redirects their priorities to oxygen, food, and a way back to earth.\n\nAs they walk in search of help, they notice that there is human-made gravity on the planet. Immediately after making that discovery, they encounter an enormous herd of dangerous beasts. When Marnagan discovers his gun is ineffective as a weapon, they flee to a nearby cave for protection, as the cave is too small for the beasts to enter.\n\nMarnagan asks Hathaway to take a picture of him with the beasts. Hathaway snaps several pictures of Marnagan posing at a safe distance. Hathaway then says that between the “natural” meteors, gravity, and beasts, their crash will look accidental rather than like murder. He shows Marnagan the pictures he shot, intending to use the beasts as part of his argument, but Marnagan protests that his film is “lousy” as only Marnagan, appears in the shots and not the beasts. When Hathaway confirms this is so, he is insistent that the film cannot lie. If the beasts do not appear in the photos, they don’t exist.\n\nWhen they emerge from the cave and the animals are gone, the men are at first elated. Hathaway quickly realizes, though, that with their oxygen running low and limiting the time they have to find Gunther’s base and fresh oxygen, they must get the beasts to return so that they can follow the beasts to their source--Gunther’s base.\n\nThe men concentrate on the beasts and the beasts reappear; Hathaway and Marnagan locate a source point and head toward it. Marnagan believes he is being attacked by a beast, but when Hathaway reminds him the monsters are fake, Marnagan is able to resist the telepathic message. Marnagan enters the cave where it appears the animals are coming from and finds an air-lock door and a tunnel before he is captured by a guard. He tells the guard his partner is dead.\n\nHathaway creeps in through the air-lock door to see Marnagan held at gunpoint. Hathaway fools the guard into believing he is armed, takes his gun, and gets the guard to guide him and Marnagan to oxygen. They then use photos of Marnagan, inserted in the telepath machines, to take over Gunther’s fortress and capture him. The story ends with Hathaway taking a triumphant posed picture of Marnagan." }, { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "153a03df0ed44556a2718fcde88a092d", "response_text": "Click Hathaway and Irish Marnagan are on patrol, looking for the space pirate Gunther that no one has ever seen before. Marnagan is an Interplanetary Patrolman from Luna Base who hired Hathaway to travel with him and film the pirate's capture. He wants to use the film footage to teach Junior Patrolmen how to get out of difficult situations. While Hathaway is filming, a meteor strikes their spaceship, knocking it down to an asteroid. The ship splits open, so there is no way for them to leave the asteroid. They both have 60 minutes of oxygen remaining. At first, they think the meteor was an accident, but then Hathaway remembers that it was red-hot and glowing before it struck them, and he knows that meteors in space are never glowing hot. Hathaway is convinced that Gunther lobbed the meteor at them to make them crash. As they begin walking on the surface of the meteor, they notice a change in the gravity in one place and realize that they have stumbled upon Gunther’s hideout. Then a horde of monsters comes charging at them, making Hathaway and Marnagan run for their lives and hide in a small cave. Marnagan fires his gun at the beasts, but it does not affect them.\n\nMarnagan has Hathaway film him facing the beasts. Hathaway has invented a film that develops itself when exposed to light. He pulls the film out of his camera for them to view, and both are surprised to find that the monsters are not on it. Hathaway thinks that the monsters are not real since they do not show up on the film. He believes they have just been tricked into thinking they are real. Marnagan agrees and decides to walk out among the monsters. When he does, the monsters disappear. Hathaway says that the monsters are still dangerous because as long as people think they are real, they might be frightened to death or commit suicide to avoid being caught by them. He also concludes that if they believe the monsters are real, they will return. \n\nBoth men say they believe in the monsters to draw them out again so that they can see where they come from. They find the opening to the hideout, and Marnagan goes in first since he has a gun, but a guard catches him. Hathaway hears the guard over the audio system and sneaks up on the guard and threatens him to make him throw down his weapon. Marnagan and Hathaway find the telepathic station from which the images of the monsters are sent. Hathaway feeds his film into the telepathic station. When he confronts Gunther, the telepathic station shows an image of 500 Interplanetary Patrolmen marching toward them, but it’s really just Marnagan and 499 images of him. The guards run away as Hathaway films them. Since the film won’t record the telepathic images, it will look like Marnagan singlehandedly fought off all of Gunther’s guards.\n" }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "3dfed7031f5b4c62959b5086d1ef742d", "response_text": "Click Hathaway has been hired to document the journey that “Irish” Marnagan has embarked upon to kill Gunther, a space pirate. Their ship is struck by meteors and lands on an asteroid, where they begin to realize they are being manipulated by someone, most likely Gunther himself. They notice that someone has created a “super-gravity” setup that pulled their ship down, and after being chased into a cave by monstrous beasts they realize via Hathaway’s self-developing film that the creatures only exist in their minds. Once they figure this out they are able to follow the monsters to their source: Gunther’s fortress inside the asteroid. \n\nMarnagan enters first and is caught by a guard, and tells the guard that his partner is already dead while Hathaway sneaks in. They capture and truss up the guard and replace their oxygen tanks before heading into the fortress proper. They piece together how Gunther has been pulling in ships (including their own) to steal their cargo, and using the telepathic creatures to scare off tourists and inadvertent travelers. They find the machine used to create the creatures and concoct a plan. \n\nHathaway walks toward what he presumes to be Gunther’s residence and allows himself to be captured. He is brought to Gunther, who calls his bluff when Hathaway tells him that patrols have arrived. They hear screams from the plaza and look out to see a line of five-hundred patrolmen. Gunther orders his troops to hold the patrolmen back and they stay to fight, but are vastly outnumbered and easily defeated by the patrolmen. During the battle, Gunther starts shooting a pistol wildly and Hathaway knocks him out with a paperweight before Marnagan enters the building. \n\nWe learn that the line of patrolmen was made up of duplicates of Marnagan created by the telepathic sending station that created the monsters. As the story closes, Marnagan is tracking down the remaining pirates while Hathaway follows him to get some great footage. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "47412f6b40dd4c80b8cf86f81ecf6885", "response_text": "Interplanetary Patrolman Irish Marnagan and photographer Click Hathaway are on a mission to apprehend a space pirate named Gunther, when a meteor hits their ship, and they crash-land. Marnagan had hired Click to document his capture of Gunther as an educational video for Junior Patrolmen. Click realizes they have an hour left in their oxygen supplies, so they set about to find food, air, and a way to return to Earth. Click suspects the crash was engineered by Gunther himself. As they walk along the meteor, they begin to realize gravity behaves strangely there, and Click wonders if that, too, has been engineered by Gunther. Before he can think on this too deeply, they encounter a horde of monsters of all shapes and sizes coming for them over a hill. Marnagan shoots at them, but they are immune to his shots. Marnagan and Click hide in a nearby cave to hatch a plan. Marnagan poses for some pictures pretending to battle the monsters. Click posits a theory that the strange gravity and meteor attack they’d encountered earlier was Gunther’s way of crashing ships on his asteroid—an effective weapon in an age with primitive space-battle weaponry and a good way to gather supplies while being short on crew. The monsters had been sent to finish the job. When they sit down to examine Click’s footage, they see that there are no monsters in any of the shots. This leads Click to develop another theory—if the monsters weren’t really there, then neither were they! Marnagan tests his theory by walking out of the cave into the middle of the monsters. Because he believes they do not exist, they vanish completely, and the two men realize Gunther’s plan to scare to death anyone who might happen upon his asteroid. At the same time, they are running out of oxygen, and Click says they must bring the monsters back in order to follow them back to Gunther’s base. They bring them back by believing in them, but protect themselves by not being afraid of them. They fight their way through the fake monsters until Marnagan discovers a door leading to a tunnel, and he drops into it. A guard stops Marnagan, and Click uses his camera as a fake weapon to trick the guard into dropping his weapon. After procuring oxygen tanks, Click and Marnagan discover the telepathic sending station from which Gunther transmitted the monster images to ward off visitors. Click has the idea to use this technology to their advantage and trick Gunther and his men into believing the entire Patrol has come to the asteroid. Marnagan stays behind to imitate the 500-man Patrol, while Click goes to Gunther’s hideout to film the fake Patrol’s attack. Marnagan’s fake Patrol defeats Gunther’s men, Click disables Gunther, and Marnagan realizes that Click’s film portrays him as a hero (the film did not capture the telepathically-induced Patrol—only Marnagan storming their ranks). Marnagan gets his educational video, and Click gets his news headline." } ] }, { "question_text": "What is the significance of Hathaway’s profession in the story?", "question_number": 2, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "7", "uid": "2395af6d550e4c6b9137b6d7a2e785d1", "response_text": "Hathaway’s photography is the reason he is initially selected to go along on the mission to capture the outlaw Gunther. Unlike the character Marnagan, who is repeatedly described as physically very large and strong, Hathaway is not on the mission for his physical prowess, but is there to document Marnagan’s capture of Gunther for training of Junior Patrolmen in the future Hathaway has also invented self-developing film which seems like a cross between Polaroid pictures and a digital camera, as it has to be put into a micro-viewer at the camera’s base to be seen. This film allows Hathaway and Marnagan, the active partner on the mission, to view Hathaway’s pictures immediately and notice the absence of beasts from Hathaway’s pictures. This allows for the revelation that the beasts are telepathic projections into the men’s minds and sets up the final “battle” in the story, in which telepathic projections of Marnagan, created by the same projectors that created the beasts, along with photos from Hathaway’s film, defeat Gunther’s guards and enable Hathaway and Marnagan to capture Gunther. While nothing could have been accomplished without Marnagan, Hathaway’s photography is essential to the successful completion of the mission.\n" }, { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "153a03df0ed44556a2718fcde88a092d", "response_text": "Hathaway is a filmmaker and has been hired by Marnagan to accompany him on his trip to try to track down the pirate Gunther. Marnagan wants the encounter on film so that it can be used to train Junior Patrolmen. Throughout the story, Hathaway films several incidents that prove to be useful later. He is filming the meteor when it strikes their spaceship, and by reviewing the footage, he realizes that the meteor is glowing hot, which is never the case with meteors in space, and concludes that it must have been aimed at them. After he films the monsters and reviews his film, he realizes that the monsters are not real, which enables Marnagan and Hathaway to exit the cave where they are hiding. Later, when a guard has Marnagan, Hathaway holds his camera out like a weapon to make the guard drop his gun. Hathaway’s profession also helps him think of a way to use the telepathic station against Gunther’s guards when he films Marnagan in various movements and then feeds his film into the machine to become thought emanations. The images make the guards believe that 500 Interplanetary Patrolmen are on the asteroid and marching toward them. The guards panic and run because they think they are outnumbered." }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "3dfed7031f5b4c62959b5086d1ef742d", "response_text": "Click Hathaway is a photographer, which is very significant to the story for several reasons. First, it is the reason he is on the voyage, having been hired by Marnagan to document his takedown of Gunther. Even more importantly, however, it is Hathaway’s constant photo taking combined with his use of the self-developing film he invented that reverses the fortunes of Click and Irish and allows them to succeed. After they try to distract themselves from their terror by taking a fun photo montage of Marnagan and the monsters hunting them, Hathaway realizes that the monsters don’t show up on the photos and surmises that they aren’t real, which allows them to enact their plan. After they trick Gunther and his forces, Hathaway continues to document Marnagan as he gleefully takes out the pirates. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "47412f6b40dd4c80b8cf86f81ecf6885", "response_text": "Click Hathaway is a photography and filmmaker with Cosmic Films, responsible for making news reels. He is commissioned by Marnagan to accompany him on his mission to apprehend the space pirate Gunther. Click takes a variety of shots of Marnagan at key points throughout their journey—from the time they are hit by Gunther’s rogue meteor to when they take refuge from the pursuant monsters in a cave and making their plan. Click’s purpose is to help Marnagan make an educational video he can use to train those in the Junior Patrol on how to handle difficult situations. For his own purposes, Click would like an exciting news reel to show Cosmic Films and hopefully boost his career. After Click deduces the monsters are a telepathic construction of some device of Gunther’s creation, he and Marnagan are able to use this knowledge to penetrate Gunther’s hideout and use the technology against his men by making them believe Marnagan is the 500-men Patrol coming to defeat them. Click uses this great battle to make an exciting news reel, which in turn gives Marnagan the footage he needs to make his educational video." } ] }, { "question_text": "What is the relationship between Hathaway and Marnagan in the story?", "question_number": 3, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "7", "uid": "2395af6d550e4c6b9137b6d7a2e785d1", "response_text": "Despite their clear differences, Hathaway and Marnagan are a solid team who work well together and depend on each other. We first see this in the opening scene of the story where Hathaway is physically clinging to Marnagan in his distress during the crash sequence. After the crash, Hathaway is more concerned with taking photos of Marnagan emerging from the crash than helping him emerge from the rubble, not because he doesn’t care about his companion, but because he sees his companion as so strong, it doesn’t occur to him to be concerned for his physical safety. This points to one of their key differences--while Marnagan is immediately concerned for Hathaway’s safety and assumes Hathaway would reciprocate, Hathaway sees Marnagan as much stronger than himself, nearly invulnerable.\n\nWe see Hathaway and Marnagan’s collaborative relationship continue when they are faced with the beasts. They are both afraid; Hathaway is the first to spot the secure hiding place of the cave and hails Marnagan to run there. Marnagan then proposes that he pose “with” the beasts--standing at a safe distance with them in the background--and Hathaway agrees. They continue to argue about what to do while Hathaway develops the film as part of his argument. When Hathaway presents the developed film as evidence, Marnagan teases him about his invention being “lousy”, as only he (Marnagan) shows in the photos, but the monsters do not. This joke sets up Hathaway’s realization that the beasts are telepathic projections rather than physical beings, leading the men to debate which of them will lead the hunt for oxygen. While Hathaway knows his partner is physically stronger and he is already suffering from oxygen deprivation, he doesn’t want to risk Marnagan’s safety if his deduction proves wrong. Marnagan, however, shows his trust in Hathaway by insisting that he (Marnagan) lead, confident that if Hathaway says the monsters aren’t there, they are indeed not.\n\nWhen Marnagan briefly succumbs to the telepathic illusion of the beasts, Hathaway is able to talk him down. Just by listening to Hathaway’s words, Marnagan is able to convince himself again that the beasts are not real. Marnagan then convinces the guard he encounters that Hathaway died in the ship crash, allowing Hathaway to sneak in, capture the guard, and get both the men oxygen. They use their teamwork in a last instance to defeat the principal antagonist of the story, Gunther. Hathaway is captured by more of Gunther’s guards and taken to him, but is already prepared. He shows Gunther that Gunther’s men are being overwhelmed and defeated by five hundred armed Patrol men, causing Gunther to pull out a weapon and fire wildly until Hathaway knocks him unconscious. We then are told that the “five hundred Patrol men” are telepathic illusions of Marnagan projected by the same projectors that created the images of the beasts, supplied with photos of Marnagan shot by Hathaway. Once again their teamwork proves crucial to the success of the mission.\n" }, { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "153a03df0ed44556a2718fcde88a092d", "response_text": "Marnagan hired Hathaway to film his search for the elusive pirate Gunther. Marnagan plans to use the film to train Junior Patrolmen how to get out of a difficult situation. The two men are also friends who joke with each other. When Marnagan points out that he could have been killed in the crash, Hathaway frowns and turns pale. When Hathaway first speculates that Gunther caused the meteor to hit their spaceship, Marnagan isn’t convinced that is true, but as they begin making discoveries about the asteroid’s gravity and monsters, Marnagan trusts Hathaway’s theories enough to leave the cave and walk among the monsters. When Marnagan returns unscathed, Hathaway breaks down in tears of relief to see that he is safe. Later, when a guard is holding Marnagan at gunpoint, Hathaway risks his life to save Marnagan by using his camera as a pretend weapon to take the guard’s weapon. He then forces the guard to drag Marnagan, unconscious from lack of oxygen, to get a replacement oxygen tank. The two men also compliment each other when they defeat Gunther and his men." }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "3dfed7031f5b4c62959b5086d1ef742d", "response_text": "At the beginning of the story, Hathaway and Marnagan are colleagues; Marnagan has hired Hathaway to document his mission to hunt down Gunther. As the story goes on, they become very dependent on one another in order to survive. They both try to put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect the other (Hathaway wanting to leave the cave first in case the monsters are real, Marnagan telling the guard that the monsters already killed his partner, etc.) multiple times and value the contributions the other makes to their plans. The events of the story bring them much closer, and they effectively save each other’s lives. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "47412f6b40dd4c80b8cf86f81ecf6885", "response_text": "Marnagan has contracted Click Hathaway’s talents as a photographer and filmmaker to help him produce a video he can use to train the Junior Patrolmen how to handle difficult situations they may face. Together, they seek out Gunther the space pirate and Click documents the journey. Their relationship is mutually beneficial—Marnagan is the brawn, and Click is the brain. They work together to escape the monsters, and, ultimately, to defeat Gunther and his men and procure the footage both of them want for their individual purposes. Throughout the story, both characters engage in witty retorts to one another, but they always show each other respect and a commitment to get through the trying ordeal to survive." } ] }, { "question_text": "What is the significance of the crash of Hathaway and Marnagan’s ship in the opening scene for the rest of the story?", "question_number": 4, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "7", "uid": "2395af6d550e4c6b9137b6d7a2e785d1", "response_text": "The crash of Hathaway and Marnagan’s ship is the precipitating event for the events that follow, but it is also more than that. Hathaway states shortly after the crash that the meteor that hit their ship was deliberately aimed at them with force, based on it being “hot and glowing” at the time of the collision. Hathaway hypothesizes at that time that Gunther, the man Marnagan is trying to capture on their mission, had engineered the crash. A short time later, when walking along the surface of the planet, Hathaway notices sudden weight loss. After he and Marnagan test it and confirm that it really happened, they conclude that their ship was not only hit by a meteor, it was dragged down to the planet by an unnatural amount of gravity, more than the planet is generating. They then meet horrifying, dangerous monsters, but these are revealed in short order to be telepathic projections. They are able to dispel the images of the monsters by their own belief that the monsters are not really there, then summon them back by imagining that they are there, but that the monsters cannot harm them. In this way, the monsters lead them to Gunther, who is captured when Marnagan and Hathaway use the telepathic projectors that generated the “monster” images to generate hundreds of images of Marnagan, making it appear that there is an army ready to take over Gunther’s base and capture or kill all his men. All of this flows from the initial crash engineered by Gunther with the propelled meteor and the area of super-gravity that pulled the ship down to the planet. Gunther hoped to make the ship disappear and Marnagan and Hathaway along with it. Instead, they crashed on the single planet where they could find him and had to take on an immediate quest to search for him in order to survive, as they had limited oxygen and needed to find the only other humans on the planet in order to replenish their supply." }, { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "153a03df0ed44556a2718fcde88a092d", "response_text": "The crash in the opening scene sets up the conflict with Gunther in the climax of the story. Gunther is responsible for the meteor that strikes the spaceship and makes it crash on the asteroid. He is also responsible for the monsters that first terrify Hathaway and Marnagan and that later lead the men to his hideout inside the asteroid. Hathaway speculates that Gunther crashes or pulls ships onto his asteroid. Gunther is short on men, and space weapons are inaccurate, so he uses super-gravity to crash the ships. The people die from a lack of air or food or their injuries from the crash. Since there are no signs of weapons, if the Patrol ever shows up, it looks like the people died of accidental deaths rather than murder. The crash makes it possible for Marnagan to finally reach Gunter, a space pirate that no one has ever seen before." }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "3dfed7031f5b4c62959b5086d1ef742d", "response_text": "The crash of Hathaway’s and Marnagan’s ship in the opening scene of the story is significant both because it brings them to the asteroid where Gunther is hiding, and because it helps them figure out how Gunther is stealing cargo. Their ship is brought down at great speed by meteorites that Gunther and his troops launch at it, and then pulled in by a super-gravity situation they have set up. Hathaway and Marnagan realize the gravity is at play when they seem to lose weight as they get further from the ship. Their own ship wreck experience points them toward discovering how to get to Gunther. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "47412f6b40dd4c80b8cf86f81ecf6885", "response_text": "The crash at the beginning of the story is perpetuated by a meteor that Click later determines was sent as a projectile by Gunther himself. He presumes this was done in conjunction with the artificial gravity of the asteroid base in order to fell cargo ships to gather supplies for Gunther and his limited crew of fellow pirates. This crash sets in motion the action that forces Marnagan and Click to confront the monsters, whom Click soon realizes are telepathically imposed and not real at all. Because of this encounter with the monsters, Click discovers a way to defeat Gunther and his forces while dealing with limited resources and using his own technology against him. The crash also provides a dramatic moment in Click’s film." } ] }, { "question_text": "What is the significance of the telepathic projectors in the story?", "question_number": 5, "responses": [ { "worker_id": "7", "uid": "2395af6d550e4c6b9137b6d7a2e785d1", "response_text": "Telepathy plays an interesting role in this story. Rather than telepathy being used by one character to discern the thoughts of another character, as is often the case, we instead have machines creating telepathic projections. It is fitting, then, that since machines are creating the telepathic projections, a machine can also defeat them. The camera does not \"see\" through interpreting images or trying to understand them. It only records light and shadow. For this reason, it remains unaffected by telepathy--it can only record what is there, not what is projected into the mind.\n\nHathaway and Marnagan become trapped in a small cave by what they believe are dangerous wild beasts. Marnagan asks Hathaway to take his pictures as Marnagan poses against the backdrop of the beasts. When Marnagan looks at the photos and complains that the beasts do not appear, Hathaway realizes that the beasts are not physically real, but only telepathic projections in the men's minds. He and Marnagan are then able to dismiss the beasts and bring them back at will in order to let the projections lead them to their source.\n\nTelepathy plays a significant role again when Hathaway and Marnagan formulate a plan to capture Gunther, the person Marnagan is on a mission to capture and the man that caused their crash. While the two of them could easily overpower Gunther if he were alone, there are at least fifty guards with him at his base. Hathaway realizes they can photograph Marnagan in poses as though he's taking over the base and use those images in the telepathic projector against the guards and Gunther. The telepathic projector turns one Marnagan into five hundred, allowing the two men to easily capture the base and Gunther while the guards flee. The guards are likely aware of the telepathic projectors, but do not suspect that Hathaway and Marnagan have managed to turn the projectors to their own ends. By using the projectors, Hathaway and Marnagan are able to turn a very dangerous situation into an easy victory. " }, { "worker_id": "2", "uid": "153a03df0ed44556a2718fcde88a092d", "response_text": "The telepathic projectors create the illusion that the asteroid is populated with a horde of hideous monsters. This impression frightens people whose spaceships crash onto the asteroid so that they will be too afraid to search for the hideout of Gunther and his guards. Hathaway realizes that the monsters are simply images that disappear when people no longer believe they are real when he examines his film of Marnagan with the monsters in the background. When he reviews his film, only Marnagan is visible, so Hathaway realizes that the monsters are not real. Gunther’s telepathic projectors protect him and his men; he needs this added protection because he only has a few men, and Gunther himself is old and crippled, unable to defend himself or move on his own. Just as the telepathic projectors give him protection, they are also his undoing at the end of the story when Hathaway and Marnagan use the projectors against him. They feed in a film that makes it look like 500 Interplanetary Patrolmen are marching toward Gunter’s headquarters, but in reality, it’s only Marnagan with his image reproduced 499 times. Also, Hathaway and Marnagan are able to trick the projector into producing the monsters again to discover where they are coming from. This leads them to find Gunther’s lair where they defeat him." }, { "worker_id": "9", "uid": "3dfed7031f5b4c62959b5086d1ef742d", "response_text": "The crash of Hathaway’s and Marnagan’s ship in the opening scene of the story is significant both because it brings them to the asteroid where Gunther is hiding, and because it helps them figure out how Gunther is stealing cargo. Their ship is brought down at great speed by meteorites that Gunther and his troops launch at it, and then pulled in by a super-gravity situation they have set up. Hathaway and Marnagan realize the gravity is at play when they seem to lose weight as they get further from the ship. Their own ship wreck experience points them toward discovering how to get to Gunther. \n" }, { "worker_id": "8", "uid": "47412f6b40dd4c80b8cf86f81ecf6885", "response_text": "The telepathic projectors are Marnagan’s and Click’s most important discovery in the story. They are the source of the monsters that had previously pursued the two after crash-landing on the asteroid. After realizing the monsters are fake, Click proposes that they can push through their ranks by simply disbelieving in their ability to harm them. This turns out to be true, and they are able to make their way to Gunther’s hideaway, where they find oxygen tanks to support them in their next steps. By commandeering use of the projectors for their own purposes, Marnagan and Click are able to trick Gunther’s men into believing Marnagan is the 500-men Patrol come to capture Gunther and defeat his ranks. Marnagan does his best acting like the men, and their images are projected telepathically into the minds of Gunther’s men, who are subsequently defeated. In turn, this provides the footage that both Marnagan and Click desired when they initially began their quest." } ] } ]
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"QUEST OF THIG\n \n\n By BASIL WELLS\n \n \n Thig of Ortha was the vanguard of the conquering \"HORD(...TRUNCATED)
[{"question_text":"What is the plot of the story?","question_number":1,"responses":[{"worker_id":"9"(...TRUNCATED)
{"passage_id":"62324","uid":"208ff03739df490dac3926ffd34d8b78","license":"This eBook is for the use (...TRUNCATED)
"\n\n\n\nProduced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online\nDistributed Proofreading Team at http:/(...TRUNCATED)
[{"question_text":"What is the plot of the story?","question_number":1,"responses":[{"worker_id":"1"(...TRUNCATED)
{"passage_id":"61007","uid":"26978d33590c4f7187331a3cc21e1861","license":"This eBook is for the use (...TRUNCATED)
[{"question_text":"What is the plot of the story?","question_number":1,"responses":[{"worker_id":"5"(...TRUNCATED)
{"passage_id":"49165","uid":"0b5c035a14a84470a4129c9e1fd3f2ec","license":"This eBook is for the use (...TRUNCATED)
"Brightside Crossing\n \n by Alan E. Nourse\n \n JAMES BARON was not pleased to hear that he had had(...TRUNCATED)
[{"question_text":"What is the plot of the story?","question_number":1,"responses":[{"worker_id":"6"(...TRUNCATED)
{"passage_id":"63442","uid":"a74c53a7a8654bda889a2f27e01c8b04","license":"This eBook is for the use (...TRUNCATED)
"\n\n\n\nProduced by Greg Weeks, Mary Meehan and the Online\nDistributed Proofreading Team at http:/(...TRUNCATED)
[{"question_text":"What is the plot of the story?","question_number":1,"responses":[{"worker_id":"10(...TRUNCATED)

SQuALITY - v1.3

Original paper here

This is v1.3, the 'text' edition .jsonl files. See description from the original repo:

v1.3 fixes some bugs in v1.2. In v1.2, 10 out of 127 articles (each ~5k-word-long) are missing a few hundreds words each, so summaries may not be fully contained in the article. To fix this issue, we have updated the 10 articles.


again, this is taken from the repo

Each data file ({train/dev/test}.jsonl) is formatted as a JSON lines file. Each row in the data file is a JSON dictionary with the following fields:

  • metadata: the Gutenberg story ID, an internal UID, and the Project Gutenberg license
  • document: the Gutenberg story questions: a list of questions and accompanying responses
    • question text
    • question number: the order in which that question was answered by the writers
    • responses: list of worker's response, where each response is a dictionary containing the (anonymized) worker ID, an internal UID, and their response to the question

dataset contents

    train: Dataset({
        features: ['metadata', 'document', 'questions'],
        num_rows: 50
    test: Dataset({
        features: ['metadata', 'document', 'questions'],
        num_rows: 52
    validation: Dataset({
        features: ['metadata', 'document', 'questions'],
        num_rows: 25
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