By V. E. Thiessen (Valor E. Thiessen, 1917-2005).
First appearance: Planet Stories, Fall 1947.
Short short story (8 pages).
Online at SFFAudio HERE.
"What was Sam Knox up to now—drifting helplessly in a tiny eggshell across black oceans of space with two weeks' grub? Was this the way the great man-hunter deftly snagged his prey?"Sam Knox may not officially be a Mountie but he's determined, come what may, to catch a certain fugitive from justice, even out here in the Asteroid Belt millions of miles from home, among a clannish group of asteroid miners who dispense quick and sharp justice; one of them, though, is a thief and murderer cunning enough to frame Sam for his own crimes. In order to clear himself and nail the criminal, Sam will have to resort to a desperate gamble that, if it doesn't work, will result in his own execution.
~ Nancy Rorke of the asteroid mining ship Fleetblast:
"Sam looked at her, this slip of a girl who was undertaking a man's work. For all her courage she was still a woman, slim and lissome. She was not too tall, rounded sweetly, and well-formed. Under Sam's gaze she lifted her eyes to his, eyes as brown as new-plowed soil."
~ Sam Knox of the Department of Terran Justice and captain of the Wanderer:
". . . in his hunt for men a hundred women had tried to deceive him, so that he set his mind against this weakness, and looked away across the room."
~ Timas Rorke, captain of the Fleetblast and Nancy's father:
"There was a faint trace of Irish blood in him, responsible perhaps for the red hair of his daughter. He lay back in bed, complaining at the foolishness that had put him there."
~ Ned Hawkins of the Aeries:
"A young man came from the lock with her. He was dark and saturnine. His glance viewed Sam with open suspicion."
~ Pell, head of the Order of Miners:
"I know from my own experience that the mind-probe is worthless. I was convicted once by a mind-probe trial."
Typos: "that important penicillin derivitive"; "when he though of Nancy Rorke."
- You can find an obit for V. E. Thiessen on The Oklahoman website HERE; a true pulpster, he wrote at least five dozen genre stories: mysteries, Westerns, romances, and SF (see the ISFDb HERE).
The bottom line: "Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid."
— Mark Twain