Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"If One of You Moves Toward the Medicine Cabinet, As God Is in Heaven, I'll Ray You Down"

"Asteroid Justice."
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.
Main characters:
~ 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

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