He was what was called an invalid, the last twenty years of his life. He was always attended by two male nurses about the size of Otto Harkaman. He was also said to be slightly eccentric." The unfortunate grandfather of Duke Angus had always been a subject nice people avoided. The unfortunate grandfather of King Angus was probably a subject everybody who valued their necks avoided.
I talked to all of them. None of them can pin me down to anything, but they think we're going to heave Spasso out of command and appoint one of them, and each one thinks he'll be it. I don't know how long that'll last, it's a string-and-tape job like the one we're having to do on the ship. It'll hold till we get something better." "We'll have to get rid of Spasso," Harkaman agreed.
It was a year and a half old when you got it, though. How long have you been here on Tanith?" "About a thousand hours." Harkaman clucked sadly at that. "Pity you wasted all that time. Well, it was nice talking to you, Boake. Say hello to Garvan for me when he comes up." "You mean you're not staying?"
Harkaman was right; anything that could happen in a human society had already happened, in one form or another, somewhere and at some time. Hitler could help him understand Zaspar Makann.
"Corporate State, First Century Pre-Atomic on Terra. Benny the Moose," Harkaman said. "Let's all go down and talk to them." When they were sure that the public had been warned to make no resistance, the Nemesis went down to two miles, bulking over the center of the city.
I'd like to see how they shape up in combat, before we space out. I can have them ready for action in two hours, and it'd be all over before midnight." "No, Captain Harkaman; his Grace would never permit it," Grauffis vetoed. "You have no idea of the political harm that would do among the independent lords on whom we're counting for support.
"Oh, good, that sounds like a dictatorship," Harkaman was saying. "Grab the dictator and shove a pistol in his face and you have everything." "There is nothing to discuss. Get somebody who has authority to surrender the city to us. If this is not done within the hour, the city and everybody in it will be obliterated."
But now, there isn't going to be any Tanith base, and they have a no-good planet and they're stuck with it." "Can't they make anything out of it themselves?" "Like what?" Harkaman hooted. "They have no equipment, and they have no men. Not for a job like that. The only thing they can do is space out and forget it." "We could sell them equipment." "We could if they had anything to use for money.
"I call it chicken-stealing, and so'll you before we get back to Tanith. If you live that long." For a moment, Spasso was still affronted. Then, temporarily, his vulpine face showed avaricious hope, and then apprehension. Evidently he knew Otto Harkaman's reputation, and some of the things Harkaman had done weren't his idea of an easy way to make money.
"'In the old times, there were sorcerers. They built the old buildings by wizard arts. Then the sorcerers fought among themselves and went away," Harkaman said. "That's all they know about it." You could make any kind of an explanation out of that. As the pinnaces pulled and nudged the Nemesis down to her berth, he could see people, far down on the spaceport floor, at work.