The Hard Way Up: A John Grimes Rim Novel [Secure eReader]
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eBook by A. Bertram Chandler
eBook Category: Science Fiction
eBook Description: Meet John Grimes at the very beginning of a career that will lead him to fame and glory out at the edge of the galaxy, out where the laws of men are nonexistent, and those of nature itself are sometimes tenuous.
Someday Grimes will be Commodore in the secessionist Rim Worlds Navy, but for now he is merely a very junior Lieutenant in another space navy entirely, that of the Federation. IF he keeps his nose clean, one day he can be an Admiral in that Service; all he has to do is follow regulations regardless of the consequences, and obey orders regardless of whether they are right or wrong -- and he is determined to do just that.
But being John Grimes, he will find it a more difficult task than he expects -- especially when he must turn a blind eye to the piratical acts of the Waldegrenese Navy, or ignore the plight of a beauteous damsel in distress. That's why although he doesn't know it yet, he is already on the road to the Rim.
eBook Publisher: JABberwocky Literary Agency
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2002
WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
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Pathfinder was not a happy ship.
Pathfinder's Captain was not a happy man, and made this glaringly obvious.
Young Lieutenant Grimes, newly appointed to the Survey Service cruiser, was also far from happy. During his few years in Space he had served under strict commanding officers as well as easy going ones, but never under one like Captain Tolliver.
"You must make allowances, John," Paymaster Lieutenant Beagle told him as the two young men were discussing matters over a couple or three drinks in Grimes's cabin.
"Make allowances?" echoed Grimes. "I don't know what's biting him -- but I know what's biting me. Him, that's what."
"All the same, you should make allowances."
"It's all very well for you to talk, Peter -- but you idlers can keep out of his way. We watchkeepers can't."
"But he's a Worrallian," said Beagle. "Didn't you know?"
"No," admitted Grimes. "I didn't."
He knew now. He knew, too, that there were only a hundred or so Worrallians throughout the entire Galaxy. Not so long ago the population of Worrall had been nudging the thirty million mark. Worrall had been a prosperous planet -- also it had been among the few Man-colonised worlds of the Interstellar Federation upon which the concepts of race and nationality had been allowed to take hold and develop. "It makes for healthy competition," had been the claim of the Worrallian delegations -- three of them -- whenever the subject came up at the meetings of the Federation Grand Council. And so they had competed happily among themselves on their little ball of mud and rock and water -- North Worrall, and South Worrall, and Equatorial Worrall -- until all three nations laid simultaneous claim to a chain of hitherto worthless islands upon which flourished the stinkbird colonies. The stinkbird -- it was more of a flying reptile really, although with certain mammalian characteristics -- had always been regarded as more unpleasant than useful, and if anybody had wanted those barren, precipitous rocks lashed by the perpetually stormy seas the stinkbird would soon have gone the way of many another species unlucky enough to get in Man's way. The stinkbird -- along with everything and everybody else on Worrall -- finally was unlucky, this being when a bright young chemist discovered that a remarkably effective rejuvenating compound was secreted by certain glands in its body. Worrall, although a prosperous enough closed economy, had always been lacking, until this time, in exports that would fetch high prices on the interstellar market.
So there was a squabble -- with words at first, and then with weapons. In its ultimate stage somebody pushed some sort of button -- or, quite possibly, three buttons were pushed. The only Worrallians to survive were those who were elsewhere at the time of the button-pushing.
And Captain Tolliver was a Worrallian.
Grimes sighed. He felt sorry for the man. He could visualise, but dimly, what it must be like to have no place in the entire Galaxy to call home, to know that everything, but everything had been vaporised in one hellish blast of fusion flame -- parents, friends, lovers, the house in which one was brought up, the school in which one was educated, the bars in which one used to drink. Grimes shuddered.
But he still felt sorry for himself.
Copyright © 1972 by A. Bertram Chandler