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Hubertus Van Mock, the Earth delegate, was the last member of the tri-racial committee to arrive at Badron City. The fame of the place had spread all the way around Carlson VI to Headquarters-Earth, on the planet's opposite side, but Hubertus still wasn't prepared for the sight when he saw it.

Daurek and Fsslt, standing beside him, had seen Badron City before, and had passed the stage of amazement. Daurek, the Centaurian delegate, stood with four of his six arms crossed on his chest, with the other pair set indignantly on his hips, and with his handsome, silver-thatched head thrust forward belligerently.

Fsslt, the tall, thin, many-armed, multi-jointed delegate from the Probity Council of T'ng, stood like a teepee of writhing black sticks, his big eye glaring malevolently down the street, his whole posture suggestive of destruction and slaughter, barely restrained.

"Well," said Daurek, turning to Hubertus, "there it is. Now what do you say?"

Hubertus shut his eyes for an instant, then opened them. He was staring down a long narrow street lined on each side by shops lettered Bakery and thick doors with plaques marked Dentist. In solemn procession, on either side of the street, candy-striped barber poles turned in unison as far as the eye could see.

"To read the signs," said Daurek, "there are more bakery shops, barbers, and dentists, in this one place, than we need on the whole of Carlson VI."

"I still can't believe," said Hubertus, "that they're— Well, that they're—"

Daurek snorted. As they watched, drunken figures lurched in and out of the bakeries, bottles in hand. Husky rocketeers hurried into dentists' offices, to emerge arm-in-arm with short-skirted women, many of whom had faces hard enough to scratch diamond. Rather dopey-looking individuals drifted in and out of barber shops, their hair just as long when they came out as when they went in.

"Well," said Hubertus. "This is quite a problem."

"You're only beginning to see it," said Daurek. "The T'ng and I have been working on it for a week-and-a-half, and I think we'd supernova the place if we thought we could get away with it. —Look there!"

Down the street, a barber-shop door flew open. A tall Centaurian ran out, flung all six arms to the skies, and leaped into the air, clicking his heels and shouting "Oloo! Oloo! Oloo-looloo! Olooloolooloolooloo—"

Several men of various races, wearing white barber coats, rushed out to hustle him back inside. Hypodermics gleamed in the hands of some of them as the tangled mass rushed across the street back into the building.

"Another case of the dancing jeebees," said Daurek angrily. "There goes another rocketeer. Three more months of this, and half the Centaurian Sector VIII Fleet will be grounded."

Fsslt, the T'ng, raised a kind of small black box on a stick, with a hole in one side, then stopped as his attention was caught by a partly-clad Earth woman who raced across the street. One of Fsslt's country-men was close behind her, with a multitude of thin black arms grasping tattered pieces of clothing.

Fsslt spat a little bright-red ball out of what was anthropomorphically called his "mouth." The ball shot into the black box on a stick that Fsslt was holding, and the box spat out "Miscegenation!" in a flat, grating tone of voice.

"Electrocution would be closer to it," said Daurek. "The T'ng reproduce electrically."

"Whatever it is," said Hubertus, "it's got to come to a stop. It's in places like this that the epidemics get started."

"Agreement," said Fsslt, the little red ball slamming back and forth to the translator. "But how?"

"How? Slap an off-limits on it. Raid the place. Close it up. Fine them. Deport them. You name it, we can do it. I'll bet there isn't a law or ordinance on the planet they haven't broken. What do you mean, 'how'?"

Daurek laughed dryly. "We'll show you. Come on." They started down the street.

"Wait a minute. Look there," said Fsslt, putting out five or six limbs to hold them back. "There's that six-armed Centaurian pick-pocket we ran into the other day."

"Sure enough," said Daurek.

Directly in front of them, a scrubby-looking Centaurian had appeared from an alleyway. Two of his hands were rubbing briskly together, and the other four were floating around aimlessly as he made believe he was stretching himself. His eyes were running over their clothes greedily, plainly assessing the items of value that might be found within.

"Cross the street," growled Daurek.

Fsslt spat his ball into the translator, and the translator gave off a threatening rumble.

When they crossed the street, the grubby Centaurian drifted along behind them, flexing his half-dozen hands. As they walked, their ears were assailed with moans, cries, low screams, and incoherent babblings from the various places of business. Fleeting whiffs of strange odors subjected Hubertus and Daurek to sudden gusts of exhilaration and depression. As they passed a "dentist's office," a six-armed Centaurian woman, lavishly built according to the pattern of six-armed Centaurian women, stepped down, slid one arm around Hubertus' waist and one around Daurek's. "Muffla minnen, Moddy?" she murmured to Daurek.

Daurek's face twisted in revulsion, so she turned quickly to the stupefied Hubertus.

"Have a tooth pulled. Buddy?" she said. "The sweetest, longest, loveliest tooth-pull you ever—"


Hubertus whirled around to see the grubby Centaurian pickpocket sink to the earth. As his hands opened up, there spilled out of them Hubertus' wallet, cigarette lighter, and wrist watch, and a number of exotic items that had apparently been filched from the distracted Daurek. Fsslt was rising from over the pickpocket, the translator box gripped like a club in one of his appendages.

Daurek thrust the dentist's assistant, now giggling hysterically, back into the doorway. Hubertus swiftly put the valuables into his pockets. The enraged Fsslt swore furiously into the translator, from which there emerged an outrush of garbled abuse, ending up ". . . iseramable ously bod-gammed don-of-a-sitch, tlash bim, anyway!"

The Centaurian delegate turned back to Hubertus to get his valuables, and Fsslt shook the translator and looked at it intently.

"Say, Buddy," mumbled a thick-tongued Earth pilot weaving across the sidewalk. "You didn't do right by that little spider-girlie. Boy, they're the greatest—"

"Spider girlie!" snapped Daurek, pausing as he stuffed a thing like a small gold-plated hedgehog back into his pocket.

"Tooth-pull, Honey Baby?" said the dentist's assistant, emerging again from her doorway.

"Tooth-pull? Say, will I!" The pilot lunged around and started for the door. He vanished inside with three arms around him, one ruffling his hair, and another going through his left hip pocket.

"What a place!" snarled Daurek.

"Let's get going," growled Fsslt; he then held up the translator, glared at it, and raised two or three arms to point down the street.

"Why can't we go around this rathole?" demanded Hubertus. "Isn't there a less-traveled side-street, or preferably a country road we could use?"

"This is the only street in the place," said Daurek. "The town dump is spread out on both sides where you might expect side-streets to be. If you want to go through the dump and fight rats, slikes, and gang-beetles, you're welcome to it."

They moved on in silence, past a pale-faced barber with tiny pupils who mumbled, "Haircut, buddy? Give you the closest shave from here to Polaris."

"Thanks, no," snarled Hubertus, shouldering past.

As Hubertus passed, the barber took his arm. "Just a little nip will give you an idea—"

Whack! The barber sank to the earth, a hypodermic needle projecting from the half-closed fingers of the hand.

Hubertus glanced at Fsslt, whose big black eye was roving around with an ugly glint in it as he passed the dented translator from one appendage to another.

The two motionless bodies spread out on the sidewalk behind them seemed to have some influence on the other residents of Badron City. Patrons came to the doors of the shops to eye the trio speculatively, but no one else tried to force his wares on them.

Two-thirds of the way down the street, Daurek halted by a man-hole cover. "Feel that rumble?"

"Underfoot?" said Hubertus. There was a faint, steady trembling of the pavement. "Yes, what is it?"

In answer, Daurek reached down with all six arms, and after a brief tussle got the heavy cover loose and rolled it aside. A sound like Niagara flowing through a sewer pipe came up to them. Tiny droplets of spray wet the pavement about the hole.

"So much for that," said Daurek, tossing the cover back on the hole. "Come on."

At the end of the street was a rail like that at the stern of an ocean-going ship. Hubertus blinked and started. Beyond the rail was a moderately wide river, flowing, flowing, flowing, steadily toward them, only to disappear with a deafening roar.

"Look down," yelled Daurek.

Hubertus leaned far out over the rail, and saw a honey-comb of pipes and conduits of various sizes and shapes, into which the water swirled and vanished. As he watched, water backed up out of one large pipe, as if the pipe had suddenly filled. Some ten or twelve feet away a turbulent stream of water suddenly gushed down into a large culvert.

Hubertus straightened up, frowning. He looked around. Fifty feet upstream, a line of steel posts embedded in concrete swept out in a protective arc. Between the pipes and the foot of the rail where Hubertus stood, a heavy mesh fence stretched down at an angle from the roadbed into the stream, and vanished underwater in a line of foam. He glanced around again, then climbed down onto the fence. It trembled slightly under him as he examined the pipes and the shifting flow of water.

Shortly before coming to Badron City, Hubertus had received a sheaf of documents on the legal aspects of the subject, and he had fully intended to study them. However, one of his minor assistants chose that exact time to elope with a pretty Centaurian girl, and in the three-ring hullabaloo that followed, Hubertus never did get to the papers. They now lay unread in a briefcase in his hotel room. Hubertus shook his head and climbed back up the fence with a feeling of bafflement and frustration.

As Hubertus reached the top, some sixteen to twenty hands, nippers, and tentacle-tips seized him, and hustled him, horizontal and facedown, across the street into a big silent building, and hurled him into a heap with Daurek and Fsslt. A door clanged and they were left in the dark.

"Birthless wasterds!" cried a grating voice and Hubertus realized Fsslt still had his translator. He disentangled himself as well as he could, and got to his feet. Beside him, Daurek was saying something that sounded like "muggermuggermuggermugger mugger." This was exactly what the Centaurian girl's father had said about the elopement.

Then the door opened, and a bright light came on overhead. Daurek broke off his monologue. Hubertus saw two heavily-armed Centaurians and a tough-looking Earthman carrying an electric whip.

As these three came in, Hubertus could see Fsslt out of the corner of his eye. The T'ng was passing the translator from one limb to another, apparently to keep it out of the line of vision of the gunmen. A faint twitching in one of Fsslt's larger limbs gave a clue to what he had in mind, and made Hubertus nervous.

"In the back!" barked the Earthman, waving his whip. Behind him, a tall, crafty-looking T'ng came in, his various arms folded together in a look of smug superiority. Hubertus looked at him and instantaneously wanted to batter him against the wall. There was a moment's silence as the T'ng seemed to relish the situation. Then he raised an enameled blue translator with gold trim. In languid tones, the translator said, "I am ready, Slits. Put your questions to the beastlings."

"All right," snapped the Earthman. "What you snooping around here for? Who you think you are, anyway? You spies or something? Give me one good reason I shouldn't put you through the chopping machine and throw you out to the slikes and gang-beetles."

Fsslt's arm gave a big twitch. Hubertus felt his stomach muscles tense.

Daurek raised three hands, palm out. "Suppose I tell you gentlemen, we are higher-ups from Earth, Centaurus, and T'ng. That our cops will come in here and wipe the floor up with you guys if you have the cheek to dare interfere with us in any way? How about that? What's to keep them—I mean, what's to keep us from shooting a fleet of torps down that puddle and really blowing this dump sky-high? How dare you detain us like this? Where's your security?"

The Earthman blinked and looked around at the T'ng. Two or three of the T'ng's arms came loose and moved around vaguely, then he raised the enameled translator.

"Obviously, they are not officials, or they would not state that they are officials. Moreover, they talk as if they might be friends of yours, Slits."

"May be," said the Earthman, trailing his whip on the ground. "But I don't trust them; they look like they got class."

"It is easy to give the exterior a thin coating of culture," said the T'ng. "If you will look at your countryman closely, Slits, I think you will see what I mean."

Slits looked hard at Hubertus. Hubertus bared his teeth slightly, evaded Slits' gaze, and let his glance dart around the room.

"Yeah," said Slits. "I see what you mean. All right, Buddy, let's hear you say something."

Hubertus jerked his head toward Daurek. "He can talk for me."

Slits looked back at the T'ng. "Now what?"

"Inquire the business of these gentlemen, obviously. If there's profit in it—"

Slits turned around again. "What's your racket?"

Daurek scratched his head, sides, back, and hip with five of his hands, and took Hubertus' arm with the sixth. "Listen," he said in a low voice, "I think we can do business with these boys. There's room for us. We'll just fit right in. The only thing is, suppose something happens to this river trick they got . . . Then what?"

Hubertus, who had only the haziest idea what was going on, grunted noncommittally.

"Okay," said Daurek, turning back to the tough-looking Earthman. "We don't tell you nothing till we get the word on this river trick. Suppose we come in here, sink a lot of capital in a little place, and the cops clean us out? Then what?"

Slits turned dispiritedly back to the T'ng for more instructions.

The T'ng had his arms all folded, and was holding his head tilted calculatingly. He appeared to have the situation reduced to the question whether to kill Hubertus and Co. first and then cut them up, or the other way around. "We have already," he said, in icy tones, "entirely as many shops as we need."

A look of decision came to Slits. He opened his mouth to bark orders.

"Aw, go on," Daurek interrupted, "there's not a pick-me-up on the place."

Slits stuck the butt of his whip in his mouth and bit on it. He turned back to the T'ng for new orders.

The T'ng looked confused. "A pick-me-up?" he said, forgetting to talk through his intermediary. "Isn't that just a—a—"

"Sure, sure," said Daurek, looking eager and alight with enterprising genius. "See, you got all these—ha, ha—bakeries, and so on. All right, a guy goes into one of these places, and first thing you know, he's had all he can use. Right? Well, what then? Maybe he's still got part of his roll stuck in his shoe." Daurek looked outraged, and stepped forward as he slammed three fists into three open hands for emphasis. "You going to let him get away while he's still got some money?"

"Well—" said the T'ng.

"You're not going to let money get away from you, are you? So—" he beamed—"that's where we come in—A pick-me-up. A step-uppery."

He pointed a hand at the confused Slits, who was chewing idly on the whip handle. "Right? Am I right? You got limits, you know what I mean? You go out for a good time; after a while it isn't good any more, am I right? Okay, you come to our little pick-me-up, and we set you up for the next round. We refresh you. That's what you need around this place. Everybody'll make more money."

By this time, Daurek had Slits by the arm in his eagerness. Daurek paused for a moment, looking benign and fatherly. "You better take that out of your mouth," he said, gently removing the whip. "Hurt your teeth." With another hand, he was feeling Slits' arm. "Boy, you got a muscle. Any time you want to drop around to our place for a free shot—"

Slits nodded, looking vaguely agreeable. The two guards seemed ready to go to sleep on their feet from boredom. The T'ng vaguely raised an arm, as if for attention. The whip leaped across the room, letting out long white sparks. Whack!

Fsslt was gone from Hubertus' side.

Hubertus dropped low, and charged for the one guard still on his feet.

The guard had six arms, but Hubertus concentrated on the little finger of the hand at the end of one of those arms. There was a loud yell, and a sound like thirty pounds of scrap being dumped on the floor. Hands seemed to take hold of Hubertus from all over. He lay on the floor and bent a newly-captured wrist back sharply.


The guard went limp.

Hubertus got up to see Fsslt returning his attention to the other T'ng. The various limbs of the two T'ngs were so hopelessly intertangled that it made Hubertus dizzy to watch it.

Daurek was using a couple of hands to flail the other guard with the electric whip, and had Slits by the throat with his remaining two pairs of hands. Hubertus picked up a gun with a heavy handle and knocked out Slits. A moment later, Fsslt rose, leaving the other T'ng on the floor. Fsslt had the little blue-enameled translator in his hand.

The three of them left the place, Fsslt sporting the flashy translator, Daurek waving half-a-dozen of the captured guns, and Hubertus with the whip tucked under his arm, the lash trailing on the ground behind him as he walked.

The street cleared magically before them, and they arrived back at their hotel without incident.

Fsslt gave the translator to a bellboy, made signs that it was to be thoroughly sterilized, then led the way to their suite. The hotel was in T'ng territory; but the suite had been fitted out to accommodate all of them, so Hubertus sank down on a big soft couch with a sigh of relief. Daurek settled back in an easy chair with three tiers of arm-rests, and began grumbling, "Muggermuggermuggermuggermugger . . . " Fsslt sat down on a little stool and started to spin, his arms flailing out loosely as he went around and around, faster, and faster, relaxed and more relaxed. Hubertus looked away dizzily.

They rested awhile, then had dinner in a peaceful atmosphere. Hubertus ordered thick steak and french fries; Daurek ate a meal that was a fantasy of tiny servings in innumerable dishes, finished off with a brightly-colored cake of many layers. Fsslt, on the other hand, went to work on a bowl of dull gray objects about the size and shape of marbles. His various limbs lined up between this bowl and a slot in his chest, and the gray marbles began to climb single file from limb to limb to limb to limb to limb out of the bowl and into the slot. It took a while before the first marble made it to the slot. Then there was a loud crack, then a crunching, popping, snapping sound that made Hubertus sit up straight and run the tip of his tongue over this teeth and stop eating.

Across the table Daurek put his fork down and was waiting with the look of wincing patience that Hubertus felt forming on his own face. The splintering, grinding noise rose to a dull roar and was joined by a low vibration and a high-pitched hum. The effect was like having a tooth filled while a crew with pneumatic drills worked on the walls of the room. Hubertus felt thankful to see the bowl empty rapidly. Then Fsslt pulled over a small side-dish of bright red, green, and white marbles, and began to eat them one at a time, with relish. These seemed to have a soft core, and the noise was, compared to what had gone before, almost like silence.

At last, Hubertus and Daurek leaned back, while Fsslt finished the meal off with a little bright yellow marble that tinkled as he ate it.

"Now," said Daurek, "to business."

"Right," said Hubertus, "and I may as well admit right now that I never got briefed on the legal aspects of this. One of my assistants ran off with a little Centaurian girl, and that put sand in the machinery for a week."

"Well, mugger," growled Daurek, "what did she see in—"

"Suppose you infants try to control yourselves," said Fsslt coolly. As Daurek and Hubertus turned to stare at him, Fsslt held up the blue-enameled translator with gold trim and looked at it suspiciously. Then he tried again. "Before I decide on the correct approach to this problem, you gentlemen will find it advisable to keep your mouths closed."

Daurek turned a dull red.

Fsslt put the translator on the table, left the room, and came back with a duplicate of the black box on a stick he'd used earlier. He tossed the blue-enameled translator down a disposal chute. Then he pulled out his stool. "Okay."

Daurek let out his breath with a hiss.

"It was the translator," said Fsslt. "No offense."

"As I was saying," Hubertus put in, "I never got to find out the legalities of this mess."

Daurek turned back. "It's all legalities. That's the trouble."

"An Earthman founded it," said Fsslt dryly.

"Name of Jaxon Badron," said Daurek. "He picked the one spot on this side of the globe where Earth, T'ng, and Centaurian territory come together."

"Oh, oh," said Hubertus, "as I remember, Centaurus has one side of the river, and Earth and T'ng have the other."

"That's right. Centaurus to the west of the Sendyou, Earth and T'ng to the east."

"But at Badron City," said Hubertus, "where's the river?"

"That's it," said Daurek. "Where is it? Jaxon Badron put it underground."

"Well—" Hubertus scowled, remembering the roar and the pipes.

"Don't forget," advised Fsslt, "Fix Creek is in there somewhere, too."

"That's right," said Daurek. "It seemed like a nice simple boundary when they made it. Centaurus west of the Sendyou, Earth and T'ng to the east. Earth north of Fix Creek, T'ng south of Fix Creek. The only trouble was, they didn't make any law against moving the river. So now, nobody can claim jurisdiction, because nobody can locate the boundary."

Hubertus grabbled with the problem. "Maybe we could claim that, inside those culverts, it's not a river any more. Then, quick, we shut the place down."

Fsslt showed no enthusiasm. "If it's not a river, then what is it?"

"H'm . . . Ahh . . . A sewer?"

"I don't think so," said Daurek. "Badron City has lawyers."

"Me, either," said Fsslt. "The lawyers will split rocks down into grains of sand, count the specks and we'll all wind up paying Badron City an indemnity."

"All right, then," said Hubertus, "take the line of the old channel."

"We can't," said Daurek. "The treaty specified the river, not the channel."

"Well, revise the treaty."

"No thanks," said Daurek, "that means a conference."

"Well, all right," said Hubertus. "Why not? I mean, have a conference."

Daurek groaned.

"Not me," said Fsslt. "One more conference, and I drown myself in the Sendyou River."

"I see what you mean," grumbled Hubertus. "All right, average the flow."

"How?" said Daurek.

Fsslt added, "They switch it around pipe to pipe."

Hubertus hesitated. "Maybe we could clog the pipes?"

Daurek nodded. "We've been working around toward that."

"Personally," said Fsslt, "I favor blasting the place clean off the planet. Float enough spun plutonium down the stream and let it pile up on that wire screen they've got in front of those pipes—"

Hastily, Daurek said, "We've been over this."

"I know," said Fsslt. "On mature consideration, I can see this would leave a hole where Badron City was, and until the river filled the hole up and flowed on, we'd have a boundary mess from here to the sea."

Hubertus was watching Fsslt in fascination. Turning to Daurek, he said, "The idea has its attractions."

"It's more of this damned T'ng direct action," said Daurek. "Once the city went up in smoke, Centaurian reporters would claim it was Centaurian territory; T'ng reporters would say the sneaking Centaurians had made off with a piece of T'ng territory; Earth reporters—"

"Never mind," said Hubertus hastily, "I get the point."

"Personally," said Fsslt, "I resent that about 'Damned T'ng direct action.'"

"Well," said Daurek, "I apologize."

"But," said the Centaurian, "on another hand, I think it's perfectly true."

Fsslt's translator box let out a dangerous hiss.

"Men—" said Hubertus, uneasily.

"Listen," snapped Fsslt, "we've got to close this rat's nest soon. Last week, another rocketeer came back with the orange mold. He infected half-a-dozen more before they got him into the chambers. Then all seven had to go. The Admiral swore he'd blow the place off the map if it happened again."

"More direct action and simple solutions," said Daurek. "What do you want, a war?"

"No," said Fsslt. "I just tell you we're going to have a real incident here next time. Before you bang and hammer on us T'ng for being simple, show us what you subtle, complicated Centaurians have got done."

Daurek looked down at the floor and grumbled, "I got us out of that cell they had us in."

Fsslt hesitated, then spat the little ball into the translator. "Truth," said the translator, grumpily.

"That's right," said Hubertus. "We owe you a lot for that. And you and I owe Fsslt a lot for getting us past that pickpocket and the so-called barber."

Daurek looked up. "Yes, that's true. Well, Fsslt's simple solutions will get us in a worse mess on this problem, and my complicated ideas can't even get a grip on the thing. The trouble is, it's a complexity—the mixed channels—hidden, under a simplicity—the surface that hides the channels' courses and amounts from us."

"Well," said Fsslt hesitatingly, "if we could somehow strip off that surface—"

"No," said Daurek, scowling, "that would be violence. Maybe if we, say, dyed the stream—"

"But," said Fsslt, "the stream course would still be hidden under the ground—now maybe if we put acid in to eat out the pipes—"

"Only," said Daurek, "that would make trouble further down stream. Say, though, what about a radioactive solution, then fly above the city and plot the channel—"

"Pest on it," growled Fsslt, "they switch the water from channel to channel so by the time we figure it out—"

"Damn," grumbled Daurek.

Hubertus suddenly sat up straight. "Wait a minute. I think I've got it!"

"What!" Fsslt and Daurek looked at him pessimistically. "Remember," said Daurek, "they switch all that water around, so even if we—"

"Never mind that," said Hubertus, "you wait and see." He got up in excitement. "All I want is your agreement, and we can start right now."

"Well, you've got my agreement," said Daurek.

* * *

Fsslt and Daurek were standing with Hubertus a week later, when the last of the big bulldozers stopped working. From the hill where they stood they had a splendid view of Badron City and its surroundings. Hubertus studied the scene for a moment, then spoke into the microphone: "NOW."

To the north of Badron City, a big water-gate fell into place. The river backed up momentarily as if dammed. There was the sound of a soft explosion that heaved an earth embankment, then the river flowed through into its new artificial channel, a big ditch which flowed completely around Badron City, well to the west. To the east of the river, another water gate closed and Fix Creek flowed through a new channel to rejoin the river well to the south.

Badron City was now completely in T'ng territory.

From the northwest, a black column, as thick on the road as ants, could be seen approaching the city. Watching the column through field glasses, Hubertus could make out a number of the T'ngs' famous Mangler tanks, each consisting of one motorized six-inch gun with a heavy sheet of metal wrapped around it. Following these came a T'ng housewrecking machine, a thirty-foot steel club mounted on a massive motorized platform.

Behind these came a large mass of outraged T'ng citizenry, from which were occasionally raised aloft large clubs, mallets, and mauls. Pulled along behind the crowd came a gallows on wheels, portable electric chairs, chopping machines and dessicators, each with its own generator mounted beside it ready for use.

From Badron City, meanwhile, a horde of barbers, dentists, and bakers, could be seen fanning out for the river. No one stopped to argue. In a situation like this, the T'ngs' simple methods were unbeatable.

Fsslt turned to Hubertus. "The stinking pesthole is cleaned out," he said with satisfaction.

"Thank heaven," said Daurek. "Now maybe we won't have a war or an incident for another year."

Notables of various races were coming toward Hubertus in groups, all looking, after their fashions, pleased and congratulatory.

"While we stick together," said Fsslt, "what problem can't we solve?"

"But," said Daurek, "for this one, Earth deserves the credit."

Suddenly Hubertus was surrounded with happy Admirals, mayors, and directors of health, and Hubertus was shaking their hands. More hands, incidentally, then he would have cared to count.

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