In a world where Security is all-important, nothing
can ever be secure. A mountain-climbing vacation
may wind up in deep Space. Or loyalty may prove
to be high treason. But it has its rewards.
It had been a tough day at the lab, one of those days when nothing seems
able to go right. And, of course, it had been precisely the day Hammond,
the Efficiency inspector, would choose to stick his nose in. Another
mark in his little notebook--and enough marks like that meant a
derating, and Control had a habit of sending derated labmen to Venus.
That wasn't a criminal punishment, but it amounted to the same thing.
Allen Lancaster had no fear of it for himself; the sector chief of a
Project was under direct Control jurisdiction rather than Efficiency,
and Control was friendly to him. But he'd hate to see young Rogers get
it--the boy had been married only a week now.
To top the day off, a report had come to Lancaster's desk from Sector
Seven of the Project. Security had finally cleared it for general
transmission to sector chiefs--and it was the complete design of an
electronic valve on which some of the best men in Lancaster's own
division, Sector Thirteen, had been sweating for six months. There went
half a year's work down the drain, all for nothing, and Lancaster would
have that much less to show at the next Project reckoning.
He had cursed for several minutes straight, drawing the admiring glances
of his assistants. It was safe enough for a high-ranking labman to gripe
about Security--in fact, it was more or less expected. Scientists had