The Misplaced Battleship - Unabridged (Formatted & Optimized for Nook)by Harry Harrison, Classic Century Works
An Excerpt from the
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When it comes to picking locks and cracking safes I admit to no master.
The door to Inskipp's private quarters had an old-fashioned tumbler drum
that was easier to pick than my teeth. I must have gone through that
door without breaking step. Quiet as I was though, Inskipp still heard
me. The light came on and there he was sitting up in bed pointing a .75
caliber recoilless at my sternum.
"You should have more brains than that, diGriz," he snarled. "Creeping
into my room at night! You could have been shot."
"No I couldn't," I told him, as he stowed the cannon back under his
pillow. "A man with a curiosity bump as big as yours will always talk
first and shoot later. And besides--none of this pussyfooting around in
the dark would be necessary if your screen was open and I could have got
a call through."
Inskipp yawned and poured himself a glass of water from the dispenser
unit above the bed. "Just because I head the Special Corps, doesn't
mean that I _am_ the Special Corps," he said moistly while he drained
the glass. "I have to sleep sometime. My screen is open only for
emergency calls, not for every agent who needs his hand held."
"Meaning I am in the hand-holding category?" I asked with as much
sweetness as I could.
"Put yourself in any category you please," he grumbled as he slumped
down in the bed. "And also put yourself out into the hall and see me
tomorrow during working hours."
He was at my mercy, really. He wanted sleep so much. And he was going to
be wide awake so very soon.
"Do you know what this is?" I asked him, poking a large glossy pic under
his long broken nose. One eye opened slowly.
"Big warship of some kind, looks like Empire lines. Now for the last
time--go away!" he said.
"A very good guess for this late at night," I told him cheerily. "It is
a late Empire battleship of the Warlord class. Undoubtedly one of the
most truly efficient engines of destruction ever manufactured. Over a
half mile of defensive screens and armament, that could probably turn
any fleet existent today into fine radioactive ash--"
"Except for the fact that the last one was broken up for scrap over a
thousand years ago," he mumbled.
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