The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival HTML version
need, always trying to bring up the so-called standard of living—as if it needed improvement, and always trying
to strengthen the middle class. Juez was always voting against him in the council meetings, which greatly
annoyed and aggravated him. He would have planned a little accident for Juez a long time ago, but he was too
well liked by the citizens of Newusa, and more importantly, by the city patrollers. Soon, however, soon.
“You know,” said Hurd, “I believe it’s important that a person improve one’s vocabulary. It helps a person
become more dignified and more intelligent. He pulled out the top desk drawer on the left and retrieved his
vocabulary book. He pointed at the cover and recited the title, Words of the Intelligentsia,” he said. “I learn a
word everyday, and you no what my word for today is?” Before Juez could say anything Hurd opened his book
at the book marker and read, “Intractable, which means stubborn, disobedient, uncontrollable. And they give an
example, which involves a disobedient child.”
Hurd paused, so Juez repeated himself, “What do you want?” he asked.
“Not much interested in vocabulary, eh? Okay then, your impatience forces me to the point," he said. It was
going to be great wiping that dignified look off his face.
"I have some bad news for you Juez." He waited, but Juez remained silent. "I felt it only right that you hear
it from me and no one else."
"Well stop playing cat and mouse, and let's get to it."
Hurd stood up and clasped his hands behind his back. "It's about your son, Sam. It seems he’s been
Juez suddenly became apprehensive. He reached down and grabbed the front of the desk as if he were going
to rip it off the floor. "What do you mean?" he asked in a low, threatening voice.
Hurd felt the penetration of Juez' glaring eyes. He sat in his chair behind his desk and secretly slipped his
finger to the button that would create a magnetic force field around him and the desk. "Last night he was
caught smuggling arms into the city," he said.
A look of horror swept over the councilman's face. "That can't be," he replied. "Last night he was home
Hurd smiled. "Come now Juez. It's too late for that kind of nonsense. He was caught in the act." Hurd had
him this time, and there was no way out. "And you know the penalty for smuggling arms—the run or the pit."
The creases in Juez' forehead furrowed slightly. "Surely you won't do this to my son?"
Hurd looked at him in mock seriousness. "But of course, I must. You realize the dangerous situation in this
city. If I let one rebel go, it would serve as a bad example for our two million law biding citizens. A rebellion
would break out. Many innocent people would be killed, and it would all be on my head. Besides, if it was my
son, I’d do the same thing."
Juez ignored what he was saying. "But we can ship him to another planet."
"Oh no. The underground would find out, and then the whole city would know."
"But we could keep it quiet. We could smuggle him out."
"You know that wouldn't work," he said. "The underground has spies."
We have to work something out, Hurd." Juez was no longer pleading.
"There is a compromise, of course," said Hurd. He had noticed the change in Juez's tone. "If your son
chooses the pit, I'll arrange with the warden to give him light duty. And that will keep him alive and healthy."
Hurd paused waiting for a response, but Juez didn't say anything.
"Well?" asked Hurd.
"This time there is no choice, is there? My son will live, and I will help you with your plans for the city."
"That's exactly right. And we won't have any more quarrels at the council meetings, will we?"
"No, we won't"
"And that new tax bill I've been trying to get through . . . You've been giving me a lot of grief about it, but
I'm sure it'll pass at the next meeting, won't it?"
Juez spoke in almost a mumble. "No trouble," he said.
"And of course that other problem we've been having with the armed forces."
"Of course," said Juez. “It seems you have me in a tight squeeze, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Juez turned to leave and was almost to the door when Hurd said nonchalantly, "Oh, I almost forgot."
Juez turned and stared at him. Hurd was still sitting behind his desk.
"Your daughter was with them, and of course we can't make any excep . . . "
Before he could finish, Juez had jumped back and was drawing his phasor. "Not my daughter, you dirty