Alarm Clock, plus Indirection by Everett B. Cole

By Everett B. Cole

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Stan clenched his teeth. Somehow, he had lost the initiative in this interview. He took a deep breath. ” Michaels shook his head. ” “Well ... yes. I've read some history ... ” “Good. Saves me a lot of talk. You know, sometimes we run into a situation that can be corrected by a single, deft stroke. Makes things very pleasant. We send in an agent—or two or six. ” He toyed with the cigarette lighter. “But this thing isn't like that. We've got a long, monotonous job of routine plugging to do. We've got to bust a hard-shelled system without hurting too many of the people within it.

Andorra sipped from his glass. “You know,” he added, “a couple of hours ago, I was almost ready to get excited about the idea of a cosmos full of super beings. ” He shook his head. “But when a fantasist like yourself comes up with it, and makes it look so nicely possible, the idea almost looks foolish. ” He looked down at the papers, then raised his head again, frowning. “'He'll have to choose his helpers from among his own people,'“ he quoted. '“ He sipped again from his glass, keeping a searching gaze on his friend.

Many years must pass before it would be time. He placed a hand on the back of Andorra's chair, remembering the words of one of the teachers. “Remember, Elwar,” he had been told, “your objective is clear, but your methods must be most indirect—even unclear. Some things you must obscure in a mass of obviously imaginative detail, while you bring others to the fore. You must hint. You must suggest. You should never fully explain or deny. And you must never be guilty of definite, direct falsehood. “There may come a time when you will be directly questioned—when discovery of your real background and purpose seems imminent, and you will have to take positive action.

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