Little Fuzzy – Day 48 of 77

O’Brien had little enough wit to protest. “But these are the defendant and his attorney in another murder case I’m prosecuting,” he began.

Pendarvis stopped smiling. “Mr. O’Brien, I doubt if you’ll be allowed to prosecute anything or anybody around here any more, and I am specifically relieving you of any connection with either the Kellogg or the Holloway trial, and if I hear any argument out of you about it, I will issue a bench warrant for your arrest on charges of malfeasance in office.”


Colonial Marshal Max Fane was as heavy as Gus Brannhard and considerably shorter. Wedged between them on the back seat of the marshal’s car, Jack Holloway contemplated the backs of the two uniformed deputies on the front seat and felt a happy smile spread through him. Going to get his Fuzzies back. Little Fuzzy, and Ko-Ko, and Mike, and Mamma Fuzzy, and Mitzi, and Cinderella; he named them over and imagined them crowding around him, happy to be back with Pappy Jack.

The car settled onto the top landing stage of the Company’s Science Center, and immediately a Company cop came running up. Gus opened the door, and Jack climbed out after him.

“Hey, you can’t land here!” the cop was shouting. “This is for Company executives only!”

Max Fane emerged behind them and stepped forward; the two deputies piled out from in front.

“The hell you say, now,” Fane said. “A court order lands anywhere. Bring him along, boys; we wouldn’t want him to go and bump himself on a communication screen anywhere.”

The Company cop started to protest, then subsided and fell in between the deputies. Maybe it was beginning to dawn on him that the Federation courts were bigger than the chartered Zarathustra Company after all. Or maybe he just thought there’d been a revolution.

Leonard Kellogg’s—temporarily Ernst Mallin’s—office was on the first floor of the penthouse, counting down from the top landing stage. When they stepped from the escalator, the hall was crowded with office people, gabbling excitedly in groups; they all stopped talking as soon as they saw what was coming. In the division chief’s outer office three or four girls jumped to their feet; one of them jumped into the bulk of Marshal Fane, which had interposed itself between her and the communication screen. They were all shooed out into the hall, and one of the deputies was dropped there with the prisoner. The middle office was empty. Fane took his badgeholder in his left hand as he pushed through the door to the inner office.

Kellogg’s—temporarily Mallin’s—secretary seemed to have preceded them by a few seconds; she was standing in front of the desk sputtering incoherently. Mallin, starting to rise from his chair, froze, hunched forward over the desk. Juan Jimenez, standing in the middle of the room, seemed to have seen them first; he was looking about wildly as though for some way of escape.

Fane pushed past the secretary and went up to the desk, showing Mallin his badge and then serving the papers. Mallin looked at him in bewilderment.

“But we’re keeping those Fuzzies for Mr. O’Brien, the Chief Prosecutor,” he said. “We can’t turn them over without his authorization.”

“This,” Max Fane said gently, “is an order of the court, issued by Chief Justice Pendarvis. As for Mr. O’Brien, I doubt if he’s Chief Prosecutor any more. In fact, I suspect that he’s in jail. And that,” he shouted, leaning forward as far as his waistline would permit and banging on the desk with his fist, “is where I’m going to stuff you, if you don’t get those Fuzzies in here and turn them over immediately!

If Fane had suddenly metamorphosed himself into a damnthing, it couldn’t have shaken Mallin more. Involuntarily he cringed from the marshal, and that finished him.

“But I can’t,” he protested. “We don’t know exactly where they are at the moment.”

“You don’t know.” Fane’s voice sank almost to a whisper. “You admit you’re holding them here, but you … don’t … know … where. Now start over again; tell the truth this time!

At that moment, the communication screen began making a fuss. Ruth Ortheris, in a light blue tailored costume, appeared in it.

“Dr. Mallin, what is going on here?” she wanted to know. “I just came in from lunch, and a gang of men are tearing my office up. Haven’t you found the Fuzzies yet?”

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