Slave Planet
Chapter 12

Public Domain

“That old-time religion.”

Dodd heard the words echoing in his mind that night, and the next night, and the next. All that she had said:

“We set up a nice pie-in-the-sky sort of thing, all according to the best theory, just the thing to keep the Alberts happy and satisfied and working hard for us. It started right after the first setup here, and by now I guess the Alberts think they invented it all by themselves, or their Great Elder came down from a tree and told them.”

“It’s horrible,” he had said.

“Of course it is.” There was a silence. “But you said it yourself: what can we do? We’re here and we’re stuck here.”


Norma didn’t want to argue, but the argument went on in Dodd’s mind, and it still continued, circling in his mind like a buzzard. There was nothing he could do about it, nothing Norma could do about it. He avoided even the thought of seeing her for a few days, and then he found himself making an excuse to go over to Building One. He met her there, after lounging about for hours.

And what she had disclosed to him, what they spoke of, made no difference that he could see in what he felt.

He was happy. Slowly he realized that he had hardly ever been happy before.

He even forgot, for a time, about the rumors, the threat of Confederation troops that had hung over her words like a gray cloud: all he could think of was Norma, and the terrible thing in which they were both bound up.

He told himself grimly that it would never have bothered Albin, for instance. Albin would have had his fun with Norma, and that would have been that.

But it bothered Johnny Dodd.

He was still worrying over it, and in spite of himself finding happiness, when the escape came, and the end.

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