Read I Will Fear No Evil Online

Authors: Robert Heinlein

I Will Fear No Evil

BOOK: I Will Fear No Evil
9.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
I Will Fear No Evil
Heinlein, Robert
Penguin (1987)
I Will Fear No Evil
Heinlein, Robert
Penguin (1987)

A NOVEL WITH AWESOME IMPLICATIONS FOR THE WORLD OF TOMORROW

“Magnificent. A science fiction masterpiece.”

GALAXY

“Those who have thought of science fiction as only child’s play will see how wrong they are.”

DETROIT FREE PRESS

“One is left with the feeling that he has been in the presence of a master!”

NATIONAL OBSERVER

I WILL FEAR NO EVIL
ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

Books by Robert A. Heinlein

ASSIGNMENT IN ETERNITY
THE BEST OF ROBERT HEINLEIN
BETWEEN PLANETS

THE CAT WHO WALKS THROUGH WALLS

CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
DESTINATION MOON
THE DOOR INTO SUMMER
DOUBLE STAR

EXPANDED UNIVERSE: MORE WORLDS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

FARMER IN THE SKY
FARNHAM’S FREEHOLD
FRIDAY
GLORY ROAD
THE GREEN HILLS OF EARTH

HAVE SPACE SUIT—WILL TRAVEL

I WILL FEAR NO EVIL
JOB: A COMEDY OF JUSTICE
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE MOON
THE MENACE FROM EARTH
METHUSELAH’S CHILDREN
THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS

THE NOTEBOOKS OF LAZARUS LONG

THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST
ORPHANS OF THE SKY

THE PAST THROUGH TOMORROW: “FUTURE HISTORY STORIES”

PODKAYNE OF MARS
THE PUPPET MASTERS
RED PLANET
REVOLT IN 2100
ROCKET SHIP GALILEO
THE ROLLING STONES
SIXTH COLUMN
SPACE CADET
THE STAR BEAST
STARMAN JONES
STARSHIP TROOPERS
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
THREE BY HEINLEIN
TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE
TIME FOR THE STARS
TOMORROW THE STARS (ED.)
TO SAIL BEYOND THE SUNSET
TRAMP ROYALE
TUNNEL IN THE SKY

THE UNPLEASANT PROFESSION OF JONATHAN HOAG

WALDO & MAGIC, INC.

THE WORLDS OF ROBERT A. HEINLEIN

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,

South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R ORL, England

Note: The National Rare Blood Club (mentioned herein) is a nonprofit organization having its national headquarters at 99 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016, telephone (212) 889-4455.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

I WILL FEAR NO EVIL

An Ace Book / published by arrangement with G. P. Putnam’s Sons

PRINTING HISTORY
G. P. Putnam’s Sons edition / 1970
Berkley edition / November 1971
Thirty-eighth printing / March 1986
Ace mass-market edition / April 1987

Copyright © 1970 by The Robert A. & Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

For information, address: G. P. Putnam’s Sons,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

Visit our website at
www.penguin.com

eISBN : 978-1-101-50308-9

ACE

Ace Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
ACE and the “A” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

http://us.penguingroup.com

To
Rex and Kathleen

1

The room was old-fashioned, 1980 baroque, but it was wide, long, high, and luxurious. Near simulated view windows stood an automated hospital bed. It looked out of place but was largely concealed by a magnificent Chinese screen. Forty feet from it a boardroom table also failed to match the decor. At the head of this table was a life-support wheelchair; wires and tubings ran from it to the bed.

Near the wheelchair, at a mobile stenodesk crowded with directional mikes, voice typewriter, clock-calendar, controls, and the usual ancillaries, a young woman sat. She was beautiful.

Her manner was that of the perfect unobtrusive secretary but she was dressed in a current exotic mode. “Half & Half”—right shoulder and breast and arm concealed in jet-black knit, left leg sheathed in a scarlet tight, panty-ruffle in both colors joining them, black sandal on the scarlet side, red sandal on her bare right foot. Her skin paint was patterned in the same scarlet and black.

On the other side of the wheelchair was an older woman garbed in a nurse’s conventional white pantyhose and smock. She ignored everything but her dials and a patient in the chair. Seated around the table were a dozen-odd men, most of them in spectator-sports style affected by older executives.

Cradled in the life-support chair was a very old man. Except for restless eyes, he looked like a poor job of embalming. No cosmetic help had been used to soften the brutal fact of his decrepitude.

“Ghoul,” he was saying softly to a man halfway down the table. “You’re a slavering ghoul, Parky me boy. Didn’t your father teach you that it is polite to wait for a man to stop kicking before you bury him? Or did you have a father? Erase that last, Eunice. Gentlemen, Mr. Parkinson has moved that I be invited to resign as chairman of the board. Do I hear a second?”

He waited, looking from face to face, then said, “Oh, come now! Who is letting you down, Parky? You, George?”

“I had nothing to do with it.”

“But you would love to vote ‘Aye.’ Motion fails for want of a second.”

“I withdraw my motion.”

“Too late, Parkinson. Erasures are made only by unanimous consent, implied or overt. One objection is enough—and I, Johann Sebastian Bach Smith, do so object . . . and that rule controls because
I
wrote it before you learned to read.

“But”—Smith looked around at the others—“I do have news. As you heard from Mr. Teal, all our divisions are in satisfactory shape; Sea Ranches and General Textbooks are more than satisfactory—so this is a good time for me to retire.”

Smith waited, then said, “You can close your mouths. Don’t look smug, Parky; I have more news for you. I stay on as chairman of the board but will no longer be chief executive. Our chief counsel, Mr. Jake Salomon, becomes deputy chairman and—”

“Hold it, Johann. I am not going to manage this five-ring circus.”

“Nobody said you would, Jake. But you can preside at board meetings when I’m not available. Is that too much to ask?”

“Mmm, I suppose not.”

“Thank you. I’m resigning as president of Smith Enterprises, and Mr. Byram Teal becomes our president and chief executive officer—he’s doing the work; it’s time he got the title—and pay and stock options and all the perks and privileges and tax loopholes. No more than fair.”

Parkinson said, “Now see here, Smith!”

“Hold it, youngster. Don’t start a remark to me with ‘Now see here—’ Address me as ‘Mr. Smith’ or ‘Mr. Chairman.’ What is your point?”

Parkinson controlled himself, then said, “Very well,
Mister
Smith. I can’t accept this. Quite aside from promoting your assistant to the office of president in one jump—utterly unheard of!—if there is a change in management,
I
must be considered. I represent the second largest block of voting stock.”

“I did consider you for president, Parky.”

“You did?”

“Yep. I thought about it . . . and snickered.”

“Why, you—”

“Don’t say it, I might sue. What you forget is that
my
block has voting control. Now about your block—By company policy anyone representing five percent or more of voting stock is automatically on the board even if nobody loves him and he suffers from spiritual bad breath. Which describes both you and me.

“Or did describe you. Byram, what’s the late word on proxies and stock purchases?”

“A full report, Mr. Smith?”

“No, just tell Mr. Parkinson where he stands.”

“Yes, sir. Mr. Parkinson, you now control less than five percent of the voting stock.”

Smith added sweetly, “So you’re fired, you young ghoul. Jake, call a special stockholders’ meeting, legal notice, all formalities, for the purpose of giving Parky a gold watch and kicking him out—and electing his successor. Further business? None. Meeting’s adjourned. Stick around, Jake. You, too, Eunice. And Byram, if you have anything on your mind.”

Parkinson jumped to his feet. “Smith, you haven’t heard the last of this!”

“Oh, no doubt,” the old man said sweetly. “Meantime my respects to your mother-in-law and tell her that Byram will go on making her rich even though I’ve fired you.”

Parkinson left abruptly. Others started to leave. Smith said mildly, “Jake, how does a man get to be fifty years old without acquiring horse sense? Only smart thing that lad ever did was pick a rich mother-in-law. Yes, Hans?”

“Johann,” Hans von Ritter said, leaning on the table and speaking directly to the chairman, “I did not like your treatment of Parkinson.”

“Thanks. You’re honest with me to my face. Scarce these days.”

“Removing him from the board is okay; he’s an obstructionist. But there was no need to humiliate him.”

“I suppose not. One of my little pleasures, Hans. I don’t have many these days.”

A Simplex footman rolled in, hung the vacated chairs on its rack, rolled out; von Ritter continued: “
I
have no intention of being treated that way. If you want nothing but Yes men on your board, let us note that I control much less than five percent of the voting stock. Do you want my resignation?”

BOOK: I Will Fear No Evil
9.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi
Dark Ink Tattoo: Episode 2 by Cassie Alexander
The Year Everything Changed by Georgia Bockoven
Blowing on Dandelions by Miralee Ferrell
The Blue Door by Christa J. Kinde
Toy Story 3 by Disney Digital Books
On Fire’s Wings by Christie Golden