To The Galactic Rim (The John Grimes Saga) by A. Bertram Chandler

To The Galactic Rim (The John Grimes Saga) by A. Bertram Chandler


Author:A. Bertram Chandler [Chandler, A. Bertram]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Science Fiction, General, Space Opera, Adventure, Fiction
ISBN: 9781439134214
Publisher: Baen Books
Published: 2010-03-01T05:00:00+00:00

The Subtracter

The Federation’s Survey Service Cruiser Pathfinder returned to Lindisfarne Base, and Lieutenant Grimes was one of the officers who was paid off there. He was glad to leave the ship; he had not gotten on at all well with Captain Tolliver. Yet he was far from happy. What was going to happen to him? Tolliver—who, for all his faults, was a just man—had shown Grimes part of the report that he had made on Pathfinder’s officers, and this part of the report was that referring to Grimes.

“Lieutenant Grimes shows initiative,” Tolliver had written, “and has been known to be zealous. Unfortunately his initiative and zeal are invariably misdirected.”

Grimes had decided not to make any protest. There had been occasions, he knew very well, when his initiative and zeal had not been misdirected—but never under Tolliver’s command. But the Captain, as was his right—his duty—was reporting on Grimes as he had found him. His report was only one of many. Nonetheless Grimes was not a little worried, was wondering what his next appointment would be, what his future career in the Survey Service (if any) would be like.

Dr. Margaret Lazenby had also paid off Pathfinder, at the same time as Grimes. (Her Service rank was Lieutenant Commander, but she preferred the civilian title.) As old shipmates, with shared experiences, she and Grimes tended to knock about in each other’s company whilst they were on Lindisfarne. In any case, the Lieutenant liked the handsome red-haired ethologist, and was pleased that she liked him. With a little bit of luck the situation would develop favorably, he thought. Meanwhile, she was very good company, even though she would permit nothing more than the briefest goodnight kiss.

One night, after a drink too many in the almost deserted B.O.Q. wardroom, he confided his troubles to her. He said, “I don’t like it, Maggie . . .”

“What don’t you like, John?”

“All this time here, and no word of an appointment. I told you that I’d seen Tolliver’s report on me . . .”

“At least six times. But what of it?”

“It’s all right for you, Maggie. For all your two and a half rings you’re not a space woman. You don’t have to worry about such sordid details as promotion. I do. I’m just a common working stiff of a spaceman, a trade school boy. Space is all I know.”

“And I’m sure you know it well, duckie.” She laughed. “But not to worry. Everything will come right in the end. Just take Auntie Maggie’s word for it.”

“Thank you for trying to cheer me up,” he said. “But I can’t help worrying. After all, it’s my career.”

She grinned at him, looking very attractive as she did so. “All right. I’ll tell you. Your precious Captain Tolliver wasn’t the only one to put in a report on your capabilities. Don’t forget that the Delta Sextans IV survey was carried out by the Scientific Branch. You, as the spaceman, were officially in command, but actually it was our show. Dr.


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