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The Worlds Of Robert A. Heinlein Part 36

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"I am sorry to have to refuse, sir."

'Well see about that. In the meantime, Colonel Manning, your are relieved from duty."

"Mr. Commissioner Manning, if you please."

The new President shrugged. "One or the other, as you please. You are relieved, either way."

'1 am sorry to disagree again. My appointment is for life."

 

"That's enough," was the answer. "This is the United States of America.

There can be no higher authority. You are under arrest"

I can visualize Manning staring steadily at him for a long moment, then answering slowly, "You are physically able to arrest me, I will concede, but I advise you to wait a few minutes." He stepped to the window. "Look up into the sky."

Six bombers of the Peace Commission patrolled over the Capitol. "None of those pilots are American born," Manning added slowly. "If you confine me, none of us here in this room will live out the day."

There were incidents thereafter, such as the unfortunate affair at Fort Benning three days later, and the outbreak in the wing of the Patrol based in Lisbon and its resultant wholesale dismissals, but for practical purposes, that was all there was to the coup d' etat.

Manning was the undisputed military dictator of the world.

Whether or not any man as universally hated as Manning can perfect the Patrol he envisioned, make it self-perpetuating and trustworthy, I don't know, and-because of that week of waiting in a buried English hangar-I won't be here to find out. Manning's heart disease makes the outcome even more uncertain-he may last another twenty years; he may keel over dead tomorrow-and there is no one to take his place. I've set this down partly to occupy the short time I have left and partly to show there is another side to any story, even world dominion.

Not that I would like the outcome, either way. If there is anything to this survival-after-death business, I am going to look up the man who invented the bow and arrow and take him apart with my bare hands. For myself, I can't be happy in a world where any man, or group of men, has the power of death over you and me, our neighbors, every human, every animal, every living thing. I don't like anyone to have that kind of power.

And neither does Manning.

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The Worlds Of Robert A. Heinlein Part 36 summary

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