The Project Gutenberg EBook of Arm of the Law, by Harry Harrison
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: Arm of the Law
Author: Harry Harrison
Release Date: June 22, 2009 [EBook #29204]
Produced by Greg Weeks, Stephen Blundell and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
How could a robot—a machine, after all—be involved in something like law application and violence Harry Harrison, who will be remembered for his THE VELVET GLOVE (Nov. 1956) and his more recent TRAINEE FOR MARS (June 1958) tells what happens when a police robot hits an outpost on Mars.
arm of the law
by ... Harry Harrison
At one time—this was before the Robot Restriction Laws—they'd even allowed them to make their own decisions....
It was a big, coffin-shaped plywood box that looked like it weighed a ton. This brawny type just dumped it through the door of the police station and started away. I looked up from the blotter and shouted at the trucker's vanishing back.
"What the hell is that?"
"How should I know?" he said as he swung up into the cab. "I just deliver, I don't X-ray 'em. It came on the morning rocket from earth is all I know." He gunned the truck more than he had to and threw up a billowing cloud of red dust.
"Jokers," I growled to myself. "Mars is full of jokers."
When I went over to look at the box I could feel the dust grate between my teeth. Chief Craig must have heard the racket because he came out of his office and helped me stand and look at the box.
"Think it's a bomb?" he asked in a bored voice.
"Why would anyone bother—particularly with a thing this size? And all the way from earth."
He nodded agreement and walked around to look at the other end. There was no sender's address anywhere on the outside. Finally we had to dig out the crowbar and I went to work on the top. After some prying it pulled free and fell off.
That was when we had our first look at Ned. We all would have been a lot happier if it had been our last look as well. If we had just put the lid back on and shipped the thing back to earth! I know now what they mean about Pandora's Box.
But we just stood there and stared like a couple of rubes. Ned lay motionless and stared back at us.
"A robot!" the Chief said.
"Very observant; it's easy to see you went to the police academy."
"Ha ha! Now find out what he's doing here."