Bow Down to Nul (Ace Double Edition)
Brian W. Aldiss
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Republished later under the name The Interpreter.
When Earthman Gary Towler is off work, he is a pariah. For his task as chief interpreter for the corrupt and tyrannical nuls makes other humans avoid him as a traitor.
Nor is he trusted by the three-armed mammoth rulers themselves, especially when they learned that an envoy was on the way from their distant planetary headquarters to investigate charges of corruption on Earth. For the leaders realized that Gary knew too much.
When the humans leading the underground rebellion demanded Gary's aid or his life, he was caught between two untrustful forces. And his only way out was to make himself into a one-man force against two worlds' plotters.
with delight on the involutions of his own character, a voice from three feet away said coldly, "Raise your hands and sit up, and keep quiet about it." Wattol disliked such treatment, especially on an alien planet. He knew that the misshapen inhabitants of Stomin would happily melt him or any other nul down for the sake of his blubber content without thinking twice about it. Still BOW DOWN TO NUL making no attempt to move, he swivelled an eye-stalk to observe his opponent. Through the
own race were concerned. Much of his success on Earth was due to the gentle exploitation of the characters of those about him, Marshall Terekomy, for one. Now he was gauging and testing the nature of this man who was potentially his enemy, and acting in harmony with that judgement. Already his opinion was forming. He fancied Synvoret might prove a bluff and honest fellow possessing perhaps more crankiness than subtlety, who would interpret a litde brusqueness as the candor of a sorely tried
required. You understand what I am saying?" "Indeed yes." It was both obvious and encouraging. Synvoret had not swallowed Par-Chavorlem's bait yet. He was still thinking independendy. "You may not understand as well as you think you do," Roifullery broke in severely. He moved resdessly, curling a leg. "All the Signatory is saying is that naturally enough the Commissioner wishes to show us the most favorable side of his establishment We require a neutral view—again, naturally enough." Danger
at the other interpreters. There were half a dozen of them, Reonachi, Spadder, Johns, Eugene, Klee and Meller, anxiously gathered to see what was going on at a time of crisis. These were the men who had condemned his behaviour. Now their faces saddened Towler. They were helpless. If they had hope, it was the spineless hope that someone else would do something. They were the end products of a thousand years of Partussian rule; a subject race. It forced Towler to see himself in a new light. He had
Verne Heights. Nevertheless, Rivars would have time to worry about the delivery of his evidence to Synvoret, which had now been in Towler's deepfreeze for almost three days. By nightfall it must be in the Signatory's hands. . . . But how? Luck seemed to be with Towler. As he finished breakfast, an urgent call came through for him. He lifted the receiver and replied. "Palace here, Gary. Come over fast, will you? Peter Larden-ing's been taken ill. Synvoret has asked for you back today, and he's