By Harry Harrison
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Extra info for The Planet of the Robot Slaves (Bill the Galactic Hero, Vol. 1)
Maximum inefficiency was attached to the delivery of the mail, but finally, in spite of all barriers, the post was distributed and Bill had a precious spacial-postal from his mother. On one side of the card was a picture of the Noisome-Offal refinery just outside of his home town, and this alone was enough to raise a lump in his throat. " Still, it was a message from home, and he read and reread it as they stood in line for chow. Tembo, just ahead of him, also had a card, all angels and churches, just what you would expect, and Bill was shocked when he saw Tembo read the card one last time then plunge it into his cup of dinner.
The old man copied numbers from a meter attached to the pipe, while Bill watched a crane swing over with the end of a large, flexible hose that emerged from the surface they were standing on. It was attached to the valve on top of the spaceship. A rumbling vibration shook the hose, and from around the seal to the ship emerged puffs of black cloud that drifted over the stained metal plain. " Bill said plaintively. "Life! " the old man crowed, swinging up from the glooms of his depression toward the heights of manic elation.
Continue . . " he said in a bored voice, and belched lightly behind his hand. " the director howled at the top of his lungs, and staggered out of camera range. Music rose up in a mighty wave, and the ceremony began. While the Awards and Protocol officer read off the nature of the heroic deeds the noble heroes had accomplished to win that noblest of all medals, the Purple Dart with Coalsack Nebula Cluster, the Emperor rose from his throne and strode majestically forward. The infantry sergeant was first, and Bill watched out of the corner of his eye while the Emperor took an ornate gold, silver, ruby, and platinum medal from the proferred case and pinned it to the man's chest.