This is a juvenile action story. Fast paced, not a moment of boredom.
Story summary.Someone with evil designs has subverted the bureaucratic system on a world called "Cittanuvo. Second planet of a B star in Corona Borealis". And have managed to get a massive & super-capable "late Empire battleship of the Warlord class" built in secret. The ship is of a 1000 year old design - back from warring times, & is way more capable than even the military stuff of these peaceful times.
Then there is a smart aleck, a recently-hired military cop from "Special Corps", & the narrator, Jim diGriz, who can think like criminals & was the first to detect something fishy. But conspirators are a step ahead. The ship lifted off the construction docks before he reached there with cops. He will ultimately trap the conspirators.
Story also features a super-competent robot. With many of its capabilities described in some detail. And touches upon the theme of space piracy. And features professional telepaths ("psimen") used for cross-galactic instant communications in facilities akin to telegraph offices of yore!!
- '"Secrecy can be an obviousity." What the magicians call misdirection. Let people very obviously see what you want them to see, then they'll never notice what is hidden.'
- "Like many other planets, this one was uniform-conscious. Delivery boys, street cleaners, clerks--all had to have characteristic uniforms. Much prestige attached to them".
- "If there are two choices to take, take the simpler."
- "False modesty is the refuge of the incompetent."
Fact sheet.First published: Astounding Science Fiction, April 1960.
Download full text from Project Gutenberg or Manybooks.
Listed among the stories from John Campbell's Astounding/Analog.