The Green Brain

The Green Brain by Frank Herbert Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: The Green Brain by Frank Herbert Read Free Book Online
Authors: Frank Herbert
    Martinho looked toward the place in the lawn where the giant figure of a beetle had disappeared. He found this dalliance with talk far more alluring than the walk across the lawn to that place. The night air carried a sense of lowering menace and … hysteria. And the
oddest thing of all was the reluctance to take action that could be seen all around him. It was like the lull after a terrible battle in a war.
    Well, it is a kind of war, he told himself.
    Eight years they’d been fighting this war here in Brazil. The Chinese had taken twenty-two years, but they’d said it could be done here in ten. The thought that it might take twenty-two years here—fourteen more years—momentarily threatened to overwhelm Martinho. He felt a monstrous fatigue.
    â€œYou must admit odd things are happening,” Chen-Lhu said.
    â€œThat we admit,” Alvarez said.
    â€œWhy does no one suspect the Carsonites?” Vierho asked.
    â€œA good question, Padre,” Alvarez said. “They have big support, the Carsonites—all the holdout nations: the US of A, Canada, the United Kingdom, Common Europe.”
    â€œAll the places where they’ve never had any real trouble with the insects,” Vierho said.
    Oddly, it was Chen-Lhu who protested. “No,” he said. “The holdout nations don’t really care—except that they’re happy to see us occupied with this fight.”
    Martinho nodded. Yes—that was what all the companions of his schooldays in North America had said. They couldn’t care less.
    â€œI am going over now and look in that hole,” Martinho said.
    Alvarez reached out, took Vierho’s carbine. He hung it on his good shoulder by the sling, took the control handle of the shield. “I will go with you, Johnny.”
    Martinho glanced at Vierho, saw the look of terrified relief in the man’s face, returned his attention to Alvarez. “Your arm?”

    â€œI still have one good arm. What more do I need?”
    â€œTravis, you stay close behind us,” Martinho said.
    â€œMy Security men have just arrived,” Chen-Lhu said. “Delay a moment and we’ll ring that place. I will tell them to bring shields.”
    â€œIt is wise, Johnny,” Alvarez said.
    â€œWe will go slowly,” Martinho said. “Padre, return to the truck. Tell Ramon to bring it around the Plaza and up onto the edge of the lawn over there. Have the Hermosillo truck direct all its lights onto that place.” He nodded ahead of him.
    â€œAt once, Jefe.”
    Vierho headed back for the truck.
    â€œYou will not disturb anything there?” Chen-Lhu asked.
    â€œWe’re as anxious as you to find out what that is,” Alvarez said.
    â€œLet’s go,” Martinho said.
    Chen-Lhu trotted off to the right where an IEO field truck could be seen making its way through a side street. The crowd appeared to be giving trouble there, resisting efforts to expel them from the Plaza area.
    Alvarez turned the control handle and the shield began crawling across the lawn.
    In a low voice, Alvarez said, “Johnny, why doesn’t the doctor suspect the Carsonites?”
    â€œHe has a spy system as good as anything in the world,” Martinho said. “He must know.” He kept his gaze on the disturbed patch of lawn ahead of them, that mysterious place beside the fountain.
    â€œBut what better way to sabotage us than to discredit the bandeirantes?”
    â€œTrue, but I don’t think Travis Huntington Chen-Lhu would make such a mistake.” And he thought: It is strange how that patch of lawn both attracts and repels .

    â€œYou and I have been rivals at the bid many times, Johnny. Perhaps we forget sometimes that we have a common enemy.”
    â€œDo you name that enemy?”
    â€œIt’s the enemy in the jungles, in the grass of the savannahs and under the ground. The Chinese took twenty-two years

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