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For All Nails #53C: Bachelor's Hall

by M. G. Alderman


Those women will fret, those women will fuss,
They spend five hours before their glass!
The devil take all, I'll have no money at all,
Always stay single, keep Bachelors' Hall.
Stay, stay close to my door.
--Traditional, "Bachelors' Hall"


Major-General Sir Joseph, Earl St. Laurent, Commandant of the RCNAAF Academy, Marlborough City. Letter to Dr. Abramowicz, CNA Deputy Minister of Science, 6 December 1970

...You know full well why I have been posted here. Trying to soothe me by kicking me upstairs to the academy will do me no good. This whole business of sending our daughters up to the sky in airmobiles will come to no good. Placing me in close proximity to said females will not change my mind that it will cause more problems than it is worth the Confederation. The only reason it has not failed yet is that the right sorts of families are letting their daughters be co-opted by the project. Time will tell if they have the fibre to handle the duty; I am willing to let myself be convinced of the possibility that a few of them may be able to perform.

Cadet Gilmore -- soon to be Cornet Gilmore -- is rather a fine example of what you would need to make this program a success; good breeding, of course. But there is only one of her, just as there was only one Horace Gilmore, and I daresay she is too good to waste in a program designed to shoot young ladies into Outer Space. But you will get her if you wish because of Who You Know and your modernist friends in the Royal Engineers. I have been too long in the armed forces to know better. We all know how they like to cozy up to the scientists in Burgoyne.

Besides her and a few others, I have convinced myself the rest are bound to failure once they graduate. And they will graduate whether I like it or not. My druthers went down the collective Burgoyne drain years ago. The Stapleton girl is a prime example of what I mean. A bad seed, and a hayseed FN1, to boot. Manitoban accent you could slice with a knife. You know the history of the Manitobans, the unnatural doctrines of the Turnerites. Her father's not one, but I'm sure he's had some in the family. It's everywhere you go in that confederation, with their towns with pretentious names like Heartbeat City or New Harmony or Charityville. I'm rather surprised she's from such an uninterestingly named city as Fort Benton. But I digress. I am permitted to do so at my age.

I'm sure you've read about her in the papers, or rather her homicidal and rather late father, Mark, the ex-Peace and Justice man. I will see what I can do to rectify this situation without much noise, for the good of the Confederation -- and yes, the good of your precious program. I know full well that these girls in the eyes of the Space Service, and all the supporters of putting these girls in military aircraft, can do no evil.

It would be futile for me to think otherwise, for your friends in high places would have my head the moment I laid -- quite figuratively, I can assure you -- hands on any one of your women in uniform. You have checkmated me, Abramowicz. I hope you are satisfied, for there is not much more you can to do humiliate me further.

I remain,


[signature]

St. Laurent


(Forward to FAN #54: Some Rival.)

(Forward to 26 January 1971: Leebild Electronics, PLC

(Forward to Ev and Alex: The Apes of Hell.)

(Return to For All Nails.)

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