Return Match

The Eye of the Sibyl and Other Classic Stories by Philip K. Dick
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First published in Galaxy Feb 1967

Officer Tinbane is on another stakeout trying to finally catch some outspacers who are running an illegal gambling operation. As usual they destroy the building when they find out the cops are on to them, although this time a pinball game is recovered from the wreckage. 

Back at the police lab Tinbane continues to play this pinball game even after they can tell the machine is constructing a defense mechanism in the form of a catapult that will launch the pinball back at the player. The game takes advantage of Tinbane’s gambling nature, and as he is trying to beat the game and destroy the catapult the machine is building a scan of his brain pattern. When he goes back to his apartment that night (after narrowly avoiding death when the machine fights back with its catapult) he finds he is now in the center of a giant pinball game himself as he is attacked by enormous pinballs, and he hopes the police lab can construct a large catapult for him before it’s too late.

Cast of characters

  • Joseph Tinbane – a Superior Los Angeles police officer
  • Falkes – an S.L.A. police officer
  • An unnamed police lab technician 
  • Ted Donovan – the lab chief