A clever machine kills a man named Rosenburg in his home and carefully places forensic evidence to frame someone for the murder. Leroy Beam, an independent researcher investigating the crime, comes across the machine and finds out it belongs to Paul Tirol, operator of an illegal planetary slave trade. At the same time, the police decide their prime suspect is Tirol’s competitor David Lantano based on the planted evidence.
Beam discovers that Ellen Ackers, wife of Interior policeman Edward Ackers, is working with Tirol with a plan of her own to steal Tirol’s machine and use it to frame her husband in order to make him grant her a divorce. In the meantime Ackers has picked up Lantano for the murder of Rosenburg, and so Ackers is ruined and forced to resign since this machine shows the police got the wrong man.
As punishment Tirol is banished and sent at light speed to a random planet in the far reaches of the solar system. He tries to get back to Earth through his own illegal slave trade only to find out the freighters there are operated by Lantano.
Cast of characters
- Edward Ackers – Interior policeman
- Harvey Garth – pretends to protest the banishment system outside the Interior Department while feeding information to the independent researchers
- Heimie Rosenburg – murdered by Tirol’s machine
- Paul Tirol – owner of Tirol Enterprises operating an illegal planetary slave trade
- David Lantano – Tirol’s competition in the slave trade. Dave Lantano is also the name of a Yance-man in The Penultimate Truth
- Leroy Beam – an independent researcher investigating Rosenburg’s death
- Ellen Ackers – Ackers’s wife secretly working with Tirol