I think it was mid seventies I read this, not sure if it was a novellete or a longish short story.

It begins in a very strict boot camp for Galactic Police, the trainees are the toughest of the tough from around the galaxy and endure a really harsh winnowing process with a massive dropout and death rate

The big threat against galaxy peace and harmony is a notorious crime syndicate with a brutal masked leader.

Protagonist and his roommate get through to graduation, at the ceremony some are assigned animals to work with, one graduate is given a genetic modified camel that promptly bites his entire arm off so he fails at the last hurdle.

The two roomies are assigned to a scout ship together, after three or four routine incidents (I'm not sure about this bit) they make some kind of error and are called in for discipline. (Still not sure) but they somehow come up directly against evil masked leader alone in a room.

Roommate swiftly shoots him and they are amazed when they unmask the dead man to learn by ID papers that it is the Space Police supreme commander (I think this person is also always incognito to prevent retaliation)

Roommate swiftly dons the clothes and mask to take over the role and the power He turns around but protagonist has weighed up the situation and fled in scout ship.

The story ends with protagonist in hiding in a city and forever changing his guise and identity, he knows he is being hunted now by both the police and the criminals because he's the one man who knows the truth

1 Answer 1


Space Rats of the CCC by Harry Harrison.

"You Corpsmen will not be alone when you push the frontiers of civilization out to the barbaric stars. Oh no! You will each have a faithful companion by your side. First man, first row, step forward and meet your faithful companion!"
"There!" Colonel von Thorax bellowed in answer, blood-specked spittle mottling his lips. "There is your faithful companion, the mutacamel, mutation of the noble beast of Good Old Earth, symbol and pride of the CCC—the Combat Camel Corps! Corpsman meet your camel!"

The selected Corpsman stepped forward and raised his arm in greeting to this noble beast which promptly bit the arm off. His shrill screams mingled with the barely stifled gasps of his companions who watched, with more than casual interest, as camel trainers girt with brass-buckled leather harness rushed out and beat the protesting camel with clubs back from whence it had come, while a medic clamped a tourniquet on the wounded man's stump and dragged his limp body away.

As I'm sure is obvious from the plot it is a spoof in the characteristic Harrison style. I first read it too many decades ago to remember which anthology it came from. To provide the quote above I found a copy in Harrison's anthology 50 in 50.

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