I'm trying to remember the name and author of a short story I listened to in an audiobook; does anyone know it? It goes like this:

  • Main guy is a maintenance engineer and has to repair a space-beacon or space-relay or something of the sort on a uncivilized planet.
  • This particular one is ancient and was overbuilt to last thousands of years, I remember some pipes being described as being several meters thick and still having been eroded through
  • Space-beacon-thing is mountain-sized and monumental (pyramid shaped?)
  • Some primitive aliens deify the space-beacon-thing and organize a small civilization near the base
  • Main guy has tech that can listen to alien conversation and create and instantaneous translator he wears
    • also some kind of tech he uses to look like an alien (a suit or cloaking device? can't remember which)

I've been going nuts trying to remember the name or author but for the life of me I can't.

1 Answer 1


It is The Repairman by Harry Harrison

This department is officially called Maintenance and Repair, when it really should be called trouble-shooting. Hyperspace beacons are made to last forever -- or damn close to it. When one of them breaks down, it is never an accident and repairing the thing is never a matter of just plugging in a new part.

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