of the /Y\alf orrned
by fiflKLfln ELLISOn
D-12in Bin 39.
M-l in Bin 85.
00-87 in Bin 506.
We stand here tonight paying our
last respects to him. One of those who
committed their body at birth to our
defense. One of those who had no hope
for the future, no hope for real or lasting
joy; one of those who said, with every
breath he ever drew, "III stand between. "
Of what use are words from me? Words,
mere words, mean nothing. He served.
Again: he served. And died for it. So we
meet to pay last respects, to conduct a
funeral for someone who denied himself
all his life that we might live. What is
there to say in behalf of someone like
Alan Pry or that hasn't been said of his
like since the brave first died? What is
there to say about an Alan Pry or that
won't sound stupid and mawkish and
ridiculously melodramatic? He knew
what lay ahead for him and not once, at
no point of decision when he might have
freely chosen to live like everyone else,
did he turn'away and give up the task of
being paladin to us all. There aren't
enough thanks in ih'e world for Alan
Pry or. But still we meet here for this
polite ceremony, and hope it will suffice.
It won't, of course, but we still hope.
L-4 in Bin 55.
He was seven years old when it
really began for him. When he was born
the hospital ran the tests required by the
government security agency, and his
dossier fiche flagged potential sensitive.
But his mother and father had been
horrified at the suggestion he be sold to
the training school, and refused to release
him. So the government had politely
thanked them for their time, apologized
for having inconvenienced them in any
smallest way, and put Alan's name in the
And when Alan reached age seven,
things changed radically. Alan's parents
had come on hard times. What had been
a promising career for Alan's father had
somehow, inexplicably, gone sour at
every little juncture where it might have
led to better things. There was no
reason for it; not even Alan's mother's
frequent paranoid delusions that the
government was behind it made any
sense. Things just went sour. And they
were constantly pressed.
And he was seven years old when
he had the accident.
On the school playground, positioned as far left seeker in a sandlot game
of kinneys-and-trespass, he had not seen
the great birdlike shadow that had swiftly
fallen over him, and even as his friends
had screamed look out, Al, one of those
senseless freak accidents had occurred.
The pak on a jitney had failed; the craft
had fallen out of the sky and crushed the
child beneath its rotors at impact.
What a jitney was doing that far off
the regular transit routes, at that odd
hour, was never explained. But the
passengers—a man and his wife from
Topeka, Kansas—had been killed instantly, and Alan had been rushed to the
Lying cocooned in spinex preservative, Alan had never regained consciousness. His body was broken and irrepar
able. His parents came and stared
through the spinex, seeing the lusterless
bruise their child had become.
"Mrs. Pryor . . . Mr. Pryor . . ."
They turned at the soft voice
"Doctor," Alan's mother pleaded,
"save him . . . isn't there something you
can do . . . Then she looked back and
added, very softly, "He's so small . . .
The doctor was a large man. Had
he been rigged out in heavy wool, with a
lumberjack waldo attached to his right
arm, he would have seemed quite right in
a logging camp. He put one great, thick
arm around the woman's shoulders and
said (in the gentlest voice for such a huge
man), "I'm sorry. I've done all I can."
Alan's father began to cry. Tight,
dusty little sobs that failed to stir the
"There is one thing ..."
Alan's father was beyond hearing
him, but she turned—still under his
touch—and looked into his face for an
answer from faraway.
"The people from the training
school. They registered a call for him. If
he lives. If you'll grant permission."
She stood without speaking for a
moment, then laid her hand on her
husband's chest. His head came up and
he stared at her. "Dennis, please." He
had not heard, so she had to tell him.
And when he heard, he started to shake
his head, but she grabbed his coat and
her voice was desperate. "Dennis, I'm
going to do it . . . the only way. They
can save him. They have to do it. I
So the collection men came and
took Alan Pryor away in aircars with
shutters that had been opaqued. They
took him to the Island, where the paladins were trained, and they saved his life.
They did things to his body the Pryors'
doctor never knew could be done. They
saved Alan Pryor's life, and they saved
that bright yellow spark in his mind that
was the mark of the sensitive.
Alan's parents never saw him again.
But they had known that would be the
way it would turn out when they signed
the release. It was better that he should
live, even as a paladin, even if they never
saw him again.
Alan's mother waited for their life
to improve quickly after the school
received their boy. But it never did.
T-28 in Bin 277.
Alan Pryor was a sensitive. He had
a power we still do not understand. All
we can do is thank God that we were
given such kinds of powerful talents when
we needed them. Surely they are the
most lonely figures on our green Earth,
and if they were not here to save us,
"The Executioner of the Malformed Children" is copyright © 1978 by Harlan Ellison. All rights reserved.
'GUANACON PROGRAM BOOK