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THERE is an old legend concerning a Roman Emperor, who, to show his power, singled out the Tribune of a loyal legion and commanded that he march his men across Asia to the end of the world. “If, which heaven forbid, it should come to violence, we may see sudden raids on strategic points by specially equipped vessels which will make an attack and then retreat into space. Either side could inflict heavy damage on the other, but any real trial of strength could not possibly be conclusive. But it may be guessed, by those who know of the pride of these men in their corps and tradition, that they did march east as long as one still remained on his feet. A mathematical thesis entitled “A Quantitative Theory of the Formation of the Lunar Surface Features” did not look like the sort of thing that could start a war—but an equally theoretical paper by a certain Albert Einstein had once ended one. But I would warn any who may be thinking of a limited, gentlemanly war that wars were seldom limited, and never gentlemanly. Unfortunately—and this was the fact that caused great distress to Central Intelligence—Professor Phillips had innocently sent copies to his colleagues on Mars and Venus. And so a thousand men vanished into the hinterland of the largest continent, to be swallowed up for ever. The paper had been written about two years ago by Professor Roland Phillips, a peaceable Oxford cosmologist with no interest in politics. The Postmaster General rather than the War Minister answered even questions in Parliament about forces mail. Regimental post orderlies would sort the mail at the roadside and carts would be wheeled to the front line to deliver it to individual soldiers. How can Earth carry out a simultaneous fight against half-a-dozen planets and moons, poorly equipped though they may be? He had submitted it to the Royal Astronomical Society, and it was now becoming a little difficult to give him a satisfactory explanation of the delay in publication. Wherever armed forces were engaged, REPS would follow, delivering to ships of the Royal Navy anywhere in the world and to soldiers away from the fixed positions of the Western Front. On its outward journey to the Western Front, a fleet of three-tonne army lorries would take the mail to Folkestone or Southampton where ships would shuttle it across to Army Postal Service (APS) depots in Le Havre, Boulogne and Calais. These were equipped as comprehensively as a village sub-office, according to Masters of the Post: The Authorized History of the Royal Mail by Duncan Campbell Smith. And the Federation, even if it wanted to enforce its will on Earth, has neither the men nor the ships for a full-scale assault. It was then opened and read again at the Home Depot to ensure that it contained no classified information about troop movements or casualties. Yesterday the news came in that the Mercury outpost has just lost five men through a faulty heat-exchange unit in one of the domes. By now, the Federation must know that the Moon was not as impoverished a world as had been believed for two hundred years. On some unknown battlefield the last handful of survivors must have formed a square which was overwhelmed by a barbarian charge. The mail was date-stamped with the field postmark and sent to the base post office for its journey home. Dictators, Emperors, Consolidators wrested the rulership of their own or kindred solar systems from Central Control. This pride must have burned even fiercer in the men of the Royal Engineers (Postal Section) or REPS as it was universally known. What characterised the GPO was a pride in our ability to move millions of letters from anywhere to anywhere, safely and quickly. down coats for women coats on sale wool pea coat quilted coat printed trench coat ladies trench coats on sale cashmere coats military trench coats womens winter coat mens winter coats sweater coats womens long winter jackets english trench coat coats women winter ladies long raincoats coats & jackets long jackets women trench coats for women cheap trench coats cheap winter leather jackets for women fall coats women white winter coats womens winter coats sweater coat coats & jackets for women womens white winter coat winter coats mens winter coat puffer coats down coat

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