The Caves of Mars / Space Mercenaries Author:Emil Petaja, A. Bertram Chandler Ace Double. — The Caves of Mars: — BEWARE OF THE UNIVERSAL PANACEA — Ric Coltor had lost an arm in an interplanetary exploration. For a spaceman at any other time that would have meant the end of his career. But not with the marvelous Martian Panacea in existence. Extracted from a fungus found only on the Red Planet, it promised mankind perfect ... more »health and longer life, for it grew back internal organs, conquered disease, and could even grow back arms. So Ric went to one of the M-P colonies to become whole again and discovered a defect in that new Utopia - M-P not only gave its users glowing good health but it also gave them a fanatical devotion to the man who administered it, Dr. Morton Krill. A devotion that was so all-encompassing that any man who received it could easily become dictator of two planets if he were twisted enough to desire that. Dr. Krill was.
Her ex-Imperial Highness of Outer Space had developed a conscience. With a well-armed space cruiser on her hands, she didn't want to sell it to just anyone - that is anyone under Empire control. So the former Empress and her ex-space captain husband, became mercenaries for Glass - the Galactic League for the Abolition of Suppression and Slavery.
Their first assignment was blockade-running, to bring antibiotics to the plague-ridden humans on Antrim, besieged by the Halicheki bird-people and ignored by the Empire. Only, this would be a ticklish business for they could not fire one shot at the Halicheki without being legally termed pirates. And although the ex-Empress and her husband were open-minded enough to try all sorts of devious tricks, the prospect of being hanged for piracy by the Empress's successor did not appeal to either of their natures....« less