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Chapter XXVI

            "Antarctica, my continent, is now filled to capacity the way things stand now. The entire empire may be compared with a flattened cup, and the population of the country is situated only in the center of the cup, because the slope near the outside is too great for habitation." Vincent Harrison stopped to mop his balding brow. "The causes of the slope are the mountain ranges which were revealed when the rubber matting melted some of the ice and were found to encircle the Southern Continent. These mountain ranges are the lip of the cup." He pointed them out on a huge map behind his desk. "You, gentlemen, are to make the cup into a saucer by destroying the lip of the cup. It won't take many fusion bombs to get rid of them and---yes, your question?"
            One of the engineers gathered in the office rose and asked, "What happens to the rubber matting in contact with the mountains?"
            "We will simply evacuate the area immediately around the blast, and the cushion of air under the matting will take enough time to escape to lower the outer rims without too much damage. I really wish you wouldn't waste my time with such stupid questions; don't you know that I have enough brains to look into all the details of anything I undertake? Who do you think you are, trying to tell me what to do?" Harrison was getting quite flushed, but the inquirer didn't seem to be satisfied.
            "But, sir, don't you think that---"
            "Blast it, you're fired. Don't I think? Don't I think? Of course, I think---quite a bit more than you seem to realize I do. I can think circles around all of you. Get out of here and carry out my orders, the rest of you, or you can look for jobs elsewhere, and don't think you'll be able to get them---after I get through with your reputations. No one who has worked unsatisfactorily for Vincent Harrison will get a good job anywhere. And remember that."
            The crew of engineers picked up their files and left.
            But it seems that Mr. Harrison hadn't thought of everything, because his cup was filled---not with air as he had thought, but with water.