A Phule and His Money (Phule's Company) by Robert Asprin

By Robert Asprin

Captain Willard Phule has whipped his troops into form, turning Phule’s corporation from the laughingstock of the Legion into…a crack group of on line casino safeguard guards. Now his corporation is deployed to assist an underdeveloped planet. And what larger option to make the most of their significant sector of expertise—goofing off—than to show the planet into the largest intergalactic playground ever?

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Sample text

It was time to put an end to this incident. He stepped forward and put a hand lightly on the man's shoulder. "Excuse me, sir," he said. His voice was very polite but carried an unmistakable stamp of authority. The man glanced over his shoulder, barely long enough for him to register much more than Moustache's black Legion uniform. What happened next took everyone by surprise. Both the man and the woman abruptly shoved back their chairs, knocking Moustache off balance. In the split second before he could recover, the woman had spun around and begun to throw punches, concentrating on his midsection-which, given the difference in their heights, was her most convenient target.

Since there were numerous time displays on view throughout the space station's arrival lounge, an observer might have concluded that Phule's preoccupation with the time-combined with his pacing and nonstop talking-was a sign of nervousness. That observer would have been right. "A few minutes one way or the other won't make much difference, Captain," said Sergeant Brandy, who had come with her commanding officer to greet the new troops assigned to Phule's Company. "They're coming, and we'll deal with it.

And to give professional gamblers a behind-the-scenes look at security might give them ideas how to beat it. Moustache had perfected the art of moving quickly without appearing to be in any particular hurry. If a noncom looked flustered or rushed, the troops might decide there was something for them to worry about. Moustache had been a career noncom in the Regular Army before forced retirement made him join the Space Legion. His crisp military bearing and his carefully polished "British Sergeant-Major" air made him the perfect front man for Phule's undercover surveillance operation in the Fat Chance.

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