High Admiral Feghoot (FEGHOOT XXVI)

The long series of Feghoot tales was written by Reginald Bretnor under the pseudonym of Grendel Briarton.

Ferdinand Feghoot was the only man to hold a high rank in the Navy during the Missourian Monarchy (2504-2622 A. D.) He actually attained supreme command, flying the flag of High Admiral of the Blue, and so ranking all the female High Admirals. Except in one case, his tact and personal charm at once dissolved all jealousy and ill-feeling.

This exception was his immediate subordinate, an old sea-dog named Hattie McBoom. Her resentment came to a climax when Feghoot was issued a smart admiral’s barge six feet longer than hers and with space for four additional oarswomen. At its first appearance, she ordered her main batteries to fire on it, and sank it with a number of casualties.

She was arrested at once, a Naval Court was convened, and its unanimous verdict was announced within twenty minutes-she was to be keelhauled, then hanged from the yardarm. Her life was saved by High Admiral Feghoot,who, despite his own narrow escape, eloquently pleaded for leniency, stating that the case was clearly a psychiatric one.

“What do you mean, Sir?” cried the President of the Court.

“It’s obvious, Madame,” answered Ferdinand Feghoot. “We have here a simple case of old-fashioned pinnace envy.”

(Copyright © 1960 by Mercury Press. First published in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, May 1960.)

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