Far from Earth, on a ship carrying the 13th and 14th generations of descendants from the original crew, life is short. You are born, learn the tasks needed to keep the ship running, help breed and train the next crew - and your death is ordered by the computer in charge.
Gregson, chief of the psych-police, makes sure the computer's death-sentences are carried out quickly and painlessly. His duty is a sacred trust. He knows the intricacies of the system, how it works . . . and how it can be subverted.
He is growing old. Rebellious.
He also knows his name will soon come up in the computer for elimination.
And he has no intention of carrying out his own death-sentence!
Edwin Charles Tubb was born in London in 1919, and was a prolific author of SF, fantasy and western novels, under his own name and a number of pseudonyms. He wrote hundreds of short stories and novellas for the SF magazines of the 50's, including the long-running Galaxy Science Fiction, and was a founding member of the British Science Fiction Association. He died in 2010.