Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is in the Australian public domain.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.

DAVID WRIGHT O'BRIEN
(WRITING AS JOHN YORK CABOT)

THE THOUGHT ROBOT

Cover Image

RGL e-Book Cover 2018

First published in Fantastic Adventures, March 1941
This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2018
Version Date: 2018-02-05
Produced by Roy Glashan

The text of this book is in the public domain in Australia.
All original content added by RGL is protected by copyright.

Click here for more books by this author



Cover Image

Fantastic Adventures, March 1941, with "The Thought Robot"



Illustration


ROY TODD watched the silver coin spin upward toward the cracked ceiling, shining brightly in the illumination of the lone light bulb.

"Let it fall," he said.

Michael Cole stepped aside, and the coin clinked to the dusty floor, rolled momentarily, then stopped. Todd looked at his partner. "This is it," he grinned.

Simultaneously, the two bent over the coin, almost cracking heads together in their eagerness. The Goddess of Liberty stared up at them.

"Heads," Michael exclaimed. "You win, Roy. Our brain-child will answer to your commands from now on—if he answers to any."

Todd looked across the laboratory at the monstrous thing of wires and steel—their robot—the product of four slavish years of sweat and toil on the part of Michael and himself.

Propped up against the wall, this grotesque creature was the symbol of their dreams, of the burning ambitions they'd shared since their days together as students in the University.

A Thought Robot—the first of its kind—a machine constructed to respond to the electrical thought vibrations of the human mind!

Todd let his hand fall on Michael's shoulder. "It has to work," he reminded him. "It has to."

Michael's handsome features crinkled in a grin, and he brushed his ebony-black hair out of his eyes in a characteristic gesture of impatience.

Todd went over to the electro-transmission apparatus next to the Robot, and Michael took his place beside the iron monster. The headphones were over Todd's ears, and Michael threw the switch. Instantly the indicator needle on the transmitter began to flicker. Delicately, Michael began to make the adjustments. It was necessary that the electro-recepter box on the Robot's chest be tuned in perfectly to his friend's thought wave-length. Which was why they had flipped the coin, for no two mind wave-lengths have a similar vibration. If the Robot were to answer commands at all, it would only do so for those thoughts carried over a particular vibratory key.

Breathlessly Todd waited, as the other turned first to the transmitter then to the vibratory recepter on the Robot's chest. His strong fingers were swift, sure, as they adjusted the dial on the chest of the iron man.

Todd slipped the headphones off, and Michael disconnected the transmitter boxes and the transmission indicators from the Robot. If the experiment was to be successful, they would know in the next few moments.

They placed the metal monster erect on its feet. Then Michael stood back and looked at Todd. "Ready, Roy?"

Todd nodded, feeling the palms of his hands suddenly become moist, his knees shaky. Stepping back from the Robot several yards, he paused. What would be his first command? Motion.

Todd looked toward Michael, then back to the Robot. "Walk to the far window!" he directed. It seemed as though every fiber of his brain was torn by the mental force he threw behind that command.

The silence was broken only by Michael's heavy breathing. The Robot was motionless.

Fists clenched, Todd hurled every last atom of concentration into the repeated command. "Walk to the far window!" he directed again.

The seconds that followed seemed like separate eternities. And there was still no motion from the Robot. Todd saw Michael was looking anxiously at him, and in the silence the ticking of the clock on the table sounded like swift strokes on a metallic drum. In Michael's eyes was a wordless question.

Todd couldn't stand it any longer. "It's no use," he blurted despairingly.

Michael's shoulders sagged dejectedly. His voice was lifeless, beaten. "It's beyond me," he said, "all our figures and calculations are correct. The Robot recepter is set at exactly the same ratio as your thought vibrations. According to all that we've discovered..." the words trailed off.

"Sure," Todd said with a wry grin. "It should work. That's what every crack-pot inventor says about his brain child." He knew he couldn't force lightness any longer. The grin slipped from his face as he slumped into a chair, burying his head in his hands. Was this the end of their dream?


MICHAEL was silently gathering their papers and blue-prints from the littered lab tables, stuffing them into drawers. When at last he had assembled the more delicate apparatus, placing it on a shelf in the corner, he spoke.

"Mary is about due." Todd glanced at his wrist watch.

"Yes," said Michael, "due for our success banquet." His voice was thick with the bitterness that comes in the wake of a shattered dream.

Mary Shaw, Michael, and Todd had grown up together as kids in the same small town, Todd reflected. When they went to college they went together, for they were an inseparable trio. Their successes and failures had always been shared and shared alike among them. Three Musketeers stuff, Todd recalled. But during the last year the relationship had been slightly altered. There was something more than comradeship between Michael and Mary. Todd had seen it in their eyes, their glances. It was easy to tell. For Roy Todd loved Mary Shaw himself.

Their success banquet—they had been so certain that tonight was to see the completion of their dream—was now a pathetic parody. Todd thought of the table with the checkered cloth upstairs in his drab room. The last of their miserable savings had gone into the "spread" for the banquet. There were anchovies, cheese hors d'oeuvres, and a tall bottle of champagne resting in solitary splendor in a bucket of crushed ice.

Michael was speaking. "I suppose we'd better get upstairs to meet Mary."

Todd nodded, and followed him out of the now darkened laboratory, up the creaking wooden steps to the room.

A few minutes later Mary arrived.

She had brought a huge bouquet of flowers from somewhere, and her entrance was unconsciously graceful, beautiful. It must have been raining outside, for tiny drops of water still sparkled in her wind-tossed auburn hair. There was something elfin about her beauty. She had a wide, generous mouth and gray eyes that were at once cool and deep. Her pert nose wrinkled enhancingly as she smiled, and the sweater and skirt she wore under her polo coat accentuated the loveliness of her slender boyish figure.

"Is the Robot going to serve us dinner, gentlemen?" That was her entrance line, spoken casually, lightly, until she read the answer in their eyes. Mary bit her lip, then. "I... I'm sorry," she said softly. "I was so sure for you both."

The silence was awkward. Neither Michael nor Todd could think of anything appropriate. Somehow they were finally seated around the checkered table, and had managed to force a semblance of gaiety and laughter.

Todd knew Mary was trying desperately to pull them out of their despair, and gradually, as the champagne diminished, they were able to feel a little better. But Todd realized all were miserably aware of what a pathetic travesty the affair was. And in addition to that, he was acutely conscious of Mary and Michael; of the looks that they exchanged.


THEY were staring at their empty glasses and smoking silently when Michael cleared his throat. "We've gone a long way in our chase of a dream, eh, Roy?"

Todd nodded, "But we aren't licked yet, Michael. Tomorrow we can dig in again, and again and again, if necessary. We'll hit it yet, fellow."

Suddenly he was aware that something was wrong. Michael's face was flushed, and his eyes avoided Todd's as he spoke. Then he remembered that Michael had seemed nervous ever since Mary's arrival.

"Roy," Michael said hurriedly, "I've been offered a pretty decent job with a scientific house in the East." He paused and wiped his face with a handkerchief. "It means permanency, Roy, and the chance to live as a human being. And I wonder if you'd mind—"

"If you'd take it?" Todd finished for him. He forced the smile that came to his face, hanging on while a sudden emptiness ached in his chest. Michael was walking out, but even as he realized this he knew he couldn't find it in his heart to blame him. They might work for years without ever finding success with the Thought Robot. Michael couldn't get married on the meager existence that their experiment would hold him to, and there was Mary.

It was then that he really understood the situation. It was so clear and simple that Todd was amazed he hadn't realized it sooner. They were both leaving it unspoken, but he knew that they couldn't be expected to deny themselves happiness any longer. They'd given four years to the Robot so far.

"You'd be a fool not to take it, Michael," Todd heard his voice as if from a distance. Why didn't they come right out and tell him what had happened to two of them? Todd told himself, couldn't they see that he knew? Or, the thought made him suddenly uncomfortable, did they suspect that he loved Mary?

"I knew you'd see what I mean," Michael was saying. "It's fine of you to understand." He was standing now, shaking Todd's hand.

"Forget it, fella," Todd said with a lightness that he didn't feel. "I'll be glad to get rid of you."

Todd held Mary's coat as she slipped into it. Michael stood self-consciously at the door, waiting. "I'll probably see you tomorrow night," he said, "and talk things over."

"Sure thing," Todd's voice was husky. "I'll be expecting you."

Mary reached out and caught his hand. "Please," she said. "Don't let this discourage you, Roy. You'll lick the darned thing yet. Your theory is sound."

He smiled at her. "How do you know it is?"

"You believe in it," she said quietly. "That's enough for me."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence," he said. "I hope you're right."


FOR over an hour after they were gone, Todd sat smoking and staring into the fire. Self-pity was an insidious emotion, but he finally snapped himself out of it. By the time he climbed into bed, his mind was occupied with more practical matters. Harton, the proprietor of the scientific supply house near the village, had been to see him earlier in the day. Todd owed him a little over a hundred dollars. Harton hadn't been pleasant, blustering and shouting around until Todd almost felt like throttling him.

"Damn all creditors," Todd muttered. He yawned and switched off the tiny light by his bed.

For a while the events of the day flashed before his eyes like the slides of a kaleidoscope. Michael and Mary, the failure of the Robot, the rotten-tempered Mr. Harton, all of this flashed through his weary mind in a jumbled crazy quilt pattern. Finally, Todd slept...


HIS head was aching terribly when Todd woke the following morning. It was raining outside, a sort of slanting drizzle that blotted into the muddy earth. Todd had put a cigarette into the corner of his mouth when he remembered his dream. The room was quite warm, but he shivered a little as it flashed back to him. The details were more or less hazy, but he remembered one gruesome fact. He had strangled Harton and thrown him over a cliff. Sitting there on the side of the bed, Todd tried to piece together the rest of the dream, remembering that Mary and Michael had entered into it somehow, but the rest of it eluded him.

"Champagne and cheese," he muttered. "Never again!"

Todd was shaved and dressed when Mrs. Murtaugh, his Irish landlady knocked timidly and entered the room.

She seemed shaken, excited, about something.

"What's wrong, Mrs. Murtaugh," Todd smiled, "did you see a ghost?"

"It's making fun of me you are," she answered. "It's not ghosts but Mr. Harton I'm—"

"Confound him!" Todd felt a sudden surge of resentment. "Is he going to plague me every minute of the day? Go downstairs and tell him that I haven't any money and to stop bothering me." He took a quick furious drag on his cigarette, his rage growing. "Tell him," he stormed, "that I dreamed I threw him over the cliff last night, and if he doesn't clear out of here I'll go down and make the dream come true."

"Oh, good God," the landlady gasped, backing away from him, "whatever are ye saying, Mr. Roy?"

"What do you mean?" Todd frowned.

"Mr. Harton ain't downstairs," she whispered, crossing herself quickly, "he's layin' on the rocks at the bottom of the cliff, dead!"

Mrs. Murtaugh was gone, but Todd found that he had suddenly lost his appetite for breakfast. Her announcement had stunned him. But once the shock had passed, something else, sinister and insistent, entered his mind, refusing to be banished. It concerned the dream, and—But no! he told himself. He was acting like a fool!

A moment later: "It's a coincidence," he told the silence, "nothing more." But it wasn't any use. His nerves were completely out of hand. He'd never been the jittery type. At the University he had dissected cadavers twelve hours a day without thinking twice about it. Now, however, as he held a match to his cigarette, his fingers trembled uncontrollably.

Mechanically, he moved to the door, then, moving with almost frantic haste, he was running down to the steps to the laboratory. He had no impression of conscious volition on his part. It was something deeper than instinct that sent him dashing down those stairs.

When he reached the bottom of the steps he didn't have any concrete idea of what he expected to find, or not to find.

It was quite dark, and as Todd stood in the door of the laboratory, he could see nothing. He reached out and flicked the wall switch, bathing the room in sudden brightness. For a horrible stupefying instant his senses reeled with terror—the Robot was gone!


HOW long he stood frozen in the doorway, he didn't know. It seemed like a small slice of eternity, but was probably no more than several seconds. Then Todd was across the room to the place they had left the Robot, looking swiftly about. Nothing had been disturbed. Everything was the same. But the Robot had vanished.

When Todd returned to his room he walked to the closet and brought out a heavy pair of overshoes. After putting them on, he buckled a long slicker over his suit, pulled a black slouch hat over his eyes, and stepped out of the door. He stood there a moment before descending to the street, a maddening fantastic thought plucking at his brain.

But he refused to consider it until—

A group of morbidly curious villagers were still clustered around the scene of Harton's fall when Todd arrived at the cliff. He nodded to several of the group whom he happened to know. A half dozen of them began to tell him the story, pausing frequently to argue over the details. But Todd wasn't listening now. He was looking. As they poured forth their jumbled versions of the fall, his eyes were sweeping back and forth over the ground.

And Todd saw what he had dreaded to find!

Flat, deep, disc-like prints in the slime. Prints that could have been made by no human agency, prints that were undoubtedly those of the Thought Robot!

"Then it's true," he muttered dazedly to himself. "It's true." And with that thought there came another, searing into his mind like a blazing stab of pain. He was a murderer!

Somehow, in some fashion the Thought Robot had taken direction from him during the night. It had obeyed the wishes of his dream. The Robot had killed Harton. But he, Roy Todd, was the murderer!

Voices around him became a blurred background. At that moment the chilling wind seemed to bite through his thick coat, wrapping its icy fingers around his heart. Todd steeled himself. It was imperative that the curious country-folk should suspect nothing.

"A shame, ain't it?"

He wheeled abruptly, startled by the voice. It was merely a villager, trying to make conversation. "Yes," Todd replied, "it is a shame."

"Them accidents is bound to happen, I allus say," he declared confidentially. Todd muttered something in reply and eased away from him. Accidents! If they had any idea—

Making sure that his observations were unnoticed, he followed the disc-like prints. They were plain enough to any one who knew, leading off in counter direction to the cliff edge, headed toward Bragg's Bog, a wide stretch of swamp mire perhaps a half mile distant from the scene of Harton's death.

The tracks led to the very edge of the bog, then stopped. Todd stood inches deep in the ooze, his mind a dazed and muddled jumble of fear and suspicion, hope and horror, gazing out at the heavy vapor steaming up from the marshes. Somewhere out in that bubbling ooze was their creation, their Thought Robot, hiding cunningly like a hunted criminal and waiting for further commands!

For perhaps fifteen minutes he stood there, staring hopelessly at the forbidding stretches of marshland, clenching and unclenching his fists in an effort to control reason.

Something had to be done, and very swiftly. But what? He had no idea as he headed back for the laboratory. One thing, however, was certain. It was his problem. Michael and Mary must not know of it.


DARKNESS had been over the village for a number of hours, and Todd's ash-tray was heaped with innumerable cigarettes. His first horrified struggles with the problem had long since given way to a sort of deadly calm. And the pattern was beginning to form.

There was no escaping the fact that the Thought Robot had responded to his dream desires. But the metal monster had failed to obey his conscious thought projections when Michael and he conducted the tests of the previous evening.

But those had been commands of his conscious mind!

Yet, as he slept, the Robot obeyed dream directions. In sleep Todd knew the subconscious is active, the subconscious predominates!*

[* This is entirely true. Subconscious thoughts are uncontrollable, and during sleep, when the conscious mind is dormant, the subconscious takes over parts of the brain, such as the memory, and produces dreams, haphazardly set into motion by emotional stimuli, and presents them in disordered fashion. Thus, in a dream, we may desire the death of a loved one, or we may see no barrier to perpetrating a crime we would not countenance while in possession of our conscious mind's thoughts. The barriers, so to speak, do not exist, during sleep, that have been built up by environment, by education, and by that inexplicable thing called conscience. —Ed.]


It was incredible, but there was no other explanation. The recepter mechanism on the Robot had been adjusted too acutely, too finely. It was adjusted so subtly that only the commands of his subconscious were able to register in the electro recepter.

Todd could find no escape from the conclusion, staggering as it was, that the Robot was obeying his subconscious mind!

Somewhere out in the blackness of the night, hidden in the ooze of Bragg's Bog, was a metal monster tuned to carry forth the commands of his subconscious mind—commands he couldn't control!

He was lighting another cigarette when a sudden thought swept over him, numbing his brain with the sheer horror of it.

The Thought Robot had killed Harton at the direction of his subconscious—a deed his conscious mind could never have directed.

Wasn't it possible that his subconscious mind could contemplate further atrocities that his conscious mind would never sanction? The death of Harton meant the elimination of an obstacle, escape mechanism of a dream turned into horrible reality.

In that same dream there had been something concerning Michael and Mary. What was there to prevent his subconscious from wishing the elimination of Michael Cole? Todd loved Mary Shaw, and Michael stood in the way of his ever fulfilling that love!

Had he dreamed harm to Michael Cole? The thought was absurd. Michael was his closest friend. He would never consciously wish him wrong. But unconsciously—?

The thought left Todd trembling. And at that instant he knew that the second subconscious dream wish might have been the death of his friend, that the Robot might already be waiting on that command, emerging from the slime of Bragg's Bog, heading for the inn where Michael was quartered, carrying out a previous subconscious command to kill!

Todd realized he might already be too late. Grabbing his hat and overcoat he dashed out of the room, and a moment later was running through the street in the direction of the inn where Michael lived...


WHEN he burst through the door of the inn parlor, Michael and Mary turned instantly. They were sitting directly in front of a glowing fireplace, and he knew his entrance had startled them. Something of what he was thinking, feeling, must have been written on his face, for Michael spoke hurriedly.

"Roy, well I'm damned. What's wrong, fellow? You look like you walked through a graveyard!"

Todd caught his breath, noticing the manner in which Mary was staring at him, then blurted, "Please, Michael. You and Mary must get out of here immediately. We haven't a moment to spare. Something dreadful has happened. I can't explain now. You must trust me—" He broke off sharply There had been a tremendous impact against the inn door.

But it was the expression on Mary's face that made him whirl.

Fear and bewildered horror was stamped in her eyes, and her mouth had opened in a choked effort to scream. For with the second fearsome impact against the door there was a splintering of wood, and a metal fist groped through the torn opening!

"The Robot!" Todd shouted. "We must get out of here immediately. No time to explain!"

The faces of both were bewildered, horrified, uncomprehending. But his voice, the urgency of his commands, must have convinced them that he was not babbling, that catastrophe was in the brute strength of the monster beating the door through.

"Is here an exit in the rear?" Todd demanded.

Michael nodded automatically. "Quick, follow me," he said.

Mary and Todd ran swiftly behind Michael, and in a moment they were in the tiny kitchen of the inn, unfastening the bolts that locked the door. They could hear the efforts of the Robot to smash its way into the room, and the terrifying ripping of wood and iron fastenings lent speed to their movements. In another minute the Robot would have methodically battered its way into the inn!

Then they were out in the clearing behind the place. Wildly, Todd looked around for some sort of refuge to run to. A squat, thick, brick structure was visible about a quarter of a mile distant. It seemed to be their only chance.

Todd had slid an outside bolt across the rear inn door when he stopped outside. But in those brief moments searching for some shelter, the Robot had gained the kitchen and was again smashing against the thin wood that barred its way.

The terrain was rocky and the footing bad. Inside of thirty yards Mary had stumbled. Michael and Todd lifted her to her feet. There was a bruise on her forehead, and her face, in the brilliance of the moonlight, was chalky white.

Instantly Michael had his arm around her waist. "We can't stop," he cried. Already Todd could hear the effects of the dull sledge-like pounding coming from the rear of the tiny inn.

"Good God, Roy, what—" Michael's sentence was broken off sharply by a scream of terror. They turned swiftly, looking back at the inn and a split-second panorama stamped itself on Todd's mind. The huge metal monster had broken through the door and was emerging into the bright moonlight like some gleaming thing from hell. Beneath the splintered wreckage of the door a figure lay pinned to the ground—the innkeeper!


THE Robot paused, but only for an instant. Mechanically, it shifted its cumbersome bulk in their direction, and then was moving once more.

In unison Michael and Todd slipped an arm around Mary, and began to half-carry, half-propel her over the rocky ground. By the time they had covered a hundred yards Todd's breath was coming in short sobbing gasps, and he could hear Michael's labored breathing. Suddenly Mary twisted her ankle, sagged between them. The unexpected weight almost sent them sprawling.

"I'll carry her," Todd gasped, "for God's sake run ahead and get that door open!"

Michael hesitated only an instant. Then he turned and raced ahead of them. Todd stooped quickly and lifted Mary to his shoulder. A quick glance behind him suddenly flooded his veins with the strength he needed. A scant forty yards away the Robot was staggering with clumsy but incredible swiftness over the uneven ground, its metal arms outstretched as if in an absurd effort to control balance!

Somehow Todd's legs were moving; somehow he managed to keep footing. His lungs ached horribly as he fought for breath. Perspiration clouded his eyes, and the blocky outlines of the brick sanctuary became a tantalizing nightmarish goal.

Ahead, Todd could hear noises. Michael—pray God he could open the door! Then, beneath his feet, he felt flagstones. Several of them almost sent him sprawling on their smooth damp surface. Fifteen yards ahead lay safety—but did it? Michael was standing before the door of the building, still struggling frantically with the lock!

"Smash it down," Todd shouted, "for God's sake smash it down!"

On the flagstones behind, Todd heard the clatter of the first metallic step. The next few moments were torn from the diary of the Devil. Michael was hurling his weight against the door, but it was unyielding. There was a clattering crash a few feet behind them. Michael spun around at this, stricken. The Robot had slipped face forward on the rocks of the walk, but already was rising, coming forward!

Todd was at the door, beside Michael. In desperation he shifted Mary into Michael's arms, then threw every last atom of strength into a wild lunge at the door. There was the sound of splintering wood as the lock tore through the jamb. Then he sprawled headlong into the darkness of the building.

Michael was right behind him with Mary. Todd sprang to his feet as Michael slammed the door and stumbled past him. Futilely he threw his weight against the door, realizing with sickening horror that his strength was pitiful compared to the driving blows that the Robot would be raining from the other side in another moment.

Then, in the inky blackness, his groping fingers found metal—rusty, semi-corroded metal. In the next second he understood what his fingers gripped—a bolt—evidently long unused—but a precious stopgap for the moment! Frantically he slammed it home into the rusty socket on an unsplintered section of the door jamb.

A fraction of a second later would have been disastrous, for the first thundering blows from the monster's paws smashed against the oaken timbers, and simultaneously Michael found the light switch.

In the sudden brilliance of the room Todd's eyes blinked momentarily, then focused. Even as he looked about desperately for something to barricade the door, he realized where they were. He stared helplessly and frantically at a row of silent steel-hooded turbines bolted to a concrete floor, a huge wall switch several feet from him. There wasn't a movable object in the room. They had taken refuge in the power transmitter outlet for a nearby metropolitan radio station!


MICHAEL was at his side, and a glance showed Todd that he'd placed Mary against a wall on the far side of the room. Then their eyes were fixed on the thick but rusty bolt, the corroded iron standing between them and destruction. Even as they stared in horrified fascination at the bar, the thudding blows from the Robot were having visible effect on it. In another moment it would be snapped!

Fingers dug sharply into his arm. Michael was speaking swiftly, excitedly. "Roy," he said hoarsely, "there's one chance, and it's the only chance. I'll face the Robot. Should be able to damage the mechanism before—" he broke off, then continued. "You take Mary, you'll be able to get away while I—"

Todd hesitated but an instant. Yet in that brief second between realization and action—he knew what he had to do. His jaw hardened, and his fist swung in a vicious arc terminating on the point of Michael's chin. There was grim satisfaction in his eyes as he watched Michael stumble backward and crash to the floor.

And then Todd was shouting to Mary. "Get him back there, behind those turbines, and stay there yourself. Hurry!"

"Wha—" Mary began, terror and confusion in her eyes.

"Do as I say, dammit!" Todd exploded. "For Michael's sake, if not for your own."

Todd wheeled, not waiting to see if the girl had obeyed him, for there wasn't time—not now!

At that instant the door smashed inward under the bludgeoning fists of the robot; and at that instant Todd moved forward to meet the hideous creation of steel and metal that was advancing ominously toward him—obeying but one command, to kill!

Even as the horrible monster swayed awkwardly toward him, Todd's eyes were fixed on its vital breastplate. If—

Todd drove in toward the Robot, launching himself with desperate strength at the thing, his hands groping frantically to seize that plate, to smash the electro-recepter mechanism that was as life to it.

His fingers caught on steel and tore, and then the outer plate to the recepter was sliding beneath his bleeding hands. For a split second, then, Todd hesitated, realizing in one brief instant that this creature represented everything he had dreamed and hoped and struggled for. In its destruction he knew he would kill a part of himself. And then he drove away the thought, and his fingers closed in upon the vibratory mechanism.

Closed in and tore wildly, savagely. As a beast might rip the heart from a man, Todd was tearing the life from this monster. And even as he did so, an agonized unbearable weight crushed down upon him—the metal arms of the Robot, closing inward in the inexorable embrace to death!

Todd fought the pain and blackness, his fingers continuing to claw frantically at the coiled fibers reposing in the metal heart of the monster. And then, suddenly, a searing flame shot from the metal breastplate. The Robot stiffened convulsively, as if in pain. Todd, face seared and blackened from the blinding flash, felt those arms crush inward in a final, terrible spasm.

The Thought Robot was dying. But even through the all-engulfing mantle of darkness that closed down on him, Roy Todd knew that he was dying also. Dying, that others might live. And dimly, he realized that somehow this was atonement... for the havoc... wreaked... by the creation of his mind...


THE END


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is in the Australian public domain.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.