Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
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.
RECENTLY in this magazine I retold the story that Raymond Cannes told that Sunday night, October the seventh, 1928, to a group of acquaintances at a certain Philadelphia club. I first told of the argument between Sherman and Preston, who, discussing H.G. Wells' novel, "The Time Machine," had wandered off into speculation, as to whether or not it would ever be possible to travel into the future or the past. Preston maintained that such a thing was impossible and would always be impossible, while Sherman, disregarding the ridicule of his opponent, expressed the opinion that "time-traveling" might become a possibility at no distant epoch, when science would be more advanced. The debate, though impromptu, was interesting in the extreme. Each man brought out several good points.
Then Raymond Cannes told that story which I have retold in print and called "Paradox." He stated that it was true, but he did not ask us to believe it, as he could present no confirmatory evidence. He told how his college chum, Endicott Hawkinson, a wealthy electrical wizard, had found in his mailbox a mysterious mathematical manuscript, which he found contained proof of the existence of the "fourth dimension," and identified it as tune. Cannes told how Hawkinson constructed an electrical machine for projecting objects into the future, and how Hawkinson was killed by a fire in his laboratory shortly after he had sent Cannes one thousand and two years into the future, to the year 2930.
Cannes told of his life in that far future year, of his mystification at the circumstances surrounding the origin of that manuscript, which was used before it was made and could not have been made if it hadn't been previously used. He told us of the grandfather argument, and also of the time when he was actually and physically in two different places at one and the same time. He told us not only of those, but of other seeming paradoxes and absurdities he had encountered. He told us that he could not believe the things he saw happen, for his twentieth century mind was incapable of comprehending the complex mysteries of thirtieth century science, which regarded the fourth dimension as simple and elementary, and which dealt with traveling through time as an accomplished and commonplace fact. He told us of Dwar Bonn, the great thirtieth century scientist who had just invented a machine for traveling into the past, as all time-traveling previous to 2930 had been into the future only. He told us of his love for a tall, slender girl of the future, the daughter of the scientist. He told us of the incredible adventure that took place on the monster ninety thousand ton air-liner Patrician, en route from Australia to New York. Fleeing from a discussion incomprehensible to him of the mysteries of electrons, protons and photons, he had come upon the girl and had impulsively kissed her. She resented it and struck at him, accidentally striking and breaking one of the delicate life-disks attached to his shoulders. Everyone on the enormous airplane wore those disks. In case of an accident they served as parachutes, extracting power from the supply that was always being broadcast, and using that power to break the fall. Cannes then told us how he had gone in search of her father, the scientist, had found him dead, had captured his murderer in spite of the fact that the murderer was using a stolen device to render himself totally invisible, and how he (Cannes) had discovered that the murderer was a spy from the planet Mars, who later disclosed, unwillingly, that the earth was in great peril, as Martian spies had distributed all over the earth, in its most densely populated parts, enormous quantities of the terrible Martian explosive brarron, which possessed the power of being detonated by certain etheric waves. One large quantity of this explosive was in the cargo-rooms of the great plane, Patrician, and the radio wave, that was to detonate the explosive all over the world, was due to be broadcast in fifteen minutes, from the great station established by the powers of Mars at the Earth's South Pole. All this information was obtained from the Martian spy by artificial hypnotism. The spy concluded by stating that not one terrestrial being would be alive after three days had passed.
If you have read my account you will remember how Cannes told us that the enormous plane, death-laden with Martian brarron, was abandoned in mid-air, all of the passengers and crew descending to earth by using their life-disks. But Cannes' disks had been destroyed. He had escaped by using the time-machine just invented by Dwar Bonn, which had returned him to the year 1928. You will remember that Cannes' last glimpse of the girl he loved had shown her falling away from the plane, which was loaded with explosive, a very few minutes before the explosion was to take place. But, because of his own escape through the fourth dimension, he had never known whether or not the explosion had ever taken place, never known whether or not the human race was annihilated in those three days in September 2930, as the Martian spy had threatened.
And you will remember how Cannes had found out from old records that his death had been recorded on October 7, 1928, and how he had set the dials on the time-machine to indicate October the eighth, and had boasted to us that he had cheated fate. But fate had cheated him, for without his knowing it, the machine had not functioned quite accurately, and he had really been returned to the seventh, the day on which his death was due, (and also the day on which he told the story.) Ten minutes after he had finished his story he was dead. He never knew what it was that hit him. The entire group that had listened to his story saw him killed by a truck a few minutes before midnight.
I have made a hurried and incomplete review of Cannes' story and the circumstances surrounding it, so that even if you have not read it you will be able to understand the story that follows. If there are points that are not clear to you, a reference to my previous article will doubtlessly make them plain.
MONTHS later my friend William Simons read the story. He laid aside the magazine and remarked whimsically, "You've a peculiar imagination, Cloukey. Just what good it is, I don't know, but it's peculiar. But why did you kill off Cannes at the end? Isn't there enough tragedy in real life without you story-writers?"
I interrupted him annoyedly. I had no just reason to be annoyed, but I was. I picked up my scrap-book and showed him two slightly yellowed clippings from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin. One told of the fire in the laboratory of Endicott Hawkinson, rich experimenter; and the other, dated a few months later, (October 8, 1928), told of the killing of Raymond Cannes, on a street near City Hall, a few minutes before the previous Midnight, blaming the hit-and-run driver of a speeding truck. Bill Simons read the clippings and turned to me inquiringly.
"You used the names of real people?"
"And I told a true story. That is, while I don't know whether or not Cannes' story was true, it is true that he told that story to the group at a downtown club, and it is true that he was killed later in precisely the manner stated by the crumbling records he had been informed of, on the day stated, although he thought he had 'gyped the grim reaper' through the fourth dimension."
"You mean you believe...."
"I do, although I occasionally have some doubts. But if that story was a lie, it is the most amazing and unbelievable coincidence in the world that he should die in such a manner at such a time."
"Then why did you publish it as fiction? There were, according to your own statement, a group of disinterested and reliable witnesses who could vouch for the fact that Cannes told the story, and who also, you said, witnessed the 'coincidence'."
Just then my phone rang. To my astonishment, Crandell Sherman, the man who had started the argument with Preston in the first place, was at the other end of the wire. He was evidently pressed for time, but he invited me pleasantly to meet him at the club that evening. He stated that he wanted to gather together again all those who had heard Cannes' story, as he had some light to throw upon it. I went that evening for the second time to that club, and I took Bill Simons with me.
We were the first to arrive. Shortly afterward came Ralph White and John Stevenson, as solemn and intellectual a pair of young men as I ever hope to see. I asked White to confirm my statement to Simons that my story had been correct, exact, and true. White did, with reservations.
"The story was correct, in the main," he said pedantically, "although Mr. Cloukey did embellish it a little; not unduly, however. But he used a badly mixed metaphor which really cannot be blamed on Cannes, because Cannes didn't try to use any figurative language, in spite of what the written version is. On the whole, however, it followed Cannes' narrative rather closely."
I'd have liked to have thrown a dictionary at White by the time he finished his politely impolite pronouncement, but I had no dictionary anywhere near, and such an action would have appeared unseemly in the club. At least I had confirmation of a sort.
Crandell Sherman and the others came in from the next room. After various greetings and introductions, Sherman was ready to start his talk. I noticed that everyone who had been present at Cannes' telling of his story was present now, with the noticeable exception of Gene Preston, who had violently disagreed with Sherman and who maintained that Cannes' story was nothing but fiction, and that traveling through time was the most absurd of all scientific absurdities. I ventured a comment on his absence.
"He will not be here," said Sherman, and started at once on the story which is the sequel to "Paradox."
"I HAVE always believed," he said, "that Cannes was telling the exact truth to us that night. I think we all were ready to believe it after that accident, even Preston, although he would never have admitted it.
"I was particularly impressed by what Cannes told us about Endicott Hawkinson, for although Cannes was obviously ignorant of the fact, Hawkinson was also a close acquaintance of mine. In fact, he married my younger sister. A day or so before we heard Cannes' story I had been talking with her. She told me that she had not disturbed anything in her husband's laboratory since the man died, as she thought that many of the scientific devices had not been seriously injured, and she intended to have them appraised. She had been out of town when the fire occurred.
"The day after Cannes' death I went over to Hawkinson's lab. His widow, my sister, let me in. On the burnt remains of a heavy table were the charred remains of the pale blue manuscript, that product of a far-distant century. I identified it beyond the shadow of a doubt, though it was only a heap of burnt paper. Some little pieces hadn't completely burnt. They were a pale blue. Two of them had fragments of mathematical equations on them.
"Remembering how I had been ridiculed the day before by Preston, I phoned for him to join me. He did, although he thought I was joking. That is, he would have thought I was joking if he himself hadn't seen what happened to Cannes. By the time he arrived I had determined to my own satisfaction that Hawkinson's time machine hadn't been seriously or permanently injured. The heavy hollow metallic cube, supported a foot off the floor by four large vitreous insulators, precisely as it was described to us by Cannes, had not been materially affected by the flames. The eight heavy cables leading to its eight corners were still intact. The cube was five feet six inches in each of its exterior dimensions, and five feet three on each edge of the interior. There was a close fitting trap-door in the top of it, and the remains of a wooden step-ladder were nearby. The heavy cabinet with the Bakelite panel, from which emerged the eight cables leading to the cube, was intact and hardly discolored by the flames.
"The fire in the laboratory had been not at all severe in the place where the time-machine stood, though the damage in other parts of the building had been very great. This was an enormous piece of good luck.
"Preston arrived and was astounded and then convinced. He became exceedingly excited, and his enthusiasm was contagions. To be brief, we spent several hours in arguing with the electric company and finally got them to reconnect Hawkinson's private power line, first sending electricians out to the lab to repair the faulty insulation that had caused the fire. After all precautions against a repetition of the short-circuit with the regular house-lighting circuit had been taken, that machine of Hawkinson's for producing and employing the NN-4 wave, the fourth-dimensional or time-wave that we learned about from Cannes, was again ready for use.
"We set the latitude and longitude dials to indicate the location of Sydney, Australia; and after much discussion and argumentation we set the time dials to indicate September 28, 2930. This was the day upon which Dwar Bonn, Greta Bonn, and Raymond Cannes had left for New York on the gigantic liner of the air, Patrician.
"I don't know exactly why we chose that particular date, but our reasons seemed very logical to us at the time we did the choosing. We were both a little crazy with the excitement of what we had discovered.
"We took a certain friend of mine who could be trusted to keep our secret into our confidence, and showed him what we proposed. He agreed to help us and to keep his knowledge of our disappearance to himself, although he was dubious about the possibility of our intention and about the advisability of helping us, We gave him a signed statement absolutely absolving him from any responsibility in case our disappearance should be traced to him. When he had thus been protected, he aided us by throwing certain switches on the panel of the cabinet, after Preston and I had climbed inside the hollow metal tube. And so, although we were ignorant of the principles and the construction of the machine, we were taken out of the world in 1928 and put back in in 2930. But it seemed like ten seconds to us.
"The sensation was one of rising with terrific acceleration through perfectly black space. There was extreme cold, and, I think, a complete lack of atmosphere. We gasped for breath and would have been suffocated if the journey had lasted a few seconds longer. In the three-dimensional world it would have taken us more than a thousand years to reach our destination, but through the fourth dimension it took us seconds, not centuries. Time is relative, you know.
"When I was almost unconscious from cold and lack of air, I heard distinctly three clicks. The motion stopped with a jerk that hurt, and light dazzled my eyes. It was artificial light from a globe above me. I perceived that I was standing in a deserted street between two buildings whose sheer height startled and impressed me. Offhand I estimated that they were at least five times the height of the Woolworth Tower.
"Someone startled me by touching me on the shoulder. I wheeled and saw Preston, whom I had entirely forgotten for a moment He smiled at me doubtfully.
"'Cannes' story was truth,' he said solemnly. 'But, Sherman, it has just occurred to me that you and I are the biggest pair of quintuply damned fools that ever existed.'
"And we plunged forward into strange adventure."
"WHEN we had proceeded about a quarter of a mile, we came to an intersection and noticed that for some reason the particular section of the street we were traversing had been blocked off from traffic, which was thick on the other three arms of the intersection. There was no noise, no confusion, no dirt and smoke. The vehicles, of all sizes and shapes, moved rapidly, silently and smoothly. There was no one near us on the extremely narrow sidewalk. We watched the traffic, interestedly, for ten or fifteen minutes, then witnessed an accident that turned out to be very fortunate for us.
"Due to some fault in material or workmanship, a wheel came off of one of the speeding streamlined cars. The driver, with presence of mind, swerved his machine out of the rapid line of traffic, and the heavy enclosed car lurched to a stop a little way up the street that had been blocked off. Preston and I pursued the wheel and caught it. It was fitted with a heavy pneumatic tire, made, I learned later, from cheap synthetic rubber. We rolled the wheel back to its owner, who had already jacked up with a little compressed air device his glittering, peculiarly shaped vehicle, he put the wheel on with the aid of a kit of little tools, some of which were also operated by compressed air. Then, hospitably, he said that he noticed we were strangers, and offered to take us wherever we wanted to go. He smiled when we mentioned Dwar Bonn's laboratories.
"'I work there,' he said.
"As Cannes had been, I was amazed at the comparatively small changes that had taken place in the English language in such a long period of years. You remember how Cannes explained that circumstance, so I won't go into that. Our friend introduced himself as Jac Vanon, an assistant chemist in Bonn's great establishment, but told us that 'this was his night off,' but that he would be glad to take us there. For the first time I realized that it was late in the day. I remembered noticing the artificial light. Then I saw that it was really late in the evening, though the great globes, suspended above the streets on slender cables, gave a natural, pleasant light.
"A few minutes later, with Preston and Jac Vanon at my side, I was standing in the presence of Dwar Bonn's confidential secretary. I asked to be permitted to see him, as I had important news for him. (And I had such news, for, if I could have seen him then, I could have told him in advance about the Martian plans, as I learned them from Cannes after he had returned to 1928 through the fourth dimension,) I was half expecting the answer I got, for I was just then realizing that we had picked a rather poor moment to appear in the thirtieth century.
"'Dwar Bonn,' said the secretary coldly, 'has recently left for New York on the air liner Patrician, taking with him his daughter and Ray Cannes, a guest, but leaving specific instructions that he was not to be bothered by any messages or communications. Members of his staff will attend to your "important news." You will please dictate it to the dictophonoprinter in the next room, and it will be attended to in due time, probably in about three weeks, as there are many things that precede it. Good evening.'
"Before I could say a word that high-hat secretary had disappeared through a door.
"Jac was angry. 'Listen, fellows,' he said, 'you'll never get any action that way. That secretary is a conceited imbecile, who wouldn't lift a hand to help anyone. I've got nothing to do tonight, so if you want me to, I'll get my plane and we'll fly out to catch the Patrician. She left the Sydney terminus only an hour ago. I can catch her in another hour. We'll land on top, using suction-pad landing gear, because the captain of a big monotriplane like the Patrician wouldn't stop for any reason to let anyone on. But we can stick to him by suction, and talk through the walls with a dick and a mike (Detector and microphone). You fellows say you have an important message, and if for no other reason, I'm going to show that —— secretary that he can't sidetrack Jac Vanon.'
"He was full of enthusiasm for his idea. I guessed, correctly too I found out, that there was an old grudge between Vanon and this particular secretary. He hustled us back into his car, took us to a skyscraper garage where he parked the big electric roadster and ascended with us to the roof in one of those amazing elevators, whose occupants feel neither the meteoric ascent nor the equally rapid descent. He got out his plane from the hangar on the roof, and we took off after he had fitted us out with two extra pairs of life-disks and had donned his own. Their use is required by law. Little metal rods support the disks an inch above the shoulders. I could hardly believe that in case of accident they would act as parachutes to save us.
"As we took off from the roof-drome I became aware of a thrill of liking for the impulsive Jac Vanon, and I think Preston did too. In a minute we were away from the lights of Sydney, shooting along in the smooth silent plane at a speed of almost 2300 kilometers an hour, more than twenty miles a minute. The marvelous science of that far advanced age made such speeds possible without the slightest discomfort. Inside the plane we felt no vibration and were not affected in the slightest degree by the acceleration and deceleration of the sky-boat. When we made turns centrifugal force was not even noticeable. As Cannes has observed, only by the eyes can one tell that he is moving.
"Jac Vanon told us that he would hardly be able to fulfill his promise of catching the Patrician in another hour, as he had figured out that more time would be necessary. Then he asked if we could relieve his curiosity and tell him why it was so imperative that we reach Dwar Bonn. So we told him the whole story. He was tremendously impressed. His mood changed to seriousness, he was a man of the thirtieth century and he understood very well how, by traveling through the time- dimension, it was possible to know future events before they occurred.
"'So the Patrician is doomed,' he mused. 'Doomed by Martian brarron. And the whole world—but you say they will be warned by radio from the Patrician fifteen minutes in advance of the explosion. That is fortunate, for many will be able to escape from the crowded centers of population, where the explosive is likely to be stored. If this plane had a radio, I would warn the world even earlier. But we have none. We'll try to approach as near as is safe to the Patrician before the explosion takes place. Maybe we can save some of the unfortunate ones who would be hit by fragments of the wreckage while they are falling with their disks and trying to escape. Fragments of the wreckage will get a lot of them.'
"'Perhaps even now that invisible Martian is killing Dwar Bonn,' said our companion bitterly, and then was silent.
"That started me thinking. Perhaps even now as we pursued it, the men on the Patrician were learning from the captured Martian's unwilling lips about their danger and the danger of the world. Perhaps—perhaps he hadn't yet been captured by Cannes. Perhaps Cannes was on the upper deck under the transparent roof near the great ventilator with Greta Bonn in his arms, stealing that one kiss she had so hated him for. Perhaps—I looked out through the side window of Joe Vanon's fast plane. The full moon was vivid orange.
"Jac Vanon swore under his breath.
"Greta Bonn is on that plane,' he said. 'I hope she survives, or life will he empty for me. Sherman, I admire your friend Cannes and I'm sorry for him, but Greta is my girl, not his.'
"I said nothing. Gene Preston whistled.
"Far ahead of us we could detect the gleam of lights. In a very few seconds we came near the Patrician, ninety- thousand ton liner of the monotriplane type, three great wings, one behind another, and the third behind and slightly lower than the second, supporting the great lighted fuselage. It was a city in the air and it was being deserted. Thousands of people were jumping off and falling with their life-disks. The great plane was motionless, supported by ten helicopter propellers of colossal proportions.
"We knew from Cannes' story that the explosion would take place in a very few minutes. I experienced a thrill of wonder as I realized that Cannes was on that plane. Yet I had seen him killed by a truck a thousand years previously. The paradox set my head whirling.
"The last great wave of people was descending from the motionless plane, when Jac's flashed by rather close to one side. When we were a safe distance away Jac slowed and stopped, turning his little air-car around so we could watch. I could see the muscles taut in the throat of our friend of the future. Preston whistled again.
"We saw one lone figure fall away from the Patrician after all the rest. I thought that it could only be Greta Bonn. Cannes had refused her offer to give him her life disks in place of his, that she had destroyed. Cannes was now alone on that great liner and he had no disks with which to save himself.
"At the Martian station at the South Pole, preparations were being made to broadcast over the entire world the radio wave that would detonate the brarron in the cargo-rooms of the Patrician and elsewhere all over the earth wherever the spies of Mars had placed it. In ships and airplanes, in factories and great office buildings, in cities and in great agricultural regions, the mysterious brarron, the extraordinary Martian explosive, was hidden.
"But the radio staff of the Patrician had warned the world in advance. All great cities were being deserted silently. Most of the other great planes were being abandoned. Fortunately, no Martian spy was able to get word to the commanders at the South Pole about the disclosure of their plans for surprise, and the detonation did not take place until the scheduled moment. If it had been exploded five minutes earlier, the brarron would have done twice as much damage as it did.
"Cannes has told you how he escaped through the fourth dimension, returning to 1928 to be hit by a truck. Irony? Destiny? I don't know.
"A tremendous yellow flash blinded us. Seven seconds later the sound and the concussion reached us. As the wrecked remains of the skyliner fell, Jac's little plane hurtled toward it.
"It was only the front end of the plane that had been destroyed. The rear half fell toward the ground in one piece. As it fell I saw Vanon staring at it with puzzled and expectant eyes. Nothing happened. Our plane slipped to the left, avoiding the great mass that was falling intact.
"Jac put our comet into a steep dive and soon zipped past a slender figure, falling slowly. By the most daring manipulation I have ever seen, our pilot put us below and very slightly to the side of the one who fell, locked his helicopter control to keep the plane motionless, opened the door, reached out to seize the girl as the disks let her down. I had a hunch that she was none other than Greta Bonn, and exclamations from Jac soon confirmed the fact. I remembered from Cannes' story, that she had been the last to leave, and she had been the first we had seen on our downward dive. So Greta Bonn was rescued.
"Some piece of the wreckage had hit her. She was unconscious and bleeding from a thin, clean, six-inch cut in her forehead. Oblivious of Preston and me. Jac tried to kiss her back to consciousness. This peculiar method of procedure met with remarkable success. She stirred.
"'Raymond,' she whispered. 'I'm sorry, Ray Cannes—I—'
"Jac winced and turned away his head.
"He took off his outer blue-gray coat, revealing a garment like a shirt without any neck-band or collar. It was white, made of fine material. He tore it into strips and bandaged the cut in her forehead, putting on again the outer coat.
"'Preston,' he said, 'do you think you could run this boat?'
"'I've been watching you,' was the reply. 'I could make a stab at it, at least.'
"'I can direct him,' said Greta weakly, leaning back wearily against one of the heavy artificial leather cushions.
"'Fine. Preston will take you back to Sydney, if there is anything of Sydney left Er—follow her directions, Preston. Thanks.'
"Jac hooked his arm in mine and jumped out the door of the motionless plane, dragging me with him. For a second cold fear held my heart, but the disks let us down slowly and I soon gained confidence. Jac was with me. Far below were many twinkling lights. Vanon spoke.
"'In your time there would have been nothing below us but the Pacific Ocean, but in the last centuries much artificial land has been created. Below us is a great wheat region. I doubt if there are any men except those who jumped from the plane within a hundred miles or more. Men are no longer necessary for the cultivation of wheat. Robots do that.'
"'Why did you leave the girl?' I could not help but ask, as his conduct seemed certainly unloverlike.
"'I'm taking a chance,' he replied. 'I've got a suspicion that may possibly turn out very well for us in our war with Mars. Considering that, I left Greta there. Your friend has mechanical ability—the fact is self-evident. The control system of that plane is very simple, so I do not expect any difficulty or trouble. She's lost a lot of blood, so it's important that she be attended to soon by a competent physician. A little modern healing, and there won't be a scar left.
"'What do you plan to do now!"
"'Investigate. There were two cargo-rooms on the Patrician, one at each end of the fuselage. The passenger quarters were between. It seems unusual that all of the brarron should happen to have been in the smaller of the two cargo-rooms. I don't think the Martians meant it that way. I think they would have planted some of it in each cargo-room, for it would have been much more effective. If they did, perhaps there is some unexploded brarron in the rear cargo-room. If we could capture some of it, we could soon find that elusive wave that detonates it. We could analyze it and reproduce it. When we find the wave you can understand that all the brarron now in the Martians' possession becomes not only dangerous to us, but to them.'
"'But if there is some unexploded brarron there, why wasn't it exploded when the note was sounded?' I objected. 'Why was it not sensitive to the broadcasted wave?'
"'I don't know,' said Jac 'There probably isn't any brarron there. I am just taking a long shot in the dark. But it just doesn't seen altogether right that it should be so illogically distributed. It did its work however.'
"The disks had by this time let us down almost to the ground. Close by was the great hulk of the once glorious Patrician, plainly revealed by the orange moon. Many men were gathering about it. A large number of them had electric lights, operated either by batteries or by the power that was always being broadcast So far, no brarron had seriously affected the radio-power plants. They were important units in the world's organization, but they had been so well guarded that the Martian spies, working under cover, had been able to locate no brarron near enough to them to do any damage, with the exception of two substations in New York, as we learned later."
Crandell Sherman interrupted his narrative at this point to answer a telephone call, When he returned, he took up the story and told us of Jac's search through the wreck for the explosive, which was found in large quantities, due to his playing the bunch he had when be saw the airship fall. Sherman told us how he had used the radio one of the survivors possessed and had radioed to some of the staff of Dwar Bonn in Sydney. Most of the scientists at Bonn's laboratories had escaped in the nick of time the explosion that wrecked the great building, as brarron had been cleverly concealed in the foundations of the buildings by some of the Martian spies, who were all over the world, disguised, for they were Martian brains that had been transplanted into the bodies of unfortunate humans who had fallen into Martian hands. The Martians used human bodies, as was explained more fully in Cannes' story, because the fragile Martian bodies could not exist long on earth because of the superior gravity. The Martians had learned this in the two previous Martio-Tellurian wars, which had taken place in the centuries previous.
As Sherman has given me express permission to alter his story in any way I desire, I am going to omit large portions of his narrative, telling at this point of facts that Sherman did not disclose at the club until the end of his story, facts that Sherman himself did not know at the time when he and Jac Vanon found the brarron in the rear cargo-room.
As I understand the situation, the door from which the two emerged to descend with the disks was almost directly below the wing of Jac Vanon's monoplane. As they sank out of sight in semi darkness, a slight figure who had been lying flat on the wing, swung down by a handhold and entered through the door, a tiny odd-looking pistol in one hand pointing at the astounded Gene Preston, who was just unlocking the controls, under the direction of Greta Bonn.
The girl turned toward the intruder who struck her heavily with his left hand, which was encased in a metallic flexible glove. She sank back unconscious against the leather cushions. Preston made a motion toward her, but was checked by a threatening move of the weapon in the intruder's other mailed hand. Preston looked at the face of his captor.
The eyes were a deep red-flecked purple, with no pupils.
When the Martians transplanted Martian brains into human bodies, it was found necessary to transplant Martian eyes also, as the eyes were the only organs of the body that did not function equally as well for the Martian brain. The eyes were the one give-away to the Martian spies, who had managed remarkably well to keep them concealed with colored glasses, and had probably been able to kill all human beings who had discovered their secret.
How the Martian happened to be on top of the wing I do not know. Sherman was not a witness of the situation, and his account at the club was nebulous, for his own knowledge is not very clear on the point. The Martian could not have been on the wing on the trip out from Sydney, for the speed, acceleration, centrifugal force, etc. at twenty miles and more a minute would have killed anyone, and the air-pressure caused by the terrific speed would have blown him off the wing. He must have been on the Patrician, escaping the explosion even, later than Greta Bonn, landing on top of the wing with his set of disks after Jac had rescued her by his daredevil manipulation of the little plane. Perhaps he was the same spy whom Cannes had captured aboard the Patrician. Cannes never knew what finally happened to that Martian. Perhaps the spy had been able to escape from the officers in whose custody he had been placed. Perhaps he overpowered one of them tend took his set of disks. We do not know, but we can conjecture.
At any rate he had overheard enough to inform him that the girl was Greta Bonn, daughter of the great earth-scientist. Due to Jac's fortunate abruptness, he had not overheard the reason why Jac and Sherman had jumped off. The Martian, thinking that the girl probably had information about her dead father's scientific secrets, that would be useful to those at the South Pole, forced Preston to head the plane south at its maximum speed. Inside the plane, as has been stated, such speeds could be endured.
The plane could be electrically heated, and it rapidly penetrated the Antarctic regions, speeding at an incredible rate toward the headquarters of the Martians on earth. And high in the sky above the South Pole was a light that ever came nearer. Gradually a low moan made itself audible and ran up the scale, until it passed beyond audibility, as an ear-splitting screech. With terrible momentum the second Martian space flyer plunged into the soft snow. It was hot from its passage through the atmosphere, and the snow was vaporized at once, great bursts and jets of steam appearing.
The first flyer had brought only spies to lay the foundation for the war, which now was to begin in real earnest. "In three days," the spy had told Ray Cannes, "not a terrestrial will exist."
But Sherman knew nothing of this as he waited in the outer office of one of Bonn's laboratories at Sydney, the only one that still existed. It was the chemistry and physics lab. The destruction and death in Sydney had been terrible, but the scientists who had escaped, warned in advance by the message from the Patrician, had returned to the one building that had escaped any serious damage. Receiving Jac Vanon's message that he had obtained some unexploded brarron, they had sent a plane out after it, which had come back with it and Jac and Sherman. Immediately the great staff started the task of analysis. It was morning when Jac came out of the chemistry room and told Sherman that they had been successful.
I now resume direct quotation from Crandell Sherman.
"JAC seemed greatly excited as he told me that the analysis had been successful.
"'What," I asked, 'is the stuff?'
"'It is a compound similar to nitroglycerine, but it contains no nitrogen, as was erroneously believed until now. Instead of nitroglycerine, which is glyceryl nitrate, it is glyceryl neonate, or neonoglycerine."
"'Neonate? A compound of neon? I thought neon was an inert element.'
"'It was, until a couple of centuries ago. Chemistry has advanced a lot since your time. While nitroglycerine has the formula C3H5(NO3)3, brarron is C3H5(NeO4)3. When it is detonated by that wave it is sensitive to, it decomposes instantly into gaseous products. You notice it contains more oxygen then nitroglycerine. It can also be set off by heat or by a violent shock, but it is not as sensitive to these as an ordinary nitro compound. Its exclusive property is its sensitiveness to that wave, which by the way, we have not yet found. The men in the physics lab have a cubic millimeter of the stuff and they haven't exploded it yet,' Jac concluded mournfully.
"I was astonished by this information. I had thought that neon was absolutely inert, that it entered into no chemical combination, had no valence, But these chemists of the thirtieth century did not seem at all amazed because this rare gas was in chemical combination in brarron, the explosive of Mars. Since I have returned to the present time, I have spoken with one of Philadelphia's best chemists. He informed me that neon was a rare gas occurring in the atmosphere, that it never entered into any chemical combination, and that it had formerly been useless, though recently it has been employed to great advantage in television transmitters, neon advertising signs, and so forth. When I suggested that in the far future it might be used to make powerful explosives, sensitive to certain waves, the chemist laughed at me—
"'Now that you have the formula,' I asked Jac, 'what are you going to do with it? Manufacture the staff?'
"'We could, but I don't know whether or not we will. We could easily make all the neon we would want by transmutation, which would save the trouble of extracting it from the air.' (This was another astounding piece of information.) 'But,' be continued, 'the fixation of neon, that is, the process by which we cause it to actually combine with other elements to form the neonic acid, which would be accessary in the manufacture of neonoglycerine, is an extremely delicate operation, requiring complicated apparatus, much time, extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, unusual catalysts, and a great amount of technical skill and ability. Terrestrial chemistry is still behind the Martian brand. They apparently can do it easily, and in quantity. On the earth, since other acids are much cheaper and more practical for every purpose, very little neonic acid or other neon compounds are in existence, although there are some supplies, principally in the laboratories of a certain Egyptian scientist.'
"'By any chance the one who has perfected a process for causing total invisibility?' I asked, having in mind Raymond Cannes' story.
"'Yes,' he said parenthetically. 'But the important thing to us now is not the formation of brarron, but the means of detonating it, Sherman. The gang in the physics lab are trying all wavelengths and combinations of wavelengths, but the dope is consistently unresponsive. By the way, we think we've found the reason why it didn't explode on the plane a few hours ago. You probably didn't notice that nearly all the contents of that cargo-room, except the brarron, consisted of a new shipment of uranium-radium ores and other radioactive materials, some synthetic. Because of this, the entire cargo-room was lined with lead. The other cargo-room contained no such materials, and was not lined.'
"'Indicating that the wave we want to find does not pass through lead.'
"'Yes. We might as well get a little sleep. It's day already, if my apartment is still in existence—But first I'm going to make inquiries and see if Greta's all right. Your friend is probably lost in this new world, too.'
"Two hours more passed before I slept, two nervous hours we spent in broadcasting inquiries to all authorities, and to everyone, asking for information about Greta Bonn. No hospital or surgeon anywhere had treated her, yet when we had left them, their specific objective had been to get medical treatment. When their disappearance was absolutely established, Jac put me to sleep with his hypnotic device, and look some needed rest himself. Without mechanical or synthetic hypnotism, I doubt if either of us could have slept, so great was our excitement and suspense. Meanwhile authorities all over the world were searching for Greta Bonn and Gene Preston.
"But the world had other things to attend to, also. Due to the timely warning, only about thirty per cent of the world's population had been wiped out by the explosion of the brarron that had been concealed in all important cities. Greta Bonn was not the only important person missing.
"Late in the same morning Jac and I were awakened, also by hypnotism. We listened, with many others assembled in Bonn's laboratory, to the words of Ben Yun, the able Japanese lieutenant of Dwar Bonn, who had assumed command at the death of the latter.
"'Seismographic department reports,' indited Yun, 'concussion indicating arrival of Martian spaceboat within seven miles of South Pole, while astronomic department reports two others on way here from Mars. Chemistry men report analysis of brarron obtained from Patrician, and are making preparation for manufacture of same, if necessary. Physics men report discovery of combination of waves necessary to detonate same. Authorities in charge report no trace of Greta Bonn, hinting possible capture by Martian spy.
"'I therefore order that beam projector of necessary strength be at once used to direct suitable radio waves of sufficient power on Martian vehicle now at South Pole, which same probably contains new supply of dreaded explosive. As war has now lasted for thirteen hours, possibility exists that Martians are yet in ignorance of terrestrial capture of, and experiments with, brarron. Executive department, using suitable code, mathematically impossible to be deciphered by unofficial persons, will communicate our discoveries and plans to all of world, particularly to War Council of Nations formed this morning and holding secret session in District 3000856 of Florida, as ascertained by our Department of News. Because of extreme danger to entire civilization of world, necessity arises of taking regrettable chance that daughter of Dwar Bonn may be at Marian Polar Headquarters when we explode brarron at that locality.'
"The group separated to carry out instructions. Yun stopped a moment to console Jac, who was fearful for the safety of the girl. I was very much pleased to find that the human emotions had a place, beneath the Japanese's unchanging exterior, and I was attracted by his English, which was perfect except for the omission of any and all definite or indefinite articles.
"For the next three hours I made myself useful by helping Jac operate one of the great decoding robots that interpreted the messages that came from all parts of the world through the ether, in codes no subtle and intricate, whose secrets had been so well guarded, that there were very few chances out of a million that the Martians could decode them. They told of the mobilization of the land, air, and sea offensive forces, and of the preparation of the great defensive works of every nation. Swarms of little planes, unbelievably swift, were escorting great battle airships of a hundred thousand tons and more, to the south; and these planes carried the most deadly terrestrial explosive bombs and destructive gases. The world began to be confident of success when seventeen hours had passed and the Martians made no further offensive move.
"In the meanwhile Dwar Boon's men, under the leadership of Yun, were preparing the great beam projector. Two more hours passed, and it was ready. Adjustments were made and a switch was thrown.
"Just then news came through my robot that all the earth's forces had been annihilated when they reached the latitude of 86° South.
"Ben Yun smiled, almost. He listened to a pocket receiver. 'Their victory was short-lived,' he said. 'Seismographic department report terrific detonation seven miles from South Pole.'"
ASKING the reader's indulgence, I am again going to depart from the thread of Sherman's narrative, to try to reconstruct, from very limited information, scenes which Sherman did not witness. Of course it is understood that there is much that can only be conjecture.
In a building at the South Pole, very small and with very thick walls, sat the Martian Offense Commander, receiving a report from one of his subordinates. If rendered into English, the conversation was probably something like this:
"The air forces of the earth have been shot down?"
"Completely, Commander. The automatic antiaircraft guns with those sensitive double systems of photoelectric and gravitational range-finders to act as mutual checks on each other have functioned perfectly, every shot was effective. Few terrestrials were killed, however, as the enormous majority of the planes were radio-controlled, carrying explosives and gases, the latter spreading out in great clouds threatening to envelop the entire polar regions, were it not for our operatives, in planes, neutralizing the gases with suitable chemical products."
"Our comrades in the other space ship?"
"Were completely destroyed, as was the staff of surgeons who left here with a supply of bodies of captured earthmen. The surgeons were starting the transferring of Martian brains to suitable bodies when the explosion occurred. Either it was due to the carelessness of some one of our scientists, or else the powers of the earth have in some manner penetrated its secret. In either case, the situation is serious. We have lost a great advantage."
"You have prepared germ-culture number R-37?"
"We can afford to waste no more time," said the Commander. "Tonight all of our operatives will fly north at the highest altitudes practicable. I do not possess exact data, but in this thick, rich atmosphere, far greater heights will be possible than on our red planet. They will carry with them the entire available supply of these bacteria, and will release them into the atmosphere at strategic points. They are deadly and hard to kill. Our scientists worked seven years to develop them. It shows what selective breeding will do. We shall catch the earth-scientists unprepared. They have nothing to cure the hideous disease our little germs will spread. They multiply astonishingly; under favorable conditions a number of those bacteria will double itself in five minutes!"
"Your orders shall be carried out." The subordinate left to attend to germ-culture R-37, while the Commander occupied himself by studying mutely a map his scientists had prepared of the prevailing air-currents of the earth.
A short, slight figure entered the room, carrying, almost with difficulty, a slender thirtieth century girl, cold with death. A white bandage was across the high forehead. The figure laid the girl's body on a long table at one side of the room and turned to his superior, reporting the results he had obtained.
"Egyptian scientist killed. His device for producing invisibility was captured, but was later destroyed by a terrestrial who captured me on the Patrician while I was attempting to take the new invention of Dwar Bonn, whom I killed.
"I was captured and hypnotically forced to disclose all I knew of our plans. World was warned in advance. Many who otherwise would have been killed escaped from various centers of population in aircraft I escaped from my captors, stole life-disks, dropped off Patrician shortly before explosion. Narrowly escaped death from fragments. Captured small monoplane and two persons, one of them this girl, daughter of Dwar Bonn. Forced the man to drive plane south, landing near the newly arrived ship from Mars. The female commander of that ship wanted the beautiful body of this girl, instead of the body provided for her by the surgeons. The man, accompanying the girl, made a foolish attempt to protect her and was killed, while she fled toward the monoplane. I pursued her. Then, the entire space ship was destroyed by the explosion of the new supply of brarron it brought. Again I escaped the fragments of wreckage and came here. The girl died from loss of blood from previously acquired wound on forehead, coupled with exhaustion and cold, which she is not dressed to withstand. I await further orders."
Two persons broke into the room. One held in each hand a heavy pistol, covering the two Martians. The second carried a small hypnotic device. A third entered, bringing with him the unconscious form of the Martian, who had been dismissed with orders concerning "germ-culture R-37."
The three were Jac Vanon, Crandell Sherman, and Ben Yun, the Japanese scientist.
A BRIEF explanation is necessary. Sherman, upon detailed questioning by Ben Yun, had disclosed that on the Patrician, Raymond Cannes had captured a Martian spy and had succeeded in damaging the wired membrane that had covered the spy, and which caused light to flow around him in every direction, as water flows around a fish, thereby producing invisibility. Because of the non-explosion of the brarron in the Patrician's rear cargo-room, it was thought possible that the damaged membrane, production of the great Egyptian scientist, might be still on the plane. Upon immediate investigation, it was found. Working at fever heat, scientists under Yun's supervision repaired the device.
Then a daring plan to take the offensive had been conceived, and a tiny rocket-plane had been rendered invisible. It could carry only four people. A courageous pilot, skilled in the operation of rocket-ships, had been obtained, and with him went Yun, as commander. He took Jac along because of the possibility of finding Greta Bonn; for hours the thirtieth century boy had been attending to his duty instead of searching for the girl he loved, and the suspense was telling on him. Sherman did not make very clear the reason he was taken along. Three minutes after the invisible rocketship took off it landed at the South Pole.
So it was that they broke in upon the commander of the Martians. Again I let Sheraton take up the direct narrative. At the time of which he now speaks, he knew nothing of the events that took place in the building at the pole before he broke in with the others.
"WHILE I was covering the two Martians, Jac saw the girl's body on the table. With a gasp he let fall the delicate hypnotic apparatus in his hands and rushed to her side. The hypnotic device crashed on the floor. Ben Yun dropped the Martian he had brought in from the outer room, which Martian was being carried quite easily in the Herculean arms of the big Japanese, and picked up the thing that Jac had dropped.
"'Device is broken,' said Ben Yun.
"'She's dead,' said Jac Vanon in a whisper, and I heard the first sob since I had come into the future I knew he blamed himself for leaving her, even though by so doing he had made the important discovery of the unexploded brarron. A wave of sorrow passed over me at the realization that she was dead. I knew instinctively, too, that I was never again to see Preston.
"There was a hard glitter in Ben Yun's eyes as he spoke to me. 'Destruction of hypnotic machine destroys also our advantage. Impossible now to control minds of these Martians,' he said, and turned toward the two with the inhuman purple eyes. The third was still unconscious at his feet.
"'Does Commander possess knowledge of English language?' Ben Yun asked quietly.
"'Yes," was the reply.
"'Very well. If Commander wishes to live, he will at once disclose to us hiding place of large quantity of drug known as adrenalin, which is undoubtedly kept at this headquarters for purpose of reviving human bodies after Martian brains have been transferred to same. Earth authorities have all reported suddenly noticed absence of adrenalin from customary places of supply. Spies of your planet have been expert in obtaining nearly all of said drug existing in world. We now desire to re-take such valuable substance. Commander will be prompt in disclosing present location of adrenalin.'
"Jac Vanon rose to his full height, his face transfigured with realization and hope. The maximum dose of pure adrenalin— injected directly by one as skillful as Ben Yun into that cold, still heart—there was still the margin of a fighting chance for Greta Bonn—life.
"A tantalizing slow smile flickered on the lips of the Martian Commander. There was almost a twinkle in those red-flecked pupilless eyes of purple. Somehow they revealed to me the soul of a gambler. Many of the great generals of history have been gamblers, ready to stake everything on a chance.
"'I could lie to you,' said the Martian, 'but I won't I could tell you that all our adrenalin had been destroyed when, that space-ship met with disaster, a few hours ago. As a matter of fact, only some of it was destroyed then. There is an ample supply on hand in this building, but it is where you could not possibly obtain it, in time, without my help. The situation is delicate. The fate of two planets will probably be decided right here in the next few minutes. There is such a thing as honor the universe over. If I should disclose to you the location of this adrenalin, what terms would you offer me?'
"'I do not command forces of earth,' replied Yun. 'But I hold influential position and command large body of men skilled in every science. My word of honor is inviolable. I have great desire to give life to beautiful girl, daughter of my friend, now reposing in state of lifelessness on table. You permit me to accomplish this; we leave in our rocket immediately for continent of Australia; leaving you alive and unharmed, damaging in no way radio station and other great works at this headquarters. After that we resume war. I make proposition for sake of girl and boy loved by her, because I am sentimental man. Any other person on earth, even though it cost life of girl, would seize chance to kill and destroy, gaining great advantage for earth. You make a decision?"
"'You are confident, are you not?—that you will be able to defeat us Martians anyhow, in spite of a few odd dozens of centuries advantage we possess in civilization and science. You are willing to forego your present advantage because you think you can defeat us in any case?'
"'You say truth. We have done so twice previously in spite of great advantage of extra centuries. We fight on native planet. You invade across vast void of space.'
"'Your proposition is hardly satisfactory. If I refuse to do as you wish?'
"'I cause you to be killed efficiently and immediately. Then, incidentally destroying all things here too big to carry off but likely to be of benefit to other Martians arriving here, I conduct rapid scientific search for desired adrenalin.'
"'Satisfactory. Shoot. You realize that I am only a very small part of the Martian machine. Life or death is nothing to me personally, or to any high-bred Martian. We are all working toward one objective, and lots of us will not live to see it succeed. You do not know, Earthman, that your rocket-airplane was able to come here only by chance. I thought that all available air forces had been shot down, and I ordered that our antiaircraft barrier of guns be halted and inspected for adjustment, as the sensitive and delicate photoelectric and gravitational range-finders that enabled our automatic guns to shoot down every one of your war planes in spite of their great and varied speeds, are often out of adjustment after a few hours of constant action. You came through them and escaped destruction, perhaps even detection, because of that invisibility. But the adjustment has all been finished by now. As you try to get out of the circle again, the photoelectric finders won't catch you, but the gravitational finders will. Also, in about twenty minutes of your time, several of my subordinates will arrive here to report to me. It is not scientifically probable that you will be able to cope with them at all. They carry hypnotic instruments. We Martians can use them too! That foolish boy weeping on the breast of the girl has been your undoing, for had he not dropped that device, you could have forced us to do anything in the world—or out of it! Now you cannot force us, you can only shoot us.'
"The face of Ben Yun was an impenetrable mask.
"'Perhaps I reconsider,' he said. Then——
"'Yes, I reconsider. I perceive that if I shoot you, I and my friend are caught in hopeless death-trap. You have astronomical telescope in adjoining room?'
"'We have,' said the Martian. 'It is being kept trained upon the first of the two additional space-ships on the way from Mars to here.'
"'Excellent. Please look through it, and perhaps I make offer satisfactory to you.'
"'Yun took one of my guns from me and pointed it at the Martian Commander. I kept the other Martian covered, using the one gun still remaining to me, and watching my charge every second. The four of us passed into the adjoining room. Jac Vanon stayed where he was, still sobbing uncontrollably on the girl's still bosom. I realized then that he was only a boy, and my heart went out to him.
"The Commander gazed through the telescope for almost one minute. There was surprise in the purple eyes when he turned to us, strive though he did to conceal it.
"'What has happened to the space-ship, Earthman?' he demanded.
"Ben Yun explained 'Powerful beam of radio waves penetrates outward into interplanetary space from great station in Australia. Waves are proper frequency to detonate peculiar explosive neonoglycenne, known in Martian tongue as brarron. Waves strike space-flyer containing large supply of brarron, and space-flyer is blown to small fragments. Immediately set your telescope to view other space-flyer.'
"The Martian obeyed without a word, and gazed through his instrument once again. He straightened. 'It has not been harmed,' he remarked. Then he looked again and started, turning almost angrily to Ben Yun. 'It too! Did you know that it was to be destroyed this very minute?'
"'I was not sure. I did not know whether or not it contained any brarron.'
"'What is your offer?'
"'This. In five minutes that beam of radio waves will be directed at Mars, and will sweep swiftly over your red planet. You see what will happen wherever brarron is being made? You see what will happen in any warehouses where it is stored? You understand what will occur to any other space-flyer in which it may be loaded?'
"'Your offer is what?'
"Ben Yun took from his pocket a pocket radiophone of the latest design, 'This instrument enables me to talk to attentive and obedient assistants on continent of Australia. If I command in two minutes from now, radio beam is not projected. I give word of honor to delay for twenty-four hours, terrestrial time. You warn your world by splendid radio station at this locality. They have hours to insulate brarron by means of lead, or to depart for totalities where brarron is not present. Many lives will be saved on Mars in honorable return for lives of myself, friends here with me now, and young girl in other room. Do you accept?'
"I accept. If no explosions take place on Mars in next five minutes, and you give your word to delay one earth-day, all of you may depart from here and reach Australia without molestation from me or my subordinates; and if adrenalin will save the girl, she lives, too, I accept. Give your orders to those in Australia!'
"Ben Yun got in touch with his assistant at once and told him of the truce. His orders were carried out. His assistant reported back that the radio projector had been shut off. Yun hurried to the Commander. The latter turned and led us back to the other room. The third Martian was still lying unconscious on the floor.
"It will be necessary to restore her blood to the condition in which it existed during life,' stated the Martian emotionlessly, 'before you can be successful in reviving her with adrenalin. You remember where you captured this Martian?' he inquired, pointing to the figure on the floor.
"'Yes. In third room, through door here to right,' replied the Japanese.
"'Very well then. Throw the third switch in the fifth row. Behind you a large heavy portion of the floor will slide away, disclosing a subterranean vault where we keep our chemical and surgical supplies. If you do not trust us, leave your man here' (he pointed to me), 'to guard us with your pistols. Descend. You will find on the highest shelf, in bottles of Martian design bearing the label "Rannvor," a substance known to Martian chemistry that when injected into the veins of a supposedly dead person, will dissolve all coagulations in the blood, rapidly purifying and restoring: the blood to its former state. You will find on the same shelf instruments for injecting this substance, and a blood-pump for restoring circulation. Then, by an injection of adrenalin directly into the heart, you may stimulate that muscle to activity, causing it to take up the work that the blood-pump performs, restoring life.'
"'Yes. And where to find adrenalin?'
"I saw the Martian commander hesitate the briefest fraction of a second.
"'You will find the adrenalin in other Martian bottles of larger size, stacked on third shelf from the bottom. Since capturing it from various places on the earth, we have purified and re-bottled it. It bears the numerical label, R-37a.'"
SHERMAN again left us to answer an insistent phone call. While we waited for his reappearance, we discussed his story in low tones.
"I don't believe it," said John Stevenson as if trying to convince himself, "but I know Preston disappeared a long time ago and hasn't been located yet. But I don't believe it."
"You're a liar," stated Ralph White casually. "You do believe it, but you don't want to admit it."
"You're probably right," admitted Stevenson slowly, "I do believe it, in spite of my common sense I'm going to get a drink of water while Sherman's phoning. Be back in a minute."
Ralph White turned to me in his superior manner. "Going to publish this too, Cloukey?" he asked indolently.
"Perhaps," I replied, "though I'll probably alter it somewhat. I may even insert a split infinitive."
I turned toward my friend William Simons.
"I'm convinced," he said, "but I wonder if I'll believe it tomorrow, in broad daylight!"
John Stevenson returned, bursting with news.
"There's something odd going on around here. Crandell Sherman listened to that phone for three minutes without saying a word. Then he left here so quick that he didn't have time to take his hat from the checkroom. I caught a glimpse of him going toward Market Street in a Quaker City Cab. I wonder what in the deuce—"
"So ends the sequel to 'Paradox'," said Ralph White.
Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
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.