Both Norman and Sarja sprang to their feet and waved wildly to those in the tower-cage, their flying-boat drifting slowly forward. Instantly the force-shells ceased to hail toward them, and as they moved nearer a sirenlike signal broke from the cage. At once scores of flying-boats like their own, but glittering metal instead of black, shot up from the city where they had lain until now, and surrounded them.
As Sarja called in his own tongue to them the green men on the surrounding boats broke into resounding cries. They shot down toward the city, Norman gazing tensely. Great crowds of green men in their dark tunics had swarmed out into its streets with the passing of the alarm, and their craft and the others came to rest in an open square that was the juncture of several streets.
The green men that crowded excitedly about Norman and Sarja gave way to a half-dozen hurrying into the square from the greatest of the buildings facing on it. All but one were green men like the others. But that one--the laughing-eyed tanned face--the worn brown clothing, the curious huge steps with which he came--Norman's heart leapt.
"Great God--Norman!" The other's face was thunderstruck. "Norman--how by all that's holy did you get here?"
Norman, mind and body strained to the breaking point, was incoherent. "We guessed how you'd gone--the second satellite, Fellows--Hackett and I came after you--taken to that frog-city--"
As Norman choked the tale, Fellows' face was a study. And when it was finished he swallowed, and gripped Norman's hand viselike.
"And you and Hackett figured it out and came after me--took that risk? Crazy, both of you. Crazy--"
"Fellows, Hackett's still there, if he's alive! In the Rala city!"
Fellows' voice was grim, quick. "We'll have him out. Norman, if he still lives. And living or dead, the Ralas will pay soon for this and for all they've done upon this world in ages. Their time nears--yes."
He led Norman, excited throngs of the green men about them, into the great building from which he had emerged. There were big rooms inside, workshops and laboratories that Norman but vaguely glimpsed in passing. The room to which the other led him was one with a long metal couch. Norman stretched protestingly upon it at the other's bidding, drifted off almost at once into sleep.
He woke to find the sunlight that had filled the room gone and replaced by the silvery Earth-light. From the window he saw that the silver-lit city outside now held tremendous activity, immense hordes of green men surging through it with masses of weapons and equipment, flying-boats pouring down out of the night from all directions. He turned as the door of the room clicked open behind him. It was his old friend Fellows.
"I thought you'd be awake by now, Norman. Feeling fit?"
"As though I'd slept a week," Norman said, and the other laughed his old care-free laugh.
"You almost have, at that. Two days and nights you've slept, but it all adds up to hardly more than a dozen hours."
"This world!" Norman's voice held all his incredulity. "To think that we should be on it--a second satellite of Earth's--it seems almost beyond belief."
"Sometimes it seems so to me, too," Fellows said thoughtfully. "But it's not a bad world--not the human part of it, at least. When this satellite's atmosphere caught me and pitchforked me down among these green men, smashing the plane and almost myself, they took care of me. You say three others vanished as I did? I never heard of them here; they must have crashed into the sea or jungles. Of course, I'd have got back to Earth on one of these flying-boats if I'd been able, but their molecular power won't take them far from this world's surface, so I couldn't.
"As it was, the green men cared for me, and when I found how those frog-men have dominated this world for ages, how that city of the Ralas has spread endless terror among the humans here, I resolved to smash those monsters whatever I did. I taught some of the green men like Sarja my own speech, later learning theirs, and in the weeks I've been here I've been working out a way to smash the Ralas.
"You know that amphibian city is almost impregnable because humans can hardly live long enough under the water to get into it, let alone fight under water as the frog-men can. To meet them on even terms the green men needed diving-helmets with an oxygen supply. They'd never heard of such an idea, too afraid of the sea ever to experiment in it, but I convinced them and they've made enough helmets for all their forces. In them they can meet the Ralas under water on equal terms.
"And there's a chance we can destroy that whole Rala city with their help. It's built on a giant pedestal of rock rising from the sea's floor, as you saw, and I've had some of the green men make huge force-shells or force-bombs that ought to be powerful enough to split that pedestal beneath the city. If we can get a chance to place those bombs it may smash the frog-men forever on this world. But one thing is sure: we're going to get Hackett out if he still lives!"
"Then you're, going to attack the Rala city now?" Norman cried.
Fellows nodded grimly. "While you have slept all the forces of the green men on this world have been gathering. Your coming has only precipitated our plans, Norman--the whole soul of the green races has been set upon this attack for weeks!"
Norman, half bewildered at the swiftness with which events rushed upon him, found himself striding with Fellows in great steps out through the building into the great square. It was shadowed now by mass on mass of flying-boats, crowded with green men, that hung over it and over the streets. One boat, Sarja at its controls, waited on the ground and as they entered and buckled themselves into the seats the craft drove up to hang with the others.
A shattering cheer greeted them. Norman saw that in the silvery light of Earth's great crescent there stretched over the city and surrounding jungle now a veritable plain of flying-boats. On each were green men and each bristled with force-guns, and had as many great goggled helmets fastened to it as it had occupants. He glimpsed larger boats loaded with huge metal cylinders--the force-bombs Fellows had mentioned.
Fellows rose and spoke briefly in a clear voice to the assembled green men on their craft, and another great shout roared from them, and from these who watched in the city below. Then as he spoke a word, Sarja sent their craft flying out over the city, and the great mass of boats, fully a thousand in number, were hurtling in a compact column after them.
Fellows leaned to Norman as the great column of purring craft shot on over the silver-lit jungles. "We'll make straight for the Rala city and try setting into it before they understand what's happening."
"Won't they have guards out?"
"Probably, but we can beat them back into the city before their whole forces can come out on us. That's the only way in which we can get inside and reach Hackett. And while we're attacking the force-bombs can be placed, though I don't rely too much on them."
"If the attack only succeeds in getting us inside," Norman said, grim-lipped, "we'll have a chance--"
"It's on the knees of the gods. These green men are doing an unprecedented thing in attacking the Ralas, the masters of this world, remember. But they've got ages of oppression to avenge; they'll fight."
The fleet flew on, hills and rivers a silver-lit panorama unreeling beneath them. Earth's crescent sank behind them, and by the time they flashed out over the great fresh-water sea, the sun was rising like a flaming eye from behind it. Land sank from sight behind and the green men were silent, tense, as they saw stretching beneath only the gray waters that for ages had been the base of the dread frog-men. But still the fleet's column raced on.
At last the column slowed. Far ahead the merest bulge broke the level line where sky and waters met. The amphibian city of the Ralas! At Fellows' order-the flying-boats sank downward until they moved just above the waters. Another order made the green hosts don the grotesque helmets. Norman found that while cumbersome their oxygen supply was unfailing. They shot on again at highest speed, but as the gigantic black dome of the frog-city grew in their vision there darted up from around it suddenly a far-flung swarm of black spots.
The muffled exclamation was Fellows'. There needed now no order on his part, though. Like hawks, leaping for prey, the fleet of the green men sprang through the air. Norman, clutching the force-gun between his knees, had time only to see that the Rala craft were a few hundred in number and that, contemptuous of the greater odds that favored these humans they had so long oppressed, they were flying straight to meet them. Then the two fleets met--and were spinning side by side above the waters.
Norman saw the thing only as a wild whirl of Rala boats toward and beside them, great green frog-men crowding the craft, their force-guns hailing shells. Automatically, with the old air-fighting instinct, his fingers had pressed the catch of the gun between his knees and as its shells flicked toward the rushing boats he saw areas of nothingness opening suddenly in their mass, shells striking and exploding in annihilating invisibility there and in their own fleet.
The two fleets mingled and merged momentarily, the battle becoming a thing of madness, a huge whirl of black and glittering flying-boats together, striking shells exploding nothingness about them. The Ralas were fighting like demons.
The merged, terrific combat lasted but moments; could last but moments. Norman, his gun's magazine empty, seemed to see the mass of struggling ships splittering, diverging; then saw that the black craft were dropping, plummeting downward toward the waves! The Ralas, stunned by that minute of terrific combat, were fleeing. Muffled cries and cheers came from about him as the glittering flying-boats of the green men shot after them. They crashed down into the waters and curved deeply into their green-depths, toward the gigantic dome.
Ahead the Rala boats were in flight toward their city, and now their pursuers were like sharks striking after them. There in the depths the force-guns of black and glittering boats alike were spitting, and giant waves and underwater convulsions rocked pursued and pursuers as the exploding shells annihilated boats and water about them. The tunnel! Its round opening yawned in the looming wall ahead, and Norman saw the Rala craft, reduced to scores in number, hurtling into it, to rouse all the forces of the great amphibian city. Their own boats were flashing into the opening after them. He glimpsed as he glanced back for a moment the larger craft with the great force-bombs veering aside behind them.
It was nightmare in the water-tunnel. Flashing beams of the craft ahead and waters that rocked and smashed around them as in flight the Ralas still rained back force-shells toward them in a chaos of action. Once the frog-men turned to hold them back in the tunnel, but by sheer weight the rushing ships of the green men crashed them onward. Boats were going into nothingness all around them. A part of Norman's brain wondered calmly why they survived even while another part kept his gun again working, with refilled magazine. Fellows and Sarja were grotesque shapes beside him. Abruptly the tunnel curved upward and as they flashed up after the remaining Rala craft their boats ripped up into clear air! They were beneath the giant dome!
The frog-men chased inward spread out in all directions over their mighty, swarming city and across it a terrific clamor of alarm ran instantly as the green men emerged after them! Norman saw flying-boats beginning to rise across all the city and realized that moments would see all the immense force of the Ralas, the thousands of craft they could muster, pouring upon them. He pointed out over the city to a block-like building, and shouted madly through his helmet to Fellows and Sarja: "Hackett!"
But already Sarja had sent their craft whirling across the city toward the structure, half their fleet behind it, with part still emerging from the water-tunnel. Rala boats rose before them, but nothing could stop them now, their force-shells raining ahead to clear a path for their meteor-flight. They shot down toward the block-structure, and Norman, half-crazed by now, saw that to descend and enter was suicide in the face of the frog-forces rising now over all the city. He cried to Fellows, and with two of the guns as they swooped lower they sprayed force-shells along the building's side.
The shells struck and whiffed away the whole side, exposing the level on the building's interior. Out from it rushed swarms of crazed green men, sweeping aside the frog-men guards, while far over the city the invading craft were loosing shells on the block-like buildings that held the prisoners, tens of thousands of them swarming forth. In the throng below as they raced madly forth Norman saw one, and shouted wildly. The one brown garbed figure looked up, saw their boat swooping lower, and leaped for it in a tremendous forty-foot spring that brought his fingers to its edge. Norman pulled him frenziedly up.
"Norman!" he babbled. "In God's name--Fellows--!"
"That helmet, Hackett!" Fellows flung at him. "My God, look at those prisoners--Norman!"
The countless thousands of green men released from the buildings whose walls had vanished under the shells of the invaders had poured forth to make the amphibian city a chaos of madness. Oblivious to all else they were throwing themselves upon the city's crowding frog-men in a battle whose ferocity was beyond belief, disregarding all else in this supreme chance to wreak vengeance on the monstrous beings who had fed upon their blood. In the incredible insanity of that raging fury the craft of the green men hanging over the city were all but forgotten.
Suddenly the city and the mighty dome over it quivered violently, and then again. There came from beneath a dull, vast, grinding roar.
"The great force-bombs!" Fellows screamed. "They've set them off--the city's sinking--out of here, for the love of God!"
The boat whirled beneath Sarja's hands toward the pool of the water-tunnel, all their fleet rushing with them. The grinding roar was louder, terrible; dome and city were shaking violently now; but in the insensate fury of their struggle the frog-men and their released prisoners were hardly aware of it. The whole great dome seemed sinking upon them and the city falling beneath it as Sarja's craft ripped down into the tunnel's waters, and then out, at awful speed, as the great tunnel's walls swayed and sank around them! They shot out into the green depths from it to hear a dull, colossal crashing through the waters from behind as the great pedestal of rock on which the city had stood, shattered by the huge force-bombs, collapsed. And as their boats flashed up into the open air they saw that the huge dome of the city of the Ralas was gone.
Beneath them was only a titanic whirlpool of foaming waters in which only the curved top of the settling dome was visible for a moment as it sank slowly and ponderously downward, with a roar as of the roar of falling worlds. Buckling, collapsing, sinking, it vanished in the foam-wild sea with all the frog-men who for ages had ruled the second satellite, and with all those prisoners who had at the last dragged them down with them to death! Ripping off their helmets, with all the green men shouting crazily about them, Norman and Fellows and Hackett stared down at the colossal maelstrom in the waters that was the tomb of the masters of a world.
Then the depression's sides collapsed, the waters rushing together ... and beneath them was but troubled, tossing sea....
Earth's great gray ball was overhead again and the sun was sinking again to the horizon when the three soared upward in the long, gleaming plane, its motor roaring. Norman, with Hackett and Fellows crowding the narrow cabin beside him, waved with them through its windows. For all around them were rising the flying-boats of the green men.
They were waving wildly, shouting their farewells, Sarja's tall figure erect at the prow of one. Insistent they had been that the three should stay, the three through whom the monstrous age-old tyranny of the frog-men had been lifted, but Earth-sickness was on them, and they had flown to where the plane lay still unharmed among the reeds, a hundred willing hands dragging it forth for the take-off.
The plane soared higher, motor thundering, and they saw the flying-boats sinking back from around them. They caught the wave of Sarja's hand still from the highest, and then that, too, was gone.
Upward they flew toward the great gray sphere, their eyes on the dark outlines of its continents and on one continent. Higher--higher--green land and gray tea receding beneath them; Hackett and Fellows intent and eager as Norman kept the plane rising. The satellite lay, a greenish globe, under them. And as they went higher still a rushing sound came louder to their ears.
"The edge of the satellite's atmosphere?" Fellows asked, as Norman nodded.
"We're almost to it--here we go!"
As he shot the plane higher, great forces smote it, gray Earth and green satellite and yellow sun gyrating round it as it reeled and plunged. Then suddenly it was falling steadily, gray Earth and its dark continent now beneath, while with a dwindling rushing roar its second satellite whirled away above them, passing and vanishing. Passing as though, to Norman it seemed, all their strange sojourn on it were passing; the frog-men and their mighty city, Sarja and their mad flight, the green men and the last terrific battle; all whirling away--whirling away.
HISTORIC EXPERIMENT PROVES EARTH'S ROTATION.
The famous experiment which proves that the "earth do move" by letting the observer actually see it twisting underneath his feet, an experiment invented by the French mathematician Jean B. L. Foucault nearly a century ago was repeated recently under unusually impressive circumstances before an international scientific congress at Florence, Italy, the same city where Galileo once was persecuted for holding the same opinion.
From the center of the dome of the Church of Santa Maria di Fiore, Father Guido Alfani, director of the Astronomical Observatory, suspended a 200-pound weight on a wire 150 feet long. On the bottom of this weight was a tiny projecting point which traced a line on a table-top sprinkled with sand, as the great pendulum swung slowly back and forth. At a given signal Father Alfani set the pendulum to swinging. While the assembled scientists watched it, slowly the line traced across the sand table-top changed direction.
As Foucault proved long ago and as the watching scientists well knew, the table was being twisted underneath the pendulum by the rotation of the earth.
A REVOLUTIONARY AIRPLANE.
A new airplane propeller has recently been patented by J. Kalmanson of Brooklyn, N. Y. Greater speed and marked saving in fuel is claimed for the invention, which may be attached to any type of airplane.
The device is in two parts, which may be used separately as front and rear propellers or combined into a single blade. The principle is that the front one acts to bring air to the other, giving the propeller more of a hold, so to speak, and greater power. This is accomplished by four air-spoons, one on each side of each blade of the propeller.
It is said that the device can double the speed of an airplane and raise it from the ground in ninety feet instead of the 200 feet most airplanes now require. It is also claimed that the new propeller will prevent the plane from making a nose drive unless the pilot forces it to do so, and enable it to make a safe landing within a short distance. Because of the increase in power and speed, the device would save a large amount of gasoline and oil, as well as guarding the motor from part of the strain on it.
The device is said to be also applicable to ships, the same principle operating in water as well as air.
By Harry Harrison
Because there were few adults in the crowd, and Colonel "Biff" Hawton stood over six feet tall, he could see every detail of the demonstration. The children-and most of the parents-gaped in wide-eyed wonder. Biff Hawton was too sophisticated to be awed. He stayed on because he wanted to find out what the trick was that made the gadget work.
"It's all explained right here in your instruction book," the demonstrator said, holding up a garishly printed booklet opened to a four-color diagram. "You all know how magnets pick up things and I bet you even know that the earth itself is one great big magnet-that's why compasses always point north. Well ... the Atomic Wonder Space Wave Tapper hangs onto those space waves. Invisibly all about us, and even going right through us, are the magnetic waves of the earth. The Atomic Wonder rides these waves just the way a ship rides the waves in the ocean. Now watch...."
Every eye was on him as he put the gaudy model rocketship on top of the table and stepped back. It was made of stamped metal and seemed as incapable of flying as a can of ham-which it very much resembled. Neither wings, propellors, nor jets broke through the painted surface. It rested on three rubber wheels and coming out through the bottom was a double strand of thin insulated wire. This white wire ran across the top of the black table and terminated in a control box in the demonstrator's hand. An indicator light, a switch and a knob appeared to be the only controls.
"I turn on the Power Switch, sending a surge of current to the Wave Receptors," he said. The switch clicked and the light blinked on and off with a steady pulse. Then the man began to slowly turn the knob. "A careful touch on the Wave Generator is necessary as we are dealing with the powers of the whole world here...."
A concerted ahhhh swept through the crowd as the Space Wave Tapper shivered a bit, then rose slowly into the air. The demonstrator stepped back and the toy rose higher and higher, bobbing gently on the invisible waves of magnetic force that supported it. Ever so slowly the power was reduced and it settled back to the table.
"Only $17.95," the young man said, putting a large price sign on the table. "For the complete set of the Atomic Wonder, the Space Tapper control box, battery and instruction book ..."
At the appearance of the price card the crowd broke up noisily and the children rushed away towards the operating model trains. The demonstrator's words were lost in their noisy passage, and after a moment he sank into a gloomy silence. He put the control box down, yawned and sat on the edge of the table. Colonel Hawton was the only one left after the crowd had moved on.
"Could you tell me how this thing works?" the colonel asked, coming forward. The demonstrator brightened up and picked up one of the toys.
"Well, if you will look here, sir...." He opened the hinged top. "You will see the Space Wave coils at each end of the ship." With a pencil he pointed out the odd shaped plastic forms about an inch in diameter that had been wound-apparently at random-with a few turns of copper wire. Except for these coils the interior of the model was empty. The coils were wired together and other wires ran out through the hole in the bottom of the control box. Biff Hawton turned a very quizzical eye on the gadget and upon the demonstrator who completely ignored this sign of disbelief.
"Inside the control box is the battery," the young man said, snapping it open and pointing to an ordinary flashlight battery. "The current goes through the Power Switch and Power Light to the Wave Generator ..."
"What you mean to say," Biff broke in, "is that the juice from this fifteen cent battery goes through this cheap rheostat to those meaningless coils in the model and absolutely nothing happens. Now tell me what really flies the thing. If I'm going to drop eighteen bucks for six-bits worth of tin, I want to know what I'm getting."
The demonstrator flushed. "I'm sorry, sir," he stammered. "I wasn't trying to hide anything. Like any magic trick this one can't be really demonstrated until it has been purchased." He leaned forward and whispered confidentially. "I'll tell you what I'll do though. This thing is way overpriced and hasn't been moving at all. The manager said I could let them go at three dollars if I could find any takers. If you want to buy it for that price...."
"Sold, my boy!" the colonel said, slamming three bills down on the table. "I'll give that much for it no matter how it works. The boys in the shop will get a kick out of it," he tapped the winged rocket on his chest. "Now really-what holds it up?"
The demonstrator looked around carefully, then pointed. "Strings!" he said. "Or rather a black thread. It runs from the top of the model, through a tiny loop in the ceiling, and back down to my hand-tied to this ring on my finger. When I back up-the model rises. It's as simple as that."
"All good illusions are simple," the colonel grunted, tracing the black thread with his eye. "As long as there is plenty of flimflam to distract the viewer."
"If you don't have a black table, a black cloth will do," the young man said. "And the arch of a doorway is a good site, just see that the room in back is dark."
"Wrap it up, my boy, I wasn't born yesterday. I'm an old hand at this kind of thing."
Biff Hawton sprang it at the next Thursday-night poker party. The gang were all missile men and they cheered and jeered as he hammed up the introduction.