Brigands of the Moon

Science Fiction Lengend

Book 37
VM eBooks
1
Free sample

I

Our ship, the space-flyer, Planetara, whose home port was Greater New York, carried mail and passenger traffic to and from both Venus and Mars. Of astronomical necessity, our flights were irregular. The spring of 2070, with both planets close to the Earth, we were making two complete round trips. We had just arrived in Greater New York, one May evening, from Grebhar, Venus Free State. With only five hours in port here, we were departing the same night at the zero hour for Ferrok-Shahn, capital of the Martian Union.

We were no sooner at the landing stage than I found a code flash summoning Dan Dean and me to Divisional Detective Headquarters. Dan"Snap" Dean was one of my closest friends. He was electron-radio operator of the Planetara. A small, wiry, red-headed chap, with a quick, ready laugh and the kind of wit that made everyone like him.

The summons to Detective-Colonel Halsey's office surprised us. Dean eyed me.

"You haven't been opening any treasure vaults, have you, Gregg?"

Read more
Collapse

About the author

 Ray Cummings (byname of Raymond King Cummings; August 30, 1887 – January 23, 1957) was an American author of science fiction, rated one of the "founding fathers of the science fiction pulp genre". He was born in New York and died in Mount Vernon, New York.

Cummings worked with Thomas Edison as a personal assistant and technical writer from 1914 to 1919. His most highly regarded work was the novel The Girl in the Golden Atom published in 1922, which was a consolidation of a short story by the same name published in 1919 (where Cummings combined the idea of Fitz James O'Brien's The Diamond Lens with H. G. Wells's The Time Machine) and a sequel, The People of the Golden Atom, published in 1920. His career resulted in some 750 novels and short stories, using also the pen names Ray King, Gabrielle Cummings, and Gabriel Wilson.

Read more
Collapse
5.0
1 total
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
VM eBooks
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Jan 21, 2016
Read more
Collapse
Pages
294
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Fiction / Fantasy / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Literary Collections / General
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
1

"It's a planet," I said. "A little world."

"How little?" Venza demanded.

"One-fifth the mass of the Moon. That's what they've calculated now."

"And how far is it away?" Anita asked. "I heard a newscaster say yesterday...."

"Newscasters!" Venza broke in scornfully. "Say, you can take what they tell you about any danger or trouble and cut it in half; and even then you'll be on the gloomy side. See here, Gregg Haljan."

"I'm not giving you newscasters' blare," I retorted. Venza's extravagant vehemence was always refreshing. The Venus girl glared at me. I added:"Anita mentioned newscasters; I didn't."

Anita was in no mood for smiling. "Tell us, Gregg." She sat upright and tense, her chin cupped in her hands. "Tell us."

"For a fact, they don't know much about it yet. You can call it a planet, a wanderer."

"I should say it was a wanderer!" Venza exclaimed. "Coming from heaven knows where beyond the stars, swimming in here like a comet."

"They calculated its distance yesterday at some sixty-five million miles from Earth," I said. "It isn't so far beyond the orbit of Mars, coming diagonally and heading very nearly for the Sun. But it's not a comet."

The thing was indeed inexplicable; for many weeks now, astronomers had been studying it. This was early summer of the year 2070 A.D. All of us had recently returned from those extraordinary events I have already recounted, when we came close to losing Johnny Grantline's radiactum treasure on the Moon, and our lives as well. My ship, the Planetara, in the astronomical seasons when the Earth, Mars, and Venus were within comfortable traveling distances of each other, had carried mail and passengers from Greater New York to Ferrok-Shahn, of the Martian Union, and to Grebhar, of the Venus Free State. Now it was wrecked on the Moon.

Chapter I.

THE COMING OF THE LIGHT.

The first of the new meteors landed on the earth in November, 1940. It was discovered by a farmer in his field near Brookline, Massachusetts, shortly after daybreak on the morning of the 11th. Astronomically, the event was recorded by the observatory at Harvard as the sudden appearance of what apparently was a new star, increasing in the short space of a few hours from invisibility to a power beyond that of the first magnitude, and then as rapidly fading again to invisibility. This star was recorded by two of the other great North American observatories, and by one in the Argentine Republic. That it was comparatively small in mass and exceedingly close to the earth, even when first discovered, was obvious. All observers agreed that it was a heavenly body of an entirely new order.

The observatory at Harvard supplemented its account by recording the falling, just before dawn of the 11th, of an extraordinarily brilliant meteor that flamed with a curious red and green light as it entered the earth's atmosphere. This meteor did not burn itself out, but fell, still retaining its luminosity, from a point near the zenith, to the horizon.

What the farmer saw was a huge fire burning near the center of his field. It was circular in form and about thirty feet in diameter. He was astonished to see it there, but what surprised him more was its peculiar aspect.

It was still the twilight of dawn when he reached the field. He beheld the fire first from a point several hundred yards away. As he explained it, the light--for it was more aptly described as a light than a fire--extended in parallel rays from the ground directly upward into the sky. He could see no line of demarkation where it ended at the top. It seemed to extend into the sky an infinite distance. It was, in fact, as though an enormous searchlight were buried in his field, casting its beam of light directly upward.

Chapter I

The New Murders

I was standing fairly close to the President of the Anglo-Saxon Republic when the first of the new murders was committed. The President fell almost at my feet. I was quite certain then that the Venus man at my elbow was the murderer. I don't know why, call it intuition if you will. The Venus man did not make a move; he merely stood beside me in the press of the throng, seemingly as absorbed as all of us in what the President was saying.

It was late afternoon. The sun was setting behind the cliffs across the river. There were perhaps a hundred and fifty thousand people within sight of the President, listening raptly to his words. It was at Park Sixty, and I was standing on the Tenth Level.[1] The crowd packed all twelve of the levels; the park was black with people. The President stood on a balcony of the park tower. He was no more than a few hundred feet above me, well within direct earshot. Around him on all sides were the electric megaphones which carried his voice to all parts of the audience. Behind me, a thousand feet overhead, the main aerials were scattering it throughout the city, I suppose five million people were listening to the voice of the President at that moment. He had just said that we must remain friendly with Venus; that in our enlightened age controversies were inevitable, but that they should be settled with sober thought--around the council table. This talk of war was ridiculous. He was denouncing the public news-broadcasters; moulders of public opinion, who every day--every hour--must offer a new sensation to their millions of subscribers.

He had reached this point when without warning his body pitched forward. The balcony rail caught it; and it hung there inert. The slanting rays of the sun fell full upon the ruffled white shirt; white, but turning pink, then red, with the crimson stain welling out from beneath.

1

"It's a planet," I said. "A little world."

"How little?" Venza demanded.

"One-fifth the mass of the Moon. That's what they've calculated now."

"And how far is it away?" Anita asked. "I heard a newscaster say yesterday...."

"Newscasters!" Venza broke in scornfully. "Say, you can take what they tell you about any danger or trouble and cut it in half; and even then you'll be on the gloomy side. See here, Gregg Haljan."

"I'm not giving you newscasters' blare," I retorted. Venza's extravagant vehemence was always refreshing. The Venus girl glared at me. I added:"Anita mentioned newscasters; I didn't."

Anita was in no mood for smiling. "Tell us, Gregg." She sat upright and tense, her chin cupped in her hands. "Tell us."

"For a fact, they don't know much about it yet. You can call it a planet, a wanderer."

"I should say it was a wanderer!" Venza exclaimed. "Coming from heaven knows where beyond the stars, swimming in here like a comet."

"They calculated its distance yesterday at some sixty-five million miles from Earth," I said. "It isn't so far beyond the orbit of Mars, coming diagonally and heading very nearly for the Sun. But it's not a comet."

The thing was indeed inexplicable; for many weeks now, astronomers had been studying it. This was early summer of the year 2070 A.D. All of us had recently returned from those extraordinary events I have already recounted, when we came close to losing Johnny Grantline's radiactum treasure on the Moon, and our lives as well. My ship, the Planetara, in the astronomical seasons when the Earth, Mars, and Venus were within comfortable traveling distances of each other, had carried mail and passengers from Greater New York to Ferrok-Shahn, of the Martian Union, and to Grebhar, of the Venus Free State. Now it was wrecked on the Moon.

Chapter I.

THE COMING OF THE LIGHT.

The first of the new meteors landed on the earth in November, 1940. It was discovered by a farmer in his field near Brookline, Massachusetts, shortly after daybreak on the morning of the 11th. Astronomically, the event was recorded by the observatory at Harvard as the sudden appearance of what apparently was a new star, increasing in the short space of a few hours from invisibility to a power beyond that of the first magnitude, and then as rapidly fading again to invisibility. This star was recorded by two of the other great North American observatories, and by one in the Argentine Republic. That it was comparatively small in mass and exceedingly close to the earth, even when first discovered, was obvious. All observers agreed that it was a heavenly body of an entirely new order.

The observatory at Harvard supplemented its account by recording the falling, just before dawn of the 11th, of an extraordinarily brilliant meteor that flamed with a curious red and green light as it entered the earth's atmosphere. This meteor did not burn itself out, but fell, still retaining its luminosity, from a point near the zenith, to the horizon.

What the farmer saw was a huge fire burning near the center of his field. It was circular in form and about thirty feet in diameter. He was astonished to see it there, but what surprised him more was its peculiar aspect.

It was still the twilight of dawn when he reached the field. He beheld the fire first from a point several hundred yards away. As he explained it, the light--for it was more aptly described as a light than a fire--extended in parallel rays from the ground directly upward into the sky. He could see no line of demarkation where it ended at the top. It seemed to extend into the sky an infinite distance. It was, in fact, as though an enormous searchlight were buried in his field, casting its beam of light directly upward.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.