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Title:      Maza of the Moon
Author:     Otis Adelbert Kline
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Language:   English
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Date first posted:          June 2006
Date most recently updated: June 2006

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Title:      Maza of the Moon
Author:     Otis Adelbert Kline


"We've got to win that reward, Roger, or close up shop."

Ted Dustin, youthful president and general manager of Theodore Dustin,
Inc. reached mechanically for his tobacco pouch, filled his black
briar, and sighed.

Roger Sanders, assistant to the president, deposited his sheaf of papers
on his desk, closed the door to the private office, and sat down in the
chair facing his superior.

"You mean--?"

"I mean," replied Dustin, flicking his lighter with his thumb, "that in
order to prepare the projectile for launching, we've spent every cent we
had, and borrowed a lot besides. Theodore Dustin, Inc. is flat broke,
and the plant is mortgaged from roof to drains. If we don't win that
reward our creditors will be picking our bones in thirty days."

"Mr. Dustin." A female voice, apparently issuing from empty air, spoke
his name. He turned to the radiovisiphone, a plain-looking disc resting
on a small pedestal at his elbow. It was wireless, and contained no
buttons, levers or controls of any kind.

"Yes." As he spoke, the picture of his information clerk flashed on the
disc. The word "Yes" had completed the connection.

"Mr. Evans of the 'Globe' would like to know if you are ready to
interview the representatives of the press."

"Any other reporters waiting?"

"There are twenty-seven in the reception room. Mr. Evans says you told
them all to come at once."

"I did," replied Dustin. "Send them up in five minutes. Off."

When he spoke the word "Off," the picture disappeared, the connection
having been broken by this word uttered alone with sharp emphasis.

While Roger went out for chairs, he rose and walked to the window. For
some time he stood there, gazing at the smokeless, chimney-less
factories beneath him. During twenty of the thirty years of his life, or
until 1954, there had been chimneys on these factories. Combustion--the
burning of coal and oil--had been necessary to keep their wheels

But Dustin had changed all this by his invention which economically
captured and stored the energy of the sun, converting it into
electricity for light, heat and power, and putting manufacturing on a
newer, cleaner basis. Now, at the age of thirty, he had lived to see his
sun power units in almost universal use.

The money derived from this he had immediately diverted to research and
experiment with a still mightier objective in view--to harness the power
of the atom. On the eve of success he found his funds nearly dissipated,
and therefore spent his last few dollars in the building of an
emplacement, a gun, and a projectile, for the purpose of winning the
million dollar reward offered by the Associated Governments of the Earth
to the man who could first succeed in touching the moon with a finger of
terrestrial matter.

He turned from the window as Roger ushered in a group of eager,
expectant reporters, and said:

"Take seats, gentlemen."

Twenty-eight chairs creaked. Twenty-eight automatic interview recorders
were quickly swung forward on their shoulder straps and adjusted. Then
there was a tense moment of silence.

Ted cleared his throat.

"You fellows know," he said, "that science, having conquered the air,
now wants to conquer interplanetary space. The first logical step is the
shortest one. The nearest heavenly body being our moon, and that being
far enough away to present a pretty tough problem, the princely reward
of a million dollars has been offered the man who will first send a
projectile or vehicle across this space and prove it to the satisfaction
of the Associated Governments of the Earth.

"Through some mysterious channel of communication, known only to you
reporters, you found out that I had entered the race. Naturally I have,
up until now, kept my plans a secret from the public and my competitors.
But that's all over with, now. The gun, which was constructed according
to my specifications by the American Ordnance Corporation, has a bore of
seven feet and a length of three hundred and fifty. Despite the fact
that it will be reinforced to more than four times the proportionate
thickness of the most powerful guns built today, my estimates show that
it will be destroyed when the projectile is fired. It was shipped to
Daphne Major, one of the smaller of the Galapagos Islands near the
equator, on March 10th. My projectile, which was manufactured in my own
factory, was shipped today, fully assembled and crated, in an
International Air Freighter.

"I've calculated that March 20th will be the most favorable day for
firing my projectile, as it will be the day when the moon, in its
endless race with our planet around the sun, will cross the path of the
earth. The projectile will be timed and fired to overcome the forward
speed and gravity pull of the earth, travel in the arc imparted to it by
the earth's axial rotation, and wait for the moon at precisely the right
point in space, according to my calculations. Its principle will greatly
resemble that of the floating mines dropped by minelayers in the World
War of forty years ago.

"The force which will send the projectile out into space is one which I
have, after countless experiments, succeeded in liberating and, to some
extent, directing. It's the terrific force locked in the atom.

"The motions of the projectile, after it has left the earth, will be
automatically controlled and corrected by my latest invention, the
atomotor, a mechanism which separates electrons from protons and
utilizes the terrific repulsive force of protons toward protons and
electrons toward electrons, permitting them to escape through specially
constructed cylinders after they have imparted their energy to the
cylinder heads and thence to the projectile. These cylinders are pointed
in all directions, thus making it possible for the automatic course
correcter to control the motions of the projectile.

"The projectile will be protected at the base by a firing plate of
easily melted metal, which will be destroyed before it leaves the
earth's atmosphere. It will also be protected by six outer layers of
reinforced asbestos with braced vacuum spaces between them.

"In the head of the projectile is a charge of explosive which will be
set off by contact with any solid object. This powerful explosive will,
when ignited, emit a lurid flash of light that will be easily visible if
it strikes the dark side of the moon, and also a thick cloud of black,
non-luminous smoke that will spread over a circle a hundred miles in
diameter will be readily discernible if it strikes the light side.

"On tomorrow, the sixteenth, I leave for Daphne Major for the purpose of
loading and pointing the gun."

"That's all there is to the story, fellows, until after the gun is

Roger opened the door, and the reporters, after wishing the young
inventor success, filed out.


ON THE morning of March 16th, Dustin and Sanders set out for the
Galapagos in the former's swift Blettendorf super-electroplane, which
was capable of a speed of eight hundred miles an hour. They arrived
about noon and worked assiduously, with the result that the gun was
loaded and ready for the herculean task of lowering it into the
emplacement by night.

On the seventeenth it was pointed according to the calculations of the
young inventor, and on the eighteenth was braced in place by hundreds of
tons of special, fast-setting, reinforced concrete.

On the nineteenth the U.S. Aerial Battleship Hawaii arrived with a group
of trained observers, representing the Associated Governments of the
Earth. She was equipped with high-power telescopes, spectroscopes, and
photographic apparatus, all to be used by or under the direction of this
assembly of picked scientists.

Busy as he was in getting his men and equipment loaded and away from the
danger zone, Dustin was compelled to hold a reception for his
distinguished visitors, show them the gun and its emplacement, and
answer a thousand questions. Sanders, however, assumed the burdens of
the executive to such good purpose that before the scientists had
boarded the Hawaii to be taken to their point of observation and there
await the zero hour, he had everything loaded and off the island.

All that night, and up until one thirty on the twentieth, the inventor
busied himself connecting the automatic firing apparatus and seeing that
it was in perfect order.

By that time, Dustin, Sanders and Bevans, the pilot, were the only
humans left in the archipelago. After a cold lunch and a final tour of
inspection, each man made ready to play his part.

It was estimated that the moon would cross the path of the earth at 6
hours, 53 minutes and 13 seconds past noon, central standard time. This
brought the firing time to 2 hours, 32 minutes and 22 seconds past noon,
or approximately 2:30 P.M.

Promptly at 2:20, Bevans started the helicopter blades and rising above
the rim of the crater headed northwest toward the point on the equator,
97 1/2 degrees west longitude, which it was thought would be most favorable
for observation, and to which the scientists had gone the evening before.
This was less than a forty-minute run for the powerful super-electroplane.

As they hurtled along, Ted glanced, from time to time, at the chronometer.
At 2:30 he hastily unslung his binoculars, opened the rear window and
trained them in the direction of Daphne Major.

"Can't see the island from here, can you?"

"Hardly. It's a good two hundred and fifty miles back and we couldn't
possibly rise high enough to bring it to our horizon line."

"Then what do you expect to see?"

"Some sign of the explosion, possibly. Take a look for yourself."

While Roger trained his own binoculars rearward, Ted called up to

"Start the smoke trail at 2:35," he ordered, "and watch for aerial
waves. We may be in for a good shaking up."

"Very well, sir."

At 2:32, Ted and Roger sat with bated breath, their binoculars directed
toward the archipelago, listening intently while the chronometer ticked
off the seconds.

The zero hour arrived and for two seconds thereafter the anxious
watchers saw nothing. Then, with amazing suddenness, a gray,
mushroom-shaped cloud spread skyward above the horizon. Just above it, a
thin pencil of smoke was barely discernible through the glasses,
pointing straight toward the zenith.

"Hurray! She's off!" shouted Roger.

Ted did not answer. His face grew suddenly grave.

"Why, what's the matter?" asked Roger. "Isn't everything all right?"

"I'm afraid we've started something we didn't consider in our
calculations," he replied. "Do you see that black cloud forcing its way
upward through the gray one?"


"And the band of yellow immediately beneath it?"

"Yes. What is it?"

"A volcanic eruption," replied Ted. "Daphne Major, you will remember,
was the crater of an extinct volcano. We've blown off the top, and
outraged Mother Earth is doing the rest. Appears like a terrific
eruption from here, too. And look: There's a reply from the heavens. See
those flashes in the clouds? A thunder storm has formed in the upper

At this moment thick, black smoke began belching from the rear of the
electroplane, and their view to the rear was obscured.

"Full speed ahead, Bevans," shouted Ted. "Give her all you've got. We're
due for a heavy squall in less than five minutes."

Shortly thereafter, signs of terrific agitation in the atmosphere were
registered in the rear of the smoke trail.

"Ascend at an angle of 45 degrees," ordered Ted. "We'll ride with the

Scarcely had he spoken ere the plane received such a shock that both Ted
and Roger were thrown to the floor. It was accompanied by a continuous
roar as of a thousand thunderclaps let loose at once, echoing and
reechoing with seemingly undiminished intensity for several minutes.

Rising with difficulty, for the ship careened frightfully, Ted dragged
himself to the rear window and looked out. Their smoke trail had been
completely dissipated, and once more he had a clear view toward the
rear. Two things he noted, almost simultaneously--a mountainous;
white-crested wall of water swiftly overtaking them on the surface of
the Pacific, and just above it a swirling, tumbling mass of clouds,
black beneath and silvery white above, with vivid flashes of forked
lightning playing between them. He shouted up the speaking tube:

"Higher, Bevans. Use your helicopters, man, or we're lost!"

There was a jerk and a roar as Bevans hastily threw the helicopters into
gear, then a rapid upward movement that glued them to the floor until
their bodies had gained momentum.

Quick though he had been in carrying out orders, the pilot was not quick
enough for the forces of Nature. As if incensed at this puny attempt of
man to conquer her, she seized the frail craft in the grasp of her
powerful winds and played with it as if it had been a feather. At the
first impact, Ted saw Roger strike his head on the edge of the
refrigerator and slump to the floor. He tried to go to him, but found
this impossible. The craft dipped dizzily, spun like a top, and rolled
end over end. Gripping the doorknob, unable to help his fallen
companion, he found his feet sometimes in midair, sometimes on the wall,
and sometimes on the very ceiling. There was an unending glare of
lightning and a continuous roar of thunder. Rain, sleet, and ice pellets
alternately beat in through the unclosed rear window.

The craft steadied a bit for an instant, and Ted succeeded in seizing
Roger's ankle. Dragging the limp form of his companion toward him, he
passed his arm beneath the slender body and held it as best he could,
meanwhile keeping a tight grip on the doorknob. Though the storm
continued outside, Bevans seemed to be getting the plane under control
once more, for it rocked less and less as time went on.

Presently, too, the lightning flashes appeared farther apart, and the
intervening darkness grew steadily lighter.

As soon as he was able to release his grip on the doorknob, Ted gently
lowered his assistant to the floor of the disordered cabin. Switching on
the light, he made a hasty examination of the gash in the pale forehead
and found, to his relief, that there was no skull fracture. After
carefully dressing it from the contents of the emergency kit, he placed
a pillow beneath the head of the still unconscious Roger, and made his
way to the rear window. At a glance, he saw that they had risen above
the electrical storm, but were still beneath a dense cloud stratum that
shut off the sunlight like a blanket. He shouted up to the pilot:

"All right, Bevans?"

"Sound as a dollar, sir."

"Good. Keep those helicopters going and see if we can get up into the

"Yes, sir."

Roger moaned feebly, then opened his eyes as Ted bent over him.

"Wh-what happened?" he asked.

"You were knocked out. Nothing dangerous. Be all right soon. Want


"Sure thing. Here."

Ted placed it between the ashen lips and fired it with his atomic

"Lie still for a while," he counseled. "I'm going to try to make some
observations if we can ever get above these confounded clouds."

It was some time before the welcome flash of sunlight appeared. After
making his observations, Ted calculated that they had been driven more
than three hundred miles southwest of their course by the storm. When
the plane was once more headed toward the point where they hoped to find
the Hawaii, he descended the stairway to see what he could do for Roger.
He found him in one of the cabin chairs, curiously examining a film of
dust that had formed on the map-table.

"Where do you suppose that came from?" he asked, poking it with his

"Volcanic ash," replied Dustin. "Sometimes travels clear around the
world, so we needn't be surprised to find it here after that huge
upheaval. How's the head feeling now, old man?"

"Better, thanks."

"Good. We'll just have time for a cold snack before we board the

As soon as they had eaten, Ted took food up to the pilot and steered the
ship while he ate.

"Nearly there, aren't we, sir?" asked Bevans, after he had swallowed the
last morsel.

"Almost. I'll give you the signal to descend, from the cabin. We're
going to need our searchlight, I'm afraid."

Once more in the cabin, Ted consulted his instruments. Presently he gave
the order to descend. In a moment they were plunged into deep gloom
which the mighty searchlights failed to penetrate for more than fifty
feet in any direction.

"We'll never find them this way," said Ted. "Try the radio, Roger, will

Sanders sat down in front of the powerful instrument and turned the

"She's dead," he announced. "That electrical storm must have burned out

"Here. You keep watch while I see what's wrong," replied Ted.

It only took the inventor a moment to find the trouble.

"Burned out every tube," he said, "and I forgot to bring a spare set.
We'll just have to keep cruising around, I guess, and hope for luck. A
nice mess we've gotten into."

"For my part I'm thankful to be alive, radio or no radio," said Roger.

"Righto, but I'll certainly be disappointed if I can't be aboard the
Hawaii with those official observers when the projectile strikes the
moon. We may be able to see it with our binoculars, but I doubt it."

As they cruised about in ever widening circles, the time slipped away,
but there was no sign of the Hawaii. Presently, when the chronometer
showed 6:20 Ted gave up the search and ordered Bevans to hurry back to
the designated observation point. They barely reached it at 6:50, and
another minute was consumed in rising above the highest cloud stratum.

The sun had set and the half-illumined orb of the moon was just above
the western horizon. Both men trained their binoculars on it
simultaneously. Came 6:53 and they waited tensely for the thirteenth
second, at which instant the projectile was calculated to strike.

The thirteenth second came and went without incident. The
fourteenth--and then--directly in the center of the celestial target
things happened. Both men simultaneously saw a tiny light flash for an
instant across the dark side of the moon's sunrise line, while a small
black spot slowly grew in size on the sunlit side of the line.

"Hurray! She hit dead center!" shouted Roger.

Ted watched the black spot in silence for a moment.

"Seems to have landed plumb in the middle of the crater, Hipparchus,"
replied Ted. "Thought I had miscalculated the time, for an instant, but
I see the reason now. We saw the flash just 1.25 seconds after it took
place because it takes light that long to travel from the moon to the

The black spot faded perceptibly. In a minute more it had disappeared

"There goes our evidence," said Ted. "I hope they saw it while it

He called up through the speaking tube:

"Back to Chicago, Bevans."


WHEN DUSTIN reached his office in Chicago, he found a terse radiogram
from the commander of the U.S. Aerial Battleship, Alaska, awaiting him.

Just found the Hawaii, wrecked on surface of Pacific with radio out of
commission. Official observers unable to see moon on account of clouds.
Am towing the Hawaii to San Francisco. J. C. Farrell, Commander,
U.S.A.B. Alaska.

He read it in silence, then handed it to Sanders.

"Does this mean that we lose, Ted?" he asked.

"It means," replied Ted gamely trying to disguise the quiver of
disappointment in his voice, "that Theodore Dustin, Inc. will be sold
for the benefit of creditors--lock, stock and barrel, within the next
thirty days."

During the days that followed, Ted and Roger were kept busy putting the
affairs of the company in order, preparatory to turning it over to its
creditors. At the final moment their attorney had secured them an extra
thirty-day extension, but this, after all, was only a prolonging of the

A Russian manufacturer had made the highest bid for the plant and
patents, and sorrow prevailed in the entire organization when it was
announced that the creditors would, in all probability, accept the bid.

The indignant official observers had, as Ted had predicted, unanimously
declared against even a probability that his projectile had struck the
moon. True, an unofficial observer in Guatemala had reported seeing a
flash and a dark cloud near the crater Herschel at the appointed time,
but this statement was unsupported from other quarters and, therefore,
of no value to Ted's claims.

The eruption and storm had made it impossible for the South American
observatories to view the moon at all at that time, while all other
observatories so situated as to have even slight opportunity for a
glimpse at the proper moment, reported exceptionally cloudy weather.

On the morning of May 5th, Dustin sat moodily in his private office,
surrounded by a thick cloud of blue smoke from his black briar, when
Sanders burst into the room waving a newspaper which he thrust beneath
the eyes of his employer.

"Can you beat this, Ted?" he asked. "They say your projectile came back
to the earth and nearly destroyed London!" Ted read the screaming
headline, and gasped.

EARTH At four thirty this morning a huge missile fell into the Thames
River near Gravesend. It exploded with terrible force, killing more than
fourteen hundred people, and injuring thousands. The shock of the
explosion was felt all over the British Isles as well as on continental
Europe, and was registered by seismographs all over the world.

Scientists have calculated that the projectile fired by the inventor,
Theodore Dustin, would return to the earth in thirty days, but they now
believe it must have traveled in a larger orbit than they estimated, and
that this is the missile of Dustin returning later than predicted.

Ted pushed the paper aside wearily.

"The 'I told you so' boys are at it again, Roger," he said. "They make
me sick. In order to prove a pet theory, they're trying to make a
wholesale murderer of me in the eyes of the world. I'm weary of it all."

Then a voice suddenly issued from the radiovisiphone. It was the

"Mr. Dustin."


"Station WNB-437 announces that it is about to broadcast important
international news. Shall I tune it in for you?"


A picture instantly flashed on the disc of the radiovisiphone--the
announcer for the World News Broadcasters, standing in the station at
Washington, D.C. He held a paper in one hand, and a watch in the other,
evidently waiting for the exact second to begin his announcement.
Presently he cleared his throat and looked up.

"We have just received a communication from Paris, France," he
announced. "A projectile similar to that which fell in the Thames near
Gravesend has fallen into the heart of Paris. The city is in ruins and
there has been a terrific loss of life, unestimated at this time. This
shock, like the one which came a few hours ago, has been recorded by
seismographs all over the world. Scientists who hold that the previous
explosion was caused by the Dustin projectile have issued no statements
regarding this one. No one we have consulted can offer any explanation
of this singular and terrible occurrence."

The announcer paused, then turned to receive a new sheet of paper from a

"The situation with regard to these projectiles is becoming more serious
every minute," he said. "I have here a radio message from New York City.
A third missile has just fallen into New York Harbor, sinking or
destroying all shipping in the vicinity, killing and maiming thousands
of people, and shattering glass in the windows for miles around. Two
Broadway skyscrapers are reported to have toppled to the street, adding
to the shambles as panic-stricken people scurrying for shelter were
crushed in the ruins."

Again the announcer paused to receive a new sheet of paper.

"A message from Professor Fowler of the Yerkes Observatory states that
he was looking at the moon this morning between the hours of one and
four o'clock, and that during that period he saw five distinct and quite
brilliant flashes of light in the region of the crater, Ptolemy. He has
just learned of the explosions at London, Paris and New York, and thinks
that they may have some connection with what he saw on the moon early
this morning. It is his theory that the moon is suffering from a
bombardment similar to that which the earth is undergoing."

The picture of the announcer suddenly disappeared from the disc and that
of Dustin's operator appeared.

"I had to tune out WNB-437, sir," she apologized. "The President of the
United States is calling."

"Tune him in," replied Dustin.

Instantly there flashed on the disc the familiar countenance of
President Whitmore. He looked worried, and his voice trembled slightly
as he asked:

"Mr. Dustin, have you any explanation of the calamities that have
overtaken the world in the last few hours?"

"I have no facts for you at present, Mr. President," replied Dustin,
"but I have a theory."

"And what is that?"

"It is my belief that the moon is bombarding the earth. She reached an
advantageous firing position last night, and Professor Fowler saw five
flashes between one and four o'clock this morning. According to my
theory she left five huge interplanetary mines in the path of the earth
and we have already run afoul of three of them. Moreover, they were
aimed and timed with such accuracy that one of our chief cities has been
destroyed and two more came near to meeting the same fate."

"You have stated that your projectile struck the moon. Do you believe
that our satellite is inhabited, and that the explosions we have
experienced were mines or missiles, fired in reprisal by the lunar

"That is my belief, Mr. President."

"Then, Mr. Dustin, you are jointly responsible with the Associated
Governments of the Earth for this horrible and unexpected catastrophe,
and we shall look to you to see that the bombardment is stopped."

"I'm sorry, Mr. President, but I am without funds, and my company is to
be taken from me by my creditors in a few days."

"This, Mr. Dustin," replied the President, "is an international
emergency, and must be met with every ounce of power at our command. We
need you--the world needs you and your organization. Draw on the
government for such funds as you require at once, and I will issue an
order on the treasury for sufficient funds to satisfy every one of your

"At present I can only promise you the cooperation of our own
government, but I am calling a meeting of the Associated Governments
today, and I feel sure they will be with us. Do all you can, as quickly
as you can, and spare no expense to carry the thing through as swiftly
as possible."

"I'll do my best, Mr. President," replied Ted.

The picture of the President faded from the disc, and Roger rose from
his seat, his face aglow with enthusiasm for this new undertaking.

"Atta boy, Ted!" he said. "When do we start? And how?"


ON THE following day the factory of Theodore Dustin, Inc. hummed with
an activity it had not known for weeks.

The fact that Ted's prediction regarding the other two missiles from the
moon had come true shortly after he had uttered them, solidified public
confidence in him to a degree even greater than that he had enjoyed
before the firing of his own projectile and his subsequent condemnation
by the official observers.

The last two missiles to strike the earth had apparently not been aimed
so accurately as the others, but the intent of those who fired them had
been just as evident, for one had plumped into the middle of Lake
Michigan, not far from Chicago, and the other had alighted in the
Tyrrhenian Sea near Rome, both causing tidal waves and some damage to
shipping, but without the large number of fatalities which attended the
falls of the others.

There were people, of course, who condemned Ted for having fired his
projectile to the moon and thus having brought about the bombardment in
reprisal--a bombardment which, for all they knew, might take place every
month at the time the moon was in a favorable firing position.

None there were, however, who condemned the youthful scientist so
thoroughly as he condemned himself. Not that he spent his time, or any
part of it, in self-reproach. There was, in fact, no time for anything
but work, with the busy program he had set for himself and his men.

Two major projects, both being carried on at once, claimed every minute
of his waking time. One was the building of a gigantic radio station,
with which he hoped to get into communication with the inhabitants of
the moon. The other, the construction of an interplanetary vehicle
driven by atomotors, in which he hoped to reach the moon in person. The
radio, he expected to have ready for service in two weeks, but the
vehicle, because the manufacture of many of its delicate and intricate
parts could only be entrusted to a few of his best men, would take six
weeks to complete at the very least.

During the first three days and nights he worked without sleep. Then
outraged nature asserted itself, and he was compelled to rest. From then
until the day of the completion of the radio station, he put himself on
a sleep ration of four hours a day.

On May 19th, just two weeks after the projectiles from the moon had
struck the earth, and nearly two months from the day Dustin's projectile
had exploded on the moon, there was a large and august assemblage in the
general office of Theodore Dustin, Inc.

Forty of the world's leading linguists, representing every race and
color on the globe, talked excitedly in a multiplicity of tongues. Nor
were modern languages solely represented, for there was a small group of
men whose life studies had been the forgotten languages of the past-men
who had wrested from crypts, pyramids, monuments, caves, and the ruins
of ancient cities, temples and fortresses, the secrets of the speech of
the ancients.

Nor were these all. A still smaller group consisted of the greatest men
of science, sent by the leading nations of the earth.

From time to time, they glanced expectantly at the door of Dustin's
private office.

Presently the door opened and Dustin stepped out, accompanied by
President Whitmore of the United States.

Instantly the buzz of conversation ceased, as Ted held his hand aloft
for silence.

"We are ready, gentlemen," he announced. "Follow me to the elevators."

Three trips of the elevators landed everyone on the roof. In the center
was a building containing the sending and receiving apparatus. Overhead
were stretched the wires of the gigantic aerial.

Ted conducted his party to the doorway of the building and into a small
auditorium with seats and desks arranged in a semicircle. Here Sanders
met them and assisted Ted in showing each man to the desk which had been
provided for him.

When all were seated, Ted and Roger pulled back two sliding doors which
disclosed a small stage and a radiovisiphone with a disc ten feet in
diameter, which faced the gathering.

"Now, Mr. President," said Ted, "if you will do us the honor of pressing
the button on the desk before you, you will close the circuit of the set
through which we hope to establish communication with the inhabitants of
the moon. The zero hour has arrived. In accordance with the orders of
the Associated Governments of the Earth, every broadcasting station in
the world has ceased to function."

The President smiled and pressed the button. A terrific crackling roar
from the radiovisiphone followed his action.

Ted speedily adjusted a set of dials on the desk before him, and the
roar subsided. Then he stepped before the radiovisiphone.

"People of the Moon," he said, "we know not in what language to address
you, so we are about to speak to you in all the known languages of the
earth. Our mission is one of peace--our purpose to make apology for
having wronged you--a people of whom we know nothing, and whose very
existence we did not suspect. Will you answer us, People of the Moon?"

The young inventor evidently did not expect a reply--not so soon, at
least. He turned, and beckoned to the German linguist to take his place.
It was his purpose to have the speech repeated in each language in turn.
About to step down from the platform, he was startled by sudden cries of
amazement from the men facing him.

"Look, Ted! Look quickly, behind you!" he heard Roger shout.

As he faced the radiovisiphone once more, it was his turn to gasp in
astonishment not unmingled with awe, for revealed in the pellucid depths
of the ten-foot disk, and apparently not five feet from him, stood a
woman--a glorious vision of feminine beauty that held him entranced.

She was not large--a scant five feet in height, he judged--but there was
a certain dignity in her bearing which somehow made her appear taller.
The golden glory that was her hair, dressed in a style new and strange
to the inventor, was held by a band of platinum-like metal powdered with
glistening jewels. Her clothing, if judged by earthly standards, was not
clothing at all. Gleaming meshes of white metal, woven closely together,
formed a light, shimmering garment that covered though it revealed the
lines of her shapely breasts, slender waist, and lissom hips, leaving
arms, shoulders and legs bare. A jeweled dagger hung from a chain-like
belt about her waist, and a huge ruby blazed on the index finger of her
left hand. On her feet were sandals, apparently constructed from the
white metal.

Behind the young lady whose appearance had so amazed the distinguished
gathering of scientists, stood two men, each well over six feet tall.
They appeared to be guards, for each leaned on the hilt of a huge,
broad-bladed, scimitar-like weapon that reached from the floor to the
level of his breast, and both wore shining plate armor and helmets of
strange design.

The girl smiled, revealing at the same time, a set of small, even white
teeth, and a most adorable pair of dimples. Then she spoke. Ted stood
like one bewitched, listening to the clear, flute-like tones, but Roger
had the presence of mind to turn on the recorder.

She had not spoken more than a dozen words, however, when the image in
the disc blurred and her voice was drowned by a confusion of discordant

"What's wrong?" asked the President of the United States, anxiously.

"Another station cutting in, damn it!" replied Ted, frantically turning
his wave-trap dial with one hand and the selector dials with the other.

While he labored with the dials an image seemed slowly to be forming in
the disc, taking the place of the one which had just disappeared. For a
time, two voices were heard, one unmistakably that of the girl, growing
fainter and fainter, the other, the coarse tones of a man, constantly
increasing in intensity.

As the new image cleared, it proved to be that of a man of remarkable
dimensions--with a body that was almost globular, to which were attached
incongruously slender arms and legs. Although he could not have been
more than five feet tall, his round head was nearly twice as large as
that of the average earth man of six feet. His nose was flat, and his
eyes slanted toward his temples above exceptionally prominent cheek
bones. As he spoke in sing-song monosyllables, he disclosed rat-like
teeth, set far apart, and wobbled a long, thin moustache, the two ends
of which drooped from the corners of his mouth to his breast.

On his head was a tall pointed helmet of gleaming yellow metal, built up
in tiers like a pagoda and ending in a sharp spike. His body was encased
in scale-like armor of the same yellow metal, and his breast was crossed
by two purple sashes, fastened at their intersection by a golden
medallion on which was emblazoned a scarlet dragon. From one of these
depended a sword with a small, round guard, and a hilt nearly a foot in
length, and from the other, a weapon which slightly resembled an
automatic pistol. Behind him stood a semicircle of smaller beings of
similar rotund shape, whose helmets were shorter and of copper-colored
metal, as were their suits of armor. They wore brown sashes and copper
medallions emblazoned with green dragons, and in addition to weapons
similar to those of the larger man, carried tall poles surmounted by
sharp discs that slightly resembled buzzsaws with exceptionally long

The appearance of the girl had created a stir in the room, but when
these grotesque creatures became plainly visible on the disc, animated
whispers turned to an uproar, and Ted was forced to call for silence.

Scarcely had the confusion abated, ere an aged Chinese doctor arose and
came up beside Ted.

"What is it, Dr. Wu?" asked the young scientist, his hands busy with the
dials. "Can you understand him?"

"A word, here and there, seems intelligible--something like the language
of my revered ancestors."

At sight of Dr. Wu, the speaker in the disc paused and nodded. It was as
if he had recognized someone racially akin to him. The doctor bowed and
smiled in return, and said something in a monosyllabic tongue. Its
phonetic similarity to that which had come from the globular being was
striking, as was the fact that there was a slight facial resemblance
between Dr. Wu and the lunar speaker.

The Lunite pursed his lips and knit his brows as if endeavoring to
understand. He turned to the semicircle of men behind him. They all
appeared puzzled. Then he dispatched one of them, who disappeared from
the disc, and facing Dr. Wu once more, uttered a short sentence.

It was the doctor's turn to knit his brows and shake his head. Again he
essayed speech with the armored man. Apparently he was not understood.
The process was repeated several more times with the same result. It
seemed that the two were on the verge of understanding each other, yet
could not quite make themselves intelligible.

Then the man who had disappeared from the disc a few minutes before
reappeared with another, a bent figure who hung on his arm for support.
His face was wrinkled and toothless, his sparse moustache was gray, and
his limbs were more spindly than those of the others. Instead of armor
he wore a garment of quilted black cloth over his emaciated form.

The man in the gold armor looked at Dr. Wu, then pointed to the old man
and uttered a few words. The doctor nodded, and addressed him. The old
fellow pondered for a moment, then shook his head. Again Dr. Wu spoke to
him. He shook his head once more, and reaching beneath his robe, drew
forth a scroll and writing brush. After rapidly tracing a number of
characters on the scroll, he held it up. The writing bore a striking
resemblance to Chinese.

Seizing Ted's sleeve, the doctor spoke excitedly.

"Is the photo-recorder on?"


"Good. I believe I can translate that writing, given time."

Facing the old man in the disc, Dr. Wu again nodded and smiled. Then he
pointed skyward and said:


The old man nodded, smiled, and repeated excitedly: "T'ien! T'ien!" then
bowed as if in devotion.

The doctor also made the devotional obeisance and said:

"Shang Ti."

The old man shook his head, signifying that he could not understand.
Then he pointed to the man in the golden armor, and said:


"P'an-ku!" repeated the doctor with a look of astonishment on his face,
and made obeisance to the golden one.

That individual, with a look of annoyance, suddenly turned on the old
man and released a volley of monosyllables. The old fellow groveled
before him and shook his head.

Then he of the golden armor made a sign with his hand, whereupon the
disc suddenly became blank.

"Guess the interview is over," said Ted, shutting off the radio. "Now
how can we find out what it was all about?"

"I can explain the last three words," said Dr. Wu. "'T'ien,' is the
oldest word in our language which has the meaning of 'The Heavens' or
'God.' This word was understood. 'Shang Ti,' a later word for 'God' was
unintelligible. The old man pointed to the one who was evidently the
ruler, and said: 'P'an-ku.' According to our traditions, 'P'an-ku was the
first human being, corresponding to the 'Adam' of your Bible."

"From which one might deduce," said Ted, "that the people we have just
interviewed are remotely related to your earliest ancestors."

"So it seems. If you will let me have the phonetic and written records,
and a fast electroplane, I believe that by consulting our ancient writings
I may be able to render a translation in a few days."

"Splendid!" replied Ted. "Both will be ready within an hour."


THREE DAYS later Ted received a radiogram from Peiping, reading as

Honorable Sir: I avail myself of the privilege of submitting below the
result of my poor efforts at deciphering the written characters of the
Moon People. The spoken language was, with the exception of a few
scattered words which cannot be put together to make sense, wholly
unintelligible to me.

Here follows my sorry translation: Why have you destroyed Ur? You, the
people of Du Gong have thrown to us, the Imperial Government of P'an-ku,
mightiest emperor of Ma Gong, the tcha-tsi (meaning unknown to
translator) of war. We are greater and wiser than you, and can crush you
with ease.

You have demonstrated that you are not fit to govern yourselves--that you
are a menace to the people of the great Lord Sun, his eight apostles and
their children. The Imperial Government of P'an-ku will send a viceroy
to rule over you. Submit, and you will live happily, the subjects of
P'an-ku. Resist, and you will be destroyed.

In my humble and unworthy opinion, the word, "tcha-tsi," means either
some instrument of war or perhaps a challenge to war, and has the same
symbolical significance as does the gauntlet in English.


The contents of this message were immediately transmitted to the
President of the United States, and he lost no time in calling a council
of the Associated Governments of the Earth by radiovisiphone. Ted Dustin
was a party to the conference, and assisted in drafting a placatory note
to P'an-ku. The note, which was sent to Dr. Wu for translation into the
Lunite language, was as follows:

To the Imperial Government of P'an-ku: Greeting: The Associated
Governments of the Earth regret the destruction of Ur, and are willing
to do all in their power to make amends.

The destruction was unintentional, as the Associated Governments of the
Earth were unaware that Ma Gong was inhabited.

The Associated Governments of the Earth make full apology for having
wronged the people of Ur, and stand willing to pay a reasonable
indemnity in treasure, food, raw materials, or manufactured products,
but are united in the purpose to resist and retaliate for any attempt at

After the note had been drafted and dispatched it was unanimously
decided at the meeting that Ted was entitled to the million dollar
reward, there being now no longer any doubt that his projectile had
struck the moon. The treasurer of the association was, accordingly,
ordered to pay him that amount.

It was late in the evening when Ted called Roger into his private

"Get that translation from Dr. Wu, yet?" he asked.

"Yes. I had it painted in large white letters on a black placard and
mounted on an easel in front of the big disc."

"Good. We'll go up now. Everything will be ordered off the air in five
minutes, and we'll try to get it through."

They took the elevator to the tower room, where the linguists,
scientists, and representatives of the associated powers were assembled
as before. President Whitmore was not present, however, because of
urgent business in Washington. His place was taken by the Secretary of
State. Dr. Wu, who was also unable to be present, was represented by Dr.
Fang, a Chinese scholar of almost equal repute.

At ten o'clock, the zero hour, Ted promptly pressed the button and began
manipulating the dials.

This time he was instantly rewarded by the appearance of the dazzlingly
beautiful girl who had faded from his vision on the occasion of his last
attempt at communication. She was attended by two armed guards as
before, and in addition by a bent, graybearded man who wore a richly
embroidered robe of dark blue, and sandals.

Both glanced at the writing on the placard which Ted held up. Eagerly
watching their faces, he saw that they registered amazement and horror.
Wondering what there could be about this pacific message to cause such a
reaction, he called Dr. Fang and asked him to write the query: "What is

The doctor, a thin, rat-faced Manchu, came forward, but said he did not
know the symbols for the words.

The girl, meanwhile, had a scroll and writing brush brought forward by a
female attendant. The latter held the scroll aloft so its surface was
fully visible, and the girl began rapidly writing two sets of characters
thereon. One set was similar to those which had been used in the
previous communication. The other was totally unlike it and bore no
resemblance to any known earthly characters. Her purpose, however, was
quite evident. The two sets of characters were written in alternating
perpendicular line side by side, in order that the former language might
be used as a key to the latter.

Quick to grasp her idea, Ted called for the photo-record of the message
from the Imperial Government of P'an-ku. Beside it, he wrote the English
translation, using Roman capital letters for the sake of simplicity.
Then beside the placarded note to the Government of P'an-ku, he wrote
the original of that note, also in Roman capitals. In addition, he
pointed out and distinctly pronounced the English words, one by one.

The girl nodded, smiled, and pointed questioningly at him.

"Ted Dustin," he said.

She pointed to herself and said:

"Maza an Ma Gong."

He repeated the name after her, and pointed to the scroll she had
written. She was pronouncing and pointing out each word when she was
suddenly crowded out as before by the appearance of P'an-ku and his

The rotund and imperious P'an-ku read the message on the placard, then
turned to the old man who stood beside him and smiled. Ted thought there
was a trace of a sneer in his smile. He ordered the old fellow to write
his reply, then turned and stalked majestically out of the range of
vision. The old man held his message aloft for a few moments as if fully
aware that it was being recorded. Then he let his arm fall to his side,
and the disc became blank.

After supplying Dr. Fang with a set of photo-records of the messages,
and dispatching another to Dr. Wu, Ted and Roger went to the private
office of the former for a conference.

"It seems to me," said Ted, after he had his briar going, "that there's
something putrid in Denmark. Did you notice the expression of horror on
the faces of the girl and the graybearded man when they read our

"Queer, wasn't it?" replied Roger. "Must have been something in that
message that was quite a shock to them. Wonder what it could have been."

"That's precisely what I've been wondering--and it has led to a rather
unpleasant thought. I wouldn't mention it to anyone in the world but
you--not at present, anyhow but it looks to me as if Dr. Wu may have
double crossed us."


"By writing a message of his own in the place of the one we asked him to
translate for us."

"But what message of his own could he possibly have written?"

"That," said Ted, "is what I propose to try to find out just as soon as
I possibly can. Just before we came up here I sent Bevans to Peiping in
the 800. He has orders to bring Professor Ederson back with him. We can
bank on the professor to shoot square, and it's quite possible that he
can check up on Wu's message. At any rate, he's probably the best versed
white man in the world on the ancient writings of China and Tibet. Has
made a life-time study of them, I'm told."

"What about the learned Manchu, Dr. Fang?"

"I think he was bluffing. If there's mischief afoot, you can safely bet
he's in on it, and knows how to play his part. He's not so ignorant as
he pretends to be. Did you notice the expression on the face of the man
in the golden armor? He smiled when he read our message, but the smile
was half a sneer."

"It was a mean smile, all right," agreed Roger. "More like the snarl of
an animal than the smile of a human being."

"I'd rather have a person frown at me than smile that way," said Ted.

Shortly after midnight a radiogram from Professor Fowler of the Yerkes
Observatory arrived. He stated that he had seen five flashes on the
moon, coming from the region of the lunar crater, Stadius.

In the wee, small hours of the morning, Chicago was shaken by a terrific


IT was after five o'clock when all the reports were in. Five
projectiles, larger than the former, and each destructive over a
fifty-mile radius, had struck the earth. The one which had so shaken Chicago
had struck at Rochelle, Illinois, completely destroying that city and
spreading death and destruction up to the very suburbs of Chicago on one
side and across the Mississippi into Iowa on the other.

The second projectile had demolished Cincinnati, Covington and
surrounding cities and hamlets with terrific loss of life. The third had
struck squarely in the center of Birmingham, England, destroying,
killing and maiming as far as Stafford, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Worcester
and Rugby. The fourth, alighting in the harbor of Tunis, had sunk and
destroyed shipping, and created a tidal wave which had drowned many
people on shore. The fifth had laid waste to Quito, Ecuador and the
surrounding territory.

At five thirty, a report from Peiping stated that Khobr and nearby towns
had been destroyed or suffered terrific casualties from a sixth

Leaving Roger in charge, Ted promptly took a super-electroplane to
Washington. While he was closeted that morning in conference with the
President, fifty aerial fleets of army engineers left the Capital,
flying in various directions, but with their destinations kept secret.

During the day, representatives of various nations were called into the
conference. Each representative, as he left the President's office, was
seen to speed away in a fast electroplane. Not one representative of a
Mongoloid Asiatic nation was asked into conference.

After a busy day, Ted rushed back to his office where he found Roger up
to his eyebrows in work, endeavoring to placate his wife for his
tardiness to dinner, over his wrist radiophone.

"Listen, Leah," he was saying. "I simply can't get away now. I'm trying
to manage things alone, you know, and hello! Ted's here now. Be home,
toot sweet, honey. Bye bye."

"You married men--" began Ted.

"Have got it all over you single ones in many ways," interrupted Roger.
"Get things going in Washington?"

"Pretty well. I've organized our defense force, and have warned every
nation that we have reason to believe is friendly. Before the moon gets
into favorable firing position again we'll have enough powerful magnetic
poles set up to take care of the United States, and if the other
countries keep on their toes they'll be ready, too."

"How do you know the poles will work?"

"Fragments of the lunar projectiles show that they contain large
quantities of steel. We've divided the country into fifty zones, in each
of which a powerful electro-magnet will be erected. Having erected these
in the least populated districts of each zone, and warned the
inhabitants to leave the danger area, our sole remaining problem is to
make them powerful enough to attract the projectiles, which we can
easily do with the resources at our command. Our power plants will be
far enough from the magnetic poles to keep them from injury, and as soon
as one pole is destroyed another can be quickly erected."

"You sure have some head on you, Ted. What about the Mongoloid Asiatics?
Find out anything?"

"Nothing definite. For the present we're sitting tight and saying
nothing. Professor Ederson will, no doubt, be able to check up on them.
If they haven't double crossed us there will still be plenty of time to
explain my plan of defense to them."

Professor Ederson did not arrive until late the following afternoon.
Roger met him on the roof, and immediately escorted him to Ted's private
office. He was a little, wizened man, with a grizzled Van Dyke, a thin,
aquiline nose, and huge, thick-lensed glasses which gave him an owl-like

"I've been studying the translation of Dr. Wu while Bevans, your
admirable pilot, conducted me here," said the professor when greetings
were over. "It seems to me to be quite accurate."

"What about the message he wrote for me?" asked Ted.

"I cannot, for the life of me, understand why you sent so belligerent a
message," replied the professor.

"Belligerent? What do you mean?"

Ted quickly produced an English copy of the message which he has asked
Dr. Wu to translate into the Lunite language for him.

"Why," said the professor, scanning it in surprise, "this is nothing
like the message I have translated."

"Let me have your translation," requested Ted.

The professor produced a sheaf of papers from his inside coat pocket,
selected one, and handed it to Ted.

The latter read it aloud:

To the Imperial Government of P'an-ku: Greeting:

The Associated Governments of the Earth have found cause for much mirth
in the note of the Imperial Government of P'an-ku.

It is the intention of the Associated Governments of the Earth to
quickly and completely destroy Ma Gong (The Moon) if its inhabitants
refuse to submit to the viceroys which the Associated Governments of the
Earth are preparing to send to rule over them.

The Imperial Government of P'an-ku has complained of the destruction of
Ur. This is only a minute sample of the destruction which will be
wrought on Ma Gong if there are any further acts of hostility on the
part of the Imperial Government of P'an-ku.

"Whew!" exclaimed Roger. "No wonder the girl and the old man looked

"And it's no wonder the imperious and belligerent P'an-ku sneered," said
Ted. "Looks as if we're in for it, sure enough, now."

"What about having Professor Ederson fix up a new note, right away,
explaining everything and trying to patch things up?" asked Roger.

"We'll try it," replied Ted, "but I can't bring myself to feel very
sanguine as to the result."

"Before we draft the note," said the professor, "there are two things I
should like to bring to your attention. First, a gigantic radio station
has been set up in Peiping. Second, despite the fact that China reported
the destruction of Khobr and nearby towns, I flew over Khobr and
vicinity and could see no sign that there had been a disturbance there
of any kind."

"Professor Fowler only saw five flashes, all of which were accounted
for," said Ted. "The destruction of Khobr would have meant a sixth
projectile, which left the moon without a telltale flash. As always, two
and two continue to make four. There can only be one reason why Dr. Wu
miswrote our pacific message--only one reason why the government of China
lied about Khobr."

"And the reason?" asked the professor.

"A secret alliance projected--perhaps even perfected by now--between the
Chinese royalists and the Imperial Government of P'an-ku."

"Precisely my theory," said Professor Ederson. "The Chinese and racially
allied peoples revere their ancestors to the point of actual worship.
Small wonder, then, if they should have reverence for the living
representative of their supposed first earthly ancestor, P'an-ku, and
cast their lot with him and his people. Why man, the thing was

"And terrible to contemplate," said Ted, dejectedly. "A united world
could have fought off a dozen moons, but a divided world will have a
slim chance. And the whole damnable affair is my fault."

"Millions of sparks fall harmlessly, but here and there one starts a
huge conflagration," said the professor. "No earthly being could have
foreseen the far-reaching effect of your apparently harmless spark, and
you certainly are not morally responsible."

"I hold myself so," said Ted, "and it would be a small thing to me,
could I but forfeit my own life to end the conflict. I have a plan, but
I may not speak of it yet."

"I hope you are not contemplating any foolhardy personal risks," said
the professor. "The world needs you more than any other living man, at
present. We have thousands of scientists, but only one Ted Dustin."

"Who has proven himself the greatest calamity yet born to the earth,"
replied Ted. "But let's prepare that message."

A half hour elapsed before a message, satisfactory to all, had been
drafted for the Imperial Government of P'an-ku. It took the professor an
hour more to put it in the language of the Lunites. Then the air was
cleared, and the three men went aloft to the gigantic radio tower.

While the professor held the message on a placard, Ted worked at the
dials and Roger managed the recorder.

Their first efforts were rewarded by the faint sound of a woman's voice
and a dim vision of the beautiful girl seen on two previous occasions.
Almost as soon as it began to appear, the image was blotted from the
disc, and from then on until early morning, when the three tired men
relinquished their unsuccessful attempt, they were rewarded only by
blackness and a faint rumbling sound which greatly resembled distant

"Looks as if P'an-ku had severed diplomatic relations," said Roger,
rising from his seat at the recorder and stretching his cramped limbs.

"I'm afraid you are right," replied the professor, leaning his placard
against a chair.

"We'll try again, and keep on trying," said Ted. "The Lunites should be
amenable to reason if we can get the message through."

Try they did, the following night, and each night thereafter for nearly
two weeks. The results were only darkness, and the distant thunderous
rumbling. Even the image of the girl had failed to appear for so much as
a fraction of a second.

When the efforts of the last night had proved unavailing, Ted threw off
the switch and rose with a look of grim determination.

"We must face the facts," he said. "War is inevitable unless P'an-ku can
be reached and influenced by a specific message. It will take two more
weeks at the very least, to complete our large interplanetary vehicle.
By that time the war will undoubtedly be in full progress."

"What do you propose to do about it?" asked the professor.

"I will take the message in person," replied Ted.

"How?" chorused his two surprised companions in unison.

"Come with me and I'll show you, but you must preserve absolute


TED LED Roger and the professor through a side door, and out onto the
roof, which was illuminated by the silvery glory of the moon. A watchman
challenged them, then saluted respectfully as he recognized his

As they passed the hangars of Ted's fleet of electroplanes, more
watchmen challenged and saluted.

Beyond this, they came to a square shed of steel, the heavy metal door
of which Ted unlocked with a key taken from his pocket. As his two
companions entered he closed the door after them, then pressed a light

"Here is my secret," he said. "Isn't she a little beauty?"

"I'll say she is!" exclaimed Roger, looking admiringly at a craft of
silver gray metal about sixteen feet in length, gracefully shaped, and
decked over like an Esquimauan kayak, but with a centrally located
turret which projected above and below the hull. This turret was of
glass braced with the same silver-gray metal which formed the hull, and
within it could be seen a bewildering array of buttons and levers which
fronted a revolving upholstered seat. Projecting from the upper half of
the turret, pointing fore, aft, and to each side, were four tubes, each
of which ended in a glass lens. The lower turret was similarly equipped.
The hull itself was provided with four searchlights, set to sweep in all

Ted opened a heavily-gasketed door in the side of the upper turret, and

"Look her over if you want to, while I put on my driving suit."

"You've been keeping something from me, Ted," said Roger reproachfully
while he and the professor admired the snug interior of the craft.

The young inventor laughed, as he opened a drawer and produced
there--from a costume and helmet greatly resembling those worn by deep
sea divers.

"Wanted to surprise you," he said, stepping into the one-piece suit and
screwing down the clamps which closed the front. "Besides, you had too
much on your mind as it was."

"But what is the purpose of the thing?" asked the professor, still
peering into the interior. "You don't mean to tell me this craft will
fly without planes, rudder or propeller."

"I think so," replied Ted, "although if it does, this will be its maiden

"But how?" persisted the professor.

"Atomotor," said Ted, shortly, attaching his helmet to an affair which
slightly resembled a knapsack. "It will fly in the same manner as my
projectile flew to the moon, but more slowly, because I don't dare give
it the terrific start imparted to my projectile."

"Hardly," smiled Roger. "It would be burned to a cinder. How far are you
going tonight?"

"Don't know exactly;" replied Ted, "but if luck is with me I hope to
land on the moon before the middle of this week."

"What!" gasped Roger. "You expect to go to the moon alone and unarmed?"

"Alone," grinned Ted, "but not unarmed." He had donned the helmet and
opened a glass slide in front for conversational purposes. After
adjusting the straps of the thing which resembled a knapsack, he took a
belt from the drawer and buckled it about his waist. Attached to the
belt were two holsters from which pistol-like handles projected.

"Do you expect to defend yourself against super-intelligences as seem to
exist on the moon, with a couple of pistols?" asked the professor.

"Hardly," replied Ted. "The things you think are pistols are not pistols
at all, but pistol degravitors. They operate on the same principle as
the eight degravitors on my craft, but on a smaller scale."

"You mean those eight tubes sticking out of the turret?" asked Roger.

"Exactly," replied Ted.

"What deadly substance do they shoot?"

"They don't shoot," Ted answered with a smile. "They radiate--and when
their rays strike matter it disintegrates."

"But how--"

"I can only take a minute to explain, as time is pressing," replied Ted,
"but I'll give you a demonstration very shortly. All matter is composed
of atoms which are, in turn, composed of protons and electrons, always
in motion, the latter whirling around the former as the planets whirl
around the sun. The force, therefore, which holds them in their orbits
is analogous to the force of gravity, hence I have applied the word
until a better one can be found. When I press the firing button of the
degravitor, it immediately releases two sets of invisible rays, cathode
and anode, both of which when properly pointed, strike the same object
at the same time, but at slightly different angles. The positively
charged protons are instantly torn from their atoms by the cathode rays,
while the negatively charged electrons are taken up by the anode rays.
As the two types of rays diverge, they are torn apart, and the matter
which they form immediately disintegrates and disappears."

"Remarkable!" exclaimed the professor.

"Good head!" said Roger. "But how on earth did you manage to make all
these things without my knowing it?"

"Easily," replied Ted. "I had the parts made separately in the shop and
assembled them here, myself. The hull is supposed to be the fuselage of
a new type of electroplane, to which the wings have not yet been
attached. The atomotor is assumed to be a model. I fitted it into the
hull, myself. As for the degravitors, I had the parts made, assembled
them, and fitted the larger ones into the turret, working nights in this

"I might add that I have put through an order for ten thousand of the
small and a hundred thousand of the large degravitors. Directions for
assembling and firing them are in the safe, and you, Roger, will see to
it that our soldiers and combat planes are equipped with them as soon as

"But enough of explanations. I must go. If I do not return, you, Roger,
will know where to find all of my plans, including those for the
degravitors. Use them, and arrange for the defense as best you can,
without me."

He entered the turret and switched on a tiny, inner light.

"I have your valuable translations, professor," said Ted, "and hope that
I may be able to use them to advantage. Goodbye."

"Goodbye, and good luck," echoed both men as he closed the front of his
helmet and slammed and fastened the door of the turret.

They watched him as he slowly elevated the upper forward degravitor.
When he pressed the button no visible rays shot forth, but in the metal
roof toward which it was aimed there suddenly appeared a clean cut hole
which was rapidly widened by circumscribing it with the degravitor rays.
The metal did not glow as if burned away, but simply disappeared with a
quick, scintillating flash wherever the rays touched it.

When the hole had been enlarged sufficiently, Ted waved a last adieu.
Then his craft rose gracefully, hung for a moment at a point about a
thousand feet above the roof, and disappeared with a burst of terrific
speed, traveling in a direction which might be reckoned about 80 degrees
to the east of the moon in the plane of the ecliptic.


A WEEK ELAPSED, after the departure of the young inventor, with no word
from Ted. During this time, Roger, busy with the duties of the chief
executive, ate and slept in the office of his employer.

Professor Ederson had meanwhile tried nightly to get into communication
with the Lunites, but without success.

It was on this, the seventh night, that a terrific storm struck Chicago.
Unable to sleep because of the howling wind and terrific peals of
thunder, Roger switched on the lights and was about to step to the
window when his name was called from the disc of the radiovisiphone.

"Mr. Sanders."

He hurried to the instrument and saw the face of the night operator.


"The President of the United States is calling Mr. Dustin. What shall I

"Mr. Dustin is not in," said Roger, who had shared the secret of his
employer's absence only with Professor Ederson. "Let me talk to him."

In an instant the face of President Whitmore appeared on the disc. To
his intense surprise, Roger noticed that he wore a fur cap and a great
fur coat with the collar turned up. That he was in an intensely cold
place was indicated by the visibility of his breath as he spoke and

"Where is Mr. Dustin?" were his first words on seeing Roger instead of
the man he had called.

"He is not here," replied Roger. "As his assistant, can I be of service
to you?"

"You have not answered my question," persisted the President. "Where is
Mr. Dustin?"

"I--I promised not to tell," answered Roger. "He left here a week ago in
the interests of our country and our allies."

The President frowned.

"You forget, Mr. Sanders," he said, "that this is a war emergency, that
the country is on a military basis, and that I am Mr. Dustin's superior
officer as well as yours. I demand to know where he is."

Roger was nonplussed. He had told everyone that Ted had gone away on
business for the country, leaving them to assume what they pleased in
the matter. People had, of course, assumed that he had gone to some
other city, and would be back shortly. But the President was within his
rights in demanding to know where he was. Ted, himself, would not have
had the right to refuse this demand.

"He left for the moon a week ago," said Roger, "and I have heard nothing
from him since."


The President appeared dumfounded.

"How did he go? Who went with him?"

"He went alone in a small interplanetary vehicle of his own invention,
knowing that the war would be in full swing before his larger vehicle
could be completed."

"Well I'll be damned!" exploded the President. "This is a pretty how
d'ye do. Gone just when we need him most."

"I'm sorry," answered Roger, "but he hoped to be able to stop the war by
this trip. If there's anything I can do--"

"Maybe there is," said the President, with forced calmness. "Perhaps you
can explain some things that I had hoped he could explain. For instance,
what is the cause of this intensely cold weather in the middle of the
summer, and why does the moonlight appear green?"

"We can't see the moon from here," replied Roger, "and it's not cold.
There is a terrific storm raging, plenty of lightning rain and wind, but
no cold."

"A devastating cold wave has spread over this part of the country,
affecting Washington and Baltimore, and extending as far south as
Richmond," said the President. "The Potomac is frozen solid, and
although we have our heating plants going to the utmost capacity, it is
impossible to keep warm. Thousands of people, caught unexpectedly, have
perished from the intense cold. My thermometer here in the White House
registers 10 degrees above zero. Outside, I am told the thermometers have
dropped under 60 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit."

"And you say the moon looks green?"

"As green as grass. The country is bathed in a weird, green light at
this moment."

"Must be some connection," mused Roger, "I mean between the green light
and the intense cold localized around Washington. Wish Mr. Dustin were

"But he isn't," snapped the President, "so see what you can find out,
and report back, either by radiovisiphone or in person at your earliest
convenience. Off!"

As the face of the President disappeared from the disc, Roger slumped
down in his chair and lighted a cigarette. What should he do? What could
he do?

There was a tap at the door.

"Come in," he said, listlessly.

Professor Ederson entered.

"No use to try to use the radio tonight," he said. "With the unknown
interference we have been getting lately and this storm, it would be
useless to try to communicate with the moon. I had our operator notify
all stations that we wouldn't attempt it tonight."

"Hear about the cold snap in the east?" asked Roger.

"Yes. Got it on the small set just before I came down. Terrible thing,
isn't it?"

"And about the green moonlight?"

"Yes. Some new wrinkle of the Lunites, I fancy. They are clever and
resourceful and, for all we know, a thousand years ahead of us in
scientific knowledge."

"What do you suppose it is?"

"I don't know. An observation might be made from here, seeing that this
part of the country is unaffected, if it were not for the raging storm.
But it would be suicidal to go up in an electroplane just now."

"If I thought there were anything to be learned, I'd go up," said Roger,
"danger or no danger."

"I mentioned it only as a possibility," replied the professor. "The
probability is, that if you did learn anything, it would be of no
material value, even if you were to be so extremely fortunate as to get
back alive with it"

"Nevertheless," replied Roger, "I'm going up, just on the strength of
that possibility."

"Don't be an utter fool," warned the professor, but Roger was already
calling Bevans.

"Have the Blettendorf 800 ready in five minutes," he said. "I'll be up
in a jiffy."

He dressed rapidly while the professor remonstrated with him.

"No use," said Roger, "I'm going."

"Very well," replied the professor. "If you must go I'll go with you.
Perhaps the two of us can bring back some information of value--if we
get back."

They took the elevator to the top, stepped out on the roof, and battled
their way through the driving rain, in which there was beginning to be a
hint of sleet, to the electroplane. Eight men held it, just outside the
hangar, while Bevans, in the pilot's seat, tested the motor.

The two men entered and took their seats. Then Roger gave the order to
ascend. Came a roar from the helicopter blades, and they were off.

As they rose above the skyscrapers of Chicago, their craft tossing and
careening like a leaf in a gale, Roger took two parcels from beneath the
seat, one of which he handed to the professor.

"Folding parachutes," he said. "Bevans is wearing one. Watch how I strap
mine on, and do likewise. We may need them."

The wind swept them out over Lake Michigan--then they plunged into a
swirling, blinding snowstorm, and everything below, even the powerful
guide-lights of Chicago's great landing fields, vanished.

With propeller and helicopter blades roaring, Bevans drove the plane
higher and higher, until they at length emerged above the seething,
moon-silvered clouds.

"No green moonlight here," said the professor.

"But look--look to the southeast!" exclaimed Roger.

The professor looked, and saw a green band of light, wide at the bottom,
but narrowing as it extended upward straight toward the gibbous moon.

"The moon looks green from Washington," said the professor, "because the
inhabitants had to look through the green lights to see it."

Roger shouted an order through the speaking tube.


As the big plane, now riding in comparatively calm air, hung smoothly
suspended by its helicopter blades, he turned a pair of powerful
binoculars on the moon. He focused them, looked for a moment longer,
then handed them to the professor.

"It's coming from the ring-mountain, Copernicus," he said. "Looks as if
a beam from an enormous green searchlight were coming directly from the
center of the crater."

"So it is," said the professor, after a careful scrutiny. "From the very
center of the crater."

Then, before he had lowered the glasses, the green light winked out. So
sudden was the transformation, and so calm and natural did the moon
appear, that it seemed to both observers that the thing had not really
been--that it was a figment of their imaginations.

Came a call from Bevans:

"Three strange craft on the starboard quarter, sir. They seem to be
coming this way."

The professor trained the binoculars in the direction indicated.

"My word, what odd-looking craft," he exclaimed. "They are globular in
form--globes, to each of which two whirling discs are attached."

"An International Patrol Plane is coming from the port quarter," called
Bevans. "It's signaling the three strange craft, but they do not
respond. They are running without lights."

"Ascend," called Roger, "and turn off all lights."

There was an answering roar as the Blettendorf shot upward.

"Too late for that," said the professor. "We must have been seen."

As the two men watched the one-sided aerial parley below, they saw two
more Patrol Planes emerge from the upper cloud stratum and take places
behind the first.

"That makes the numbers even, at least," said Roger.

The two squadrons drew together without sign or signal from the strange
craft, until the two leaders were within two thousand feet of each
other. Then a narrow green ray suddenly shot out from the foremost
globe, striking the first patrol plane. For a moment the plane seemed to
shrink--to draw together as if crushed in from all sides. Then it
crumbled asunder, and the pieces fell into the swirling clouds beneath.

The forward turret guns of the two remaining planes immediately went
into action, concentrating their fire on the foremost globe, but with no
apparent effect. Green rays shot out from the two other globes
simultaneously, and the planes shared the fate of their leader.

Then a green ray from the first globe sailed upward.

"Jump!" shouted Roger. "It's our only chance. They'll find us in a

The professor tore the door open and jumped first. His parachute opened
just as Roger leaped after him followed by Bevans.

Roger could not see upward because of the parachute spread above him,
but fragments of the shattered Blettendorf began falling around him
before he had dropped far, and he was thankful that they had leaped in

Looking downward to see how it fared with the professor, he saw to his
horror that the linguist was falling directly onto one of the globes.

Then he shot past the same globe himself, heard the hum of its rapidly
whirling discs, and dropped into the enveloping grayness of the raging
storm clouds beneath.


ON LEAVING the metal shed which had housed his one-man vehicle, Ted
Dustin hovered for a moment to get his bearings--then shot away from the
earth at such speed that his exterior thermometer registered a terrific
heat from the shell of his craft before five seconds had elapsed. Forced
to slacken his speed because of the danger of crippling his machine, he
proceeded at a more leisurely pace until his instruments told him he was
entirely out of the earth's atmosphere.

Once assured of this, he set his meteoroid detector--an extremely
sensitive magnetic instrument which registered the approach of all
meteoric masses, automatically repelling the smaller ones by blasts from
the exhaust of the atomotor, and driving the craft away from those of
greater mass. He next set his automatic course corrector, which was
designed to throw the machine back on its course after each forced
deviation. Then he set the motor for full speed ahead.

To his surprise and satisfaction he found, on glancing at the magnetic
speedometer, that the little untested motor was driving the craft almost
twice as fast as he had anticipated. He would thus, barring accidents,
be able to reach the moon in a day and a half instead of the three days
he had previously allowed himself for the undertaking. This necessitated
the setting of a new course, as he would otherwise have arrived at the
moon's path just a day and a half ahead of that satellite.

Having made his calculations and adjusted his instruments accordingly,
he opened his visor, swallowed a concentrated food pellet, drank a cup
of hot coffee from the thermos tank, and lighted his black briar.
Finding the cabin uncomfortably cold with his visor open, he drew up an
extra set of glass panels all around and turned on his atomic heater.
Then he studied the translations of the professor, hoping that he might
thus learn enough of the Lunite writing to form a basis for intelligent

When the first hour had elapsed he looked back at the earth, which
appeared as an enormous, semi-luminous globe set in a black sky, its
seas and continents faintly defined by the light of the full moon. The
disc of the sun remained hidden behind the earth, but other heavenly
bodies were far brighter in appearance, shining from this black sky,
than he had ever seen them appear from on earth.

As the hours passed and the apparent size of the earth grew less while
that of the moon grew correspondingly greater, he was surprised at not
having encountered a single meteor. Presently, after about twelve hours
of travel, one caused the craft to swerve, and he noticed with
satisfaction that the automatic course corrector functioned perfectly.

He swallowed another food pellet, sipped his coffee, and tried to sleep,
but despite the fact that he had trained himself to take rest or go
without it as the occasion required, he found sleep out of the question.
The excitement of his thrilling race with the earth's satellite was too
much for that. He could scarcely bear to close his eyes for a moment,
for looking and wondering.

Before he realized it, twenty-four hours had slipped by. The shrinking
shape of the earth was now on his left--the silver disc of the moon,
with craters, hills and valleys, was now plainly visible to the naked
eye, on his right. He was traveling with his keel in the plane of the
ecliptic. As he progressed, the prow leaned more and more toward the
moon's north pole.

The last twelve hours were packed with wonders, thrills, and dangers.
Previously he had encountered only a relatively few meteoroids. Now, he
found they traveled in swarms in and near the neutral gravity point
between moon and earth. His craft swerved this way and that--dropped--or
shot suddenly upward, as huge masses of meteoric matter hurtled
dangerously near it. He caught fleeting glimpses of these desultory
travelers, some of them almost perfectly spherical, others jagged lumps
of rock and metal--grim remnants of some planetary or planetoidal
tragedy of the past.

With the neutral gravity point well past and the moon directly beneath
his keel, the danger from meteoroids was considerably lessened. The
delays were more than compensated for by the increasing pull of the moon

His goal almost realized, Ted's next problem was to decide where to
land. Copernicus, plainly visible to the north-east with its brilliant
yellow ray system, and Tycho, to the south, with its still more dazzling
white rays branching out in all directions, were the two most
conspicuous objects on the lunar landscape.

Although his purpose was to find the belligerent ruler, P'an-ku, his
only hint as to his whereabouts was the probability that the crater,
Hipparchus, was somewhere within the limits of that worthy's empire,
which might be as extensive as the moon itself, or confined to a
relatively small area. The thing to do, he decided, was to land at
Hipparchus and investigate.

As he approached the great ring-mountain, Ted saw no signs of life. The
damage wrought by his projectile, however, was evident--for in the
center of the huge, enclosed plain, gaped a jagged black hole fully five
miles in diameter, while the interior of the crater was strewn with
jagged rock debris, some of the larger fragments the size of a
terrestrial city block. Of the city of Ur, mentioned in the radio
message, he saw no sign whatever. Greatly puzzled, he slowly circled the
crater, then crossed the rim and set out in a widening spiral, flying
only a few thousand feet above the ground, looking for some sign of a
human being or habitation.

Although there had been no sign of vegetation in the enormous crater
which had been laid waste by his projectile, Ted now began to notice
signs of lunar forests and meadows. Flying slowly at an altitude of two
hundred feet, he passed over level areas covered with velvety stretches
of gray vegetation that resembled mosses and lichens, and over hills and
valleys clothed with forests of weird, grotesque growths.

There were fungi shaped like saucers, umbrellas, cones, spearheads, and
even upraised hands, all rusty black in color. There were black stalks,
fully fifty feet in height, topped by five-pointed purple stars, huge
gray pear-shaped growths from which there curled sinuous branches that
resembled the tentacles of cuttle fish, and black trees, some of which
were a hundred feet in height, with branches that unrolled like the
leaves of sword-ferns.

Disposed to view some of these wonders at closer range, Ted lowered his
craft to the ground. A glance at his exterior thermometer showed the
outside temperature to be 210 degrees above zero, Fahrenheit, almost the
boiling point of water at sea level on earth! He accordingly closed his
visor and turned on the valve of his insulated compressed air tank
before opening the door of his turret. Slamming this quickly behind him,
he stepped down from his craft, sinking ankle deep in the soft, gray
moss that coated the forest floor.

As the suit he wore protected him from either extreme heat or cold he
was able to maintain a normal body temperature, but the comparatively
slight gravitational pull of the earth's satellite gave him an uncanny
freedom of motion. His first incautious step shot him ten feet in the
air and landed him, with startling suddenness, face downward in a tangle
of black creepers fully twenty feet from where he had started.
Instinctively he scrambled erect and was as suddenly precipitated on his
back at a distance of fifteen feet in the opposite direction. This time
he arose slowly, stepped forward with great care, and found himself able
to progress after a somewhat jerky fashion.

Having thus, to a degree, mastered the art of walking on the moon, he
took the opportunity to observe the queer vegetation around him. To his
intense surprise, he saw that it was growing visibly! Although the rates
of growth varied in different plants, he could see that all were
swelling and elongating with amazing rapidity. Watching an umbrella-shaped
fungus which was on a level with his eyes, he calculated that it
was growing taller at the rate of a foot an hour! The black, fern-like
branches of a great tree unrolled and enlarged before his eyes. Spore-pods
beneath the leaves, swelled and burst, scattering tiny dust-like
particles which floated about, or settled on the surrounding vegetation,
rocks and soil. A tall, black and gray fungus opened its gills,
releasing a cloud of silver spores that glittered in the sunlight like
mica dust.

Ted was attracted by the movements of the tentacles of an octopus-like
plant a short distance ahead of him, and walked toward it. They writhed
and twisted like the snakey locks of a Medusa, yet the roots which held
the pear-shaped trunk showed the vegetable nature of the monstrosity.
Prompted by a rash curiosity, he had no sooner arrived beside the
grotesque anomaly than he grasped one of the slithering branches,
expecting, from its slimy appearance, to find it soft and yielding. To
his surprise and dismay it suddenly coiled around his forearm with a
grip as firm and unyielding as the loops of a steel cable. He was jerked
off his feet, straight toward a black, horny-lipped opening of
triangular shape, which yawned at the top of the pear-shaped body.

Instinctively, he reached with his free hand for his pistol degravitor,
but too late. A score or more of tough, unyielding tentacles bound his
arms to his sides and circled his body with such force that his bones
would have been instantly crushed and his flesh reduced to pulp had it
not been for the metal plates of his protective armor. Even these
creaked, and seemed about to give way, as he was drawn, head downward,
into the yawning, spike-toothed opening.


AS HE plunged into the awful death trap, Ted noticed that, for a moment,
the sun was darkened above him and there was a sound which resembled the
whistling of giant pinions. Then came the click of enormous teeth
against the armor which covered his thighs, and blackness.

The powerful tentacles had released their hold on his arms and the upper
part of his body, but their place was instantly supplanted by the walls
of the huge, vegetable craw which exerted even greater pressure. He
wondered if the digestive juices of the plant would be corrosive enough
to quickly penetrate his protective suit, or if a long, lingering death
awaited him--a death which, even though the suit held, was bound to come
as soon as his supply of air gave out.

Hanging there in stygian solitude, unable to move a finger, Ted was
suddenly startled at sight of a brilliant ray of red light which cut the
darkness near his face. It blinded him temporarily, but when he could
use his eyes once more he was astonished to see that the lower wall of
his vegetable tomb had practically disappeared, while the bright, red
ray, flashing intermittently, consumed the blackened edges still further
with puffs of smoke and flame.

Here, he judged, was some human agency. Here was hope of rescue, for the
red ray, thus far, had not touched him. He could now move his head and
shoulders, but dared not do so for fear of intercepting the red ray with
disastrous results. The ray ate its way slowly upward beside one of his
arms. It was free. A moment, and the other was loosed. Then the jaws
relaxed their hold on his thighs and he slid down into the charred,
jelly-like remains of the oval body, of which now only half the wall was
standing. Two arms were slipped beneath his own, helping him to rise.
Then he turned and faced his rescuer.

Prepared as he was for almost any sight, Ted gasped in amazement when he
beheld the person who had saved his life, for standing before him in a
suit of soft, clinging white fur resembling astrachan, her head encased
in a helmet of bell-shaped glass, was the gloriously beautiful girl he
had seen in the disc of the radiovisiphone--the girl who had called
herself "Maza an Ma Gong." In her right hand was a short, tubular
instrument which greatly resembled a flashlight, and which he judged was
the weapon that had compassed his freedom.

As he could not speak to her he was trying to think of a way to express
his gratitude for his unexpected rescue while she smiled encouragingly,
when he suddenly noticed a most fearful creature behind her. It
resembled nothing living that he had ever seen or heard of, but was
strikingly like pictures he had seen of winged dragons--pictures he had
always previously imagined were due solely to the imagination of
medieval artists.

Believing the girl in dire peril, he whipped out both pistol degravitors
and was about to destroy the beast when she struck down his weapons with
a look of alarm. Then, beckoning the thing with her hand she stood,
unafraid, while the hideous creature stretched forth its scrawny, scaly
neck and laid its ugly, armor-plated muzzle on her shoulder. She fondled
it for a moment, scratching its horny nose while it closed its eyes and
laid back its short ears as if greatly pleased by these attentions. Then
she pushed the head away and turned once more to the amazed young

As she stood there beside him he noticed for the first time that what he
had taken for a plume, resembling an aigrette and protruding through the
top of her glass helmet was, in reality, a group of fine, metallic radio
antennae. The small set which they operated was evidently attached just
beneath them--shaped like and no larger than his own wrist radiophone.

He wished that he had had the foresight to attach a similar contrivance
to his own outfit, but since he had not, he found it necessary to resort
to more primitive means for making himself heard.

Taking the girl lightly by the shoulders, and thereby eliciting a look
of startled surprise from her, he bent over and placed the glass of his
helmet against hers, an expedient which had been much in use among deep
sea divers for making themselves intelligible to each other before the
advent of under water radio sets.

"Thank you, Maza an Ma Gong, for saving my life," he said.

She smiled and replied:

"Di tcha-tsi, Ted Dustin."

Recalling that "tcha-tsi" had something to do with a challenge to war,
he was somewhat puzzled, yet her attitude was quite peaceful. She
continued to smile, and pointed toward the great hulking beast behind

"Nak-kar," she said, then pointed to herself and continued: "Uma

The beast, at this moment, lowered its head to crop some moss, and let
its wings, which had been folded across its back, droop slightly,
displaying a most comfortable-looking, high-backed seat strapped to its
back. He judged, therefore, that the lady was telling him this was her
palfrey-truly a most hideous one.

He led her to the spot where he had cached his interplanetary vehicle,
while the great beast lumbered meekly after her, pointed to the craft
and, with his helmet against hers, said:

"Ship." Then, pointing to himself: "My ship."

When she seemed not to understand, he said: "Uma nak-kar."

She nodded understandingly, and both laughed.

He opened the door and helped her into the small cab. Then stepping in
himself and sharing the revolving seat with her, he closed it and took
her for a short ride above the trees--or the growths which answered for
trees on that weird landscape. She was as excited as a child, and
clapped her hands with glee as they soared, and did several stunts,
finally landing as lightly as a feather.

As he helped her from the cab she stood on tiptoes so her helmet touched
his, and said: "Um nak-kari na Ultu." As she spoke she pointed first to
her mount, then toward the east. Then: "Ted Dustin nak-kari na Ultu."

Although he did not know the meaning of all her words, he felt that he
understood what she wanted. She seemed to take it for granted that he
did, for springing lightly into her saddle she struck the shoulder of
the great winged monster with her gloved palm, whereupon it ran,
sprawling clumsily for fifty feet or so with wings outspread, then took
to the air in which it seemed quite at home and flapped lazily eastward.

He hurried to his vehicle as he did not want to lose sight of her,
entered, closed the door, and pressed the starter lever. To his surprise
and alarm it did not respond. He pressed it again with the same negative
result. Then he remembered that he had carelessly left the door open for
several minutes. The interior of the cab had thus been exposed to the
terrific heat of the lunar surface. Unscrewing the top of the starter he
instantly saw the cause of his trouble. A connection, on which he had
hastily used wax instead of solder and tape, had melted breaking the
circuit. Several minutes elapsed before he could make the temporary
repair, using his temperature equalizer, meanwhile, to cool the cab.

Once more he pressed the starter, the atomotor responded, and he rose
high in the air in order that he might quickly locate the girl and her
strange steed. He saw her instantly, about a mile east of his position.
Her mount, he noticed, was flapping forward with greater speed than
before, and high above it was a globe circled by two transverse belts,
and to which were fastened two whirling discs, oppositely placed.
Suddenly the globe swooped downward like a falcon on its prey.

As he darted forward he saw a tiny red ray shoot upward from the hand of
the girl. It struck one of the belts of the descending craft, and sparks
and smoke flew out from the spot. Then a green ray shot out from the
globe, crossing the red ray. At the point where they crossed both rays
disappeared and the sparks and smoke from the craft ceased. Then another
green ray flashed out from the globe, striking one of the wings of the
monster. The wing seemed to shrivel--then broke in pieces, and the beast
fell, fluttering wildly with its remaining wing until it crashed with
its rider into a tall forest of black-stemmed purple star plants.

While he watched this unequal battle, which lasted only a few seconds,
Ted had been hurtling forward at terrific speed. Just as the girl fell,
he shot between her and the attacking globe, narrowly missing one of the
green rays which still extended downward. Bringing his vehicle about, he
trained his forward degravitor on the descending globe and pressed the

Although no visible ray leaped out, the effect on the globe was readily
apparent, for it flashed where it had struck, then gaped wide as the
degravitor rays cut a tunnel through it.

A green ray instantly flashed back in retaliation, striking Ted's prow
and breaking it into fragments. His craft then did a nose dive which he
was powerless to prevent, the forward exhaust pipes of the atomotor
having been cut away. It buried itself in a cluster of the huge purple
star plants, so thick that they shut out the light of day.

As he had not strapped himself to his seat, Ted landed on his instrument
board when the craft struck, and lay there for several moments in a
semi-stupor, the breath knocked from his body. Presently, his breath
returning in short gasps, he found himself able to rise and force the
door part way open. A black stem of one of the star-like plants blocked
it, but he cut this away at the base with his pistol degravitor, waited
until it crashed among its fellows, and then stepped out to freedom,
this time remembering to close the door after him.

After leaping to the ground, he looked about him, trying to orient
himself in the darkness. Here and there faint glimmers of light showed
between black trunks, but there was nothing to give him even a hint of
directions. He started for the light spot directly ahead of him as it
looked the brightest and probably issued from the largest open space.

Treading noiselessly over the soft gray moss which grew between the
closely packed black trunks, he presently reached the clearing from
which the light had issued. It was but a small opening in the forest,
and it seemed to him that something more than chance had directed his
footsteps as he saw the girl standing at bay with her red ray projector
in her hand before a short, round-bodied individual clad in yellow fur
and wearing a glass and copper helmet shaped, at the top, like a pagoda.

The two were fencing, but not with blades of steel. They fenced with
something infinitely more destructive, for as the girl sought to reach
her antagonist with the red ray he warded it off with a green ray from a
small projector which he held in his hand, and in turn, menaced her with
his weapon while she parried with the red ray.

Near her lay the remains of her huge mount, now a mere hulk of flesh,
with head, neck and one wing gone.

Drawing a pistol degravitor, Ted leveled it at the wielder of the green
ray and pulled the trigger. It was aimed at his head, which instantly
disappeared, the torso slipping to the ground with the green ray
projector still clasped in the lifeless hand. The ray struck the base of
a giant star-tree, which shriveled at the bottom, then crashed to the
ground. Another and another instantly shared its fate, falling only a
second or two apart, but in these Ted was not interested.

He was about to disclose himself to the astonished girl when two long,
lean arms clad in yellow fur suddenly reached out from the clump of
fern-like growths behind her and jerked her backward. Her red ray winked
once, then went out, and Ted leaped forward to her assistance. He
managed to follow by means of the trail of trampled and broken
vegetation left by her abductors. Presently he reached another clearing
just in time to see her hustled aboard the globe which had attacked her
some time before, by two yellow-clad Lunites.

The globe, he now saw, was of yellow metal. The two transverse belts he
had seen from a distance proved to be combination ladders and bridges. A
man could walk around the one which happened to be horizontal, or climb
the one which happened to be vertical, using the supporting bars of the
railing for ladder rounds.

Projecting from the two points where these belts crossed were shaft
housings, on the end of each of which were the discs he had previously
noticed. The faces of both discs resembled brightly polished mirrors,
one convex, the other concave.

Just above and below the lines traced by the bridges were rows of
diamond-shaped, glassed openings which he judged answered as port holes.
There was a diamond-shaped door on the side of the craft nearest him,
and it was into this that the girl was thrust by her two captors, while
Ted stood helpless, unable to use his weapons for fear of harming her.

One of the men closed the door after them. Then both discs started
whirling. The craft began to rise, and Ted bounded forward, just in time
to grasp a round of one of the ladders as it cleared the ground.
Climbing quickly up beneath the whirling concave disc, he stepped onto
the bridge and crouched there, to be out of sight from the port holes
and to plan his next move.

There were only two ways for him to enter the craft. He must either cut
a hole with his pistol degravitor or go in through the hole which he had
cut with his large degravitor before his craft fell. This hole was high
up in the shell of the globe and could only be reached by climbing the
belt ladder, then sliding down the smooth shell until the hole was
reached. It was a hazardous undertaking in more ways than one, with
scant hope of success. First, he stood little chance of being able to
climb the ladder without being seen from one of the ports. That he had
reached his present position undetected was little short of a miracle.

Then, should he be able to reach the proper position unseen, sliding
down the shell was a most uncertain and perilous thing to do. There was
nothing to cling to, and the chances were ten to one that he would miss
the hole he was striving to reach.

But assuming that he should reach the hole, there was every probability
still against him. Undoubtedly, a dozen green ray projectors would
instantly be turned on him, ending his career without accomplishing his

True, he might cut his way into the craft with his pistol degravitor,
but this would endanger the girl. For all he knew, she might, at that
very moment, be separated from him only by the shell of the craft which
he had thought of cutting, and an inch or two of air. She might be at
any point in the craft through which he should elect to cut his way.

Looking through the bars of the railing, he saw that they were sailing
swiftly over the very spot where he had come near to losing his life to
the flesh-eating plant only a short time before, and were headed
eastward. A moment more and they passed over the rugged rim of the great
ring-mountain, Hipparchus. The craft dipped as they passed over the
barren, debris-strewn inner plain. Were they headed for the destroyed
city of Ur? And would others of their kind be there to meet them? If so,
he must act quickly.

Abandoning all caution, he sprang up the ladder. He expected, at every
step, that a green ray would shoot out from one of the port holes and
destroy him, and was surprised when he found himself sitting on top of
the craft, alive and unharmed. On his right, about ten feet below him,
was the hole through which his degravitor ray had come out. On his left,
approximately eighteen feet below him, was the hole where it had
entered, cutting a slanting tunnel through the globe. Just above this
hole was a jagged streak of partly cut metal caused by his quick,
unconscious elevation of the degravitor gun just before his craft fell.
This streak reached almost to where he clung to the ladder, and looked
as if it might afford a means of descent. It was, at least, less
slippery than the smooth, coppery sides of the globe, the metal having
been honeycombed in the path of the ray as if eaten by acid.

Stretching himself prone, Ted sought and found holds for his gloved
fingers in the pitted metal and began the descent, head first. He had
covered a third of the distance when he suddenly noticed a dark wall
looming beside him. Looking around, he saw that the craft had plunged
into the great black hole which had been torn in the crater floor of
Hipparchus by his interplanetary projectile.

As the wall hurtled past him he caught glimpses here and there of
tunnel-like openings, some quite large, all partly choked with debris.
There came the realization that he must act quickly, as a landing would
probably be made here, so he turned resolutely to his task of reaching
the hole.

His fingers had barely gripped the edge of the opening by which he
expected to enter, when the globe slowed down and came to an abrupt
stop. He slipped from his position, but caught one arm over the edge of
the opening and managed to keep from falling. Quickly drawing himself
up, he crawled inside the craft. He was in a small upper chamber lighted
by the diamond-shaped port holes above. It had been abandoned.

On the floor lay the partly destroyed bodies which had been struck by
his degravitor ray. He found a trap door and opening it, discovered a
ladder which led to a room below. He judged, from the array of levers
and buttons, that it was the pilot's room, but found it also untenanted.
Opening a diamond-shaped door in the rear of this room, he suddenly came
upon a score of Lunites who were passing, single file, out of a side
door. All were armed with their deadly ray projectors, but they were as
much taken by surprise as he. Drawing both pistol degravitors with
lightning quickness, he raked the line from both ends toward the middle
before a single green ray projector could be brought to bear on him.

One Lunite only, quicker than the others, escaped by leaping through the
door. The others fell, a huddled heap of human remains.

Quickly bounding to the door, Ted stepped out on the bridge, then ducked
just in time to avoid a green flash. Aiming through the bars of the
railing he destroyed the man who had projected it.

The craft had landed before the explosion-scarred remains of an immense
edifice, the portico of which was supported by gigantic human figures
cut from brown stone. In lieu of steps leading into the building there
was an inclined ramp, the beautiful tile pattern of which showed here
and there between heaps and fragments of debris.

Hurrying up this ramp were three figures, and he saw that the one in the
center who was being dragged forward by the others, was Maza an Ma Gong.
Not daring to use his weapons for fear of striking the girl, he leaped
from the bridge to the ground, then started out in pursuit just as the
three disappeared inside the building.


IT ONLY took Ted a moment to reach the huge diamond-shaped door through
which the girl and her two abductors had disappeared, but when he
entered it there was no one in sight.

He found himself in an immense room, the ceiling of which was supported
by carved figures scarcely less colossal than the ones which held up the
portico. They represented huge, bandy-legged, round-bodied Lunites, with
enormous heads and scrawny arms. The walls were shelved clear to the
top, and the shelves were piled high with thousands of metal cylinders,
varying in their diameters from two to about eight inches, but uniformly
about fifteen inches in length. A few ornate ladders, the gilded sides
of which represented lean-bodied dragons, stood against the walls, but
many had fallen to the floor as had a number of the cylinders.

Great cracks and breaches here and there in the walls showed the
devastating effects of the explosion of his projectile, as did a
considerable quantity of fallen plaster--and stone.

The place was lighted by an indirect yellow radiance which came from the
tops of the heads of the colossi, and was reflected by the glossy

Sprawled and huddled here and there on the floor were a great number of
bodies of fallen Lunites. They were surrounded by great swarms of
insects, and he judged from the appearance of those nearest him that
they were in an advanced state of putrefaction. As he glanced around, he
saw a huge gray creature, rat-like in appearance, but as large as a full
grown Shetland pony, dart through one of the breaches in the wall, seize
a body, and quickly carry it back whence it had come.

The bodies, he noticed, were clothed in loose-fitting garments which
slightly resembled pajamas, and the massive heads were not covered with
glass helmets as had been those of the Lunites in the spherical craft he
had just quitted. Evidently these were the bodies of a few of the people
of Ur who had been slain by the explosion of his projectile.

Ted gave slight heed to all these sights as he looked this way and that
in the hope of seeing Maza an Ma Gong and her abductors. That they could
not have traversed the length of the great hall in so short a time was
obvious. They might, however, have been able to slip through the nearest
breach in the wall before he reached the doorway.

As he bounded forward to investigate this possibility, his path led him
past one of the colossi. Without warning, a deadly green ray suddenly
flashed from behind one of the gigantic limbs. As it struck the helmet
of the young scientist he instinctively pointed and fired a pistol
degravitor in the direction whence it had come. There was a flash of
brilliant green light, a terrific pain in his head, and he crashed to
the floor, the glass of his helmet tinkling on the hard tiles. Then came

How long he lay unconscious on the floor of the huge, subterranean
building, Ted had no means of estimating. He awoke with a dull headache
and the feeling that something was crushing him-bearing down on his body
and limbs with terrific force.

Raising his head to investigate, he cut his chin on the jagged remnant
of his shattered glass visor before he was able to see what was lying
across him--a number of pieces of what appeared to be broken plaster.
After considerable effort he managed to work his arms free and unscrew
the now useless collar of his helmet, with its menacing glass fragments.

The air of the place, he noticed, was fairly cool and practically as
dense as the atmosphere of the earth--a condition far different from
that on the surface of the moon, where the atmosphere was extremely
tenuous and the heat of the lunar mid-day far too great for the
existence of unprotected men. It was good, he thought, to be able to
breathe outside a glass helmet once more, even though the air was laden
with unpleasant charnel odors.

Five minutes of exhausting labor freed his body and lower limbs from the
heavy fragments which pinned them to the floor. When he rose to survey
the scene the cause of the fall of plaster was immediately apparent. His
degravitator ray, fired in the direction from which the green ray, which
had destroyed the top of his helmet, had come, had cut away the base of
the supporting colossus behind which his assailant had been concealed,
and this had crashed to the floor, carrying with it a considerable
portion of the plastered ceiling which it had supported.

Beside a leg of the image he saw the remains of a Lunite, partly
destroyed by his degravitor ray--probably his attacker. Beneath the leg
was the crushed, dead body of another Lunite, but of Maza an Ma Gong he
saw no sign. Had she escaped, leaving him for dead beneath the heap of
plaster? Or did her slender body lie crushed and bleeding under the
fallen statue?

Filled with apprehension, he walked clear around the prostrate image
without seeing a sign of her whom he sought. Then he was startled to
hear his name called: "Ted Dustin. Ted Dustin." It was the voice of
Maza, and seemed to issue from the colossus. He leaped astride the giant
body, seeking some hollow which might explain the enigma, but it was not
until he had stepped out on one of the huge thighs that he saw the girl.
She was imprisoned on the floor in the hollow between the two enormous

Drawing a pistol degravitor, he found it but the work of a moment to cut
away enough of one of the huge legs to free the girl.

The fact that she was unhurt, he judged little short of miraculous, but
whether it was due to chance or to her own dexterity he had no means of
finding out. She had the front of her helmet open, and he noticed that
the antennae of her miniature radiophone were smashed.

As soon as she was free she picked up a green ray projector which one of
the Lunites had dropped, and started for the door, beckoning him to
follow. They had barely reached the ramp when Ted heard a great clatter
behind them and the sound of running feet. Turning, he saw a horde of
armed men rushing through an archway in the rear of the building.
Instead of glass helmets and furry clothing, these men wore metal
helmets and plate armor, and carried, in addition to their ray
projectors, long swords, and spears with heads like long-toothed buzz

With his degravitors leveled in two lethal arcs, Ted cut down the
foremost ranks of the attackers and gave the others pause. Evidently
they were dumfounded at the sight of weapons that fired invisible rays.
While they hesitated he caught up his companion, and turning, bounded
down the tiled ramp with mighty fifty-foot leaps that amazed them still
more, crossed a circular plaza over which were scattered
indiscriminately, rock debris, fallen and broken statuary, and dead
bodies, many of which were partly devoured, and dodged in among the
remains of a fallen colossus.

The clank of arms and accoutrements became increasingly audible, and Ted
turned to see if any of their pursuers were in sight. At that moment his
foot encountered empty air, and he fell, dragging his companion with
him, into a steeply slanting tunnel which was about four feet in
diameter at the mouth.

Sliding and tumbling, the two at length brought up against the wall of a
transverse passageway which slanted downward to their left.

A shout and the clatter of weapons from the ground above brought Ted
quickly to his feet. Helping his companion to arise, he took her hand
and the two hurried down the inclined ramp. They had not covered more
than a hundred feet before the way grew dark and the tunnel tortuous, so
they were forced to proceed with the utmost caution. They felt their way
along in the inky blackness for some time. Presently all sounds save
those of their own footsteps ceased. Then Ted was suddenly and
temporarily blinded by a glare of light. When his eyes had become
accustomed to it, he saw that it came from a small lens fastened in his
companion's helmet just above her forehead. Evidently she had not turned
it on before for the sake of caution.

Then it was the girl who became the leader in their flight. As they
encountered a labyrinth of passageways, she would turn now to the right,
now to the left, always following the ramps which slanted downward, and
Ted saw her glance from time to time at queer Lunite symbols painted on
the walls, which evidently marked the way.

Presently she switched off her light, and Ted noticed that there was a
strange, phosphorescent luminescence in the passageway ahead of them.
Its source became apparent when they suddenly emerged from the end of
the tunnel into a wide lane which wound through a thick grove of tall
straight plants that appeared to Ted like gigantic shoots of asparagus
painted with phosphorus. They varied from a thickness of six inches to
well over three feet at the base, and some of the tallest towered fully
seventy feet into the air. The light they gave off was quite as
brilliant as the full moon appears from the earth, and was reflected by
myriads of gleaming, white stalactites depending from an arched vault
far above them. Stalagmites, also, gleamed here and there among the
shining plants, and the lane or road which they were following was
evidently made from the same white material crushed into small fragments
and rolled smooth.

Suddenly the girl grasped Ted's arm, and pulling him in among the tall,
luminous trunks, secreted herself behind one of the larger ones and
motioned him to do likewise.

Scarcely had he followed her example, ere there came to his ears a
cracking, rumbling sound. Then, from around the bend in the lane, there
waddled a huge, hulking creature of most fearsome aspect. Ted had seen
pictures of wingless Chinese dragons, and this ugly vision, now less
than fifty feet from him, was one of those pictures immensely
magnified--for it was as tall as a camel and three times as long. Just
in front of its spiny crest and behind its relatively small ears, a
round-bodied Lunite was perched on its massive head. Luminous vapor
issued from its nostrils at intervals of a few seconds, and the myriad
scales that covered its long, twisting body, as well as its thousands of
sharp dorsal spines, reflected the phosphorescent light of the forest
that bordered the lane.

This ugly monster straddled a long pole with its four bowed legs, the
front end of which was attached to a U-shaped collar that circled its
scaly neck, and the rear end of which was fastened to a long chain of
creaking, bumping carts, fastened together by hooks and rings. Each of
these carts traveled on two large rollers in lieu of wheels, and
contained many metal cylinders which jolted and banged together as the
vehicle lumbered along.

Walking beside the cart on each side was a long row of Lunites clad in
sandals and coarse, loose-fitting tunics that reached to the knees. The
long black hair of these workmen was twisted up in a pointed,
pagoda-like effect on top of the head. Each man carried a two-handled
metal urn, a short tube pointed at one end like a quill, and a small

Behind the first dragon came two others, similarly harnessed and
attended, and Ted, noticing that the last dragon snatched from time to
time at the shoots of the luminous plants which grew by the roadside,
munching each phosphorescent mouthful with apparent relish, saw the
reason these creatures appeared to breathe fire. It was some time later
that he learned this was a crew of sap gatherers, returning with a
supply of cylinders filled with the luminous fluid with which the Lunite
chemists made the yellow, light-emitting liquid which, suspended in
transparent containers, lighted their underground cities.

When the cavalcade had passed out of sight down the road the girl
motioned him to rise, and together they resumed their flight. They
passed many cross-lanes in the luminous forest, unmolested. Then the one
on which they were traveling carne to an end.

The cultivated area now gave way to an immense tangle of luminous and
non-luminous plants of various hues and shades--a tremendous hodge podge
of winding creepers, low fungi of every conceivable shape, and tall
trunks, jointed, smooth, and spiny-some topped like mushrooms, spears,
stars or globes, others with long waving fronts like palms or ferns.

Most of the non-luminous plants were white, although some were gray or
black. Here and there among the common phosphorescent types of luminous
plants were scattered groups and individuals which gave off red, green,
pink, violet or yellow light. Some of them emitted two or three shades
of one color, or even several colors of light. The whole scene was a
vast, weird, fairyland of color and shade-at once, beautiful and

Into this tangle the girl plunged without the slightest hesitation. Ted
followed, a pistol degravitor in his hand ready for instant action.

As they progressed further and further into this subterranean wilderness
the fauna of the place became more and more in evidence, indicating to
Ted that, if one might judge from the conduct of the wild things, they
were gradually receding from the haunts of man.

From the shadows many pairs of burning eyes glared out at them. Small
animals, sensing their approach, scurried hastily from their pathway.
Featherless birds, or winged reptiles--Ted did not know which to call
them--flitted among the branches above their heads. Larger ones, some of
them appearing huge enough to have flown off with elephants, soared far
up near the vaulted roof or flapped lazily back and forth above the
tree-tops, evidently in search of prey. Some of them had luminous body
areas which gleamed dully as they flew, but flashed from time to time
from crests, throats, or wing-tips like the display of a swarm of
fireflies magnified ten thousand fold.

There were luminous insects and worms, also, of various shades--and
luminous serpents coiled on boles and branches, some of them flashing
crests or tail-tips when disturbed as if to warn an intruder of their
dangerous presence.

The air was filled with a cacophonous medley of roars, bellows, croaks,
shrieks, growls and hisses, sometimes interspersed with more melodious
warbling, whistling or bell-like tones.

At times huge monsters, most of them dragon-like dinosaurs, crashed
fearlessly through the jungle, pausing now and again to crop herbage or
devour huge mouthfuls of luminous fungus, and exhaling great clouds of
phosphorescent vapor that hung like wraiths in the still air above their
enormous heads.

And everywhere was a dank, musty odor as if mold and matches had been
mixed with stagnant water and brewed in a cauldron over a slow fire.

Presently they emerged from the jungle into a broad savanna of white,
jointed grass with luminous tips, that reached to Ted's shoulders. They
walked side by side, now, and Ted noticed that the girl often glanced at
a small instrument clamped on her wrist-evidently a compass.

For a moment his attention was distracted by a pair of enormous
creatures, each well over fifty feet in height, browsing leisurely not
more than a quarter of a mile to his right. Then a fearful thing

Ted's first intimation of it was the whistle of giant pinions just
behind him. Then something struck the back of his head, knocking him
flat on his face.

He scrambled to his feet and quickly brought up his pistol degravitor as
he saw the girl, already far above the ground, struggling in the talons
of a mighty flying reptile. His finger trembled on the trigger yet he
did not pull it, for there suddenly came to him the realization that to
destroy the monster would be to as surely kill the girl. A fall from
that great height would have crushed her frail body to a pulp.

The creature flew with terrific speed, and in a moment, had disappeared
from view with its prey.

Dejectedly, Ted holstered his degravitor. His downward glance fell on
the green ray projector which the girl had carried--evidently knocked
from her hand by the swoop of her captor.

He was about to pick it up, when suddenly far off in the dim mistiness
toward which she had been carried, he saw a brilliant, star-like light,
moving rapidly. It was unlike the phosphorescent gleam of the light
carrying flyers, and he instantly recognized its import. Maza had
lighted her brilliant head lamp in a last, desperate effort to guide him
to her rescue.

With mighty bounds which, on earth, would have been phenomenal, but on
the moon were quite normal leaps for his earth-trained muscles, he set
out in swift pursuit.


As ROGER SANDERS plunged downward from the sky, the fragments of Ted's
shattered Blettendorf dropping around him, the three strange globes that
had wrought such swift destruction with their green rays in so short a
time, disappeared from view in a blinding whirl of cloud and snow. His
parachute was whipped about by the force of the wind until he feared the
lashings would be torn loose, but they held, and he presently landed,
waist deep, in a snow drift.

He was floundering about, endeavoring to extricate himself from the
clutches of the wet, sticky mess, when suddenly he heard his name

"Mr. Sanders."

He answered, and a moment later a figure shuffled toward him and helped
him from the drift. It was Bevans.

"Didn't fall in as deeply as you, sir," he said. "Landed in the middle
of the road, while you went in the ditch. I've been walking along,
calling your name in the hope of locating you."

"Did you notice where the professor fell?"

"Yes, sir. He leaped before I did, and I saw him fall on the bridge of
that strange globe. He tried to jump off again, but one of those
diamond-shaped port holes opened, and he was dragged inside. I suppose
they slaughtered him. A horrible ending for one of the greatest minds of
the century."

"Awful," replied Roger. "Ted will be broken up when he hears it--that is
if he lives to hear it. But we can't help things any by crying about
them. Any idea where we are?"

"I should say we're somewhere in Indiana, sir, and not far from a flying
field. Have you noticed the flashes of light and dark in the snow above
us at regular intervals? Must be from a beacon."

"Well, let's see if we can find out."

Guided by the dimly seen flashes, the two at length found themselves at
the airdrome of the South Bend Flying Field a government training
station for student aviators since the advent of planes equipped to rise
or descend vertically, and the consequent ability of experienced pilots
to land "on a dime."

Ridding themselves of a considerable weight of sticky snow by brushing
each other, they entered the building, where a watchman, with a huge,
foul-smelling cob pipe in his mouth, was playing a game of solitaire.

Spying a radiovisiphone, Roger was hurrying toward it to make his report
while Bevans explained things to the watchman, when the figure of a man
in military uniform suddenly appeared in the disc. He read from a sheet
of paper held in his hand:

M. O. 318,246

Three flying globes sighted by U. S. S. P's 347, 1098 and 221. 347
destroyed by strange green ray from one of the globes. 1098 and 221
shelling them without apparent effect when their radios were silenced.
All combat planes in Zone 36 are ordered to report, fully manned, to
division headquarters, and stand by for orders.

General J. Q. Marshall.

"Oh, boy! There'll be some scrap, now!" said Roger, "but I'm afraid our
planes won't stand much chance against those green rays. I'd like to be
in on it, though."

"I, too, sir," said Bevans.

Roger rapidly whirled the dials of the radiovisiphone, presently
obtaining direct communication with President Whitmore, to whom he made
his report. He was ordered back to Chicago at once, a plane being
requisitioned from the flying field for the purpose.

As he and Bevans were about to take off they noticed six combat planes,
manned and waiting orders. These rose only a few seconds after they did.

The air was now much warmer, the snow having been replaced by a faint
drizzle of rain. This, too, subsided before they had flown half way to
their destination, but a heavy fog, following the swift melting of the
snow, made the visibility exceedingly low.

Despite this handicap, however, the skillful Bevans landed his plane
neatly on the roof of the Dustin Building, turning it over to another of
Ted's pilots to be returned immediately to the flying field.

The cold weather had passed as quickly as it had come, and this fact
added to the evidence that it had been directly produced by the giant
green ray from the moon.

Back in his office, Roger quickly communicated with his wife by wrist
radiophone--then waded into the mass of work which had accumulated
during his absence. According to the shop reports the great
interplanetary vehicle would soon be ready for launching. But fully as
important as this, he found that ten thousand pistol degravitors and a
thousand large degravitors for use on combat planes were completed and
ready to be loaded with the special anode-cathode ray batteries in
process in another division. Turning to the report of the superintendent
of the battery division, he found that a hundred of the large and five
hundred of the small batteries were ready for use.

Going to the safe, he took out the directions for assembling and firing
which Ted had left, and after giving them a careful reading, ordered ten
of the large and a hundred of the small weapons and an equal number of
suitable anode-cathode batteries sent up to his office.

Morning came before he had completed his work of assembling them. Then,
carrying a large and a small degravitor to the roof, he tested them on
the remains of Ted's metal hangar and found that they worked

Hurrying back to his office he set the safety catch on every weapon,
then ordered them packed and loaded into one of Ted's freight-carrying
electroplanes. And hour later, with Bevans as pilot, he was on his way
to Washington.

As he neared the capital he used his binoculars on the surrounding
territory, and noticed the havoc wrought by the green rays. At points
where the effects of the rays had ended, rivers and creeks were blocked
by ice gorges, overflowing the surrounding territory. The vegetation was
wilted and lifeless, as if blighted by a heavy frost. In the villages
and towns, Red Cross workers were going from house to house, relieving
the sufferings of the survivors, followed by undertakers' cars and large
trucks, loaded with the canvas-wrapped remains of those who would suffer
no more.

On his arrival at the Capitol he sought and gained an immediate
interview with the President.

The chief executive of the country looked up from the stack of papers on
his desk as Roger entered, and greeted him with:

"Now, what the devil are you doing here? I thought I ordered you back to
Chicago last night. Who is going to look after your plant and radio
station with both you and Dustin away?"

"Important business," replied Roger. "I'll be leaving for Chicago again
within the hour, but I've something to show you that, for the present, I
don't dare make public over the air."

"What about your code? Afraid someone will figure them out?"

"Not at all, but this is something you will have to be shown. I have
some new weapons invented by Mr. Dustin, a few of which have been
manufactured in his plant under my direction during his absence--weapons
with which I believe we can successfully combat the green rays of the
moon men."

"Where are they?"

"In one of our freight carriers, now on the roof of the Lincoln Hotel
under guard."

Without waiting to hear more, President Whitmore seized his hat and

"We'll have a look at them right now."

On the way out he gave orders that Secretary of War Jamison and General
Marshall meet him on the roof of the Lincoln in fifteen minutes. Once
out of the Capitol, they were quickly transported to the hotel roof in
the President's private helicopter limousine.

Roger brought out one of the pistol degravitors, unwrapped it, and
explained its use to the chief executive. Then he had an old propeller
blade suspended on a wire, and proceeded to demolish it before the eyes
of the astonished President.

At this moment Secretary Jamison and General Marshall arrived, and
another old blade was disintegrated for their benefit.

Secretary Jamison, a newly appointed civilian, showed wonder and
amazement, but General Marshall seemed unconvinced.

"What is the effective range of this weapon?" he asked.

"The theoretical range of this one," replied Roger, "as worked out by
Mr. Dustin, is one mile. In other words, it is supposed to completely
disintegrate any known matter of any possible hardness or tensile
strength, up to that distance. Beyond that distance, however, it would
be deadly to man or animals, even though it should not completely
destroy their bodies, up to a distance of perhaps two miles. I have with
me, also, weapons constructed on the same principle, but much larger,
with a theoretical range of twenty-five miles."

"Have the weapons been tested at the ranges you name?"

"Not to my knowledge, but when Mr. Dustin figures something out it is
usually right."

"I would respectfully suggest, Mr. President," said the General,
stiffly, "that they be so tested."

"And I was about to suggest the same thing," rejoined Roger.

"We'll make the tests at once," decided the President. "While the
General is arranging for the aerial targets you may get out one of the
larger weapons, Mr. Sanders."

Fifteen minutes later, Roger and the President were hovering on the
shore of Chesapeake Bay in the latter's helicopter limousine. Several
hundred feet above the General and the Secretary of War hovered in a
government plane, while one of their men directed the four aerial
targets, miniature helicopter planes controlled by radio.

When one of them had flown a distance of a mile out over the bay the
General signaled Roger who promptly brought it down with his pistol
degravitor. A second, placed two miles away, presently crumpled and
fell, although it withstood about five minutes' exposure to the rays of
the small weapon at that distance.

Then Roger mounted his large degravitor on a tripod, and with the
assistance of his powerful field glasses, brought down one of the
targets which meanwhile had been stationed at a distance of twenty-five
miles up the bay. The fourth target, placed thirty-five miles away,
which was as far as he could see it with his glasses, suffered a similar
fate after only a few seconds exposure to the rays.

"Marvellous!" commented the President, as they winged their way back to
the Capitol. "How many of these degravitors are ready for use?"

"I brought ten of the large and a hundred of the small ones with me,"
replied Roger. "Within the week I can send you ninety more of the large
and four hundred of the small."

"And how fast can you turn them out after that?"

"We are equipped to turn out five hundred small and one hundred large a
week. If more are required we can enlarge our capacity at any time."

"Let the order stand on the weekly basis you mention, then," said the
President as they got out of the limousine, "unless I send you word to
increase it."

They returned once more to the President's office, where he was
immediately signaled by the radiovisiphone operator.

"World News Broadcasters on the air will announce important tidings from
China in one minute. Shall I tune them in, sir?"

"Yes," replied the President, seating himself at his desk and watching
the disc.

A picture of the World News Announcer quickly flashed on the screen, and
he stood looking at them for a moment, holding his chronometer in one
hand and a sheet of paper in the other. Then he said:

"Our correspondent in Peiping announces that the three strange globes
from the moon, which destroyed three scout planes with their green rays
last night and then disappeared, arrived in Peiping this morning.

"A dozen of the queer, round-bodied men immediately went into conference
with the Chinese president and his cabinet. As soon, however, as the odd
visitors had been described to the Chinese people, and, of course, seen
by many of them, and it became generally known that the government
purposed submitting to the rule of the moon government and assisting the
lunar emperor to conquer the earth, a revolution was fomented and the
Capitol attacked.

"The Chinese president and the members of his cabinet were all slain in
the battle that followed, as were the twelve moon men closeted with
them. After laying waste the greater part of the city, and killing
hundreds of thousands with their green rays, the globes then departed,
flying eastward. They were last sighted flying high over southern Japan
with terrific speed, apparently bound for the United States.

"General Fu Yen, the revolutionary leader and new provisional president,
announces his intention to stand by the other nations of the world in
the war with the moon, and will shortly send official messages to the
other powers to that effect. It is believed that he is supported in this
decision by at least ninety percent of the Chinese people.

"One of his first official acts was to place Dr. Fang, the Manchu, under
arrest as an instigator of the plot to sell out the nation to the moon
monarch, Dr. Wu, his co-conspirator, having been slain with the former
president and cabinet members during the attack on the Capitol."

"Interesting, and vastly relieving, if true," commented the President,
"so far as the Chinese are concerned. But we still have those flying
globes to contend with. They are on their way over here now, and nobody
knows how fast they can travel. I think you brought out the new weapons
in the nick of time, Mr. Sanders. Would you care to direct a combat
squadron sent out to meet our belligerent visitors?"

"I'd be delighted with the honor," replied Roger.

"Very well. Hurry over and get your weapons unlimbered. I'll have ten
expert gunners over at the hotel roof in as many minutes, and while you
are explaining the weapons to them, five combat planes will be made

Five minutes later, Roger, with the help of Bevans, was hastily
unloading the large degravitors from the freighter, when an air alarm
siren sounded below them, followed by another and another until the city
was in an uproar.

In a moment a fleet of combat planes left the ground and headed
westward. Using his glasses, Roger saw the reason. The three huge lunar
globes which had, only a few minutes before, been reported on the way to
the United States, were flying swiftly toward the Capitol, raking the
ground beneath them with their deadly green rays, more than a dozen of
which shone from each globe--and occasionally destroying aircraft that
approached them.

Standing on the hotel roof beside Ted's aerial freighter was the
helicopter limousine of the President. Its chauffeur was idly leaning
against a wing, watching the fast-disappearing squadron which had just

"Quick, Bevans!" said Roger. "It's you and me for it! Grab those
controls and I'll bring a degravitor!"

They rose, a moment later, with helicopters roaring, while the
President's pilot, who had lost his prop and his balance, scrambled to
his feet and gaped after them. The plane was a swift one, and in a few
minutes Bevans had brought it close behind the aerial squadron.

"Straight up, now," ordered Roger, "and make it snappy."

As they began their assent the battle started with the rattle of machine
guns and the boom of rapid-fire turret guns. Then the globes, apparently
unharmed by the gunfire, began systematically wiping out the defense
squadron with their green rays. One by one, huge combat planes were
crumpling and crashing to the ground, when Roger brought his degravitor
to bear on the foremost globe. His invisible ray cut a round hole about
four feet in diameter clear through the center of the lunar vehicle,
with no apparent effect on its progress or lethal ray projectors. But he
had only to lower, then slightly elevate his weapon, and the globe was
divided as neatly as a knife divides an apple, both halves crashing
instantly to the ground.

Swinging his degravitor into line on another globe, Roger proceeded to
halve it as he had the first, but before he could turn it on the third
globe, the latter, its commander apparently fearing the fate of the
first two, elevated its forward disc and shot straight up into the air
with such appalling speed that it disappeared completely in a moment.

Roger clapped his binoculars to his eyes, but even they failed to reveal
the swiftly flying globe.

"No use to follow that bird, Bevans," he said. "He's well on his way to
the moon by this time. Let's go and have a look at the ones we brought

They descended, but a half dozen of the government combat planes were
ahead of them, and the men were dragging the bodies of stunned and dead
Lunites from the wrecks when they arrived. Forty dazed prisoners, most
of whom had fractured limbs, were taken from the wrecks, and twenty-six

Roger's great fear was that he might find the body of Professor Ederson
in the wrecks, but there was no sign of it. Either he had been
completely destroyed by the degravitor rays, or was in the globe which
had escaped.

Only thirty of the squadron of fifty combat planes which had flown out
to meet the foe accompanied Roger back to the Capitol. The others,
together with their crews, had been utterly destroyed by the green rays.

Back in the President's office, Roger received the commendation of the
chief executive with a deprecatory shrug.

"It was nothing," he said. "Easier than breaking clay pigeons with a
trap gun."

"I don't believe the General will ask for any more demonstrations,"
smiled the President. "From now on, he'll be crying night and day for

At this moment the President's radiovisiphone operator appeared in the
disc and said:

"Chicago is calling Mr. Sanders, Sir."

"Tune them in," said the President.

There instantly appeared in the disc, the face of Ted's day operator,
Miss Whitley.

"Mr. Stanley, in charge of the big radiovisiphone, thinks the moon
people are trying to get in touch with us," she said.

"Tell him to hold them, if he can, until we can silence all broadcasting
stations," replied Roger. "Then connect me with him."


DESPITE THE mighty bounds with which Ted Dustin pursued the hideous
flying reptile which was carrying off Maza of the Moon, the star-like
gleam of her head lamp quickly grew more dim, showing that he was being
rapidly outdistanced.

Presently it twinkled and went out, but he continued his pace, unabated,
in the same direction.

As he hurried on, huge herbivorous dinosaurs, disturbed at their
feeding, raised their massive heads from time to time to contemptuously
snort fiery vapor at the queer and insignificant creature that bounded
past them. Mighty reptilian carnivores, their bloody feasts interrupted,
were more hostile, snarling or roaring hideously when he passed close to
them, but he paid no heed to either.

Once his path was barred by a great, quill-covered creature resembling a
tiger, with the exception of the tail, which was a short, thick,
spine-covered stub. It was larger than a draft horse, and presented a
most fearsome appearance. With gleaming tusks bared, and sickle-like
claws unsheathed, it sprang for him.

He halted, digging his toes into the ground for an instant to stop his
forward momentum--then leaped backward, alighting fully fifty feet
behind the spot on which he had stood. Before the creature could spring
again he brought both pistol degravitors into play, and although the
invisible beams played for but a moment across the huge breast of the
beast, it was as if a giant scythe had suddenly cut through it, dividing
the dorsal part of the body from the ventral. The claws and belly,
apparently impelled by something akin to reflex action, leaped weakly
forward, but the head and upper part of the body slipped off and fell to
the ground behind them.

Without pausing to view the unusual sight of four massive legs wobbling
disjointedly about carrying a great, sagging belly, Ted again pressed

Presently the character of the country he was crossing changed. At first
the shimmering, undulating surface of the savanna was broken by
occasional outcroppings of white stone, mostly conical in form, but as
he progressed, the vegetation grew more and more sparse until it
disappeared altogether. He was in a forest of white columns, cones and
pyramids--mighty stalagmites that dwarfed to insignificance anything of
which he had ever heard or read, reaching up ward toward equally huge
stalactites, depending from the vaulted roof above. The ground beneath
his feet was completely covered by rock fragments, varying in bulk from
mere white powder to huge boulders weighing thousands of tons evidently
the remains of both stalactites and stalagmites dislodged by seismic

His pace was slackened by these constant obstructions, and by the fact
that the light gradually diminished in intensity as he drew away from
the luminous vegetation. As he penetrated further and further into the
deepening gloom that shrouded the ghostly columns there came to him the
conviction that his quest was well nigh hopeless. There came, also, in
the dark moment, the realization that the girl he had known for so short
a time had come to mean far more to him than a mere companion in
adventure--that if she were dead, life would have little to offer him.

Tired and dejected, he sat down on a boulder to rest and to think.
Automatically he reached in his pocket for his black briar. As he did
so, a tiny pebble suddenly fell at his feet. Several more followed as he
quickly glanced upward.

Just behind him the huge stump of a broken stalagmite, fully a hundred
feet in diameter and forty feet to where it had been cracked off, reared
its shattered head. Turning his gaze toward it, he saw the tip of a huge
pinion brushing back and forth across the edge as if its owner were
engaged in a struggle. But most important of all, he noticed that the
end of the wing as well as the broken edges of the stalagmite were
bathed in a white radiance which differed in color and appearance from
the phosphorescent luminosity of the lunar flora and fauna. Was it from
the head lamp of Maza?

Bounding to his feet, he looked in vain for a place to climb the
stalactite. Then, remembering the advantage his earthly muscles gave
him, he backed up for a few paces, took a running start, and sprang into
the air.

He had hoped to be able to catch hold of the rim of the broken top, but
to his surprise, he passed completely over it, alighting in a cup-like
depression about twenty feet in diameter which housed two of the
homeliest-looking creatures on which he had ever set eyes. They were
scrawny, long-legged, goggle-eyed caricatures of the flying reptile
which had carried off his companion some time before. Standing on the
edge of the rim, dangling the girl by one leg in its huge mandibles and
balancing itself with outspread wings, was the reptile itself,
apparently trying to feed her to its young. That they had been unable,
thus far, to do more than strip some of the wool from her armor, was
evinced by the condition of their saw-edged bills, which both were
shaking for the evident purpose of trying to rid them of the annoying

All this, Ted saw at a glance, and no sooner saw than he acted. Whipping
out a degravitor, he completely severed the great, arched neck of the
reptile with a single sweep of its deadly ray-then caught the girl in
his arms as she fell headlong, and was himself knocked to the floor by
the falling, hissing head of the monster, while its giant body fluttered
and toppled backward to crash to the ground a moment later. Partly
stunned though he was by the blow from that huge head, he quickly
dispatched the two hideous young ones with his degravitors--then turned
his attention to the girl who lay across his lap.

Her eyes were closed and her head hung limply against the side of her
glass helmet. Quickly opening her visor, he chafed her cheeks and
forehead and blew on her eyelids, the faint flutter of which presently
notified him that her consciousness was returning.

"Ted--Ted Dustin," she murmured, and snuggled more closely to him.

He held her thus for a few moments, his heart beats registering an
acceleration that could not possibly have been due to his recent
exertions. Then she opened her great blue eyes, looked up into his, and

"Karl na Ultu."

This, he interpreted to mean: "Go to Ultu," so he, not having sufficient
lunar vocabulary to ask her in what direction, managed to convey his
question by signs.

She sat up, looked at the instrument strapped to her wrist for a moment,
then pointed in the direction in which they had been traveling.

"Ultu," she said.

For answer, he rose, still holding her in his arms, walked to the edge
of the stalagmite, and stepped off, alighting at the end of the forty-foot
fall with no more of a jar than a similar step from a height of
seven feet would have caused on earth.

Her little exclamation of alarm as they fell was changed to a cry of
surprise and delight when she saw they had reached the ground unhurt.
Then she signed that she wished to be put down.

He gently lowered her to her feet, and together they pressed on into the
deepening gloom--their way now made easier by the light of the girl's
head lamp, reflected with many weird effects by the spectral white

For many miles they traveled through murk so black that it seemed almost
to have solidity, their range of vision limited to the small area
lighted by Maza's head lamp. Then a faint phosphorescent twilight
tempered the thick darkness, and scattered tufts of luminous vegetation
led into a mighty, tangled jungle, as well lighted by its own flora as
the first one they had crossed.

Before they entered it, Ted unholstered one of his degravitors and,
handing it to his companion, showed her how to fire it by pressing the
trigger. She tested it, first on a clump of luminous toadstools and then
on a small flying reptile, and he was delighted to see that her
marksmanship was excellent, due, no doubt, to her proficiency with a red
ray projector.

Then she extinguished her head lamp, and together they plunged into the
riotous medley of sound and color, of strange smells and stranger sights
that constituted a lunar subterranean forest.

After more than an hour of travel through the jungle without molestation
from any of its queer creatures, they arrived at the bank of a swiftly
flowing stream about sixty feet across.

The girl took a small drinking cup from a pocket of her armor, dipped it
in the stream, and offered it to Ted, but he gallantly shook his head,
indicating that she should drink first. She did so, sipping the water
slowly as if it had been the last glass of some priceless wine of rare
and ancient vintage. Ted filled his canteen in the meanwhile, and drank
a deep draught, finding the water slightly alkaline, but quite

Having drunk her water, Maza opened two clasps which loosed her glass
helmet, and lifted it from her head. Then she sat down on a low
toadstool and began a minute examination of the fine wires on the crest
which constituted the antennae of her radio set. She worked with them
for some time, her white brow often wrinkled in puzzlement, but
presently gave up with a shrug of disappointment.

Then Ted, who had been watching her intently, took the helmet from her
hands and closely examined the broken head-set himself. His knowledge of
radio, combined with his extraordinary inventive genius, stood him in
such good stead that it was not long before he had located the source of
the trouble.

While he set rapidly to work to repair the damage with tools from his
pocket kit, his companion gathered some dried and broken ribs of tree
fronds that had fallen nearby and ignited them with a tiny red ray from
a small lighter she carried. Then, taking Ted's hunting knife from its
sheath, she cut several slabs from a pear-shaped mushroom that grew near
the water's edge, spitted them on a green frond, and grilled them over
the fire.

By the time Ted had finished his work of repairing her small radio set,
she had spread the top of a toadstool with large flat leaves in lieu of
a table cover, and placed thereon tastily grilled slabs of mushrooms,
together with several varieties of small fruits which grew in abundance
all around them.

Returning her helmet to her, Ted showed his admiration of her lunar
woodcraft and culinary skill by seating himself opposite her and
heartily falling to. The mushroom slabs were delicious, and the odd
fruits exceptionally palatable.

When they had finished, Maza pressed the signal button connected to her
head set, there was an answering voice, and she immediately began a
conversation which lasted several minutes, but which Ted was, of course,
unable to understand. Once he saw her glance at the instrument on her
wrist, and judged that she was telling someone their location. Presently
she ceased talking, walked to a bed of moss beneath some long,
overhanging fronds, and lay down as if to sleep, motioning Ted to do

Tired as he was, Ted could not bring himself to even think of closing
his eyes in so insecure a spot, so he sat down on the moss beside her,
unholstered his degravitor, and patting it, indicated that he would
guard her while she slept. She closed her eyes without protest, and
presently the regular rise and fall of her small, shapely bosom
indicated that she was asleep.

For several hours Ted amused himself by watching the strange creatures
of the earth, air and water. Giant saurians, with necks gracefully
arched, paddled lazily past, sometimes darting their heads with
lightning like rapidity into the water, and usually bringing up fish or
small amphibians in their powerful jaws. Small flying reptiles, soaring
low, sometimes descended to the surface of the water, sometimes dived
beneath it, triumphantly emerging with living, wriggling food morsels
which they usually swallowed as they flew, with little or no

But tired nature gradually asserted itself, and Ted finally caught
himself nodding. He shook himself awake, but eventually nodded again,
and thinking to close his eyes for but a moment, slept.

His awakening, he knew not how long thereafter, was rude and startling,
for a warrior clad in glittering silver armor was kneeling on his chest,
holding the point of a keen sword to his throat while two others,
similarly accoutred, held his arms against the ground. His first thought
was for the safety of his girl companion, but a glance showed him that
she was completely surrounded by a ring of the armored soldiers.


HAVING LEAPED from Ted's Blettendorf ahead of his companions, Professor
Ederson was unable to see what had become of Roger and Bevans, for his
parachute opened almost instantly, shutting out his view above.

What he did see, however, filled him with apprehension and horror, for
he was falling directly onto one of the huge globes that had wrought
such havoc with the Blettendorf and with the government patrol planes.

In vain, he endeavored to sway his body to one side as he hurtled
downward toward the enemy craft. There was a sudden shock as he struck
the curved bridge--then his parachute bellied out to a horizontal
position. Badly shaken though he was, he tried to rise and leap over the
railing, but at this moment a diamond-shaped door opened, and a rotund
figure clad in yellow fur and wearing a pagoda-shaped helmet with a
glass visor raised, leaped upon him. With a short, curved knife, his
assailant slashed the ropes which bound him to his parachute--then
dragged him inside the globe, slamming a door after him.

Despite his feeble struggles, for he had been weakened by the shock of
his fall, his captor bound his wrists behind him and jerked him to his
feet. Then he pushed him roughly along a narrow hall--opened a
diamond-shaped door, and flung him into a tiny cell. The door clanged
behind him as he fell, bruised and half stunned, to the metal floor,
and he was left alone in stuffy, inky darkness.

How long he lay in the black hole, suffering from a dozen bruises and
the pain of his tightly bound wrists, the professor had no means of
knowing, for his luminous chronometer was on his left wrist, and his
hands were tied behind him.

He judged, however, that he had spent slightly more than an hour in the
stuffy room when the door opened. He was jerked to his feet by the
fellow who had captured him, and led down a narrow passageway into a
commodious cabin where an extremely portly Lunite, whose pagoda-like
helmet was taller than that of his fellows, sat cross-legged on a raised
dais, examining a scroll which lay on a small, diamond-shaped table
before him.

He looked up as the professor was dragged before him, disclosing a
puffy, rotund countenance decorated by a long, thin moustache that
drooped below the lowest fold of his enormous triple chin. His little,
slanting eyes glittered triumphantly as they took in the figure of the

"You have done well, Lin Ching--even better than I thought," he said,
"for this is the worm who tried to communicate with our great lord,
P'an-ku, after all diplomatic relations had been severed with Du Gong. I
recognize him from the picture flashed on our screens when he tried to
send a message to which we refused to respond. He is evidently a
linguist--perhaps can even speak with us."

"If this be true, I will begin by teaching him manners," said Lin Ching.
"Make obeisance, low and miserable creature of Du Gong, to the mighty
Kwan Tsu Khan, commander in chief of the Imperial Navy of P'an-ku."

"I am an Am-Er-I-Khan, myself," replied the professor slowly, in order
that he might properly use the unaccustomed language, "and make
obeisance to none but the great God of my fathers."

The fat Kwan Tsu Khan rubbed his chubby hands together and actually

"Better and better, Lin Ching," he said "You have captured a great as
well as a wise man." He turned to the professor. "How did you learn our
language, Am-Er-I-Khan?" he asked.

"By studying the modern speech and ancient manuscripts of the
descendants of that P'an-ku who, thousands of years ago, journeyed from
your world to mine," replied the professor.

"Bring a cushion for the Khan from Du Gong, and cut his bonds," ordered
Kwan Tsu Khan. "Then retire outside the door, that we may hold private

Lin Ching drew his sharp knife and severed the bonds which held the
professor's numbed wrists behind his back. Then he brought a great,
thick cushion which he placed on the floor behind his captive, and
assisted him to sit down. After a deep obeisance toward the dais, he
retired to the passageway, closing the diamond-shaped door after him.

"Now, Am-Er-I-Khan," said Kwan Tsu Khan, "just how much do you know
about the history of that great and worshipful P'an-ku who journeyed to
your world so long ago? And what can you tell me of his descendants?"

"I have only conjectured that such a person existed and traveled to our
world," replied the professor, chafing his numbed wrists. "Even his
descendants, who are today numerous as the celestial stars, refer to him
only as the first man, their first ancestor. It was by combining the
statements in your message to us with the traditions of the descendants
of P'an-ku and noting the easily recognized racial resemblance as well
as the philological similarity, that I formed my theory."

"Your conjecture," said Kwan Tsu Khan, "must be correct, for our most
ancient records tell of the journey of one of the mightiest of our
P'an-kus to Du Gong, after our terrific battle with Lu Gong had vitiated
our surface atmosphere to such an extent that life on Ma Gong was
impossible except in the deepest caves. But nothing was ever heard from
P'an-ku thereafter, and it was thought that he lost his life in the
attempt to reach Du Gong."

"That is interesting," answered the professor. "I understand that you
refer to your world as Ma Gong, and to mine as Du Gong, but may I ask
what Lu Gong is?"

"Why, Lu Gong is the world which circles the great Lord Sun in an orbit
just outside that of Du Gong--the world which appears red to your
watchers of the sky."

"Then Lu Gong is the world we call Mars," said the professor. "And you
have a tradition of a war with Mars?"

"We have more than a tradition. Our world carries the scars of that war,
and will carry them to eternity."

"I should be interested in hearing about it."

"Very well, but I can only review it briefly, as time presses. Many
thousands of years ago our world was a planet with its own orbit, which
was midway between that of your world and Lu Gong, or Mars, as you call
it. It rotated on its axis, even as do your planet and Lu Gong, and its
days and nights were shorter and its years longer than your own are

"For millions of years my people had inhabited and dominated Ma
Gong--developing a high civilization, and scientists who had explored
the infinitely small and the infinitely great. Our interplanetary
vehicles had traveled to and explored the other worlds that served the
Great Lord Sun, as well as their numerous satellites, and on some of
these we found human beings, but on none but Lu Gong did we find beings
with a culture that even approached our own.

"Soon a regular freight and passenger line was in service between Ma
Gong and Lu Gong, and we traded and visited with that accursed race of
slim, white beings in all friendliness. Then they sent a colony of their
pale people to live on Ma Gong, and we sent a colony of our own people
to settle on Lu Gong. From the start these white colonists made trouble.
Presently blood was shed, reprisals followed, and things went so far
that war was eventually declared between the two worlds--a war which
wiped out the people of Lu Gong, and most of the people of Ma
Gong--destroying also, the culture of a million years on our world.

"The terrific weapons which the people of Lu Gong used were huge
clusters of meteoroids which they hurled at us, after condensing them in
interplanetary space by bringing into play certain magnetic lines of
force which they were able to control. The face of our world still bears
the hideous dents where these clusters fell. Many wiped out millions of
helpless people, destroying the work of centuries. The interplanetary
fleets, battling with their rays--ours green, those of Lu Gong
red--practically destroyed each other.

"Our people were unable to condense and hurl meteoric matter as the
people of Lu Gong did, but they were not lacking in scientific
knowledge, and the great P'an-ku who ruled them at the time set up great
ray projectors clear around our world, several of which were constantly
trained on the enemy planet. The purpose of these rays was to destroy
the atmosphere of Lu Gong, dissipating it into interplanetary space, and
eventually stifling all the inhabitants of that world.

"The worst drawback to this method of warfare was that it slowly
vitiated our own atmosphere where the beams passed through it, and thus
constituted a system of slow suicide.

"No quarter was asked, and there was none given on either side.
Meanwhile our scientists, who had succeeded experimentally in slightly
perturbing the motion of our world around the sun, asked permission of
P'an-ku to construct a huge electro-magnetic power plant with which they
might control the motion of Ma Gong at will, and thus dodge the huge
missiles of Lu Gong which were daily wiping out our cities and
decimating our population. He granted them permission, and they soon
increased the number of their power units to such a degree that they
were ready to try to control the orbit of Ma Gong.

"The units worked, and the plan was to move Ma Gong behind your world,
where it would be shielded from the bombardment of meteoric clusters.
This was accomplished, but when the proper place had been reached, the
scientists came in contact with terrific magnetic forces on which they
had not counted--their power units were incapacitated, and they found
themselves not only bound to the Great Lord Sun, but to your world as
well. Ma Gong's axial rotation was affected, so it eventually became as
you now observe it. Its orbit, after it settled down, was much as it is
today, so that it was now behind your world, now racing ahead on an
outer curve, now lagging behind on an inner one, only to be caught up at
a certain point and jerked forward once more to repeat the whole

"The bombardment from Lu Gong continued until both worlds were nearly
without people to carry on the battle. P'anku, himself, was slain when
the imperial city was destroyed by a meteoric cluster. The atmosphere of
Ma Gong became so thin that the few people who remained alive did so
because they retreated into the great inner caverns where what remained
of the atmosphere had flown like water flows--toward the source of
gravitational pull.

"The operators of the great ray projectors finally died at their posts
for want of air. The bombardment from Lu Gong gradually waned as its
inhabitants succumbed to the power of our ray projectors, until it
ceased altogether.

"Only a few hundreds of our people were left alive in the great caverns,
and there was not among them one scientist for the scientists had all
died in defense of our world. So far as scientific knowledge went, the
race was thus set back for thousands of years. The simple people who had
fled to the caves-for the most part agriculturalists and tradesmen-knew
not how to construct an interplanetary vehicle, a green ray projector,
an atmosphere disintegrator, or any of the thousands of useful but
intricate devices formerly made by this desire to live and, if possible,
perpetuate his race and his imperial line."

"But what of the white race which now inhabits Ma Gong?" asked the
professor. "Whence did they come?"

"About twelve hundred years after the great war," said Kwan Tsu Khan, "a
party of our ancestors who were exploring the surface of our world, met
a party of white people, descendants of the Lu Gong colonists they
afterward learned, who had fled to the inner caverns during the great
war. They, too, had invented heat proof, cold proof suits and
concentrated air tanks which enabled them to travel on the crust of our
world. A parley was started, but because of the great hatred between the
two races, a quarrel quickly became a battle, and only a few of the
explorers from either side returned to tell their stories to their
respective countrymen.

"This started a war between the two races once more, and my people were
conquered because, while the enemy had succeeded in manufacturing their
red ray projectors, our scientists had been unable, thus far, to
reproduce the green ray projectors of their ancestors. For hundreds of
years thereafter the heirs of P'an-ku ruled only as viceroys for the
emperors of the white race. This lasted until half a century ago, when
our people were freed by a magnanimous and peace-loving ruler of the
white people named Mazo Khan. The languages of the two races were,
meanwhile, fused into one, which is now the universal speech of Ma Gong.

"Our scientists had been quietly at work for centuries, endeavoring to
regain the secret of the green ray, as well as to reconstruct
interplanetary vehicles as efficient as those of their ancestors. When
they were set free by the magnanimous Mazo Khan work went on with
redoubled vigor and, as you see, we now have both.

"The present ruler of the white race, who still calls herself 'Maza of
Ma Gong,' the hereditary title of the supreme ruler of Ma Gong, is the
granddaughter of the man who set us free, and even though she may desire
to once more enslave us, she cannot do so because we now have the green
ray and the interplanetary vehicles.

"We, on our part, could enslave her and her people only the scientists [?].
They were forced to begin with simpler things and gradually build a new
civilization and a new school of scientists.

"Even the libraries, which would have been of inestimable value to them,
were on the airless surface of Ma Gong where they could not be reached,
and most of these had been destroyed by the meteoric clusters projected
from Lu Gong. The others succumbed to age and the incessant battering of
planetesimal particles which followed the destruction of our atmosphere,
before they could be reached.

"The eldest son of P'an-ku, who became P'an-ku at the death of his
father, had been commander in chief of our interplanetary war fleets,
and had been taken prisoner by the ruler of Lu Gong. He had left a wife
with child, and she fled with the few hundreds who were the progenitors
of our present race into the great caverns of our world. There a male
child was born to her, and as he was the eldest son of that P'an-ku who
never came back to us, he was the hereditary ruler of my people, and his
descendants have directed their destinies ever since.

"Nearly a thousand years after the great war, our ancestors, who had
multiplied in numbers and increased in knowledge, were able to construct
suits in which they could explore the surface of our world, breathing
air which was concentrated in tanks they carried with them. While
searching the ruins of the ancient capital of P'an-ku, they came upon a
metal cylinder which contained a message left there by his eldest son a
thousand years before. It stated that he had escaped from Lu Gong, as
there were none left alive there to detain him, and had come to Ma Gong
in his one-man space flyer, only to find his world destitute of people
and untenable because of its lack of atmosphere.

"He stated that he was leaving for Du Gong--that world inhabited, in
those days, by strange monsters and savage peoples, and that he would
never have deserted Ma Gong had he found but a single one of his
subjects alive, but that he could no longer stay in a dead world when
there was a chance that he might find life and an empire in a live one.
In closing, he implored the Great Lord Sun to pardon him for by a
terrific loss of life on both sides, so we prefer to leave her
unmolested as long as she does not bother us, and extend our conquests
along lines of less resistance for the present. Of course we must
conquer her people eventually, for there cannot be two rulers of Ma
Gong, but the time is not yet ripe.

"The arrested motion of the vehicle tells me that we are now at our
destination, so I must leave the globe for a while. If you will give me
your word that you will not attempt to escape I will permit you the
freedom of my ship."

"Where are we?" asked the professor.

"We are in the capital city of the descendants of that P'anku who
visited your world many thousands of years ago. I am to meet some of his
descendants in conference."

"I will give you my word not to try to escape," said the professor.

"Very well. So long as you stay on the ship you will be unmolested."

He pressed a button in the wall behind him, and Lin Ching instantly
opened the door.

"You will permit the wise Khan, Am-Er-I, the freedom of the ship, Lin
Ching," he said, "but you will see that he is either recaptured or
killed if he attempts to leave it."

"Lin Ching hears, and Lin Ching obeys," replied that individual, bowing
the professor out of the room.

The professor strolled around the ship, examining its interior with
considerable interest. Then he opened one of the diamond-shaped doors,
and stepped out onto the bridge-instantly recognizing a section of
Peiping with which he was familiar. He saw that the other two flying
globes hovered near the one he was on and that several Lunites were
descending each of the swaying ladders which hung down from the
interplanetary vehicles.

He was gazing idly down at the crowd which milled in the street below
him, when he suddenly spied a familiar face looking curiously up at him.
A smile of recognition crossed the face of the Chinaman in the crowd
beneath, but the professor instantly made a gesture of caution and then
indicated that he wanted his friend to wait below him.

Hastily jerking pencil and notebook from his pocket, the professor
quickly wrote a short note in Chinese characters. It was addressed to
General Fu Yen, its contents as follows:

"I am a prisoner on a lunar globe, and have given my word of honor that
I will not try to escape while here. I have not, however, made any
promise that I will not write notes to my friends.

"My captors are now negotiating with your government for the purpose of
finally signing the agreement which will make your people the subjects
of a round-bodied monarch who calls himself P'an-ku, and rules a race
which inhabits the moon.

"Your people have fought and bled for freedom and a voice in their
government. Are they going to renounce all this now? You, and you only,
my friend, can save them. Act quickly if you would not be too late.

"Sincerely, GEO. EDERSON."

Crumpling the note into a ball, the professor called softly to the man
below, who instantly took off his large helmet and held it upside down.
Into this wide, inverted bowl, the professor dropped the note.

"For Fu Yen," he called, softly.

The Chinaman nodded, pocketed the note, replaced his hat on his head,
and moved away, a part of the crowd.

Then, with unexpected suddenness, vise-like fingers closed on the neck
of the professor, and he was shaken like a rat.

"Worm," grated a voice in his ear. "Tell me what you tossed to that
person in the crowd, or by the Great Lord Sun, you shall not live to say
aught else."


AWAKENED WITH each of his arms pinned to the ground by an armored
warrior and the sword of a third who knelt on his chest menacing his
throat, Ted blinked dazedly and wondered if he was indeed awake, or only

Then he heard the voice of Maza utter a sharp command.

The three warriors instantly released him and stood at attention as he
rose unsteadily to his feet. Evidently these were her own soldiers who
had mistaken him for an enemy. Their white skins and non-Mongoloid
features showed that they were not of the race of P'an-ku.

At a second command from the girl the men filed down to the water's
edge, where a long, low craft constructed of white metal, was moored. It
was fashioned in the shape of a flying dragon like the one he had seen
the girl riding some time before, the metallic wings held upward with
edges closing at the top to make a fantastic roof for the cabin. As it
was without rudder, oars or paddles, Ted was puzzled as to its means of

Beckoning him to follow, the girl leaped lightly aboard. As the earth
man stepped in after her, one of the warriors pushed off and another,
seated in the prow before a small keyboard, pressed several buttons with
his fingers. There was a roar from the rear of the craft and it shot
backward into midstream. The helmsman pressed another row of buttons and
the boat started down stream with a louder roar and a terrific burst of

Making his way astern, Ted saw that the boat was both propelled and
steered by two sets of three jointed pipes each, which extended from the
back of the boat under water. Something, either highly compressed air or
some other gas, rushed out of each pipe as the correct button was
touched by the operator, and the wake, as a result, was a mass of
seething bubbles. To turn right or left the helmsman had only to shut
off the set of pipes on the side toward which he wished to go. To
reverse the boat, he but needed to press buttons which bent the flexible
jointed ends of the pipes downward and toward the front, thus reversing
the direction of the pressure.

Going forward once more, Ted crouched by the side of the girl and
watched the queer lunar scenery hurtle past them. The boat, he judged,
must be making at least a hundred miles an hour, so his glimpses of the
queer, subterranean flora and fauna were but cursory. The phosphorescent
vegetation with its eerie luminosity persisted as league after league of
the winding stream was left behind them. Gigantic flying reptiles
sometimes darted downward at the boat, but invariably underestimated its
great speed, striking the water from one to two hundred feet behind it,
then rising to flap lazily and disgustedly away in search of other less
elusive quarry.

After they had traveled in this manner for nearly six hours the helmsman
suddenly reversed his power, bringing the craft to a stop before two
huge, heavily barred gates which extended from the bottom of the stream
to the surface of a great arch of masonry that marked the beginning of a

A warrior in the stern then struck a gong three times, and the gates
slowly swung back, whereupon the boat entered the tunnel, which was
lighted from above by a soft, phosphorescent radiance that emanated from
hemispherical dome lights placed at regular intervals. Armored guards
with long spears in their hands, and swords and ray projectors strapped
to their belts, stood on each side of the gateway before small block
houses. Ted noticed that they reversed their spears and bent the knee as
the boat passed--evidently the military obeisance to their ruler.

Three more gates, similarly guarded, were opened for them at distances
of about a quarter of a mile apart along the tunnel. Then Ted saw, a
short distance ahead, a fifth gate through which a flood of bright light
poured. This gate, too, opened in response to three strokes of the gong,
and the boat emerged into an open stream once more.

A few buildings of white stone dotted the banks of the stream, which
appeared to be under cultivation. Each of the buildings was surmounted
by an enormous metal contrivance supported by a shaft that projected
upward from the center of the roof, and was shaped like an umbrella
turned inside out. That these were for the purpose of capturing and in
some way utilizing the sun's energy, Ted did not doubt.

Noticing that all were tilted at precisely the same angle, he glanced
upward to note the position of the sun, only to meet with a new
surprise, for the entire valley into which they had come, nearly ten
miles in width at this point, was roofed over with a vault of glass,
fitted in large frames and braced with elaborately constructed metal
arches. The nearer walls of the valley rose, sheer and rugged, for about
two miles. The farther walls were shrouded in blue mist that made them
barely discernible.

Presently the boat stopped at a dock which projected out over the water
from the side of a large building surmounted by a tall, round tower.
Four taut cables, stretching from a row of similar towers about a mile
to the left, passed through a great arched opening near the top of the
tower, continuing through a row of towers, the first of which was about
a mile to the right.

Two attendants saluted with bent knees and bowed heads, then held the
boat while Maza and Ted stepped out.

They entered a building and passed through a large, arched room where a
number of men, women and children bent the knee as Maza passed. A few of
the men wore armor and carried weapons, but the greater number appeared
to be civilians. Among these, the men wore brightly colored sleeveless
cloth jackets that reached to their thighs and were belted about the
waist, and which included nearly all the colors of the rainbow. They
were bare armed and bare legged, and many were bare footed, although a
few wore coarse sandals of plaited grass held by strands of grass rope.

The women were uniformly attired in white, clinging garments of
translucent material that half revealed, half concealed their forms, and
Ted was struck by this contrast to earthly customs where women dress
brightly and men usually wear somber colors.

The very small children romped about quite naked. Those a little older
wore breech clouts, and the larger imitated their elders according to
their sexes.

Having crossed this room, Maza and Ted entered a lift which quickly
whisked them to the place near the top of the tower which he had
previously noticed, and through which the four cables were stretched.
Suspended on overhead wheels from one of these cables was a
bullet-shaped car of white metal with transparent panels in the sides
and a sliding door near the center, which had apparently been held
awaiting their coming.

An attendant closed the door after them as they stepped in and sank into
luxuriously cushioned seats. Then the vehicle started smoothly,
accelerating rapidly until Ted computed that they were going at least
four hundred miles an hour.

As hour after hour slipped by and their speed continued unabated, Ted
wondered at the great length of the valley. He consulted his wrist
compass and noticed that they were traveling toward the southeast. The
valley appeared quite uniform in width, and although there were a few
wooded areas was, for the most part, apparently under cultivation. Most
of the farms were irrigated by small ditches which branched out from a
broad canal that extended down the center of the valley, and was fed
from time to time, by streams which flowed through tunnels in the rocky
walls on either side. Men and women were at work in the fields, some
using farm machinery of unknown motive power, some assisted by
dragon-like draft animals, and others using only hand tools.

Noticing that Ted was apparently trying to compute the distance and
direction they had traveled, his companion took a rolled parchment from
a pocket in the wall. It proved to be a map of the moon. She spread it
out before them and pointed to the longest known lunar ray--the one
which extends from the crater, Tycho, near the bottom of the southeast
quadrant of the moon, curves across the southwest and northwest
quadrants, and ends near the north pole in the Mare Frigoris.

With the pink tip of her dainty forefinger she indicated their start at
the crater Hipparchus, their underground trip to the glassed-over crack
or valley in the moon's surface which terrestrial astronomers had always
referred to as "one of the rays of Tycho," and the distance they had
traveled since they entered the cable railway. She then pointed to Tycho
and said: "Ultu."

Ted understood from this that Tycho or "Ultu" was their destination, and
was probably a subterranean lunar city. As Ultu was the center of the
most extensive ray system on the moon, Ted assumed that it was probably
the capital of one of the most populous nations.

When they had finished with the map, Ted took a note book and pencil
from his pocket and wrote some of the Lunite words he had learned from
the translation of Professor Ederson. The girl helped him to construct
and pronounce sentences, indicating meanings by signs and by drawing
pictures. Then Ted, in turn, helped his fair companion with her English.
Thus the time was passed pleasantly until their arrival in Ultu.

When they reached the great central station, from which cable railways
radiated in all directions, and Maza stepped out of the car, her easy
camaraderie disappeared, and Ted saw her on her dignity as a royal

Evidently the news of her escape from capture at the hands of P'an-ku
had become the common property of all of her subjects, as the huge
terminal was crowded with people and the city streets around it were so
choked with human beings that all traffic had been suspended. Two files
of soldiers held open a lane for her as she walked down from the landing
platform to where a number of gorgeously decked individuals who sparkled
with jewels, some in shining armor and others in civilian attire, waited
to greet her with bent knees and what Ted took to be fervent
exclamations of joy at her deliverance. These were evidently the great
civil and military dignitaries of her realm.

Behind the lines of soldiers, the common people were equally
demonstrative. Many of the men as well as the women, wept for joy. It
was plain to be seen that the young ruler was as popular as she was

Until they had reached the great arched opening which led to the street,
Ted had walked behind Maza in company with two of her most magnificently
attired nobles. When they reached this point, however, she took his arm
and holding one hand aloft, addressed the people. To the surprise of
Ted, they all burst into loud cheering when she had finished, and the
great nobles crowded around him, jostling each other for the honor of
kissing his hand. It was evident that he had been given quite favorable
mention for his part in her rescue from the soldiers of P'an-ku and the
flying reptile.

At the foot of the steps a carriage magnificently decked in silver and
crimson and drawn by two wingless dragons awaited the princess. She kept
Ted's arm, and together they descended the stairs. He assisted her--into
the carriage, but hesitated to enter until she took his hand and drew
him in after her.

A path was instantly cleared for them by the soldiers, and the two great
reptiles that had appeared so huge and awkward started away at a fast

A few minutes ride took them to the imperial palace--an imposing
building of shining black stone set in white metal in lieu of mortar.

Here Ted's companion turned him over to a pompous-appearing chamberlain
who conducted him to a sumptuous private suite. A young, but well-trained
valet assisted him to remove his armor and drew a bath for him.
After a refreshing bath and a shave, he was given a suit of shimmering
golden yellow fabric trimmed with black binding, of a style worn by the
nobles of the court. Then his attendant strapped comfortable, soft-soled
sandals on his feet, and buckled his belt containing his degravitors and
pocket pouch, about his waist.

Presently the pompous chamberlain appeared at the door and beckoned to
him. He followed the officer, who led him through a maze of hallways
into a large, arched throne room, where Maza, attired in the gleaming
white metal in which he had first seen her with his radiovisiphone--her
golden hair held by a band of platinum-like metal powdered with
glistening jewels--presided on a throne of scarlet and silver that was
raised on a dais at one end of the room.

Standing at respectful attention on either side of the throne were her
guards, men and women attendants, and notables both civil and military.

As he advanced beside the chamberlain, Ted noticed a familiar figure
standing at the left near the foot of the throne--a venerable graybeard
who wore a richly embroidered robe of dark blue. He instantly recognized
him as the old man who had been with the princess when he had tried, for
the second time, to communicate with the moon by radiovisiphone.

The court officer, having conducted him before the throne, bowed low and

Although gracious and smiling, Maza was dignified, as befitted a royal
princess at a formal audience. With such English words as she could
muster, she introduced Ted to all the notables in turn, each of whom
bowed low as his name was pronounced. The last one to be presented was
the venerable graybeard.

"Ted Dustin, greatest scientist of Du Gong," she said "give di tcha-tsi
to Vanible Khan, greatest scientist of Ma Gong."

"Di tcha-tsi," said Ted, uttering this unintelligible word of greeting
because it seemed the thing to do.

"Di tcha-tsi na mu," replied the great Lunite, bowing profoundly.

"Vanible Khan, you will instruct Ted Dustin in our language, then report
to me," commanded Maza.

Making profound obeisance, the old man motioned Ted to follow him, and
they departed. In the suite which had been assigned to him, Ted began
his lessons that day. His slight knowledge of the Lunite language and
Vanible Khan's slight knowledge of English helped them greatly at the
start. He learned that "di tcha-tsi" meant "no challenge" or "peace" and
"na mu" was translated "to you."

For two days the two scientists pursued their linguistic studies,
stopping only to eat and sleep. Each found the other such an apt pupil
that they progressed with amazing rapidity. Toward the end of the second
day, Vanible Khan said:

"Come with me. I have something to show you."

Together they went to the palace courtyard, where two flying dragons
were saddled and ready for them.

"To direct your mount," said Vanible Khan, "simply use our words for the
right or left, up or down, or straight. The beast will proceed

Both men mounted.

"Up," commanded Vanible Khan. "Up," shouted Ted, and both beasts after
running forward for a short distance with outspread wings, took to the

They presently alighted before a large building near the outskirts of
the city, and leaving their mounts in charge of an attendant, entered a
great, arched doorway.

Ted found himself in one of the largest factories he had ever seen.
Hundreds of bullet-shaped cars of a kind he had ridden in with Maza on
his trip to Ultu were here being manufactured or repaired by thousands
of busy workers.

He cried out in pleased surprise when he suddenly spied his own
interplanetary vehicle. Evidently it had been brought in by the order of
Maza, and had just arrived, for workmen were removing chains by which it
had been carried.

"We have many skilled mechanics here," said Vanible Khan. "If your flier
can be repaired, you have but to command us."

"Summon a headman," said Ted, "and I will show him what to do."

While the chief mechanic was being brought, Ted quickly took pad and
pencil from his belt pouch and drew diagrams of the missing parts. Under
his and Ted's joint direction, with linguistic assistance when
necessary, from Vanible Khan, the wreckage of the prow was cut away and
orders were put through for the missing parts.

"In two days your flier will be ready," said the chief mechanic, when he

Two days later, when Ted, in company with Vanible Khan, called at the
factory, he entered the cab, and closing it, flew about under the great
arched roof of the factory. The motor and controls worked perfectly.
Delighted, he returned to the assembling floor, invited his fellow
scientist into the cab, and darting out of the large doorway, flew with
him to the roof of the palace in a few seconds.

They had scarcely alighted from the craft when a messenger hurried
breathlessly up to them, and bowed low.

"Her Imperial Majesty summons your lordships to the observation room, at
once," he said. "The people of Du Gong are in deadly peril."


TED AND his companion, Vanible Khan, hurried down a maze of stairways
and hallways until they arrived in a large, square room, the walls of
which were divided into panels. On each panel was a moving picture which
seemed to shine through from the rear. An operator sat at a switchboard
in the center of the room, pressing various buttons on the instrument
before him from time to time.

Maza was there with two of her gigantic guards, and several of her
oldest counselors. She pointed to one of the panels as they entered.

"P'an-ku is attacking your people with a terrible weapon, Ted Dustin,"
she said. "Look."

He looked at the panel she indicated, and saw as through a powerful
telescope, a side view of the great lunar crater which he had learned to
recognize as Copernicus. Shooting upward from the center of the crater
was a bright band of green light.

"Now look at this picture," continued Maza, pointing to another panel.

He looked, and saw a telescopic view of the earth. Despite the many
storm areas which hid outlines of land and water, he made out the shape
of North America, and saw that Washington and the territory surrounding
it were in an immense spot of green light.

"What can those rays do at that distance?" he asked Vanible Khan.

"That," replied the lunar scientist, thoughtfully stroking his long
white beard, "depends wholly on the power of the ray projector which
P'an-ku is employing. If powerful enough, the green rays will contract
and destroy all matter which they come in contact. When nearly spent,
they still have the power to remove much of the heat from everything
they touch. I should say, off hand, that the area they reach at present
is intensely cold--perhaps even uninhabitable for human beings."

Ted turned suddenly to Maza.

"May I have a glass helmet and a suit of insulated armor?" he asked. "My
own suit is useless until I can fit a new helmet to it."

"You may, of course. But where are you going?"

"To destroy that green ray projector."

"Ten thousand of my nak-kar cavalry will fly with you," she said.

"You are very kind to offer help," he replied, "but I prefer to go
alone. This is my war and my people are being killed."

"You refuse?" He could see that she was nettled.

"I decline with sincere thanks, if you please. Time is precious, and in
my vehicle I can reach the projector before your flying beasts are well
on the way, thereby saving many lives which otherwise might be
sacrificed by delay."

"Very well. It is your war now, because I have not yet officially
declared war on P'an-ku. I will do so immediately. Then, if we cannot be
allies, I will fight him in my way and you in yours."

She turned to one of the armored nobles who stood nearby.

"See that Ted Dustin is outfitted for surface flying at once," she

Fifteen minutes later. Ted stood on the roof of the place attired in the
bell-like glass helmet and white, wooly, insulated armor of Maza's
people. He fidgeted impatiently while a great nak-kar was being saddled
in order that its rider might guide him up through one of the huge and
tortuous air shafts which led from the subterranean city of Ultu to the
ringed plain of Tycho above.

At his side stood Vanible Khan, stroking his long white beard and coolly
supervising the preparations. When the flying dragon was saddled and its
rider seated, the old scientist placed his hand on Ted's shoulder, and

"You are taking desperate chances, boy. It is doubtful if you will ever
get near enough to the projector to destroy it, but if you do you will
almost certainly be killed. I bid you farewell, and my prayers and those
of our people go with you."

"I realize the chances and thank you for your good wishes. Goodbye,"
replied Ted, closing his visor, and turning to climb into his craft.

Just as he placed his foot on the lower step a hand was laid on his arm.
He turned and saw Maza, flushed and panting from the exertion of
hurriedly climbing to the roof. As he turned and looked down into her
eyes he saw they were flashing with anger.

She reached up and raised his visor with dainty, pink-tipped fingers.

"How dare you leave me, Ted Dustin, without saying farewell," she said.
"Why you might n-never come back."

A tear rolled down her velvety cheek, and she shook her fluffy head to
dislodge it.

He started to bend over--to kiss her hand. Her eyes softened--drew him
to the beautiful upturned face. Before he knew what had happened, he was
kissing her, and she was returning his kiss with closed eyes, her arms
around his neck, her small, lithe body close to his.

Suddenly he released her, leaped into the cab, and signaled the nak-kar
rider that he was ready. He elevated his craft slowly while the great
dragon clumsily lumbered forward with wings outspread--took to the air,
and circled upward toward a dark opening above.

Although the flying reptile moved swiftly through the maze of
passageways and caverns, evidently of volcanic origin, which led upward,
it seemed to Ted that their progress was exceedingly slow. The nak-kar
rider kept his bright head lamp lighted until they reached the surface,
where it was no longer necessary. Then, with a wave of his hand, he
indicated a vertical band of green light which emerged from the
northeastern horizon, and made a circle of green light on the face of
the earth.

With an answering wave of farewell, Ted seized the controls and gave the
Lunite such an exhibition of speed as must have commanded his awe and

Flying high above the moon's surface in the tenuous lunar atmosphere, he
traveled at a speed far surpassing that of the bullet cars which the
Lunites used in traversing the glazed ray-valleys. As he progressed
toward Copernicus he noticed that the valleys which radiated from Tycho
grew fewer and further apart, and that there were other glazed valleys
coming down from the north. While the former had appeared a glistening
white in the sunlight, these latter were yellowish in appearance,
evidently due to the fact that they were roofed with amber instead of
clear glass. The great green ray, the projector of which it was his
purpose to destroy, gave him the exact location of Copernicus and showed
him that these yellow ray-valleys ramified from that place.

He was less than a hundred miles from his objective when the spherical
bulk of a lunar flying globe suddenly loomed ahead. A deadly green ray
instantly shot toward him, but Ted was now ready to profit by his first
experience with the war globes of P'an-ku.

Instead of continuing on his course, he suddenly dropped for a thousand
feet, and while manipulating his atomotor with his left hand brought a
degravitor gun into play with his right. His aim was true, and the
forward revolving disc of the flying globe flashed and disappeared when
struck by the invisible rays. The globe instantly made a half turn and
commenced a swift nose dive groundward. Before the aft disc could be
reversed, Ted aimed his degravitor at this, also, destroying it
instantly. A half dozen green rays shot out from various parts of the
globe, flashing like the spokes of a giant wheel as the craft hurtled to
the ground--then disappeared as a lurid explosion announced the
destruction of the ship.

Fearing that, having been seen by the aerial patrol, his presence had
been announced by radio, Ted decided to attack at once. He therefore
aimed his craft as if it had been a projectile, in a curved trajectory
which would carry him at a height of about ten miles over the huge rim
of Copernicus, and downward toward the central source of light. With
both forward degravitors turned on and the atomotor running at the
maximum speed possible in the presence of the tenuous atmospheric gases,
the craft instantly became a terrific missile of destruction.

So swiftly did it fly that the view of the rugged, crater-pitted
landscape beneath became blurred, despite the great size and sharp
detail of the major formations.

Ted spotted his objective before he was above the great outer ring of
Copernicus. It was the tallest of the five great central mountain peaks
which project upward from the floor of the crater. The great green ray
which was trained on the earth was coming directly from the tip of this
peak, and the entire crater of the mighty ring mountain was bathed in a
weird green light, evidently reflections of the ray from the glistening
walls and peaks.

In a moment Ted was directly over the southwest rim of the huge crater.
Instantly, he pointed his craft downward, and the invisible rays of the
two forward degravitors struck the peak of the tallest inner
mountain--still more than thirty miles away. Even at that distance the
telltale flash from the mountain top told him that his aim was true.
Then, with degravitors set rigidly in position, he dived straight for
his target.

From one of the pits beneath, a green ray of ordinary dimensions
suddenly burst forth. Others flashed out, searching the sky for the
marauder who had dared this attack on the mighty ray projector of
P'an-ku. But Ted was flying so swiftly and his craft was so high in the
air and so small that it was not easy for the Lunites to locate him. At
the moment they only knew of his presence because the tip of the
mountain peak which surrounded their green ray projector was rapidly
melting away under the attack of his invisible rays.

As he progressed toward the central peak, Ted noticed that the searching
green rays grew thicker and thicker. Suddenly one sheared away the stern
of his craft, and with it the rear atomotor outlets. The crippled
vehicle was carried forward for a few seconds by its own momentum, but
gradually succumbing to the insistent pull of gravity it deviated from
its course--wobbled unsteadily, and began to fall groundward.

Releasing his now useless atomotor controls, Ted concentrated his
attention on the two forward degravitors. As his ship fell, wobbling
this way and that, he kept his two ray guns steadily pointed at the
mountain top from which the great green ray emerged. His craft was
falling with terrific speed when he had the satisfaction of seeing the
green ray wink out, and the section of the mountain top containing what
was left of the projecting machinery, topple over, hurtle down the
mountainside in an avalanche of debris, and crash to the ground in an
enormous cloud of dust and smoke.

But he had not noticed his own proximity to the crater floor. There came
a sudden shock that smashed the keel of his craft like an egg shell-then


STANDING BEFORE the big radiovisiphone of the President of the United
States, in Washington, Roger Sanders waited impatiently for the
silencing of all terrestrial stations that he might be tuned in with Ted
Dustin's powerful superstation which was to relay a message from the

Presently the signal: "All clear," came through, and Roger, looking into
the disc of the President's instrument, saw, as if reflected in a
mirror, the huge disc of Ted's radiovisiphone with the operator seated
before it manipulating the dials.

Indistinct figures appeared a number of times in the pellucid depths of
the great disc, and there were a few unintelligible sounds. Then it
suddenly cleared, and Roger and President Whitmore were dazzled, as
before, by the appearance of the beautiful Maza with two armored guards
and the aged scientist, Vanible Khan.

To the surprise of both, Vanible Khan addressed them in English.

"Despite the powerful interference waves broadcasted by P'an-ku, we have
at last succeeded in breaking through," he said. "Do I address friends
of Ted Dustin?"

"You are speaking to his superior, President Whitmore of the United
States of America, and also to his assistant, Roger Sanders," replied

"That is indeed fortunate," said the old scientist, smiling. "I am
Vanible Khan, chief scientist of Ma Gong, and speak for Her Imperial
Majesty, Maza an Ma Gong. She bids me inform you that Ted Dustin left
Ultu, her capital, which is situated beneath the crater which you on Du
Gong call 'Tycho,' two revolutions of your planet ago. He went with the
avowed intention of destroying the projector of the great green ray
which was turned on your world. It appears that he has succeeded in
destroying the ray, but as he has not returned we assume that he has
either been killed or captured.

"The ray, as you are no doubt aware, was projected from a central peak of
the ring mountain which you call Copernicus. Beneath this mountain is
the capital city of P'an-ku, which is called Peilong.

"Since the departure of Ted Dustin, Her Majesty has declared war on
P'an-ku. Tonight she will personally conduct a mighty army which will
march on Peilong through the subterranean forests. She has not thought
it wise to use her nak-kars--the flying beasts which can live for nine
of your days without air-because of their slowness and inefficiency
compared to P'an-ku's flying globes.

"She intends to attack Peilong in five of your days. If you, the friends
of Ted Dustin, have a way to simultaneously strike from above, it is
possible that we may save him or avenge his death, and subdue P'an-ku,
thus bringing about peace between the peoples of Du Gong and the yellow
race of Ma Gong.

"Her Majesty awaits your answer."

"I have a way," replied Roger, half turning toward the President as he
spoke. "The powerful interplanetary battleship we are building will be
ready in four days. With your permission I will then leave for the moon,
and will attack Peilong in conjunction with the army of Her Majesty."

"But what of the flying globes of P'an-ku?" asked the President. "He may
have hundreds of them, in which case your task will be hopeless, and
we'll have nobody left to run the Dustin factory."

"The factory can run under the directions of our superintendents whether
Ted and I are present or not," replied Roger, "and there will be no
let-down in production if we never return, as long as money and
materials are supplied. As for flying globes, if P'an-ku has thousands
of them, I will still be glad to go, counting it a small sacrifice to
risk my life in this mighty battleship when Ted has braved the same
dangers in his tiny, one-man flier."

"Go then, with my best wishes for a glorious victory and a safe return,"
replied the President. "If it were not for the demands of the nation
which especially require my presence in this crisis, I should like to go
with you."

"You may tell Her Majesty," said Roger, addressing Vanible Khan, "that I
will attack P'an-ku from above in five days."

Maza evidently understood his reply, for she smiled and spoke for the
first time during the interview.

"In five days, then, Roger Sanders, I will meet you in the imperial
palace at Peilong, and may we be in time to save Ted Dustin."

The disc suddenly became blank, and Roger, after bidding farewell to
President Whitmore, hurried away to his electroplane, which Bevans had
ready for the trip to Chicago.


PROFESSOR EDERSON was small but wiry, and it took him but a moment to
squirm from the grasp of the Lunite who had seized him from behind after
he dropped a note addressed to General Fu Yen from the bridge of the
flying globe. Turning, he beheld Lin Ching, his features contorted with
rage. He whipped out a sword, and in his great anger would surely have
beheaded the professor then and there, had not Kwan Tsu Khan appeared on
the scene and seized his sword arm from behind.

"What's this, Lin Ching?" he asked. "Has the prisoner attempted to
escape, that you threaten his life?"

"Worse than that, my lord Kwan Tsu Khan," replied Lin Ching. "The
miserable worm just dropped something to someone in the crowd and
refuses to tell me what it was."

"I refused nothing," cut in the professor. "This man came up behind me
and, seizing me by the neck, shook me. As I dislike being shaken, I
twisted from his grasp."

"Perhaps then, you will tell me what it was that you dropped to the
person in the crowd," said Kwan Tsu Khan.

"To be sure," replied the professor. "I dropped a note, written to a
friend of mine who lives here."

"And what did the note say?"

"That," replied the professor, "is strictly my business."

"I will make it my business to find out when I have more time," said
Kwan Tsu Khan with his suave smile. "In the meantime, Lin Ching, put the
prisoner where he can send no more notes. I go, now, to confer with our

Lin Ching bowed and grinned. Then he pointed with his sword to the
diamond-shaped door behind him.

"Enter, Am-Er-I-Khan," he commanded, "and follow the passageway until I
bid you halt."

The professor did as he was told, and was eventually stopped before a
door near the opposite side of the globe.

Taking a bunch of keys from his belt pouch, Lin Ching unlocked the door,
then bade his prisoner enter.

The savant found himself in a small, windowless room, faintly
illuminated by a tiny dome light overhead. In the center of the room was
a chair, suspended on powerful coil springs. Other springs connected it
to the floor, and still others to the walls on four sides.

"Be seated," ordered Lin Ching.

No sooner had the professor seated himself in the chair than his captor
proceeded to strap him down securely. His hands were so fastened to the
arms of the chair that he was unable to reach the fastenings of the
straps which held his body, legs and feet.

Having completed his work, Lin Ching stood back with arms akimbo and

"His lordship will make you glad to talk when he returns," he said. "In
the meantime I wish you pleasant and profound meditations."

With that, he stepped out and closed and locked the door. A moment later
the dome light snapped off, and the savant was left, alone and helpless,
in total darkness.

How long he hung there in his suspended chair in complete silence the
professor had no means of knowing. Suddenly, however, sounds came to him
which indicated that projectiles of some sort were striking the outer
shell of the craft. Despite his predicament, he smiled to himself in the
darkness, for this was, he felt sure, the reply of his friend, General
Fu Yen to his hastily written note.

He felt the craft dart suddenly upward a short time thereafter, and was
thankful for the coiled springs which surrounded his chair. Had they not
been there to absorb the shock, he would have been badly injured if not
killed outright by so sudden a movement of the globe.

For some time he could sense the quick movements of the craft hither and
thither, while projectiles rattled intermittently against its armor.
Then it settled down to a swift sustained flight and the bombardment

The even flight was maintained for several hours. Then projectiles
rattled once more against the shell of the craft. This second
bombardment lasted for perhaps five minutes. Then the globe shot
suddenly upward with such terrific speed that, protected though he was
by the coiled springs, the professor lost consciousness.

When he regained his senses once more, the savant was being unstrapped
from his chair by Lin Ching. Another Lunite was holding a bottle of some
pungent-smelling liquid beneath his nostrils. The sharp fumes smarted
them, and he jerked his head back to escape the pain, whereupon Lin
Ching smiled.

"So you flinch at the smell of sarvadine, ah, Am-Er-I-Khan? It will be a
pleasure to watch you when the real torture begins."

"Where are we?" asked the professor, noticing that the motion of the
globe had ceased.

"In Peilong, the capital city of His Imperial Majesty, P'an-ku," replied
Lin Ching.

"Excellent!" exclaimed the professor, whereupon Lin Ching, dumfounded,
prodded him with his sword and ordered him to get out into the
passageway and keep moving.

At his first step he bumped his head on the ceiling, then fell to the
floor in a heap. Convinced that he was indeed on the moon, by this
demonstration of the lessened gravity pull, he carefully got up, and
made his way forward with a peculiar, toddling gait that seemed to amuse
his captors.

As he emerged from the diamond-shaped doorway in the shell of the craft,
he saw that the great globe had settled into a circular depression in
the level floor of a great dock made to contain its lower half. All
around him similar depressions were occupied by craft of exactly the
same size and type. It seemed that P'an-ku had a quite formidable

Standing on the dock with several other round-bodied Lunites was Kwan
Tsu Khan, his face bandaged and one arm in a sling. With him there also
stood another, slender of figure, whom the professor instantly

"Dr. Wu!" he exclaimed in surprise. "How did you get here?"

"I had the honor of being your fellow passenger, professor," replied the
Chinaman, bowing slightly.

"Come! Over the railing, worm!" grated Lin Ching, with another prod of
his sword.

The professor quickly vaulted the railing, alighting on the dock.

"You will feed the Am-Er-I-Khan, Lin Ching," commanded Kwan Tsu Khan,
after the latter had followed his prisoner over the railing. "I will
send for him later." Then he turned and walked away, chatting amiably
with Dr. Wu, while the other Lunites followed at a respectful distance

The savant was conducted off the docks, which were lighted by globes
suspended from the arched ends of gracefully constructed lamp posts. He
could not determine the nature of the light, which was yellow in color,
and seemed to come from a liquid with which the globes were filled. Far
above him, he caught glimpses of the rugged top of the great arched
cavern in which the lunar city was situated, particularly at points
where white stalactites reflected the light from the globes below.

After leaving the docks, he threaded many narrow and crooked streets.
The houses, which were set closely together, were mostly octagonal or
cylindrical in shape, and the popular fashion in doors and windows
seemed to be the diamond shape--one hinge only at the left corner of the
diamond, and one catch at the right. The roofs were sharply pointed, and
were either of yellow metal or heavy stone. He wondered why roofs should
be needed at all in an underground city, and especially roofs of such
heavy construction, until he saw a fragment of a stalactite fall on one
of the metal roofs and glance off, alighting in the street not far from
a group of round bodied Lunites.

The lighting system in the city was the same as at the docks--endless
rows of suspended globes containing a substance which radiated yellow

Presently the professor and his captor emerged from the narrow streets
and entered a broad open park, or plaza, planted with luminous trees and
shrubs of variegated forms and hues. Standing in the center of this park
was a huge building, octagonal in shape, and crowned with a narrower,
pagoda-like structure, the point of which reached nearly to the pendant
stalactites on the arched vault above. The lower part of the building
was of red stone, but the upper part was of burnished yellow metal
surrounded by rings of yellow globes and reflecting their light with
such brilliance as to light up a considerable portion of the city as
well as the upper reaches of the cavern.

The professor was hustled into a door at the ground level of this
building, and down a spiral ramp into a dimly lighted room where a
number of men, some of the round bodied yellow race, and others of the
white lunar race, were chained by collars around their necks to rings in
the wall. He was promptly clapped into a vacant place, and a burly
jailer whose touch was far from gentle, snapped and locked a metal
collar around his neck.

"You will feed this contemptible maggot," said Lin Ching to the jailer.
"Then report to me."

The burly fellow saluted, and Lin Ching withdrew. Presently the jailer
went out and returned with a bowl and a cup which he set before the
professor. The bowl contained some chunks of stewed fungus of a leathery
texture though not unpleasant flavor, and the cup, water with a slightly
alkaline taste.

The savant was both hungry and thirsty, and disposed of his meagre
rations with gusto before Lin Ching came to him.

"Now, O pestilent spawn of a grub," said Lin Ching, seizing the
professor's neck chain which the jailer had unfastened from the wall,
and giving it a vicious jerk, "we will learn the fate of one who defies
the servants of the mighty P'an-ku."

After being dragged up the spiral ramp and half choked from the pressure
of his metal collar, Professor Ederson was hustled through a maze of
hallways and passageways to a place where Kwan Tsu Khan stood before a
great, diamond-shaped doorway, guarded by two armored warriors who
carried spears with heads like long-toothed buzz saws, while from the
belt of each there depended a sword on the left and a ray-projector on
the right.

The Khan waited until a brilliantly robed major domo bade him
enter--then took the prisoner's chain from the hands of Lin Ching and
led him into a large, brilliantly lighted audience chamber, the walls of
which were magnificently decorated with gaudily colored bas-reliefs of
hunting and battle scenes in which the round-bodied moon men and strange
animals and dragons figured conspicuously.

Seated on a massive cushioned throne, placed on a raised platform at the
far end of the room, his great round belly cradled between his spindly
knees, was P'an-ku, ruler of the yellow-skinned moon men. Standing to
the right and left of the dais were guards, richly clad courtiers, and
liveried attendants.

The Khan slowly led his prisoner to a place before the throne. Then,
dropping to his knees, he pressed his forehead and the palms of his
hands to the floor.

"Rise, Kwan Tsu Khan," said P'an-ku. "What have you here?"

"I have brought you the first captive of war from Du Gong, O Lord of the
Universe," replied Kwan Tsu Khan.

"You are slightly in error, Kwan Tsu Khan," replied P'an-ku, twisting
one end of his drooping moustache, and leering. "You have brought the
second prisoner of war from Du Gong. The first is already chained in our
deepest dungeon for such time as we care to keep him there, while
devising a lingering death suitable to his case."

"A prisoner from Du Gong? Your humble servant craves indulgence, for he
fails to understand, O King of the Age."

"It does not matter," replied P'an-ku. "We will attend to the prisoner
before us. Your report can wait, although I observe that you have been
wounded, and that two of the other observer globes have not returned.
Let us dispose of this prisoner, first. Who is he?"

"The miserable microbe, who calls himself Am-Er-I-Khan, fell on the
bridge of our globe from a ship of Du Gong which we destroyed, and was
taken captive by one of my men. When we had reached the capital of the
land of the descendants of your illustrious ancestor, he dropped a
message to someone in the crowd below the craft. Shortly thereafter,
when we were in conference with the powers of that land, a revolt broke
out in which eleven of our men were slain. Your humble slave barely
escaped with his life, having been left for dead.

"A man of that land who remains loyal to Your Majesty, and who calls
himself 'Dr. Wu,' was also left for dead, but being less badly wounded
than your servant, assisted him in getting back to the craft. After
taking vengeance on the revolting city, we departed for the other side
of Du Gong, where-"

"That part of your story can wait, Kwan Tsu Khan," interrupted P'an-ku.
"I take it that you suspect this Am-Er-I-Khan of having fomented the
revolution in the land of our former allies."

"Your wisdom, O Sole Vicar of the Great Lord Sun, is as brilliant and as
penetrating as His rays."

P'an-ku glared down at the professor.

"What have you to say for yourself, Am-Er-I-Khan?" he asked.

"Nothing," replied the professor.

"You see, O Light of Knowledge, this vile father of many crawling
maggots admits his guilt."

"I see," replied P'an-ku. "Ho, Tzien Khan. Take the prisoner to the
torture rooms and give him the death of the many water drops."

The Lunite designated as Tzien Khan stepped forth and took the
professor's chain from the hand of Kwan Tsu Khan. Although the grizzled
hairs of his long, stringy moustache and the many wrinkles of his
parchment like countenance betokened great age, he seemed sprightly and
quite muscular. His sadistic grin, as he jerked the prisoner away to
execute the order of the monarch, revealed a single, fanglike tooth in
the upper jaw, and but two below.

Upon hearing his sentence, Professor Ederson had expected the slow,
torturing death of having water dripped on his forehead. He was
surprised, therefore, when he learned the true nature of the Lunite
death of the many water drops.

After being led through a large room filled with many instruments of
torture, and resonant with the shrieks of the victims of the wrath of
P'an-ku, he was conducted to a small anteroom where two men, under the
direction of Tzien Khan, removed his metal collar and seated him in a
heavy metal chair which was bolted to the floor. These two men, as well
as the others whose work it was to torture the prisoners, had their
faces hideously painted with rings and lines of red and blue pigment.

When they had the professor strapped securely in the chair, they
measured his head. Then they went out, and presently returned with a
metal helmet with a ring in the top. The helmet fitted his skull almost
as tightly as if it had been made to order for him, and a metal chin
piece which was fastened beneath the ears on either side was fitted in
place and secured. A metal cable with hooks on each end was next passed
through two stout pulleys suspended from the ceiling, one of which was
directly above his head and the other about three feet in front of it.

One end of the cable was hooked through the ring in his helmet. Then one
of the men lifted a large, cylindrical vessel with a funnel-like opening
and basket-like handle at the top, and hooked it on the other end.

This done, Tzien Khan turned a valve, and a drop of water fell into the
vessel. Noting its fall he watched a small instrument, evidently a
chronometer, which he took from his belt pouch, until a second had
fallen. For some time he continued to adjust the valve, until the
falling drops seemed timed to his liking. Then he dismissed his two
attendants and turned to the professor with his cruel, toothless grin.

"Farewell, O spawn of a slimy worm," he said. "In your slow and painful
passing, meditate on the folly of opposing your puny will to that of the
Lord of the Universe."

The professor was unable to make a reply, even had he desired to do so,
for the weight of the vessel had pulled the helmet and chin piece so
high that speech was impossible. The cords of his neck began to pain him
sharply, and he tried to think of something which would take his mind
off the pain.

With the aid of his wrist watch, he calculated that the water was
dripping into the container at the rate of a drop every minute. A dram
an hour. Three ounces in a day. How much weight could the cords and
muscles withstand? How long had he to live?


TED DUSTIN'S first glimmer of returning consciousness after his space
flier had crashed with him in the crater of Copernicus, was a queer,
swinging sensation.

He opened his eyes and saw the broad shoulders of an armored warrior, on
one of which rested a pole. The other end of the pole was carried by
another warrior behind, and he was swinging in a net, each end of which
was fastened to the pole. Two more warriors armed with long spears with
heads that resembled long-toothed buzz saws, and with swords and ray
projectors belted about their waists, walked on either side. He could
hear the clanking armor of many more behind. An officer, in gaudy armor,
walked ahead.

The young scientist saw that he was being carried through a beautiful
garden of luminous trees, shrubs and plants, toward a tall, hexagonal
building crowned with a pagoda-like structure of yellow metal,
brilliantly lighted.

Presently the column came to a halt before a broad flight of steps
leading up to a great diamond-shaped door. Standing on the lower step,
surrounded by his courtiers, slaves and attendants, he recognized the
huge rotund figure of P'an-ku.

At a command from the leader he was lowered to the ground. Then the two
men who had been carrying him seized him on each side, and jerking him
erect, dragged him before the monarch.

"O, Vicar of the Great Lord Sun," intoned the officer. "I bring you
alive, the presuming parasite from Du Gong who destroyed the
experimental ray projector."

"By the sacred bones of my worshipful ancestors!" exclaimed P'an-ku,
peering down at the prisoner over his puffy cheeks, and twisting his
long, stringy moustache. "If Dr. Wu sent us the correct description, it
is none other than the upstart who calls himself a scientist, Ted

"And if I mistake not," replied Ted, smiling, "you are P'an-ku, the
master of bombast who calls himself 'Lord of the Universe.'"

"O, slimy worm and wriggling maggot of Du Gong," grated P'an-ku. "Think
you that you have performed a great service for your people by
destroying my experimental ray projector? Know then, that I am building,
and will have completed in less than five of your days, a projector with
ten times its power. You could have destroyed it as easily as the other,
but you have merely saved me the effort of dismantling the smaller

"Everything in its turn," replied Ted, feigning a complacency he did not

"As to your death," continued P'an-ku, closely watching his prisoner for
signs of fear, "I will ponder over it. It was you who destroyed Ur--you
who defied me-you who thought to break my power by destroying a small
experimental projector. I must have leisure to devise a punishment
befitting your crimes."

He turned to the officer who had brought up the prisoner, saying:

"Away with him, to the dungeons of eternal darkness."

Ted was hustled away to a small side entrance on the ground level of the
palace, along a hallway, through a torture chamber where victims
shrieked their anguish and hideously painted torturers laughed at their
agonies, then down a spiral ramp dimly lighted by small globes of
luminous yellow liquid, which appeared almost endless, so deeply did it
penetrate the damp rock.

Presently, when it seemed to the young scientist that he must be at
least a mile beneath the palace, the two men who were dragging him
halted at a sharp command from the officer who led the way.

The officer then lighted a head lamp on the front of his pagoda-like
helmet, and plunged into a dark hole in the wall, followed by the two
warriors with their prisoner.

They were in a hand-hewn cavern, roughly circular in form. Cut in the
wall at irregular intervals were the openings of passageways which led
away from the cavern in all directions. The officer led the way into one
of these passageways which was filled with a horrible, sickening stench
that became stronger as they advanced.

Presently the passageway widened, and the cause of the foul odors became
apparent, as Ted saw, leaning against the back of a niche cut in the
wall at the right, a bloated, festering corpse, chained by the neck to a
ring in the wall in such a manner that had the person been living he
would neither have been able to stand erect nor lie down.

In niches on both sides of the passageway there now came into view more
corpses in all stages of decay from cadavers of the freshly dead to mere
skeletons. The floors of all the niches were littered with human bones,
as was the passageway itself, but the warriors stepped over them or
kicked them out of the way without notice.

Suddenly, from the gloom ahead, there came a horrible, blood-curdling
shriek, followed by peal after peal of demoniac laughter.

"Aiee-yah! Ha! Ha! Ha! Aiee-yah! Men and light! Light and life! Darkness
and death! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

"Shen Ho still lives in body," whispered one of the soldiers to the
other, "but his mind is dead."

"A mighty mind while it lived," replied the other. "No puny intellect
could have given us back the green ray of our ancestors."

"Yet none but a fool would dare oppose P'an-ku, Lord of the Universe,"
countered the first.

"All wise men are fools in some things," was the reply.

A moment later Ted saw the madman, squatting in his filthy niche and
combing his stringy gray beard with bony, clawlike fingers. A few dirty
shreds of clothing still clung to his wasted body--clothing which had
evidently been made from the richest of materials of the kind worn by
great nobles.

"Aiee!" he shrieked. "Another victim of the darkness!"

The officer had stopped, and was peering into the niche opposite that of
the madman. A skeleton, on which there hung a few unclean rags that had
once been clothing, half leaned against the wall, the white skull
nesting in the metal collar which hung at the end of the short, stout
chain fastened to the wall.

"This one will do," he said, and entering, kicked the moulding bones
into a corner with one foot while he shook the chain to dislodge the
skull from the collar.

With a key taken from his belt pouch, the officer unlocked the heavy
collar and sprung it open. Then, while the two warriors held the
prisoner in position, he snapped it on his neck, locked it, and replaced
the key in his belt pouch.

"I leave you in distinguished company, O wise fool of Du Gong," said the
officer. "Dead men who have been doughty warriors and mighty khans, and
a madman who was once the mightiest and wisest of all khans. Farewell."

Ted, who was now chained so he could neither stand erect nor lie down,
squatted on his haunches among the bones of his filthy den, and watched
the light from the head lamp of the departing officer grow more dim,
until it finally disappeared and he was left in complete blackness.

Then he reached back to open his suit of insulating armor, which
fastened in the back with an arrangement somewhat resembling a
terrestrial zipper. With this armor off it would be an easy matter for
him to get rid of his collar and chain, and he would have a fighting
chance for his life, as his two pistol degravitors were underneath the
armor and over the court suit he had been wearing when he had suddenly
decided to attack the green ray projector in his flier.

To his consternation, however, the fastening would not budge. Like its
terrestrial cousin the zipper, it worked beautifully when in good order,
but when jammed it proved ten times as stubborn. Evidently it had been
bent out of shape when his ship crashed with him in the crater. He
worked futilely at it for more than two hours, then gave up the attempt
as hopeless.

Presently a new idea occurred to him, and he began picking and pulling
at the fuzzy exterior of his armor on his right side. If he could only
make a hole big enough to get his hand on the pistol degravitor that
pressed against his thigh the rest would be easy. But the armor proved
as baffling as its fastenings, for interwoven with its tough fibres were
tiny metal wires of extraordinary strength. He was still picking
hopelessly at these wires when the madman in the cell across from him,
who had been quiet up to this time, spoke.

"Who are you, white man?" he asked.

Surprised at the calm tones of this perfectly sane question, Ted

"Men call me Ted Dustin."

"A peculiar name," mused Shen Ho. "From what part of Ma Gong do you

"I am from Du Gong," replied Ted.

"From Du Gong! Are you mad, or can it be that I am as mad as I have
pretended to be? If you are from Du Gong how did you get here?"

"In my space flier," answered Ted.

"You are a scientist?"


"I, too, am a scientist. I rediscovered the secret of the green ray of
our ancestors, after it had been lost for thousands of years. It was my
idea to use the ray for defense, but P'an-ku decided to use it for
conquest. I objected. That is why I am here--have been here for more
than a year. He would have killed me long ago by torture had it not been
that he thought he might want to use my brain for his benefit later. As
I have nothing left to live for, I feign madness in the presence of the
guards, hoping that my execution will be ordered and I may be released
from this horrible existence--this living death. Why has P'an-ku sent
you here?"

"I am his prisoner of war," replied Ted, and recounted all that had
happened from the time he had fired his projectile at the moon. It was a
relief to have someone to talk to there in the stinking darkness.

"Many strange things can happen in a year," said Shen Ho, when Ted had
finished his story. "And to think, he has used not only my invention,
but the inventions of my two younger brothers for a war of conquest. My
brother Wen Ho, who is five years younger than I, invented the flying
globe. My brother, Fen Ho, who is seven years my junior, was the
inventor of the powerful explosive projectiles and firing mechanism. We
of the house of Ho spent our lives and our talents on these inventions
in order that our people might have adequate defensive weapons and live
in peace forever. But P'an-ku thought differently about these things,
and his word is law."

"Did he jail your brothers, also?" asked Ted.

"They were condemned to these dungeons at the same time as I," replied
Shen Ho, "but we were all chained in separate passageways. I know not
whether they are living or dead."

"If you found an opportunity to escape, what would you do?" asked Ted.

"First I would search for my brothers and attempt to rescue them or
assure myself that they had perished. This accomplished, I would seek

"And then?"

"And then, the Lord Sun willing, P'an-ku should die."

"I have the means of escape at hand, yet cannot reach them." said Ted,
explaining the nature and position of his two pistol degravitors. "If I
could but get my hand on one of these weapons, I could destroy our
fetters. Then we could help each other."

For some time Shen Ho was silent. Then he suddenly exclaimed:

"I have a way."


"By persistent rubbing, human teeth will sever that wire."

"But I can't bite my own hip," replied Ted. "That's out."

"There are several skulls in your cell," said Shen Ho, "and in the jaws
are teeth."

"Right!" exclaimed Ted. "We have a saying on Du Gong that two heads are
better than one."

"And you will find," replied Shen Ho, "that if the first set of teeth
wears out, two or three skulls are better than one. When and if you run
out of skulls I have plenty more over here."

After groping about in the darkness for some time, Ted finally secured a
skull, tore the jaw bone loose, and began sawing at the armor over his
right hip. It was slow work. The wires were tougher by far than he had
thought possible, and as Shen Ho had predicted, the teeth in the jaw
bone he used were being ground away. When he had worn them down to the
bone after many hours of patient labor, he discarded the lower jaw and
went to work with the upper set of teeth. These, also, were nearly worn
away with but slight effect on the armor, when a light suddenly appeared
far down the passageway.

"It is a slave with our food and drink," whispered Shen Ho. "Cease your
labors until he has gone. I will feign madness, as usual."

Ted laid the skull on the floor and sat down with his back against the
wall, while Shen Ho laughed and shrieked until the whole cavern
resounded with his weird cries.

The slave, a yellow, round-bodied Lunite who wore a light strapped to
his forehead, a long, loose shirt of some coarse material, and straw
sandals, set a bowl of stewed fungus and a large cup of water before
each prisoner. Although he was without appetite in his ill-smelling
surroundings, Ted choked down the fungus and drank the water, not
knowing how soon he might again be offered food and drink.

When the prisoners had finished their frugal meal the slave took the
bowls and cups and departed, leaving them in total darkness once more.

Ted picked up a skull, the position of which he had marked while eating
his meal, tore off the jaw bone, and resumed work on the armor. When he
felt sure the slave was out of earshot, he asked Shen Ho how often food
and drink were served.

"The slave comes once in a rotation of your world," replied Shen Ho.
"Our world moves so slowly on its axis that we use the rotation of yours
to mark our measurement of time. We have our chronometers, of course,
but your world is the great chronometer in the sky by which our own are
guided and corrected. I had a small timepiece when I was brought here,
but it ceased to function long ago and I gave it to a slave as a bribe
for some few morsels of better food than is sent here regularly. A short
time thereafter, that slave was chained in the niche you now occupy. He
cursed me when he told me he had been caught with my chronometer and
forced to confess his defection. Being quite superstitious, he died from
terror in a short time, and it was his skeleton that was kicked into the
corner by the guard and his skull that was shaken out of the collar to
make a place for you." . . . .

Four times, thereafter, the slave came with food, thus marking the
passage of five earth days in all. Ted had used up all the available
teeth in his own niche, and was working with the upper set of the last
skull which Shen Ho had been able to produce and toss over to him, but
although he had cut through many wires in his armor, he was still unable
to reach his degravitor.

Suddenly a light, brighter than the head lamp of the slave, appeared at
the entrance of the passage way. The clank of arms and the footsteps of
mailed warriors resounded through the cavern.

"Where have they hidden this miserable worm from Du Gong?" asked a

"The officer said he was far back in the passageway, excellency,"
answered another.

"I know that first voice," whispered Shen Ho. "It is the cruel Tzien,
who is Khan of the Torture Chambers. With him are four of his painted
tortures. Work fast, Ted Dustin, or you are doomed."

Ted scraped frantically at the remaining wires which kept him from
reaching his degravitor. Several snapped, and he attempted to insert his
hand, but the opening was still too small.

"Hurry!" called Shen Ho. "They are almost here!"

Gripping the skull in both hands, Ted scraped in frenzied haste while
the footfalls and clanking armor grew louder. More wires snapped, yet he
could not get his hand in the opening.

Before he could move, Tzien Khan, with his cruel features contorted in a
grin of sadistic delight, stepped into view followed by four of his
brawny, hideously painted torturers. Then Shen Ho howled and laughed,
and muttered of light and life, and of darkness and death.


P'an-ku, his hands clasped about his ample equatorial region, leaned
back in his luxuriously cushioned throne and listlessly contemplated the
humped figure of his major domo who, with palms and forehead pressed to
the floor before the dais, awaited permission to speak.

"Now what low person disturbs our meditations?" demanded P'an-ku.

"O, worshipful Lord of the Universe," replied the major domo, "Kai Lo,
Khan of Scouts, begs leave to impart tidings."

"Admit him," said P'an-ku. Then he turned to Dr. Wu, who stood at the
right of the throne, having advanced himself in the graces of the
monarch he regarded almost as a god, and said: "I presume he will tell
me that the white princess is about to storm the city. I knew this five
days ago when my spies in Ultu informed me of her pact with the worm of
Du Gong who called himself Roger Sanders."

Kai Lo Khan, a short individual with an oval body and thin, crafty
features, entered and prostrated himself before the throne.

"Speak," commanded P'an-ku.

"O, Paragon of Wisdom and Fountain of All Authority," said Kai Lo Khan,
"the army of the princess Maza is surrounding the city. With her are a
hundred thousand nak-kar cavalry and five hundred thousand foot."

"Dolt!" thundered P'an-ku. "I knew all this was to be five days ago, and
am prepared."

"But Majesty, that is not all. She has sent a party to the western gate
of the city under a banner of truce."

"Ah! She would parley. Go then to the gate and take her message."

Again prostrating himself, Kai Lo Khan hastily departed.

Not more than twenty minutes elapsed before he returned and made

"I have brought the message of the princess, O Vicar of the Sun," said
he, producing a scroll.

"Read it," commanded P'an-ku.

Kai Lo Khan unrolled the scroll, cleared his throat, and read:

Her Imperial Majesty, Maza an Ma Gong to His Royal Highness, P'an-ku an

Greeting: Surrender the person of Ted Dustin, living and unharmed, and
Peilong will be spared. Refuse, and my army will destroy it utterly.

Maza an Ma Gong.

"Tell her," thundered P'an-ku, "that Ted Dustin will this day be made to
suffer the death of the hot oil. Tell her further, that we are prepared
for her attack, and that--"

"Pardon, O just and mighty Dictator of the Universe!" It was Dr. Wu who
had interrupted. The courtiers looked at him in amazement, apparently
expecting P'an-ku to have him executed for his temerity, but he
continued. "May your worthless slave from Du Gong suggest a plan?"

"Speak," replied P'an-ku.

"Would it please Your Majesty to have the white princess as a prisoner?"

"Nothing would suit me better," replied P'an-ku. "Tzien Khan, here,
could very quickly persuade her to become my queen, could you not, my
Khan of the Torture Chambers?"

"Assuredly, O King of the Age, if she should be so foolish as to need
such persuasion," replied Tzien Khan with a bow.

"After which," continued P'an-ku, "with her armies and her wealth at my
disposal, I could quickly bring both Du Gong and Lu Gong under my
undisputed sway. But what is your plan, Dr. Wu?"

"It is apparent from her message," said the wily doctor, "that the
princess loves this Ted Dustin. If the prisoner, therefore, or someone
purporting to be the prisoner, were sent out, she would not overlook an
opportunity for speech with him."

"Very likely," replied P'an-ku.

"I suggest therefore," continued the crafty doctor, "that you dress one
of your white prisoners who is about the size of Ted Dustin in a suit of
insulating armor and glass helmet of the kind worn by the people of
Ultu. Send a note to the princess stating that you will constitute Ted
Dustin your messenger for a peace parley at a point half way between the
western gate and the front line of her army, stipulating that she be
accompanied by not more than ten unmounted men, and that a like number
will accompany Ted Dustin.

"Men can be posted at suitable points along the wall with green ray
projectors to lay down a barrage at a prearranged signal. This will
prevent her from getting back to her army, or prevent the army from
reaching her. In the meantime, her guard can easily be destroyed and the
princess taken prisoner."

"What think you of this plan, Kai Lo Khan?" asked P'an-ku.

"It sounds feasible, O Bright and Shining Cousin of the Sun," replied
the Khan of Scouts, cautiously.

"And you, Tzien Khan?"

"I believe it would work, O Lord of Worlds," replied the Khan of

"We will try it," decided P'an-ku. "You, Tzien Khan, will take one of
the Ultuan prisoners who resembles Ted Dustin in physical proportions
and dress him in a suit of the armor we took when we captured a troop of
the surface scouts of the white princess.

"You, Kai Lo Khan, will go to Chu Yan, Khan of my army, inform him of
our plans, and see that he has men with ray projectors suitably posted
on the walls and ten men ready to accompany the prisoner to the meeting
place. I will send a messenger with a note to the princess, at once.

"And, Tzien Khan. When you have prepared a prisoner to represent the
young scientist of Du Gong, you may take Ted Dustin from the dungeons of
eternal darkness to the torture chambers, and there inflict on him the
death of the hot oil. I had thought to delay his death and prolong his
torture indefinitely, but with the prospect of the honor of a visit from
the fair princess who foolishly believes she loves him, it will be
better to put him permanently out of her reach at once.

"Now go, both of you." . . . .

Seated on the back of her great, fighting nak-kar in one of the glades
of the luminous forest which surrounded the city of Peilong, Maza waited
impatiently for P'an-ku reply to her message. She wore a suit and helmet
of shining white armor, and a sword and red ray projector depended from
the belt which encircled her slender waist. Beside her, similarly
armored and mounted, was the aged Vanible Khan.

Ranged before her were line after line of her foot soldiers, and more,
steadily coming up from the rear, were being hurried into place by their
officers as the army encircled the city. Her nak-kar cavalry had
deployed for attack, and the huge supply wagons, drawn by great,
lumbering, wingless dragons, were rumbling into position.

"P'an-ku ponders long over his reply, Your Majesty," said Vanible Khan.

"It may be that he does not intend to make one," replied Maza. "He
seems, however, to have respected my banner of truce."

"I would not rest too strongly on the belief that Ted Dustin is alive,"
said Vanible Khan. "If he escaped the green rays of the defenders when
he attacked the great projector it would be amazing, but if P'an-ku were
to capture him and spare his life it would indeed be astounding."

"Nevertheless, I shall go on believing him alive until I have proof to
the contrary," answered Maza. "I seem to feel it, here." She pressed her
hand over her heart.

Sailing gracefully over the treetops, a nak-kar alighted in the glade.
Its rider dismounted, rushed to where Maza sat in her saddle, made
obeisance, and presented a scroll.

"A message from P'an-ku," he announced.

The princess eagerly seized and unrolled the missive, hastily scanning
its contents.

"He lives! Ted Dustin lives!"

"And will P'an-ku surrender him without a struggle?" asked Vanible Khan.

"I will read the message," she replied.

His Imperial Majesty, P'an-ku an Ma Gong to Du Gong to Her Royal
Highness, Maza an Ulta.

If you care to meet him in person, Ted Dustin will tell you the terms I
propose. He will advance half way to your front lines, accompanied by
ten of my guards, who will slay him at the first sign of treachery. Meet
him there, on foot, with ten of your unmounted warriors, and perhaps a
satisfactory settlement can be arranged.

P'an-ku an Ma Gong to Du Gong.

"The ruler of Peilong assumes mighty titles since he has acquired the
green ray and the fighting globe," said Vanible Khan. "Emperor of Ma
Gong and Du Gong, indeed! He will soon have the other planets, their
satellites, and the Lord Sun under his domination, if words can do the
trick. And he insultingly addressed Your Majesty as 'Ruler of Ulta,'
ignoring your greater title."

"I will overlook that for the present--to save Ted Dustin," replied

"But, Your Majesty," remonstrated the aged scientist. "Don't you see
that this bloated monster is setting a trap for you--a trap baited with
the man you love?"

"Trap or no trap," said Maza, "I am going."

"Majesty, I implore you not to go. For the sake of Ulta--for the sake of
the millions of subjects who love you-"

"Enough!" she said. "The terms are fair enough--a trap well nigh
impossible. I will be accompanied by ten of my warriors, who can, if
need be, account for the ten accompanying Ted Dustin. I will be within
plain sight and ray-range of the advance guard of my army. They will be
instructed to protect me with a ray barrage at the slightest sign of

'But, Majesty-"

"Not another word. I leave my army in your care until my return. If I do
not come back--if I am killed or captured--attack the city at once, and
continue the fight until Peilong is utterly destroyed. Goodbye, my
worthy khan and lifelong friend."

Grief stricken, Vanible Khan bowed his head in farewell obeisance, while
tears trickled down his furrowed cheeks. When he raised his tear-dimmed
eyes the nak-kar with his beloved young ruler was disappearing over the

Alighting just behind the front line of her troops Maza dismounted,
tossed her reins to a soldier, and addressed a young officer who ran
quickly to her side and made obeisance.

"Pick me ten of your bravest soldiers at once," she said. "They will go
with me for a parley midway between my front line and the city gate.
Instruct the men in the front line to be ready to throw a ray barrage
around me at the least indication of treachery."

She watched the gate while the young officer selected the men who were
to go with her. One by one they took up a position in a line behind her.

Presently the gate opened, and she saw a man the size and build of Ted
Dustin emerge there-from, followed by ten of P'an-ku's soldiers. She had
last seen Ted attired in one of the insulated suits with glass helmet
which her people wore for surface travel, and this man was so attired.
Her heart leaped with joy, and as she went out expecting to meet the man
she loved, followed by her ten soldiers, there was not the slightest
doubt in her mind that this was really Ted Dustin.

As she drew nearer to the man who was coming toward her, Maza felt that
there was something about him which was not just as it should be. What
is it? Ah, his gait. He did not walk with long, easy strides like those
of the earth man, whose muscles, accustomed to a greater gravity pull,
involuntarily carried him much further at each step than the stride of
the most athletic of moon men. Besides, if he felt as she did, he would
hurry to meet her, in which case she knew the mighty bounds through
space of which he was capable.

For a moment she paused, doubting. Then came the thought that Ted might
be adapting his stride to suit that of his captors--might indeed be
compelled to do so. Furthermore, the size, build and attire were

When within fifty feet of the man she strained her eyes to see his face
in the glass helmet. The light from the luminous forest was quite dim at
this point, and the yellow lights from the city were more of a hindrance
than a help as they shone in her eyes from behind him without lighting
his face.

A distance of twenty feet was reached, and it seemed that if she could
not recognize the man he, with the light in his favor, should be able
to recognize her.

Suddenly he called out:

"Retreat Majesty, quickly! It is a trap!"

The voice and face she recognized simultaneously. The man was one of her
nak-kar scout officers she had believed slain in a battle with the
flying globes.

Instantly a green ray from the projector of one of the warriors behind
him cut him down.

Maza whipped out her own red ray projector and the man who had flashed
his green ray disappeared in a sudden burst of flame. Not a second
elapsed before her men were drawing their ray projectors, but the nine
remaining warriors of P'an-ku were already on guard. The battle
commenced with fencing, deadly as it was beautiful--green rays against
red, red against green.

Simultaneously, a barrage of green leaped out from the city walls and a
barrage of red flashed out from the front rank of Maza's army. Where the
rays met they neutralized each other, but enough green rays got through
to form a triangle past which Maza and her little party could not
retreat, while a similar triangle of red rays made it possible for the
warriors of P'an-ku to retreat.

One of Maza's men fell, crumpled to nothingness by a green ray, but as
he fell he took with him his opponent in a brilliant flash of light.
Then a ray from the wall, swinging unexpectedly into the little group,
cut down three of the white warriors. This left seven red rays, counting
Maza's, against eight green rays. With the odds in their favor, the
yellow men redoubled their attack. The whites fought back furiously, and
in a moment both parties were wiped out with the exceptions of Maza and
one of P'an-ku's warriors.

At ray-fencing, the princess was the equal of any trained soldier in her
army, but her opponent, she found, was the most skillful she had ever
encountered. His tactics, however, were purely defensive except as he
tried to destroy her projector. Evidently his orders had been to bring
her in alive. He would feint, swinging his ray as if he meant to strike
her down, but never in a direct line with her body. Noticing this, she
resolved to stake everything on one long chance. Accordingly, she held
her projector away from her--a tempting bait. He swung for the lure,
leaving his guard open for but an instant. But in that instant her red
ray struck him full in the chest, and he was no more.

While this duel was in progress Maza's men were rushing to her rescue
from behind. And P'an-ku's men were pouring out of the city gate to meet
them. She was alone in the center of a terrific battle, unable to move
more than twenty feet in any direction because of the double ray barrage
which surrounded her.

Through the network of rays encompassing her, she saw a detachment of
her nak-kar cavalry flying swiftly above the heads of her foot soldiers,
the riders aiming their ray projectors at the men on the walls and
pouring through the gate. Here and there great sections of the wall
disappeared in bursts of smoke as the red rays cut through the green

Although the flying cavalry was doing terrific execution, its casualties
were exceedingly heavy. Soon a number of the great beasts were
riderless, but more were struck down by the green rays, nak-kars and
riders falling together on the heads of the soldiers below. These and
the fragments of rock and huge stalactites which fell from the roof of
the cavern far overhead whenever green or red rays were accidentally
directed too vertically, constituted almost as much of a menace as the
rays themselves.

When the first flying detachment was wiped out, a second flew into the
breach, and the fighting became doubly furious.

With the assistance of her flying warriors, the foot soldiers were
gaining ground when a score of huge flying globes suddenly sailed out
from over the city walls. They flew in a V-shaped formation, with green
rays ten times as powerful as those used by the soldiers, shining from
their diamond-shaped port holes.

The nak-kar cavalry fought bravely, but unavailingly as this solid wall
of deadly green light approached. In less than ten minutes the entire
detachment was wiped out. The globes then suddenly descended groundward,
their rays forming a solid, impenetrable wall, and cutting off the red
barrage rays which had formerly shielded Maza.

Another globe then shot out from over the gate, and before she was aware
of its purpose, had dropped a huge net around the princess which knocked
her red ray projector from her hand and entangled her in its meshes. She
was drawn swiftly up to the bridge and dragged through one of the
diamond-shaped openings while the globe sped swiftly back over the gate.
Then, while two warriors held her, an officer whose face was bandaged
and whose left arm hung in a sling, took her sword from her and cut the
meshes of the net.

With a scarcely perceptible jar, the globe alighted on the ground before
a huge building which she instantly recognized from its pictures and
descriptions as the palace of P'an-ku. The bridge of the globe leaned
against a jutting balcony which was almost on a level with it.

Stepping out of the door, the officer vaulted the railing, alighting on
the balcony, and ordered the two soldiers to follow him with the

Maza was lifted over the railing and hurried along a corridor which led
to a great diamond-shaped door on each side of which two armed guards
were posted.

A major domo announced in a loud voice: "Her Royal Highness, Maza an
Ultu," and the princess marched into the throne room between her two

The officer who had captured her advanced and made profound obeisance.

"Well done, Kwan Tsu Khan," said P'an-ku. "Take a place of honor, here
on my right hand, and we will speak of your reward later."

The officer bowed his thanks and took a position beside Dr. Wu at the
right of the throne. Then P'an-ku raised his hand and the two guards
brought the prisoner before the throne, after which each prostrated
himself before the monarch and stepped back twenty paces.

Standing there alone in the middle of the floor, surrounded by enemies,
Maza looked up unflinchingly into the gloating eyes of the porcine
monster on the throne.

P'an-ku rose ponderously and bowed--a ceremony due visiting royalty.

"Welcome to Peilong, princess of Ultu," he said. "We are deeply grateful
for the honor of this unexpected visit."

"What have you done with Ted Dustin, treacherous monster?" she demanded.

P'an-ku smiled evilly, while he deliberately consulted his chronometer.

"By this time," he said, "the worm of Du Gong who calls himself a
scientist is undoubtedly dead--that is unless his white skin is so tough
as to be impervious to boiling oil."

The face of the princess turned deathly pale. She swayed, and would have
fallen to the floor had not the two guards behind her bounded forward
and caught her by the arms.

In a moment, however, she recovered her poise and shook herself free.

"You have ordered the death of Ted Dustin," she said, "but in so doing
you have pronounced the doom of Peilong and certified your own death
warrant. When my army has finished with Peilong and with you, the
dynasty of the P'an-kus will have ended forever. My grandfather made the
mistake of granting your father freedom, and I am paying for his error,
but the warriors of Ultu will take full vengeance."

P'an-ku rose, and laughed sneeringly.

"Your army will not long survive your lover," he said. "As for Ultu, a
hundred of my globes left their hangars long before your clumsy attack
on Peilong commenced, with commands to either capture or destroy the
city. With their superior weapons and armament they cannot fail.

"You are hopelessly beaten, O princess, yet I am not the savage and
relentless victor you seem to think me. True, I am a conqueror, and
conquerors must be ruthless with their enemies. In the conquest of Ma
Gong I have only begun to extend my domination. Next will come Du Gong,
then Lu Gong, and finally all the inhabited and inhabitable planets that
circle the great Lord Sun. I will be the greatest conqueror of all
time-not merely a conqueror of nations, but a conqueror of worlds.

"But with all this, I have a kind and generous heart. I could take
vengeance on you, order your torture and death, or make you my slave,
yet so magnanimously am I disposed toward you that I offer you the honor
of becoming my queen--of ruling with me, the mightiest empire that has
ever come under the control of one man."

"And thus," replied Maza, scornfully, "heap insult upon injury. Give me
death--by torture if you will, in preference to that."

"You speak hastily," said P'an-ku, apparently unperturbed, "and in the
heat of anger. Like most women you are temperamental. But I do not
demand your answer now. You shall have time to think it over. And in the
meantime, I have something to show you that will make you forget the
relatively insignificant conquest of your people. Come with me and I
will show you, even at this moment, the beginning of my conquest of a

He signed to the two guards, who closed in on each side of the princess
once more. She was then compelled to follow P'an-ku out of the throne
room and down a hallway which led to a large, bullet-shaped elevator.
Into this they stepped, and were shot swiftly upward.


WITH BEVANS at the helm and Roger Sanders in command, the mighty
interplanetary battleship which was the child of Ted Dustin's fertile
brain, took off from Chicago just four days after Roger's radio
conversation with Maza, and one day before his appointment with her in

Buildings, housetops and thoroughfares were packed with millions of
people with every conceivable eye-aid from opera glasses to telescopes,
tensely awaiting the departure of the "Luna"--for such she had been

She was only two hundred feet in length-smaller than the mighty aerial
battleships of the United States Navy. But despite her relative
smallness, she could easily have wiped out, in a few minutes, the entire
fleet of a hundred great aerial battleships which formed a cordon around
Ted's plant, to see her off, and to fire parting salvos. The air about
this mighty fleet swarmed with every conceivable type of air craft from
the small helicopter taxicabs to huge passenger ships.

Escorted by this stupendous array of air craft, the Luna soared
gracefully upward to a height of ten miles-the utmost distance to which
any of the other craft could follow her-then shot toward the zenith
with such speed that in less than a minute she was lost to the view of
the beholders.

Built for warfare of a type never previously contemplated by men of
earth, she was a marvel of mechanical perfection and offensive and
defensive efficiency. Her powerful atomotor could send her through space
at a speed far greater than that attained by any of the planets in
circling the sun--a speed so swift that no human eye could follow her

She had two sets of degravitors--one for offensive and the other for
defensive purposes. Each of the four central turrets above deck mounted
four cannon-like degravitors that would disintegrate the toughest steel
up to a distance of twenty-five thousand miles, and other substances at
lesser or greater distances according to their various cohesive powers.
The two end turrets, fore and aft, each mounted six degravitors of the
same size and power as the others, and midway between keel and rail each
side of the craft bristled with twelve more of these potent projectors
of destruction, which were in movable, ball-in-socket mounts, capable of
being pointed in any direction.

The defensive degravitors were much smaller and shorter than those to be
used for offense, and instead of being pointed at the ends had short
barrels and flaring blunderbuss-like muzzles. Instead of projecting
their anode and cathode rays in nearly parallel lines, these weapons
shot them out at widely diverging angles--scattered them so much that,
placed as they were, their various rays united to form an invisible
screen about the craft, impervious either to matter, light rays, or
energy rays. When they were turned on, the craft could have passed
through a rapidly moving planetoid or even a planet without great shock,
or danger either from heat, cold, or gravitational force. Sunlight, when
striking them, was neither reflected nor absorbed, but converted into a
white, innocuous luminescence, electrically and magnetically neutral,
yet visible and transparent--a physical paradox that seemed like a ghost
of real light.

With these rays turned on, projectiles fired at the craft would be
disintegrated before they could reach it. Concentrated rays of either
contraction or dispersion, cold or hot, would be rendered harmless, even
though they might be admitted in the form of mild, ghostly light.

Sitting in the control cabin in the front of the craft, Roger watched
the earth swiftly receding while Bevans, seated before a bewildering
array of levers and buttons sent the craft hurtling swiftly toward the
moon. The thick glass panels afforded a view upward, downward, straight
ahead, and to either side, and mirrors connected with periscopes gave a
clear view to the rear.

"This baby sure can step," remarked Roger, glancing at his speedometer.
"Thirty-five miles per second on the head at this instant."

"She can that, sir," replied Bevans, "and I haven't opened her up all
the way, either."

"A hundred and twenty-six thousand miles per hour," calculated Roger,
"and still accelerating. Why, man, we'll be there in a couple of hours at
this rate--a day ahead of time! It's all right, though. We can hide out
in some crater, do a little exploring, get accustomed to the lunar
gravity and have target practice with the degravitors. We'll need it if
P'an-ku sends a bunch of those fighting globes of his after us."

Presently Roger looked out the forward window, then said:

"We're getting pretty close to the moon, now. Start easing her down
while I decide on a landing place. Better not go too close to Copernicus
today. Too near the scene of activities. We might get into a scrap
before our allies get there. On the other hand, if we land at Tycho we
may be mistaken for enemies and have to fight Maza's guards. I think the
wise thing to do will be to land on the central peak of the crater,
Pitatus. It's sort of in line between Tycho and Copernicus, and far
enough from the latter so we would not be involved in a battle before
we're ready. We can keep a sharp lookout, and duck down into that deep
valley between Pitatus and Hesiodus if we don't care to fight an
approaching enemy."

Bevans, who had memorized the outstanding features of the moon,
instantly pointed the craft toward Pitatus while he gradually slowed her
headway with blasts from the forward exhaust arms of the atomotor.

In less than two hours after they left Chicago, they landed in a slight
depression on the sharp central peak of Pitatus.

The rest of the day was spent in degravitor practice, and in preparation
for the morrow's battle. So far as light was concerned, the night was
exactly like the day, nevertheless, officers and crew took their turns
at sleeping and watching.

It was nearly noon of the next day by their earthly chronometers when
Roger, who was about to give orders for the flight to Copernicus, was
startled by a call from a lookout in one of the turrets. The voice of
the man came from a small electric speaker at his elbow.

"A big fleet of globes coming from the northeast, sir."

Roger took up his binoculars and trained them toward the northeast.

"Must be at least a hundred of them," he said to Bevans, "and they're
coming at quite a lively clip. Too late to try and dodge out of sight
now. I think the best plan is to keep perfectly still. Moving objects
catch the eye much quicker than stationary ones."

"I don't believe they'll notice us here, at all, sir," answered

Bevans, using his own glasses. "Looks as if they are going to pass right
over the center of Hesiodus, in which case they'll miss us by about
forty-five miles."

The globes were traveling with such speed that it took but a minute for
them to confirm Bevans' assertion, which they did, almost to a mile,
continuing on toward the southwest.

"Wonder what they're up to," mused Roger. "They seem to be heading
straight toward Tycho. Why, it's plain as day. They're sneaking over to
attack Maza's capital from above ground while she's attacking theirs
from below. Mighty clever of old P'an-ku. Well, here's where our little
Luna gets busy."

He gave a few brief orders, and the Luna gently rose from her resting
place and set out after the menacing fleet. As soon as he got near
enough to Tycho to use his binoculars, Roger saw that the battle was
already in progress. Red rays were flashing out at the invaders from the
crater walls and central peaks, and nak-kar riders swarmed upward from
the underground shafts like bees from a hive. The raiders had formed in
a huge circle sixty miles in diameter, just outside the crater rim, and
were pouring their powerful green rays in on the defenders with deadly
effect. Roger saw two of the globes burst into flames and fall, but
during that time more than a score of the stationary rays were put out
of business, and hundreds of nak-kar riders were wiped out.

The fleet of P'an-ku was easily slated for a quick victory before the
Luna suddenly entered the lists. Then the degravitors went into action,
and the menacing globes began dropping right and left, emitting lurid
flashes of light where the invisible rays struck them. Before a green
ray could even be trained toward the Luna half of the magnificent war
fleet of P'an-ku had been destroyed. Then the green rays carne thick and
fast, but Roger did not mind them, for his degravitor barrage made them
as harmless as sunlight.

Not more than a dozen of the globes remained when the commander of the
fleet evidently discovered that his rays could not harm the strange
craft from earth, and that his only chance for safety would be in
flight. These remaining globes shot swiftly upward--so swiftly that it
was difficult for the eye to note their progress, but the Luna was after
them in an instant, and kept them well in range while her marksmen used
the degravitors with deadly effect. Soon but one lone globe remained. It
seemed to have an especially clever helmsman, who dodged hither and
thither with such speed and in such unexpected ways that he had been
able to elude the Luna's gunners. He suddenly set out in a zigzag course
toward Copernicus, with the Luna in swift pursuit. A degravitor ray
brought him down inside the crater just after he had crossed the rim and
was ready to drop to safety.

Bevans was unable to instantly check the forward flight of the Luna, and
her momentum carried her ten miles past the crater rim and only a little
over fifteen miles from the nearest central peak. Hundreds of powerful
green rays instantly flashed up at the invader, and giant globes swarmed
upward from the yawning mouths of mighty shafts, to attack. The globes
were cut down by Roger's marksmen almost as fast as they emerged, and
the green rays did no damage.

Then there suddenly flashed from the second peak of the central group, a
mighty green ray so powerful it would easily have made a thousand of the
smaller defensive rays. It was pointed straight upward at the earth
hanging in the heavens above them, and the spot where it
struck--apparently some five hundred miles in diameter, plainly showed
as a great greenish-white area in the Pacific Ocean when, a moment
later, the ray winked out.

The operators evidently had stopped for a moment to note its
effect--perhaps to send a radio message to earth demanding instant
surrender or threatening annihilation.

"Turn the degravitors on the peak of that mountain," ordered Roger. "The
globes can wait. We'll get them later."

Before his instructions could be carried out it seemed that the ray
operator had anticipated them, for the huge green ray flashed out once
more, but this time it did not strike the earth. Instead, its powerful,
deadly green light enveloped the Luna.

Although the earth-craft was insulated against the cold of absolute
zero, and was, in addition, protected by her aura of degravitor rays,
she could not help feeling the tremendous power of the terrific
de-energizing rays. In an instant her interior temperature, which had
been kept comfortably warm at 70 degrees Fahrenheit, dropped to the
freezing point and rapidly went lower.

"Up," ordered Roger, and Bevans shot the craft upward, temporarily
escaping the paralyzing effect of the great ray. But the projector could
be turned swiftly, and in a moment it was trained on them again. It was
now the turn of the Luna to do some zig-zagging and dodging. As for her
offensive tactics, Roger found that his degravitor rays were rendered
harmless when in conflict with the rays from the great projector, and
only took effect at times when they could, for a moment, elude the huge
green beam which came from the mountain top.

"We can't keep this up," said Roger, as the cabin grew colder and
colder. "Try diving toward the base of the mountain, then up beneath the
projector. I don't believe it can be pointed towards its own base, and
P'an-ku will destroy his own city if he points it downward too far."

Bevans instantly dropped the craft to within a hundred feet of the
crater floor, then shot toward the base of the peak on which the ray was
mounted. The mighty green ray followed them down so far it clipped a
great valley through the crater wall behind them, but it could go no

"Now!" said Roger, "Let them have it!"

The degravitors were instantly trained on the mountain peak while the
craft shot swiftly upward.


WITH TZIEN KHAN and his four painted torturers confronting him in his
dungeon cell, Ted Dustin tried frantically to reach his pistol
degravitor through the hole he had scraped in his insulating armor, but
his efforts were of no avail. The hole was too small. He quickly dropped
his hand to his side in order that his attempt to reach the weapon might
not be detected.

Tzien Khan took a key from his belt pouch, and said:

"Bend down your head, O spawn of a maggot, that I may remove your
collar. And if you have a god, pray to him, for you have but a short
time to live."

Ted bent over as directed, and as he did so he heard a tearing sound
that filled his heart with hope. While Tzien Khan fumbled with his
collar lock his hand stole to his right hip and confirmed his hopes. The
act of stooping over had completed the work of the past few days, and
his fingers closed over the butt of his degravitor.

As the collar dropped from about his neck, Tzien Khan ordered him to
straighten up. He obeyed, but as he did so, whipped out his degravitor,
pressed the trigger, and swung it in a narrow arc. The Khan and his four
torturers were wiped out before one of them had an opportunity to use a

"Well done, Ted Dustin!" called Shen Ho from the opposite cell. "I had
given you up for dead."

With the aid of his degravitor, Ted quickly got rid of his clumsy suit
of insulating armor and appeared before the astonished Shen Ho in the
rich garments of black and gold he had worn in Maza's court. Then he
released his fellow prisoner by the simple expedient of flashing the
degravitor rays for an instant on the collar lock.

As soon as he was freed from his metal collar, Shen Ho armed himself
with the weapons of Tzien Khan, belting the richly jeweled sword and ray
projector about his waist. Then he took the weapons of the others, made
them into a bundle bound together with one of the belts, and strapping
the head lamp of Tzien Khan to his forehead, said:

"Come, Ted Dustin. Help me release my brothers, and I will help you
find, and, if the great Lord Sun wills, to slay the cruel tyrant who
disgraces the great name of P'an-ku."

"If you will help me to find and destroy the big green ray he is going
to use against the earth I'll go anywhere with you," answered Ted.

"That I promise to do, also, or give my life in the attempt," replied
Shen Ho as they hurried along the passageway.

When they arrived in the circular room at the base of the spiral ramp,
Shen Ho turned into the first passageway at his right. Other than bones
and dead bodies, he found only four half dead wretches, none of whom he

Hurrying out of this passageway, he entered the next, and to his delight
found Fen Ho, his youngest brother, alive and able to travel. After the
young inventor of the projectiles and firing mechanism had been released
and armed, the three men hurried out to the central room and back to the
other passageways, one at a time, to search for Wen Ho. They found the
inventor of the flying globe in the last passageway, sick, and barely
able to talk. Shen Ho took a small phial of medicine from the belt pouch
of Tzien Khan, a little of which he dropped on his brother's tongue. Fen
Ho, meanwhile, busied himself with cutting the collar from his brother's
neck with his green ray projector, and belting a sword and projector
about his waist.

The medicine, it appeared, had marvelous stimulating qualities, for Wen
Ho quickly recovered his strength, and not only was able to travel with
sword and projector belted to him, but insisted on carrying one of the
long spears with a buzz saw-like head, which the torturers of Tzien Khan
had dropped, and which Shen Ho had brought in his bundle.

"Now," said Shen Ho, "we must pass through the torture chambers in order
to get to the upper rooms of the palace. Every man must have his weapons
ready as the torturers of Tzien Khan are armed, and quick to draw."

Ted, with a degravitor in each hand, now insisted on taking the lead as
they mounted the spiral ramp. On the way up, he met a guard, whose head
instantly vanished from the man's neck before a leveled degravitor, and
whose weapons were appropriated by the Ho brothers.

Shen Ho extinguished his head lamp, now no longer necessary because of
the yellow rays from small globes of luminous liquid, and enjoined
absolute silence. As they mounted higher, however, this precaution was
made unnecessary by the agonized shrieks of the tortured victims above

When they reached the door of the torture chamber, Ted, with both
degravitors ready for action, led a quick rush into the room. Twenty
painted torturers, taken by surprise, reached for their weapons, but not
one reached in time. Then Ted and Fen Ho plunged into the series of
smaller chambers on the right, while Shen Ho and Wen Ho took those on
the left.

One after another, painted torturers went down before the degravitors of
Ted or the green ray projectors of Fen Ho. Presently they reached the
last chamber of the series and found no torturer present. It was
occupied by but one victim, and Ted cried out in surprise as he
recognized him.

"Professor Ederson!" he exclaimed, "and I thought you safe in Chicago!"

A flash of his degravitor cut the heavy cable which held the cylinder of
water that was straining the professor's neck cords, and it crashed to
the floor. Then, while Fen Ho swiftly released the savant's hands and
feet, Ted removed the helmet and chin clamp.

The professor attempted to speak, but his voice failed him, and he
suddenly fainted, toppling into the arms of his young friend.

"I'll carry him to the main torture chamber," said Ted. "You find Shen
Ho and get that little bottle of medicine that revived Wen Ho. It may
work on my friend."

"It will," replied Fen Ho, speeding away.

When Ted reached the central chamber with the slight form of the
professor drooping in his arms, he found the three Ho brothers awaiting

"Every torturer has been slain," said Shen Ho as he dropped some
medicine on the tongue of the professor, "and no alarm has been given as
yet, but we must work swiftly."

The professor regained consciousness and the power of speech with
remarkable speed, while Fen Ho and Wen Ho busied themselves with
releasing such torture victims as were not yet mortally injured and
mercifully dispatching the others. These men were armed with the weapons
of the torturers and instructed to hold the chambers against all comers.

"Thank you, Ted," said the professor, "and these friends of yours for
saving my life. I had reached the end of my rope both literally and
figuratively. A few more drops of water in that cylinder would have
snapped my cervical vertebrae."

Ted introduced the three brothers to his old friend, and in a few
moments the professor declared himself able not only to walk unaided,
but to bear weapons. He declined one of the pistol degravitors when it
was proffered him, but took a green ray projector, sword, and buzz-saw

"Now for that big projector of P'an-ku's," said Ted.

"It will be in the second peak," answered Shen Ho. "Follow me, and I'll
get you there in the shortest possible time."

He led them along a narrow, winding passageway in which two palace
attendants were met and summarily dispatched, to the base of a
cylindrical shaft in which there was a diamond-shaped door. Shen Ho
pulled once, then twice, then once again, on a tasseled cord that hung
down from the center door, and the clang of a gong within answered each
pull. Then there was a humming sound from behind the door, and it slid
upward, revealing the interior of a large, bullet-shaped car with a lone
operator who was attired in armor of brown metal and wore a sword and
ray projector in his belt.

No sooner did he see the five men in the passageway, than he reached for
the control lever with one hand and his ray projector with the other. He
had no chance to use either, however, for Wen Ho, anticipating this,
swiftly thrust with his buzz-saw spear for the neck of the operator. As
he thrust, he pressed a button in the side of the shaft which started
the blade whirling and Ted, for the first time, saw the terrible
efficiency of this weapon, the teeth of which cut through the armor
plate as if it had been cheese, instantly shearing the head of the guard
from his body.

Then body and head were tossed from the car, and the five men, with Shen
Ho at the controls, shot upward.

Through the small diamond-shaped windows of the car, Ted saw that they
presently shot above the roof of the palace, swiftly climbing a slender
cable which extended up into the stalactite-covered vault above. Just
beyond the distant city walls, in every direction, he could see the
flashing of green and red rays which told him that Maza was attacking
the city, though he did not suspect that she had been taken prisoner.

The car continued to travel upward on the slender cable until it entered
an enormous, cone-shaped shaft more than a mile in diameter at the base,
and slanting upward toward a glassed in opening at the top which was
about five hundred feet across, and admitted a considerable amount of
light to which there was a queer, greenish cast.

Shen Ho, also looking upward, said:

"See, Ted Dustin. Already they are using the great ray against your

"I hope and pray that we will be able to prevent them from using it much
longer," replied Ted.

"Amen," said the professor fervently.

Although the car was traveling upward in the shaft, which was plainly a
volcanic crater, at a terrific rate of speed, Ted chafed impatiently
until Shen Ho moved the control lever, gradually bringing it to a stop.
He moved another lever and the diamond-shaped door slid upward,
revealing a railed landing platform fastened to the side of the crater.

Ted was the first to step out, and as he did so, he saw a party of
people not more than fifty feet away on the same platform. Instantly he
recognized the slender figure of Maza, still in her shining armor, being
dragged along between two burly warriors while P'an-ku walked ahead.
They had just stepped out of a car similar to the one in which he and
his companions had come up, and P'an-ku, one foot on a winding stairway
which led up into the rock, was saying:

"So now, little white princess, I will show you the conquest of a world,
after which you will perhaps not think so ill of me as a prospective
husband. At the head of these stairs is my--"

He did not finish the sentence, for Ted, at this instant, blasted the
heads from both the warriors who held Maza, with his degravitors, and
the sound of their armored bodies clattering to the floor interrupted

He whirled, whipping out a green ray projector, but before he could
level it, Ted had destroyed it with a flash from one of his degravitors.
He could as easily have destroyed his arch enemy then and there, but
preferred to take him prisoner.

"Halt!" he commanded, "or--"

The sentence remained unfinished, for P'an-ku, with an alacrity which
was astounding for one of his weight and years, had suddenly turned and
darted up the winding stairway, disappearing beyond a curve in the wall.

In the meantime, the professor and the three Ho brothers had stepped out
on the platform and were gazing at Ted, the princess, and the two fallen
warriors in an effort to understand just what had taken place.

"Guard the princess," Ted called to them. "I'm going after P'an-ku."

With one terrific leap he landed at the foot of the stairway, then
bounded up taking ten steps at a time with ease, momentarily expecting
to overtake the yellow monarch around each curve. But P'an-ku had had a
good start, and evidently was climbing with a speed far greater than
that of which he appeared capable.

At length Ted sighted him, climbing a metal ladder which led upward from
a platform at the head of the stairway to a room above which was filled
with an intricate array of machinery worked by more than a score of
armed men and guarded by an equal number. Just above it the giant green
ray flashed out horizontally.

This time it was no part of Ted's intention to waste words on P'an-ku.
Deliberately he raised a degravitor and sighted for the bullet head of
the monarch.

But before he could press the trigger there was a blinding flash of
light, and the monarch, ladder, men, machinery and projector--all
disappeared from view as completely as if they had never existed. Then
there hove into view the prow of a flying vessel on which was inscribed
the word "Luna," and Ted shouted for joy, waving frantically at two
figures in the control cabin whom he recognized as Roger and Bevans.

The air where he stood was being rapidly vitiated by its sudden contact
with the tenuous atmosphere of the outer surface, but Ted stayed long
enough to gesture toward the glazed top of the shaft, patted his
degravitor, and then pointed one finger downward. Roger nodded as if he
understood, and the Luna started for the glazed opening. Then the young
scientist, gasping for breath, plunged down the stairway to the platform
where Maza, the professor, and the Ho brothers awaited him.

The Luna had already cut through the glazed top when he arrived, and was
descending toward the little group on the platform. She drew alongside,
opened a door and admitted them before there was any notable change in
the quality of the air.

In the happy reunion that followed, Ted, with his arm around his radiant
little princess, presented each of his friends in turn. Then he said:

"We still have work to do. The army of the princess is storming the city
and, I'm afraid, fighting a losing battle against the globes of

"We can settle those globes in short order," replied Roger. "After 'em,
Bevans! You should have seen what we did to the fleet sent against

"What did you do to them?"

"Cleaned 'em out to the last globe," replied Roger.

"Then you saved my city!" exclaimed Maza. "How can I thank you?"

"Don't thank me," replied Roger, "thank Ted. Besides, he's in a better
position to collect a reward than I am. Excuse me, please, while I
direct the degravitor fire."

Protected by her degravitor barrage, the Luna first descended to a
position just above the great docks of P'an-ku, where she made short
work of the reserve fleet. Then she rose and circled the city, safe from
the menace of either red or green rays, leveling the walls with her keel
degravitors while the gunners in the turrets picked off the globes.

Quickly recognizing a friend in the strange and seemingly indestructible
craft, the hosts of Ultu cheered, and went into the battle with
redoubled vigor. In less than twenty minutes after the Luna had come on
the scene, the last globe was destroyed and the city was in the hands of
Maza's army.

The Luna stopped in the palace courtyard for several hours, during which
time Maza proclaimed Shen Ho Viceroy of Peilong--then proceeded to Ultu,
where Ted and his princess were married in regal magnificence, according
to the ancient rites and customs of Maza's people.


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