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Title: He Could Stop the World
Author: Kenneth Robeson
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Language: English
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He Could Stop the World
Kenneth Robeson


THE shining, metal ball fell from the sky. Its terrific impact
obliterated a humble citizen of Texas. The ball cracked the cement and
buried itself many feet in the ground.

José Pandrosa was walking near the Alamo. Probably he was the first to
meet death by the shining ball. Women screamed and fell down. Men
swore and lost the red heat from their faces.

As shuddering witnesses saw it, nothing remained of Pandrosa. His body
was now scarcely more than a blot of blood where he had been standing
a moment before. It was fortunate for society José Pandrosa was
humble. Important only to his family.

The arrival of the metal ball was the first indication of the
disastrous explosion that had taken place in the stratosphere.

Other pieces of metal started raining down. They fell over an area of
many square miles. Other persons fortunately escaped a direct hit. A
few of the metallic objects ripped into residences of San Antonio.

A newspaperman was walking near the Alamo. He witnessed the
obliteration of José Pandrosa. The reporter looked up into the burning
blue of the Texas sky.

"Randolph's sky ship!" he shouted. "Look! There's more stuff coming
down! His Silver Cylinder's exploded!"

There was more shocked horror over this announcement than at the
terrible death of José Pandrosa. Citizens instinctively ducked for the
doors of taller buildings.

Nearly everyone had been reading of Professor Homer Randolph. Only
twenty-four hours before, his marvelous Silver Cylinder had taken off
for a fifth flight into the stratosphere. The scientist had come to be
recognized as America's foremost explorer of the upper atmosphere.

Professor Randolph had established the unbelievable height record of
forty-one and a half miles above the earth.

Within a few minutes after the striking of the metal ball, the wires
and the radio from San Antonio were hot with the news. By this time it
had been ascertained that many parts of the great Silver Cylinder had
struck the earth.

Some of the pieces were partly fused, as if by terrific heat. This
might have been from the explosion itself. Or it might have been
caused by the tremendous friction of the miles of descent.

Some fifteen minutes after José Pandrosa died, another ball struck
inside the walls of the old Alamo itself. But this had been attached
to a small parachute.

The parachute ball was hollow and could be divided. From it were taken
several delicate scientific instruments.

Shortly thereafter it was announced to the world that Professor
Randolph had attained a height of fifty miles when something had

The shock of the news was made greater by the knowledge that forty-two
well-known scientists and scholars had accompanied Professor Randolph
on this catastrophic ascent. It was taken for granted all the party
had been blown to atoms.

THE fate of one man aboard the Silver Cylinder might not have
interested the world at large so much. But news of the explosion
brought the greatest shock to five of the world's most remarkable men.

William Harper Littlejohn had been among the scientists on board
Professor Randolph's stratosphere ship. While he was not a publicized
figure, among the most learned archaeologists and geologists William
Harper Littlejohn was perhaps known as the world's leading authority.

Yet for all his erudition and the row of letters he might have placed
after his name, William Harper Littlejohn was known to five companions
as "Johnny."

The leader of the five men who were the most grieved by news of the
explosion in the stratosphere had been apparently the last man on
earth to have contact with Professor Randolph's Silver Cylinder.

When the stratosphere ship had attained a height of twenty-five miles,
a shortwave radio receiver had crackled out a summons in a big
laboratory. This was an amazing room. It contained hundreds of
devices, the results of experiments which others in the world's best
laboratories were only beginning to attempt.

And more remarkable even than the hundreds of appliances about him was
the man who manipulated the radio dials to the proper wave band. He
was perhaps a head taller than the average tall man on the street.

The skin of his face and hands was of the smoothest bronze. This was
the deep coloring of years of tropical sun and Arctic wind. The hair,
also, was bronze, of a little lighter shade, and fitted smoothly like
a mask.

This man had an intensity in his flake-gold eyes. At times, it seemed
as if small whirlwinds of thought were mirrored in them. As he faced
the shortwave radio dials and the message came from William Harper
Littlejohn, a rare, trilling sound filled the great laboratory.

This did not seem to come from the man's lips. It was more like a
vibration emanating from his whole amazing body.

For the man was Clark Savage, Jr., known to his companions and to
thousands of others as Doc Savage.

"Yes, Johnny," he replied to the radio voice.

"This is Johnny, Doc," came from the radio. "We are now twenty-five
miles up. Professor Randolph declares he will double that. I have
observed that he--"

There was no shock. No loud crackling or other disturbances. Johnny's
voice simply ceased speaking. The power of his sending apparatus might
have been cut off. Though Doc stayed by the dials for several hours,
no further communication came from the stratosphere.

IN the laboratory with Doc Savage at this time was Major Thomas J.
Roberts, otherwise known as "Long Tom." He was the electrical wizard
of the group.

"Something's happened to Johnny, Long Tom," Doc stated. "Or perhaps
there was trouble with the power of the stratosphere ship. We shall
soon have news of it."

"I don't care much myself for getting my feet that far off the
ground," replied Long Tom. "But Johnny would go anywhere, if he
thought he could find some new element."

Long Tom was a little man. His skin was pallid. His thinness suggested
he might fall over any minute with some mortal illness. But, in
reality, he was as tough as rawhide, and could handle half a dozen men
bigger than himself.

Doc Savage started checking his record of Professor Randolph's present
flight. The ascent had been made from a wide plain of the Trinity
River. This was between the rival Texas cities of Forth Worth and

Great public acclaim had accompanied the take-off. Professor
Randolph's Silver Cylinder was not the balloon type of stratosphere
ship. Its long, cigar-shaped envelope contained many compartments of
noninflammable gas.

Besides this lifting power, the ship had other secret motive forces
which could propel it upward at tremendous speed. Originally, Doc
Savage had advised Professor Randolph concerning the construction of a
new type of explosive air-force chambers.

Doc Savage had been a close friend of Professor Randolph for a number
of years. The stratosphere scientist was youthful, in his early
thirties. Somewhat like Doc, he had devoted his lifetime to scientific

Hours had passed since Johnny's interrupted message.

Suddenly, Doc's big radio on the standard broadcast interrupted a
musical program to announce:


"Johnny!" said Long Tom, in an awed voice. "This is terrible, Doc! Do
you suppose there could be any chance?"

"There is always the chance of first reports being erroneous," stated
Doc calmly. "Though I feared something was amiss when Johnny's message
was not completed."

The hope that the first reports might be incorrect was not realized.
Too many fused parts of the Silver Cylinder were being found over a
fifty-mile area to make it possible that those on the ship fifty miles
up had survived.

During this time Doc Savage had no means of knowing that Professor
Randolph's Silver Cylinder had made one mysterious descent between the
time of its take-off in Northern Texas and its destruction twenty-six
hours later. That temporary landing had been after Johnny's message to
Doc had been interrupted.

AT the time he started his message, Johnny was in the radio room of
Professor Randolph's ship. The operator made no objection to Johnny's
desire to send a private communication.

Johnny had informed Doc they were twenty-five miles up, and had
started to tell something of what he had observed. At that instant, a
tall man appeared in the door of the radio room. His hand flicked a

The operator moved a switch. For several seconds, Johnny continued
speaking, unaware he had been cut off. Then he saw the tall, blue-eyed
man standing in the doorway.

Professor Homer Randolph was smiling. Though young, his face held many
tiny wrinkles. But these seemed to be the marks of thought and humor.

"I deeply regret, Professor Littlejohn, but I had meant to announce no
messages were to be sent at this time," he remarked. "Please don't be
offended at being cut off."

"You will observe, Professor Randolph, by the continuing convolutions
of my risibilities, that I am not suffering with the slightest
frustration," stated Johnny solemnly, a twinkle in his eyes and a grin
across a face that looked like skin drawn over the skull of a
skeleton. "I was conversing with Doc."

Johnny never used simple words when more complicated language would

Randolph continued smiling.

"I know of no one I would rather communicate with myself," he said.
"Doc Savage, I believe, is the best friend I have on earth. I only
hope he will understand something of what I am about to undertake."

"There isn't much of your experimentation that has eluded Doc's
attention," said Johnny. "I would not be surprised if he could now
describe about what we will encounter fifty miles up."

"Neither would I," instantly agreed Randolph. "But I imagine you will
be surprised by something else later. For example, right now, I have
given the word to descend."

"Well, I'll be superamalgamated!" exclaimed Johnny. "And I judge, from
your attitude, you are not contemplating more extensive

"I am keeping it somewhat of a secret," said Professor Randolph. "Some
of my guests know of it and others do not. However, I am convinced all
will be pleased."

WHETHER Randolph's scholarly guests would or would not be pleased, the
professor was descending the great Silver Cylinder toward the earth.

The stratosphere ship, under perfect control, bumped to a stop in the
midst of an uninhabited area. Randolph ordered his guests to disembark
for a short time.

"Unless I am suffering with olfactory illusion, we are in the midst of
the wide-open spaces, and I would judge, in Arizona," said Johnny to
one of his companion scientists.

Tang of alkali and mesquite permeated the air. The Silver Cylinder
rested easily on a vast plain. Gaunt-armed cactus reared like stripped
ghosts against the night horizon.

Randolph came directly to Johnny.

"I want you, first of all, to know of my new plans," he said
pleasantly. "Because very soon I hope to have Doc Savage know and
understand, and perhaps join with me in this venture."

Professor Randolph talked rapidly, for perhaps five minutes. Until he
had finished, Johnny made no comment. Now he spoke.

"Frankly, Professor Randolph, all this is the height of impossible
fantasy. I could not co-operate to any degree. Should such an
experiment be carried forward, you make it incumbent upon me to inform
Doc. Perhaps some of your friends have deluded you into thinking such
an absurdity may be possible."

Randolph's blue eyes still smiled pleasantly at Johnny.

"Think it over for a few minutes," he advised, "while we are busy
about our preparations."

A few moments later, Johnny managed to separate himself from the
others. Randolph and his own group of aides were clustered near the
tail of the Silver Cylinder. Johnny observed that the radio operator
was in the group.

Moving with infinite caution, Johnny slid into the stratosphere ship.
In the radio room, he discovered the power was now on. He could only
hope that the crackling of the shortwave band might not reach the ears
of Randolph and his men too soon.

Johnny's skeleton face wore a scornful grin. Privately, he believed
Randolph's successes must have gone to his head. Perhaps his overtaxed
brain needed rest.

Anyway, this was something Doc Savage should know. Johnny had decided
then he would slip away into the darkness. Even the wilderness of the
Arizona desert must have trails he could follow. He believed several
others would join him.

The shortwave tubes glowed with purple light. Johnny became intent on
attempting to tune in on Doc's special shortwave set.

"I feared as much," came the quiet voice of Randolph behind him.


BEFORE Johnny could turn or reply, he was enveloped in the shrouding
folds of a black cloth. No doubt, the mild Professor Randolph knew
something of the geologist's prowess.

Johnny's bony, elongated figure doubled and straightened. Both his
knuckled fists found instant marks. Though he could not see, the
geologist sensed the presence of half a dozen misguided persons who
possibly had imagined he would be easily overpowered.

Somehow, he got a neck-and-leg hold on the nearest man. His bony arms
tightened. The man howled. Tubes, condensers and other parts of the
intricate radio splintered and crashed. The man Johnny had thrown from
him swore in a most unscientific manner. He was picking bits of glass
and wire out of his ears.

"It is to be regretted," came the still cool voice of Randolph, "but
we must use other means, Professor Littlejohn."

The other means used was a blackjack. It hit the bony Johnny on the
head. Johnny shuddered and sank down.

WHEN Johnny recovered, he was free of the shrouding cloth. His head
buzzed abominably. His first thought was it had resulted from the
stiff blow on the skull. His brain seemed to be aching from that.

But the buzzing was something else. Johnny noticed he was now in a
compartment of the Silver Cylinder into which he had not before been
admitted. Also, he found he was seated in a chair not greatly
different from the execution spot in some states.

Close to Johnny's head two shining, coppery discs gave off a whirring
buzz. They were whirling at incredible speed. Johnny made out several
others of his companions in similar chairs. He noted they were those
who had not been directly in Randolph's group of aides.

Randolph was standing close by. He was glancing at his watch and
observing Johnny. Johnny passed up his long words this time.

"Perhaps before the electrocution, you will inform the prisoner what
it is all about?" said Johnny sarcastically.

Randolph's mild, blue eyes smiled at him. He glanced again at his

"The venture I was speaking about, Professor Littlejohn?" he said
interrogatively. "Do you not now believe it would meet with amazing

"Certainly," replied Johnny promptly. "I am in thorough agreement with
your infinitely astounding promulgation. You can count on me for
thorough co-operation. The possibilities are unlimited. When do we
embark upon this enterprise?"

Apparently, the abrupt reversal of his attitude was no ruse on the
part of Johnny. Nor did Professor Randolph indicate he suspected it
might be such.

Randolph walked along, speaking with others who had opposed his
announced experiment. All must have given the same agreement as
Johnny. They were being released from the weird chairs.

The coppery discs beside each chair ceased to whirr.

"All along," stated Johnny, "I have believed in a universal and
supreme ebullition of power."

No one replied. None was listening at the moment. Professor Randolph
was snapping out orders. The explosive force of the Silver Cylinder
was being turned on.

Within a few minutes, the stratosphere ship was again in the air. Its
course was on an upward angle, which would carry it back from the
Arizona desert toward the Texas sky from which it had detoured.

As the silver airship rose rapidly into the sky, Professor Randolph
looked around him.

"This time," he announced solemnly, "we shall remain on top of the

Professor Randolph must have been mistaken. He and his companions
failed to "stay on top of the world."

IN the weeks which had elapsed since the disappearance of William
Harper Littlejohn in the stratosphere ship of Professor Randolph, Doc
Savage's companions had been somewhat scattered.

Colonel John Renwick, known as "Renny," the big-fisted engineer, was
in Japan on a project that was to make him a wealthy man, although in
his own right Renny was a millionaire.

Brigadier General Theodore Marley Brooks, the Beau Brummell of the
group, but known as "Ham," was absent from Manhattan. When it came to
lawyers, it was doubtful if any were smarter than Ham, and certainly
none were better dressed.

With Ham was the ugliest and most likeable personage perhaps of all.
He was Andrew Blodgett Mayfair, but because of his resemblance to the
apes in the jungle, he was known as "Monk." As for Monk, industrial
chemistry owed him many great debts, he being one of the best chemists
in the land.

At the present time, Ham and Monk were together in the same city. Ham
was attending a convention of the American Bar Association of Lawyers.
Monk was at another conference named The World Society of Chemists.
Both conferences were in Salt Lake City.

Long Tom was the only one who was with Doc at the present time. He was
busy working at Doc's complicated radio system. On his face was a look
of gloom. Something like permanent sorrow had come upon Doc and his
companions since the apparent fate of Johnny.

Long Tom suddenly stepped back from the complicated system of knobs
and dials on Doc's special shortwave radio set. Long Tom's hands
jerked loose.

"Great Scott, Doc!" he exploded. "I got something that I wasn't
expecting! Now how in thunderation could the juice leak through like

"Perhaps it wasn't the electricity," commented Doc. "I have been
noticing the vibration needles for some time. If you will take a look
at the television plate, you will observe some shadowy substance."

Doc's televisor was one of his first radio triumphs. He was possibly
the first man in the world to make it possible to see the broadcaster
of a message. However, this was limited to the special shortwave band
employed by his own men and himself.

At this time, a shadow appeared to be moving across the slate-colored
glass. For a time it looked as if it were the replica of a man's hand.
Then it took on what might have been a human face.

"Throw the switch over to the amateur shortwave band," Doc suddenly
directed Long Tom. "Perhaps some enthusiast has come close to our own

As Long Tom threw the switch over, bringing in what might have been
any amateur on his allotted and limited broadcasting wave, a blurred
voice mumbled.

"Blub-blub-blub--" it went.

At the same time, the shadow in the televisor became more like a human
face. The features, however, were indistinct. They appeared somewhat
like a futuristic painting.

"Great Scott!" came from Long Tom, who did not often grow excited. "I
thought I heard it say, 'Doc Savage!'"

"You are correct, Long Tom. Perhaps I can clear it up."

The voice cleared only enough for thickly mumbled words to become
intelligible. The bronze giant had the world's keenest auditory sense.
For years, his ears had been trained by a special scale-sounding
instrument of his own devising.

At this time, he could make out words where Long Tom heard only the
confused mumbling.

"Doc Savage--Union Square--eight o'clock tonight--affects millions--
you will hear later--reception will be clearer--Doc--I will tell--"

Whatever the voice out of the mysterious distance would tell was lost
in strident static. But throughout the laboratory trilled the sound of
surprise, of danger, of concentration. Only when something greatly
stirred Doc's emotions was this rare, indefinable trilling to be

"What is it, Doc?" said Long Tom. "I couldn't make head or tail of the

"Long Tom, no radio voice ever came from occult forces, so far as
science has ever determined," Doc stated quietly. "But only just now I
came to believe Johnny is not dead. He did not perish on Professor
Randolph's ship."

Long Tom gulped.

"We shall go to Union Square this evening at eight o'clock," said Doc.
"This could be some amateur broadcaster attempting his crude idea of a
joke, but I believe it is serious."

IT is said that "anything can happen, and usually does" in Manhattan's
Union Square.

Over in one corner of the Square a group with banners held a place. A
youth was on a box. His words and the banners indicated this group
were backers of one of several forms of social security.

The Square was unusually crowded. More than the customary number of
citizens seemed to have been drawn here tonight. Doc's keen ears
caught the remark of a woman in a group close by.

"I was on the amateur short wave, an' I heard a funny message to Doc
Savage," she was saying. "I hope I do get to see that man, I've heard
so much about him."

From the increasing number of people, it seemed that every radio fan
on the amateur short-wave band had hurried to Union Square for a
possible glimpse of the noted bronze adventurer.

Doc Savage searched the crowd with his flake-gold eyes. In all this
milling Manhattan throng he was seeking something which even Long Tom
did not suspect.

The banners of the group advocating its form of social security jutted
above the heads of a score of persons. More than a hundred others were
surrounding this box.

Near Doc and Long Tom a tall, pale-faced old man had taken up his
stand. Before him a huge, long telescope was set upon a brass-legged
tripod. The telescope pointed directly at one of the brightest stars.

Doc noted this was Jupiter, then in its ascendancy. The night was
unusually clear. Jupiter glowed plainly.

Doc was watching, listening to the human movement and muttering of
voices throughout the Square. His eyes turned back often to the thin,
tall old man with his pointed telescope.

Business either was poor, or the telescope man was making no great
effort to gain patronage. The man seemed more interested in the social
security meeting.

A young woman was replacing the youth who had been speaking.

Doc Savage said nothing to Long Tom. He remained motionless. Only a
score or more persons nearest him looked up and around quickly.
Perhaps they imagined some rare, tropical bird had escaped and flown
to Union Square.

From Doc was coming the note of sudden concentration, or of possible
impending danger. His eyes whipped from the young woman to the old man
beside the telescope.

Doc stood motionless, waiting. He was not sure what he was waiting
for, but the very good-looking young woman now smiling from the
speaker's box a few yards away was well known to him.

And she was Ann Garvin, herself a professor of sociology. This simple
fact would not thus have riveted the bronze man to attention. What
held him was knowing that Ann Garvin had been betrothed to Professor
Homer Randolph up to the time his stratosphere ship had blown itself
to bits.

"Be prepared for some quick action," Doc advised Long Tom, in a low
tone. "I am not sure just what is about to happen, but I still believe
it may have a great deal to do with Johnny."

ANN GARVIN commenced speaking. Her voice was liquidly pleasing. It
rang with the sincerity of her belief.

"Not all of us were created for work!" she asserted. "I believe there
should be provision made by society for support of all its creative

The pretty young woman's idea of a workless era--presumably for the
class now surrounding her--elicited ringing cheers. The flamboyant
banners were jostled and shaken in encouragement.

"The old man with the telescope apparently is not greatly interested
in earning dimes," said Doc to Long Tom.

"Looks more like some photographer trying to get a slant on the woman
speaker," commented Long Tom. "Perhaps he has a camera hidden in the

The tall man beside the telescope had pushed away a woman who had just
held out a dime. He was slowly bringing the lens of the telescope
lower. The instrument now seemed to point directly at the attractive
Ann Garvin.

Doc touched Long Tom's arm and started to glide slowly toward the
speaker's box. He accomplished this with the movement of a jungle cat.
Though there was a crowd, none touched him and he touched no one.

The old telescope man appeared to have a sudden interest in all the
social security group. He was applying one eye to the telescope, as if
bringing the speaker and her cheering supporters closer.

For an instant, Ann Garvin hesitated in her speech. She stood
perfectly motionless. She was a tall and striking blonde. If she could
have held that pose, a sculptor would have been delighted.

But abruptly Ann Garvin threw out her hands.

"It's all silly, ridiculous nonsense!" she cried out. "We cannot hope
to accomplish anything in life without working for it! Suppose some
are artistic, creative? If they cannot earn their own recognition,
they do not deserve it--"

Doc Savage had halted. He stood, with Long Tom beside him, close to
the pointed telescope.

Long Tom, who usually had little humor, drawled laughingly, "I would
say the speaker has sure taken a woman's privilege to change her mind.
Doc, that is very odd. The crowd's taking to her new line."

It was extremely odd.

"That's what we all want!" voices were shouting. "If we hope to get
anywhere, we've got to work for it! Hey! Throw down the banners! We'll
face things like they are!"

A big Irish policeman who had been listening looked as if he were
about to lose his lower jaw. His big mouth gaped open. The brawny
copper had seen many human vagaries demonstrated in Union Square. None
had ever been more disconcerting than this.

"Shure, an' it's some kind of a trick!" he grumbled.

He shouldered toward the speaker's box. All the crowd had sensed
something new--something beyond their understanding. Banners which had
demanded workless security for a definite class were being trampled

DOC SAVAGE halted abruptly, waiting. His hand touched Long Tom's arm.
His eyes were upon the old man with the telescope. The bronze giant
apparently had an inner warning of something even more startling to
take place.

Police were attempting to form a ring about Ann Garvin and her group.
They were not sure what had happened, but they had seen mob violence
break often from slighter origins than this.

Clearly, above the muttering of the crowd, the shuffling of many feet,
a Voice spoke calmly. It might have been transmitted through the old
man's telescope. Or it might have come from some other spot.

"Ann Garvin! You have become the first of a new and changing order!
You do not understand, but you will be a leader in controlling a
movement of vast benefit to society!"

Ann Garvin's lips still moved, but they made no sound. Standing on the
box, yellow hair blowing a little, she was a queenly figure. One hand
fluttered to her throat. A little scream of unbelieving bewilderment
came from her.

"Homer! Homer! It can't be--it isn't you?"

"It is I, Ann!" announced the Voice quite clearly in the sudden hush
over the crowd.

"Alive! Homer--Professor Randolph is alive!" cried Ann Garvin,
springing from the box. "Where are you, Homer?"

Doc Savage at this instant caught Long Tom's shoulders in his strong
hands. He lifted the lighter man, hurling him far to one side.

Doc himself moved with the gliding speed of a jungle animal avoiding
the blow of an enemy. Nearly all the crowd had surged toward Ann
Garvin and her group.

Three persons, two men and a woman were standing close to the old man
and his telescope. The space about them was temporarily clear. It was
away from the telescope Doc had so swiftly removed himself and Long

Doubtless none had felt the tingling which had suddenly flashed over
Doc's highly sensitized body. This could have been the emanation of
something like an electrical current. But it was different.

Voices shouted hoarsely now. There was no explosion. Not so much as a
flash of light appeared. The persons around Ann Garvin were still
centering their attention upon what might be happening to the striking
young woman.

"What the hell an' all?" roared the big Irish policeman. "Hey, there,
you! Get back!"

The copper's mouth dropped open again. He may have imagined he was
yelling at the man with the telescope. But he had been addressing
nothing but a small cloud of vaporish blue which had arisen around
this man and the three persons nearest him.

"What happened, Doc?" jerked out Long Tom, pulling himself to his
feet. "Great Scott! Look at that!"

Long Tom could now understand Doc's action. They had been the closest
in the crowd to the others standing near the huge, old telescope.

Now there was no telescope. The blue vapor drifted quickly upward and
was dispelled. The swearing Irish policeman had his service revolver
in one hand. Perhaps he imagined some one had set off a gas bomb.

But no odor came from the vanishing little cloud of blue vapor. The
light breeze tore it quickly to wisps that hung a few seconds and

"The old man is gone," breathed Long Tom. "Doc, there were some others

The revolver in the Irish copper's hand was shaking up and down. The
policeman was momentarily transfixed. Then he got hold of himself with
a yell of authority.

"Alla yuh stay back! Keep movin' now!"

THIS command was hardly needed. Horrified cries broke out. Screams and
oaths mingled. These came from those nearest where the telescope had
stood on its tripod.

On the pavement were four small heaps of blowing gray ashes. The
breeze caught these. The ash was rising. Those nearest cried out in
fear and pushed their weight against others to escape the touch of
these ashes.

One small heap of ash was where the old man had operated his
telescope. The other three marked the spots where two men and a woman
had stood. The bluish cloud had enveloped these four.

Doc Savage, Long Tom and the policeman were the three who had been
watching. They knew better than the others that none of the four had
come out of that cloud.

The policeman looked at the gray ashes. He started blowing his
whistle. Fellow coppers elbowed toward him.

Even the ashes were drifting away. Not even a metal object remained.
It would be a long time before the Bureau of Missing Persons would
confirm the identity of the three citizens who had stood beside the
man with the telescope.


DOC SAVAGE lingered only a matter of seconds near the gruesome gray
ashes. He whirled, whipped into the crowd around Ann Garvin.

Long Tom followed the bronze man closely. The throng was closely
packed. Doc did not seem to employ violence. His hands did not fall
roughly on any person. But his massive, cabled arms became a smoothly
moving wedge which opened the way to the blond young woman.

The greater part of the crowd had not witnessed the weird
disappearance of the telescope and the dissolution of four persons.
Most of the crowd could not understand why a few had suddenly become a
small, fear-maddened mob seeking only escape from Union Square.

Police whistles shrilled. A number of hoodlums scattered here and
there saw their opportunity. The sudden confusion gave them an
opportunity for picking pockets. The police had their hands full.

Women screamed. Already, sirens were sounding in streets off the
square. Emergency riot squads were arriving.

Two men appeared suddenly beside Ann Garvin. They were well dressed
and had the appearance of dignified, intelligent citizens, One of
these men caught the woman by an arm.

"Come with us quickly," he said, in a low voice. "Professor Randolph
sent us to bring you."

"Homer sent you?" said Ann Garvin. "Then it's all right."

A taxicab had pulled up to the edge of the milling crowd. The two men
had come from this vehicle. They started back toward the taxicab, with
Ann Garvin walking willingly between them.

Doc Savage had changed the direction of his movements.

"Long Tom, move our sedan up to the nearest corner," he instructed.
"Hold it there."

THE two men escorting Ann Garvin were smiling pleasantly.

"What is it all about?" said the young woman. "The world has believed
Homer--Professor Randolph--died in his ship."

"We cannot explain here," said one of the men. "We are only obeying
Professor Randolph's instructions. He is here in Manhattan. His voice
came to you by radio transmission."

If Ann Garvin had known of the astounding annihilation of four persons
and the strange telescope, she might have been more suspicious. She
had been too closely surrounded to observe this horror.

The driver of the taxicab was sitting rigidly upright in his seat. The
men did not seem to think it unusual that he did not move to open the
door. One of the pair preceded Ann Garvin.

The young woman was permitted to enter the cab ahead of her
companions. She seated herself suddenly. No outcry of warning came
from her.

There was hardly time to have given the two men a hint that all was
not well inside the taxicab. Each man must have felt as though a
numbing fire had shot into his skull from the back of his neck.

These men were of excellent physique and of good size. But they were
lifted into the taxicab as easily as if they had been small boys.
Though their hands flailed a little at first, they did no damage.

Doc Savage deposited both men on the floor of the taxi. The nerve
pressure he had employed would keep them asleep for perhaps a couple
of hours.

"Do not cry out, Professor Garvin," said Doc quietly to the gasping
young woman. "I believe you made only a natural mistake. I imagine you
were informed by these men that they would take you to Professor

"Doc Savage!" exclaimed Ann Garvin. "What are you doing here? Yes,
they were taking me to Homer. I think you have made a great mistake."

"Mistakes are always possible, Professor Garvin. But in this case, the
chance of error seemed to be worth taking. Four persons died in the
crowd near you tonight."

"That's impossible!" declared Ann Garvin. "And if they did, how could
that affect this strange revelation that came to me tonight?"

"I fear the two matters are very closely related," stated Doc. "If
Professor Randolph is living--and I believe he may be--he did not send
these men to you. You will come with me. I am expecting a message of
great importance in a short time."

One of Doc's hands had been touching the back of the taxi driver's
neck. The hackman shook his head a little, as if he had been sleeping.
He looked greatly bewildered.

"Around the first corner into Fourteenth Street," commanded Doc. "You
will then take your other passengers wherever they may want to go."

"O. K., boss," grunted the very hazy driver.

"I think it best to permit these men to go for the present," Doc said.
"No doubt we shall hear from them again, and very quickly."

Long Tom had Doc's sedan in motion. The taxi driver did not know he
had been put into a peculiar state of mind. He was an honest, law-
abiding driver. If he had not been partly hypnotized by the man of
bronze, he would not have started driving around town with two
apparently dead men in his cab.

Doc was keeping a sharp lookout as Long Tom swung the sedan toward the
brilliantly glittering tower in one of Manhattan's towering

In another sedan, several men must have had the greatest respect for
Doc's uncanny perceptions. They did not attempt to tail the bronze
man's car closely. Instead, their car slipped into another block. The
driver was also headed toward the skyscraper with its needlelike

"What can it all mean?" said Ann Garvin to Doc. "I know now Homer must
be alive. But that is not the queerest part of it. He always wanted me
to give up my ideas for social security of creative artists. I could
not see it his way. But tonight, as I was speaking, new words and new
ideas came to me."

"Then you have not changed your belief?" questioned Doc.

"That's the strangest angle of it all, Doc Savage. I do not understand
how I could ever have believed differently from Homer. He was
absolutely right."

"Perhaps," said Doc reflectively. "But did you notice that all those
to whom you were speaking had also changed their minds about what they
were seeking?"

"It all happened so quickly," murmured Ann Garvin. "Do you believe I
will hear from Homer again? I have never had any faith in

"The source of Professor Randolph's voice was not of the occult," Doc
advised. "We will hear from him again, very shortly."

ANN GARVIN had never before been in Doc Savage's headquarters. The
young woman professor was gasping over the forest of gleaming devices
in Doc's laboratory. Doc had glided to a telephone in the reception
room. He called a number uptown.

A woman's voice replied. As soon as Doc had spoken, the voice trilled
with excitement.

"You want me to come right away? I'm all dressed to go out! Where are
we going? I hope it's something terrible! When do we start?"

Doc smiled patiently as the voice ran on. It was useless for even Doc
to attempt to bottle up this young woman's exuberance.

The young woman was in an ornate Park Avenue apartment. Near this, she
conducted an exclusive beauty-and-physical-culture parlor. She would
have given the business to the first person she met, if Doc Savage had
consented to permit her to join his group of adventurers permanently.

The young woman was Patricia Savage, Doc's cousin. She was an
attractive golden blonde, in many features resembling her famous
cousin. She resembled him most in her ready wit and dauntless courage.

"You are not going anywhere, Pat," Doc assured her. "It happens that
you know Professor Ann Garvin quite well, and she is here. She may be
detained for some time, and you will be her companion. Something's
going to happen pretty soon and--"

"I'll be along as quick as a taxi can get me there!" interrupted Pat

Doc smiled quietly. He was aware that even police lines could not have
kept Pat from arriving at his headquarters.

"Do you think there is a possibility of contacting Homer?" asked Ann
Garvin. "All this seems fantastic. His Silver Cylinder was destroyed.
None of the others with him have come back. It was weeks ago!"

"Nothing could be more fantastic than your own mind," stated Doc. "You
do not find yourself changing your beliefs again?"

"Indeed I do not!" said Ann Garvin emphatically. "I know Homer was

DOC said nothing. His smooth, bronze hands with their cabled wrists
were manipulating dials and switches of his amazing shortwave radio
and televisor.

From the wall came a sudden, strident whining. This was part of the
alarm system that informed Doc or his men when visitors from the
outside were anywhere on the eighty-sixth floor.

Into what had appeared to be merely a wall panel sprang a beautiful
face. It was framed by neatly waved golden hair.

"Patricia!" exclaimed Ann Garvin.

Doc caused the intervening doors to open without replying or changing
his position before the radio dials. Someone was trying to come
through with a message. Doc pulled the televisor switch.

Ann Garvin gasped as the face appeared in the slate-colored glass.
Certainly it resembled nothing human. It was more as if some jungle
gorilla had suddenly found a means of connecting with Doc's radio.

"It's Monk!" exclaimed Pat Savage, who had come in. "Tell him I'm glad
to see his handsome features, Doc!"

Monk began to speak.

"Doc, Ham an' me are makin' a hop over to Seattle, an' we wanted to
find out if there's been any word of Johnny?"

"Nothing definite, Monk," replied Doc. "But I hope to have some
important news before long. Stay with the plane until I can again make

"Come on, you missing link!" snapped a sharp, penetrating voice. "Let
someone talk to Doc who knows how!"

"You Park Avenue dude! You shyster mouthpiece! You don't never do
nothin' but talk, daggonit!"

Ann Garvin stared at the radio and back to Pat. Pat smiled

"You might judge they would murder each other, but they are as
inseparable as the Siamese twins," said Pat.

A lean, ascetic face replaced Monk's in the slate-colored glass. The
nose was slightly arched, and the eyes were keen. This was Ham.

"We are flying a few miles northwest of Reno, Doc," stated Ham.
"Expect to make Seattle within a few hours. Mountains are foggy, but
we are on the passenger plane radio beam from Reno to Portland. No,
wait, Doc!"

The grumble of bickering between Ham and Monk came faintly. Ham

"Have checked and find we are close to the peaks of Mount Lassen and
Mount Shasta in the High Sierras," advised Ham. "Visibility very poor.
Fog seems to have no top or bottom. Will remain in contact and--"

"Howlin' blazes!" came Monk's voice, in a childlike squeal. "The snow
on that mountain's burning! Tell Doc that--"

Something crackled like an explosion of electrical static. Ham's face
disappeared from the televisor. The excited speech of Monk ceased

Doc whirled the dials. All the tubes might have been blown out. Then a
shrill static began to sound. This kept up for several seconds. It
stopped, also.

Doc glided over to the standard radio set. He turned the knobs, but
nothing happened. In half a minute, he had ascertained that none of
the fuses had blown out. The power had not varied.

Nothing was mechanically wrong with the radio.

The modern wave contacts with the outside world had simply ceased to

"WHAT could it be?" asked Ann Garvin. "Do you think this could have
anything to do with Homer's message tonight?"

"I have no doubt but this interruption of the radio has much to do
with tonight's peculiar circumstances," Doc stated. "I have
ascertained that some irresistible power has taken the place of all
the long and short waves on which radio communication depends."

"That would be a catastrophe of world importance," suggested Patricia
Savage hopefully. "And we will get in on it."

Her cheerful tone implied, "Where do we go from here?"


DOC SAVAGE lifted one bronzed hand. Patricia's enthusiastic hope for
some disaster in which she might play a part was instantly stilled.

Static was again coming through on the shortwave. Because its switch
had been left on, the same static was apparent in the standard
broadcast instrument.

Doc manipulated the control dials. The light jumped from the shortwave
to the long-wave weather band. It went back to the standard
broadcasting wave, then up to the shortwave for foreign stations.

Doc's flake-gold eyes were whirlwinds of concentration. He pushed the
light into the ship area, into the aircraft zone and over to police
and amateur waves.

The increasing static was unchanged on any band. This was something
hitherto unknown.

"It would seem," stated Doc, "the radios have been plunged into some
universal wave or interference which none of the recognized waves of
communication can overcome. Ordinary radio transmission is in the
power of some greater force."

As if in response to Doc's amazing statement, words came
simultaneously from the shortwave set and the standard broadcast

"I can pick you up on any wave."
stated a calm, unhurried voice. "No doubt, you can identify me."

"It's Homer!" cried Ann Garvin. "What can it mean?"

"Doc Savage, others are listening, but your special televisor can pick
me out."
the voice went on.

Doc had already slid the switch of the televisor into the open notch.
Ann Garvin emitted a gulping sob of happiness and unbelief.

The good-humored, smiling features of Professor Homer Randolph
appeared in the slate-colored glass. His features and his tone were as
controlled as if he were not now performing one of the most astounding
feats of which the world had ever known.

"I am now talking to all the world listening to the English language
over the radio,"
announced Randolph. "There will be no waves of any length in service
until the exact hour of midnight where I now am. That will be five
hours from now. At that time, I will have a vital message for all the
people of the world. That is all."

The voice stopped speaking. The slate-colored glass instantly ceased
to mirror the face of Professor Randolph.

Doc Savage whipped to the telephone. Seldom did the man of bronze have
to wait for the putting through of a call. This moment was different.

Thousands of switchboard operators were trying to untangle a
multiplicity of calls coming in from outside the zone of dial

Dial instruments everywhere were clicking. Radio fans from everywhere
were calling radio stations, repair men, the police, anyone they could
think of at the moment.

Perhaps no other man in Manhattan could have contacted the
commissioner of police as quickly as Doc. After a half minute of
conversation, Doc turned to Ann Garvin and Pat.

"There is no doubt but that Professor Randolph is alive," he stated.
"This means the others with him have survived. All this throttling and
control of the radio waves is beyond all human comprehension. It is
unprecedented in my own experience."

Doc gazed thoughtfully at the now-silent radios. Lights showed power
still flowed through their wires, but they were dead.

"Long Tom is taking quite a while to put away the car," said Doc.

LONG TOM had driven Doc's armored sedan down a slanting concrete
apron. This was adjacent to the headquarters skyscraper. It was the
ramp leading to Doc's underground garage.

This subterranean storage place contained some remarkable motors.
Their tires were punctureproof. Bullets could not penetrate their
special alloy bodies or their glass. Engines were of superspeed and

About these cars were innumerable devices for resisting attack and
frustrating pursuit. The doors of the garage closed by a photo-
electric eye.

Something had happened to Long Tom. The pallid little man was usually
tight-lipped. He was level-headed and laconic. Somewhat like Doc, he
wasted no words.

Long Tom was now seated on the running board of the sedan inside the
garage. The doors from the ramp had automatically closed and locked.
But Long Tom appeared to be in a strange state of mind. He was talking
aloud to himself.

"If I didn't know it was impossible," he muttered, "I would believe
someone was in here with me. There isn't any one here but me, though."

At the moment Long Tom gave forth this puzzling observation, a
strident, whining noise filled Doc's big laboratory. It came from what
appeared to be only a gnarled and polished panel in the wood of the

Ann Garvin, whose nerves were probably on edge, cried out sharply.

"It's only Doc's alarm system," stated Pat Savage. "I hope it is
something which will cause us to go somewhere."

Under the panel several indicators were quivering. The swinging of one
told Doc intruders had entered the underground garage. The alarm would
not have worked unless Long Tom had locked the doors. This
automatically set the alarm device.

Or perhaps Long Tom had failed to reach the garage. The matter of the
radio had kept Doc tied up.

"Wait here and permit no one to enter," instructed Doc.

The man of bronze whipped through the big reception room. He
disregarded the phalanx of elevators. Entering his own high-speed
elevator, he shot downward.

This elevator seemed to fall all eighty-six floors before there was
the slightest checking of its speed. Doc caught his own weight on his
massive, springy legs and was out of the door before the elevator had
quit moving.

Doc entered his underground garage through a secret door. He was
instantly alert. The ramp doors were standing open. All but one light
had been cut off.

Under this light Long Tom sat on the running board of the sedan he had
driven into the garage. The pallid electrician held his face in his
hands. Mumbling speech spilled through his fingers.

Doc moved noiselessly, with infinite caution.

"What happened, Long Tom?" he asked, in a low voice. "Who has been in
here with you?"

Long Tom raised his head and stared at Doc. But he made no reply. Doc
deliberately spoke louder, making his speech seem as if he suspected
nothing wrong.

"I came down, Long Tom, because I have some good news," said Doc.
"Professor Randolph has just contacted us over the radio. It means
that Johnny is alive. All the radios in the world were cut off for a
little while."

Long Tom did not move from his place on the running board.

"What about it?" he snapped, in a tone none had ever heard the mild
little man use before. "If Johnny can't keep out of trouble, that's
his own affair. I'm tired of mixing up in the business of other
people. This radio thing now, that isn't any of your business, Doc, or

DOC'S keen senses were taking in all the surroundings. His brain was
grappling with this new angle to the night's weird happenings. Ann
Garvin had changed her mind on social security while making a speech.

All the radio waves had been brought under a mysterious, perhaps a
sinister influence. Now Long Tom.

The man of bronze did not betray outwardly his surprise at Long Tom's
demeanor. Watching and listening, he continued to talk.

"This affair of the radio waves is perhaps the greatest problem we
have ever encountered," he stated, speaking so his voice might carry.
"Not only is Johnny involved in some way, but my good friend,
Professor Randolph, seems to have control of this universal force.
Your own knowledge of electrical energy will probably be called upon
before we begin to solve the queer angles of this."

"I don't intend to get myself mixed up in any more messes!" said Long
Tom, still snappishly. "You've got us into all kinds of trouble! I've
been wanting to take a vacation for a long time! I think I will spend
a few months in Bermuda!"

Doc Savage had ceased to listen now. He had become a shadow flowing
along a wall toward the open door of the garage. The sound he had
detected, the odor he had picked up, would have escaped any other man
in the world.

Two men were standing in the darkness on the sloping ramp. Doc took
them in from head to foot. Neither was of the type to be expected as
associating with crookedness. The men were well-dressed, and their
faces denoted keen intelligence.

Just then, though neither man moved his hands, a faint, far-away
whirring sound came to Doc's ears. Doc was upon the men with the speed
of a striking python. Both men jerked around.

Doc was caught by a queer and passing emotion he could not define. It
was something that suddenly caused him to withhold a double grip that
would have temporarily removed both men from active interest in their

One man slipped away from him. Doc's fingers curled along the other
man's neck. This man was quick, also. Doc was forced to snap up one
fist in a sharp blow to the chin, in order to retain the hold seeking
the great nerve at the base of the man's brain.

The man was sinking to his knees. A guttural shout came from his
companion. Some instinct sent Doc leaping backward. Only his jump,
quick as a missile thrown from a steel spring, got him inside the
garage doors in time.

From the spot where Doc had stood arose a small cloud of blue vapor.
The wind up the ramp caught the vapor and it was swiftly dissipated.
Doc stood motionless. He was looking at two glowing heaps of white

There did not remain even a small metal object, a button or other
small appurtenance that might have been carried by the two men. Doc
held his place, watching until every vestige of the white ashes had
been picked up by the wind.

The man of bronze could judge from what had occurred, that the
ruthlessness of this incredible menace was as ready to destroy its own
agents as other persons. He came to the quick conclusion that the
mysterious force just applied had been meant to obliterate him.

DOC glided back to Long Tom. The pallid electrician had displayed no
interest whatever in what Doc might have been doing.

"We'll go up to headquarters, Long Tom, and talk things over,"
suggested Doc. "Everything seems to be cleaned up down here."

"I think I will go home!" snapped Long Tom. "If I go up there,
something will happen to get me mixed up in trouble! I've got my mind
set on going to Bermuda!"

Doc refrained from further verbal argument. The man of bronze never
engaged in an altercation with his men or any other person. On those
personal matters where there was no agreement, he always kept his
thoughts to himself.

However, Long Tom accompanied Doc to the eighty-sixth floor. It was
accomplished so swiftly in Doc's private elevator that none would have
known that Long Tom was wholly unconscious.

Doc had applied a quick nerve-deadening grip that had ended Long Tom's
opposition instantly.

All doors of Doc's headquarters were standing open when he entered the
room. Whining noises came from the alarm system inside the huge
laboratory. This indicated some visitor had entered by other than the
customary entrances.

This might have been through any of several passages leading through
the walls of the immense skyscraper. Doc Savage had been one of the
designers of the building.

There was no evidence of a struggle.

Patricia Savage and Ann Garvin had disappeared. It was apparent they
might have departed by the regular elevators. An operator confirmed

"Miss Savage and the other young woman were taken down with one man,"
he stated. "The man was well dressed, black of hair and generally good
in appearance. He was saying something about taking the strange young
woman to a man named Randolph."

Doc kept Long Tom close beside him. The electrician was in a daze
brought about by numbed nerves. He was beginning to revive somewhat
from Doc's administrations.

Doc went back to his laboratory.

"We'll have to take up the matter of Ann Garvin later, Long Tom," he
announced. "Pat is smart enough to possibly outwit this man. I am much
surprised she was tricked."

At the moment, he was thinking of Ann Garvin's change of mind, of the
queer condition of Long Tom. Perhaps Patricia Savage had been brought
to change her mind, too.

"Pat's always getting into things that aren't any of her business,"
declared Long Tom. "And why should we fool around with this Ann
Garvin? I don't like college professors, and I like them less when
they go around making speeches on boxes."

Doc ignored this increasing antagonism of Long Tom. For a time, the
man of bronze made various adjustments about the special radio. The
power remained on, but the deadness of the instrument seemed to lie
wholly in the lack of waves whereby communication might be

"I'm not staying around here any longer," announced Long Tom. "The
next thing, we'll be mixed up in this mess."

LONG TOM started for the outside door. Doc intercepted the
electrician. One bronze hand gently, but firmly, touched Long Tom's

The man of bronze followed this by administering an anaesthetic. This
did not put Long Tom to sleep. Doc stood before him. His flake-gold
eyes fixed his strangely rebellious companion.

"Long Tom," he stated slowly, "we have a great problem to solve. Pat
is in danger."

"We have a great problem to solve," repeated Long Tom. "'Pat is in

"Very soon we may have a message which will be of vital interest to
us, to the whole world," said Doc. "You and I must go to work on this
at once."

"There will be a great problem," muttered Long Tom. "You and I must go
to work on it at once."

Thereafter, Long Tom became tractable. Doc had discovered that the
mysterious force he was opposing at least would yield to hypnotic
influence. This suggested that the power itself might have something
of a hypnotic effect.

But in the meantime, all radio power was dead. Until the message came
from Professor Randolph, Doc felt he could make no movement or take no
action to seek the whereabouts of Patricia and Ann Garvin.

The same influence which temporarily delayed action by Doc Savage had,
at this same time, put two more of his companions in deadly peril.


"LET me take those controls and quit pawing the instruments with those
gorilla hands!" rapped a voice avid with sarcasm. "If you hadn't
started trying to repair the goniometer, probably it would have been
all right. Now it's out for good, and where are we?"

"If you hadn't talked so much, you daggoned dude, I'd've had us outta
here!" came an angry voice. "This fog's thick enough for fish to go
swimmin' in!"

No uglier and no more competent figure ever slouched over the controls
of a plane. The big machine was a special twin-motored job from Doc
Savage's hangar on the Hudson River. It was capable of a speed of
nearly four hundred miles an hour.

At this moment, the hairy, low-browed, scowling man at the controls
was holding the machine at a minimum speed of about seventy-five miles
an hour. This was barely sufficient to keep it in the air.

Even this speed, which was just about good landing velocity, promised
at any second to be disastrous. The pilot was Monk. His chief aide and
most caustic critic was the impeccable Ham.

Ham was properly dressed in the trimmest of aviation rigs. Monk had
been on a hike just before they took off, so he still wore old
trousers stuffed into boots too big for him.

Though one of the world's greatest industrial chemists, Monk could
always contrive to disguise himself to appear much like some trained

Just now, the two were accusing each other of being responsible for
their predicament. While Doc Savage hopefully awaited some spark to
come from the dead radio in his headquarters, Ham and Monk believed at
the moment all their troubles were concentrated in the failure of
their own radio and the goniometer with which they had been following
the passenger plane's radio beam.

The beam was laid between Salt Lake City, Reno and Portland. Until Ham
and Monk had sighted the fog-wreathed summits of Lassen and Shasta,
their goniometer had been picking out only a series of dashes.

This instrument had a new-type amplifier devised by Doc. The
continuing dashes proved they were in the blur of the A and N waves,
which put them on the direct beam. Suddenly, there were no dashes.
Then there were no dots.

Above, below, all around, the fog was a thick mistlike smoke. Through
this, Monk had suddenly seen what looked like a burning mountain. The
map identified it as Mount Shasta, highest of California's peaks.

Monk had yelled, "The snow is burning!"

THIS seemed to be true. In the fog, the whole upper bulk of the
mountain had taken on a crimson glow. At this season, the snow lay
many feet deep on all of Mount Shasta's upper ranges and in the

"If you had headed straight for the coast as I wanted you to do, we
wouldn't have gotten into this mess," declared the sarcastic Ham.
"Perhaps you should have brought Habeas Corpus along. I don't like
that pig, but at least he has some brains."

Habeas Corpus was Monk's pet Arabian hog. He was a queer creature with
sail-like ears and incredibly long legs.

Monk failed to reply. The reason was ample. Out of the fog a mountain
seemed to jump straight at the plane. Monk's quick roll and bank
dumped Ham on one ear.

If the amphibian plane had not had retractable wheels, the landing
gear would have been sheared off.

Monk's next few minutes of flying were a revelation, only they seemed
to have no special destination. None but Doc Savage himself could have
handled a plane like that.

Against the fog, the scarlet splash of the snow on the mountain
created weird lights. Monk attempted to climb above the fog. There
seemed to be no top. Along the thousands of feet of the Siskiyou
Mountains, in which were situated Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta, the
fog had no ceiling.

In flying language, this meant the fog was touching the ground at all

"Let me take those controls!" snapped Ham. "You just shaved that last
rock needle! Have you gone crazy?"

"Not crazy enough to let some dude shyster smack me all up in a mess
of mountain!" squealed Monk. "Blazes, Ham! Whadda you suppose makes
that snow look like fire?"

The fog persisted. Because of the uncanny condition of the snow on
Mount Shasta, it afforded Monk's only point of location. Avoiding many
traps of canyons and jutting shoulders, he kept the plane circling.

"If you knew anythin' but how to spill words, maybe you could take a
chance at tryin' to patch up that radio!" declared Monk. "If we don't
find that beam, I'm goin' to have to set her down! We didn't take on
enough gas to go flyin' all over the Sierra mountains!"

Ham did not reply to this insult. Between their plane and the crimson
peak of Mount Shasta roared a shape of huge, vampire proportions. The
fog magnified it. The density made its riding lights appear to be
immense eyes.

"There, get on his tail!" snapped Ham. "That's one of the regular
passenger planes! He must be following the beam!"

The big passenger plane had roared by so close its slipstream rocked
their smaller plane. Monk growled and set their nose on the bigger
plane's taillight. Then, abruptly, he banked and swung to one side.

"He ain't on no beam!" squawked Monk. "That fellow's as lost as we
are! He's makin' a circle of that burnin' mountain! I'll bet he don't
know where he is, and he's afraid to get back into the fog!"

"I hate to admit you're probably right," remarked Ham. "But he is
flying around the mountain and--Look out, Monk! He's dropping off!
Perhaps one of his motors has cut out on him!"

THE passenger pilot's erratic flying was proof he had lost the guiding
beam. The big plane was headed directly toward the crimson snow of
Mount Shasta.

"There are two or three miles of nearly flat slope between Mount
Shasta and the highway," announced Ham. "The town of Shasta is along
the highway. Looks as if the pilot were trying to set down on that

Monk banked their plane sharply. He did not know enough of the terrain
below to attempt a landing. But the falling of the gasoline indicator
showed that the fuel tanks would soon be empty.

The strange, apparent burning of the snow painted a crimson wall
against the rolling fog. This was worse than black darkness would have
been. It made the landing lights of the passenger plane ineffective.

Ham and Monk could not observe whether the pilot misjudged his ground
distance or perhaps pulled up the big plane's nose too sharply.
Neither expected what happened.

Knowing his situation, it was incredible that the pilot had not thrown
the ignition switch before taking the bump. Or perhaps the fire came
from some other source.

To the horrified eyes of Ham and Monk, the mushroom of fire appeared
to have been communicated from the crimson snow on the mountain. This
probably was an illusion created by the fog and distance.

"Howlin' blazes!" yelled Monk. "Nobody'd ever get outta that fire

Ham's thin face was a little white. He had been employing a pair of
binoculars, specially designed for piercing the fog. He had seen two
figures tumble from the plane. The running flame licked out and seemed
to take their legs from under them.

"Possibly they struck a high-tension wire along the highway," murmured
Ham. "Anyway, it took them quickly."

From the lawyer's tone, it was evident he wanted to believe it had
been a high-tension wire. But the continuous scarlet glow of the snow
on Mount Shasta pulled his eyes toward it.

"Anyway," said Monk, in a tense voice, "it looks like their troubles
are over. Ours have just begun. We've gotta set down."

One of the twin motors sputtered and coughed. Liquid in the fuel
indicator was bubbling at the bottom. Monk took all the altitude he
could collect on his one remaining prop. This was not much.

"Listen, you insane ape, where do you think you're going?" rapped out
Ham. "Those things ahead are trees!"

Monk could see the foreground consisted of trees. They were tall firs.
They extended in a broad belt around Mount Shasta below the snow line.
Sweat poured through the reddish fur over Monk's ears and eyes.

The ugly chemist was doing all he could to lift the plane over this
forest belt. It was almost as if his long arms did it with their own
strength. Some of the top branches of the first actually brushed the

Over this, the ground visibility was somewhat better. But Monk let out
a childlike groan.

Ham had the binoculars glued to his eyes.

"Right out of one mess into another," he announced. "The map didn't
show any lake up on Mount Shasta. Wait a minute, Monk! Don't try
setting down! That isn't a lake, it's a flood!"

THE fog blew aside temporarily. Monk could see what Ham meant.
Certainly there should have been no lake here on the mountain. But a
band of tumbling water, several miles in extent, loomed directly

"Look, Monk, if you haven't gone blind tree-hopping," directed Ham.
"There are some beacon fires. Probably the natives heard that
passenger plane and tried to guide it down."

"It don't look so good," growled Monk, "but we have to smack

"Smack somewhere is the correct statement!" yelled Ham.

Monk seemed to have guided the big plane into a swampy field. Despite
its rigid, strong construction, one wing tore into the ground and
ripped loose. Ham was temporarily standing on one ear.

Monk, gripping the controls, stuck to his place.

"Howlin' blazes!" exploded Monk. "You know what I forgot to do? I
didn't think about stickin' out them landin' wheels! Maybe I was
thinkin' about makin' a water landin'!"

Ham caressed a bruise under one eye. Scrambling to his feet, he seized
a smooth black cane. From this he extracted a shining, pointed blade.

"You forgot to put out the wheels, you jungle misfit!" he yelled.
"Just for that, I'm taking off a piece of one of your ears!"

Probably, Ham would not have touched Monk with his drugged blade from
the sword cane. Anyway, another matter interfered with any intention
he might have had.

Sharp, crackling explosions started coming from the direction of the
fires they had seen. Instantly, the windows of the fuselage seemed to
undergo a peppering of many hailstones.

The metal alloy body of the fuselage itself gave forth little noises
like drums being beaten.

"That makes it just perfect," commented Ham. "Now apparently we have
gotten into a nest of outlaws."

Monk's small eyes squinted through the windshield glass.

"They're shootin' long rifles an' revolvers," he announced. "An' I
didn't bring along even a superfirer. Now what are we going to do?"

Ham opened one door slightly and shouted.

"Hold up on the gunplay! If you're lookin' for money, we haven't got
any! Outside of that, we're friends! We ran out of gas and had to come

Shooting ceased. Many scraggly bearded, tall men quickly surrounded
the plane.


WHILE Doc Savage was making various contacts which might have given
him a lead to the location of Ann Garvin and Pat Savage, Ham and Monk
on far-away Mount Shasta were wondering if they had wandered into a
group of fugitives from some lunatic asylum.

One tall, lank-jawed mountaineer announced he was "Hank" Shallop. From
his sweeping gestures, all the people with him were other Shallops. It
seemed the Shallops had a monopoly on this region of the Siskiyou

Their chief accomplishment seemed to be chewing tobacco. Hank
Shallop's lanky jaw was stained with the juice.

"You ain't come off'n the mountain?" he demanded of Ham and Monk, with
one cocked eye fixed mostly on the ungainly, apelike proportions of
Monk. "'Cause if you be off'n the mountain, mebbe so you know about
that thar burnin' snow, an' the flood in Afternoon Crick, an' them
giant fellers what wunst was Shallops?"

The other mountaineers chewed their tobacco solemnly. They apparently
believed Hank Shallop's words of wisdom were worth the hearing. They
kept the points of their rifles carefully raised. Ham grinned a

"It doesn't seem to make much sense, Mr. Shallop," he stated. "You
might think from the funny appearance of Monk here he came off the
mountain. But I assure you he came from one of the deeper jungles,
where they have no snow to speak of."

"You crazy Park Avenue fop!" howled Monk. "Why don't you ask him what
he's talkin' about? What does he mean, 'burnin' snow an' giants that
once were Shallops'?"

The bony Hank Shallop shook his head sententiously.

"Seems like you wouldn't be knowin'," he said sadly. "It's like this,
stranger. That thar snow's burnin' an' meltin' like all hell, only she
ain't what you'd call hot. You can walk in it an' not burn your feet

From some distant spot on Mount Shasta came a sudden, rumbling crash.
Its echoes came from a canyon. They reverberated across the lush
mountain meadows where the Shallops surrounded Ham and Monk.

"Thar she be ag'in," said Hank Shallop. "Like as not, that's one of
them giants what wunst was a Shallop jest throwin' a fir tree down the

"Blazes, Ham!" complained Monk. "I don't like this! I think maybe we'd
better go some other place!"

"No you don't!" snapped Hank Shallop. "You'll be stayin' right hyar
until we know if you came from the mountain!"

"If the snow's melting," stated Ham, "then undoubtedly that noise was
an avalanche. It's only a natural phenomenon."

"Ain't no such thing, whatever you said it was!" declared Hank
Shallop. "We seen some of them giants, an' they was Shallops which has
been missin'! An' look at Afternoon Crick!"

"What seems to be the trouble with Afternoon Creek?" suggested Ham.
"Something is melting the snow, and so you are having a flood."

HANK SHALLOP swore fiercely. His next words indicated all the Shallop
clan had been chased from their homes by the vagaries of this
Afternoon Creek.

Ham and Monk learned that Afternoon Creek got its name because it had
always been dry except in the afternoon. Late in the day, when the sun
was highest, perpetual snow on Mount Shasta would be melted.

Then for a few hours there was water in Afternoon Creek.

But, according to Hank Shallop, Afternoon Creek now had gone on a
rampage. Flood waters were pouring from the glacial canyons of Mount
Shasta. Such a phenomenon had never before occurred.

Afternoon Creek had become a twenty-foot menace to the valley. The
cabin homes of the Shallops had been submerged in the torrents. They
had been forced to flee with their scanty family possessions to the
higher meadows.

These meadows were on a slightly higher plateau, closer to the
mountain itself. The canyons and glaciers of Mount Shasta extended
over several hundred square miles. Millions of tons of snow and ice
had been packed in its higher valleys for centuries.

"And you say the snow seems to be burning, but it isn't hot?"
questioned Ham. "And this witch's tale about giants?"

"Ain't none of it a witch's tale!" said Hank Shallop. "We seen them
giants carryin' fir trees an' they was Shallops what went huntin' an'
never come back. The snow ain't hot, 'cause we been in it, startin' up
to find out about things."

"What did you discover then?" said Ham.

"Nothin' whatsoever," said Hank Shallop. "'Cause all of a sudden
somethin' changed our minds, an' we come marchin' right back down

"Listen, Ham," said Monk plaintively, "what do you say we go away an'
come back when it's daylight, or some other time?"

"Because we're going up that mountain," announced Ham suddenly.
"Burning snow, giants carrying trees, men starting up the mountain and
changing their minds--Monk, this is something Doc must know more
about! Possibly it has much to do with what happened to the radio

"Blazes, Ham!" complained Monk. "I ain't goin' up that mountain! I'm
goin' to find this town of Shasta an' get in touch with Doc! How do we
get outta here, mister?"

Hank Shallop informed them that, owing to the flood in Afternoon
Creek, they would have to travel many miles afoot to cross back to the
Pacific Highway.

"There's a log bridge across the gorge of the crick up the mountain,"
said Hank Shallop. "If you wanta git to town, we could guide you up a

"We'll go up that far, Monk," stated Ham. "Then we'll see. How long
has this burning snow business been in progress?"

"About two weeks or thereabouts," said Hank Shallop.

THE astute mind of Ham was working fast. The story of Hank Shallop in
general was not to be credited. But with the snow of Mount Shasta
casting a weird light all around them, some of it might be possible.

Ham recalled that the extinct volcano of Mount Lassen, less than a
hundred miles south of Mount Shasta, was still a smoldering volcano.
He considered the possibility of some inner fire being responsible for
the eerie condition of the snow on Shasta.

But snow that melted, looked like fire and still burned nothing?

Three scrabbly mountaineers went with Hank Shallop to guide Ham and
Monk to the log footbridge over the gorge. Hank Shallop said it was
two or three miles up the mountain.

These proved to be mountain miles. Monk's short legs carried him over
windfalls and through the bush of a mile of spruce and fir timber.
Ham's sartorial elegance suffered greatly.

Now Ham had made note of another peculiar factor:

On the plateau level of the meadows, the temperature was below
freezing. As they ascended Mount Shasta's slope, the cold definitely
increased. It could not have been far from zero.

"Notice anything, Monk?" said Ham.

"Sure," said Monk. "Since we come out of them trees, I've been bumpin'
my shins on bare rocks."

They had emerged from the forest to a point above the timberline. Here
the mountain was too barren and usually too cold to bear any
vegetation. Ham knew that higher up on Mount Shasta the thermometer
would have showed probably far below zero.

Yet to one side they could still hear the roaring of Afternoon Creek.
Mount Shasta snow was melting as fast as if the old peak had suddenly
been transferred to the equator.

Even in a tropical climate, the height of Mount Shasta--well above
fourteen thousand feet--would have held snow for a long time.

"Snow can't melt at zero or below," stated Ham. "Monk, we're not
crossing that footbridge when we come to it. We're going on up the

"You and all the other shysters in the world can go up there, but I
don't like climbing mountains!" growled Monk. "I'm crossing that log
and getting down to town where I can talk to Doc!"

"There's your bridge," announced Hank Shallop, pointing to a narrow
section of the creek gorge.

The flood could be heard roaring a hundred feet or more below the log
which Hank Shallop called a bridge. A giant spruce had been placed
across about sixty feet of canyon. Some slender limbs had been trimmed
for handholds.

"She hain't so tricky as she appears to be," said Hank Shallop.

His tall figure swung ahead of the other three mountaineers. He
stepped onto the log. Ham could see the footing was slippery with
frozen water.

INSTINCT pulled a strident yell from Ham's throat. Monk had been about
to follow the long Hank Shallop onto the bridge. Being unable to reach
Monk with his hands, Ham rapped the bullet head of the chemist a
tremendous whack with his sword cane.

"Ouch!" roared Monk. "Lemme get my hands on you, you imitation of a

Ham never would know what the raging chemist might have called him.
For Monk's speech was whipped from his tongue. He stood for a few
seconds in petrified silence.

From the three mountaineer companions of Hank Shallop came startled
oaths. All were a split second slower than Ham in seeing what had

The crimson glow of the snow on the mountain shed an eerie light. In
all this the figures of the men looked somewhat distorted. The taut
skins of the mountain men's faces had become the color of gray chalk.

But it was Ham who had seen the puffing blue cloud. This might have
come up out of the gorge. Its vapor billowed over the footbridge. No
cry of fear or pain came from Hank Shallop.

The leader of the mountain men had taken several steps onto the
bridge. The blue vapor whirled, twisted and vanished upward.

The jaws of the other mountaineers dropped. Their cuds of tobacco fell
out. None had seen Hank Shallop fall. He had not dropped. There came
no splash from below.

"Stay back, Monk!" ordered Ham. "I'll see what it is!"

The lawyer moved cautiously. He dropped to his knees on the log
bridge. A small heap of white ashes was slowly sifting off the log. In
not more than ten seconds the last of the ashes had been caught and
carried away by the wind.

"Blazes, Ham!" squealed Monk. "I'm for gettin' outta here!"

"Git 'em!" yelled one of the mountaineers suddenly. "They killed pore
old Hank!"

Before Ham could scramble back off the log bridge, three long-barreled
repeating rifles were thrusting their mean muzzles toward Monk's broad
body. Even at a distance, Monk would have been a difficult target to

"Watch yourself, Ham!" squawked Monk.

The chemist saw the most dangerous kind of killing fury in the faces
of the mountaineers. It was the anger of fear. The uncanny
disappearance of Hank Shallop had sapped their nerve.

This meant they could think only of their weapons. They would shoot
first and not bother about questions. Ham was still on the log. He had
risen to one knee. Unobserved, he was slowly getting the tempered
blade from the black sheath of his sword cane.

"Ow-ee-ow-ee!" yelled Monk.

That cry would have done credit to a mad wildcat. With the muzzles of
three rifles pointing directly at him, it looked as if Monk had
invited death.

TWO rifles spouted fire. It was the intention of Monk's squawk to
surprise the mountaineers into letting go their first bullets. It did
not seem as if they could miss.

"Git 'em!" shouted one of the mountaineers again.

Getting Monk was not so easy. Neither bullet had struck him. Monk had
launched himself forward on his short legs, directly toward the
flaming guns. His long arms flailed out with the writhing twist of an
octopus seizing an enemy.

Two mountaineers screamed with pain. Their rifles had gone flying into
the gorge.

Monk's gorillalike arms jerked two of the men together. Their heads
were tough, and they were only stunned as they collided.

"Down, Monk! Down!" came Ham's shout from the end of the log bridge.

It was doubtful if Monk could have ducked quickly enough to have saved
himself. The third mountaineer had drawn a steady bead on Monk's broad
back. He was so close, he could hardly have missed.

As Monk twisted and Ham shouted, there was a hissing sound. This was
almost like the whirring of a suddenly angered rattlesnake. In the
eerie light of the crimson snow came a brighter flash.

The mountaineer's rifle exploded. The bullet smacked into the log
close to Ham. The bead on Monk failed because the mountaineer had
started to twist around. He failed to complete this movement.

"Hold them, Monk; I'm coming!" yelled Ham.

The third mountaineer to shoot was sitting down. He permitted his
scraggly head to fall upon the crook of one arm. It looked as if he
had suddenly decided to go to sleep.

Ham sprang past the recumbent man. As he came near, Ham bent and
retrieved the blade of his sword. The drugged point was sticking
several inches into the fallen mountaineer's leg.

Ham chuckled to himself. He had spent many weeks practicing that
throw. Perhaps he was not quite as accurate as a knife thrower would
have been. But all he had to do was make sure the point of his sword
met another man's body somewhere.

Monk discovered the two mountain men were tough. His already flat nose
received a battering punch. His enemies were like an animated pair of
bundled bones.

Monk went to his back, his short legs kicking. He slid loose and
scrambled up. Two old-fashioned revolvers appeared in the hands of the
mountain men. One exploded, and Ham sat down with a queer expression
on his lean face. Monk groaned.

Neither was wearing his bulletproof vest. They had started on what was
intended to be a pleasure and business trip. The business had
unexpectedly got rough.

Monk took one look, bellowed like a jungle animal and dived straight
toward one erupting revolver. His hairy head went deep into a
mountaineer's stomach. There was hardly enough force behind the drive
of Monk's short legs to account for what happened.

The nearest man suddenly flattened and lay still. His companion weaved
his gun around. It pointed at all four points of the compass. Five
slugs spewed from its muzzle. They hit no one.

The gun wielder now was lying flat on his back. The spot seemed
restful. He gently went to sleep.

HAM got groggily to his feet. He was digging a book from the inside of
his trim aviator's coat. This was not thick, but it was filled with
ponderous legal references.

However, the weight of the law had not put Ham down. A bullet from a
.45 caliber gun had passed through the book and nicked his skin.

Ham recovered his sword. The two men Monk had put to sleep were still
quiet. Monk scratched his furry, red hair. Little pieces of glass
capsules fell out. The capsules hidden in Monk's hair had released a
powerful anaesthetic gas.

In some respects, Monk was like a child. He had stuck the capsules
there without much thought that he might need them.

Ham looked up at the crimson tinge of the snow.

"That snow is melting, but it isn't giving off a degree of heat," he
stated. "Something queer is going on up in this mountain. I believe we
should investigate."

"Doc ought to know about this," said Monk. "What happened to that tall
fellow who called himself Hank Shallop? He didn't fall off that log."

"He evaporated in that blue cloud," said Ham. "Come on, Monk. Even
that crazy story about the giants might be true."

They scrambled over black rocks for another five hundred feet. The
eerie, crimson light was all around them.

Suddenly Ham, who was leading, plunged into soft snow. Immediately,
his body was enwrapped in what looked like a fountain of fire. Ham
turned his gray, long face to Monk.

"Do you feel anything, ape?"

"I'm all right, but you look like you'd met up with the devil," said
Monk. "I'm goin' higher."

Snow slogged around their knees. They were at the lower edge of a
glacier. This was melting and running in small cascades around them.
Water rose to their waists.

They had climbed perhaps five hundred feet above where Hank Shallop
had disappeared in a blue vapor. High above them loomed the tremendous
bulk of Mount Shasta.

Off to the southeast another glowing point thrust into the sky. This
was completely fogged in, but it was surrounded by a definitely purple

That was Mount Lassen, the long extinct volcano.

They were waist-deep in the strange, soft snow. Up here it should have
been down to zero or many degrees below, but Ham and Monk were
beginning to perspire.

Now they could see through the lifting fog. Lights of the towns of
Shasta and Weed appeared. Faint fireflies moved along the concrete
Pacific Highway. These were cars.

Overhead, was the shadowy bulk of Mount Shasta. It loomed. Higher than
all other peaks in the Siskiyou range. It was easy to determine why
Afternoon Creek had belied its name. For here the perpetual snows had
ceased to be perpetual.

The temperature was increasing rapidly.

IN the cleared space ahead appeared a spruce tree. It must have been
brought up from some level below the timberline. This tree had been
uprooted. It was moving across the mountain.

"Jumping Jupiter!" let out Ham, who seldom used an expletive. "There's
a man carrying that tree!"

Something must have happened at this juncture. Ham sat down in the
snow. He said, "I've got to get some of this stuff off me, then we'll
go on up."

Monk shook his hairy head stubbornly.

"This is all the bunk!" he grunted. "I'm not going up there! This
ain't none of our business! Me, I'm going back down and call it a

"But," argued Ham, "Doc ought to know all about this. We'll go on up
to that next saw-tooth and--"

Ham rubbed his hand slowly across his forehead.

"You missing link," he said, "what's wrong with you? We'll have to
find out what's going on in this mountain."

But Ham had joined Monk. Both were moving through the snow. They were
going back down the mountain.


WHILE Ham and Monk had suddenly determined the magical properties of
Mount Shasta were none of their business, Doc Savage was grappling
with a problem which had to do with the same strange condition of

Back in his Manhattan headquarters, Doc had put Long Tom into a
semihypnotic trance. The pallid electrical wizard no longer expressed
a desire to go home. However, Doc was, for a time, unable to bring
Long Tom to an active interest in the night's mysteries.

Doc's radios and those elsewhere continued to remain silent. The man
of bronze perhaps had an inkling of the power. For several minutes, he
tested out his various devices dealing with rays and waves.

"Professor Randolph is, as far as we know, a good man," stated Doc.
"Whatever he has discovered, none need fear he will misuse it. But he
must have competent assistance. His aides may not be as honest in their

"That is true," assented Long Tom, in a monotone.

The electrical engineer still lacked interest in the subject. From the
wall of the laboratory came a whining alarm. Doc switched on the
"visionator." This might have been likened to a periscope, except that
it had special electrical features.

The device showed clearly any visitor who might be in the corridor
outside Doc's headquarters. It now revealed a man with a dark, smooth
face and protruding eyes. His hair was brushed straight back. Gold
eyeglasses dangled from a cord hooked over one ear.

"Professor Thomas Archer," announced Doc. "Probably he is seeking Ann
Garvin. They are instructors in the same school."

IT was not remarkable that Doc Savage should have so identified
Professor Archer. Thousands of scholars, scientists, students of the
mysteries of the stratosphere would have recognized the name

For Professor Thomas Archer was a genius in his own sphere. His keen
eyes missed no detail of the bronze man's advanced laboratory
equipment. But he said, "I came primarily to discover the whereabouts
of Miss Ann Garvin, Doc Savage. I have been informed of and am greatly
puzzled by the weird manifestation tonight in Union Square. I was
informed Professor Ann Garvin left the scene in your company?"

Perhaps Doc Savage suspected Professor Archer had a deeper reason for
his presence than finding Miss Garvin. But the bronze man betrayed no
thought of this.

"We hope very much that Miss Garvin is safe," stated Doc. "She left
here a short time ago accompanied by my cousin, Patricia."

"But that is strange," said Professor Archer. "She has neither
returned to nor communicated with the school. She must have known we
would be gravely concerned."

"I have been advised," stated Doc, "that Miss Garvin left in company
with a man who said he could take her to Professor Randolph."

The gold glasses flipped from Professor Archer's slender hands.

"But that would be impossible!" he exclaimed. "We have heard tonight's
messages, Mr. Savage! That is part of my purpose in coming here!
Professor Randolph is not now on earth!"

"You were Randolph's closest friend," said Doc. "Possibly you know
more of his plans than he had divulged to others?"

"That's just it," nodded Archer soberly. "Some of Randolph's
associates and friends were beginning to fear he was becoming a trifle
mad. Did you know of his second stratosphere ship?"

"I was aware only of his first, the Silver Cylinder," advised Doc. "He
consulted with me concerning its motive power."

"Then you should know of this other, Mr. Savage. Randolph had a second
and much greater ship. It is beyond anything ever before attempted for
stratosphere flight. Certain devices can keep its occupants supplied
with oxygen for many weeks."

"Had he stated his purpose in having this supership?"

"Not to many persons, only a choice group. But Randolph believed he
had discovered a new power which would carry him almost beyond the
gravitational pull of the earth. He boasted several times that he soon
would be able to 'stay on top of the world.'"

"That would be a great adventure," agreed Doc. "Only I fear Professor
Randolph is not on top of the world in the sense he expressed it to

Their conversation was interrupted. Professor Archer gazed curiously
at the corridor alarm and the visionator.

"Anthony Durant!" he exclaimed, as the face of a new visitor appeared.
"He was one of those with Miss Garvin tonight. Probably he has
followed her here."

Doc touched the controls which opened the outside door. The chrome-
steel doors between the laboratory and the library also swung open.
Professor Archer moved as if to meet Anthony Durant in the ornate
reception room.

"Be careful," warned Doc quickly, one massive arm sweeping the light
body of Archer to one side.

The chrome-steel door between them and their visitor closed. Doc was
watching the face in the visionator glass. It appeared as if a whiff
of blue smoke had crossed the visionator. The face of Anthony Durant

OPENING the library door with infinite caution, Doc led the way toward
the outside. Near the corridor door now were only wisps of the strange

Professor Archer's protruding eyes looked as if they would jump from
his head.

"Where did he go? What happened, Mr. Savage?"

Doc was looking at the little heap of white ashes on the thick rug of
the reception room. Even as he glanced at it, the heap of fluffy ashes
seemed to dissolve. It drifted like a fine powder into the corridor
and disappeared.

So far as ever discovered this was accountable for Anthony Durant
becoming one of the great city's missing persons.

Professor Archer's handsome features had taken on a chalky pallor.

"It is reported this same thing happened to others in Union Square
tonight," he stated. "At least, I am sure my friend, Randolph, would
have nothing to do with anything which would menace his fellow men."

"You have been a deep student of atomic forces, Professor Archer,"
stated Doc Savage. "There seems no doubt but that Randolph has
discovered some strange power. Randolph has been a good man, but
possession of any unusual force has been known to work unexpected
changes in character. Randolph is only human. We should have a report
soon on Ann Garvin and my cousin."

The report on the two young women was quicker and more direct than
even Doc had expected. One of the regular elevators stopped at the
eighty-sixth floor.

Ann Garvin and Patricia Savage walked into Doc's headquarters. Both
were as calm as if their absence had meant nothing. Neither appeared
to notice the few remaining white ashes blowing along the corridor.

Pat Savage was a cool, level-headed young woman. Hysteria did not seem
to run in the Savage family. But as she entered, Pat was laughing
somewhat wildly.

"That's just one on us, Ann," she stated to her companion.

"Yes, it was one on us," agreed Ann Garvin. "Hello, Professor Archer.
Perhaps you have also heard something from Homer?"

"Sorry, but I haven't, Ann," stated Archer. "Where have you been?"

"Oh, that?" said Ann Garvin. "The man named Barthon you sent for me
had a cab waiting. So Pat and I went along."

"Barthon? A man I sent for you, Ann?" exclaimed Archer. "I know no one
of that name, and I have not even spoken to any person about your
possible presence here."

"Perhaps that's why he did not return," stated Pat Savage.

"Let's get this straight," said Doc. "A man named Barthon came for you
and then he didn't return?"

"That was it, Mr. Savage," said Ann Garvin. "This man said he could
take me to Homer--to Professor Randolph. Patricia agreed to go along.
There were two other men in the taxicab. They took us over on the West
Side above Central Park and left us there."

"You mean they just walked away?" said Archer.

"That was the way of it," said Pat. "They told us they would bring
Professor Randolph. We waited nearly ten minutes. Then a messenger boy
came to the taxicab with a note. It stated Professor Randolph had
disappeared and if we wanted to avoid trouble we should leave at once.
So we came back here."

DOC SAVAGE was observing the two young women closely. He was watching
Patricia especially. The man of bronze put a sudden question:

"Do you want to join us in helping solve this mystery, Pat?"

Patricia Savage would walk barefooted in the snow up Park Avenue if
she believed it would carry her into an adventure. Now she shook her
head apathetically.

"I don't want to become involved," she stated. "I've had enough
excitement for one night. I believe I'll go home."

Doc's compelling, flake-gold eyes caught and held those of his cousin.
She sighed as if she were tired and sat down.

"But I do want to find Homer," said Ann Garvin. "Even if he has silly
ideas about creative artists working for what they get. Society should
see that those who are creative are not forced to depend upon their
own earnings."

This second abrupt change of Ann Garvin's beliefs during the night was

With the example of Long Tom, Doc was beginning to understand
something of the mental reversals taking place. But for the time
being, he was as much in the dark as the others concerning the origin
of the mysterious force.

Leaving the others in the library, Doc glided into his laboratory. The
contrivance he produced resembled nothing so much as a loaded sixteen-
inch copper shell. From its appearance it might have been used in one
of the most modern guns.

The device was of great weight. Doc handled it easily.

"After all," he said to Professor Archer, "it is not impossible that
Professor Randolph has found a means of sustaining his stratosphere
ship above the greater pull of the earth's gravitation."

Professor Archer displayed keen understanding. Only a few scientists
would have identified the device.

"I would venture the guess," he said, "that this bomb contains pure
Argon gas. The only element that will photograph cosmic rays."

Doc nodded without speaking. The strange bomb did contain Argon gas.
Also, its interior was of intricate mechanism.

"I would assume," said Professor Archer, "you are planning to set a

"That is the general purpose," stated Doc.

"But what about the tons of lead insulation required to make the Argon
gas effective?" questioned Professor Archer.

Doc Savage glanced at the dead radio instruments. He had been making
various other tests of the numerous devices in the laboratory. He

"At this moment, there seems to be no terrestrial radio activity.
Perhaps the lead insulation may not be necessary."

Professor Archer nodded agreement.

"I had not considered that angle of it," he admitted.

Carrying the heavy bomb, Doc ascended to the hundred-foot tower
topping the skyscraper.

DOC made his way into a small room at the very top of the tower. He
had made this ascent alone. His next action was peculiar. Opening a
window, Doc suspended the sixteen-inch bomb from a set of hooks.

From the care exercised by the bronze man, the device might have been
some kind of a trap. It was a trap, but of a character never before
employed. Doc hoped the result might give him a clue to all the radio-
stopping force.

The idea he now held was so fantastic he would not confide in any of
the others. Doc always confirmed his theories before making them known
to others.

After fastening the bomb outside, Doc stepped back across the small
tower room. He had purposely refrained from employing any light. In
the middle of the room, Doc became a motionless bronze statue.

Even his breathing ceased. Unless some other man had the keenest
olfactory sense, he would not have been able to guess Doc's location.

Yet Doc both felt and heard movement. It might have been no more than
the scuttling of a mouse across the floor. It sounded as if it could
have been that.

The sound faded. Now Doc must have known that any threat which had
existed had disappeared. The rare trilling from his body filled the
little room. As he stepped toward the door, he flicked on his powerful
generator flashlight.

While he had been fastening the bomb at the window, a man must have
died in that room. The breeze was drawing white ashes through the
window from a small heap on the rug.

Doc wasted no time getting back to the eighty-sixth floor. He was
relieved to discover none of his companions there had followed him to
the tower.

Professor Archer, Ann Garvin, Patricia and Long Tom were in the
laboratory. Archer turned from Doc's special radio.

"A marvelous instrument," he commented. "But dead like all the

Doc addressed Long Tom.

"There has been no alarm, no new figure in the visionator?"

"No person has come onto this floor," stated Long Tom.

"It is almost time for Professor Randolph's promised announcement,"
stated Doc.


SOUND leaped into Doc Savage's radios. It came with such volume that
it sounded like a thunderous voice. Doc attempted to cut down the
strength of it.

But over and above the power of the tubes the voice seemed to roar.
The rolling tones seemed independent of the volume of the instruments.
Only by disconnecting the standard broadcast radio could the tone be
made clear.

Now the words rapped out of Doc's special shortwave set.

The same amazing volume and thunder of the message was being delivered
over every connected radio in the world. Its force created a howling
in the broadcast stations.

"There could be no such force!" shouted Professor Archer. "All the
regular waves have been submerged."

This appeared to be true. Signals on all wave bands had been replaced
by this sonorous voice.

Through its tremendous volume, the tone was that of Professor Homer

At another time, Long Tom would have been intensely interested in the
electrical angle of this phenomenon. The pallid man now seemed
disinterested. His eyes followed Doc. It was clear that only the
hypnotic spell held Long Tom from open rebellion.

"Homer! Homer!" screamed Ann Garvin at the first sound of the voice.
"Where are you! I'll--"

The charming young woman must have been on the verge of hysteria. She
sprang across the laboratory. Her small hands tore at the dials of the

"We will listen, Miss Garvin," stated Doc quietly.

His flake-gold eyes caught and held the girl's blue orbs.

"Yes," said Ann Garvin faintly. "We will listen."

Doc had applied the same hypnotic spell he had employed to control
Long Tom. All gave heed to the strange voice.

At the same time, millions everywhere were getting the message over
their radios. Many believed it only some practical jest of the
broadcasting stations. But many others knew this not to be true.

"This is Professor Homer Randolph."
stated the voice. "I am talking to you from the top of the world. You
have seen evidence tonight that I have the power to stop all radio
communication. I have more. I am in possession of a supreme, universal
and hitherto unsuspected force."

"Randolph has gone mad," declared Professor Archer. "This radio trick
is something tremendous, but his mind is unbalanced."

As if in reply, Randolph's voice thundered, "Many of my associates
will think I am insane. Let them. For I can change their minds for
them. I can change the minds of all the world. With this power I have
established a world dictatorship!"

DOC turned on the televisor switch. Ann Garvin stifled her cry. The
clean-cut, smiling face of Professor Randolph was clearly revealed.

"Professor Randolph is far from mad," said Doc quietly. "If only it
were his mind with which we must cope."

The voice spoke on:

"As the world's dictator, I shall correct all evils and reform society
in spite of itself. I am in a spot which none can reach. All the
armies of the world could not touch me. It is to be regretted that a
few persons must be injured and some must die, but that shall be for
the greater good of humanity."

"Isn't there any way you can reach him, Mr. Savage?" demanded
Professor Archer. "This is sheer lunacy!"

"All known science cannot interfere with me."
came the voice of Randolph. "I have the power to furnish light, heat
and clothing for the world. I can produce food so none may ever go
hungry. With this power, I shall serve as the world's dictator until
drouth and flood and depression have been removed from the earth."

The voice ceased for perhaps ten momentous seconds.

"It's a crazy trick--nothing but a trick!" cried Professor Archer.

"Homer! I've lost you!" cried Ann Garvin.

But Randolph's voice came on again strongly.

"If necessary, I can stop the world!"

Randolph's face still smiled in the televisor. Suddenly, it became
only a blurred shadow. Then his voice spoke hurriedly.

"Doc Savage, my friend! In half an hour contact me on your own special
shortwave! It is important! We must work together! I will then
disclose my location."

There was a noise as if two giant hands had slapped together.
Professor Randolph ceased to speak. Almost instantly, the radios took
on a new note.

The regular broadcasting waves had been restored.

Doc Savage's telephones started buzzing. Thousands had heard that
final message from Randolph to the man of bronze.

The man of bronze whipped back into the laboratory.

"Professor Garvin, you and Pat will remain here," he directed. "Long
Tom and Professor Archer, come with me."

Doc led the way swiftly toward the steel tower piercing the sky of
Manhattan. Terrestrial radio waves were back to normal. The bronze
giant was intensely interested in what the bomb hung from the window
might reveal.

Arriving at the door of the small room, Doc said, "Both of you remain
here. See that no person enters or leaves by this door."

Perhaps Doc believed the bomb itself might have become dangerous. Long
Tom and Professor Archer were left outside as the man of bronze
clicked the door behind him.

DOC SAVAGE was well aware there were others in the small room of the
tower. He had not the slightest doubt but that an ambush trap had been
prepared for him.

Doc's keen ears picked up the faint ticking of two watches. He could
hear breathing that had been made as quiet as humans could make it.
His keen nose detected body odors. These uncanny abilities were made
possible by Doc Savage's two-hour routine of exercise each day.

The man of bronze made no attempt to use a flashlight, or to switch on
the lights in the small room. He moved straight toward the open
window. None of those waiting could have guessed the man of bronze
knew their exact location.

Doc Savage's reason for employing this strategy had a double purpose:
The death by the blue vapor was beyond anything he could as yet
understand. Thus he was seriously handicapped. Until he learned more,
the bronze giant could hardly hope to put up an effective fight.

Then there was the bomb outside the window. On what this revealed
might depend to a great extent the solution of the broader mystery.
Doc already had a theory, but it was of such fantastic origin, he
hesitated to bring himself to a final opinion.

Perhaps the copper bomb, swaying hundreds of feet above Manhattan,
might have trapped Professor Randolph's secret power.

Though he knew his enemies were close by, Doc leaned with apparent
carelessness from the open window. Below him the streets appeared as
deep and narrow as mountain canyons. The lights illuminating the
outside of the tower flashed on his bronzed skin.

Doc seemed to be unfastening the copper bomb. But he was doing more. A
silk line, so light it hardly seemed more than a thread, was being
hooked under the window.

Without a sound, Doc plunged headlong into space. Observers far below
would have thought a spider was swinging wide on a gauzy web. As Doc
went down, he was holding the copper bomb tightly between his knees.

The silken line was uncoiling from a compartment inside Doc's coat.
The man of bronze dropped nearly fifty feet before he made any effort
to check his fall. Then his cabled hands merely shut and twisted.

An average man would have had his arms jerked from their sockets. A
lifetime of daily exercises of the most violent and strenuous form had
built up those muscles.

As Doc checked his descent, he saw men's faces appear in the window he
had just left. Curses snarled down at him. The watchers below could
not see the faces in the tower window.

Perhaps they saw only what appeared to be a human fly. They were
horrified when this figure was cut loose and started to drop. Women
ran and screamed.

The light silk line had been severed. With the weight of the bomb
between his knees, Doc was turned over and hurled downward.

But he had seen the flash of the knife across the line. As it parted,
Doc performed an amazing feat. His body whipped into a double turn in

Those amazing, cabled hands caught the projection above a window.

Doc's feet crashed glass. He let go, hung suspended an instant, then
rolled into a deserted office. As he struck the floor inside, an
unearthly scream wailed from outside the tower.

Doc saw the shadow of a body going down. One of the men had fallen
from the window far above.

Doc made a quick decision. He identified the office in which he had
landed. This contained a large closet. Three minutes later, Doc was in
the closet using his flashlight.

"The most perfect ever made," said Doc slowly, after he had opened the
copper bomb and extracted some of its mechanism. He held in his hand
what appeared to be a roll of ordinary photographic film.

Now he suspected the queer, wavy dashes and dots which appeared might
prove to be the force that would change the whole conduct of world
governments and society itself. Doc placed the bomb behind some
shelves. The imprinted film he thrust into an inner pocket.


AS Doc Savage lunged from the window of the tower room, Long Tom and
Professor Archer heard men's voices. Through the door came a snarling

Long Tom was still under the hypnotic spell of Doc. With Professor
Archer at his shoulder, Long Tom dived into the room.

Long Tom looked less like a fighter than most any other man on earth.
Many persons had made the mistake of believing that. Before they
learned the truth, it was usually too late.

There were four men near the window of the tower room. Long Tom saw
the knife slashed across Doc's silk line. Instantly, the four men by
the window must have been convinced a tiger had been turned loose in
their midst.

Long Tom had no time to observe what might be happening to Professor
Archer. Archer might or might not be a fighter. If he were not, he was
in an unfortunate spot.

Despite his most valiant efforts, Long Tom was sent to his back. From
this position, he produced a stomach toe kick which any Japanese
wrestler might have envied.

The man it caught sailed toward the wall. If he had struck the wall,
the impact probably would have put him out. Unfortunately, the open
window of the tower was in his pathway.

Long Tom did not know this was the man who had used the knife on Doc's
line. It would not have mattered to Long Tom if it had been.

The man had breath enough left for a bloodcurdling scream as he got
his first glimpse of several hundred feet of very empty air.

Long Tom got to his feet. Guns now were thrust into his bony sides.
Three men were around him. Long Tom put up his hands in the darkness.
One man flicked a flashlight into his face.

"Keep him alive!" snarled this man. "We can use all the bronze guy's
helpers! This fellow here is a wizard with electricity! Maybe we'll be
needing him in Empire City!"

The speaker had wasted too much time in conversation.

Long Tom had been slowly grinding his bony knees together. He was
holding his breath. He thought grimly that it was to be regretted he
could not warn Professor Archer.

But Professor Archer appeared to have been knocked out.

Now the three men confronting Long Tom underwent a peculiar change of
demeanor. All fell to the floor and started snoring. Long Tom's lung
capacity was not great. He got to the open window and fresh air.

An envelope of anaesthetic gas had been released by the pressure of
his knees. This was a special anaesthetic which would put any man to
sleep for an hour or more.

Far below, Long Tom could see that a crowd had rushed into the street.

"If they got Doc," muttered Long Tom, "I'll see these fellows don't
get out of here alive."

Professor Archer was still out on the floor. Long Tom carried him from
the tower room. Professor Archer would be out for some time. He had
not been warned, and he had breathed a good share of the sleeping gas.

THE battle in the tower room had taken up some time. Before Long Tom
reached headquarters with Professor Archer, Doc reached the eighty-
sixth floor corridor.

The man of bronze halted before the plain door marking his reception
room. This door had only a neat sign: "Clark Savage, Jr." But there
was something about the closed door which warned Doc some sort of
danger might be awaiting him inside.

Stepping to the smooth wall near the door, Doc pressed one foot on the
corridor carpet. Immediately, a square panel opened in the wall. It
was a special outside visionator.

This clearly showed the interior of the laboratory.

First, Doc saw Ann Garvin sitting before the radio. Her face was stony
and hard. Patricia Savage was in none of the rooms.

Ann Garvin seemed to be alone. She was staring at the radio, as if she
hoped Randolph's voice would again come to her. Yet there was
something strangely suspicious about the young woman's attitude.

Doc noticed she glanced furtively around the laboratory. Doc wondered
what had become of Patricia, and why she had departed. Then he
recalled that Pat had apparently been given a shot of the mind-
changing element, whatever it might be.

Behind Ann Garvin was a long wire cage. This contained scores of the
smallest and rarest tropical birds. They had been brought back by Doc
and his companions from many parts of the world.

The cage really was a concealment for one of Doc's many exits from
headquarters. Having helped design the skyscraper, Doc had caused many
intricate passages to be constructed through the thick walls.

Holding the visionator open, Doc remained motionless. He saw the cage
of tropical birds begin to swing outward. The bearded faces of two men

As they stepped into the laboratory, Ann Garvin turned, looking at
them. But the young woman showed no signs of alarm, instead, she
gestured with one hand. Doc could hear Ann Garvin speaking.

Connected with this new visionator was the latest in dictaphones.

"Doc Savage and the others are out just now," said Ann Garvin. "They
will return."

"We'll lay for them behind this table," said one of the men. "Stay
where you are, Miss Garvin. Don't change your position. It will be
over quickly. We must get Doc Savage."

The men concealed themselves hastily. Doc saw one was carrying what
might have been a square camera box. It had a gleaming lens.

Now the man swung the box so that the lens was pointed at the door of
the library. It was through this door that Doc Savage would probably

Still watching the visionator, Doc pressed what appeared to be merely
a curl in the varnished wood of the wall.

Something must have affected the many tropical birds in the cage. They
started fluttering and squawking.

Ann Garvin's sharp eyes were the first to detect something wrong.

"Look!" she cried out. "The birds in the cage! They're falling asleep!
I know what it is--"

The tropical birds were tumbling to the floor of the cage. All birds
are more susceptible to gas than humans. Ann Garvin's warning was too

"Run for it!" yelled one. "The whole thing's a trick!"

None of the three ran from the laboratory. Ann Garvin slid back into
her chair. Her body was inert. The men tried crawling on their hands
and knees, but they did not get far.

Doc smiled grimly. He knew the invaders and the birds would sleep
peacefully for some time to come. The button had opened special gas
jets inside the tropical bird cage.

MAKING sure Ann Garvin and her two apparent aides were sleeping
soundly, Doc glided to his high-speed elevator. Long Tom and Professor
Archer had not yet appeared from above.

Checking the time, Doc tuned in the shortwave instrument under the
hood of one of his cars as he arrived in his private garage. First, he
drove the car from the garage and into a side street. Even then, the
man of bronze was not sure he was clear of spying eyes and ears.

Doc had the gas attachment on his sedan ready for use if any one
should approach. He did not have to wait long for Professor Randolph.

"Doc Savage!"

"I am listening, Professor Randolph," stated the bronze man.

"Then heed carefully, Doc Savage."
came Randolph's calm voice. "I am but carrying out your own great
purpose in life. You are the one man in the world who can assist me
the most. First of all, will you see that Ann Garvin is not molested?"

"I will do what is best for Ann Garvin," stated Doc. "She is now in my

"Then listen, Doc Savage," said Professor Randolph. "You cannot refuse
to help in changing humanity. I tell you I can stop the world on its
axis, if necessary. I can change the Arctic region to tropical,
multiply the food of the world. I want you, Doc Savage. You will find
me where--"

Evidently something stopped Professor Randolph abruptly.

A smothered, gurgling sound came over Doc's receiver.

The short-wave contact was broken instantly.


ON the far-away slope of Mount Shasta, Monk and Ham had listened to
Randolph expounding his idea of being dictator of the world.

On descending the mountain, Monk and Ham had evaded the Shallops and,
by circling, had entered their crashed plane. They had been making
ineffectual efforts to contact Doc since their arrival, but had been
unsuccessful because of the bronze man's activity in the Manhattan

Since their arrival, Ham and Monk had been tongue-lashing one another
in regard to their sudden change of mind about climbing up the
mountain. They hadn't quite clearly understood exactly what had taken

"You misfit of nature," Ham said, with heavy sarcasm, "if you hadn't
refused to go on up the mountain, we would probably know right now
where Professor Randolph is hiding out. You never were much use, but I
never knew you to quit cold like that!"

"If I didn't have to look after you and get us out of this mess with
the mountain people you got us into, I'd pin your ears back over your
mouth!" piped Monk. "You're the one that changed his mind!"

Ham and Monk now were in a tight spot. The Shallop clan had discovered
the three unconscious men up by the footbridge. They knew nothing of
the white ashes, so they perhaps believed their visitors had pushed
Hank Shallop into Afternoon Creek.

Ham and Monk had gotten their first lucky break when the Shallops
wasted time seeking them higher up in the burning snow. They had
followed the trail up, when the two had been back-tracking toward
their plane.

"Those fellows we knocked out are on their feet again," announced Ham.
"Hear them talking?"

There could be no mistaking that the three mountaineers had regained
their voices. They were gabbling in high, angry tones.

"That thar feller with a knife in his cane shoved pore old Hank off'n
the log bridge!" one of the men exclaimed a short distance from the
plane. "There ain't nary a doubt about them bein' in cahoots with the
devils up on Shasta! They went up, but they didn't come back!"

Though the mountaineers were familiar enough with planes, they were
staying away from the one Ham and Monk had come in. This was because
Doc's companions had protected the wrecked plane previously with an
electrical current which delivered a considerable shock.

The Shallops had hesitated to repeat the experiment of examining the

Suddenly Doc's second contact with Professor Randolph came. This was
the message he received in his car which had been so abruptly

"Blazes, Ham!" Monk grunted. "He's got Doc now, and it's on our own

The truth of this brought a few seconds of forgetfulness. The
loudspeaker of the radio inside the plane let out a few squawks before
Ham got it toned down.

Ham started speaking.

"Ham and Monk, Doc! We were forced down on Mount Shasta! The Randolph
radio messages seem to emanate from close by! The snow on the mountain
seems to be burning, but it is only at melting heat! We've had some
trouble! A number of mountain men are about to besiege our plane!"

They had not lessened the tone of their radio quickly enough. From all
around, outside, came the shouts and rushing feet of the enraged

"Them fellers is in thar! Let 'em have it!"

The Shallops had taken shelter in the rocks surrounding the plane.
They opened up with both rifles and revolvers. Bullets drummed on the
armored alloy of the fuselage and ran spidery cracks in the
bulletproof glass windows.

EXCEPT for Ham's sword cane and a few anaesthetic devices, the two
were unarmed. Their flight had been a peaceful trip. After a few
seconds, Ham was informed that Doc was getting their message.

The Shallops were creeping closer. They seemed to have plenty of lead
to waste. The plane windows were being plastered with flattened slugs.

"Yes, Ham, I am listening," came the voice of Doc in far-away

"One of the men with us died suddenly, Doc," stated Ham. "We were
close under the burning snow. The man walked onto a log. A blue cloud
arose. Then there was only a heap of white ashes."

Plainly over the radio came Doc Savage's rare trilling emanation. Ham
had just informed the bronze man of much more than he imagined. Doc
had been given what he considered a direct line on the location of
Professor Randolph.

Doc's voice came to them clearly and calmly.

"Don't take any chances. Stay off of the upper mountain. Stick where
you are. I shall join you presently."

Ham immediately attempted to inform Doc that staying where they were
was likely to become most unhealthy. But Doc did not receive that part
of the message.

One bullet from the rain of lead being poured upon the plane found its
way inside. The slug smashed a condenser on the radio. The contact
with Doc was terminated instantly.

"Doc advises us to stay off the mountain," said Ham wryly. "On one
side, we have the flood of Afternoon Creek. On two others, are our
good friends of the mountain. About all the place left for us is in
the direction of the peak."

"Daggonit!" howled Monk. "Why didn't we keep on going when we were up
there? Outside of talking with Doc, we haven't gained anything by
coming back here!"

"You crazy missing link!" rapped Ham. "You wouldn't go on up! You
talked me into coming back!"

"You nutty dude shyster!" yelped Monk. "It was you that had the screwy
idea of quittin'! You even told me we oughtta keep out of other
people's business!"

Regardless of which was correct, there now came a reversal of the
force which had so strangely affected them.

Equipped with a few high-explosive grenades of small size and several
anaesthetic capsules, Ham and Monk slipped from the darkened plane.
Lead split, whined and pounded around them.

"We can't get at those fellows with the drugged capsules, and I don't
want to blow any of them to pieces with the grenade," announced Ham.
"They may be misinformed, but they are on the square in wanting to
kill us. No doubt, they believe we are responsible for Hank Shallop's

The canny mountaineers were scattered among the rocks.

Only the imperfect illumination cast by the crimson snow above saved
Ham and Monk from being filled with lead. Unable to employ any of
their defensive devices, Doc's companions again started up the

SKIPPING lead pursued the pair. They climbed rapidly through the belt
of spruce and into the open space above the timberline. Here their
bodies stood out against the eerie light of the snow.

Rivulets of water poured around their feet. These joined others, to
create more tons of water flooding Afternoon Creek. In the distance
against the fog was another queer light. This seemed to hang suspended
in the sky like a red cloud.

"That's about the location of Mount Lassen," stated Ham. "I'll bet
some of this strange force around us has stirred up the old volcano.
Perhaps that may be responsible for the light on the snow."

Monk loped forward on his short legs. His broad body weaved from side
to side. Bullets continued to whine from the ground near by. They
reached the open stretch at the lower tip of a glacier.

Here the crimson snow would make them targets the mountaineers could
hardly miss.

"There's no way back," gritted Ham, "so don't change your mind again."

This time, neither appeared to be affected by any change of mind. The
pounding of rifle slugs was a convincing argument as to the direction
they should follow.

They plunged into the scarlet snow at the lower tip of the melting
glacier. They were wholly enveloped now in what seemed leaping scarlet
flame. Yet they were aware of only what might have been pleasant
summer heat.

Yet this heat was sufficient to be dissolving the tons of packed snow
in the valleys of Mount Shasta.

"I don't like this place up here," complained Monk. "It ain't noway
natural. Daggonit, it was below freezin' down below and it oughta be
below zero up at this altitude!"

"If you don't like it then, suppose you go back," suggested Ham
maliciously. "There are worse things than a slight variation in normal

Below them, the Shallops were still punching holes in the air with
rifle bullets. Perhaps the crimson glow of the snow was confusing.
Some slugs nipped close, but Ham and Monk remained untouched.

"What I don't understand," stated Ham, "is the way we are acting. The
other time we came up, both of us wanted to go back. Now something
seems to tell me we've got to keep going right on up to the peak."

"Danged if that ain't the way I feel, too!" exclaimed Monk. "I only
hope them crazy Shallops don't get the same idea!"

Thus Ham and Monk made known they felt some new, irresistible force.
It seemed to be drawing them toward the slanting peak of Mount Shasta
several thousand feet above them.

Suddenly the rain of pursuing bullets ceased. The new force must have
been working in the reverse on the angry mountaineers. One of the
Shallops let out a yell.

"Hi, fellers! What in time are we shootin' at them for? They ain't
nary one of 'em done us no harm!"

The other Shallops agreed. They were regretting they had been trying
to pulverize a pair of innocent citizens, as they viewed it in their
new state of mind.

In fact, the Shallops started berating each other for this unjustified
attack. And they started back down the mountain.

"I know what we're going to find up here," announced Ham. "This
Professor Randolph, and he has Johnny with him."

"Yeah," agreed Monk. "I've known all the time Johnny was alive and
that he would be up here."

They were still floundering through the soft, knee-deep slush of the
glacier. The temperature, contrary to the nature of world atmosphere,
was becoming warmer as they ascended.

"Blazes, Ham!" jerked out Monk. "We're comin' into another belt of
trees! Daggonit, they're young an' green, as if they hadn't been
planted long!"

"Funny," murmured Ham; "they look something like bamboo. But there
never was any bamboo in this climate."

MONK had reached one long arm above his head. His prehensile fingers
closed on a huge, peculiar knob jutting out from the small trunk.

"Well, I'll be a monkey's brother!" exploded Monk.

"Which adds nothing to past information," drawled Ham. "What has
penetrated your thick skull now?"

"You ignorant shyster fop!" yelled Monk. "These things ain't trees!
They're corn--corn like you eat!"

Seldom did the astute Ham evince surprise. But his jaw sagged a

"I thought all the time it was a giant beanstalk in the story that
Jack climbed, but for once you're right. This is corn!"

The corn towered many feet above their heads. The ears were of
fabulous size. Suddenly Monk jumped to one side, as if he had been
stung. A hideous green worm, nearly a foot in length, had dropped on
one of his hairy ears.

This worm had pincers several inches long. Its mouth gaped open.

"Great catamounts!" yelled Ham. "That's a corn borer, but what a

"I wish I could make up my mind to go back down the mountain," said
Monk plaintively. "Look ahead, Ham! Them things couldn't be tomato
vines, could they?"

"After seeing that corn, they could be peanuts and still be as big as
pumpkins," said Ham. "But I judge they are tomatoes. And those plants
which look like hazel bushes are the tops of carrots."

They were enmeshed in the fantastic garden. They could see it had not
sprung up there by chance. The corn had been set in even rows. The
tomato vines were supported on climber uprights that had been young
fir trees.

"Talk about your tropical valleys!" exploded Ham. "None of these
plants are tropical, but you can almost see them grow!"

"Daggonit!" wailed Monk. "Maybe what them Shallops said about some of
their people disappearin' an' becomin' giants has somethin' to do with

"Keep your eyes open for signs of human habitation," warned Ham. "I
think we ought to get back down the mountain, but strangely enough I
want to go on up to the peak."

The fabulous garden occupied a wide valley on Mount Shasta. From the
erosion of the ground, it was apparent this valley had been the home
of a glacier not long before. A light wind rustled through the broad
leaves of mammoth plants.

Suddenly, above the crimson shine of the snow, two bright columns of
silver appeared a thousand feet or more above the garden. The columns
were so tall they disappeared into the fog wreathing the peak of the

Monk laid one hand on Ham's arm. He pointed beyond the edge of the
vast cornfield.

"Well, I'll be superamalgamated, as Johnny would put it!" said Ham.
"I've heard of dreams walking, but I never before saw a tree doing

Monk's furry body shivered. The tree was a good-sized fir. It was at
least fifty feet in length. And it was passing the edge of the crazy
garden as if borne on the back of some huge beast of burden.

But this was not a beast of burden. Possibly an elephant could have
transported the huge log. But no elephant ever spoke in a human voice
with a distinct mountain twang.

"The master said as how we was to bring up them stone!"

A human voice, but it came with the volume that might have been
created by a giant loud-speaker. Undoubtedly, the speech came from the
man who was carrying the fir tree.

"I think it would be a good move to find our way around the garden and
see if we can make contact with this Professor Randolph before we are
detected," advised Ham.

"Blazes! I'd say it would--Look out, Ham!"

HAM'S decision had come too late. From between the rows of corn came
tremendous hands. Monk's warning only gave Ham time enough to whip to
one side and draw out his sword blade. He slapped the drugged point of
the blade at the pair of grabbing hands.

The resultant howl almost split their eardrums. It was as if some
monstrous beast had suddenly been injured badly.

Monk got beside Ham, his hands filled with anaesthetic pellets. The
drugged sword had been effective. The pair of huge hands flew upward.
A long body fell and thrashed among the big cornstalks.

These flailed down upon Ham and Monk with the weight and force of
small trees in a cyclone. Monk let go all the gas capsules at once as
he was flattened to the ground.

Now the garden became filled with incredible figures. They formed a
ring. Ham's sword cane played like a streak of light. A hand as hard
as bone caught the blade and snapped it off.

"Daggonit, I'll show 'em!" yelled Monk.

Monk lashed out with his big fists. Not a single blow missed contact
with their monstrous enemies. But for all the effect they had, Monk's
mighty fists might as well have been blows delivered by a baby.

A few of the giant figures were overcome by the drugged capsules, but
Ham and Monk discovered they were as helpless as small children.

Neither was rendered unconscious. They were simply locked in grips
they could not break. In this manner they were borne from the garden.
Their captors were carrying them up the steep slope of Mount Shasta as
if they were mere babies.

"Howlin' calamities!" came the childlike voice of Monk.
"Ham, do you see what I see?"

"I am looking at what might be the world's greatest observatory," said
Ham quietly. "All the instruments are inclosed in rooms of clear
crystal. Nothing is concealed from the outside."

Monk became speechless. It seemed to him as if he were looking through
the side of Mount Shasta itself.

Below them, near the valley of the giant garden, loomed other queer
buildings of wood and stone. None had ever heard of a city existing in
the wilderness of Mount Shasta.

Stranger still, Mount Shasta carried one of the most modern motor
highways across its lower slopes. A north and south line of railroad
paralleled the highway.

At no point on the mountain could it have been more than a few miles
from ordinary, civilized transportation.

The glass wall of a room slid open. Ham and Monk were pushed inside. A
low voice spoke soothingly. Neither of the prisoners were touched. But
both fell immediately into a deep sleep.


WHEN the radio set in Ham and Monk's plane had been cut off, Doc had
driven his car back to the garage, bronze eyes watchful. He arrived on
the eighty-sixth floor at about the time Ham and Monk were being put
to sleep by a soothing voice.

The bronze giant moved with infinite caution. As he emerged from his
special high-speed elevator, he had become aware that all was not
right in the office.

Doc glided to one side. His foot contacted the button which should
have started the visionator. Nothing happened.

The man of bronze realized instantly that some one had been in the
laboratory. He glided into the reception room and then halted. On the
floor in front of him lay two bodies. They were those of men. They
were the bodies of Long Tom and Professor Archer. The men on the floor
were breathing faintly.

Doc employed his generator flashlight gingerly. He verified the fact
that Long Tom and Professor Archer were only unconscious. Doc flicked
off the light.

Something queer was happening to him. His trained senses had picked up
another presence, but his character, whether animal or human, was

Doc whipped to a repository near his reception-room desk. From this,
he picked out a black box somewhat like an old-fashioned stereoscope.
Only it gave forth no light.

The ray whipping from the box was known as a violet ray, or the black
light. Doc directed this briefly at the glass top of his desk. A few
scrawled words glowed with eerie fluorescence.

The words had been written by Long Tom with a chalk which fluoresced
under the violet ray.


At this juncture, Long Tom's message had been cut off.

Doc Savage stood as motionless as a statue for perhaps ten seconds. He
had the deepest affection for his cousin, Patricia Savage. In all
ordinary situations of danger, Pat could look after herself.

Tonight's happenings, however, were beyond anything within human
credence. For once, the bronze giant was considerably puzzled. The
pattern of the amazing white-ash deaths, of mind-changing, of control
of all world radio waves must have emanated from the power Professor
Randolph boasted he possessed.

Doc had observed swiftly that his laboratory had been smashed. This
had been accomplished as if some huge animal had gone crashing about
in the interior. No sign remained of Ann Garvin, Patricia and the two

Doc could not determine how Long Tom was aware some one had got Pat.
Pat had not been present when Doc had last peered into his
headquarters through the visionator. The man of bronze had hoped then
that Pat had grown tired of waiting and returned to her Park Avenue

In spite of Long Tom's message, perhaps the electrician was mistaken.
Doc quietly made a telephone contact with Pat's residence. A maid

"No," said the maid. "Miss Savage is not here. There was a call an
hour or so ago which said she would not return for several days."

Recalling Pat's uncertain state of mind when he had last seen her, Doc
decided fast action would be required. He wanted to know what Long Tom
knew. It might help to a certain degree.

Doc bent over the pallid little man. Long Tom looked as dead as he
ever would look. This proved nothing, for Long Tom looked almost as
dead when he was walking around.

The man of bronze slipped a hypodermic needle from a pocket. Working
in the darkness, he thrust the point into Long Tom's shoulder. For
once, Doc's senses weren't working as they should have. He was
concentrating all his efforts on Long Tom.

Had a clamshell steam shovel suddenly descended and pawed Doc into its
iron grip, he could not have been more surprised at what suddenly took
place. His neck was seized in a powerful grip.

THE man of bronze set his corded neck against the crushing hold. At
the same time, he flashed both hands upward, seizing the wrists of his

Doc Savage was more than mildly surprised. His immense, cabled fingers
were neither long enough nor powerful enough to have effect on the
bony columns his attacker had for wrists.

Doc's instant effort was to bring one of his special anaesthetic
devices into play. But his arms were locked behind him as if a vise
had suddenly closed.

Still Doc fought against the amazingly overwhelming odds of size and
strength, such as he had never before encountered. One of Doc's heels
found a vulnerable nerve on one of his attacker's knees.

All this elicited was a grunt and a tightening of the grip on Doc's
neck. Even with his muscles set ridged against it, the man of bronze
realized his attacker had the strength to crush his spine.

The unseen man threw his weight on Doc's back. Knees of the general
force of descending steel pillars seemed to crush Doc's ribs. Doc
realized then that even his astounding physical powers were
insufficient to cope with his enemy.

Suddenly, the bronze giant permitted his whole body to go lax. Cords
that must have been cut in rawhide from animals were swiftly drawn
around his arms and legs. The job of tying was expert and complete.

Next, Doc was lifted and carried into his wrecked laboratory. One
faint light there revealed the face of his captor.

The man could not have been less than ten feet tall. He must have
weighed nearly seven hundred pounds. His face was a bony, snag-toothed
mask. The giant did not seem to be angry.

Also, he was unbelievably good-humored. His ugly, scraggly-bearded
face broke into a broad smile. He seemed as pleasant as a child.

"I ain't had no trouble like the master warned me about," he stated.
"They say to me you are a mighty strong man. I am stronger. My master
has sent me to bring you."

Doc was adding up his present information. No doubt, this giant was a
mountaineer. The bronze man was familiar with the vernacular of nearly
all peoples.

This giant had none of the Eastern or Middle Western mountain
rendition of speech. Then he must have come from the far West. This
linked up with the rather garbled message from Ham and Monk.

"You are a remarkable man," said Doc pleasantly. "Will you tell me
your name?"

"Ain't no reason why not," stated the giant. "I'm Walrath Shallop. Me
and some of my people serve the master."

"It is always well to obey your master," agreed Doc. "And did you
always have this great size and strength?"

Walrath Shallop grinned.

"Ain't been so long I've got it," he said. "Until I went out to shoot
a goat a few weeks ago, I was kinda puny."

TEMPORARILY in the giant's power, Doc was sure the big fellow would be
intensely loyal. Not because of any inherent integrity, but because of
some mental as well as physical influence which controlled him.

Doc judged quickly another factor. This mountain giant being here
denoted that others of Randolph's friends were also in Manhattan by
some special means of transportation.

Doc had intended making a swift flight to join Ham and Monk. Now he
became aware he probably would make such a journey whether he willed
it or not.

Doc Savage was slowly drawing the giant Walrath's pale-blue eyes to
look into the hypnotic depths of his own flake-gold orbs. Without
appearing to do so, he was compelling Walrath Shallop to gaze at him
more intently.

The man of bronze had been tossed roughly near one of the broken
laboratory tables. He was so tightly bound, he could move neither feet
nor hands to get at any of his defensive devices.

Doc was aware this giant mountaineer, who had only recently been a
puny fellow, was being controlled in both mind and body by probably
the same force that had changed Ann Garvin, Pat and Long Tom.

Would hypnotism affect the giant?

Doc knew the lesser the degree of intelligence, the easier it is to
control the mind. He had Walrath looking at him steadily now. The
giant's good humor had apparently faded. His crooked mouth snarled
over the snags of his teeth.

"I ain't listenin' to no propositions!" he rapped out, in a voice as
loud as an amplifier radio.

This conveyed information to Doc that the giant was already feeling
his hypnotic power. But the control broke with unexpected violence.

The giant Walrath suddenly seemed to go berserk. Catching up a heavy
metal ball, he started smashing priceless retorts and tubes. His pale
eyes were pulling back to Doc's hypnotic ones, but this did not check
what appeared to be an insane rage.

Doc judged two controls were fighting for domination of the
mountaineer's limited brain. This was too much for his mental balance.
Now Walrath Shallop had completed a round of smashing inanimate

He turned on the bound and helpless Doc. Very apparently, he had
suddenly come to look upon the bronze giant as some kind of a

"The master said I was to bring you!" growled Walrath.

He raised the ponderous metal ball high in his huge hands. The ball
itself weighed not less than a hundred pounds.

Some of the power in the laboratory was on. Doc's radio crackled. A
mocking voice floated in on the shortwave.

"Bring Doc Savage to me, Walrath--dead or alive!"

The giant's pale eyes glinted with a killer's fury. Clearly, he was in
some manner under the influence of the bound bronze man. Plainly
enough he had will power enough left to resent this influence.

"Dead or alive!" growled Walrath.

The metal ball was lifted high above the giant's head. Its descent
would have crushed stone and metal.

THE cage of rare tropical birds did not move. But from within its
interior flashed a brilliant light. It had the effect of a lightning
bolt being flashed before human eyes.

Doc Savage had closed his own eyes. He had buried his face in his
arms. Close beside him, the great metal ball struck with an impact
that cracked the floor.

Walrath started swearing wildly. He was groping about the laboratory.

"I can't see nothin'! I can't see nothin'!" he was yelling.

Doc was rolling toward the glass fragments of smashed retorts. The
giant blundered around the room, knocking over many objects. Doc was
sawing the rawhide thongs from his arms.

"Gimme back my eyes!" shouted Walrath. "Where are you?"

"Here, Walrath," spoke Doc quietly. "Right this way."

The giant threw out his hands. He walked directly into Doc's massive
arms. Walrath flailed blindly with his fists. One arm closed around
Doc's ribs.

But this hold failed Walrath. One of Doc's thumbs went under the
giant's armpit. Two other fingers were sunk in the flesh under one of
Walrath's ears. The giant went slack.

Soon he was sitting on the floor, his head nodding.

"You will now go with me to your master, Walrath," stated Doc.

The giant's eyes were glazed. He nodded dully in assent.

Doc wasted no time reviving Long Tom and Professor Archer.

The two men stared at the submissive giant from the mountains.

"He got us," stated Long Tom, "and I was afraid he might get you."

"He did get me," stated Doc. "But I fear Walrath has never seen
hypnotism applied. Possibly, he will become a valuable aid for our

Long Tom's mood was not of the best. He had not been the same since
the mind-changing force had struck him. But the disappearance of Pat
Savage helped to control the electrician.

"Are you intending to seek Professor Randolph?" inquired Professor
Archer. "If so, he has always been a good friend. Perhaps I could be
of some assistance. Randolph's actions are amazing to me."

"I will require all the help I can get," stated Doc. "Not only Johnny,
but I believe Ham and Monk are now in the hands of Randolph and the
others wielding this mysterious power for evil."

"But where would Pat and Ann Garvin have been taken?" asked Long Tom.

"I suspect both are now several hundred miles from this spot," stated
Doc. "I shall check--"

The radio in the laboratory crackled. The words coming over it were
broken, uttered as if with great difficulty. The final few were
snatched away.

"Doc--Doc Savage--Denver--millions--Denver Mint--I can't stop--can't
stop--tomorrow morning--Doc! Help!"

Though the words could be distinguished, the voice was muffled. It
might have been the voice of Professor Randolph. Or it could have been
a disguised voice attempting trickery.

"What could he mean?" demanded Professor Archer. "He couldn't be
intimating any one would attempt to rob a United States mint. Why,
that is an absurd impossibility! An army couldn't break into one of
the government mints!"

"An army could not break into the mint at Denver," stated Doc. "But
much less than an army killed all the radio waves in the world. If you
care to accompany us, Professor Archer, we shall be in Denver early
tomorrow morning."

NO trace had been obtained of Pat Savage or Ann Garvin. Flying fields
had no reports of young women answering their description.

But about this time a watchman on one of the old Hudson River piers
was calling Doc Savage by telephone. This watchman was stationed in a
musty, unpainted warehouse.

"Hidalgo Trading Co." was all the sign this one of many piers along
the Hudson bore.

The watchman spoke rapidly with Doc.

"Four hundred feet long, if it was an inch, and looked like some kind
of a silver fish," said the man. "Only when I was watching for it to
take a dive, the thing went up, not down. And it had neither
propellers or explosion tubes. It made no sound."

"Have the fastest twin-motored plane ready," was Doc's only reply. "I
shall be at the hangar in a few minutes."

With Long Tom at the wheel of his sedan, Doc Savage rode the running
board outside. Clinging with one cabled hand, the bronze man was
missing no detail of sound, sight or smell. At this juncture, any call
might have been a trap.

A big Irish traffic policeman started to blow his whistle, then
refrained. His finger tips saluted Doc Savage. The bronze man carried
his own honorary commission in the city and State police.

But this did not prevent the big policeman from flopping his mouth

"Holy mackerel!" he jerked out. "There ain't no such size man outside
o' a circus, an' I don't believe there's one in a circus!"

The huge bulk of Walrath, the mountaineer, filled nearly all the rear
seat of Doc's sedan. The giant was "bringing Doc Savage to his
master," but hardly in the manner he had expected.

A few minutes later the car arrived at Doc's hangar. The men got out
and entered the hangar. Almost a moment later, a motor broke into

The twin-motored cabin plane that glided out into the Hudson from the
Hidalgo Trading Co. hangar did not oppose a square inch to the wind.
Its powerful motors and streamlining made it the fastest model of its
type anywhere in the world.

"We can pick up nearly five hundred miles an hour with this ship," Doc
told Professor Archer. "That will get us into Denver around daylight.
But I am convinced those we are seeking will have reached Denver at
four or five times our possible speed."

Doc did not say why he believed this. As he took the plane's controls,
he carefully removed a roll of photographic film from a pocket and
placed it in a tube compartment of the plane's cabin.

Doc had his reason for this action. The film he had taken from the
copper bomb remained elsewhere on his person.


DOC SAVAGE set his fast plane down on the Platte River. The valley
above Denver toward the Colorado mountains permitted this stream to
broaden into navigable proportions.

Because of many irrigation projects, dams had been built. South lay
Pikes Peak. This was seventy miles from Denver. On clear days its
needle could be seen from the city.

"Long Tom will look after the plane," stated Doc. "Daylight will not
arrive for nearly an hour. We will hire some farmer's car. Long Tom
will keep Walrath occupied. He might attract too much attention in

"Surely, you hardly believe the story an attempt will be made to rob
the United States mint?" questioned Professor Archer, fiddling with
his gold eyeglasses. "Such a gigantic scheme could not be possible!"

Doc looked at Walrath, the giant mountaineer.

"Walrath doesn't seem possible either, Professor Archer. I not only
believe the plan has been laid to rob the mint, but I believe, also,
the marauders are already on the ground. The trap is set."

A farmer's boy, driving a rickety car, stared in awe at Doc Savage.
Perhaps in the far valley of the Platte River he had never heard of
the bronze giant. Nevertheless, he was greatly impressed. He was more
than pleased when the man of bronze hired his car.

The boy sent the car rocking down the valley toward the city. Denver,
at one time the gold and silver center of America, does not set among
sharp mountains. As they sighted the city, Doc Savage studied the
surrounding country.

The city lay in a plateau valley. The nearest hogback mountain range
was perhaps ten miles distant. Due to the high altitude, these ranges
seemed only a mile or so.

There were hundreds of valleys which afforded possible concealment for
almost any kind of aircraft. The first view of the city in the break
of the rising sun was a gleaming point which looked much like gold.

"It is my first time in Denver," said Professor Archer. "I have heard
of the State capitol's golden dome. There are few spots on earth,
especially in these days, where gold could thus be exposed."

The State capital building of Colorado was situated on perhaps the
highest spot within the city of Denver. This was a rolling hill. The
capitol's high dome reflected the morning sun vividly.

None had ever found the means for purloining a single ounce of the
glittering roof. It was made of thinly rolled gold. At the time this
dome was built, the mines in the mountains around Denver promised to
be inexhaustible.

"It was because of the vast supplies of gold and silver the original
old mint was built here," stated Doc Savage. "We are now coming to
Cherry Creek. The first mint was near the creek."

PROFESSOR ARCHER seemed less interested in this information than in
the possible tactics the man of bronze might employ should there
really be a raid on the mint.

At times, Professor Archer smiled covertly, as if he doubted the
amazing powers of Doc Savage. However, Professor Archer was not alone
in this. Many before him had doubted the bronze man's resourcefulness.

"If there really is a plot to rob the mint, what steps do you propose
to take?" inquired Professor Archer.

"That will depend upon circumstances," stated Doc. "Most persons would
believe the mint to be impregnable. It is safeguarded by numerous
devices. Its employees are the oldest and the most trusted in
government service."

The hired farm car went across the bridge over Cherry Creek. At Doc's
direction, the boy drove directly along Sixteenth Street. By this time
the morning was clear and brilliant.

"When we reach Champa Street, turn left, then drive slowly toward the
capitol dome," instructed Doc.

A block from the United States mint, Doc ordered the farmer boy to
halt the car.

The gray of Colorado granite made up the building in which was always
a gold supply worth many millions. Doc had learned this store of
treasure had been increased within the past few days.

A uniformed policeman appeared at a corner near the mint. He began
directing the early traffic. Two motor-cycle traffic patrolmen gave
Doc's hired car the once-over.

It was an ordinary farmer's auto, but the motor-cycle men turned to
have a second look. The bronzed face and hair of Doc Savage made up a
head that might have been sculptured from gold.

"Professor Randolph may have great power, but he hasn't got enough to
break through those barriers," stated Professor Archer. "I'll wager
those bars at the doors and windows are of steel that would resist the
most powerful cutting torch."

"I haven't a doubt of that," agreed Doc. "However, Professor Archer,
you are about to witness a robbery of a mint. The barred fence and
windows will offer no obstacles."

THREE armored trucks emerged from Sixteenth Street into Champa Street.
They were of the ordinary type employed to transport city pay rolls or
shipments of high value.

Two men occupied the seat of each of the trucks. They wore a uniform,
with guns swinging in leather holsters at their hips. The traffic
policeman immediately whistled other traffic back.

"Those trucks probably are on their way to the mint," said Professor
Archer. "Perhaps they are preparing to move a big shipment of gold.
This would be an inauspicious time for outside bandits to try to break

Doc said nothing. The whirlwinds in his flake-gold eyes stirred with
some premonition. His rare, trilling emanation was heard faintly. The
farm boy was startled.

The boy looked all around. He could not determine the source of the
trilling which turned his skin to pimply gooseflesh.

One truck driver gestured to the traffic policeman. It was unusual for
a traffic man to leave his post. But after the truck driver had spoken
a few words, the policeman swung onto the step of his truck.

"Hey, buddy!" shouted the driver of the second truck. "Mind trailing
along? We're moving a heavy consignment of bullion! Ought to have had
more guards!"

The call was directed at the cruising motor-cycle men.

"Sure! Sure!" replied one of the cops.

The motor-cycle men turned, forming an escort for the second truck.

"They have some other policemen with them," said Professor Archer.
"They are Denver city police. That ends all immediate chance for any
possible holdup."

"It would seem that way," stated Doc. "They have half a dozen
policemen of the city force. Some have machine-guns."

"Looks as if we were only wasting time," said Professor Archer. "I was
hoping we could find some trace of Ann Garvin and your cousin,
Patricia, today."

"We happen to be closer to Ann Garvin and Patricia right now than we
were in Manhattan," smiled Doc. "I have no doubt but that the robbery
of the mint will proceed on schedule."

"Well, the whole affair has me guessing," declared Archer.

IN the first watchman's box the gray-haired occupant saw the three
armored trucks swing into the entry.

At this point were heavily re-enforced gates. Machine-guns guarded
each side. Before the trucks could enter, the gunman guards, the
watchman, and finally the superintendent must be satisfied their call
was legitimate.

The gray-haired watchman pushed a buzzer. He was connected with the
superintendent's office.

"Three trucks outside," announced the watchman. "They have a flock of
cops along, so I guess they're all right."

"Trucks?" came the superintendent's voice. "We've nothing scheduled to
go out or come in. I shall be right down."

Four men from two of the trucks stood before the high iron gates. The
machine-gun guards looked them over suspiciously. They had received no
order to admit any one.

The middle-aged, nervous superintendent came from the office. He
walked to the gates. He twiddled a small mustache.

"What's this?" he demanded through the iron bars. "I have received no
word of anything to be moved today."

The driver of one of the trucks spoke quietly.

"You are Carnahan? Well, we are to remove for Hawaiian shipment the
twenty millions in bullion received this week. It is a direct
Washington order. I have nothing written, you understand?"

"No one ever gets in here without proper credentials!" snapped the
superintendent. "The order and the receipts must be--"

The truck driver merely smiled. His head nodded slowly. He did not
speak again.

The mint superintendent rubbed one hand across his forehead.

"Sure, I understand," he said quickly, interrupting his own speech.
"Let them drive in."

The machine-gunners were already moving the gate levers. One by one,
the armored trucks passed inside the rectangle of the barred fence.
The superintendent himself caught the step of one of the trucks.

Several city policemen joined the machine-gun guards. Two coppers took
up their positions a short distance from the gates. They made a close
inspection of all pedestrians passing by.

"Some of the stuff has been removed from the boxes," said the
superintendent to the first truck driver. "I'll have my men get it in
shape while you are loading the other boxes."

The loading of the trucks proceeded with unusual smoothness. The three
drivers stood to one side, hands on their hip guns, keeping a careful

One of the policemen at the gates yelled, "Hey, there! You can't stop
near the mint! Keep moving!"

A huge moving van, with two men on the seat, had halted almost in a
position to block the mint gates. The motor was suddenly silenced.

"Hell, I ain't wantin' to stop!" growled the van driver. "I've got a
short in the ignition! I'll have to fix it!"

From the sidewalk sprang a lone pedestrian. He was a stocky, young
fellow, apparently an attaché of the mint on the way to his office.

"Move that van!" yelled this young man. "It's a trick! I'll get
Carnahan out here!"

Plainly, this young fellow was not going to prove as agreeable as the
mint guards and the others. He pulled an automatic from a pocket and
walked to the front of the stalled van.

From near the gates came the racketing blast of a machine-gun. This
was in the hands of a regular city policeman. What inspired him to
shoot was not apparent.

"Why, you damn killer--"

The young man with the automatic could say no more. He was sitting
down, hands clutching at bleeding, raw flesh where the side of his
throat had been torn out.

At this, one of the men on the van swung a machine-gun into position.
It vomited flame. The policeman who had killed the young man dropped
his weapon and slid to the sidewalk.

In Doc Savage's hired car a block away, Professor Archer was jumping
with excitement.

"They're shooting! They are trying to pull off the robbery! We'll have
to do something! Can't we drive closer?"

None had ever known Doc Savage to hesitate because of danger. The
marvelous bronze man had walked into more than one machine-gun nest.
But he made no movement to interfere.

"Should we drive closer, perhaps we would be in no better position
than the others at the mint," stated Doc. "The shooting may or may not
be intentional. I rather imagine it is accidental, due to the result
of a peculiar state of mind. The armored trucks are now coming out."

THE three armored trucks, loaded with gold bullion, moved toward the
gates. The driver of the moving van apparently got his motor going.
Sirens wailed on the motor cycles of the escorting policemen.

"Be ready to follow those trucks," advised Doc. "The robbery of the
mint has taken place on schedule."

The big moving van swung off into the side street. The superintendent
of the mint was smiling as he ordered the gates closed behind the
trucks. The transaction had apparently been most pleasing.

There was at this time no indication that before the day ended,
Superintendent Carnahan would lie dead by his own hand in the office
he had so faithfully administered.

Four more motor-cycle cops joined the parade of the armored trucks.
The truck guards were amply aided by these city policemen. The gold
bullion was apparently headed for the Union Station down on Market

In the first two blocks, the armored trucks developed high speed.
Police sirens held up other traffic and cleared the way. But near the
station, the first truck driver swung off on another street which
crossed Cherry Creek.

Doc's hired car was by this time two blocks behind.

"That was to be expected," he stated suddenly. "Those trucks are
headed for the mountain hogbacks. Here, son, I'll take the wheel."

Doc Savage swung under the wheel of the hired car. But as it reached
the bridge over Cherry Creek, the three armored trucks were vanishing
into a side road leading among the hills.

"For Heaven's sake, look!" rapped out Professor Archer. "That's--why,
that's Professor Randolph's newest stratosphere ship! It's coming down
in the mountains!"

The thing was a gleaming, cigar-shaped cylinder. It gave forth no
sound. Yet it had come into view with the speed of an arrow. Now it
was descending, miles ahead.

This second Silver Cylinder was no less than four hundred feet in
length. It shot toward a ridged hogback. Without propellers or other
visible means of locomotion or control, the ship suddenly paused and

"We are too late," stated Doc Savage. "The trap was sprung, and it
worked perfectly. Here come our friends, the city policemen."

THIS was true. Sirens screamed. Motor cycles and squad cars were
pouring along the road over Cherry Creek. Too late, some mind that had
not been under the influence of the mysterious force, had realized the

The siren whistle on top of the United States mint was screaming. In
broad daylight a mint had been robbed of millions. It would seem its
officers and guards had assisted in that robbery.

This was why Superintendent Carnahan placed a pistol to his temple and
pulled the trigger. He was bewildered. His state of mind had changed.

But that did not suffice to palliate the grave offense of which he had
been guilty.

Police cars roared alongside Doc Savage's old farm car. A sergeant
halted a squad.

"Who are you?" demanded the sergeant. "You couldn't be this famous Doc
Savage of whom we've heard?"

"I could be Doc Savage," said the man of bronze.

"Then why did you not interfere in that mint holdup?" demanded the

"If your own armed men could accomplish nothing, perhaps my own mind
isn't so different from theirs," stated Doc. "Anyway, there is now no
further hope of overtaking the three armored trucks. You may find the
trucks, but that will be all."

Doc pointed upward. Randolph's Silver Cylinder had touched the ground.
Now it was ascending. It became merely a blurred shell vanishing over
the mountains to the westward.


SO speedy was Randolph's new Silver Cylinder, it is likely the
stratosphere ship had reached the High Sierras before Doc Savage
lifted his own fast plane from the Platte River. The bronze man had
been somewhat delayed by questioning of the Denver authorities.

A raging inspector demanded, "You were near the scene of the mint
robbery, yet you did not interfere! You say you had warning this
holdup was to take place? Why did you not warn the police?"

"Possibly a warning would only have increased the bloodshed," said Doc
calmly. "If the army and navy had been notified, it would have
accomplished nothing. More than likely, the soldiers and sailors would
have helped with the robbery."

"That sounds like poppycock to me!" rapped the inspector.

"Perhaps you can explain then why your own men left their regular
posts to participate?" stated Doc.

"That's right," said a policeman who had been with the trucks. "I had
no business acting as a guard, but when they asked me, it just seemed
the right thing to do."

"Then you mean to tell me, Mr. Savage, that you felt if you attempted
to interfere you yourself might have abetted the theft?"

"My brain is no more immune than others," said Doc. "The robbery of
the United States mint is trivial compared to the problem now before
the world. Interference there might simply have delayed the greater

But to Denver authorities, that which might happen to the world could
not possibly be as important as the lifting of twenty millions in
bullion from their mint.

It was late in the afternoon when Doc lifted his fast plane from the
Platte River and headed it toward Mount Shasta.

IMPENETRABLE fog, tinged only by a crimson glowing, shrouded the peaks
of Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen. A southwest storm was beginning to
whip in from the coast.

Meeting the usually cold air of the Sierras, the ocean wind created a
turmoil in which Doc's handling of his plane became an act of sheer
wizardry. Canyon blasts blew the twin-motored ship close to formidable

Doc's bronze hands played with the controls. There were times when he
brought the plane to stalling stops. It seemed then to hover in the
fog somewhat like an eagle over its prey.

Professor Archer's eyes protruded more than ever. He fumbled nervously
with his gold eyeglasses.

"It looks as if there isn't any possibility of setting the plane down
anywhere," he stated. "It's amazing that Doc Savage can keep it in the
air. But we had the report of the passenger ship that was burned."

Long Tom still remained under Doc's hypnotic influence, as did
Walrath, the giant mountaineer. But Long Tom became all at once
fiercely loyal.

"Doc can make a three-point landing on a thin dime and have room
enough left to take off again," said Long Tom. "We are now about to

As Ham and Monk had been guided, so Doc now was able to keep his sense
of direction and altitude by the scarlet glow of the snow on Mount
Shasta. Suddenly, he banked the plane into a place where the fog had
cleared somewhat over the white ribbon of the Pacific Highway.

"Couldn't we land on the highway?" suggested Professor Archer.

A slowly crawling row of lights caused Doc Savage to shake his head.

"We would only endanger other lives," he advised. "There seems to be
an unusual number of travelers on the Pacific Highway."

The man of bronze switched on the infra-red beam to obtain a better
view of what might be transpiring below. He handed Professor Archer a
pair of clumsy-looking goggles.

"Great heavens!" snapped out Professor Archer, looking down. "I can
see only black and white, but it looks to me as if hundreds of persons
are converging upon Mount Shasta from this side!"

"I had expected that would be happening," stated Doc. "But we needn't
worry about them. They will not progress very far up the mountain."

"Do you believe we can do it?" asked Professor Archer. "Your own men
are there. It would seem that Ann Garvin and Patricia Savage are also
prisoners. What could be the purpose of that?"

Doc Savage said nothing. He had turned on the plane robot controls. He
reached up and opened the compartment where he had placed a roll of
photographic films. The roll had disappeared.

"I suspected they might be taken," said Doc. "It does not matter
greatly, for they are not the films taken from the bomb trap. Perhaps
some one has directed the brain of Walrath to act."

Doc looked straight at the mountain giant. The man's snag-toothed grin
greeted him.

"You will return to me the roll of red paper you took from this
compartment, Walrath," commanded Doc.

Walrath shook his head foolishly.

"I have taken nothing, master," he said. "I only wish to get back to
my people. This be the place of the Shallops. I reckon as how I'm
still a Shallop."

Doc was before the giant with the lithe spring of a cat. His bronze
hands now found certain vulnerable nerves.

WALRATH and Doc rolled together to the floor of the cabin. The giant
had vast strength. He had subdued Doc easily in their first encounter.

The tables were turned. Doc's superior knowledge of anatomy was too
much for the mountain giant. The bronze man rendered the other
helpless. From inside Walrath's shirt, Doc pulled the roll of film.

Perhaps the giant was not so dumb as he appeared to be. If the film
had been the original taken from the copper bomb, Doc would have lost
the only direct evidence he now had gained which might aid in
combating the terrific force commanded by Professor Randolph.

"I would hardly have suspected the mountaineer," declared Professor
Archer. "Big as he is, he seems harmless."

"Perhaps I do not even yet suspect him," stated Doc.

Long Tom let out a cry. He made a dive for the robot pilot flying the
plane. The electrician almost tore the controls apart getting them
into his own hands.

"The burning snow!" shouted Long Tom. "It's drawing us in!"

Perhaps this was not literally true. The plane had been flying
directly toward Mount Shasta. But for Long Tom's quick action, a crash
in the crimson snow would have resulted.

Doc pushed Long Tom away. He started gliding the plane toward the
northern side of Mount Shasta. It was from the southward that mobs
seemed to be pouring toward the peak.

Doc judged it would be only natural for the first assault on Professor
Randolph's stronghold to come from that direction. To the south of
Mount Shasta was the creek which formed the headwaters of the
Sacramento River.

The country down there was more thickly populated. Mount Shasta's
uncanny behavior naturally attracted the curious attention of the
towns in Northern California.

At Dunsmuir, on the canyon creek above the break into the Sacramento
River, a queer thing had happened. Below the town was a dam and a
falls. Salmon ascended the Sacramento River as far as this falls.

The creek above the falls was filled with rainbow and steelhead trout.
These fish often attained thirty inches in length. This was regarded
as great size.

But two monsters had been speared. The fishermen fled from the spot
after one was dragged ashore.

The thing was a rainbow trout. But its weight ran to several hundred
pounds. Its length was more than ten feet.

Citizens from Dunsmuir, Redding and Red Bluff saw that fish. They knew
it had come from waters draining off Mount Shasta. This was about the
time the snow began to burn.

Reports of disappearing mountaineers, hunters in the hills, had been
received by three sheriffs. They had assembled posses.

At the moment Doc Savage was vol-planing for a safe landing, sheriffs
and deputies were heading a planned investigation of Mount Shasta's
astounding behavior.

PROFESSOR ARCHER clung to a cabin seat. Walrath, the giant, lately
subdued by Doc, braced himself on legs like small tree trunks. Long
Tom showed no evidence of apprehension.

Long Tom had seen Doc set planes down in worse spots.

Doc sideslipped and was forced to zoom over some tall spruce trees. He
flattened the plane's wings as it roared over a wide flood of tumbling

Then the man of bronze pancaked to a mushy but undamaged landing
within a hundred yards of where Ham and Monk had wrecked their plane.
Due to lack of hard surface for the wheels, the big plane stopped with
an impact which hurled Professor Archer and Walrath from their feet.

Doc slid from the controls to the nearest door. But he did not open
it. There came a sound like the drumming of cock partridge wings. This
hammered at the door.

The pounding spread to all sides of the fuselage. Doc heard lead
whining off the plane's bulletproof body. He could see dancing flares
all around the cabin. These formed a trapping circle.

From between these flares came thin slices of fire. Walrath showed
some sign of interest. The giant's eyes brightened.

"Them'd be us Shallops!" he grunted, with some satisfaction. "We hit
what we point at!"

"There must be quite an army of 'us Shallops,' and we don't seem to be
exactly popular with them," said Professor Archer. "Looks to me, Mr.
Savage, as if they had assembled an army."

Spidery cracks showed in the glass of some of the windows. The metal
gave forth the steady drumming of the bullets.

"Anyway, we have arrived," said Long Tom laconically. "What would you
suggest we do now, Doc?"

"These mountain people are innocent and would be harmless, only they
have been thrown into a panic," stated Doc. "Supernatural elements
have maddened them. Perhaps more of the same thing might disperse them
for a short time."

Doc was working with a curious drumlike machine. This had a snout like
a brass tube. The tube projected through the side of the cabin. When
Doc moved a switch, the low humming of a generator came from inside
the machine.

The fog lay at ground level. Its grayness was tinged with the red of
the crimson snow. Doc caused the plane's landing lights to shoot their
beams into the fog.

This illumination seemed to give the mountain people better light for
their shooting. They must have had an unusual amount of ammunition

Doc turned a small handle on the side of the drumlike machine behind
the brass tube. Walrath, the giant, had his snag-toothed face pressed
close to a window. He had quickly learned the bullets of his kin could
not come through.

Walrath sprang back. Rearing upward, his head hit the top of the
cabin. One great arm swept backward and struck through Professor

The professor landed in a heap at the far end of the cabin. He fiddled
the gold eyeglasses, which he had managed to save from breaking.

"There ain't no sich a thing!" roared Walrath. "Lemme git out of here
before the devil catches up with me!"

There was a slight grin on Long Tom's pallid face. Doc watching
through a window, ground the handle of the brass-tubed machine and
said nothing.

The firing of rifles abruptly ceased. Wild cries of fear filled the
foggy darkness. The Shallops were fleeing in panic.

These superstitious mountain people had seen many ghostly apparitions
since the snow had started burning. But it is doubtful if any of them
had ever seen an elephant, even in the flesh.

What they saw now was a whole herd of mighty pachyderms. They appeared
to be new monsters coming from the mountains. The Shallops did not
stop to reason the tread of the elephants' feet made no sound, or that
the great beasts seemed to be floating on the fog.

The illusion of the herd of elephants had been created by the most
ordinary means. The brass tube was simply a moving-picture projector.
This machine had been perfected by Doc to a degree where it could
reproduce from rolls of film without a curtain, provided there was
sufficient darkness and the atmosphere at the time contained enough

The fog against which the moving elephants were to be seen was of
particles so dense they formed a moisture like rain.

WHEN the shooting ceased, Doc turned off the machine. Walrath was
mumbling to himself. Doc stepped past the giant, jerked open a door
and sprang out.

"Close the door and remain inside," instructed the man of bronze. "I
shall return presently."

Not all the Shallops had thrown away their pine-knot torches. The
mountaineers were fleeing as fast as they could go.

Doc's movement toward the disappearing torches was like the gliding of
some swift mountain animal. He quickly overcame the lead the
mountaineers had gained. Several tall, scraggly men, a woman and two
children were in a group around one of the flares.

"I've been crazy enough to stay in these 'ere hills!" proclaimed one
of the men. "All us Shallops is gittin' down into the flat country
amongst the heathens!"

Another Shallop yelled wildly. The pine-knot torch he had been
carrying was suddenly twisted from his hand. His cry of fear was cut
off abruptly. He fell down and seemed to go to sleep.

"They're after us, by cracky!" yelled another Shallop.

Two or three other men had keen eyes in the darkness. They glimpsed a
huge, shadowy figure among them. This moving shadow made no sound.
Only there was the quick, hard crunch of fists striking on bone.

Two mountaineers fell down. Some others started slapping at the huge
shadow with their rifle barrels. All were so close in the darkness,
they feared to shoot.

The owners of the rifles found their weapons suddenly flying into the
air. First their arms felt numb. The feeling crept to their brains.
They were conscious only of quick, gripping holds on various parts of
their bodies.

One of the Shallops remaining on his feet heard a voice speak to him.
The woman with him was on the ground, crying with fear. The two
children clung to her.

"You will return with me," said the quiet, commanding voice. "You will
not be harmed. Perhaps you can tell us some of that which we are
seeking on the mountain."

LONG TOM, Professor Archer and Walrath, the giant, had disobeyed Doc's
order to stay in the plane. They were standing outside. The beam of a
landing light showed them plainly.

As the bronze man reappeared, the scrawny, bearded mountaineer and the
thin woman with the two children were with him. They walked into the
circle of light. All appeared to be hypnotized with fear.

Doc Savage spoke to the bearded man.

"I've only brought you here to ask you some questions. You will then
be permitted to go unharmed."

The bearded man was not looking at Doc. His lower jaw jumped up and
down, as if it were on a loose hinge.

"It ain't Walrath--it ain't--Walrath?"

The thin woman screamed shrilly. Her skinny hands went around her two
frightened children.

"Pappy! It's pappy!" squealed the youngest of the children.

He was a boy in tattered clothes and bare feet. He started running
toward the clumsy giant.

"My leetle Toddy," mumbled Walrath, holding out his big arms.

The mountain woman had fainted. The other child lay beside her crying.
The bearded prisoner pulled himself together.

"They said as how all us Shallops they catched on the mountain got
turned into giants," he said, in a quivering voice. "I don't put no
stock in sich talk."

"You mean," said Doc, "that the giant called Walrath here has not
always been this size? You are safe enough here, so you can tell us
what you know."

"Walrath ain't never been a big feller," said the bearded man. "Mebbe
'twas four or five weeks past, him an' three other Shallops went
goatin' back in the mountain. We done thought mebbe some o' them game
wardens got 'em. Then we heard from an airyplane feller they was in
that Valley of Giants."

"Valley of Giants?" said Doc Savage. "Then you believe there is such a

The giant Walrath suddenly put the boy who had called him "pappy" to
one side. His snag-toothed countenance took on a gleam of

"Yop!" said Walrath. "I'm one o' them giants, like the corn an'
termaters an' the trees they's a-growin' up thar. I kin tell yuh how--

Doc Savage caught the child in his hands, whipping to one side. The
giant Walrath never would complete his story.


DOC SAVAGE'S catching up of the child was but part of his movement.
His body struck Long Tom and Professor Archer. The two men rolled far
to one side, falling under the fuselage of the plane.

With unbelievable speed and strength, Doc had the mountain woman and
the other child. He got all behind a sheltering rock.

Thin blue vapor floated upward. It was dispelled in the beam of the
plane's landing light. In the fog, on the ground, were two small heaps
of white ashes.

These were the spots where Walrath and the bearded mountaineer had
stood. The death had struck at the instant Walrath had revealed to Doc
the fantastic existence of things in the Valley of Giants.

Professor Archer's eyes stuck out as he came from under the plane. His
gold glasses twirled on one finger.

"If we can get the plane out of here, I'm for trying to seek some
greater force before we attempt to find out more about this mystery,"
he said.

Doc put the woman and the two mountain children into the shelter of
the plane's cabin.

"There is no need to seek more aid," he said to Professor Archer.
"Mount Shasta already is besieged by the law on the other side. A
posse is now trying to cross the flood to reach us."

"But what can we possibly do against this death?" said Long Tom.

"I became aware back in New York," said Doc, "that this death of the
white ashes could strike one person and leave another standing beside
him. The force behind this has created modern instruments perhaps a
quarter of a century in advance of today's radio science. It is enough
to turn even so upright a mind as that of Professor Randolph."

"You mean, Mr. Savage, we can be seen by the power controlling this
fearful element?" said Professor Archer.

"Both seen and heard," stated Doc. "All our conversation now and every
movement is being observed through some hitherto undreamed reception
and television. We need make no attempt to cover what we are doing,
because it is clear enough to those we seek. For the present, it was
not desired we should know more about this Valley of Giants."

BOOTED feet slopped in the slushy meadow. Flashlights and lanterns
waved in the fog. It seemed as if a small army were approaching. A
cadaverous-looking individual headed the group.

"Put up your hands, you fellas, until I see what you are doin' around
here!" this man commanded. "I'm the sheriff of the county, an' if you
have anythin' to do with these queer happenin's, you're under arrest!"

The cadaverous man stepped closer. He peered near-sightedly at Doc

"Well, I'll swan!" he jerked out. "You look like a picture I seen of
that fella Doc Savage!"

"I'm Doc Savage," stated the bronze man quietly. "So you're the
sheriff? You are part of those who started up Mount Shasta on the
other side. It's easier climbing over there, but about halfway to the
snow line you all changed your minds and decided you would come over
where the climbing would be tougher."

The sheriff's long jaws separated. He gaped at Doc.

"Now how in thunderation could you know anythin' about that?" he
gulped. "We could have gone up the mountain to the snow on the other
side, but all of a sudden we started back down. Somebody said we would
have to cross the flood of Afternoon Creek and try up the spine."

"How much have you learned?" said Doc. "You know about these mountain
people disappearing?"

"Yup, we know that," said the sheriff. "They've always hunted deer out
of season back of Mount Shasta. They call it goin' goatin'. Lately, we
have been hearin' about some of them gettin' lost. But here a couple
of weeks ago a whole crew of lumberjacks workin' in the Lassen County
woods went the same way."

"How do you know they didn't just quit their jobs and walk out?" said

"Because we followed their trail," said the sheriff. "There was fifty
of them fellas, an' they left all their tools. Their tracks were plain
enough for several miles. But between Mount Lassen and Mount Shasta,
they just disappeared in the rocks."

"Then you should have gone on up the mountain," stated Doc.

"Dang it!" yelped the sheriff. "That's what we're aimin' to do! An' if
you're that Doc Savage, I'm askin' your help!"

"All of us will climb the mountain on this side," advised Doc.

He manipulated certain switches and controls of the plane.

Any person attempting to molest it probably would not know for many
hours what had happened. A zone of powerful anaesthetic gas had been
created around the plane.

ALL the mountain-climbing party would have been amazed had they known
of the eyes and ears seeing and listening to their plans. All with the
possible exception of Doc Savage himself.

Two persons were in a room that appeared to have glass walls. This was
not glass. Its crystal formation seemed to be as hard as diamond. One
man in the room had a glass cutter concealed on his person. He had
tried it.

This man was the lean, shrewd-witted Ham. Now his wits did not seem to
serve him so well. With him was the ugly figure of Monk. When Doc
Savage, the sheriff and the others started to climb, Ham and Monk were
looking at one of the glass walls.

In that wall appeared distinctly all the mountain climbers. From
flaring glass tubes in the same wall came the voices of the distant

"When they have Doc, he will become the world's greatest giant,"
stated Ham. "I wish Patricia wouldn't grow so fast, though."

Certainly these words did not make sense. Yet they must have seemed
all right to Monk. For the time being he had no quarrel with Ham.

"If they make me into one of them giants, maybe Patricia will like me
better," said Monk's childlike voice.

Both looked away from the television of the mountain climbers. Another
wall was one of a series. The crystal clearness of the rooms made it
possible for them to see the two pretty women in another glass room.

Ham and Monk had instantly identified Patricia Savage. She had been
placed there only a few hours before. The young woman with Patricia
was very attractive, Ham and Monk did not know she was Professor Ann

The pair had been afforded no means of communicating with Pat. It was
apparent she could see them as prisoners, for she had smiled and
nodded. Ham had commenced talking, knowing his words could not be
heard. But Pat, like Doc and the others, was an expert lip reader.

Something weird had affected Pat. She had turned her face toward Ham
and Monk, but she could not seem to understand what Ham was saying.
Pat, in turn, was speaking words.

Neither Ham nor Monk could then read her lips. Perhaps the series of
crystal walls made lip movement seem different from what it should be.
Or perhaps the master of what appeared to be a continuous honeycomb of
crystal rooms had such control of the human mind as to halt undesired

Strangest of all the surprises coming to Ham and Monk was apparent
through still another wall. This showed a larger room than all others.
In it were a number of men.

Among these was William Harper Littlejohn. And Johnny was at work with
the others.

This greater room might have been a central control compartment. It
was filled with a multitude of strange contrivances of metal and
glass, of the kind Ham and Monk never before had seen.

Johnny's skeletonlike figure moved among these devices. In fact, the
geologist of Doc Savage's group seemed himself to be directing much of
what was taking place.

When Monk spoke of being made into a giant, he and Ham had been
watching the pretty Pat Savage and the other young woman.

Now Ham said, "Pat is a foot taller than she was an hour ago. The
other woman is growing, too. Maybe they mean to send them down into
the valley."

"I wish I'd grow, too," repeated Monk. "Look, Ham! Doc an' them other
fellows have reached the red snow. I guess they are going to come on
up the mountain. When Doc gets here, I hope they make him boss of all
the other giants. Don't you think maybe Pat would like me if I got to
be a giant, Ham?"

"Pat always has liked some queer things," stated Ham. "You forget that
perhaps I also shall become a giant."

"Look!" said Monk. "Doc an' the other fellows are runnin' into

THOUGH he had no means of knowing he was being observed by his own
companions, Doc Savage was well aware his party was rapidly losing its
determination to climb up Mount Shasta.

Doc was the first to reach the glacier. The melting snow cast what
might have been a crimson cloud around Doc's great body. There were
more than fifty persons in the sheriff's posse following.

"That there warm snow is causin' the flood in Afternoon Creek," said
the cadaverous sheriff. "What in blazes, Mr. Savage, do you suppose
could be makin' it melt? It was dang nigh down to zero only a thousand
feet lower than this."

"When we have learned about the snow, probably we will know more about
several other mysteries," stated Doc. "I notice that all your men are
well armed. Unless it becomes necessary to defend yourselves, we
should be cautious about shooting. There may be many persons in this
Valley of Giants, but possibly all of them are innocent of doing

All the party was now floundering knee-deep in the soft snow. The
glare of it seemed to burn their eyes. The temperature was possibly
what would have been average summer heat.

"Doc Savage!" suddenly called the sheriff. "I ain't goin' no farther
up the mountain! This here's just a wild-goose chase! I ain't got any
right to be takin' a posse outside of my own jurisdiction!"

None saw the mighty muscles of the bronze man strain against each
other. So rigid had Doc become, small beads of sweat were popping on
the bronze skin of his forehead.

"I have been waiting for you to say that," said Doc calmly. "You have
now encountered the same power which sent you down the mountain on the
other side. We must ascend now, or we shall fail to find those who
have been made prisoners."

Even then, the bronze giant was fighting such a force as he never
before had encountered. His own determination to reach the higher
slopes of Mount Shasta was failing him.

"No, sir!" exploded the sheriff emphatically. "What goes on back in
these here hills ain't none of my business!"

Professor Archer was puffing and blowing with the exertion of the
climb. He was close to Doc.

"I think the sheriff is correct," said Professor Archer. "I feel we
are making a grave mistake interfering with something we do not

"Do we have to climb the rest of the way, Doc?" came from Long Tom.

Others of the party were openly agreeing with the sheriff. They had
halted in the crimson snow. Some were turning back.

Doc Savage looked straight toward the peak of the mountain. His
extraordinary vision picked out two tall, shining columns which looked
like silver stacks. Around the extreme rim of the mountain appeared
something like a band of gleaming glass.

"We must ascend the mountain," stated Doc firmly. "Long Tom, Professor
Archer, if the others turn back, we shall not."

The others had no means of knowing that Doc Savage was using his own
words to strengthen an inner hypnotic power he was deliberately
pitting against the force which had possessed the others.

"Come on, Long Tom," said Doc. "Professor Archer, we must not fail."

Since his strange obstinacy back in Manhattan, Long Tom had been under
the hypnotic control of Doc. As Doc suggested, he kept on plodding

Professor Archer halted. Doc Savage might have employed his hypnotic
power against the professor, but just now his remarkable mental
faculties were wholly engaged in keeping his brain clear.

WITH Long Tom beside him, Doc pushed forward on the glacier. Perhaps
Doc was to some extent employing the mysterious self-hypnotism so
greatly developed in India. The man of bronze had made a deep study of
the subject.

Doc was fully aware that, by whatever means it was being applied, this
mind-changing force could be none other than a hypnotic force. Some
master mind was willing that others should do as it suggested.

"I'm getting tired," said Long Tom. "Can't we rest here?"

"We dare not relax our efforts," stated Doc.

The man of bronze was beginning to experience an inner satisfaction.
He was successfully fighting off the hypnotic suggestion that he turn
back. Also, he was controlling Long Tom.

Doc was well equipped with numerous devices for use when he succeeded
in reaching the Valley of Giants. He wondered what the master mind of
all this might contrive when he discovered his uncanny force had
failed to turn him back.

Doc could hear the mountain sheriff and his posse muttering and
grumbling. They were descending from the glacier. Professor Archer
accompanied them.

Until this moment, the task of climbing had been comparatively easy
from a physical point of view. Up here the fog had cleared away. In
his moment of triumph, Doc already was laying plans for reaching and
aiding his imprisoned companions.

The man of bronze could expect no aid from the outside. He was
positive now that armies might attempt to scale Mount Shasta and be
driven back without a shot being fired or a drop of blood spilled.

He knew, too, that only by attaining the peak of the mountain could
the origin of Professor Randolph's power be discovered.

Doc was also wondering how deeply Ann Garvin might be involved. He had
no doubt but that Ann Garvin and Patricia Savage were now on the
mountain peak.

All his thoughts were suddenly swept away. The blast was violent. The
peak of Mount Shasta became a blurred, swirling mass of white. Doc
Savage's mind had been the victor, but he was halted by the violence
of a physical blow.

A cyclonic wind whirled the melting snow of the glacier into scores of
mounting geysers. These became a solid mass on a circling wind which
buried Doc and Long Tom to their necks before they could seek a
sheltered spot.

All Doc's immense strength was required to extricate Long Tom from the
snow. The storm's fury increased. Around them was a wall of snow so
dense, even Doc was forced to stumble blindly before the wind.

"Are we still climbing, Doc?" said Long Tom. "I can't feel in which
direction we are going."

"We are not climbing," stated Doc. "We are descending from the
glacier. We must attempt to rescue the sheriff and his men."

PUSHING ahead of the wind, Doc slipped into a watery crevasse. He
heard Long Tom cry out near him. Melted snow was sluicing, as if into
a pit.

"Help!" came an agonized voice.

It was the sheriff. Doc lunged through the torrent, catching the
sheriff's gaunt body. He fought his way back to a firmer footing. The
wind shrieked like a million demons. The soft snow in the air
plastered their eyes and mouths. Speaking was difficult.

"The others, sheriff, where have they gone?" Doc managed.

"Gone--yes--they've gone," mumbled the sheriff. "The glacier went
right out from under us."

Doc could only stare into the storm. Perhaps some of the sheriff's
posse would come out alive.

"Doc! Over here. Doc!" hailed Long Tom's voice. "I'm hangin' onto the

Doc pulled the sheriff with him to firmer snow. They could dimly see
Long Tom and Professor Archer. The cyclonic wind was pushing all four
figures back down the mountain.

Only Doc's vast strength enabled all to reach the bare ground below
the glacier. The four men fought across it to the timberline.

"If we can get far enough back among the trees we will be safer,"
suggested Doc. "There never before has been a wind like that on this

"Never heard of one!" shouted the sheriff. "They do get some bad blows
up around the peak, but not down here!"

Doc was guiding the others. He had known this was a record storm by a
simple deduction. Great fir and spruce trees had been uprooted. Some
of these trees were centuries old. All the first line of the forest
had been sheared off like wheat before a reaper's knife.


SELDOM in any of his adventures had Doc Savage been deprived of the
aid of all his companions. Now he realized that none in the world
could give him any help.

Sheltered below the forest, the meadow where Doc's plane rested was
comparatively a calm spot. None of the sheriff's posse had reached
this place.

"How in blazes am I ever goin' to face the people back home?" worried
the cadaverous sheriff. "I've gotta stick here an' see if maybe some
of the fellas don't make it out."

The twin-motored plane in the flat meadow was undamaged. Two long-
limbed mountaineers lay in the grass a few yards away.

"Great gosh!" exploded the sheriff. "A couple more dead ones! There
won't be any population left in Shasta or Lassen counties!"

"These two men will be all right in a short time," assured Doc.
"Perhaps you can rally some of the other mountaineers to help search
for your lost posse."

The sheriff's eyes were popping. Doc had done something to the necks
of each of the men lying on the grass. They were coming out of an
apparent trance. In the meantime, Doc had directed Long Tom to turn
off the gas which had protected the plane.

The two mountaineers had made the mistake of venturing too close. The
sheriff called the men Shallops. They displayed a terror which
precluded them being of great assistance in hunting for lost men.

Professor Archer was white-faced. His appearance was no longer neatly
groomed. He looked as if he wished he had not come with Doc Savage.
Perhaps a great many other persons had had that same wish from time to

Doc Savage had been conversing in a low tone with the worried sheriff.
Even though the wind was comparatively calm here, it still retained
the force of a fifty-mile-an-hour gale.

"We shall try getting the plane into the air," the man of bronze
announced. "The instruments show we are in the midst of a stiff gale.
We will swing the nose of the ship into it and that will overcome our
lack of runway."

"Then you've abandoned your idea of climbing up the mountain?"
demanded Professor Archer, with an air of relief.

"Exactly," agreed Doc. "It would be foolish to make an attempt to
ascend Mount Shasta. A force we cannot overcome can keep the world
from climbing that mountain. You can readily see why Professor
Randolph is so positive he can become a world dictator."

WITH the plane's nose to the gale, Doc had little difficulty lifting
the aircraft into the air. Visibility was no better than when they had
landed. The forlorn figure of the sheriff who had lost his posse faded
almost instantly from view.

"Great Scott, Doc!" came from Long Tom. "Did you know we are climbing
in almost a straight line on this storm?"

"I have been aware of that," stated Doc. "Our best chance is to gain
an altitude above the gale, then we will possibly be above the ground

Professor Archer twirled the gold eyeglasses on one finger.

"Perhaps we should seek one of the near-by cities," he suggested. "I
fear I haven't much confidence in the air, since all that has

Doc Savage said nothing. The twin propellers were biting into clearer
air. Perhaps two miles below lay what seemed to be a welter of fog and

Between Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, all the country took on the
appearance of a seething, crimson cauldron. From the old volcano of
Mount Lassen an eerie beam of red seemed to make contact with the
scarlet snow on Shasta. Perhaps that accounted for the weird effect of
the melting snow.

"Among the next manifestations will be an eruption of Mount Lassen,"
stated Doc. "For years, the only evidence of internal fires has been
the hot springs in Lassen County and in the upper Sacramento valley."

The subject seemed to be of greatest interest to Professor Archer. He
launched immediately into a technical dissertation on volcanic
origins. As he did this, Doc quietly set Long Tom working at one of
the generator devices.

Neither of Doc's companions suspected he had deliberately diverted
their attention from the change in direction the plane had made.

The man of bronze had fixed one goal in the murky cauldron far below.
This spot seemed to contain two long, silvery pencils reaching
hundreds of feet into the sky.

Though he had at first set a southward course, Doc had slowly changed
the compass points. Estimating wind force and direction, and picking
up distance from the peak of Mount Shasta by the directional finder,
the man of bronze smiled slightly.

Doc seemed to be agreeing with Professor Archer's learned exposition
on the habits of volcanoes, dead or alive.

ONE of the motors stopped. It did this without a preliminary sputter.
The big plane sideslipped.

"What's happened now?" exclaimed Professor Archer.

"We have only one motor working," stated Doc calmly.

The other motor quit. The second engine gave no warning. But there was
a sudden minor explosion in the nose of the plane.

A light beam flashed out. The metal alloy covering of the nose had
been ripped off. After one spurt of flame, a smaller blaze started
creeping along toward the engine casings.

"Good grief, Doc!" exploded Long Tom. "It's burning! There wasn't
anything under there that could have exploded!"

Doc's hands were busy working at the instrument board. He said
nothing. Long Tom's statement hardly seemed justified.

Professor Archer reared upright. His protruding eyes seemed an inch
from his forehead.

"On fire?" he shouted. "We'll have to get down! Is there any place we
can land?"

The flame over the nose of the plane was spreading. Now it could be
seen that both propellers had been twisted by the explosion. The blaze
beat back against the windshield.

"We're more than two miles up," stated Doc. "The plane would be
consumed before we could land. It will reach the tanks in a minute or
two. Long Tom, get out the 'chutes."

Professor Archer stared at Doc unbelievingly.

"The parachutes?" he gasped. "I never have--I couldn't--you mean we'll
have to jump from here?"

"Jumping will probably be much pleasanter than burning," said Doc.
"You hook your thumb in that ring. You won't have to think about
pulling the cord. The 'chute will open by its own control."

The parachute perfected by Doc eliminated the feature of the wearer’s
being responsible for the time of its opening. Professor Archer's
whitening face indicated he had very little appreciation for this or
any other feature of the 'chute two miles in the air.

Long Tom fastened the 'chute harness. Doc was the last to slip into
his 'chute. The flame now had jumped to one of the wings. The plane
was descending in a short spiral.

Long Tom forced open a door and Professor Archer looked down. His
voice held a shudder.

"I can't do it--I never could stand to be up high--"

One of Doc's quick hands solved that problem for Professor Archer.
With a wild scream the professor took the air. His parachute blossomed
only a few yards below the plane.

"We will drop the flares as we go, Long Tom," instructed Doc. "Keep
pulling your cords to stay close to Professor Archer. I will not be
far away."

Long Tom looked steadily at Doc.

"There was nothing under the nose that could have exploded, Doc."

"Nothing except the combustion bomb I placed there," stated Doc

"With this wind," said Long Tom, "we can hardly miss landing on top of
Mount Shasta."

"I had judged that," stated Doc. "We are seen and heard, but they
cannot change the mind of a parachute if it wants to land on the

THOUGH he had conquered the mind-changing power temporarily for
himself, the man of bronze had become aware he could not extend his
own mental resistance to others. He knew the terrific storm had, in
some manner, been invoked to drive him back down the mountain.

Desiring to keep Long Tom and Professor Archer with him, he had
determined to reach the peak of Mount Shasta by jumping.

Doc and Long Tom hurtled from the burning plane together. The
parachute of Professor Archer had disappeared. Doc broke out some
small metal objects no larger than the tip of a lead pencil.

Flicking two of these with his thumb nail, he tossed them into space
at the moment his parachute spread. Almost instantly, brilliant light
revealed everything for several hundred yards. These were special
flares devised by Monk at Doc's direction.

Long Tom's voice floated over.

"Professor Archer's blown a long way to the right!"

Doc saw the white blossom of Professor Archer's 'chute. It was
swaying, as if the professor was still struggling against jumping into

Doc and Long Tom each gathered his own parachute cords at one side.
Both dropped faster and slid on the wind in the direction of Professor

Long Tom remained close to Doc.

"Do you still believe we are seen and heard?" called Long Tom.

"Hardly any doubt of that," stated Doc, swinging his 'chute closer to
Professor Archer. "We were seen and heard, but our thoughts could not
be read. Therefore, we were able to leave the plane without the mind-
changing power being applied. However, we may look for a reception
committee as we land."

Doc tossed a couple more of the brilliant flares. They acted almost
like daylight over a wide area below. Long Tom gasped with amazement.

"Great Scott, Doc!" he yelled. "There couldn't be a city in this
mountain wilderness, but it looks as if we are falling right into

From Professor Archer, floating near by, came a deep groan.

"It would seem to be a city of strange design," Doc replied, tipping
his 'chute so he remained close to Long Tom. "A city that might have
been built by giants."

PERHAPS no stranger panorama had ever been spread before Doc Savage.
Viewed from the much-traveled Pacific Highway or from the more-settled
regions on its western side, Mount Shasta had always been a rearing,
snow-covered bulk.

Only a few of the hardiest mountaineers ventured into the bleak and
unfriendly wilds back of the peak. The nearest traveled highway to the
southward was fifty miles distant. This was a government motor road
passing from Red Bluff through to Reno.

The southern highway circled the hot springs base of Mount Lassen.

But the three men descending in parachutes apparently were not
approaching a wilderness.

Several buildings of stone and timber and crystal slabs like glass
reared themselves around what must have been meant for a public
square. Domes topped three of these buildings.

"We might be arriving at any one of several of the world's capitals,"
Doc said to Long Tom. "No doubt, Professor Randolph has made extensive
plans to establish a city that would be worthy of a world dictator."

Now the 'chutes had descended to where figures could be seen moving
among the buildings. Doc Savage was equipped with many devices. He had
loaded Long Tom with more. But the man of bronze now realized the
employment of several means of defense might get them nothing but
trouble, perhaps death.

Doc produced a pair of binoculars of queerly constructed side lenses.
These were perhaps the world's most powerful four-dimensional glasses.
Though they were still possibly three thousand feet above the
fantastic mountain city, Doc had brought its inhabitants within what
might have been a range of a hundred feet.

He was amazed to discover some two or three hundred men thronging the
spaces between the buildings. Most of these were in the public square.
The buildings surrounding this space must have been especially
designed along Professor Randolph's idea of becoming ruler of the
world's destinies.

Of all the men visible, less than a score were of normal size. The
others were huge. Many were far larger than Walrath, the giant who had
been sent to Manhattan.

Doc said to Long Tom, "This is doubtless the valley of the giants.
Moreover, these abnormal men are guarded by others of average size.
None of the giants and none of the guards have any weapons. We will
attempt to land on top of the flat building north of the square."

Doc and Long Tom were experts at manipulating 'chute cords. Judging
the wind, they could land on almost any given spot. Professor Archer
had none of this skill.

"Professor Archer," called Doc. "Gather the cords near your right
hand. You will drop faster, but it will swing us to the top of a
building where we may have temporary respite from attack."

If he understood, Professor Archer seemed too paralyzed by fear to
follow directions. Doc and Long Tom plummeted squarely to the broad
roof of the building the bronze man had selected.

They struck heavily, but without injury. They freed themselves and
discovered they were standing on a roofing of glasslike slabs set into
hewn spruce logs. The roof itself was of massive construction.

Long Tom got to his feet close to Doc.

"Professor Archer went down in the square, Doc. Look! What do you
suppose is happening!"

FROM their position on the glasslike roof, Doc and Long Tom had a
perfect view of the square. Professor Archer's small body struck. The
professor scrambled quickly to disengage himself from the entangling

The air shuddered with the roar of menace coming from the throats of
the scores of giants. They surged toward the professor in a great
wave. The ground almost seemed to shake under the pounding of their
immense feet.

Half a dozen guards, who were half the size of the giants, suddenly
waved short, black rods. No visible ray or fire was emitted, but the
roaring charge upon the helpless professor halted for a moment.

"There's nothing we can do against that mob of monsters," said Long
Tom. "They could tear us to pieces, unless we started blowing the city
to pieces and killed all of them."

"Unfortunately for that plan," advised Doc, "none of those giants are
monsters. They are or have been men like ourselves. Some are mountain
people, others from lumber camps and I can see a few Asiatics that may
have been brought from lower California. We cannot be justified in
injuring any of them."

The giants might be, as Doc stated, originally peaceful men, but at
this moment they seemed no more than great man-beasts without
intelligent direction.

Professor Archer swayed on his feet.

"I will say one thing for the professor," said Long Tom. "For a man
who had been through cyclones, gun attacks and the burning of a plane
he is most remarkable. He still hasn't broken those gold eyeglasses."

Professor Archer faced the halted giants. The forefinger of his right
hand twirled. In a curious clear light which seemed emanating from all
the buildings, it could be seen the gold glasses were intact.

Two guards started toward the professor, extending their short, black
rods. Doc heard Professor Archer call out:

"Keep away--keep away or I'll--"

There was no more of this speech. The two guards advanced. But behind
them the control of the giant mob must have broken. The wave of
monster men again rolled upon Professor Archer and the two guards
nearest him.

This was a crushing wave, like a mountainous sea, topped by tossing
faces that were hardly human.

"They've got the guards, too!" exclaimed Long Tom. "They're trampling
all of them!"

Professor Archer and the two guards vanished before the rush of great
bodies. The giants had no weapons. They appeared to be like elephants,
merely using their feet to crush.

All the giants went over the spot. When they had passed, Long Tom was
staring with horror.

Doc was preparing a diminutive high-explosive grenade.


DOC SAVAGE could not have used the small glass marble with its tiny
lever. That is, without perhaps destroying a score or more of the
giants in the square.

The danger of such an explosion would have been as great for Professor
Archer as for the others. Also, the bronze giant was aware all this
happening below was probably taking place in every detail at the
control of the one Walrath had called the master.

Doc acted with the hope of diverting the attention of the giants and
the guards. Flicking the tiny lever on the explosive grenade, he
tossed it to the farthest corner of the roof on which Long Tom and he
were standing.

"By all the powers!" gulped Long Tom. "Even if we wanted to kill off
those fellows, we're sunk!"

Doc himself seldom expressed amazement. Even now his face remained
unperturbed, and he said nothing. Both had seen the usually powerful
grenade apparently pause in midair.

Though Doc had tossed it away, it was as if some invisible hand had
caught it and tossed it back. Set to let go with terrific effect, the
tiny, gleaming object now was falling to alight at their feet.

Long Tom knew what one of those grenades could do. The pallid
electrician made a sudden leap for the edge of the glasslike roof. One
of Doc's cabled hands kept him from jumping.

"The grenade will not explode," stated Doc quietly. "I have every
reason to believe the master wishes to keep us alive."

Long Tom shivered in Doc's grasp. The man of bronze has outguessed the
weird trickery of the mountain master. For the tiny grenade suddenly
moved upward. It exploded with only a slight whooshing flare.

"I suspected something like that might happen," stated Doc. "I used a
grenade from which the high explosive had been extracted."

From the spot in the square at which Long Tom had been staring with
horror, came a high-pitched scream. This was the voice of Professor

Yet as the wave of giants had passed, neither the professor nor the
guards had remained.

The growling of the giants abruptly changed to a gurgling note of
terror. The big fellows jammed each other back to the surrounding

"I had feared that would happen," said Doc. "We must find our way from
this building, though that may be impossible."

"They got him," breathed Long Tom. "It wasn't the giants who did it.
Poor Professor Archer, perhaps it would have been better if we hadn't

DOC SAVAGE said nothing. He was watching the wisps of blue vapor
arising in the middle of the square. On the spot where Professor
Archer and the two guards had been overwhelmed by the giants was a
small heap of white ashes.

"Something strange is taking place," stated Doc a few minutes later.
"There is no doubt that the master sees and hears us. The control of
all this comes from the peak up there. They are waiting for

"If they wait much longer I'll have the jitters so bad it won't make
much difference," said Long Tom. "It doesn't seem possible, but look
at that crazy garden. The corn is as tall as trees. Honest, Doc, I can
see some of the plants move they are growing so fast. Nothing like
that could possibly be!"

"On the contrary," advised Doc, "the giant garden and its growth, and
the giant men are possibly the least mysterious of all that has
happened. The element probably discovered by Professor Randolph has
only hastened experiments which already have progressed through
ordinary channels."

"You mean making giant gardens and bigger men?"

"For some time they have had at the California Institute of Technology
a small bottle of crystals they have named Auxin," advised Doc. "It
has been proved there is enough of a new plant growth hormone in that
bottle to increase the size of the world's vegetable kingdom at least
three times. It has been applied and tested."

"And if it could create giants of vegetable life," said Long Tom,
"after all the chemical composition of plants and animals, including
the human race, is about the same."

"Exactly," stated Doc. "Experiments soon may apply the same hormone
principle to men. It becomes a matter of affecting the glands of the
animal body. So far, this hormone substance had given roots to trees
and plants which had none, and greatly enlarged their fiber and
expanded their vitality. In some manner, the basic element discovered
by Professor Randolph is responsible for this great diversity of

Whether all of this might be brought about by the breaking up of
atoms, the intelligent direction of hormones or some other source,
there was no further time for conjecture.

Once more a roar of rage rolled among the giants in the square. Herded
by their smaller guards, all were converging upon the building on
which Doc and Long Tom were sheltered.

"There seems no skylight or other opening for us to get under this
roof," stated Long Tom.

"There is a way inside," stated Doc. "Perhaps we may find the means of
checking the attack, though I am sure these giants hardly count on
what might happen. None of them appear to be armed. This death of the
white ashes comes from some invisible source."

One of Doc's massive arms encircled Long Tom's slight body. The weight
of both men suddenly swung over the edge of the high roof. More than
one hundred feet of space was below their dangling feet.

Some twenty feet below them was a projecting ell. A raised opening
showed in its center.

Doc had been sustaining their weight with one powerfully corded wrist.
From the other side of the building came the thudding of feet and the
growling, rage-filled voices of the giants.

Doc let go and dropped. His own massive legs seemed to be made of
rubber. They took all the impact as they struck the ell. Long Tom
hardly felt the blow. Doc quickly rolled the electrician toward the
open skylight.

The man of bronze was aware this might be a trap, but it appeared to
be their nearest refuge. He wanted a few minutes more to perfect the
strategy with which he hoped to cope with what seemed now to be an
invisible, unbeatable enemy.

DROPPING to the floor of the room under the skylight, Doc found they
were in a small room. Three of its walls were of the transparent
crystal substance. The fourth side was open.

"We are cornered in here," said Long Tom. "Anyway, we can put some of
them out with the mercy bullets and the capsules."

The remark was called forth by the broad runway or ramp which extended
into the main building. This ran down into what appeared to be some
sort of mosquelike cathedral. All its inner walls were of crystal. A
mellow light emanated from these.

"Take them alive!" ordered a deep voice which seemed to come from

Immediately, the front entrance of the building admitted the flood of
unarmed giants. Some were of the brand of the snag-toothed Shallops of
the mountains. Others were immense, bearded lumberjacks.

The most fearsome were a score or more Asiatics. These yellow men,
ordinarily small in stature, now towered to ten and twelve feet.

"If they ever get their hands on us we haven't got a chance," said
Long Tom. "They haven't any guns. I'm going to let them have it."

Doc Savage had his own reason for permitting Long Tom to open fire
with his supermachine pistol. This apparently clumsy weapon could
discharge bullets with the speed of a machine-gun.

Because Doc never killed if it could be avoided, the stream of slugs
pouring suddenly from the whooping pistol were merely anaesthetic
"mercy" bullets.

It was incredible how that sweeping wave of white and yellow giants
took the blast of stunning bullets. Wherever a bullet hit, a towering
man pitched to his face asleep.

Yet, without weapons of any kind, the horde of other giants kept
moving straight into the withering stream. In a minute, they were
walking over the prone bodies of their companions.

From the throats of all came snarls like wild beasts about to begin
tearing at their prey. Doc took a number of small metallic objects
from his pockets. These he started tossing into the big room. Some of
the giants were being piled at the foot of the ramp by the mercy

"Great Scott, Doc!" groaned Long Tom. "We might as well try stopping
all the elephants in Africa or Asia!"

Anaesthetic gas filled the big room. A white glare burst out, blinding
all those in the front ranks of the oncoming wave.

The foot of the ramp was piled with unconscious bodies. Among these,
other giants staggered around, groping where they could not see. Yet
none of this halted for an instant the menacing movement toward the
room in which Doc and Long Tom were sheltered.

"Maybe we had better get back to the roof, Doc," said Long Tom. "Even
if we knocked out the whole mob, what would we do then?"

"That is our problem," said Doc calmly. "Something more is due to
happen. The master mind behind all this sees and knows all that is
taking place. He is only waiting for something."

"Look, Doc!" directed Long Tom, even while he inserted a new drum of
mercy bullets into the superfirer. "We've got a picture on the glass
wall over there!"

Long Tom was correct. There appeared a life-size television picture
which made it seem as if the participants were there in the wall.
Voices sprang from flaring funnels of crystal.

AT the moment this picture appeared, some of the giants were pulling
away unconscious bodies to clear a way up the ramp. And another
thousand feet or more up the mountain, where the row of glass
structures appeared as a crystal honeycomb, something was happening in
each of several closed rooms.

The serious-faced Johnny was seated before a remarkable instrument
board. Its many panels were like small screens of moving pictures.
Chiefly these were composed of the giants attacking Doc and Long Tom.

It would have been unbelievably apparent to any close observer that
William Harper Littlejohn, for years the staunch companion of the
bronze adventurer, was manipulating controls which directed the attack
in the fantastic city below.

There were many more such instruments. Before these sat other men.
Some wore black masks and long black robes. Beside each instrument
board stood what seemed to be a great storage cylinder.

Whatever the instruments might have been, they apparently drew their
immediate power from these cylinders.

In another glass room near by a strange conversation was taking place.

"Daggonit, Ham!" said a childlike voice. "I wish we could tell Doc he
might as well give up! Won't he be surprised when he finds out it's
Johnny running the whole show down there?"

"Doc will find out soon enough," stated the voice of Ham. The lawyer
seemed to have about the same interest in the battle as Monk.
"Patricia's getting to be the biggest girl I ever saw."

Whereupon both of Doc's companions turned from watching the unequal
and hopeless fight and looked toward another wall.

Patricia Savage smiled at them from a distant room. But it was the
ghastly smile on a once-attractive face which had suddenly become
enlarged to giant size.

Pat Savage was standing. She had become a tremendous figure. Beside
her was even a taller woman.

The terrible thing that was happening engaged the minds of Ham and
Monk much more than the apparent danger of Doc Savage.

One large room was apart from the others, though its walls gave vision
throughout the honeycomb. Into this crystal room descended two shining
silver columns. From their bases projected a multitude of gleaming

At times these coils glowed with an unearthly brilliance. The lone man
occupying the room wore a mask with colored glasses over the eyes.
This was much the same as used by those who face the blinding glare of
welding torches.

WHILE Johnny was sending the blinded, blundering giants in a
continuous flood upon Doc and Long Tom, a door opened into the room of
the silver columns. Into the room stepped a figure clad in a flowing
red robe and a hooded mask to match.

The red-masked man spoke harshly.

"Randolph, there has been a lessening of the flow into the control-
room batteries! I have warned you that you cannot play any tricks! You
know better than any other person that in a short time it will be too
late to save Ann Garvin! Have another look at your fine sweetheart,

The coils of the silver columns ceased to glow. A man whipped off his
eye mask. His features were drained and white. His eyes were deeply

He was Professor Homer Randolph. Apparently there had been a sharp
division of authority in the empire controlling the Valley of the
Giants. Professor Randolph spoke.

"I'll end this--I'll cut off all power--I'll destroy all of it and

The man in the red mask cut in mockingly.

"Unfortunately you can only cut off more power coming in and you have
no access to the control room to destroy anything, Randolph! We have
enough power already stored to complete what we have set out to do!
Your Empire City will be completed, but I will sit in the dictator's
seat! Again, look at the beautiful Ann Garvin!"

In the crystal wall appeared the figures of Ann Garvin and Patricia
Savage. Mere size perhaps could not change their graceful features,
but what Professor Randolph now saw was a monstrosity, a horror, a
terrible distortion of the face and body of the pretty young woman he
had intended to marry.

"No! No! You can't do that to me!" he screamed. "I'll kill you myself!
I'll do it now!"

Professor Randolph sprang toward the man in the red mask.


THE man in the red mask laughed scornfully. He made no move to
intercept the plunging body of Professor Randolph. Nor did he move to
evade the automatic pistol in Randolph's extended hand.

"I suspected you had armed yourself with some such silly weapon," said
the red-masked man. "Think of the moment when we shall return Ann
Garvin to the world of her own people. She will be a great freak for
some sideshow to pick up."

Even these taunting words brought no bullets from the pointed
automatic. Professor Randolph had reached an invisible line bisecting
his control room. In the room where Johnny still played with his
marionette giants, another man had touched a light on his instrument

"I'll kill you--I'll kill myself--I'll end it for all of us!"

These choked screams emanated from Professor Randolph's throat. But
apparently his brain had ceased to have any power over his muscles.

"If you should kill me now, Randolph," said the man in the red mask,
"the others have instructions to carry on. They have done splendidly
at times when I have been absent. You should now know more.

"In a short time we shall have the amazing Doc Savage in our control.
We have judged him to be the one man in the world who can take up your
system of power in the event you resist seeing your precious sweetheart
become a monster woman."

Randolph's sunken eyes glowed with an insane light. Mumbling, he
turned back to the silver columns. He resumed his mask with the eye
protection. Once more the coils from the silver columns glowed with
unearthly light.

Apparently Professor Randolph was too human to endure seeing Ann
Garvin irrevocably evolved into a monster woman.

In the glass room which Professor Randolph had looked into, Patricia
Savage was speaking.

"Why do you suppose your Professor Randolph acted so strangely? It
looked, Ann, as if he intended to shoot the man in the red robe, but
changed his mind."

"I wish Homer would come and talk to me," said Ann Garvin. "I want to
understand more of what he is doing."

But Pat Savage seemed to have abruptly lost interest in the subject.
She laughed lightly.

"Isn't Monk the funniest-looking thing since he started growing into a
giant?" she said. "And if Ham gets any taller, he's so thin he'll
break in two."

Pat and Ann Garvin smiled at each other over this grotesque view they
were getting of Ham and Monk. Yet neither seemed in the least
disturbed over the tremendous size Professor Randolph had seen them

AT this time, on a wall of the small room in Empire City, Doc Savage
must have seen and heard something of what had taken place in the
honeycomb of glass higher on the mountain. For a few minutes there had
been a respite from the movement of the giants.

The progress of the mob had been temporarily blocked by the mass of
unconscious men. Now they were moving again.

Long Tom's superfirer started buzzing loudly. But Doc did not join
with him in this defense.

The man of bronze had become conscious of a new battle taking place in
his mind. He was being made the object of an invisible attack. This
was telling him they should no longer resist the giants.

While Long Tom continued blocking the ramp, guards ran about and
shouted. They waved their short, black rods. Scores of living giants
remained at their command, or rather at the command of Johnny in the
control room.

Suddenly, Doc Savage took on a queer expression. He turned upon Long
Tom. Seizing the pallid man's arm, he wrested the superfirer from his

This in itself was strange behavior. Doc never carried a gun or other
weapon of that type. He depended upon his own wits and a variety of
devices with which he could subdue his enemies.

The man of bronze had never intentionally killed a man. His philosophy
of fighting crime and bringing about justice had been developed in his
"Fortress of Solitude" far within the Arctic Circle.

In this retreat, for several weeks each year, Doc perfected himself in
mental and physical abilities. His beliefs included the fact that most
cases of crime were a form of mental illness which was curable.

Yet Doc Savage now turned Long Tom's own superfirer on that small and
defenseless man. The electrical wizard went to the floor with a look
of utter amazement on his pallid face.

Doc had shot him with one of his own mercy bullets.

Doc then did another thing which no person had ever previously known
him to do. He raised his voice above its even penetrating tenor tone.

"We must fight for the master of this world empire!" he proclaimed
loudly. "Long Tom, you should not have been fighting with these

The man of bronze then walked quietly down the ramp of the crystal-
walled building. Behind him from the radio-active wall came a voice.

"We have attained what we have sought! You will bring Doc Savage and
his companion to me!"

TWO of the smaller guards walked beside the man of bronze. Perhaps
they hardly believed the remarkable Doc Savage had been overpowered by
the mind-changing force.

No doubt they were aware of the battle Doc had waged when he had
attempted to ascend Mount Shasta with the sheriff's posse. They must
have known, too, that the mind-changing force had been in operation
during the descent of Doc, Long Tom and Professor Archer in their

But here, surrounded by the maximum of this power, the bronze man had
become submissive and instantly obedient to the short rods they held.
No visible light came from these rods.

Yet these few guards, with their comparatively small number of giants
whose will they commanded, no doubt could have prevented the greatest
armies from penetrating to the world empire on Mount Shasta.

While in the air, Doc had thought out that feature. The mind-changing
wave was effective above as well as upon the earth. Squadrons of
bombing planes might have been sent over the mountain kingdom, but it
is likely their pilots would have changed their minds about dropping

Doc Savage seemed now to see all this place with a new mind. His
guards conducted him toward the peak, passing through the gigantic

"We can grow corn that size in three days," stated one of the guards.
"We can make the rainbow trout in that creek the size of porpoises. We
could make our giants much bigger. Up to a certain stage, they may be
returned to normal size by a reversal of the force that is used. We--"

What had inspired this guard to become so loquacious could hardly be
determined. But whatever more he had intended to reveal was lost to

The guard's voice ceased instantly. There was no explosion. There was
no sudden light. Nothing but thin blue vapor drifting across the creek
in which the guard spoke of growing monster trout.

Perhaps there was such an angle to this power as a mind that went off
at a tangent after having been under its influence.

The other guard showed no great concern. Doc looked down at the small
heap of white ashes. All that remained beside it was the short, black
rod the guard had carried.

Long Tom, unconscious from the mercy bullet fired by Doc himself, was
being carried by one of the giants.

A smooth plane, much like an escalator on a great scale, moved under
their feet. Doc Savage saw the honeycomb of crystal walls. Through one
wall he saw the scholarly Johnny before an instrument board.

Johnny glanced up and smiled slightly. The words did not come, but Doc
read from Johnny's lips what he was saying.

"Hello, Doc! We have been waiting for you. My giants would not have
injured you or Long Tom. The master has sent to Tokyo for Renny. Then
we will all be together in the new empire of the world!"

Doc's lips moved. "I did not come to aid the master, but I have
decided it is the thing I should do," was what he said.

Two of the men in black robes and hoods now stood beside Doc Savage.
He was conducted directly into the glass room containing Ham and Monk.

Without any word or ceremony, one man motioned for him to enter. Doc's
flake-gold eyes evinced not even a flicker of surprise at the presence
of two of his companions.

"We have been favored," he said to the pair, "by being permitted to
participate in something I believe will enable us to apply our own
devices in such manner as we would have thought impossible."

QUICK glances shot between the black-robed men. Their eyes shifted to
one of the walls. They betrayed by this that another must be
listening. Doc, however, seemed not at all concerned with this.

"I would see my good friend, Professor Randolph, as quickly as
possible," he said to the robed men. "Perhaps it is he who has gained
this power to form a world empire?"

"We shall convey your wish to the master," said one of the men. "Your
other man, the pale-faced one, shall be cared for."

"You mean Long Tom," started Doc. "I had to shoot him, but the bullet
will not kill. He seemed to be slow to understand what a great
opportunity had been given us."

Was it imagination, or was there a slight chuckle of satisfaction from
a panel in the crystal wall?

The hooded men withdrew. Ham and Monk looked at Doc. His flaky eyes
mirrored a deep stirring, but outwardly they had become almost opaque.

"We do not like what is happening to Patricia and that other woman,"
stated Ham. "See how big they are getting. They are like those giants
building the city."

Doc Savage was silent for a moment as he looked through the several
walls of glass separating this room from that in which Pat and Ann
Garvin were imprisoned.

Ann Garvin, who normally had been a tall, striking blond woman, was
now indeed a grotesque giant. Patricia's dainty features looked
hideous. Both women appeared to be at least eight feet tall.

"Patricia should stay out of trouble," stated Doc calmly. "I knew some
day she would encounter something that would get the best of her."

"Daggonit!" complained Monk. "If Pat is going to be a giant girl, then
I'm wantin' to be one of them giants myself! She wouldn't like me
lookin' like I do!"

Doc's expression did not change.

"I hope our devices find favor with the master of this great power,"
he said solemnly. "If they do, I will ask that you be made into a
giant, Monk."

Patricia must have seen Doc in with Ham and Monk. The smile on her
Gargantuan features was terrific. Ham groaned. He couldn't, even in a
changed state of mind, regard Patricia as other than lovely.

Again the low, mocking chuckle seemed to come from one of the glass
walls. Doc could see Johnny still working at the control board which
must have animated the brains of the motley crew of giants.

Another televisor wall showed the public square of the Empire City.
Giants stunned by Long Tom's superfirer were beginning to awaken.

"Yes," stated Doc, stepping close to Monk, "I will do what I can to
have you made into a giant."

One bronze hand was buried in Monk's furry neck for an instant.


DOUBTLESS the master was confident no man, no power on earth could
thwart his plans of tyrannical world domination.

Doc Savage, mental and physical marvel, had been overcome.

All but one of Doc's learned companions were under the master's
control. Professor Randolph could now be eliminated.

Eyes gleaming through the holes of his red mask, this man strode into
the glasslike control room. He was accompanied by a dozen other robed
and masked men, but these were distinguished by their black garb.

Doc Savage made no further effort to speak with Ham and Monk. The
master saw that the man of bronze was looking with deepest and
friendliest interest into the control room.

The master was confident he could understand Doc's new state of mind.
The bronze wizard had many devices of his own to which Professor
Randolph's strange new force could be applied.

"We will give Doc Savage instructions," said the master to his
cohorts. "As his mind now operates, he will quickly gain Randolph's
own secret of supplying this power. After that, Professor Randolph, in
any state of mind, might prove a menace."

"The vapor death then?" suggested the voice of a black-robed aide.

"The vapor death and the white ashes which Professor Randolph so
foolishly placed in our hands," mocked the voice of the master.

These crystal walls were equipped with the latest in radio, dictaphone
and television devices. Doc Savage could hear distinctly the words
being spoken by the master.

The master was a shrewd individual. He had meant for Doc to hear this
speech condemning Professor Randolph to the death of the white ashes.
His glittering eyes were fixed upon the bronze giant's face.

Doc Savage must have been pleased, in the judgment of the master. A
slight smile of satisfaction played over the bronze face. Doc's head
nodded, as if the proposed replacement of Randolph by himself was
worth the doing.

"We will now speak with Doc Savage," said the master.

One glasslike wall seemed to separate. The opening connected the room
Doc occupied with the control compartment.

AS he stepped lightly through this aperture, the man of bronze had a
passing view of a white face, stricken with horror and despair. He saw
two hands raised, as if in an attempt to warn him against that upon
which he was about to embark.

The horrified face was that of Professor Randolph. The genius who had
torn this terrific, mysterious, power from the stratosphere, was
straining to peer through the walls of his power control room.

Doc could also see what Professor Randolph had been watching. This was
the distorted, Gargantuan figure of Ann Garvin, the woman he loved. It
could be easily understood how pressure had been brought to bear upon

For that direct reason Ann Garvin had been abducted from the heart of
Manhattan. It was Pat Savage's misfortune that she was also going to
be a giant monstrosity.

Doc Savage ignored the gestures of the imprisoned Randolph. The bronze
man's eyes were apparently blank and emotionless.

But he had not missed something far outside the walls of this infernal
honeycomb of the master. That crimson light on the melting snows of
Mount Shasta had changed to orange.

In the distant sky a dimly seen fountain of fire seemed to arise and
spread like a vast umbrella. From it rained yellowish, darting
serpents of fire. Throughout this fantastic mountain empire came a
low, rumbling growl.

It was as if the old earth itself resented the supernatural liberties
being taken by these puny man creatures on the great mountain.

Perhaps it was the disturbance of the strange stratosphere force
itself, hurling abnormal influences possibly deep into the long
undisturbed valleys of the glaciers.

Old Mount Lassen, peaceful for centuries, was growling.

This unusual demonstration was starting thousands in this earthquake
belt of the Pacific Coast to prepare for an expected shock.

But the master of Mount Shasta's empire noticed little of this. His
eyes gleamed as he looked at Doc Savage. Though he had stolen control
of a mighty force, perhaps it still seemed inconceivable that he
should be the master of this hitherto invincible Doc Savage.

The master spoke through one of his black-hooded men, but he made the
most of his moment of triumph.

Said the black-hooded aide, "The master is pleased to have you join us,
Doc Savage."

Doc replied with slow emphasis, "I do not quite understand all this,
but I find myself immensely pleased to be here. I can see great
possibilities for some of my own partly completed experiments when
supplied with the force you have discovered."

Johnny spoke suddenly from beside his mind-changing control board.

"Tortuous problems hitherto only vague scientific prognostication have
been solved by the simplest process. Doc, I think our gold-locating
device can be perfected with this power."

The master's eyes gleamed appreciatively. No doubt, he had contrived
to put these words in Johnny's mouth.

"I had already thought of that," stated Doc, showing a degree of
enthusiasm unusual for him. "That is but one invention of our own
which may be used to make your world empire idea impossible to

The master's black-hooded aide spoke again.

"The master has known of the gold-locating device, Doc Savage. Before
this time, even though it might point directly to the hidden mother
lodes in any country, the taking of the gold would, of course, be
blocked by the nation controlling the land. Now we have the means of
abstracting gold in any amount from any nation without opposition."

This speech could readily be understood. The robbery of the United
States mint in Denver had been an example of how the very defenders of
great gold deposits would be helpless against the mind-changing power
and the rocket speed of the Silver Cylinder.

A WILD scream rang through the control room. Doubtless Professor
Randolph was hearing all that was taking place. His mouth gaped open
with the shriek that tore from his throat. His hands clawed at the
glass wall of his prison.

Doc Savage appeared not to notice this.

"I find myself agreeing that gold belongs to him who finds it,
regardless of location," stated the bronze man.

That assertion was contrary to all Doc's normal beliefs. The man of
bronze always had the firmest faith in the rights of individuals,
groups and nations to all resources within their lands.

Perhaps none noticed the gentle pattering on the glasslike honeycomb.
The deepening orange of the melting snow might have been a new
manifestation of the abnormal stratosphere force.

But old Mount Lassen growled more loudly. The canopy of yellow fire
against the sky to the southward was spreading.

Through his black-hooded aide, the master seemed to be deriving great
enjoyment from this agreeable spirit of the great Doc Savage.
Apparently, the man of bronze had been looking straight at the master
all the time.

There were scores of panels and indicators on the mind-changing
control board operated by Johnny. These panels showed zones and
distances. They gave the operator the power to reach an individual or
a group at any point in the world.

In each case though, there seemed to be a form of transmission
required at distant spots. In Manhattan there had been a telescope. In
the hands of the guards down below in the weird city were the black

The master would not have believed at this moment that Doc Savage's
marvelous brain had read and memorized every detail of the mind-
changing board. Nor would he have believed the man of bronze had
placed in his mind each other instrument in the room.

Particularly, he marked the location of the machine which must be the
origin of the vapor death of white ashes.

With the master himself, there were exactly thirteen of the hooded
men. None gave any heed to the continuous gibbering screams of
Professor Randolph.

Doc Savage, at last, spoke calmly.

He said, "First, I shall have to know something of the origin of this
power. Perhaps Johnny will be able to give me more knowledge than

As he talked, the man of bronze moved casually toward the pleased
Johnny. The skeleton face of the geologist smiled in agreement with
Doc's words.

"The master instructs me to say that Doc Savage will be given more
power than any others in the empire, with the exception of himself,"
stated the black-hooded aide. "Professor Randolph will be led to impart
his one secret--the manner by which he has brought this force to the

Doc Savage bowed slightly, without speaking. One bronzed hand moved
Johnny aside. Doc was standing with his back turned to the mind-
changing board. A little smile showed on his face.

"Doc Savage!" screamed Professor Randolph, from his prison. "Don't let
them do it! They've stolen my power to enslave the world! What I meant
to make all peoples better they will use to destroy, and murder, and

If the master and his aides had noticed, one of Doc's hands was out of
their sight for the fraction of a second. He could not see the mind-
changing control panels, but they were clearly fixed in his mind.

Now he spoke as calmly as if nothing whatever had happened.

"The master may be surprised to know that I have had the secret of
Professor Randolph's power for some time," he stated. "I know of its
terrific bombarding power that will rend atoms asunder. I have a
perfect photograph of this force in action, and that has already told
me how it has been brought from the stratosphere."

The eyes in the red mask seemed almost to jump at the man of bronze.
The master had at last broken into speech.

"But that is impossible--you couldn't have--"

"Nothing is impossible," interrupted Doc. "Listen, and you will
perhaps understand that your game is ended."

FROM a thousand feet down the mountain came the increasing roar of
human voices. These were emitted from throats of giants. A black-
hooded aide sprang to the wall.

"The giants!" he shouted, in wild alarm. "They are coming up the
mountain! Something has happened, master! They have gone mad! They are
tearing up small trees by the roots and swinging them as clubs!"

"Doc Savage!" squawked the voice of the master. "You? You have not

"Keep back," interrupted Doc quietly. "Johnny, stay away."

Johnny's mind at this moment did not respond to Doc's command. He
threw his bony body toward the mind-control board. Perhaps the
greatest scholar in Doc's group had become attached to the amazing
power that had been under his hands.

Doc was compelled to act with dispatch. With sweeping arms and
gibbered orders, the master was moving his dozen aides upon the man of

"I don't like to do it, Johnny," said Doc.

But his incredibly fast hand had disrupted a nerve center at the base
of Johnny's brain so quickly, it is doubtful if he heard Doc's words.

The master suddenly halted his black-robed aides. From his masked lips
rang a scornful, derisive laugh.

"You're smart, Doc Savage, smart!" he shouted. "But not quite smart
enough! The vapor death! Close the walls!"

A black-robed figure already was beside a small control board several
yards from Doc. His hand pushed a switch.

Still half a thousand feet down the mountain, the apparent leader of
the enraged giants disappeared in swirling blue vapor. His companion
trampled white ashes into the soggy ground. But still they came on.

The black-robed figure in the control room moved his hand again. But
it did not touch the instrument of the vapor death. The control board
of that ghastly means of murder had vanished with the speed of light.

Smoky flame blasted the black-robed operator from his feet. He was
hurled into the farthest glasslike wall. Though he was not burned or
injured by the explosion, the black-robed man was out cold.

Doc had flicked one of his feet. From under the toe of his shoe had
snapped one of his most powerful devices. This was a high explosive
bomb of miniature size.

It had been designed by the man of bronze along a new idea for
explosive force. Its blast was effective only within a few feet of the
object which it might strike. This had saved the life of the black-
robed killer.

"The walls--the walls!" again cried the master.

Doc was looking into the room occupied by Ham and Monk. His own spine
chilled a little. The crystal walls were moving together. They were
coming with smooth, irrevocable crushing force upon the helpless Ham
and Monk.

"Ham, Monk!" called Doc. "Try to break out!"

Along with the minds of the giants, the thoughts of Ham and Monk had
been changed. This means of changing the mind-control power had been
brought about by the short, black rod. Doc had secreted on Monk when
he had touched the chemist's neck with his fingers. It was the rod
belonging to the guard who had been killed.

Now that the minds of the giants had been restored to normal, no one
had to tell them just who was responsible. They realized the fiend
whose power they had been under was in that glass honeycomb. They did
not have to be directed to move against the one who had enslaved them.

"Crush the prisoners!" yelled the master. "You see, Doc Savage, what
you have brought upon your own companions! Your own cousin, too, will

Through the several walls Doc could see Patricia and Ann Garvin
clearly. Their gigantic size still made them monstrous women. But
their state of mind could not save them from fear. Pat Savage and Ann
Garvin were being slowly pinned between the moving walls of crystal.
Their open mouths showed they were crying out in terror. Their hands
were pushing, trying to stop the horrible, crushing death that would
be inevitable.

Professor Randolph saw this, too. His screams became the shrieks of a
madman. Without knowing it, the genius who had brought about all this
without intending harm, was tearing out chunks of his own hair and

The body of Long Tom lay in the room with Ham and Monk.

In his amazing feat of memorizing what was in the control room, Doc
Savage had missed a board or set of hidden switches which might be
responsible for closing the traplike walls.

The master uttered a mocking laugh.

"Stop those giants, Doc Savage! Change their minds to my control!
Otherwise your companions die!"


DOC'S reply to this was amazing, cyclonic action. His great hands
gripped portions of the mind-changing control board. He heaved himself
suddenly forward.

Behind him sounded the splintering and rending of metal and glass. The
bronze man pivoted on his toes. The weight of the mind-changing board
hurtled across the room. Four or five of the black-robed figures went
down before its impact.

Doc did not seem to touch the floor in crossing the space between the
master and himself.

Three or four black-robed aides sprang to the master's defense. In the
hand of one appeared a snubnosed automatic. It was spitting vicious
lead. The bullets could not have missed.

This did not save the unexpected gunman from being one of the few men
who had ever taken the full force of a straight punch from the bronze
man's fist.

The bronzed knuckles hit so hard, the man turned over in one direction
and the automatic flew to the wall in another.

The other robed men sought to jam their weight ahead of the hurtling
man of bronze. This was a sad mistake. The area of a tornado is
limited, but it takes all directly in its path.

It must have seemed to this opposing group that Doc's fists were
composed of solid iron horseshoes instead of smooth bronze skin. Doc's
body opened a way to the master, much as some football team would have
wedged toward a goal.

"Don't! You wouldn't!" screamed the master.

Rarely did Doc Savage use a hold other than a merciful nerve-deadening
touch. His massive hands had lifted the master clear of the floor. Big
bronze thumbs found nerves and pressed.

The master shrieked. These nerves found by Doc were not deadening the
master's senses. They were setting him on fire from his toenails to
the roots of his hair.

"Stop those walls," said Doc quietly. "It is your only chance."

"Hold them--don't move the walls--stop--stop! He'll kill me!" screamed
the red-masked man who was no longer master.

Only a foot or so of space remained for Ham and Monk and Long Tom, and
for the two women when the crystal walls ceased to move. Doc dropped
the limp master to the floor.

Other black-hooded men were pouring upon the bronze man. His fists
became fearful bludgeoning weapons. All his devices but that one
powerful grenade had been taken from him. This became a man-to-man

EVEN the amazing strength of the man of bronze could not overcome new
forces now being hurled upon him. The black-hooded men had armed
themselves with short clubs, pieces of broken instrument boards and
other weapons.

As Monk yelled and barged from the glass room with Ham close beside
him, Doc went down under raining blows. Monk's fists swung far on each
side. Men went down. Ham, lacking his sword cane, was much less
effective with his hands.

But the force of numbers was too great. The robed men trampled over
Doc's body as they rammed Monk and Ham back toward the room from which
they had emerged.

"Give it to all of them!" snarled a command from the reviving master.

Three robed men lifted Doc and threw him back into the room where Ham
and Monk had been driven. The crystal door started to close.

At this moment, Pat Savage and Ann Garvin found a way from their
prison. Ann Garvin ran, screaming hysterically, toward the control
room in which Professor Randolph still shouted in insane horror.

The master's arm encircled Pat Savage. The girl whipped from his
grasp, tearing off his hooded mask.

Two other men seized Pat and held her firmly.

The flame of old Mount Lassen became a more brilliant orange. A
rumbling tremor shook the honeycomb rooms.

"Earthquake!" squawked one of the black-robed men. "Let's get out! We
can destroy all of it!"

This was not yet an earthquake. But it seemed so. Uprooted young trees
in the hands of more than a hundred raging giants were crashing
through the outer crystal walls.

One immense Asiatic was first to reach the inside. He swung a terrible
club. Two of the master's men were nearly decapitated.

The master shouted a command. He and his black-robed crowd moved
swiftly out of the control room. From one side, a machine-gun started

The racketing snarl of the vicious weapon lasted only a few seconds.
But it was sufficient to topple the first line of the roaring giants.
This held up the others.

Pat Savage cried out. She was being borne along with the master's men.

Ann Garvin was on her knees before the glass of the main control room
in which Professor Randolph was imprisoned. She was beating at the
crystal wall with her hands. Randolph pressed his face to the glass
close to her.

Apparently the roaring giants recognized that Doc and his men had been
prisoners like themselves. With their mighty clubs they swept on again
over the bodies of those who had died by the machine-gun.

They were too late. From outside the crystal walls came a woman's
scream. It sounded remarkably like the voice of Pat, though she was
not the screaming kind.

Doc had come to his feet. Monk and Ham and Long Tom were still dazed.
Johnny was unconscious.

There was no sound of a take-off. But from back of the crystal
honeycomb a long, silvery shape shot into the orange glow from Mount

"They've got Pat!" exploded Ham. "Doc, what can we do?"

DOC SAVAGE said nothing. He stood motionless as the Silver Cylinder
carrying the master and his henchman rocketed into the sky. The
stratosphere ship became a gleaming arrow, pointing directly over the
spouting cone of Mount Lassen.

Inside his room controlling the basic power, Professor Randolph leaped
to his feet. He laughed insanely. Springing across the room, he pulled
a lever out from the wall.

In front of him, the bases of the two silver columns seemed to
dissolve. Outside sounded a rending crash. Those towering stacks like
sky-touching silver pencils were crashing into the valley.

"Blazes, Doc!" groaned Monk. "The volcano! That sky ship!"

"I've ended it all! Ended it all!" screamed Professor Randolph's
maniacal voice.

The tip of old Mount Lassen seemed to explode. The long Sliver
Cylinder poised for an instant.

Flame, lava and rock shot into the sky. The last seen of the
stratosphere ship was when the eruption engulfed its suddenly
powerless hulk.

Professor Randolph had cut off the basic control with the toppling of
the silver stacks. With these gone, the marvelous stratosphere ship
was only a vast coffin of metal carrying its crew on their last

Lava poured down the sides of Mount Lassen where the Silver Cylinder
had vanished.

Mount Shasta was shaken by heavy tremors. Yet the air suddenly turned
intensely cold. The power that had changed the snow to a crimson flood
was gone.

Doc and his companions looked at each other without speaking. What
they might have said was evident in the grief etched on their faces.
Pat Savage had held the deepest affection of all these men.

Professor Randolph stood white-faced and shaking before them. The
beautiful Ann Garvin clung to his arm. Ham and Monk looked at the
woman with amazement.

"Howlin' calamities!" sputtered Monk. "You was supposed to be one of
them giantesses or something!"

Doc smiled and said, "Only a variation of an old trick did that. The
crystal walls were movable. Some magnified more than the others. The
master changed them from day to day."

Professor Randolph spoke in a low, stricken voice.

"I put myself in your hands, Doc Savage. That which I have done
deserves the most extreme penalty."

The mountain giants, satisfied with the destruction they had wrought,
were going back down the mountain. Below, they would encounter
sheriff's posses and authority in numbers.

"We shall discuss that later, professor," said Doc. "No man is immune
from mistakes. Yours perhaps was in thinking that some small group
could be kept intact to control the terrible power of the supercosmic
waves of the higher stratosphere. You have great genius, but the world
will have to be a better organized society before such superlative
force is applied."

"You knew it was the cosmic wave?" questioned Professor Randolph.

"Its first bombardment was photographed in the Argon gas of my own
cosmic-wave trap," stated Doc. "Its wide diversity of application
stopped me for some time. Then it seemed all I could do was to trick
this master into believing I had succumbed to the mind control."

"I would say it was more than the mere cosmic wave," said the erudite
Johnny. "I have named it the Z-wave, or the universal ray. Its length
can hardly be given in fractions like the other waves. It multiplies
the penetrating power of the cosmic wave as science now knows it so
many times that it seems incredible."

"The world thought you were destroyed in your other stratosphere ship,
professor," suggested Ham.

"It was part of the duplicity for which I must face punishment," said
Professor Randolph sadly. "I had the second, greater ship waiting in
the Arizona desert. There was no person aboard the other Cylinder when
it exploded. For months, we had been preparing our machinery, testing
our devices and planning world dictatorship in this mountain

DOC SAVAGE had started to lead the party back over the now freezing
glacier toward Afternoon Creek. The cone of Mount Lassen had suddenly
died to only a smoldering flare in the sky.

The man of bronze suddenly whipped to one side in the snow. His bronze
hands caught two other white hands which were waving helplessly. The
slender, shaking figure of Patricia Savage appeared.

"Well, I'll be superamalgamated!" exclaimed Johnny.

"Holy blazes, it's Pat herself in person!" yelled Monk.

"What happened, Pat?" asked Doc.

Patricia Savage was a very pretty young person. She was even prettier
when she smiled.

"Two men were carrying me to that silver ship," she laughed softly.
"Perhaps they thought it nice for me to have my arms around their
necks. It wasn't so nice for them when I got my thumbs twisted into
their necks. They went to sleep, and I got away."

Pat knew how to apply many of the same tricks as her famous cousin.
She joined the party in descending the mountain. A little farther on
the man of bronze halted the party.

Doc Savage said, "It should not be far from here."

From farther down the mountain voices were shouting. Ann Garvin
clutched Professor Randolph's arm.

"Doc Savage, Homer wants to go down the mountain and surrender

Doc said, "Wait a little while. We can have my plane in the air within
a few minutes. You see, when I put on the burning bomb, I fixed the
crash stabilizers. The plane is but little damaged."

These stabilizers were Doc's own invention. They had worked perfectly.
His fast, twin-motored ship was sitting upright in the snow.

Within a short time, both motors caught and exploded.

"It would be best for us all to leave in the plane," said Doc. "I
judge, Professor Randolph, you have seen the mistake of an individual
attempt to reform the world?"

"If I were ever again permitted to go free," said Professor Randolph,
"all my scientific research would be confined strictly to the benefit
of mankind. I will never disclose the secret manner in which the
superwave was brought to earth."

"You are going free very soon, Professor Randolph," stated Doc. "We
shall fly directly to a Mexican port. There is an island in the South
Seas where I shall see you and Ann Garvin--or shall we say, Mrs.
Randolph--will never be molested."

Long Tom had not spoken for some time.

"Doc, when did you first suspect the identity of the man they called
the master?" he questioned.

"When I first noticed Professor Archer twirling those gold eyeglasses
around his finger," stated Doc. "Those glasses were his own
transmitter for the great power of the wave into either mind control
or the death by the blue vapor."

"But he was killed," said Long Tom. "We saw the white ashes down there
in New York."

"They were those of a guard Professor Archer probably murdered
deliberately to mislead us," said Doc. "Remember, we were not subject
to the final attack for some time after we landed on the roof. I judge
Professor Archer's men were waiting for him to come up the mountain."

PAT SAVAGE was paying little attention to the serious conversation.
She was looking at the homely countenance of Monk. She suddenly
laughed softly.

"Monk, you surely would make a funny-looking giant," she said. "I
didn't think anything human could look so queer, just by being made

"Huh!" rapped the ready Ham. "Nothing human could, Pat."

The plane whizzed southward, carrying Professor Randolph and Ann
Garvin to their honeymoon port in the south.

High behind Mount Shasta, giant corn and other plants, and what would
have been a remarkable city, were rapidly being buried in the
deepening snow. After centuries some of these things might be

Of Professor Randolph's great experiment, the after years would see
only a few scattered mountaineers and Asiatics who had become giants
in size.

In a short time, none would believe the stories told by the giant
Shallops. In the back country the Shallops always were held to be the
greatest tellers of tall tales.


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