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The Affair of the Brains   By:

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Transcriber's Note: This e text was produced from Astounding Stories, March, 1932. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration: "I do not know you for a liar.... I will enter."]

The Affair of the Brains

A Complete Novelette

By Anthony Gilmore

CHAPTER I

Off to the Rendezvous

[Illustration: Hawk Carse himself goes to keep Judd the Kite's rendezvous with the sinister genius Ku Sui.]

Though it is seldom nowadays that Earthmen hear mention of Hawk Carse, there are still places in the universe where his name retains all its old magic. These are the lonely outposts of the farthest planets, and here when the outlanders gather to yarn the idle hours away their tales conjure up from the past that raw, lusty period before the patrol ships came, and the slender adventurer, gray eyed and with queer bangs of hair obscuring his forehead, whose steely will, phenomenal ray gun draw and reckless space ship maneuverings combined to make him the period's most colorful figure. These qualities of his live again in the outlanders' reminiscences and also of course his score of blood feuds and the one great feud that shook whole worlds in its final terrible settling the feud of Hawk Carse and Dr. Ku Sui.

Again and again the paths of the adventurer and the sinister, brilliant Eurasian crossed, and each crossing makes a rich tale. Time after time Ku Sui, through his several bands of space pirates, his individual agents and his ambitious web of power insidiously weaving over the universe, whipped his tentacles after the Hawk, and always the tentacles coiled back, repulsed and bloody. An almost typical episode is in the affair which followed what has been called the Exploit of the Hawk and the Kite.

It will be remembered as related in "Hawk Carse"[1] that Dr. Ku laid a most ingenious trap for Carse on the latter's ranch on Iapetus, eighth satellite of Saturn. Judd the Kite, pirate and scavenger, was the Eurasian's tool in this plot, which started with a raid on the ranch. The fracas which followed the Hawk's escape from the trap was bloody and grim enough, and resulted in the erasure of Judd and all his men save one; but the important thing to the following affair was that Judd's ship, the Scorpion, fell into Carse's hands with one prisoner and the ship's log, containing the space coordinates for a prearranged assignation of Judd with Ku Sui.

[1] See the November, 1931, issue of Astounding Stories.

All other projects were postponed by the Hawk at this opportunity to meet Dr. Ku face to face. The trail of the Eurasian was the guiding trail of his life, and swiftly he moved along it.

There was work to be done before he could set out. Three men had emerged alive from the clash between the Hawk and the Kite: Carse himself, Friday, his gigantic negro companion in adventure, and a bearded half caste called Sako, sole survivor of Judd's crew. Aided sullenly by this man, they first cleaned up the ravaged ranch, burying the bodies of the dead, repairing fences and generally bringing order out of confusion. Then, under Carse's instructions, Friday and the captive brigand tooled the adventurer's own ship, the Star Devil , well into the near by jungle, while the Hawk returned to the Scorpion .

He went into her control cabin, opened her log book and once more scanned what interested him there. The notation ran:

"E.D. (Earth Date) 16 January, E.T. (Earth Time) 2:40 P.M. Meeting ordered by Ku Sui, for purpose of delivering the skeleton and clothing of Carse to him, at N.S. (New System) X 33.7; Y 241.3; Z 92.8 on E.D. 24 January, E.T. 10:20 P.M. Note: the ship is to stand by at complete stop, the radio's receiver open to Ku Sui's private wave (D37, X1293, R3) for further instructions."

He mulled over it, slowly stroking his flaxen bangs. It was a chance, and a good one... Continue reading book >>




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