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Beyond The Thunder   By:

Beyond The Thunder by H. B. Hickey

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BEYOND THE THUNDER

By H. B. Hickey

[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories December 1948. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: What was this blinding force that came out of a hole in the sky, and was powerful enough to destroy an entire city? Case thought he knew....]

Ten thousand persons in New York looked skyward at the first rumble of sound. The flash caught them that way, seared them to cinder, liquefied their eyeballs, brought their vitals boiling out of the fissures of their bodies. They were the lucky ones. The rest died slowly, their monument the rubble which had once been a city.

Of all that, Case Damon knew nothing. Rocketing up in the self service elevator to his new cloud reaching apartment in San Francisco, his thoughts were all on the girl who would be waiting for him.

"She loves me, she loves me not," he said to himself. They were orchid petals, not those of daisies, that drifted to the floor of the car.

"She loves me." The last one touched the floor softly, and Case laughed.

Then the doors were opening and he was racing down the hall. No more lonely nights for him, no more hours wasted thumbing through the pages of his little black book wondering which girl to call. Case Damon, rocket jockey, space explorer, was now a married man, married to the most beautiful girl in the world.

He scooped Karin off her feet and hugged her to him. Her lips were red velvet on his, her spun gold hair drifted around his shoulders.

"Box seats for the best show in town, honey," he gloated in her ear.

He fished around in his pockets with one hand while he held her against him with the other. They'd said you couldn't get tickets for that show. But what "they" said never stopped Case Damon, whether it was a matter of theatre tickets, or of opening a new field on a distant airless planet.

"Turn off that telecast," he said. "I'm not interested in Interplan news these days. From now on, Case Damon keeps his feet on terra firma."

And that was the way it was going to be. His interest in the uranium on Trehos alone should keep him and Karin in clover for the rest of their lives. They'd have fun, they'd have kids, they'd live like normal married people. The rest of the universe could go hang.

"If you'd stop raving, I might get a word in edgewise," Karin begged.

"The floor is yours. Also the walls, the building, the whole darned city if you want it," Case laughed.

"That telecast is ticking for you. Washington calling Case Damon. Washington calling Case Damon. Since you left an hour ago it's been calling you."

"Let it call. It's my constitutional right not to answer."

But his mood was changing to match Karin's. His lean, firm jawed features were turning serious. Tension tightened his powerful body.

"It must be important, Case," Karin said. "They're using your code call. They wouldn't do that unless it was urgent."

He listened to the tick of the machine. Unless you knew, it sounded only like the regular ticking that told the machine was in operation. But there were little breaks here and there. It was for him.

Three long strides took him to the machine. His deft fingers flicked switches, brought a glow to the video tubes.

"Case Damon," he said softly. "Come in, Washington."

It was Cranly's face that filled the screen. But a Cranly Case barely recognized. The man had aged ten years in the last three days. His voice was desperate.

"Good grief, man! Where've you been? Get down here fast. But fast!"

"Listen, Cranly. I'm on my honeymoon. Or have you forgotten? Remember three days ago you were best man at a wedding? Well, the fellow at the altar was Case Damon."

That should have gotten a smile out of Cranly. But it didn't. He was even a little angry now.

"This is an order, Case! I'm giving you the honor of being the first non official person to know about it... Continue reading book >>




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