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Cube Root of Conquest   By: (1909-1965)

Cube Root of Conquest by Roger Phillips Graham

First Page:

CUBE ROOT OF CONQUEST

By Rog Phillips

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

[Sidenote: What actual result is there in the act of conquest? What is its cube root?]

Jan ran tirelessly, his long clean limbs carrying him at express train speed across the uneven terrain. The small deer was beginning to show evidences of tiring. Its foam flecked mouth was open, the swollen tongue protruding over the teeth. The ten or more miles of the chase had proven Jan's superior strength.

The deer rounded a dense patch of blackberry bushes and bounded out of sight over the crest of the hill. To Jan's keen eye it seemed that the deer stumbled at the instant of vanishing from view. Eagerly he put on a burst of speed to catch up and make the kill.

The scene that burst into view brought amazement into his clear blue eyes. The deer had stumbled, but caught itself, and was bounding down the gentle slope. Jan thrust curiosity away and concentrated on regaining the ground lost. His naked feet touched the turf with pile driver force every ten feet. The muscles under the tanned skin of his legs worked with smooth effort.

The deer was headed directly toward a glistening square spot just ahead. It was in mid stride when it reached it, its front legs doubled, ready to straighten and touch the ground at the right instant, its hind legs stretched out behind.

In that position it sailed over the glistening square that was set flush into the ground, and vanished.

It vanished about like it might vanish around a tree. Its head and antlers went first, followed by the rest of it. One hoof seemed to hesitate, hanging in the air by itself. Then it was gone.

Jan turned desperately to avoid the spot and brought himself to a halt a few feet beyond. The hair on the back of his neck felt prickly with fear of the unknown. He returned cautiously to inspect the mysterious, glistening square slab.

It was no more than four feet across each way. There was no way of telling what its surface was like. About where its surface might be was a soft carpet of glistening, cool force that seemed neither solid nor fluid. It was something like the surface of a glowing ember in a dying fire, smoothed out flat and spread with uniformity over an area of sixteen square feet.

Jan's eyes pulled away from this fascinating thing and turned to survey what had first caused him to break his pace in surprise. A short distance away a skeleton of twisted and sheered off steel girders hinted at what had once been a bridge across a deep gash in the rolling terrain. On the other side was what had once been a huge city of sky scrapers, though Jan had never heard of such a thing and did not know that that was what it had been.

[Illustration: Nothing was visible in the mysterious plate, yet a man had gone into it!]

With a frown of uneasiness he dismissed the ruins of the city and the bridge and turned to the mysteriously glowing square once more. The deer had vanished over it. Therefore it must have something to do with the vanishing of the deer. Since he had chased the deer so far, it would be foolish to turn away without investigating. The deer might still be there somewhere.

Jan's face lit up with an idea. He looked around until he spied a rock about as big as a fist. He came back with it and stood thoughtfully near the edge of the mysterious square. Then he tossed it with just enough force to carry it across. When it reached a point above the edge of the square it vanished. Jan waited, but it didn't land on the other side. It had simply ceased to exist!

Jan looked thoughtful for a moment. He turned and went back to the patch of blackberry bushes. Taking his long slim blade from its deerskin scabbard he cut a long, tough stick, trimming the younger shoots away... Continue reading book >>




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