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The Golden Amazons of Venus   By:

The Golden Amazons of Venus by John Murray Reynolds

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[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Planet Stories Winter 1939. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

[Sidenote: Dakta death, horrible beyond the weirdest fever dreams of Earth men, faced Space Ship Commander Gerry Norton. The laconic interplanetary explorer knew too much. He stood in the dynamic path of Lansa, Lord of the Scaly Ones, the crafty monster bent on conquering the fair City of Larr and all the rich, shadowless lands of the glorious Amazons of Venus.]

The space ship Viking two hundred feet of gleaming metal and polished duralite lay on the launching platform of New York City's municipal airport. Her many portholes gleamed with light. She was still taking on rocket fuel from a tender, but otherwise all the final stores were aboard. Her helicopters were turning over slowly, one at a time, as they were tested.

In the Viking's upper control room Gerry Norton and Steve Brent made a final check of the instrument panels. Both men wore the blue and gold uniform of the Interplanetary Fleet. Fatigue showed on both their faces, on Steve's freckled pan and on Gerry Norton's lean face. Gerry in particular had not slept for thirty six hours. His responsibility was a heavy one, as commander of this second attempt to reach the planet Venus from Earth. Well he would have a chance to catch up on sleep during the long days of travel that lay ahead.

The two officers finished their inspection, and strolled out onto the open deck atop the vessel. For a while they leaned on the rail, staring down at the dense crowds that had thronged the airport to see the departure of the Viking . In this warm weather the men wore only light shorts and gayly colored shirts. The women wore the long dresses and metal caps and thin gauze veils that were so popular that year. Around the fringes of the airport stood the ramparts of New York's many tall buildings, with the four hundred story bulk of the Federal Building a giant metal finger against the midnight sky.

"When are we going to pull out, Chief?" Steve Brent asked.

"As soon as the ship from Mars gets in and Olga Stark can come aboard."

"Funny thing I've never been able to like that gal!" Steve said. Gerry smiled faintly.

"That puts you in the minority, from all reports. However that's aside from the point. She's the most capable Space pilot in the whole fleet, and we need her. What's she like personally?"

"Tall, dark, and beautiful with a nasty tongue and the temper of a fiend," Steve said. He yawned, and changed the subject. "Y'know I've just been wondering what really did happen to the Stardust !"

Gerry shrugged without replying. That was a question that was bound to be in the minds of all members of this expedition, whether or not they put it in words. Travel between Earth and Mars had been commonplace for more than a generation now, but there had not yet been any communication with Venus that cloud veiled planet whose orbit lay nearer the sun than that of earth. Two years ago the exploring ship Stardust had started for Venus. She had simply vanished into the cold of outer space and never been heard from again.

Gerry Norton thought the Viking would get through. Science had made some advances in these past two years. His ship would carry better rocket fuel than had the Stardust , and more efficient gravity plates. The new duralite hull had the strength to withstand a terrific impact. They would probably get through. If not well he had been taking chances all his life. You didn't go into the Interplanetary Service at all if you were afraid of danger.

"There comes the ship from Mars now!" Steve Brent said, suddenly pointing upward.

A streak of fire like a shooting star had appeared in the sky far above. It was the rocket blast of the incoming space liner... Continue reading book >>

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