Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Marooner   By:

Book cover

First Page:

The MAROONER

By CHARLES A. STEARNS

ILLUSTRATOR SUMMERS

Wordsley and Captain DeCastros crossed half a universe suffered hardship faced unknown dangers; and all this for what a breath of rare perfume?

[Illustration: The creature was more pitiful than fearsome.]

Steadily they smashed the mensurate battlements, in blackness beyond night and darkness without stars. Yet Mr. Wordsley, the engineer, who was slight, balding and ingenious, was able to watch the firmament from his engine room as it drifted from bow to beam to rocket's end. This was by virtue of banked rows of photon collectors which he had invented and installed in the nose of the ship.

And Mr. Wordsley, at three minutes of the hour of seventeen over four, tuned in a white, new star of eye blinking magnitude and surpassing brilliance. Discovering new stars was a kind of perpetual game with Mr. Wordsley. Perhaps more than a game.

"I wish I may, I wish I might ..." Mr. Wordsley said.

The fiddly hatch clanged. DeCastros, that gross, terrifying clown of a man, clumped down the ladder from the bridge to defeat the enchantment of the moment. DeCastros held sway. He was captain. He did not want Mr. Wordsley to forget that he was captain.

The worst of Captain DeCastros was that he had moods. Just now he was being a sly leprechaun, if one can imagine a double chinned, three hundred pound leprechaun. He came over and dug his fingers into Mr. Wordsley's shoulder. A wracking pain in the trapezius muscle.

"The ertholaters are plugged," he said gently. "The vi lines are giving out a horrible stink."

"I'll attend to it right away," Mr. Wordsley said, wincing a little as he wriggled free.

"Tch, tch," DeCastros said, "can anyone really be so asthenic as you seem, Mr. Wordsley?"

"No, sir," Mr. Wordsley said, uncertain of his meaning.

The captain winked. "Yet there was that ruffled shirt that I found in the laundromat last week. It was not my shirt. There are only the two of us aboard, Mr. Wordsley."

"It was my shirt," Mr. Wordsley said, turning crimson. "I bought it on Vega Four. I I didn't know that is, they wear them like that on Vega Four."

"Yes, they do," DeCastros said. "Well, well, perhaps you are only a poet, Mr. Wordsley. But should you happen to be a little well, maggoty, you positively do not have to tell me. No doubt we both have our secrets. Naturally."

" I haven't," Mr. Wordsley said desperately.

"No? Then you certainly will not mind that I am recommending an Ab Test for you when we get home."

Mr. Wordsley's heart stopped beating for several seconds. He searched Captain DeCastros' face for a sign that he might be fooling. He was not. He looked too pleasant. Mr. Wordsley had always managed to pass the Aberrations Test by the skin of his teeth, but he was sure that, like most spiritual geniuses, he was sensitively balanced, and that the power and seniority of a man like DeCastros must influence the Board of Examination.

"You might be decommed. Or even committed to an institution. We wouldn't want that to happen, would we, Mr. Wordsley?"

"Why are you doing this to me?" Mr. Wordsley asked strickenly.

"To tell the truth, I do not propose to have any more of my voyages blighted with your moon calfing, day dreaming and letting the ertholaters stink up the bridge. Besides " Captain DeCastros patted his shoulder almost affectionately. " besides, I can't stand you, Mr. Wordsley."

Mr. Wordsley nodded. He went over to the screen that was like a window of blessed outer night and sank down on his knees before it.

Have the wish I wish tonight.

"Ah, ha!" DeCastros exclaimed with sudden ice frozen around the rim of his voice. "What have we here?"

"A new nova," Mr. Wordsley answered sullenly.

"It is common knowledge that no engineer can tell a nova from the D.R. blast of an Iphonian freighter. Let me see it." He shoved Mr. Wordsley out of the way and examined the screen intently.

"You fool," he said at last, "that's a planet... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books