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A Place in the Sun   By: (1928-2008)

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This etext was produced from Amazing Stories October 1956. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

A "JOHNNY MAYHEM" ADVENTURE

A PLACE IN THE SUN

By C. H. THAMES

Mayhem, the man of many bodies, had been given some weird assignments in his time, but saving The Glory of the Galaxy wasn't difficult it was downright impossible!

The SOS crackled and hummed through subspace at a speed which left laggard light far behind. Since subspace distances do not coincide with normal space distances, the SOS was first picked up by a Fomalhautian freighter bound for Capella although it had been issued from a point in normal space midway between the orbit of Mercury and the sun's corona in the solar system.

[Illustration: The terrible weapon blasted death and carnage through the ship.]

The radioman of the Fomalhautian freighter gave the distress signal to the Deck Officer, who looked at it, blinked, and bolted 'bove decks to the captain's cabin. His face was very white when he reached the door and his heart pounded with excitement. As the Deck Officer crossed an electronic beam before the door a metallic voice said: "The Captain is asleep and will be disturbed for nothing but emergency priority."

Nodding, the Deck officer stuck his thumb in the whorl lock of the door and entered the cabin. "Begging your pardon, sir," he cried, "but we just received an SOS from "

The Captain stirred groggily, sat up, switched on a green night light and squinted through it at the Deck Officer. "Well, what is it? Isn't the Eye working?"

"Yes, sir. An SOS, sir...."

"If we're close enough to help, subspace or normal space, take the usual steps, lieutenant. Surely you don't need me to "

"The usual steps can't be taken, sir. Far as I can make out, that ship is doomed. She's bound on collision course for Sol, only twenty million miles out now."

"That's too bad, lieutenant," the Captain said with genuine sympathy in his voice. "I'm sorry to hear that. But what do you want me to do about it?"

"The ship, sir. The ship that sent the SOS hold on to your hat, sir "

"Get to the point now, will you, young man?" the Captain growled sleepily.

"The ship which sent the SOS signal, the ship heading on collision course for Sol, is the Glory of the Galaxy !"

For a moment the Captain said nothing. Distantly, you could hear the hum of the subspace drive unit and the faint whining of the stasis generator. Then the Captain bolted out of bed after unstrapping himself. In his haste he forgot the ship was in weightless deep space and went sailing, arms flailing air, across the room. The lieutenant helped him down and into his magnetic soled shoes.

"My God," the Captain said finally. "Why did it happen? Why did it have to happen to the Glory of the Galaxy ?"

"What are you going to do, sir?"

" I can't do anything. I won't take the responsibility. Have the radioman contact the Hub at once."

"Yes, sir."

The Glory of the Galaxy , the SOS ship heading on collision course with the sun, was making its maiden run from the assembly satellites of Earth across the inner solar system via the perihelion passage which would bring it within twenty odd million miles of the sun, to Mars which now was on the opposite side of Sol from Earth. Aboard the gleaming new ship was the President of the Galactic Federation and his entire cabinet.

The Fomalhautian freighter's emergency message was received at the Hub of the Galaxy within moments after it had been sent, although the normal space distance was in the neighborhood of one hundred thousand light years. The message was bounced in amazingly quick time from office to office at the hub, cutting through the usual red tape because of its top priority. And since none of the normal agencies at the Hub could handle it the message finally arrived at an office which very rarely received official messages of any kind... Continue reading book >>




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