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The Winged Men of Orcon A Complete Novelette   By:

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The Winged Men of Orcon

A Complete Novelette

By David R. Sparks

Far out at the edge of the Universe two scientists play a game of wits Earth to the winner.

CHAPTER I

The Wrecked Space Ship

When I came to, it was dark; so dark that the night seemed all but fluid with black pigment. Breathing was difficult, but in spite of that, however, I felt exhilarated mentally. Also I felt strong, stronger than I ever had in my life before. I tried to raise my hands, and found that I was handcuffed.

I lay sprawled out on a sharply canted floor of metal, and from outside the house, or whatever it was I was in, I could hear the screeching and howling of the wind. I touched my face with my fettered hands, and the act gave me a feeling of comfort, for the scar on my cheek was still there and I knew that I was myself.

[Illustration: A flash of blue light played about our ship.]

Twisting around, I sat up, and with great difficulty drew a lighter from my trousers pocket. The flame glimmered up. I knew then that I was lying in the control room of a great flying machine!

All about me I saw crumpled human forms clad in glistening gray flying jumpers. It was very, very hot. I thought I caught the sound of waves crashing on a shore. Through a broken port blustered a hot wind laden with an odd odor suggestive of garlic and kelp. It was just as dark outside as in. I stirred about a bit, and found that I was in good shape except for the handcuffs.

A low moan came from behind a bulkhead door at one end of the control room. I listened, and again the sound was repeated. With the lighter still flickering in my hands, I got to my feet. The bulkhead door was jammed, but I found a heavy telargeium spanner wrench on the floor, and with a strength which frightened me a strength which could have come only by some upset condition of gravitation I soon crashed the door open. I had no sooner done it, however, than I forgot about the moan which had fetched me.

What I saw first, hanging on a hook on one wall, was a bunch of keys, one of which readily opened the lock of my handcuffs. Then there was a long barrelled, gleaming atomic gun, undamaged, and a couple of the new cold ray flashlights. Free, I caught up one of the flashlights, and placed back on their hook the keys which had opened the cuffs. Then I stooped over each corpse, and confirmed my first impression that two of the dead men were strangers to me, but that I half recognized one.

The vaguely familiar man was clad, under his gray jumper, in the uniform of a rear admiral of the U. S. W. Upper Zone Patrol Division. He wore a medal of high honor, the Calypsus medal. I knew that he was Wellington Forbes, the man who had defeated the planet Calypsus three years before.

Wellington Forbes! And I with him!

I think I may be excused my temporary forgetfulness of the moan which had brought me to Forbes' death chamber. Uppermost in my mind was the manner in which I had been brought here. For it was he, approaching me through the medium of letters and messengers, who had begged, implored me to help him against Orcon, the eccentric planet of my own discovery, the planet which belonged to a solar system at the other end of the Universe from ours. Because of my knowledge of Orcon, with its bubbling seas, its brooding nightmares, and lastly, its queer conduct toward Earth, he had wanted to take me away from my telescopes to fight. And I had refused.

Now I understood how I came to be here.

I knew that this dead man had kidnapped me after drugging me with one of the new amnesiacs. Yorildiside, I reckoned it. And just because I knew that Admiral Forbes had seized me by force, I knew almost to a certainty that I was shipwrecked on that very Orcon which I had discovered two years before.

I was enraged at this high handed treatment... Continue reading book >>




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