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The Day of the Dog   By:

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They came home from a strange journey.... And heroes they might have been a little dog and a man!

[Illustration: Illustrated by Ed Emsh ]



Carol stared glumly at the ship to shore transmitter. "I hate being out here in the middle of the Caribbean with no radio communication. Can't you fix it?"

"This is a year for sun spots, and transmission usually gets impossible around dusk," Bill explained. "It will be all right in the morning. If you want to listen to the radio, you can use the portable radio directional finder. That always works."

"I want to catch the 5 o'clock news and hear the latest on our satellite," Carol replied. She went to the RDF and switched it on to the standard broadcast channel. "Anyhow, I'd feel better if we could put out a signal. The way we're limping along with water in our gas is no fun. It will take us twenty hours to get back to Nassau the way we're losing RPM'S."

Bill Anderson looked at his young, pretty wife and smiled. "You're behaving like a tenderfoot. We've plenty of gas, a good boat and perfect weather. Tomorrow morning I'll clean out our carburetors and we'll pick up speed. Meantime, we're about to enter one of the prettiest harbors in the Bahamas, throw over anchor ..."

The RDF drowned him out.

"The world is anxiously awaiting return of the chamber from the world's first manned satellite launched by the United States ten days ago. The world also awaits the answers to two questions: Is there any chance that Robert Joy, the volunteer scientist who went up in the satellite, is still living? There seems to be little hope for his survival since radio communication from him stopped three days ago. Timing mechanism for the ejection of Joy are set for tonight. And that's the second question. Will the satellite, still in its orbit, eject the chamber containing Joy? Will it eject the chamber as scheduled, and will the chamber arrive back at earth at the designated place?

"There are many 'ifs' to this project which is shrouded in secrecy. The President himself has assured us of a free flow of news once the chamber has been recovered, and this station will be standing by to bring you a full report."

Carol switched the radio off. "Do you think he's alive?" She suppressed a shudder. "God! Think of a human being up there in that thing."

"Well, the dog lived for several days. It was just a question of getting it back, which the Russians couldn't do. I don't know about Joy. He sounded real cheerful and healthy until his broadcasts stopped." Bill peered into the fading twilight. "Come on now, let's put our minds to getting the hook over!"

They concentrated on the tricky entrance to the lee side of Little Harbor Cay. It meant finding and passing a treacherous coral head north of the adjoining Frozen Cay. Little Harbor Cay was midway in the chain of the Berry Islands which stretched to the north like beads in a necklace.

"There's the cove," called Carol. About a mile of coastline ahead was the small native settlement. Once the center of a thriving sponge industry, the island was now practically deserted. A handful of small cottages, a pile of conch shells on the beach and two fishing smacks gave evidence of a remaining, though sparse, population.

Dusk was rapidly approaching and Carol strained her eyes against the failing light. Bill heard her call his name and saw her pointing not ahead to their anchorage, but amidships and toward the sky. He turned his eyes to where she was indicating and saw a dullish object in the sky, some thousand feet up. The object seemed to be falling leisurely towards earth.

"What in the world is that?" asked Bill. "It's not a bird, that's for sure."

The object seemed to be parachuting, not falling. The breezes were blowing it towards the island. Before they could study it further, it was lost in the lowering dusk and darkness of the shore line... Continue reading book >>

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