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The Hammer of Thor   By: (1884-1966)

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from Astounding Stories March 1932. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.

[Illustration: He could see, above them, the belly of a white ship ]

The Hammer of Thor

By Charles Willard Diffin

[Sidenote: Like the Hammer of Thor was the clash of Danny O'Rourke with the mysterious giant of space.]

The Director General of District Three, Ural Division of the Russian States, was a fool. Danny O'Rourke had reached that conclusion some time before a conclusion, however, that he was most careful to keep unexpressed.

And then Danny not only thought it; he knew the Director was a fool; and the amazing incident that proved it took place in Stobolsk, the Governmental Headquarters of District Three. Although Danny's regular station was on a lonely peak in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the United States, the occurrence was nevertheless observed by him; and this happened for two reasons.

The New Soviet Government that took over control of all the Russias in 1943 wanted, among other things, to install the most modern fire fighting system, the equal of anything in the world. They turned, quite naturally, to the United States of America for their instruction; and this was reason number one why Danny O'Rourke, pilot of the Air Fire Force, was where he was on the morning of June 13th.

The second reason was the tremendous timber wealth in the Ural Division and the threat to destroy it by fire.

Perhaps there might be mentioned a third reason: that this same Danny O'Rourke, red haired, smiling, and debonair was listed on the Air Fire Force of the United States with the highest rating that the A. F. F. has to give its pilots. But Danny would have grinned at such a suggestion and would have countered with a denial that he was better qualified than "the rest of the boys."

But Danny was there; he had been talking at length with the Director General on the technical differences of the hot and cold nitrogen blasts for controlling fires on a wide front when suddenly the big man was brought in.

The great figure stooped almost double to enter the room, and Danny ran a hand through his shock of red hair and stared open mouthed at the giant when he straightened again and towered above the guard of Red soldiers who had brought him into the high ceiled room.

He was clothed in a single garment of glinting blue that wrapped him about and fell in heavy folds to the floor. Danny felt the resemblance to the shimmering blue of steel that has passed through fire, and his eyes held to that garment in fascination until his gaze went on and up to the face.

The man's face was red, as if the flesh had been burned; here was one man Danny could not classify. He had met the people of many lands but never had he seen one like this.

In one quick staring glance, Danny caught a picture of heavy jaws a flashing of yellow teeth when the mouth opened to emit guttural, unrecognizable words nostrils that ran crosswise of the face in a nose broad and flat! The forehead above was low and sloping. From the straggling yellow hair it slanted down to brows that overhung deep sunk and cavernous eyes.... And when Danny O'Rourke's own curious eyes met those of the stranger, they were held in a grip that was almost hypnotic.

"Like a dirty, crawlin' snake's!" he was telling himself over and over. "Heaven help us if that boy ever gets rough. Who he is or what he is, I don't know, but if I was the Director, I'd treat him nice till I found out."

Danny and the Director were standing side by side. The giant figure fixed a cold stare on Danny and barked short sentences that seemed to the listener to be an explanation.

But Danny motioned helplessly to the official at his side... Continue reading book >>

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