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Moon Glow   By:

Moon Glow by G. L. Vandenburg

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[Transcriber Note: This etext was produced from Amazing Stories November 1958. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.]

That first trip to the moon has been the subject of many stories. Mr. Vandenburg has come up with as novel a twist as we've ever read.

And it could happen.

The Ajax XX was the first American space craft to make a successful landing on the moon. She had orbited the Earth's natural satellite for a day and a half before making history. The reason for orbiting was important. The Russians had been boasting for a number of years that they would be first. Captain Junius Robb, U.S.A.F., had orders to investigate before and after landing.

The moon's dark side was explored, due to the unknown hazards involved, during the orbiting process. More thorough investigation was possible on the moon's familiar side. The results seemed to be incontrovertible. Captain Junius Robb and his crew of four were the first humans to tread the ashes of the long dead heavenly body. The Russians, for all their boasts, had never come near the place.

The Ajax XX stood tall and gaunt and mighty, framed against the forbidding blackness of space. Captain Robb had maneuvered her down to the middle of an immense crater, which the crew came to nickname "the coliseum without seats."

Robb had orders not to leave the ship. Consequently, the crew of four scrupulously chosen, well integrated men split into two groups of two. For three days they labored at gathering specimens, conducting countless tests and piling up as much data as time and weight would allow. Captain Robb kept them well reminded of the weight problem attached to the return trip.

Near the end of the third day Captain Robb contacted his far flung crew members over helmet intercom. He ordered them back to the Ajax XX for a briefing session.

Soon the men entered the ship. They were hot, uncomfortable and exhausted. Once back on Earth they could testify that there was nothing romantic about a thirty five pound pressure suit.

Hamston, the rocket expert, summed it up: "With that damn bulb over his skull a man is helpless to remove a single bead of perspiration. He could easily develop into a raving maniac."

Robb held his meeting in the control room. "You have eight hours to finish your work, gentlemen. We're blasting off at 0900."

"I beg your pardon, Captain," said Kingsley, the young man in charge of radio operation, "but what about Washington? They haven't made contact yet and I thought "

"I talked with Washington an hour ago!"

A modest cheer of approval went up from the crew members.

"Well, why didn't you say so before!" said Anderson, the first officer.

Robb explained. "It seems their equipment has been haywire for two days, they haven't been able to get through."

"How do you like that!" cracked Farnsworth, the astrogator. "We're two hundred and forty thousand miles off the Earth and our equipment works fine. They have all the comforts of Earth down at headquarters and they can't repair radio transmission for two days!"

The men laughed.

"Gentlemen," Robb continued, "every radio and TV network in the country was hooked up to the chief's office in Washington. I not only talked to General Lovett, I spoke to the whole damn country."

The men could not contain their excitement. The captain received a verbal pelting of stored up questions.

"Did you get word to my family, Captain?" asked Kingsley.

"I hope you told them we're physically sound, Captain," said Farnsworth. "I have a fiancée that'll never forgive me if anything happens to me "

"What's the reaction like around the country "

"Have the Russians had anything to say yet "

"Ha! I'll bet they're sore as hell "

"Do you think the army would mind if I hand in my resignation?" Kingsley's remark brought vigorous applause from the others... Continue reading book >>

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