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Solomon's Orbit   By:

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Solomon's Orbit

There will, sooner or later, be problems of "space junk," and the right to dump in space. But not like this...!

by William Carroll

Illustrated by Schoenherr

"Comrades," said the senior technician, "notice the clear view of North America. From here we watch everything; rivers, towns, almost the people. And see, our upper lens shows the dark spot of a meteor in space. Comrades, the meteor gets larger. It is going to pass close to our wondrous machine. Comrades ... Comrades ... turn to my channel. It is no meteor it is square. The accursed Americans have sent up a house. Comrades ... an ancient automobile is flying toward our space machine. Comrades ... it is going to Ah ... the picture is gone."

Moscow reported the conversation, verbatim, to prove their space vehicle was knocked from the sky by a capitalistic plot. Motion pictures clearly showed an American automobile coming toward the Russian satellite. Russian astronomers ordered to seek other strange orbiting devices reported: "We've observed cars for weeks. Have been exiling technicians and photographers to Siberia for making jokes of Soviet science. If television proves ancient automobiles are orbiting the world, Americans are caught in obvious attempt to ridicule our efforts to probe mysteries of space."

Confusion was also undermining American scientific study of the heavens. At Mount Palomar the busy 200 inch telescope was photographing a strange new object, but plates returned from the laboratory caused astronomers to explode angrily. In full glory, the photograph showed a tiny image of an ancient car. This first development only affected two photographers at Mount Palomar. They were fired for playing practical jokes on the astronomers. Additional exposures of other newfound objects were made. Again the plates were returned; this time with three little old cars parading proudly across the heavens as though they truly belonged among the stars.

The night the Russian protest crossed trails with the Palomar report, Washington looked like a kid with chicken pox, as dozens of spotty yellow windows marked midnight meetings of the nation's greatest minds. The military denied responsibility for cars older than 1942. Civil aviation proved they had no projects involving motor vehicles. Central Intelligence swore on their classification manual they were not dropping junk over Cuba in an attempt to hit Castro. Disgusted, the President established a civilian commission which soon located three more reports.

Two were from fliers. The pilot of Flight 26, New York to Los Angeles, had two weeks before reported a strange object rising over Southern California about ten the evening of April 3rd. A week after this report, a private pilot on his way from Las Vegas claimed seeing an old car flying over Los Angeles. His statement was ignored, as he was arrested later while trying to drink himself silly because no one believed his story.

Fortunately, at the approximate times both pilots claimed sighting unknown objects, radar at Los Angeles International recorded something rising from earth's surface into the stratosphere. Within hours after the three reports met, in the President's commission's office, mobile radar was spotted on Southern California hilltops in twenty four hour watches for unscheduled flights not involving aircraft.

Number Seven, stationed in the Mount Wilson television tower parking lot, caught one first. "Hey fellows," came his excited voice, "check 124 degrees, vector 62 now ... rising ... 124 degrees ... vector 66 ... rising "

Nine and Four caught it moments later. Then Three , Army long range radar, picked it up. "O.K., we're on. It's still rising ... leaving the atmosphere ... gone. Anyone else catch it?" Negative responses came from all but Seven , Nine and Four ... Continue reading book >>

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