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Astounding Stories of Super-Science January 1931: The Fifth-Dimension Catapult - Chapter V

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Astounding Stories

Dare to dream. Dare to go where no other has gone before.

Astounding Stories of Super-Science January 1931, by Astounding Stories is part of HackerNoon’s Book Blog Post series. You can jump to any chapter in this book here. The Fifth-Dimension Catapult: Chapter V

CHAPTER V

AN hour later, Tommy took his eyes away from the dimensoscope eye-piece. He could not bear to look any longer.

“Why don’t they kill him?” he demanded sickly, filled with a horrible, a monstrous rage. “Oh, why don’t they kill him?”

He felt maddeningly impotent. In another world entirely, a mob of half-naked renegades had made a prisoner. He was not dead, that solely surviving man from the Golden City. He was bound, and the Ragged Men guarded him closely, and his guards were diverting themselves unspeakably by small tortures, minor tortures, horribly painful but not weakening. And they capered and howled with glee when the bound man writhed.

The prisoner was a brave man, though. Helpless as he was, he presently flung back his head and set his teeth. Sweat stood out in great droplets upon his body and upon his forehead. And he stilled his writhings, and looked at his captors with a grim and desperate defiance.

The guards made gestures which were all too clear, all too luridly descriptive of the manner of death which awaited him. And the man of the Golden City was ashen and hopeless  and utterly despairing—and yet defiant.

Smithers took Tommy’s place at the eye-piece of the instrument. His nostrils quivered at what he saw. The vehicle from the Golden City was being plundered, of course. Weapons from the dead men were being squabbled over, even fought over. And the Ragged Men fought as madly among themselves as if in combat with their enemies. The big golden weapon on its cart was already being dragged away to its former hiding-place. And somehow, it was clear that those who dragged it away expected and demanded that the solitary prisoner not be killed until their return.

It was that prisoner, in the agony which was only the beginning of his death, who made Smithers’ teeth set tightly.

"IDON’T see the Professor or Miss Evelyn,” said Smithers in a vast calmness. “I hope to Gawd they—don’t see this.”

Tommy swung on his heel, staring and ashen.

“They were near,” he said stridently. “I saw them! They saw what happened in the ambush! They’ll—they’ll see that man tortured!”

Smithers’ hand closed and unclosed.

“Maybe the Professor’ll have sense enough to take Miss Evelyn—uh—where she—can’t hear,” he said slowly, his voice level. “I hope so.”

Tommy flung out his hands desperately.

“I want to help that man!” he cried savagely. “I want to do something! I saw what they promised to do to him. I want to—to kill him, even! It would be mercy!”

Smithers said, with a queer, stilly shock in his voice:

“I see the Professor now. He’s got that gun-thing in his hand…. Miss Evelyn’s urging him to try to do something…. He’s looking at the sky…. It’ll be a long time before it’s dark…. He’s gone back out of sight….”

“If we had some dynamite!” said Tommy desperately, “we could take a chance on blowing ourselves to bits and try to fling it through and into the middle of those devils….”

HE was pacing up and down the laboratory, harrowed by the fate of that gray-faced man who awaited death by torture; filled with a wild terror that Evelyn and her father would try to rescue him and be caught to share his fate; racked by his utter impotence to do more than watch….

Then Smithers said thickly:

“God!”

He stumbled away from the eye-piece. Tommy took his place, dry-throated with terror. He saw the Ragged Men laughing uproariously. The bearded man who was their leader was breaking the arms and legs of the prisoner so that he would be helpless when released from the stake to which he was bound. And if ever human beings looked like devils out of hell, it was at that moment. The method of breaking the bones was excruciating. The prisoner screamed. The Ragged Men rolled upon the ground in their maniacal mirth.

And then a man dropped, heaving convulsively, and then another, and still another…. The grim, gaunt figure of Denham came out of the tree-fern forest, the queer small golden-metal trunchion in his hand. A fourth man dropped before the Ragged Men quite realized what had happened. The fourth man himself was armed—and a flashing slender body came plunging from the forest and Evelyn flung herself upon the still-heaving body and plucked away that weapon.

TOMMY groaned, in the laboratory in another world. He could not look away, and yet it seemed that the heart would be torn from his body by that sight. Because the Ragged Men had turned upon Denham with a concentrated ferocity, somehow knowing instantly that he was more nearly akin  to the men of the Golden City than to them. But at sight of Evelyn, her garments rent by the thorns of the forest, her white body gleaming through the largest tears, they seemed to go mad. And Tommy’s eyes, glazing, saw the look on Denham’s face as he realized that Evelyn had not fled, but had followed him in his desperate and wholly hopeless effort.

Then the swarming mass of Ragged Men surged over the two of them. Buried them under reaching, hating, lusting fiends who fought even among themselves to be first to seize them.

Then there was only madness, and Denham was bound beside the man of the Golden City, and Evelyn was the center of a fighting group which was suddenly flung aside by the bearded giant, and the encampment of the Ragged Men was bedlam. And somehow Tommy knew with a terrible clarity that a man of the Golden City to torture was bliss unimaginable to these half-mad enemies of that city. But a woman—

He turned from the instrument, three-quarters out of his head. He literally did not see Von Holtz gazing furtively in the doorway. His eyes were fixed and staring. It seemed that his brain would burst.

Then he heard his own voice saying with an altogether unbelievable steadiness:

“Smithers! They’ve got Evelyn. Get the sub-machine gun.”

SMITHERS cried out hoarsely. His face was not quite human, for an instant. But Tommy was bringing the work bench on which he had installed his magnetic catapult, close over by the dimensoscope.

“This cannot work,” he said in the same incredible calmness. “Not possibly. It should not work. It will not work. But it has to work!”

He was clamping the catapult to a piece of heavy timber.

“Put the gun so it shoots into the first magnet,” he said steadily. “The magnet-windings shouldn’t stand the current we’ve got to put into them. They’ve got to.”

Smithers’ fingers were trembling and unsteady. Tommy helped him, not looking through the dimensoscope at all.

“Start the dynamo,” he said evenly—and marveled foolishly at the voice that did not seem to belong to him at all, talking so steadily and so quietly. “Give me all the juice you’ve got. We’ll cut out this rheostat.”

He was tightening a vise which would hold the deadly little weapon in place while Smithers got the crude-oil engine going and accelerated it recklessly to its highest speed. Tommy flung the switch. Rubber insulation steamed and stank. He pulled the trigger of the little gun for a single shot. The bullet flew into the first hollow magnet, just as he had beforehand thrust an iron wire. It vanished. The series of magnets seemed unharmed.

WITH a peculiar, dreamlike steadiness, Tommy put his hand where an undeflected bullet would go through it. He pressed the trigger again. He felt a tiny breeze upon his hand. But the bullet had been unable to elude the compound-wound magnets, each of which now had quite four times the designed voltage impressed upon its coils.

Tommy flung off the switch.

“Work the gun,” he ordered harshly. “When I say fire, send a burst of shots through it. Keep the switch off except when you’re actually firing, so—God willing—the coils don’t burn out. Fire!”

He was gazing through the dimensoscope. Evelyn was struggling helplessly while two Ragged Men held her arms, grinning as only devils could have grinned, and others squabbled and watched with a fascinated attention some cryptic process which could only be the drawing of lots….

Tommy saw, and paid no attention. The machine-gun beside him rasped  suddenly. He saw a tree-fern frond shudder. He saw a gaping, irregular hole where a fresh frond was uncurling. Tommy put out his hand to the gun.

“Let me move it, bench and all,” he said steadily. “Now try it again. Just a burst.”

AGAIN the gun rasped. And the earth was kicked up suddenly where the bullets struck in that other world. The little steel-jacketed missiles were deflected by the terribly overstrained magnets of the catapult, but their energy was not destroyed. It was merely altered in direction. Fired within the laboratory upon our own and normal world, the bullets came out into the world of tree-ferns and monstrous things. They came out, as it happened, sideways instead of point first, which was due to some queer effect of dimension change upon an object moving at high velocity. Because of that, they ricocheted much more readily, and where they struck they made a much more ghastly wound. But the first two bursts caused no effect at all. They were not even noticed by the Ragged Men. The noise of the little gun was thunderous and snarling in the laboratory, but in the world of the fifth dimension there was no sound at all.

“Like this,” said Tommy steadily. “Just like this…. Now fire!”

He had tilted the muzzle upward. And then with a horrible grim intensity he traversed the gun as it roared.

And it was butchery. Three Ragged Men were cut literally to bits before the storm of bullets began to do real damage. The squabbling group, casting lots for Evelyn, had a swathe of dead men in its midst before snarls begun had been completed.

“Again,” said Tommy coldly. “Again, Smithers, again!”

AND again the little gun roared. The burly bearded man clutched at his throat—and it was a gory horror. A Thing began to run insanely. It did not even look human any longer. It stumbled over the leader of the Ragged Men and died as he had done. The bullets came tumbling over themselves erratically. They swooped and curved and dispersed themselves crazily. Spinning as they were, at right angles to their line of flight, their trajectories were incalculable and their impacts were grisly.

The little gun fired ten several bursts, aimed in a desperate cold-bloodedness, before the smell of burnt rubber became suddenly overpowering and the rasping sound of an electric arc broke through the rumbling of the crude-oil engine in the back.

Smithers sobbed.

“Burnt out!”

But Tommy waved his hand.

“I think,” he said savagely, “that maybe a dozen of them got away. Evelyn’s staggering toward her father. She’ll turn him loose. That prisoner’s dead, though. Didn’t mean to shoot him, but those bullets flew wild.”

He gave Smithers the eye-piece. Sweat was rolling down his forehead in great drops. His hands were trembling uncontrollably.

He paced shakenly up and down the laboratory, trying to shut out of his own sight the things he had seen when the bullets of his own aiming literally splashed into the living flesh of men. He had seen Ragged Men disemboweled by those spinning, knifelike projectiles. He had turned a part of the mad world of that other dimension into a shambles, and he did not regret it because he had saved Evelyn, but he wanted to shut out the horror of seeing what he had done.

“But now,” he said uncertainly to himself, “they’re no better off, except they’ve got weapons…. If that man from the Golden City hadn’t been killed….”

HE was looking at the magnetic catapult, burned out and useless. His eyes swung suddenly to the other  one. Just a little while since he had made ready a missile to be thrown through into the other world by that. It contained snapshots, and diagrams, and it was an attempt to communicate with the men of the Golden City without any knowledge of their language.

“But—I can communicate with Denham!”

He began to write feverishly. If he had looked out of the laboratory window, he would have seen Von Holtz running like a deer, waving his arms jerkily, and—when out of earshot of the laboratory—shouting loudly. And Von Holtz was carrying a small black box which Tommy would have identified instantly as a motion picture camera, built for amateurs but capable of taking pictures indoors and with a surprisingly small amount of light. And if Tommy had listened, he might possibly have heard the beginnings of those shoutings to men hidden in a patch of woodland about a quarter of a mile away. The men, of course, were Jacaro’s, waiting until either Von Holtz had secured the information that was wanted, or until an assault in force upon the laboratory would net them a catapult ready for use—to be examined, photographed, and duplicated at leisure.

But Tommy neither looked nor listened. He wrote feverishly, saying to Smithers at the dimensoscope:

“Denham’ll be looking around to see what killed those men. When he does, we want to be ready to shoot a smoke-bomb through to him, with a message attached.”

Smithers made a gesture of no especial meaning save that he had heard. And Tommy went on writing swiftly, saying who he was and what he had done, and that another globe was being built so that he and Smithers could come with supplies and arms to help….

“He’s lookin” around now, Mr. Reames,” said Smithers quietly. “He’s picked up a ricocheted bullet an’ is staring at it.”

THE crude-oil engine was running at a thunderous rate. Tommy fastened his note in the little missile he had made ready. He placed it under the solenoid of the catapult after Denham’s design, with the springs and rings of metallic ammonium. He turned to Smithers.

“I’ll watch for him,” said Tommy unsteadily. “You know, watch for the right moment to fling it through. Slow up the generator a little. It’ll rack itself to pieces.”

He put his eye to the eye-piece. He winced as he saw again what the bullets of his aiming had done. But he saw Denham almost at once. And Denham was scratched and bruised and looked very far indeed from the ideal of a professor of theoretic physics, with hardly more than a few shreds of clothing left upon him, and a ten-day’s beard upon his face. He limped as he walked. But he had stopped in the task of gathering up weapons to show Evelyn excitedly what it was that he had found. A spent and battered bullet, but indubitably a bullet from the world of his own ken. He began to stare about him, hopeful yet incredulous.

Tommy took his eye from the dimensoscope just long enough to light the fuse of the smoke-bomb.

“Here it goes, Smithers!”

He flung the switch. The missile with its thickly smoking fuse leaped upward as the concentric rings flickered and whirled bewilderingly. The missile hurt the eyes that watched it. It vanished. The solenoid dropped to the floor from the broken small contrivance.

Then Tommy’s heart stood still as he gazed through the eye-piece again. He could see nothing but an opaque milkiness. But it drifted away, and he realised that it was smoke. More, Denham was staring at it. More yet, he was moving cautiously towards its source, one of the strange golden weapons held ready….

Denham was investigating.

 

THE generator at the back of the laboratory slowed down. Smithers was obeying orders. Tommy hung close by the vision instrument, his hands moving vaguely and helplessly, as one makes gestures without volition when anxious for someone else to duplicate the movements for which he sets the example.

He saw Denham, very near, inspecting the smoking thing on the ground suspiciously. The smoke-fuse ceased to burn. Denham stared. After an age-long delay, he picked up the missile Tommy had prepared. And Tommy saw that there was a cord attached to it. He had fastened that cord when planning to try to communicate with the men of the Golden City, when he had expected them to be victorious.

But he saw Denham’s face light up with pathetic hope. He called to Evelyn. He hobbled excitedly to her, babbling….

Tommy watched, and his heart pounded suddenly as Evelyn turned and smiled in the direction in which she knew the dimensoscope must be. A huge butterfly, its wings a full yard across, fluttered past her head. Denham talked excitedly to her. A clumsy batlike thing swooped by overhead. Its shadow blanketed her face for an instant. A running animal, small and long, ran swiftly in full view from one side of the dimensoscope’s field of vision to the other. Then a snake, curiously horned, went writhing past….

Denham talked excitedly. He turned and made gestures as of writing, toward the spot where he had picked up Tommy’s message. He began to search for a charred stick where the Ragged Men had built a fire some days now past. A fleeing furry thing sped across his feet, running….

DENHAM looked up. And Evelyn was staring now. She was staring in the direction of the Golden City. And now what was almost a wave of animals, all wild and all fleeing, swept across the field of vision of the dimensoscope. There were gazelles, it seemed—slender-limbed, graceful animals, at any rate—and there were tiny hoofed things which might have been eohippi, and then a monstrous armadillo clanked and rattled past….

Tommy swung the dimensoscope. He gasped. All the animal world was in flight. The insects had taken to wing. Flying creatures were soaring upward and streaking through the clear blue sky, and all in the one direction. And then out of the morass came monstrous shapes; misshapen, unbelievable reptilian shapes, which fled bellowing thunderously for the tree-fern forest. They were gigantic, those things from the morass. They were hideous. They were things out of nightmares, made into flabby flesh. There were lizards and what might have been gigantic frogs, save that frogs possess no tails. And there were long and snaky necks terminating in infinitesimal heads, and vast palpitating bodies following those impossible small brain-cases, and long tapering tails that thrashed mightily as the ghastly things fled bellowing….

And the cause of the mad panic was a slowly moving white curtain of mist. It was flowing over the marsh, moving with apparent deliberation, but, as Tommy saw, actually very swiftly. It shimmered and quivered and moved onward steadily. Its upper surface gleamed with elusive prismatic colors. It had blotted out the horizon and the Golden City, and it came onward….

DENHAM made frantic, despairing gestures toward the dimensoscope. The thing was coming too fast. There was no time to write. Denham held high the cord that trailed from the message-bearing missile. He gesticulated frantically, and raced to the gutted steel globe and heaved mightily upon it and swung it about so that Tommy saw a great steel ring set in its side, which had been hidden before. He made more gestures, urgently, and motioned Evelyn inside.

 Tommy struck at his forehead.

“It’s poison gas,” he muttered. “Revenge for the smashed-up vehicle…. They knew it by an automatic radio signal, maybe. This is their way of wiping out the Ragged Men…. Poison gas…. It’ll kill Denham and Evelyn…. He wants me to do something….”

He drew back, staring, straining every nerve to think…. And somehow his eyes were drawn to the back of the laboratory and he saw Smithers teetering on his feet, with his hands clasped queerly to his body, and a strange man standing in the door of the laboratory with an automatic pistol in his hand. The automatic had a silencer on it, and its clicking had been drowned out, anyhow, by the roaring of the crude-oil engine.

The man was small and dark and natty. His lips were drawn back in a peculiar mirthless grin as Smithers teetered stupidly back and forth and then fell….

The explosion of Tommy’s own revolver astounded him as much as it did Jacaro’s gunman. He did not ever remember drawing it or aiming. The natty little gunman was blotted out by a spouting mass of white smoke—and suddenly Tommy knew what it was that Denham wanted him to do.

THERE was rope in a loose and untidy coil beneath a work bench. Tommy sprang to it in a queer, nightmarish activity. He knew what was happening, of course. Von Holtz had seen the magnetic catapult at work. That couldn’t be destroyed or its workings hidden like the ring catapult of Denham’s design. He’d gone out to call in Jacaro’s men. And they’d shot down Smithers as a cold-blooded preliminary to the seizure of the instrument Jacaro wanted.

It was necessary to defend the laboratory. But Tommy could not spare the time. That white mist was moving upon Evelyn and her father, in that other world. It was death, as the terror of the wild things demonstrated. They had to be helped….

He knotted the rope to the end of the cord that vanished curiously somewhere among the useless mass of rings. He tugged at the cord—and it was tugged in return. Denham, in another world, had felt his signal and had replied to it….

A window smashed suddenly and a bullet missed Tommy’s neck by inches. He fired at that window, and absorbedly guided the knot of the rope past its vanishing point. The knot ceased to exist and the rope crept onward—and suddenly moved more and more swiftly to a place where abruptly it was not. For the length of half an inch, the rope hurt the eyes that looked at it. Beyond that it was not possible to see it at all.

Tommy leaped up. He plunged ahead of two separate spurts of shots from two separate windows. The shots pierced the place where he had been. He was racing for the crude-oil engine. There was a chain wound upon a drum, there, and a clutch attached the drum to the engine.

He stopped and seized the repeating shotgun Smithers had brought as his own weapon against Jacaro’s gangsters. He sent four loads of buckshot at the windows of the laboratory. A man yelled.

And Tommy had dropped the gun to knot the rope to the chain, desperately, fiercely, in a terrible haste.

THE chain began to pay out to that peculiar vanishing point which was here an entry-way to another world—perhaps another universe.

A bullet nicked his ribs. He picked up the gun and fired it nearly at random. He saw Smithers moving feebly, and Tommy had a vast compassion for Smithers, but— He shuddered suddenly. Something had struck him a heavy blow in the shoulder. And something else battered at his leg. There was no sound that could be heard above the thunder of the crude-oil motor, but Tommy, was queerly aware of buzzing  things flying about him, and of something very warm flowing down his body and down his leg. And he felt very dizzy and weak and extremely tired…. He could not see clearly, either.

But he had to wait until Denham had the chain fast to the globe. That was the way he had intended to come back, of course. The ring was in the globe, and this chain was in the laboratory to haul the globe back from wherever it had been sent. And Von Holtz had disconnected it before sending away the globe with Denham in it. If the chain remained unbroken, of course it could be hauled in, as it would turn all necessary angles and force the globe to follow those angles, whatever they might be….

Tommy was on his hands and knees, and men were saying savagely:

“Where’s that thing, hey? Where’s th’ thing Jacaro wants?”

He wanted to tell them that they should say if the chain had stopped moving to a place where it ceased to exist, so that he could throw a clutch and bring Denham and his daughter back from the place where Von Holtz had marooned them when he wanted to steal Denham’s secret. Tommy wanted to explain that. But the floor struck him in the face, and something said to him:

“They’ve shot you.”

BUT it did not seem to matter, somehow, and he lay very still until he felt himself strangling, and he was breathing in strong ammonia which made his eyes smart and his tired lungs gasp.

Then he saw flames, and heard a motor car roaring away from close by the laboratory.

“They’ve stolen the catapult and set fire to the place,” he remembered dizzily, “and now they’re skipping out….”

Even that did not seem to matter. But then he heard the chain clank, next to him on the floor. The white mist! Denham and Evelyn waiting for the white mist to reach them, and Denham jerking desperately on the chain to signal that he was ready….

The flames had released ammonia from the metal Von Holtz had made. That had roused Tommy. But it did not give him strength. It is impossible to say where Tommy’s strength came from, when somehow he crawled to the clutch lever, with the engine roaring steadily above him, and got one hand on the lever, and edged himself up, and up, and up, until he could swing his whole weight on that lever. That instant of dangling hurt excruciatingly, too, and Tommy saw only that the drum began to revolve swiftly, winding the chain upon it, before his grip gave way.

And the chain came winding in and in from nowhere, and the tall laboratory filled more and more thickly with smoke, and lurid flames appeared somewhere, and a rushing sound began to be audible as the fire roared upward to the inflammable roof, and the engine ran thunderously….

THEN, suddenly, there was a shape in the middle of the laboratory floor. A huge globular shape which it hurt the eyes to look upon. It became visible out of nowhere as if evoked by magic amid the flames of hell. But it came, and was solid and substantial, and it slid along the floor upon small wheels until it wound up with a crash against the winding drum, and the chain shrieked as it tightened unbearably—and the engine choked and died.

Then a door opened in the monstrous globe. Two figures leaped out, aghast. Two ragged, tattered, strangely-armed figures, who cried out to each other and started for the door. But the girl stumbled over Tommy and called, choking, to her father. Groping toward her, he found Smithers. And then Tommy smiled drowsily to himself as soft arms tugged bravely at him, and a slender, glorious figure staggered with him to fresh air.

“It’s Von Holtz,” snapped Denham,  and coughed as he fought his way to the open. “I’ll blast him to hell with these things we brought back….”

THAT was the last thing Tommy knew until he woke up in bed with a feeling of many bandages and an impression that his lungs hurt.

Denham seemed to have heard him move. He looked in the door.

“Hullo, Reames. You’re all right now.”

Tommy regarded him curiously until he realized. Denham was shaved and fully clothed. That was the strangeness about him. Tommy had been watching him for many days as his clothing swiftly deteriorated and his beard grew.

“You are, too, I see,” he said weakly. “I’m damned glad.” Then he felt foolish, and querulous, and as if he should make some apology, and instead said, “But five dimensions does seem extreme. Three is enough for ordinary use, and four is luxurious. Five seems to be going a bit too far.”

Denham blinked, and then grinned suddenly. Tommy had admired the man who could face so extraordinary a situation with such dogged courage, and now he found, suddenly, that he liked Denham.

“Not too far,” said Denham grimly. “Look!” He held up one of the weapons Tommy had seen in that other world, one of the golden-colored truncheons. “I brought this back. The same metal they built that wagon of theirs with. All their weapons. Most of their tools—as I know. It’s gold, man! They use gold in that world as we use steel here. That’s why Jacaro was ready to kill to get the secret of getting there. Von Holtz enlisted him.”

“How did you know—” began Tommy weakly.

“Smithers,” said Denham. “We dragged both of you out before the lab went-up in smoke. He’s going to be all right, too. Evelyn’s nursing both of you. She wants to talk to you, but I want to say this first: You did a damned fine thing, Reames! The only man who could have saved us, and you just about killed yourself doing it. Smithers saw you swing that clutch lever with three bullets in your body. And you’re a scientist, too. You’re my partner, Reames, in what we do in the fifth dimension.”

TOMMY blinked. “But five dimensions does seem extreme….”

“We are the Interdimensional Trading Company,” said Denham, smiling. “Somehow, I think we’ll find something in this world we can trade for the gold in that. And we’ve got to get there, Reames, because Jacaro will surely try to make use of that catapult principle you worked out. He’ll raise the devil; and I think the people of that Golden City would be worth knowing. No, we’re partners. Sooner or later, you’ll know how I feel about what you’ve done. I’m going to bring Evelyn in here now.”

He vanished. An instant later Tommy heard a voice—a girl’s voice. His heart began to pound. Denham came back into the room and with him was Evelyn. She smiled warmly upon Tommy, though as his eyes fell blankly upon the smart sport clothes she was again wearing, she flushed.

“My daughter Evelyn,” said Denham. “She wants to thank you.”

And Tommy felt a warm soft hand pressing his, and he looked deep into the eyes of the girl he had never before spoken to, but for whom he had risked his life, and whom he knew he would love forever. There were a thousand things crowding to his lips for utterance. He had watched Evelyn, and he loved her—

“H-how do you do?” said Tommy, lamely. “I’m—awfully glad to meet you.”

But before he was well he learned to talk more sensibly.

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Various. 2009. Astounding Stories of Super-Science, January 1931. Urbana, Illinois: Project Gutenberg. Retrieved May 2022 from https://www.gutenberg.org/files/30177/30177-h/30177-h.htm#catapult

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