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404 North Wesley Ave., Mt. Morris, 111.
STELLAR PUBLISHING CORPORATION
H. GERNSBACK, Pres.
S. MANHEIMER, Sec'y S. GERNSBACK, Treas
THE ONSLAUGHT FROM RIGEL
By Fletcher Pratt 150
In a devastated world, these men of metal labored against the
monstrosities from outside
THE MOON DESTROYERS
By Monroe K. Ruch _ 212
It was a matter of life or death, should the moon or humanity
be destroyed . . ?
THE REVOLT OF THE STAR MEN
By Raymond Gallun ....
From afar gathered the space
but then came revolt . « , .
men, at the Martian's call
THE METAL MOON
By Everett C. Smith and R. F. StarzL.... 24G
Based on the Fourth Prize Winning Plot of the Interplanetary
Plot Contest ....
By Neil R. Jones
Who y?aa guilty for the crash of the space liner upon the
Venusian swamps . . • ♦ 7
By Allen Glasser and A. Rowley Hilliard.'. 270
Based upon the Third Prize Winning Plot of the Interplanetary
OUR COVER ILLUSTRATION
from Monroe K. Ruch's "The Moon Destroyers" shows
the three ships from earth accomplishing slowly the gi-
gantic task of disintegrating the moon, so that the earth
might be freed forever of its fearfully destructive effect
upon the earth's crust.
WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY — Entered as eecond-claas mat-
ter September 13, 1929, at the Post Office at Mouut Morris. Il-
linois, under tho act of March 3, 1879. Title registered U. S.
Patent Office, Trademarks and copyright's by permission of
Oemaback Publications, Inc., 96 Park Place, New York City,
owner of all trademark rights. Copyright, 1931, by Gcrnsback
Publications, Inc. Text and Illustrations of this
copyrighted and must not be reproduced without
the owners. „ ,- ,
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to*-: • * * " T ..
(Illustration by Paul)
The water was evaporated by the ever-shining sun until there was none left for the
thirsty plants. Every year more workers died in misery.
based upon the Third Prize ($15.00) Winning Plot of the Interplanetary Plot Contest
won by Allen Glasser, 1610 University Ave., New York
who furnished the plot
r[E rolling, yellow sand reflected the heat of
the sun in little, shimmering waves. It re-
flected the sun's light blindingly throughout
all its visible expanse, with the exception of one
spot where lay a
circular shadow. In
the great steely-
blue dome of the
sky there were no
The shadow, al-
though not large,
was very dark and
distinct. The curv-
ed, even line of its
In the air was a
persistent rattle of
sound — a series of
closely spaced ex-
plosions, ever ris-
ing in intensity.
Suddenly a small,
uneven shadow de-
tached itself from
the circular one;
and floated swiftly
across the sand.
The rattling sound
increased to a tre-
roar, and the large
shadow began to
fade. At the same
time, the smaller
one grew steadily
The surface of
the sand had been
shaped into hills
by the prevailing
winds. These long,
ridge-like hills, or
dunes, were con-
vex and gradual in
slope on their
but on their lee
sides they were
concave, and very steep.
It was near the top of one of these steep
slopes that the man landed. His frail legs and
body crumpled under the weight of his head; he
pitched forward, and half rolled, half slid to
the bottom where he came to rest more gently,
the target of a small avalanche of sand.
Immediately, he began to struggle; and, fail-
ing in his attempts to rise, stretched his slim
arms skyward and uttered a sharp, squealing
cry, . painfully prolonged. Far above him a
spherical object rapidly diminished in size. Fix-
edly he watched
the sunlight glint-
ing on its polished
grey sides; watch-
ed it shrink to a
tiny ball, a point,
and then — nothing.
He was alone.
The pressure was
horrible. He buried
his head in the hot
sand, and clapped
his ears in a vain
attempt to ease the
They must have
weight of the Too-
nian atmosphere if
they had expected
him to live long
here! It did not
hurt his body, but
his head was being
crushed. He knew
that he would soon
die — and was glad.
This wild, sense-
1 e s s punishment
would be at an
A. ROWLEY HILLIARD
who wrote the story
ANY writers of science fiction, who have not
given the matter much thought, assume that
a man of intelligence from one planet would
meet a cordial and sympathetic welcome on another
world. „ It is assumed that people are everywhere
educated, curious about other worlds and other cul-
tures, and eager to help a visitor from an alien race.
Unfortunately there is no assurance that such is
the case. Even were the members of another race,
on another world possessed of education, there would
be bound to be among them low and brutish ele-
ments. And if a stranger from another world, dazed
by new conditions and unable to make his wants
known, were to fall into their hands his fate might
not be happy.
We have read no story that pictures with such
clarity and insight the experiences of a man on an-
other world than his own, than does this present
story. _ With the basis of a splendid plot Mr. Hilliard
has worked up a simply marvelous story.
stared in growing
wonder at the
great arched blue
dome above him.
Gradually the spec-
tacle of this weird-
ly beautiful cano-
py occupied his
whole attention. It
was like a soft
curtain of light
blue material hid-
ing the blackness
of the sky and the
gleaming stars ;
yet the sun shone
through. For a moment he forgot his loneliness,
his pain, in rapt contemplation of the immense
perfection above him — but only for a moment.
Then the explanation came to him. That beau-
tiful blue was the heavy atmosphere of Toon,
which was slowly crushing him to death! He
closed his eyes.
The heat was terrific, but not as intense as he
WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY
had expected* Toon was nearer the Sun than
was his own world — millions of miles nearer;
yet he was not badly burnt, and this puzzled
him. The explanation must again lie in the
heavy atmosphere — serving as insulation, he fin-
ally decided . . . He didn't care.
He felt strangely detached. What signifies
life — or death — to a tiny being separated by fif-
ty million miles from any of its kind? Deposited
on this strange planet, he had no hopes of sur-
vival; his only emotion was astonishment that
he had lived a moment.
He struggled to remove the parachute that had
been so inadequate in easing his fall. Move-
ment — even the raising of an arm was serious
effort. He was glued to the ground by the tre-
mendous gravitational pull of a planet so much
greater in size than his own. He relaxed.
Why struggle? With the passing of hope, all
incentive to effort passes also. He felt no dis-
tress at the thought of death. Life, not death,
would be freakish in this great wasteland.
And he was past anger now. What they had
done to him they had done through hate and
fear. Only hate and fear could conceive of so
fantastic a torture for a fellow being. There
was no satisfaction now in the knowledge that
they had feared him ; nor did he care about their
hate . . . They had won. They would have their
way, and all the people of the Loten would suf-
fer in consequence ...
Loten! A wave of sick loneliness swept over
him . • . A point in the sky, obscured by a
weird curtain of blue — his home!
CERTAINLY, no man had ever suffered thus !
A surge of self-pity welled up within him.
Certainly no being had ever been forced to long
for the world — the globe which gave it birth!
This horror was reserved for him alone . • .
He clenched his fists. Reason returned to res-
cue him from emotion. Loten did not exist for
him. He was outside of the world — a tiny flame
of consciousness in space. And what did that
amount to, after all, he asked himself . . • What,
but Death . . . ?
For a long time he lay there in the sand, quite
The sun was sinking. Its blazing heat was
abating somewhat; its face was large, and red.
For miles, across the surface of the sand, the
shadows of the dunes were stretching out . . .
And out of the sunset a tiny speck of black ap-
Where he lay the man heard the sound of i
a steady drone, or buzz. At first it did not catch
his attention, its inception was so gradual; but
soon it became a roar, and he opened his eyes
with a start. He had heard no sound since the
departure of the space ship — had expected none.
An uneasy excitement gripped him. He strained
his eyes upward ...
Suddenly, over the dune against which he lay,
there shot a something, roaring thunderously.
He cowered down, stunned by the terrific sound
of it; but he watched it with wide eyes, as it
moved across the sky.
It was T-shaped; with the cross-piece going
before. Beneath it hung two wheels. It gleamed
Without attempting to rise, he howled shrilly,
time after time, catching his breath in gasps —
while the thing moved steadily away.
Following an undeviating line, it left him far
behind, diminished to a speck, and disappeared.
The sound of it lingered when he could see it no
His breath came quickly, spasmodically,
through parted lips ; his throat was tight, and: Ins
heart pounded. The staggering surprise of what
he had seen and heard left him incapable of
thought. His mind was a racing turmoil of
questions. His contentment, his resignation were
gone— destroyed in a moment; and in their place
rose a great uneasiness.
The return of Hope, to a man who has defin-
itely put it away from him, is a joy closely akin
to pain in its intensity. His whole body shook
as he struggled with the sand, attempting to
He had seen a machine, he knew. It coy Id
not have been an animal. It was not alive, aadi:
it was made of metal ... A machine meaait
reasoning beings. There must be reasoning be-
ings on Toon — where Loten's scientists had ar-
gued that they could not be ! And machines that
travelled through space! Perhaps . . .
As the new possibilities of his situation burst
iipon him, his homesickness returned a thou-
sandfold; and he knew that he could rest no
longer — could not wait in the sand for death.
He must struggle — he must strive, until th$ end
came — because there was a chance! '$, ■»
Immediately, his mind became purposeful,
and he took stock of his position. He knew
that the whole of Toon was not like this great
stretch of sand. Thousands of years of obser-
vation of the bright planet had convinced the
scientists of the Loten that it bore vegetation —
and probably animal life of some sort . . .
But rational beings! His astonishment re-as-
serted itself. Five thousand years of systematic
signalling had brought no response, and the pro-
ject had lately been abandoned. Yet ...
He shook his head, and returned to his
lem. He must not waste time now.
He had food enough in his stomach to last'
three days at least, and he would not need water
for even longer. He suddenly realized, with
enormous satisfaction, that the pain in his head
was considerably less than at first. Perhaps his
system would be able to adjust itself to the at-
mospheric pressure . . .
The great question was where — and how — to
go. He must go somewhere. Only motion would
satisfy his craving for accomplishment of some
sort. He would get no help on this great, sterile
plain. He had no guarantee that another of tfc£
flying machines would come near him, and evei
if it did there was not much hope of attracting
its attention. No, he must move . . .
He decided to follow in the direction the ma-
chine had taken. Its destination might be near-
by — or it might be thousands of miles away.
The probability seemed to be in favor of the
former hypothesis, because the machine bad
been moving so very slowly. . . . Anyway, it was
Pulling his legs up under him, he made an-
other determined attempt to rise; and finally
succeeded in standing erect. But it made his
legs ache terribly; and when he tried a step he
slipped, falling back with a jarring thud.
He would have to crawl.
RIDDING himself of the parachute, and with
no further hesitation, he set out, crawling
slowly and laboriously, keeping the sun at his
The heat was less oppressive now. The sun
had sunk to a point where its rays were no hot-
ter than at midday on his Loten; and he mar-
velled at the similarity of the two climates. He
had seen none of the water vapors that astrono-
mers described as almost constantly enveloping
Toon, Toon — what he had seen of it — seemed
to be as dry as the Loten, if not more so.
He climbed the long, gradual slope of a dune ;
and, after surveying the endless stretch of sand
which met his view at the top, slid down the
'steep side, and crawled doggedly on.
Night was falling. The blue dome above him
steadily darkened until it began to take on the
appearance of his own native sky.
He was dead tired within an hour. He lay
still for a time, breathing deeply — marshalling
his strength. He was in excellent physical con-
dition, but here his body was so heavy that the
slightest motion was a strain. Soon, however,
his eager spirit drove him onward.
At the end of another hour, happening to
raise his head, he uttered an involuntary cry.
Points of light glimmered in the sky ... So he
was to see the stars after all! — though only at
night, it seemed. He was relieved. In the back
of his mind had been the ever-growing certainty
that he would not be able to keep a direct course.
He rested again, and picked out certain designs
that would be helpful as guides.
He wondered if one of them were Loten. They
were very dim and they blinked strangely;- and
their arrangement was meaningless to him. He
fixed upon one of them — the brightest — and
imagined that it might be his world — where his
friends were, and his enemies; where his wives
grieved for him perhaps; where his children
laughed and played; where he might one day
return . . .
He crawled along through the sand.
It was not really dark — only twilight. He
wondered if this were night on Toon. It must
be. Almost directly ahead of him — just a little
to the right — was a radiance close to the horizon.
It puzzled him. Soon it was spreading over the
sky — a pale, ghostly light. Then a bright point
appeared — a line; it grew. He stared in abject
wonder while a great, white disk mounted into
the sky, illuminating the scene around.
He rested a while, and watched it. It was
Toon's satellite. It could be nothing else. But
beside it the two luminaries of his own world
were as pygmies. He was still watching it, fascin-
ated, when he resumed his journey.
Signs of Life
ALL through the night he travelled; and in-
to the rising sun. The noonday heat forced
him to take a prolonged rest, but he fought on
as soon as possible ; and sunset found him crawl-
ing weakly onward. The cool of night revived
him somewhat. He knew that the strain under
which he labored would hasten hi$ time of sleep,
and that worried him. Even now, he was often in
a semi-conscious state. Still, he could not stop.
When the sun rose again, it shone through
trees; and far across the yellow sand his tired
eyes saw green hills. The sight invigorated him
purred him on to stronger efforts. Soon after
midday he lay panting in the shade of trees.
The trees astonished him. They towered above
him, fully five times as high as any he had ever
seen. Their stems were of enormous girth-
rough and hard to the touch. There seemed to
be something moving in their heavy foliage, far
above him, and he heard faint, sharp whistling
sounds. He looked around uneasily.
The size of the trees worried him. If there
were animal life, it might be proportionately
large. He shuddered. The desert, although un-
comfortable, had had one advantage: he had
been alone there.
Still, it was not loneliness that he was seek-
ing, he thought grimly. Obviously, he . . .
He stiffened. He had been staring abstract-
edly at the coarse grass which grew thickly
around him. Now his eyes became f ocussed upon
a movement there — not three feet away. The
grass was waving strangely, in a peculiar, un-
even line; and he caught sight of something
slim and green, that was not the grass. His
throat contracted painfully. The thing did not
seem to move, yet it was coming nearer. When-
ever he caught sight of a part of its body, it ap-
peared stationary; yet the waving of the grass
was closer, and ever closer. It was very close
now . . .
Suddenly his power of locomotion returned.
He rolled over backward, and scrambled along
the ground to a tree. Grasping the rough trunk,
he pulled himself erect; and held himself in
that position, panting.
He could see the thing more plainly now. It
was like a long, green whip in the grass. Its
forepart was raised in the air, and terminated in
a triangular head, with two bright eyes whose
steady, unwinking stare made him tremble weak-
ly. With an effort he took his eyes from the
creature; and, pushing himself away from the
tree, ran desperately, as far as his legs would
carry him. When he fell, he continued to crawl
— farther, and ever farther into the green woods.
He wondered if all creatures crawled in this
world of Toon. Perhaps the great gravitational
pull made erect postures impossible.
For a long time he climbed steadily, thread-
ing his way through the underbrush, skirting
fallen trees. He felt increasingly drowsy. His
sleep period would come soon, he knew. He
WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY
could not stave it off much longer. And when
he had slept, he must eat . . •
He came to level ground. Ahead was an open-
ing in the trees, where a wide ledge of stone
was revealed. Out upon this he crawled, and
gazed at the scene that opened out below. Miles
of waving tree tops met his view; but what held
his attention was a strip of silver cutting the
He felt a warm glow of satisfaction. Water,
in his mind, was closely associated with organi-
zation, transportation facilities, reasoning be-
Yet he must be wary. He had no idea what
sort of beings they might be. This might be a
canal, but it was strangely irregular in its
course. At least he was making progress . . .
A peculiar, ringing sound came from the trees
below. It was utterly unfamiliar to him. Nerv-
ing himself, he determined to discover what it
was. He climbed down from the stone, and be-
gan the journey down the hill.
As he progressed the sound became louder,
and others were added. He was puzzled by a
low, intermittent muttering. It made him vag-
uely uneasy, and with every moment his agita-
tion increased. The muttering was now very
definitely spaced into irregular but continuous
And he knew that he was listening to a con-
He was frightened. Now that he was so
near to what he had been seeking, his courage
left him; and he lay trembling, flat on the
ground, awed by the booming voices of the crea-
They must be very large, he thought, to utter
such deep tones.
He had lain there for perhaps five minutes,
when, suddenly, there came a fending crash;
and, peering ahead, he saw the green top of a
tree sway violently, sink, and disappear from
sight. At the same time there came a louder
cry, followed by the blending of two thunder-
ous voices, speaking simultaneously. . . • Then
a heavy thud, an'd another cry . . .
HE crawled cautiously forward. He reached
the fallen tree. Its trunk was suspended
above the ground by the projection of a number
of its large braches. He peered beneath it.
Directly before him, in a small clearing, two
creatures were struggling together. They stood
erect upon their huge legs, using their crudely
bulky arms and hands to strike and tug at each
other. They were tremendous in size — fully
three times human stature; yet their heads were
smaller than men's. Their erect posture gave
them a weirdly half-human look, which was be-
lied by the brutal savagery of their aspects.
Their brows were low; their heads were covered
with long hair; and in their gaping mouths he
saw rows of sharp, white fangs. Their skin, in-
stead of being golden, was a dirty grey in color,
and was covered with short curling hair or fur.
But he could see very little of their bodies,
because — and this sight seemed to him the
strangest of all — they were almost entirely cov-
ered with cloth. This woven material was brown J
in color, and shaped to hang close to their bodies, 1
even over the arms and legs. He lay very still,
watching the titanic struggle with ever growing
They appeared to be evenly matched. Once,
one of them was hurled heavily to the ground,
but he leaped effortlessly to his feet. Both of
them grunted and uttered sharp exclamations
at intervals. They tramped back and forth,
tearing up the grass, crushing down the small
They must greatly hate each other, he thought
perhaps it was natural for them to fight
like this. Now one of them was tiring — the
smaller. Its movements were slower, and it
stepped almost constantly backward. Suddenly
from its bulbous nose spurted a red stream. He
shuddered. The sight of these two strangely
man-like creatures beating and tearing at one
another sickened him.
The larger creature was pressing its advan-
tage, advancing upon the other with cruel, flail-
ing blows. Suddenly the smaller one crumpled
to the ground, and lay still. The other turned
away. It seemed satisfied. It grasped an object
which was leaning against a tree — a cutting tool
apparently, consisting of an edged block of metal
attached to a long handle of wood; and without
a backward glance at its fallen" foe, made off
through the trees.
The creature on the ground was alive. He
could see the rise and fall of its breathing under
the cloth covering of its breast. But the bright,
red blood was still running out of the nose. It
had lost an astonishing amount; and he feared
that, unassisted, it would soon die. He must
try to help.
With wildly beating heart, he crawled under
the tree trunk and out into the clearing.
As he moved through the grass, he made a
slight rustling sound, which the creature heard.
It turned its head, and stared directly at him.
He stopped fearfully . . .
The creature uttered a loud cry, and scrambled
to its feet. He raised one hand, attempting a
friendly gesture; but the creature, after watch-
ing him for a moment with wide eyes, bounded
swiftly away into the woods. He heard the
thumping and crashing of its passage through
the underbrush long after it had disappeared
His first sensation was one of immense relief.
He had been desperately afraid.
Evidently the thing had been afraid of him,
too. And that was surprising . . . Clearly, these
could not be the reasoning things that had built
the flying machine he had seen. His relief was
quickly followed by disappointment. For a mo-
ment he had imagined that his first objective had
been reached. Now he realized that he might be
as far from it as ever. Toon was immense.
Probably, now, he was in a country inhabited by
inferior beings — beings that would be constantly
hostile and dangerous to him. If that were so,
his quest would end here, he knew. Sleep could
not be warded off any longer. He could not
protect himself. Soon he must eat — and there
was no food.
He crawled into the bushes; and lay down,
lonely and sick. He would stay here. This was
failure— and the end. But he was not sorry for
having tried . . ♦
Above him the sky was not blue, now; but a
strange, dead grey. Nowhere could he see the
sun. The wind sighed mournfully in the trees.
He awakened in shivering terror. His entire
body was wet Water was falling on him.
It was falling on the ground all around and on
the trees — thousands, millions of drops. He
choked, as he tried to breathe the damp, satur-
ated air. Desperately he looked around for some
protection, but there was none. He covered his
face as best he could with his folded arms, and
cried out in fear.
There came a shout; and he heard something
moving toward him, but he did not care. Horror
of the falling water crowded all other emotions
from his mind.
One of the creatures was standing over him.
He heard others approaching. They were shout-
ing loudly back and forth to one another. In
a moment, there was a circle of them, all around
He was too distressed to pay them any atten-
tion. After a time one of them bent down and
grasped him under the armpits. He felt himself
lifted into the air. He did not struggle, even
when their faces were all around him — very
Now they were walking through the trees, one
of them carrying him in its huge arms, quite
gently. He was scarcely conscious of his sur-
roundings. It was becoming more and more
difficult to breathe.
Then he felt himself laid down on something
soft and dry. The water was not falling on him
now. He opened his eyes.
They had placed him under a shelter. He
could hear the water on the black covering above
him. There was one of them on each side of
him, where he lay on what seemed to be a cush-
ioned seat ....
Suddenly there came a rumble, and the seat
beneath him quivered and shook. He struggled
to sit up. One of the creatures aided him, and
wrapped a dry cloth about his body. He was
The seat was bumping up and down violently.
On each side, he could see the trees moving slowly
backward. He realized that he was in a vehicle.
It jolted constantly, and he imagined that it
must run directly on the rough ground. It made
a continuous and tremendous noise. But it was
a machine of transportation, however crude ; and
he quickly forgot his bodily discomfort, as the
implications of this fact crowded through his
He looked with a new interest at his captors.
They were talking together excitedly — evidently
about him, for they never removed their eyes
from him. In spite of their strangeness and sav-
agery, they must have reasoning minds. He
could be pretty sure of that, now
The vehicle came to rest, and to either side he
saw structures, made, evidently, of cut trees.
Then his heart leaped again, as he daw that they
had glass. So they knew how to make that!
There were only a few pieces of it let into the
walls — but it was certainly glass, and his hopes
rose a bit higher.
They carried him into one of the houses. It
was quite dark. They set him down upon a large
table. They were increasing rapidly in numbers,
jostling in through the door and crowding around
In the wall near him there was one of the
pieces of glass. Abashed by the dozens of staring
eyes, he looked through this, and saw a broad
field, its soil turned up in long, straight rows—
evidently for planting. Near the center of the
field were two creatures, which immediately com-
manded his attention.
They were not alike. One was similar to those
he had already seen, but the other was even
larger and of a different shape. Four legs car-
ried the great, bulky body, which rested in a hori-
zontal position, as did the thick neck and long,
tapering head. It was dragging the tool which
turned up the furrows of soil, while the other
followed behind, governing its directions.
Clearly, he thought, there were many types of
creatures on Toon. He would have to try to un-
derstand their relations to one another ....
Inside the room there was much noise, and the
air was hot, damp, and very unpleasant to
breathe. He was not afraid of the creatures
now; and instinctively he realized that it was
curiosity that brought them here, and that they
meant him no harm. A few were trying to
speak to him, looking directly into his eyes and
making monosyllabic sounds. This amused him
at first. They would not be quite so hopeful if
they understood from where he had come.
But in another moment his amusement had
vanished. One of the creatures, standing near,
placed a finger close to where he sat, at the
same time uttering a short disyllabic sound:
A thrill shot through him. He had expected
no such intelligence on the part of his captors.
A new wave of hope surged up within him . . •
Carefully, he repeated the gesture and the word.
HIS action was followed by a burst of excited
conversation in the room. Several made
sharp, guttural noises which he guessed meant
gratification or amusement.
Immediately a number of them took up the
game; and he eagerly did his part, repeating
the sounds they made and identifying them with
objects. With every possible gesture he tried
to indicate to them his pleasure and gratifica-
He was sorry when they began to go away.
It had been getting steadily darker for some
time, when, suddenly, the room was brilliantly
WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY
illuminated; and, looking quickly around, he saw
a number of bright globes. This event brought
him to a high pitch of elation. The character
of the vehicle in which he had ridden had made
him fear that they knew nothing of electricity,
but here was tangible evidence that they did.
His dream of a return to Loten seemed less like
a wild imagining at every moment.
He was beginning to think of these creatures
as people, almost human beings.
Now, only two of them remained. Prom their
glances he knew that they were talking about
him. Finally, one of them lifted him from the
table ; and, walking swiftly, carried him through
the door, across a short stretch of open ground,
and into a smaller and darker structure, there
laying him down upon a bed of cloths and cush-
ions in one corner of the single room. The other
followed them in, carrying a china dish and cup.
Setting these beside him, they both pointed with
their fingers to their open mouths. He under-
stood immediately, and was glad. He needed
But when he looked into the dish his pleasure
abated. It contained an assortment of what ap-
peared to be parts of plants and — he tried to
conceal his horror — animal flesh.
Looking up, he nodded — a gesture that he had
quickly learned; and to his great relief they
turned and left the room, closing the door. He
heard a sharp click.
The flesh he immediately put aside. He did
not like to think what its origin might be. He
studied the plants. They had evidently been sub-
jected to a heat process, but had not been chemi-
cally refined in any way. The percentage of
nourishment in them must be very low, and it
would be necessary for him to eat great quanti-
ties to sustain his strength. He wondered how
long his stomach could stand it.
These people must eat almost daily to sustain
themselves on such fare, he reasoned, marvelling.
With a pronged implement that they had giv-
en him, he set to work to mash the food into as
soft a mass as possible. This process they ac-
complished easily with their fangs, he knew.
The taste was anything but pleasing, and he
had great difficulty in swallowing; but he finally
managed to assuage his hunger, and felt better.
He drank a little water from the cup, which
contained enough to supply him for at least five
This done, he stretched himself out upon the
bed, and gave himself over to pleasant reflection.
A far cry, he thought, from the man lying help-
less in the desert, devoid of all hope, to the one
who had established contact with a race of in-
telligent beings who would doubtless be willing
to help him return to his own native world. He
reflected that if the flying ship had hot happened
to come near him, he would most certainly have
perished by now — perished in a foreign world,
far away from those he loved, never knowing
there was a chance for his salvation. But now
he had taken the first step .... Anything was
His attention returned to his surroundings.
The bare room was lighted by a bulb hanging
from wires in the center. From it dangled a
cord, the purpose of which he quickly guessed.
The walls and floor were bare wood, and rough.
Along the whole length of one wall extended
a low, narrow table, or bench, strewn with a mis-
cellaneous collection of objects which aroused
He crawled to the bench, and pulled himself
erect by grasping its edge. He was just tall
enough to see along its surface. Near him rested
a large roll of what he first thought was cord;
but on closer examination he decided that it was
metal wire covered with a fibre insulation. Ob-
viously it was for the conduction of electricity.
Scattered around it were a number of cylinders
of varying sizes,' which he saw were wound
closely with very fine wires. Clearly, these
people did more with electricity than make light,
he thought, encouraged.
THERE was nothing else in the room except
a pile of rusty metal in one corner. The
whole place was depressingly dirty and dreary."
He thought that he would feel better without the
light. He made his way to the center of the
room, and stretched upwards. Finding that he
could just reach the cord, he jerked it; and re-
turned in the darkness to his cot.
He lay there quietly, trying to calm his nerves.
He wondered what they would do with him ....
He was still wondering the same thing at the
end of four days. They did not move him. They
did nothing except come and look at him — a
great many of them at first, but less and less
as time went on. They came in the daytime —
never at night. They fed him; and a few still
tried to talk to him. This pleased him, and he
strove eagerly to understand and imitate; but
they soon got tired and stopped.
He learned to distinguish the males and fe-
males among the people that came, by differences
in stature, length of hair, and clothing. He ob-
served, with complete bewilderment, that the
males often carried in their hands burning cyl-
inders which they raised regularly to their
mouths, blowing out smoke into the air. He
guessed, finally, that this must be some sort of
Now, however, he was left alone most of the
time. They brought him food, and then went
away. He was uneasy. Physically, he felt far
from well. The damp air made his throat and
chest ache; and he feared that the long depriva-
tion of sunlight was hurting him. He could not
Gathering his courage one day, he attempted
to open the door. He reached up and turned the
knob the way he had seen the people do. But it
would not move when he pushed. He remembered
the clicking sound he had heard every time after
they went out.
He became frightened. He did not understand
this confinement. Why would they not let him
There passed another day, of mental torture.
Would they let him die in this dark, dreary
place? Had all his efforts merely led to a
lonely, purposeless death?
He wondered what they would do if he went
out of his own accord; and finally decided that
he must do it, even at the risk of offending them.
Further inactivity he could not bear*
Within five minutes he had formed a plan of
action. It was night — the best time to work;
for he must work undisturbed for a time.
He made his way to the bench, and collected
three of the wound wire coils, which he dropped
to the floor. With a cutting tool that he found
he managed to get a length of wire from the
large roll. The tool was very heavy.
Next, he crawled to the corner, and selected
a number of small pieces of metal. He rested
for a while, studying the light bulb which hung
in the center of the room. From the light it
gave and the size of the filament, he roughly esti-
mated the power of the current.
'then, with a graphite writing instrument that
he had found, he drew a diagram on the floor.
He took a very long time doing this, and labeled
it carefully. When he had finished, the little
window at the end of the room showed that dawn
was breaking outside.
Hurriedly then, he set to work with the metal,
the coils, and the wire, — twisting, winding, con-
necting and cross-connecting— constantly glanc-
ing at his diagram and at the window. Finally,
when it was broad daylight outside, he gave a
sigh of satisfaction.
He had achieved an ugly, jumbled apparatus,
vaguely cylindrical in shape with a point of metal
at one end. He laid it on the floor; and making
his way to the bench, secured two more lengths
of wire. He crawled under the bench to where
the power line for the light ran down the wall,
and there connected them. Then, securing his cup
of water, he dipped into it the ends of his two
wires, and observed them for a moment. Satis-
fied, he carried them to his cylindrical apparatus,
and connected one of them at the end opposite
the metal point. The other he did not immedi-
HE was breathing hard now, and his face was
flushed. For a long time he sat very still
and listened, but he heard no sound. At last,
moving very slowly, he v earried his cylinder to
the door. He raised it, and placed ihe point
against the metal lock, under the knob. He
pressed his lips tightly together, and set his
jaw With the end of the wire which he
had not connected he touched a point on the
There was no sound. There was no movement
of the cylinder. Yet the metal lock dissolved, and
daylight shot through the place where it had
been. A cloud of light grey dust drifted lazily
to the floor.
He disconnected the wires. Carefully he hid
the thing under the cushions of his bed. Then he
pushed open the door, and crawled out into the
sunlight The sun felt warm and pleasant on his
He heard a cry, and looked up fearfully. One
of the men of Toon was running towards him
carrying a dish. It was the man that brought his
His throat was tight, and he was trembling.
He knew that this was the supreme moment. He
nodded his head and smiled. He raised one hand,
The man stopped directly in front of him, and
growled — then raised an arm, pointing at the
door of his prison.
He made a little murmuring sound to the man ;
and raising his face to the sun, smiled and
nodded once more. The man pushed him back-
wards with one foot, always pointing at the
He turned, and crawled back into the shed.
Dully he watched the man ; who stood for a long
time staring at the door where the lock had been
— then strode to the pile of metal and picked up
■■ ■ i
He did not move when he felt the chain around
his tody. He closed his eyes, and did not open
them until he heard the door shut. He did not
move all that day. He only watched the little
window. When, finally, the little window grew
black, he drew his machine from under the cush-
ions, and connected it again at the wall. The
chain was fastened to a leg of the bench, and
allowed him to do this. He destroyed a portion
of the chain, and loosened it from his body. He
crawled to the wall farthest from the house
where the people lived. Moving the machine in
a slow arc, he cut a hole in the wall. Disconnect-
ing the wires, he used them to fasten the ma-
chine around his waist. Then he went out into
He did not know where he was going — except
that he was going away from these beings that
held him prisoner without a reason. At first they
had seemed kind — but they were kind no longer.
Something had changed them, he thought; but
he could not guess what ....
He had progressed less than a hundred yards
when a sudden tumult of sound froze him with
terror. It was coming at him through the dark,
a hoarse, senseless, animal cry. And bounding
toward him he saw the dark shadow of a beast.
He knew instinctively that here was an unreas-
oning creature — and all the strength went out of
him. He lay flat and limp on his face. Now he
heard its panting breath, and felt the heat of it
on his body ....
At the same time, but only semi-consciously, he
heard the loud shouts of men. As in a dream, he
felt himself grasped roughly and lifted from the
ground. Soon he knew that he was back in the
shed again. He saw a man standing above him
holding his machine.
He felt strangely detached — as if he were
not there at all. He saw the man look at the
machine; look at the door; look at the chain;
look at the hole in the wall; look at the light
cord. He saw the man connecting his machine to
the light cord ; he felt powerless to warn the man
that he might be connecting it wrong — that there
were two ways: one right, one wrong ....
An explosion threw the man heavily against
WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY
the wall. He could see the man struggling slowly
up — coming towards him — kicking him. But he
could hardly feel the kick at all — and everything
got dark ....
When light came back it was just a small
square above him. That puzzled him, until he
reached out and found wooden walls all around
him — very close. He was in a box. He became
suddenly fully conscious of the fact. Looking
down at him from above he saw the faces of two
of the men of Toon.
He cried out involuntarily, struggling to es-
cape. One of the creatures shook a heavy piece
of metal threateningly over his head. He cowered
down, shuddering, at sight of the merciless gleam
in its eyes. The light was blotted out, as they
placed a cover over him; and he was deafened
by a long and thunderous pounding.
Then began a time of horror in the darkness.
His active mind had nothing to feed upon but
fear. Only too clearly was it brought to him that
he did not know the ways of these creatures of
Toon. What was deadly fear to him m,ight be
commonplace to them. He had hoped to find them
friendly, merciful — yet friendship and mercy
were qualities of his own experience in a world
different from theirs. Why had he thought to
find them here?
HE had no measure of time. For endless hours
he lay there in the dark, bracing himself
against the sides to protect his head and body
as much as possible; for the box seemed almost
constantly in motion — jolting, tilting, and bump-
ing until he was weak and breathless from the
His mind, worn out by its relentless self-tor-
ture, sank at last to semi-consciousness.
Suddenly light returned, and he was dragged
roughly from his prison. He was in a large room
where the combination of odor, heat, and noise
was overpowering. Great numbers of the men
of Toon were there, hurrying in all directions,
seemingly very busy. He noted immediately that
their clothing was different from "that which he
had seen, and wondered what the significance of
that might be. .... He felt strangely calm,
Before him was an immense, bulky man, who
stood with legs apart and arms folded, staring
at him with wide, unwinking eyes. This man had
a face that was light red in color and rounded,
almost swollen-looking in shape. He nodded, and
his cheeks shook loosely. He nodded several
times, and seemed very pleased. He spoke sharp-
ly; and others, standing around, sprang into
They brought a red cloth, and tied it around
the captive's loins. They forced him to crawl back
and forth on the floor, while the big man looked
on, nodding and chuckling. Then the big man
ran hot, cushion-like hands over his head and
body; pried open his mouth; grasped his hand
and shook it vigorously up and down ; and, with
a final nod, turned and walked away.
He understood none of this, and was very
They placed him upon a high, draped plat-
form, where there was a small
else. There were a number of
in the room.
chair and nothing
It was impossible for him to maintain his pre-
vious indifference to his surroundings. Around
the walls of the room were long rows of barred
enclosures, containing creatures of every con-
ceivable size, shape, and color. Some were hid-
eous ; some were strangely beautiful ; all were ab-
sorbingly interesting. For a time, he forgot
everything else while he watched them and lis-
tened to the sounds that they made. Certainly,
he thought, a scientist of the Loten would give
twenty years of his life for the opportunity to
see these creatures! Some of them were amaz-
ingly like reconstructions that had been made
from fossilized bones found on the Loten.
They brought him food, which he judged must
the cooked seeds of grain. It was soft, and
he forced himself to eat a little, although he
was not hungry. He feared that he would have
to learn to eat daily, for food concentrates
seemed to be unknown here.
His mind was occupied trying to understand
the meaning of this place. Great numbers of
people were crowding into the room, now. Rows
of them stood around his platform.
The other platforms were now occupied also.
On them were beings resembling the people
around them, but each one differing in some
strange way from the normal. Some were enor-
mously large, some small. And he saw one which
was shaped like the men of Toon, yet was no
taller than himself.
An endless stream of people surged through
the room, circulating around the platforms and
cages — gazing fixedly at their occupants.
He began to understand. These were exhibits
— creatures strange to the crowds who came to
look at them. Toon was very large; and trans-
portation methods were poorly developed. Per-
haps, therefore, these people had never seen
many of the parts of their own globe.
Their staring eyes made him uncomfortable.
Wherever he looked they were — staring eyes and
gaping mouths. He felt suddenly ashamed. He
wanted to hide himself — but they would not let
him do that, he knew. How long would they
keep him here, he wondered? There seemed to
be no limit to the crowds. This must be a great
center of population . . .
And in a flash he had forgotten the people,
with their staring eyes, forgotten his shame, for-
gotten his bodily discomfort ... A center of
population! Those words blazed in his mind.
Once more, he knew the joy of hope.
With a sudden clear perception he realized
that they could not have helped him more if they
had done it consciously. He had arrived at a
goal, which, a few days ago, had seemed impossi-
ble of attainment. Here, if anywhere, he would
find help . . .
He must learn the language. That was im-
perative . . . And again his good fortune
amazed him. These people were constantly talk-
ing. His position was ideal for studying their
speech. From what he already knew, it was
quite simple; and it should not take long to learn
enough to serve his purpose.
IT took longer than he had expected, mainly
because the people were not there all of the
time. They came only at certain periods of the
day; and he soon made a surprising discovery
that they slept during a great part of every
night In fact, almost one third of their time
seemed to be spent in an unconscious state. The
creatures in the cages slept even more. He could
see no signs of intelligence in these caged crea-
tures. They were dumb, and were completely
dominated by the men.
He missed the sun badly. These people, in
their dark houses and their draped bodies, did
not seem to need it. Often he felt quite ill, but
tried not to worry about his health.
At night, when alone, he practiced the sounds
he had learned ; and rehearsed the things he was
going to say when his chance came.
He passed through a sleep period; and then,
on the ninth day, decided that he was ready. To
the attendant who brought his food he said:
The man started violently, and gaped at him.
"Talk?" he repeated blankly.
The attendant looked at him uncertainly for a
long time, and then walked slowly away.
He was disappointed. But he was not kept
waiting long. Soon the man returned, accom-
panied by another. ^ !
"Blumberg wants to see you," they said. He
did not understand that, and shook his head.
However, they lifted him from his platform, and
carried him out of the room. They took him up
a long series of steps and through dark corri-
dors, into a small room.
Here it was cool and light. In the center was
a desk, and behind it sat the large man he had
seen once before.
"Set him on the desk here," ordered the large
man. "Now, little feller — they tell me you're
"Well, well, well!" said the large man jovial-
ly. "What'll we talk about? ... I'm Blumberg,
and I run this circus . . . Who are you?"
He understood only the last words, but they
were what he was waiting for.
"I am man of Loten," he said carefully,
ten is world more far from heat star."
"What? Say that again
"I not live in your world
"The hell you don't."
in this world
Again he did not understand what the
man meant, and looked around helplessly,
he saw a writing instrument on the desk, and
picked it up. Blumberg pushed forward a piece
of white paper. Quickly he drew, in its center, a
large circle with lines extending from its cir-
cumference to indicate radiation. Outside it he
drew four small circles at varying distances from
the central one.
"Hey, Edgar — come here!" called Blumberg.
A pale young man who had been sitting in a
corner approached the desk, saying, "Yes?"
He looked pleadingly at the pale young man.
He placed his fingertip on the large circle, and
said, "Heat star!"
"Sun," said the young man quickly,
"Sun!" he repeated gratefully. Next he indi-
cated the third little circle from the center.
"This world?" he said,
"Earth," said the young man.
"Earth? This world is Earth?"
Blumberg grumbled: "What is this — a joke?"
He could not understand Blumberg. Eagerly
he looked into the face of the pale young man,
and indicated the fourth little circle.
"Mars," said Edgar.
"Mars!" he cried jubilantly. He pointed his
finger at himself. "I am man of Mars," he said.
There was silence in the room, while they both
stared at him. Then the big man began to
laugh. His body shook, and his red cheeks
jumped up and down.
So you are a Martian — eh?"
Blumberg was still laughing. "That oughta
go big in the show— huh, Edgar?" he said.
"Yes, sir," said the young man.
"If you live on Mars, what're you doing here?"
The Martian had been expecting this question,
"They send me away to Earth."
Why did they send you away to Earth?
THE Martian began to speak slowly, careful-
ly. Through long days and nights he had
rehearsed his story, knowing he would have to
tell it. The pale young man helped him often,
at points where he lacked words . . .
He told of the scarcity of water on Mars — of
how there was only a little, that had to be pre-
Here Blumberg interrupted. "How much wa-
ter has this chap been drinking?"
"Less than a cup, sir — in almost ten days,"
said Edgar. "The attendant was telling me . . "
Blumberg grunted. "Go on!" he said.
He told of the social order of Mars — of the
three great classes: the Aristocrats, the Scien-
tists, and the Workers. The Aristocrats, he ex-
plained, were the rulers, who utilized the knowl-
edge of the Scientists and the energy of the
Workers to build up a State for themselves.
He told how, once a year, the water rushed
down the canals from the melting polar ice caps,
spreading vegetation over the face of the planet,
and of how quickly this precious water disap-
peared, evaporated by the ever-shining sun, un-
til there was none left for the thirsty plants, and
they died. Thus, every year the famine was
worse on Mars, and more Workers died.
He told how he, and other Scientists, had
wanted to spread oil on the canals to stop evap-
oration, and of how the Aristocrats had forbid-
den them to do it.
He told of the plan he had conceived to con-
trol the waters at the head of the canals when
WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY
the ice melted in the spring, so as to force the
Aristocrats to come to terms.
And finally, he told of their premature dis-
covery of his plan; of their great anger and fear;
of their determination to punish him as no man
had ever been punished before; of his banish-
ment from the very world in which he lived.
There was a long silence when he had finished.
At last Blumberg coughed, and shook himself.
"That's a fine story," he grumbled, "but you
left somethin' out . . . What I wanta know is:
said the Martian.
how did you get here!"
"In a space traveller,"
Carefully, laboriously, he described the space
ship. With the pencil he sketched diagram after
diagram, while the pale young man
and labeled them as he directed,
man was becoming visibly excited.
Martian had finished, he burst out :
"By god, it would — it tvould do it ! .
"Shut up I" said Blumberg. The perspiration
was standing out in large beads on his forehead.
"Fellow," he said heavily, "if you're lying,
you've got one hell of an imagination!"
"You not have space travellers?" asked the
"No . . Just ships that travel in air," an-
swered the pale young man. He heard the other's
painful catch of breath, and continued quickly:
"But with these diagrams it would be easy t
"Shut up, Edgar . . . Shut up — an' get outta
here!" barked the big man. The other turned,
and left the room without a word.
"Now, look here, fellow," said Blumberg, "I'm
goin' to take your word for it. I'm probably
crazy to believe you; but I've seen most of the
funny critters of this world in my time, an' I
ain't ever seen one like you. So you may come
from Mars, for all I know."
The other looked at him eagerly, trying to un-
derstand his words. "You think I am man of
Ygs — that's right.
The Martian quivered with excitement,
held out his arms in a gesture of appeal.
"You help me . . .?"
"You help me go to Mars?"
Blumberg looked down at the desktop, and was
"Yes. I'll help you," said Blumberg suddenly.
He stood up, and patted the other softly on the
head . . . "Sure . . . you bet!"
THE Martian lay upon his back on a leather
couch in a small room where they had
taken him. His eyes were wide and shining. His
hands clenched and opened convulsively. It
seemed to him that he had been waiting for days.
The door opened, and Blumberg entered, fol-
lowed by a smaller man. As the Martian strug-
gled to his knees to greet him, he spoke heartily.
"Hello there! Think I wasn't comin'? No use
being in too much of a Hurry, y'know . . . Meet
Dr. Smith. He's a scientist like you ..."
The Martian nodded and smiled at them hap-
pily. Dr. Smith looked at him long and curious-
ly, meanwhile automatically seating himself in a
chair close to the couch. Blumberg, who was
pacing the room, cleared his throat.
"Now, look here," he said, "I'm willing to
help you, but you've got to help me do it . . .
The Martian understood him immediately.
"Yes!" he replied quickly. "Yes."
"Good! . . . Now, Dr. Smith is going to ask
you questions about things we need to know.
You tell him all you can."
"Yes ... I tell him!"
Dr. Smith had many questions to ask, on many
and diverse subjects. At first, communication
between the two was very difficult; but both
were highly intelligent and understanding men,
and before long they became fairly successful in
exchanging ideas. Blumberg paced constantly
about the room. Occasionally he went out, but
always returned quickly.
The catechism went on for hours; and ended
only to be resumed early the next day.
And so it continued on the following day, and
on the day after. The Martian was puzzled.
They seemed to want to know so many things!
Dr. Smith had questioned him on every subject-
mechanics, electricity, magnetism, chemistry, col-
loids, catalysts, transmutation of metals — every-
thing. He feared that they were wasting time,
but did not think it proper to object when they
were going to so much trouble on his account
Nevertheless, he could not help worrying; and
that night, when the pale young man brought him
his food, he asked timidly :
"Do they make the ship . . . ?"
The pale young man looked at the floor, bit-
ing his lips. Then he went to the door, opened
it, and looked out into the hall. He closed the
door softly, and came near the couch. He looked
straight into the Martian's eyes.
"There is no ship!"
"No." The young man was flushed and angry.
He spoke very fast: "That fat crook is not help-
ing *you . . . But you are helping him — you
bet. . .!"
"Does — does he not think — think I am the
Martian . . . ?"
"Oh, he thinks you're a Martian, all right! He
knows you are. He's taking out patents al-
The other shook his head uncomprehendingly.
"Don't you see it? Where you come from they
know things that they never even imagined here.
You got knowledge in your head worth millions'
of dollars; I mean, you have facts which are of
great value to Blumberg. Why, already you've
told him to make gold out of lead — something
very precious from something worthless. And a
hundred other things besides.
"He does not care about you; he cares about
your knowledge ... Do you see?"
The young man's anger suddenly abated, andj
he glanced fearfully at the door. j
"I'm sorry," he said gruffly, "but somebody
had to tell you. You won't get any help here!
He turned, and almost ran from the room.
there were many
THE Martian sat perfectly still for a long
time. Then he climbed down from the couch,
and crawled to the door. He reached up and
grasped the knob. The young man had left it
unlocked, and in a moment he was in the dim
hallway. He crawled along, keeping close to the
wall, until he came to the top of a stairway.
He felt the cool night air on his face. Very
slowly he lowered himself down the steps. He
came to a wide door leading out into the open.
Seated in a chair by this doorway was a man,
whistling. The Martian waited patiently in the
shadows until the man stood up, yawned, and
Outside, there were high, dark buildings all
around him. He found himself in a narrow can-
yon running between them. He crawled down
this canyon to the right, close against the build-
ings. The paving beneath him was hard, and
hurt his knees. But he did not stop.
Someone was walking towards him. He could
not escape being seen. He was near a large light
on a pole. He raised his hand in a gesture of
greeting . . .
It was a woman. Suddenly she saw him, and
gasped. Then she screamed — piercingly. The
sound echoed and re-echoed between the high
walls of the buildings.
Windows and doors banged,
ed on the pavement. Soon
people around him. Some of them were holding
the woman. She hung limply in their arms.
A man strode into the group, swinging a club,
and speaking authoritatively:
"Here! What's the trouble? Move on there!"
He glanced at the woman. "Fainted? Take her
to a drug store, somebody. She'll be all right . . .-
What's this?" He grasped the Martian by the
arm, and raised him to the light • . . "Well,
Followed by the curious crowd, he half car-
ried, half dragged his captive along the street,
around a corner, and through a lighted door-
way. He slammed the door shut.
"Found a freak, Yer Honor . . . Scared a wo-
man half to death!" It musta got outa the 'Gar-
den'; I found it on Forty-ninth Street ..."
The man seated behind the high desk nodded,
and picked up a telephone. Into this he spoke
in a low voice, waited, and then spoke again.
Finally he laid it down, and said, "He is coming
over. Hold on to it." He resumed his writing.
The Martian watched the man writing on the
high desk. He thought that this man must be
some person of authority — some ruler of the
people, perhaps. After long and painful uncer-
tainty, he nerved himself to speak:
"Please help me ... "
The man behind the desk looked up and
smiled. "Yes. That is what we are here for . . .
Only be patient," he said, and returned to his
The Martian remained quiet. He would not
dare disturb the man again, but he kept watch-
ing him . . .
■ "Good morning, Your Honor!"
■ At the sound of the voice, he gave a start of
surprise and fear. Blumberg walked towards
him, smiling. He struggled, and averted his
eyes. But his captor held him tightly. Blum-
berg patted him on the head with his large, soft
hand. He trembled.
"One of yours?" said the man behind the high
desk. "What is the trouble with him? He
Blumberg smiled at the other, and tapped his
own head three times with his fingertip. The
other raised his eyebrows.
Tell the Judge about yourself," said Blum-
berg softly. "He is a great man, and he can
The Martian was surprised that Blumberg
would allow him to speak. He made a desperate
I am a native of Mars. Please, I must return
home. Please help me , , . I — "
See!" said Blumberg. He was laughing.
The Judge nodded. "Can you handle him?"
"Sure! They get along better with me than
in — other places. I know how to treat 'em; and
they make a good living.
"All right," said the Judge. "Take him along.
But don't let me catch him running around the
streets again, or you might rate a fine."
Don't worry! We're going on the road in a
couple of days now. You won't see him again
. . . Well, good morning to you!"
"Good morning!" said the Judge.
The Martian lay, face down, on the leather
couch, Over him stood Blumberg, breathing
hard. With a light cane that he carried he
struck the Martian sharply on his frail back.
Don't try it again, or you'll get more of that!
he said softly.
^ The Martian did not move or utter a sound un-
til he heard the door slam. Then he made his
way to the table; and, grasping the edge, pulled
himself erect. There was something on the table
that he wanted , . .
The door opened softly, and the pale young
man came in.
"You should not have tried it," he whispered.
The Martian pointed to the window. Over the
top of a building lower than its neighbors a
small, square patch of sky was visible, and in
this patch a few stars twinkled faintly.
"Is Mars there?" he asked.
The young man was silent for a moment, look-
ing at the floor and biting his lips. Then:
Yes," he said. "As it happens, it is. Mars
is the brightest of those stars, and the topmost."
Thank you," said the Martian. "You have
been very kind to me!"
The pale young man looked at him, and at the
table. Then he turned, without a word, and
left the room.
The Martian did not take his eyes from the lit-
tle point of light. But one of his hands reached
over the table, and grasped a knife which lay
there. His eyes still on Loten — his home, he
plunged the knife into his heart. And the little
point of light, while he fixedly watched it, flick-
ered — and died,