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The Mysterious Space Craft







From: After London

The machine men made way for their leader, 25X-987, who regarded the
space craft ahead of them critically.

"Have you tried communicating with it yet?" he asked.

"There is no reply to any of our signals," came the answer.

"Come alongside of it then," ordered their commander. "It is small
enough to be brought inside our carrying compartment, and we can see
with our penetration rays just what manner of creatures it holds. They
are intelligent, that is certain, for their space ship does imply as
much."

The space flyer of the Zoromes slowed up as it approached the mysterious
wanderer of the cosmic void which hovered in the vicinity of the dying
world.

"What a queer shape it has," remarked 25X-987. "It is even smaller than
I had previously calculated."

A rare occurrence had taken place among the machine men of Zor. They
were overcome by a great curiosity which they could not allow to remain
unsatiated. Accustomed as they were to witnessing strange sights and
still stranger creatures, meeting up with weird adventures in various
corners of the Universe, they had now become hardened to the usual run
of experiences which they were in the habit of encountering. It took a
great deal to arouse their unperturbed attitudes. Something new,
however, about this queer space craft had gripped their imaginations,
and perhaps a subconscious influence asserted to their minds that here
they have come across an adventure radically unusual.

"Come alongside it," repeated 25X-987 to the operator as he returned to
the control room and gazed through the side of the space ship in the
direction of the smaller cosmic wanderer.

"I'm trying to," replied the machine man, "but it seems to jump away a
bit every time I get within a certain distance of it. Our ship seems to
jump backward a bit too."

"Are they trying to elude us?"

"I don't know. They should pick up more speed if that is their object."

"Perhaps they are now progressing at their maximum speed and cannot
increase their acceleration any more."

"Look!" exclaimed the operator. "Did you just see that? The thing has
jumped away from us again!"

"Our ship moved also," said 25X-987. "I saw a flash of light shoot from
the side of the other craft as it jumped."

Another machine man now entered and spoke to the commander of the Zorome
expedition.

"They are using radium repellent rays to keep us from approaching," he
informed.

"Counteract it," instructed 25X-987.

The man left, and now the machine man at the controls of the craft tried
again to close with the mysterious wanderer of the space between
planets. The effort was successful, and this time there was no glow of
repulsion rays from the side of the long metal cylinder.

They now entered the compartment where various objects were transferred
from out the depths of space to the interplanetary craft. Then patiently
they waited for the rest of the machine men to open the side of their
space ship and bring in the queer, elongated cylinder.

"Put it under the penetration ray!" ordered 25X-987. "Then we shall see
what it contains!"

The entire group of Zoromes were assembled about the long cylinder,
whose low nickel-plated sides shone brilliantly. With interest they
regarded the fifteen-foot object which tapered a bit towards its base.
The nose was pointed like a bullet. Eight cylindrical protuberances were
affixed to the base while the four sides were equipped with fins such as
are seen on aerial bombs to guide them in a direct, unswerving line
through the atmosphere. At the base of the strange craft there projected
a lever, while in one side was a door which, apparently opened outward.
One of the machine men reached forward to open it but was halted by the
admonition of the commander.

"Do not open it up yet!" he warned. "We are not aware of what it
contains!"

Guided by the hand of one of the machine men, a series of lights shone
down upon the cylinder. It became enveloped in a haze of light which
rendered the metal sides of the mysterious space craft dim and
indistinct while the interior of the cylinder was as clearly revealed as
if there had been no covering. The machine men, expecting to see at
least several, perhaps many, strange creatures moving about within the
metal cylinder, stared aghast at the sight they beheld. There was but
one creature, and he was lying perfectly still, either in a state of
suspended animation or else of death. He was about twice the height of
the mechanical men of Zor. For a long time they gazed at him in a
silence of thought, and then their leader instructed them.

"Take him out of the container."

The penetration rays were turned off, and two of the machine men stepped
eagerly forward and opened the door. One of them peered within at the
recumbent body of the weird-looking individual with the four appendages.
The creature lay up against a luxuriously upholstered interior, a strap
affixed to his chin while four more straps held both the upper and lower
appendages securely to the insides of the cylinder. The machine man
released these, and with the help of his comrade removed the body of the
creature from the cosmic coffin in which they had found it.

"He is dead!" pronounced one of the machine men after a long and careful
examination of the corpse. "He has been like this for a long time."

"There are strange thought impressions left upon his mind," remarked
another.

One of the machine men, whose metal body was of a different shade than
that of his companions, stepped forward, his cubic body bent over that
of the strange, cold creature who was garbed in fantastic accoutrements.
He examined the dead organism a moment, and then he turned to his
companions.

"Would you like to hear his story?" he asked.

"Yes!" came the concerted reply.

"You shall, then," was the ultimatum. "Bring him into my laboratory. I
shall remove his brain and stimulate the cells into activity once more.
We shall give him life again, transplanting his brain into the head of
one of our machines."

With these words he directed two of the Zoromes to carry the corpse into
the laboratory.

As the space ship cruised about in the vicinity of this third planet
which 25X-987 had decided to visit on finding the metal cylinder with
its queer inhabitant, 8B-52, the experimenter, worked unceasingly in his
laboratory to revive the long-dead brain cells to action once more.
Finally, after consummating his desires and having his efforts crowned
with success, he placed the brain within the head of a machine. The
brain was brought to consciousness. The creature's body was discarded
after the all-important brain had been removed.





Next: Recalled To Life

Previous: 40000000 Years After



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