Wandl the Invader
Chapter 19

Public Domain

I had leaped and seized the gun which was still in the hand of the dead guard. “Snap, the girls!”

“Down below. Free. They’ve got Meka bound and gagged, locked and sealed in a bunk-room. You bring them up! I’ll hold this accursed traitor. No need to kill him. By the gods, I’ve killed enough!”

He saw for the first time the vast silent drama in the firmament outside the dome windows. “Gregg, for the love of...”

“No time now, Snap! I’ll get the girls.”

“Watch out. I might have missed somebody down below.”

He had. Three men appeared on the forward deck near the foot of our turret ladder. My bolt spat down upon them; two of them fell. The other ran aft, toward where I saw Venza and Anita appearing from the lounge doorway of the cabin superstructure. I fired again, and the running man tumbled forward on his face. He was the last of the pirate crew.

Molo was crouching, half-bending forward over his instrument table, with Snap’s gun upon him. The girls burst upon us. We armed them. Meka was safely fastened down below. We backed Molo to the floor in the corner, with Venza and Anita watching him.

Snap and I were in control of the ship. For temporary periods the automatics would handle the gravity-shifters. I could operate them here from the turret. We had a downward velocity toward the Moon. Five hundred miles below us, no more, was the base of that diabolical gravity-ray which was so swiftly pulling the twenty-five Grantline ships to their destruction.

I gripped Snap and told him what we must do. “The forward gun on the starboard side is almost identical with our Earth guns, the Francine projectors. With a short range you can handle it and I’ll give you a close mark!”

He dashed for the deck. I set the levers. Gravity-plates with full bow attraction. Stern repulsion to the Earth and the stern rocket-streams at highest power.

The Star-Streak responded smoothly; with acceleration such as only Molo’s famous terror of the starways could attain, we dove for the Moon.

Breathless minutes! Those Wandl ships up in the firmament behind our stern would probably do nothing; they would not understand this sudden move of their friendly ship. The brain masters, the insect-like Wandlites down on the Moon rocks operating the mechanism of the gravity-ray, would not suspect until too late what the Star-Streak was doing.

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