The Second Satellite by Edmond Hamilton
Earth-men war on frog-vampires for the emancipation of the
human cows of Earth's second satellite.
orman and Hackett, bulky in their thick flying suits, seemed to fill
the little office. Across the room Harding, the field superintendent,
contemplated them. Two planes were curving up into the dawn together
from the field outside, their motors thunderous as they roared over
the building. When their clamor had receded, Harding spoke:
"I don't know which of you two is crazier," he said. "You, Norman, to
propose a fool trip like this, or you, Hackett, to go with him."
Hackett grinned, but the long, lean face of Norman was earnest. "No
doubt it all sounds a little insane," he said, "but I'm convinced I'm
The field superintendent shook his head. "Norman, you ought to be
writing fiction instead of flying. A second satellite—and Fellows and
the others on it—what the devil!"
"What other theory can account for their disappearance?" asked Norman
calmly. "You know that since the new X-type planes were introduced,
hundreds of fliers all over Earth have been trying for altitude
records in them. Twenty-five miles—thirty—thirty-five—the records
have been broken every day. But out of the hundreds of fliers who
have gone up to those immense heights, four have never come down nor
been seen again!
"One vanished over northern Sweden, one over Australia, one over Lower
California, and one, Fellows, himself, right here over Long Island.
You saw the globe on which I marked those four spots, and you saw that
when connected they formed a perfect circle around the Earth. The only
explanation is that the four fliers when they reached a forty-mile
height were caught up by some body moving round Earth in that circular
orbit, some unknown moon circling Earth inside its atmosphere, a
second satellite of Earth's whose existence has until now never been
arding shook his head again. "Norman, your theory would be all right
if it were not for the cold fact that no such satellite has ever been
"Can you glimpse a bullet passing you?" Norman retorted. "The two
fliers at Sweden and Lower California vanished within three hours of
each other, on opposite sides of the Earth. That means that this
second satellite, as I've computed, circles Earth once every six
hours, and travelling at that terrific speed it is no more visible to
us of Earth than a rifle bullet would be."
"Moving through Earth's atmosphere at such speed, indeed, one would
expect it to burn up by its own friction with the air. But it does
not, because its own gravitational power would draw to itself enough
air to make a dense little atmosphere for itself that would cling to
it and shield it as it speeds through Earth's upper air. No, I'm
certain that this second satellite exists, Harding, and I'm as certain
that it's responsible for the vanishing of those four fliers."
"And now you and Hackett have figured when it will be passing over
here and are going up in an X-type yourselves to look for it,"
Harding said musingly.
"Look for it?" echoed Hackett. "We're not going to climb forty miles
just to get a look at the damn thing—we're going to try landing on
"You're crazy sure!" the field superintendent exploded. "If Fellows
and those others got caught by the thing and never came down again,
why in the name of all that's holy would you two want—" He stopped
suddenly. "Oh, I think I see," he said, awkwardly. "Fellows was rather
a buddy of you two, wasn't he?"
"The best that ever flew a crippled Nieuport against three Fokkers to
pull us out of a hole," said Norman softly. "Weeks he's been gone, and
if it had been Hackett and I he'd be all over the sky looking for
us—the damned lunatic. Well, we're not going to let him down."
"I see," Harding repeated. Then—"Well, here comes your mechanic,
Norman, so your ship must be ready. I'll go with you. It's an event to
see two Columbuses starting for another world."
he gray dawn-light over the flying field was flushing to faint rose
as the three strode out to where the long X-type stood, its strangely
curved wings, enclosed cabin and flat, fan-like tail gleaming dully.
Its motor was already roaring with power and the plane's stubby wheels
strained against the chocks. In their great suits Norman and Hackett
were like two immense ape-figures in the uncertain light, to the eyes
of those about them.
"Well, all the luck," Harding told them. "You know I'm pulling for
you, but—I suppose it's useless to say anything about being careful."
"I seem to have heard the words," Hackett grinned, as he and Norman
shook the field superintendent's hand.
"It's all the craziest chance," Norman told the other. "And if we
don't come down in a reasonable time—well, you'll know that our
theory was right, and you can broadcast it or not as you please."
"I hope for your sake that you're dead wrong," smiled the official.
"I've told you two to get off the Earth a lot of times, but I never
meant it seriously."
Harding stepped back as the two clambered laboriously into the cramped
cabin. Norman took the controls, the door slammed, and as the chocks
were jerked back and the motor roared louder the long plane curved up
at a dizzy angle from the field into the dawn. Hackett waved a thick
arm down toward the diminishing figures on the field below; then
turned from the window to peer ahead with his companion.
The plane flew in a narrow ascending spiral upward, at an angle that
would have been impossible to any ship save an X-type. Norman's eyes
roved steadily over the instrument as they rose, his ears
unconsciously alert for each explosion of the motor. Earth receded
swiftly into a great gray concave surface as they climbed higher and
By the time the five-mile height was reached Earth's surface had
changed definitely from concave to convex. The plane was ascending by
then in a somewhat wider spiral, but its climb was as steady and sure
as ever. Frost begin to form quickly on the cabin's windows, creeping
out from the edges. Norman spoke a word over the motor's muffled
thunder, and Hackett snicked on the electrical radiators. The frost
crept back as their warm, clean heat flooded the cabin.
Ten miles—fifteen—they had reached already altitudes impossible but
a few years before, though it was nothing to the X-types. As they
passed the ten-mile mark, Hackett set the compact oxygen-generator
going. A clean, tangy odor filled the cabin as it began functioning.
fter a time Norman pointed mutely to the clock on the instrument
board, and Hackett nodded. They were well within their time schedule,
having calculated to reach the forty-mile height at ten, the hour
when, by its computed orbit, the second satellite should be passing
overhead. "—26—27—28—" Hackett muttered the altimeter figures to
himself as the needle crept over them.
Glancing obliquely down through the window he saw that Earth was now a
huge gray ball beneath them, white cloud-oceans obscuring the drab
details of its surface here and there. "—31—32—" The plane was
climbing more slowly, and at a lesser angle. Even the X-type had to
struggle to rise in the attenuated air now about them. Only the
super-light, super-powered plane could ever have reached the terrific
It was at the thirty-four mile level that the real battle for altitude
began. Norman kept the plane curving steadily upward, handling it with
surpassing skill in the rarefied air. Frost was on its windows now
despite the heating mechanism. Slowly the altimeter needle crept to
the forty mark. Norman kept the ship circling, its wings tilted
slightly, but not climbing, Earth a great gray misty ball beneath.
"Can't keep this height long," he jerked. "If our second satellite
doesn't show up in minutes we've had a trip for nothing."
"All seems mighty different up here," was Hackett's shouted comment.
"Easy enough to talk down there about hopping onto the thing, but up
here—hell, there's nothing but air and mighty little of that!"
Norman grinned. "There'll be more. If I'm right about this thing we
won't need to hop it—its own atmosphere will pick us up."
Both looked anxious as the motor sputtered briefly. But in a moment it
was again roaring steadily. Norman shook his head.
"Maybe a fool's errand after all. No—I'm still sure we're right! But
it seems that we don't prove it this time."
"Going down?" asked Hackett.
"We'll have to, in minutes. Even with its own air-feed the motor can't
stand this height for—"
orman never finished the words. There was a sound, a keen rising,
rushing sound of immense power that reached their ears over the
motor's roar. Then in an instant the universe seemed to go mad about
them: they saw the gray ball of Earth and the sun above skyrocketing
around them as the plane whirled madly.
The rushing sound was in that moment thunderous, terrible, and as
winds smashed and rocked the plane like giant hands, Hackett glimpsed
another sphere that was not the sphere of Earth, a greenish globe that
expanded with lightning speed in the firmament beside their spinning
plane! The winds stilled; the green globe changed abruptly to a
landscape of green land and sea toward which the plane was falling!
Norman was fighting the controls—land and sea were gyrating up to
them with dizzy speed—crash!
With that cracking crash the plane was motionless. Sunlight poured
through its windows, and great green growths were all around it.
Hackett, despite Norman's warning cry, forced the door open and was
bursting outside, Norman after him. They staggered and fell, with
curious lightness and slowness, on the ground outside, then clutched
the plane for support and gazed stupefiedly around them.
The plane had crashed down into a thicket of giant green reeds that
rose a yard over their heads, its pancake landing having apparently
not damaged it. The ground beneath their feet was soft and soggy, the
air warm and balmy, and the giant reeds hid all the surrounding
landscape from view.
In the sky the sun burned near one horizon with unusual brilliance.
But it was dwarfed, in size, by the huge gray circle that filled half
the heavens overhead. A giant gray sphere it was, screened here and
there by floating white mists and clouds, that had yet plain on it
the outlines of dark continents and gleaming seas. A quaking
realization held the two as they stared up at it.
arth!" Norman was babbling. "It's Earth, Hackett—above us; my God,
I can't believe even yet that we've done it!"
"Then we're on—the satellite—the second satellite!—" Hackett fought
for reality. "Those winds that caught us—"
"They were the atmosphere of this world, of the second satellite! They
caught us and carried us on inside this smaller world's atmosphere,
Hackett. We're moving with it around Earth at terrific speed now!"
"The second satellite, and we on it!" Hackett whispered,
incredulously. "But these reeds—it can't all be like this—"
They stepped together away from the plane. The effort sent each of
them sailing upward in a great, slow leap, to float down more than a
score of feet from the plane. But unheeding in their eagerness this
strange effect of the satellite's lesser gravitational power, they
moved on, each step a giant, clumsy leap. Four such steps took them
out of the towering reeds onto clear ground.
It was a gentle, grassy slope they were on, stretching away along a
gray-green sea that extended out to the astoundingly near horizon on
their right. To the left it rose into low hills covered with dense
masses of green junglelike vegetation. Hackett and Norman, though,
gazed neither at sea or hills for the moment, but at the half-score
grotesque figures who had turned toward them as they emerged from the
reeds. A sick sense of the unreal held them as they gazed, frozen with
horror. For the great figures returning their gaze a few yards from
rog-men! Great mottled green shapes seven to eight feet in height,
with bowed, powerful legs and arms that ended in webbed paws. The
heads were bulbous ones in which wide, unwinking frog-eyes were set at
the sides, the mouths white-lipped and white-lined. Three of the
creatures held each a black metal tube-and-handle oddly like a
"Norman!" Hackett's voice was a crescendo of horror. "Norman!"
"Back to the plane!" Norman cried thickly. "The plane—"
The two staggered back, but the frog-men, recovering from their own
first surprise, were running forward with great hopping steps! The two
fliers flung themselves back in a floating leap toward the reeds, but
the green monsters were quick after them. A croaking cry came from one
and as another raised his tube-and-handle, something flicked from it
that burst close beside Norman. There was no sound or light as it
burst, but the reeds for a few feet around it vanished!
hoarse cry from Hackett—the creatures had reached him, grasped him
at the edge of the reeds! Norman swerved in his floating leap to
strike the struggling flier and frog-men. The scene whirled around him
as he fought them, great paws reaching for him. With a sick, frantic
rage he felt his clenched fist drive against cold, green, billowy
bodies. Croaking cries sounded in his ears; then, Hackett and he were
jerked to their feet, held tightly by four of the creatures.
"My God, Norman," panted Hackett, helpless. "What are
"Steady, Hackett. They're the people of the second satellite, it
One of the armed frog-men approached and inspected them, and then
croaked an order in a deep voice. Then, still holding the two tightly,
the party of monsters began to move along the slope, skirting the
sea's edge. In a few minutes they reached two curious objects resting
on the slope. They seemed long black metal boats, slender and with
sharp prow and stern. A compact mechanism and control-board filled
the prow, while at the stern and sides were long tubes mounted on
swivels like machine-guns.
The frog-men motioned Norman and Hackett into one, fastening the two
prisoners and themselves into their seats with metal straps provided
for the purpose. Four had entered the one boat, the others that of the
captives. One at the prow moved his paws over the control-board and
with a purring of power the boat, followed by the other, rose smoothly
into the air. It headed out over the gray-green sea, land dropping
quickly from sight behind, the horizons water-bounded on all sides.
From their nearness Norman guessed that this second satellite of
Earth's was small indeed beside its mother planet. He had to look up
to earth's great gray sphere overhead to attain a sense of reality.
Hackett was whispering beside him, the frog-men watchful. "Norman, it's
not real—it can't be real! These things—these boats—intelligent like
The other sought to steady him. "It's a different world, Hackett.
Gravitation different, light different, everything different, and
evolution here has had a different course. On Earth men evolved to be
the most intelligent life-forms, but here the frog-races, it seems."
"But where are they taking us? Could we ever find the plane again?"
"God knows. If we ever get away from these things we might. And we've
got to find Fellows, too; I wonder where he is on this world."
or many minutes the two boats raced on at great speed over the
endless waters before the watery skyline was broken far ahead by
something dark and unmoving. Hackett and Norman peered with intense
interest toward it. It seemed at first a giant squat mountain rising
from the sea, but as they shot nearer they saw that its outline was
too regular, and that colossal as it was in size it was the work of
intelligence. They gasped as they came nearer and got a better view of
For it was a gigantic dome of black metal rising sheer from the lonely
sea, ten miles if anything in diameter, a third that in greatest
height. There was no gate or window or opening of any kind in it. Just
the colossal, smooth black dome rearing from the watery plain. Yet the
two boats were flashing lower toward it.
"They can't be going inside!" Hackett conjectured. "There's no way in
and what could be in there? The whole thing's mad—"
"There's some way," Norman said. "They're slowing—"
The flying-boats were indeed slowing as they dipped lower. They were
very near the dome now, its curving wall a looming, sky-high barrier
before them. Suddenly the boats dipped sharply downward toward the
green sea. Before the two fliers could comprehend their purpose, could
do aught more than draw instinctive great breaths in preparation, the
two craft had shot down into the waters and were arrowing down through
the green depths.
Blinded, flung against his metal strap by the resistance of the waters
they ripped through, Norman yet retained enough of consciousness to
glimpse beams of light that stabbed ahead from the prows of their
rushing boats, to see vaguely strange creatures of the deep blundering
in and out of those beams as the boats hurtled forward. The water that
forced its way between his lips was fresh, he was vaguely aware, and
even as he fought to hold his breath was aware too that the frog-men
seemed in no way incommoded by the sudden transition into the water,
their amphibian nature allowing them to stay under it far longer than
any human could do.
The boats ripped through the waters at terrific speed and in a few
seconds there loomed before them the giant metal wall of the great
dome, going down into the depths here. Norman glimpsed vaguely that
the whole colossal dome rested on a vast pedestal-like mountain of
rock that rose from the sea's floor almost to the surface. Then a
great round opening in the wall; the boats flashed into it and were
hurtling along a water-filled tunnel. Norman felt his lungs near
bursting—when the tunnel turned sharply upward and the boats whizzed
up and abruptly out of the water-tunnel into air!
ut it was not the open air again. They were beneath the gigantic
dome! For as Norman and Hackett breathed deep, awe fell on their faces
as they took in the scene. Far overhead stretched the dome's
colossally curving roof, and far out on all sides. It was lit beneath
that roof by a clear light that the two would have sworn was sunlight.
The dome was in effect the roof of a gigantic, illuminated building,
and upon its floor there stretched a mighty city.
The city of the frog-men! Their boats were rising up over it and
Norman and Hackett saw it clear. Square mile upon square mile of
structures stretched beneath the dome, black buildings often of
immense size, varying in shape, but all of square, rectangular
proportions. Between them moved countless frog-hordes, swirling
throngs in streets and squares, and over the roofs darted thick swarms
of flying-boats. And at the city's center, in a great, circular, clear
space, lay a wide, round, green pool—the opening of the water-tunnel
up through which they had come.
Norman pointed down toward it. "That's your answer!" he cried. "The
only entrance to this frog-city is from the sea, up through that
"Good God, an amphibian city!" Hackett was shaken, white-faced.
The two boats were driving quickly over the city, through the swarming
craft. Norman glimpsed towering buildings that might have been
palaces, temples, laboratories. They slowed and dipped toward one
block-like building not far from the water-tunnel's opening. Armed
frog-guards were on its roof, and other boats rested there. The two
came to rest and the two captives were jerked out, the guards seizing
Half-dragged and half-floating they were led toward an opening in the
roof from which a stair led downward. They passed down thus into the
building's interior, lit by many windows. Norman glimpsed long halls
ending in barred doors, guards here and there. Tube-lines ran along
the walls and somewhere machines were throbbing dully. They came at
last to a barred door whose guard opened it at the croaking order of
the frog-men who held the two, and they were thrust inside, as the
door clanged. They turned, and exclaimed in amazement. The room held
fully a half-hundred men!
They were men such as the two fliers had never seen before, like
humans except that their skins were a light green instead of the
normal white and pink. They were dressed in dark short tunics, and
kept talking to each other in a tongue quite unintelligible to Norman
and Hackett. They came closer, flocking curiously around the two men,
with a babel of voices quite meaningless to the two. Then one of the
men uttered an exclamation, and all turned.
he barred door had swung open and a half-dozen frog-guards entered,
followed by two frog-men carrying a square little mechanism from which
tubing led back out through the door.
"Norman—these men—" Hackett was whispering rapidly. "If there are
men in this world too, it may be that—"
"Quiet, Hackett—look at what they're doing."
The two frog-men had set their mechanism in place and then croaked out
a brief word or order. Slowly, reluctantly, one of the green men moved
toward them. Quickly they removed a metal disk fastened to his arm,
exposing a small orifice like an unhealed wound. Onto this they
fastened a suckerlike object from which a transparent tube led back
through the mechanism. The machine hummed and at once a red stream
pulsed through the tube and back through the mechanism. The man to
whom it was attached was growing rapidly pale!
Norman, sick with horror, clutched his companion. "Hackett—these
frog-men are sucking his blood from him!"
"Good God! And look—they're doing it with another!"
"All of these men—kept prisoners to furnish them with blood. It must
be the damned creatures' food! And we here with the others—"
A common horror shook the two. It did not seem to affect the green men
in the room, though, who advanced to the mechanism one by one with a
reluctant air as of cows unwilling to be milked. Each was attached to
the mechanism by the sucking disk on his arm, and out of each the
blood poured through the tube. The metal disk was replaced on his arm
then and he went back to the others. Norman saw that the frog-men took
only from each an amount of blood that they could lose and yet live,
since, though each came back pale and weak from the mechanism, they
were able to walk.
"It must be their food—human blood!" Norman repeated. "They may have
thousands on thousands of humans penned up like this, like so many
herds of cows, and perhaps they live entirely on the life-blood they
milk from them. Human cows—God!"
"Norman—look—they're calling to us!"
he two stiffened. All the others in the room had taken their turn at
the blood-sucking mechanism and now the frog-men croaked their order
to the two fliers. They had forgotten their own predicament in the
horror of the scene, but now it became real to them. They backed
against the room's wall, quivering, dangerous.
The frog-guards came forward to drag them to the machine. A webbed paw
was outstretched but Hackett with a wild blow drove the frog-man back
and downward. The frog-guards leaped, and Norman and Hackett struck
them back with all the greater strength the lesser gravitation gave
them. The room was in an uproar, the green men shouting hoarsely and
seeming on the point of rushing to their aid.
But the menacing force-pistols of the other frog-guards held back the
shouting men and in moments the two fliers were overpowered by sheer
weight of frog-bodies. Norman felt himself dragged to the machine.
Pain needled his upper arm as an incision was made. He felt the
sucking-disk attached; then the machine hummed, and a sickening nausea
swept him as the blood drained from his body. Held tightly by the
guards he went dizzy, weak, but at last felt the sucker removed and a
metal disk fastened over the incision. He was jerked aside and
Hackett, his face deathly white, was dragged into his place. In a
moment some of the latter's blood had been pumped from him also.
The machine was withdrawn, Norman and Hackett were released, and the
frog-men, with their black force-pistols watchfully raised, withdrew,
the door clanging. The room settled back to quietness, the green men
stretching in lassitude on the metal bunks around it. The two fliers
crouched down near the door, shuddering nausea and weakness still
Norman found that Hackett was laughing weakly. "To think that
twenty-four hours ago I was in New York," he half-laughed,
half-sobbed. "On Earth—Earth—"
The other gripped his arm. "It's horrible, Hackett, I know. But it
isn't instant death, and we've still a chance to escape. Hell, can
damn frog-men keep us here? Where's your nerve, man?"
A voice beside them made them turn in amazement. "You are men from
Earth?" it asked, in queerly accented English. "From Earth?"
stonishment held them as they saw who spoke. It was one of the green
men in the room, who had settled down by their side. A tall figure
with superb muscles and frank, clean countenance, his dark eyes afire
"English?" Norman exclaimed. "You know English—you understand me?"
The other showed his teeth in a smile. "I know, yes. I'm Sarja, and I
learned to speak it from Fallas, in my city, before the Ralas caught
"Fallas—" Norman repeated, puzzled; then suddenly he flamed. "By God,
he means Fellows!"
"Fallas, yes," said the other. "From the sky he fell into our city in
a strange flying-boat that was smashed. He was hurt but we cared for
him, and he taught me his speech, which I heard you talking now."
"Then Fellows is in your city now?" asked Hackett eagerly. "Where is
"Across this sea—back in the hills," the other waved. "It is far from
the sea but I was rash one day and came too near the water in my
flying-boat. The Ralas were out raiding and they saw me, caught me,
and brought me here. No escape now, until I die."
"The Ralas—you mean these frog-men?" Norman asked.
Sarja nodded. "Of course. They are the tyrants and oppressors of this
world. Our little world is but a tenth or less the size of your great
Earth which it circles, but it has its lands and rivers, and this one
great fresh-water sea into which the latter empty. In this sea long
ago developed the Ralas, the great frog-men who acquired such
intelligence and arts that they became lords of this world.
"Through the centuries, while on the land our races of green men have
been struggling upward, the Ralas have oppressed them. Long ago the
Ralas left all their other cities to build this one great amphibian
city at the sea's center. Entrance to it is only by the water-tunnel
from without, and being frog-people entrance thus is easy for them
since they can move for many minutes under water, though they drown
like any other breathing animal if kept under too long. Humans dare
not try to enter it thus by the water-tunnel, since, before they could
find it and make their way up through it, they would have drowned.
o the Ralas have ruled from this impregnable amphibian city. Its
colossal metal dome is invulnerable to ordinary attack, and though
solid and without openings it is always as light beneath the dome here
as outside, since the Ralas' scientists contrived light-condensers and
conductors that catch light outside and bring it in to release inside.
So when it is day outside the sunlight is as bright here, and when
night comes the Earth-light shines here the same as without.
"From this city their raiding parties have gone out endlessly to swoop
down on the cities of us green men. Since we learned to make
flying-boats like theirs, with molecular-motors, and to make the guns
like theirs that fire shells filled with annihilating force, we have
resisted them stoutly but their raids have not ceased. And always they
have brought their prisoners back in to this, their city.
"Tens of thousands of green men they have prisoned here like us, for
the sole purpose of supplying them with blood. For the Ralas live on
this blood alone, changing it chemically to fit their own bodies and
then taking it into their bodies. It eliminates all necessity for food
here for them. Every few days they drain blood from us, and since we
are well fed and cared for to keep us good blood-producers, we will be
here for a long time before we die."
"But haven't you made any attempt to get out of here—to escape?"
Sarja smiled. "Who could escape the city of the Ralas? In all recorded
history it has never been done, for even if by some miracle you got a
flying-boat, the opening of the water-tunnel that leads outward is
"Guards or no guards, we're going to try it and not sit here to
furnish blood for the Ralas," Norman declared. "Are you willing to
help, to try to get to Fellows and your city?"
The green man considered. "It is hopeless," he said, "but as well to
die beneath the force-shells of the Ralas as live out a lifetime here.
Yes, I will help, though I cannot see how you expect to escape even
from this room."
"I think we can manage that," Norman told him. "But first—not a word
to these others. We can't hope to escape with them all, and there is
no knowing what one might not betray us to the frog-men."
He went on then to outline to the other two the idea that had come to
him. Both exclaimed at the simpleness of the idea, though Sarja
remained somewhat doubtful. While Hackett slept, weak still from his
loss of blood, Norman had the green man scratch on the metal floor as
well as possible a crude map of the satellite's surface, and found
that the city, where Fellows was, seemed some hundreds of miles back
from the sea.
hile they talked, the sunlight, apparently sourceless, that came
through the heavily barred windows of the room faded rapidly, and dusk
settled over the great amphibian city beneath the giant dome, kept
from total darkness by a silvery pervading light that Norman reflected
must be the light from Earth's great sphere. With the dusk's coming
the activities in the frog-city lessened greatly.
With dusk, too, frog-guards entered the room bearing long metal
troughs filled with a red jellylike substance, that they placed on
racks along the wall. As the guards withdrew the men in the room
rushed toward the troughs, elbowing each other aside and striking
each other to scoop up and eat as much of the red jelly as possible.
It was for all the world like the feeding of farm-animals, and Hackett
and Norman so sickened at the sight that they had no heart to try the
food. Sarja, though, had no such scruples and seemed to make a hearty
meal at one of the troughs.
After the meal the green men sought the bunks and soon were stretched
in sonorous slumber. It was, Norman reflected, exactly the existence
of domesticated animals—to eat and sleep and give food to their
masters. A deeper horror of the frog-men shook him, and a deeper
determination to escape them. He waited until all in the room were
sleeping before beckoning to Sarja and Hackett.
"Quiet now," he whispered to them. "If these others wake they'll make
such a clamor we won't have a chance in the world. Ready, Sarja?"
The green man nodded. "Yes, though I still think such a thing's
"Probably is," Norman admitted. "But it's the one chance we've got,
the immensely greater strength of our Earth-muscle that the frog-men
must have forgotten when they put us in here."
They moved silently to the room's great barred door, outside which a
frog-guard paced. They waited until he had passed the door and on down
the hall, then Norman and Hackett and Sarja grasped together one of
the door's vertical bars. It was an inch and a half in thickness, of
solid metal, and it seemed ridiculous that any men could bend it by
the sheer strength of their muscles.
Norman, though, was relying on the fact that on the second satellite,
with its far lesser gravitational influence, their Earth-muscles gave
them enormous strength. He grasped the bar, Hackett and Sarja gripping
it below him, and then at a whispered word they pulled with all their
force. The bar resisted and again, with sweat starting on their
foreheads, they pulled. It gave a little.
hey shrank back from it as the guard returned, moving past. Then
grasping the bar again they bent all their force once more upon it.
Each effort saw it bending more, the opening in the door's bars
widening. They gave a final great wrench and the bent bar squealed a
little. They shrank back, appalled, but the guard had not heard or
noticed. He moved past it on his return along the hall, and no sooner
was past it than Norman squeezed through the opening and leaped
silently for the great frog-man's back.
It went down with a wild flurry of waving webbed paws and croaking
cries, stilled almost instantly by Norman's terrific blows. There was
silence then as Hackett and Sarja squeezed out after him, the
momentary clamor of the battle having aroused no one.
The three leaped together toward the stairs. In two great floating
leaps they were on the floor above, Hackett and Norman dragging Sarja
between them. They were not seen, were sailing in giant steps up
another stair, hopes rising high. The last stair—the roof-opening
above; and then from beneath a great croaking cry swelled instantly
into chorus of a alarmed shouts.
"They've found the door—the guard!" panted Hackett.
They were bursting out onto the roof. Frog-guards were on it who came
in a hopping rush toward them, force-pistols raised. But a giant leap
took Hackett among them, to amaze them for a moment with great
flailing blows. Sarja had leaped for the nearest flying-boat resting
on the roof, and was calling in a frantic voice to Norman and Hackett.
Norman was turning toward Hackett, the center of a wild combat, but
the latter emerged from it for a brief second to motion him
"No use, Norman—get away—get away!" he cried hoarsely, frenziedly.
"Hackett—for God's sake—!" Norman half-leaped to the other, but an
arm caught him, pulled him desperately onto the boat's surface. It was
Sarja, the long craft flying over the roof beneath his control.
"They come!" he panted. "Too late now—" Frog-men were pouring up onto
the roof from below. Sarja sent the craft rocketing upward, as Hackett
gestured them away for a last frantic time before going down beneath
the frog-men's onslaught.
he roof and the combat on it dropped back and beneath them like a
stone as their craft ripped across the silvery dusk over the mighty
frog-city. They were shooting toward the city's center, toward the
green pool that was the entrance to the water-tunnel, while behind and
beneath an increasing clamor of alarm spread swiftly. Norman raged
"Hackett—Hackett! We can't leave him—"
"Too late!" Sarja cried. "We cannot help him but only be captured
again. We escape now and come back—come back—"
The truth of it pierced Norman's brain even in the wild moment.
Hackett had fought and held back the frog-guards only that they might
escape. He shouted suddenly.
"Sarja—the water-tunnel!" A half-dozen boats with frog-guards on them
were rising round it in answer to the alarm!
"The force-gun!" cried the green man. "Beside you—!"
Norman whirled, glimpsed the long tube on its swivel beside him,
trained it on the boats rising ahead as they rocketed nearer. He
fumbled frantically at a catch at the gun's rear, then felt a stream
of shells flicking out of it. Two of the boats ahead vanished as the
shells released their annihilating force, another sagged and fell.
From the remaining three invisible force-shells flicked around them,
but in an instant Sarja had whirled the boat through them and down
into the water-tunnel!
Norman clung desperately to his seat as the boat flashed down through
the waters, and then, as Sarja sent it flying out through the great
tunnel's waters, glimpsed, close behind, the beams of the three Rala
boats as they pursued them through the tunnel, overtaking them. Could
the force-shells be fired under water? Norman did not know, but
desperately he swung the force-gun back as they rushed through the
waters, and pressed the catch. An instant later beams and boats behind
them in the tunnel vanished.
His lungs were afire; it seemed that he must open them to the
strangling water. The boat was ripping the waters at such tremendous
speed that he felt himself being torn from his hold on it. Pain seemed
poured like molten metal through his chest—he could hold out no
longer; and then the boat stabbed up from the waters into clear air!
orman panted, sobbed. Behind them rose the colossal metal dome of the
frog-city, gleaming dully in the silvery light that flooded the
far-stretching seas. That light poured down from a stupendous silver
crescent in the night skies. Norman saw dully the dark outlines on it
before he remembered. Earth! He laughed a little hysterically. Sarja
was driving the flying-boat out over the sea and away from the
frog-city at enormous speed. At last he glanced back. Far behind them
lay the great dome and up around it gleaming lights were pouring,
lights of pursuing Rala boats.
"We escape," Sarja cried, "the city of the Ralas, from which none ever
Remembrance smote Norman. "Hackett! Held off those frog-men so we
could get away—we'll come back for him, by God!"
"We come back!" said Sarja. "We come back with all the green men of
this world to the Ralas' city, yes! I know what Fallas has planned."
"Can you find your way to him—to your city?" Norman asked.
Sarja nodded, looking upward. "Before the next sun has come and gone
we can reach it."
The boat flew onward, and the great dome and the searching lights
around it dropped beneath the horizon. Norman felt the warm wind
drying his drenched garments as they rushed onward. Crouched on the
boat he gazed up toward the silver crescent of Earth sinking toward
the horizon ahead. That meant, he told himself, that the satellite
turned slowly on its axis as it whirled around Earth. It came to him
that its night and day periods must be highly irregular.
When the sun climbed from the waters behind them they were flying
still over a boundless waste of waters, but soon they sighted on the
horizon ahead the thin green line of land. Sarja slowed as they
reached it, took his bearings, and sent the craft flying onward.
They passed over a green coastal plain and then over low hills joined
in long chains and mantled by dense and mighty jungles, towering green
growths of unfamiliar appearance to Norman. He thought he glimpsed,
more than once, huge beastlike forms moving in them. He did see twice
in the jungles great clearings where were fair-sized cities of
bright-green buildings, a metal tower rising from each. But when he
pointed to them Sarja shook his head.
t last, as they passed over another range of hills and came into
sight of a third green city with its looming tower, the other pointed,
his face alight.
"My city," he said. "Fallas there."
Fellows! Norman's heart beat faster.
They shot closer and lower and he saw that the buildings were
obviously green to lend them a certain protective coloration similar
to that of the green jungles around them. The tower with its
surmounting cage puzzled him though, but before he could ask Sarja
concerning it his answer came in a different way. A long metal tube
poked slowly out of the cage on the tower's top and sent a hail of
force-shells flicking around them.
"They're firing on us!" Norman cried. "This can't be your city!"
"They see our black boat!" Sarja exclaimed. "They think we're Rala
raiders and unless we let them know they'll shoot us out of the air!
Stand up—wave to them—!"
Both Norman and Sarja sprang to their feet and waved wildly to those
in the tower-cage, their flying-boat drifting slowly forward.
Instantly the force-shells ceased to hail toward them, and as they
moved nearer a sirenlike signal broke from the cage. At once scores of
flying-boats like their own, but glittering metal instead of black,
shot up from the city where they had lain until now, and surrounded
As Sarja called in his own tongue to them the green men on the
surrounding boats broke into resounding cries. They shot down toward
the city, Norman gazing tensely. Great crowds of green men in their
dark tunics had swarmed out into its streets with the passing of the
alarm, and their craft and the others came to rest in an open square
that was the juncture of several streets.
The green men that crowded excitedly about Norman and Sarja gave way
to a half-dozen hurrying into the square from the greatest of the
buildings facing on it. All but one were green men like the others.
But that one—the laughing-eyed tanned face—the worn brown clothing,
the curious huge steps with which he came—Norman's heart leapt.
"Great God—Norman!" The other's face was thunderstruck. "Norman—how
by all that's holy did you get here?"
orman, mind and body strained to the breaking point, was incoherent.
"We guessed how you'd gone—the second satellite, Fellows—Hackett
and I came after you—taken to that frog-city—"
As Norman choked the tale, Fellows' face was a study. And when it was
finished he swallowed, and gripped Norman's hand viselike.
"And you and Hackett figured it out and came after me—took that risk?
Crazy, both of you. Crazy—"
"Fellows, Hackett's still there, if he's alive! In the Rala city!"
Fellows' voice was grim, quick. "We'll have him out. Norman, if he
still lives. And living or dead, the Ralas will pay soon for this and
for all they've done upon this world in ages. Their time nears—yes."
He led Norman, excited throngs of the green men about them, into the
great building from which he had emerged. There were big rooms inside,
workshops and laboratories that Norman but vaguely glimpsed in
passing. The room to which the other led him was one with a long metal
couch. Norman stretched protestingly upon it at the other's bidding,
drifted off almost at once into sleep.
He woke to find the sunlight that had filled the room gone and
replaced by the silvery Earth-light. From the window he saw that the
silver-lit city outside now held tremendous activity, immense hordes
of green men surging through it with masses of weapons and equipment,
flying-boats pouring down out of the night from all directions. He
turned as the door of the room clicked open behind him. It was his old
"I thought you'd be awake by now, Norman. Feeling fit?"
"As though I'd slept a week," Norman said, and the other laughed his
old care-free laugh.
"You almost have, at that. Two days and nights you've slept, but it
all adds up to hardly more than a dozen hours."
"This world!" Norman's voice held all his incredulity. "To think that
we should be on it—a second satellite of Earth's—it seems almost
ometimes it seems so to me, too," Fellows said thoughtfully. "But
it's not a bad world—not the human part of it, at least. When this
satellite's atmosphere caught me and pitchforked me down among these
green men, smashing the plane and almost myself, they took care of me.
You say three others vanished as I did? I never heard of them here;
they must have crashed into the sea or jungles. Of course, I'd have
got back to Earth on one of these flying-boats if I'd been able, but
their molecular power won't take them far from this world's surface,
so I couldn't.
"As it was, the green men cared for me, and when I found how those
frog-men have dominated this world for ages, how that city of the
Ralas has spread endless terror among the humans here, I resolved to
smash those monsters whatever I did. I taught some of the green men
like Sarja my own speech, later learning theirs, and in the weeks I've
been here I've been working out a way to smash the Ralas.
"You know that amphibian city is almost impregnable because humans can
hardly live long enough under the water to get into it, let alone
fight under water as the frog-men can. To meet them on even terms the
green men needed diving-helmets with an oxygen supply. They'd never
heard of such an idea, too afraid of the sea ever to experiment in it,
but I convinced them and they've made enough helmets for all their
forces. In them they can meet the Ralas under water on equal terms.
"And there's a chance we can destroy that whole Rala city with their
help. It's built on a giant pedestal of rock rising from the sea's
floor, as you saw, and I've had some of the green men make huge
force-shells or force-bombs that ought to be powerful enough to split
that pedestal beneath the city. If we can get a chance to place those
bombs it may smash the frog-men forever on this world. But one thing
is sure: we're going to get Hackett out if he still lives!"
"Then you're, going to attack the Rala city now?" Norman cried.
Fellows nodded grimly. "While you have slept all the forces of the
green men on this world have been gathering. Your coming has only
precipitated our plans, Norman—the whole soul of the green races has
been set upon this attack for weeks!"
orman, half bewildered at the swiftness with which events rushed upon
him, found himself striding with Fellows in great steps out through
the building into the great square. It was shadowed now by mass on
mass of flying-boats, crowded with green men, that hung over it and
over the streets. One boat, Sarja at its controls, waited on the
ground and as they entered and buckled themselves into the seats the
craft drove up to hang with the others.
A shattering cheer greeted them. Norman saw that in the silvery light
of Earth's great crescent there stretched over the city and
surrounding jungle now a veritable plain of flying-boats. On each were
green men and each bristled with force-guns, and had as many great
goggled helmets fastened to it as it had occupants. He glimpsed larger
boats loaded with huge metal cylinders—the force-bombs Fellows had
Fellows rose and spoke briefly in a clear voice to the assembled green
men on their craft, and another great shout roared from them, and from
these who watched in the city below. Then as he spoke a word, Sarja
sent their craft flying out over the city, and the great mass of
boats, fully a thousand in number, were hurtling in a compact column
Fellows leaned to Norman as the great column of purring craft shot on
over the silver-lit jungles. "We'll make straight for the Rala city
and try setting into it before they understand what's happening."
"Won't they have guards out?"
"Probably, but we can beat them back into the city before their whole
forces can come out on us. That's the only way in which we can get
inside and reach Hackett. And while we're attacking the force-bombs
can be placed, though I don't rely too much on them."
"If the attack only succeeds in getting us inside," Norman said,
grim-lipped, "we'll have a chance—"
"It's on the knees of the gods. These green men are doing an
unprecedented thing in attacking the Ralas, the masters of this world,
remember. But they've got ages of oppression to avenge; they'll
The fleet flew on, hills and rivers a silver-lit panorama unreeling
beneath them. Earth's crescent sank behind them, and by the time they
flashed out over the great fresh-water sea, the sun was rising like a
flaming eye from behind it. Land sank from sight behind and the green
men were silent, tense, as they saw stretching beneath only the gray
waters that for ages had been the base of the dread frog-men. But
still the fleet's column raced on.
t last the column slowed. Far ahead the merest bulge broke the level
line where sky and waters met. The amphibian city of the Ralas! At
Fellows' order-the flying-boats sank downward until they moved just
above the waters. Another order made the green hosts don the grotesque
helmets. Norman found that while cumbersome their oxygen supply was
unfailing. They shot on again at highest speed, but as the gigantic
black dome of the frog-city grew in their vision there darted up from
around it suddenly a far-flung swarm of black spots.
The muffled exclamation was Fellows'. There needed now no order on his
part, though. Like hawks, leaping for prey, the fleet of the green men
sprang through the air. Norman, clutching the force-gun between his
knees, had time only to see that the Rala craft were a few hundred in
number and that, contemptuous of the greater odds that favored these
humans they had so long oppressed, they were flying straight to meet
them. Then the two fleets met—and were spinning side by side above
Norman saw the thing only as a wild whirl of Rala boats toward and
beside them, great green frog-men crowding the craft, their force-guns
hailing shells. Automatically, with the old air-fighting instinct, his
fingers had pressed the catch of the gun between his knees and as its
shells flicked toward the rushing boats he saw areas of nothingness
opening suddenly in their mass, shells striking and exploding in
annihilating invisibility there and in their own fleet.
The two fleets mingled and merged momentarily, the battle becoming a
thing of madness, a huge whirl of black and glittering flying-boats
together, striking shells exploding nothingness about them. The Ralas
were fighting like demons.
The merged, terrific combat lasted but moments; could last but
moments. Norman, his gun's magazine empty, seemed to see the mass of
struggling ships splittering, diverging; then saw that the black craft
were dropping, plummeting downward toward the waves! The Ralas,
stunned by that minute of terrific combat, were fleeing. Muffled cries
and cheers came from about him as the glittering flying-boats of the
green men shot after them. They crashed down into the waters and
curved deeply into their green-depths, toward the gigantic dome.
head the Rala boats were in flight toward their city, and now their
pursuers were like sharks striking after them. There in the depths the
force-guns of black and glittering boats alike were spitting, and
giant waves and underwater convulsions rocked pursued and pursuers as
the exploding shells annihilated boats and water about them. The
tunnel! Its round opening yawned in the looming wall ahead, and Norman
saw the Rala craft, reduced to scores in number, hurtling into it, to
rouse all the forces of the great amphibian city. Their own boats were
flashing into the opening after them. He glimpsed as he glanced back
for a moment the larger craft with the great force-bombs veering aside
It was nightmare in the water-tunnel. Flashing beams of the craft
ahead and waters that rocked and smashed around them as in flight the
Ralas still rained back force-shells toward them in a chaos of action.
Once the frog-men turned to hold them back in the tunnel, but by sheer
weight the rushing ships of the green men crashed them onward. Boats
were going into nothingness all around them. A part of Norman's brain
wondered calmly why they survived even while another part kept his gun
again working, with refilled magazine. Fellows and Sarja were
grotesque shapes beside him. Abruptly the tunnel curved upward and as
they flashed up after the remaining Rala craft their boats ripped up
into clear air! They were beneath the giant dome!
The frog-men chased inward spread out in all directions over their
mighty, swarming city and across it a terrific clamor of alarm ran
instantly as the green men emerged after them! Norman saw flying-boats
beginning to rise across all the city and realized that moments would
see all the immense force of the Ralas, the thousands of craft they
could muster, pouring upon them. He pointed out over the city to a
block-like building, and shouted madly through his helmet to Fellows
But already Sarja had sent their craft whirling across the city toward
the structure, half their fleet behind it, with part still emerging
from the water-tunnel. Rala boats rose before them, but nothing could
stop them now, their force-shells raining ahead to clear a path for
their meteor-flight. They shot down toward the block-structure, and
Norman, half-crazed by now, saw that to descend and enter was suicide
in the face of the frog-forces rising now over all the city. He cried
to Fellows, and with two of the guns as they swooped lower they
sprayed force-shells along the building's side.
he shells struck and whiffed away the whole side, exposing the level
on the building's interior. Out from it rushed swarms of crazed green
men, sweeping aside the frog-men guards, while far over the city the
invading craft were loosing shells on the block-like buildings that
held the prisoners, tens of thousands of them swarming forth. In the
throng below as they raced madly forth Norman saw one, and shouted
wildly. The one brown garbed figure looked up, saw their boat swooping
lower, and leaped for it in a tremendous forty-foot spring that
brought his fingers to its edge. Norman pulled him frenziedly up.
"Norman!" he babbled. "In God's name—Fellows—!"
"That helmet, Hackett!" Fellows flung at him. "My God, look at those
The countless thousands of green men released from the buildings whose
walls had vanished under the shells of the invaders had poured forth
to make the amphibian city a chaos of madness. Oblivious to all else
they were throwing themselves upon the city's crowding frog-men in a
battle whose ferocity was beyond belief, disregarding all else in this
supreme chance to wreak vengeance on the monstrous beings who had fed
upon their blood. In the incredible insanity of that raging fury the
craft of the green men hanging over the city were all but forgotten.
Suddenly the city and the mighty dome over it quivered violently, and
then again. There came from beneath a dull, vast, grinding roar.
"The great force-bombs!" Fellows screamed. "They've set them off—the
city's sinking—out of here, for the love of God!"
The boat whirled beneath Sarja's hands toward the pool of the
water-tunnel, all their fleet rushing with them. The grinding roar was
louder, terrible; dome and city were shaking violently now; but in the
insensate fury of their struggle the frog-men and their released
prisoners were hardly aware of it. The whole great dome seemed sinking
upon them and the city falling beneath it as Sarja's craft ripped down
into the tunnel's waters, and then out, at awful speed, as the great
tunnel's walls swayed and sank around them! They shot out into the
green depths from it to hear a dull, colossal crashing through the
waters from behind as the great pedestal of rock on which the city had
stood, shattered by the huge force-bombs, collapsed. And as their
boats flashed up into the open air they saw that the huge dome of the
city of the Ralas was gone.
Beneath them was only a titanic whirlpool of foaming waters in which
only the curved top of the settling dome was visible for a moment as
it sank slowly and ponderously downward, with a roar as of the roar of
falling worlds. Buckling, collapsing, sinking, it vanished in the
foam-wild sea with all the frog-men who for ages had ruled the second
satellite, and with all those prisoners who had at the last dragged
them down with them to death! Ripping off their helmets, with all the
green men shouting crazily about them, Norman and Fellows and Hackett
stared down at the colossal maelstrom in the waters that was the tomb
of the masters of a world.
Then the depression's sides collapsed, the waters rushing together ...
and beneath them was but troubled, tossing sea....
arth's great gray ball was overhead again and the sun was sinking
again to the horizon when the three soared upward in the long,
gleaming plane, its motor roaring. Norman, with Hackett and Fellows
crowding the narrow cabin beside him, waved with them through its
windows. For all around them were rising the flying-boats of the green
They were waving wildly, shouting their farewells, Sarja's tall figure
erect at the prow of one. Insistent they had been that the three
should stay, the three through whom the monstrous age-old tyranny of
the frog-men had been lifted, but Earth-sickness was on them, and they
had flown to where the plane lay still unharmed among the reeds, a
hundred willing hands dragging it forth for the take-off.
The plane soared higher, motor thundering, and they saw the
flying-boats sinking back from around them. They caught the wave of
Sarja's hand still from the highest, and then that, too, was gone.
Upward they flew toward the great gray sphere, their eyes on the dark
outlines of its continents and on one continent. Higher—higher—green
land and gray tea receding beneath them; Hackett and Fellows intent
and eager as Norman kept the plane rising. The satellite lay, a
greenish globe, under them. And as they went higher still a rushing
sound came louder to their ears.
"The edge of the satellite's atmosphere?" Fellows asked, as Norman
"We're almost to it—here we go!"
As he shot the plane higher, great forces smote it, gray Earth and
green satellite and yellow sun gyrating round it as it reeled and
plunged. Then suddenly it was falling steadily, gray Earth and its
dark continent now beneath, while with a dwindling rushing roar its
second satellite whirled away above them, passing and vanishing.
Passing as though, to Norman it seemed, all their strange sojourn on
it were passing; the frog-men and their mighty city, Sarja and their
mad flight, the green men and the last terrific battle; all whirling
HISTORIC EXPERIMENT PROVES EARTH'S ROTATION
The famous experiment which proves that the "earth do move" by letting
the observer actually see it twisting underneath his feet, an
experiment invented by the French mathematician Jean B. L. Foucault
nearly a century ago was repeated recently under unusually impressive
circumstances before an international scientific congress at Florence,
Italy, the same city where Galileo once was persecuted for holding the
From the center of the dome of the Church of Santa Maria di Fiore,
Father Guido Alfani, director of the Astronomical Observatory,
suspended a 200-pound weight on a wire 150 feet long. On the bottom of
this weight was a tiny projecting point which traced a line on a
table-top sprinkled with sand, as the great pendulum swung slowly back
and forth. At a given signal Father Alfani set the pendulum to
swinging. While the assembled scientists watched it, slowly the line
traced across the sand table-top changed direction.
As Foucault proved long ago and as the watching scientists well knew,
the table was being twisted underneath the pendulum by the rotation of
A REVOLUTIONARY AIRPLANE
A new airplane propeller has recently been patented by J. Kalmanson of
Brooklyn, N. Y. Greater speed and marked saving in fuel is claimed for
the invention, which may be attached to any type of airplane.
The device is in two parts, which may be used separately as front and
rear propellers or combined into a single blade. The principle is that
the front one acts to bring air to the other, giving the propeller
more of a hold, so to speak, and greater power. This is accomplished
by four air-spoons, one on each side of each blade of the propeller.
It is said that the device can double the speed of an airplane and
raise it from the ground in ninety feet instead of the 200 feet most
airplanes now require. It is also claimed that the new propeller will
prevent the plane from making a nose drive unless the pilot forces it
to do so, and enable it to make a safe landing within a short
distance. Because of the increase in power and speed, the device would
save a large amount of gasoline and oil, as well as guarding the motor
from part of the strain on it.
The device is said to be also applicable to ships, the same principle
operating in water as well as air.