Archive for the ‘The Terror from the Other Dimension!’ Category

The Terror from the The Other Dimension!In preparation for the coming invasion, the nations of the world joined together in common purpose for the first time in human history, the reporter typed. To the front line of this global battlefield — the now-fabled coordinates of 39o 25′ North, 141o 47′ West — every navy in the Pacific, including the mystery-shrouded Soviet Union, rushed hundreds of its most powerful ships: proud aircraft carriers large and small, hulking battleships, nimble cruisers, and sleek submarines, all guarded by an umbrella of hundreds of jets of every kind.

Patiently, eagerly, menacingly, they circled the barren patch of ocean unified in purpose and determined to throw their combined might against the expected flying saucer invasion. Here was where humanity prepared to fight the opening skirmish of the Battle for Earth.

* * *

“The rest of the fleet is in place, Admiral.”

Admiral Crane took the proffered clipboard from his yeoman and scanned the list with a nod of approval. “The largest naval force since Leyte Gulf. We might not be able to stop the flying saucers, but we sure can give them a bloody nose.” A formation of jet fighters roared low overhead, adding emphasis to his assessment. “How far out are we, Captain?”

Captain Richardson of the aircraft carrier Iwo Jima lowered his binoculars and leaned over the shielded radar display. “We’ll arrive at the designated coordinates in less than fifteen minutes, sir. We’re still steaming at full speed.”

“Very well. And we’re sure that those coordinates mark the location of the dimensional portal?”

“Yes, sir. The Peregrine confirmed it before we lost contact with her.”

Admiral Crane shook his head, handing the clipboard back to his aide. “Poor devils. At least we can avenge their deaths.” His voice betrayed a hint of uncertainty that undercut the bravado of his words.

“Yes indeed, Admiral. It’s going to be one for the history books.” Captain Richardson replied, sounding equally unconvinced. He raised his binoculars. “There’s the fleet now, Admiral.”

Admiral Crane hurried to the window. “Incredible.” Arrayed before them, the multi-national armada stretched from horizon to horizon.

“Radar contact!” the radar officer shouted, breaking the awed silence. Admiral Crane and Captain Richardson rushed to the display scope to watch the green sweeping arc of the radar signal. The screen displayed a large, amorphous blob in the sky, growing larger with each sweep. “Anomaly detected sir! I think it’s the portal.”

Admiral Crane looked up, and watched as a point of bright light appeared in the sky and began to expand. “Signal the fleet to stand by for action.”

“Aye aye, sir.” Captain Richardson hurried from the bridge to the combat command center.

Admiral Crane raised his binoculars slowly to his eyes. “Here we go,” he said quietly.

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The Terror from the The Other Dimension!And with that, the race to Earth was on, typed the reporter. Who would win? The pokey little Navy blimp and its gallant crew, or the awesome fleet of sleek, powerful flying saucers? The reporter paused, picked up the tumbler next to his war-scarred Remington, and drained the last of his scotch. After a few moments of staring into the middle distance, the reporter smiled and pushed the carriage return lever to feed a new line.

Once in a blue moon, the safest bet is on the horse with the longest odds.

* * *

The Peregrine picked up speed slowly, bucking all the way as if reluctant to respond to the firewalled throttles. But within a minute the ship was nearly at top speed and climbing toward the peak of the tower dominating the flat alien landscape — featureless except for the circular openings in the ground under which which were parked the fleets of waiting flying saucers.

“Tower dead ahead,” Lieutenant Stewart called out over the deafening roar of the twin Pratt & Whitney radials mounted on outriggers behind them.

“Please don’t say ‘dead,'” Professor Abbot said. Stewart and Captain Darrow chuckled ruefully.

“Are we going to make it?” the professor asked no one in particular. The peak was looming in the panoramic windows of the blimp’s gondola, growing closer but not descending appreciably.

“Come on, baby,” Darrow said through clenched teeth, his right hand continuing to push the throttles even though they could move no further. “A little higher.” He pulled back gently on the wheel, risking a stall. The whole ship shuddered . . .

(more…)

The Terror from the The Other Dimension!The sudden appearance of the invading fleets of flying saucers made the threat to our planet — and, not incidentally, to the crew of the airship — suddenly and horribly manifest, typed the reporter, his hands flying across the keyboard quickly now, the ding-zip-bang of each typewritten line coming faster than the one before. Time was growing short. Which of the two bold plans would be thwarted, and which would succeed? The outcome was by no means certain. There was one difference, however. The crew of the Peregrine were prepared to do whatever it took — even at the cost of their own lives — to protect Mother Earth. Would their luck hold out?

* * *

In the engine compartment amidships, Sparks and Miss Abbot were preparing to descend into the cavernous radome beneath the airship’s gondola. Miss Abbot’s bulky safety harness was several sizes too big for her petite frame, and Sparks was becoming flustered — and embarrassed — as he tried to cinch it tighter. With every jolt of the belt, Claudine’s smile grew.

“You’re tickling me.”

“Gosh, I’m sorry!”

“I didn’t say stop, did I?”

At that moment, Captain Darrow and Professor Abbot, Claudine’s mother, stepped into the compartment. “About ready, Sparks?”

“Just about there, Captain,” Sparks replied, giving Miss Abbot’s harness one last tug, nearly lifting her off her feet. “We wouldn’t want our guest to go flying away, would we?”

“Why do they need safety harnesses?” asked Professor Darrow.

“So that they don’t fall through the bottom of the radome. The sides and top are pretty solid, but to save weight the bottom is made of fabric. You can have two people in there, but they can’t be any closer than an arm’s length to each other or the fabric will tear and . . . ” Darrow pointed down ” . . . out they go.”

Professor Abbot’s face blanched. “Perhaps this isn’t such a good idea after all.”

“Oh, mother,” Miss Abbot interjected. “We’re talking about the weight of two fully-grown men. I’m hardly going to put a dent in it.”

“Exactly, Professor,” Sparks chimed in. “It’ll feel just like walking on a trampoline.”

Professor Abbot sighed, then put her arm on her daughter’s shoulder. “Just make sure you don’t start jumping up and down.”

“And no spike heels,” Captain Darrow added with a wink.

Spike patted the tool belt around his waist and picked up his trusty duffel bag of gear. “All set, then?”

After the briefest of hesitations, Miss Abbot nodded bravely.

(more…)

The Terror from the The Other Dimension!Now began the race against the clock, to execute Professor Abbot’s daring plan before it was too late. For the aliens, too, were busy making plans — plans to descend upon the Earth in force now that their advance scouting parties had revealed mankind’s most advanced weapons to be pitifully weak against their flying saucers and the devastating radiation beam weapons they carried. The crew of the Navy airship Peregrine had but one chance. And on that chance, the fate of humankind rested . . .

* * *

Captain Darrow rapped his knuckles on the top of the radar set. “Sparks, you know what to do?”

Sparks, the Peregrine’s young radar officer, stuck his head out from under the table and flashed an “OK” sign with his free hand. “Good to go, Skipper. As long as Claudine — I mean Miss Abbot keeps telling me what to do.” He reached into his duffel and began rummaging around.

Darrow looked at the young lady sitting demurely in Sparks’ chair. “Miss Abbot?”

“It’s actually very simple, Captain. The neon thyratron in your ship’s radar is capable of generating 65,000 volts at 85 amps, or approximately 5.525 megawatts of electrical energy. By inserting helium from your airship’s gas cells into the tube with the neon and incorporating some of the focusing lenses of my mother’s gravitational radiation detector, controlled by the radar’s capacitors, we should be able to create a series of 2-microsecond flashes of highly coherent light in the red end of the spectrum.”

Darrow continued nodding, his face completely blank. “Uh huh. And this . . . coherent light . . . activates the tower?”

“That’s right, Captain. We’ll have to reconfigure the waveguide somewhat to send the signal through the antenna.”

Darrow pushed up his ballcap and scratched his head. “Well, I’m glad this all makes sense to you. Sparks, any of this make sense to you?”

“Not much, Skipper,” Sparks called cheerfully from beneath the console.

“Fine. Keep me posted when you’re ready to go into the radome.” He patted the canvas bag on his shoulder. “I have to get the Professor up into the gasbag.”

(more…)

The Terror from the The Other Dimension!This was the fateful moment, typed the reporter at full speed. At last, Captain Darrow and the crew of the Peregrine were face to face with the alien creatures that had brought them to this mysterious outpost. Outnumbered and with nowhere to go, the humans had only their old-fashioned American ingenuity to count on. Would it be enough?

* * *

“I count twenty, maybe twenty-five, Skipper,” said Don Stewart, imperturbable as ever from behind his aviator sunglasses. “Not a bad little welcoming committee.”

Directly in front of the Peregrine, the phalanx of silver-suited creatures shambled ever closer, apparently in no great hurry yet trying to appear menacing by waving their arms over the translucent bubble helmets that covered their scaly, bulbous heads. Their sucker-like mouths, lined with sharp teeth, opened and closed repeatedly like a gulping fish. Were they yelling — or hungry?

Darrow nodded. “I don’t see any weapons.”

“Those black tubes on their arms,” Professor Abbot said, pointing to the narrow protuberances running down the creatures’ right sleeves, connected by a coiled hose to bulky backpacks. “They look like they could be some sort of projected energy beam.”

Darrow slid into his seat and grabbed the wheel. “Well, whatever they are, they don’t appear to be rolling out the red carpet for us.” He gestured to Stewart at his right. “Wind up the engines. We’re getting out of here.”

“Right, Skipper.” Stewart slid the throttles forward and, as the ship began to roll, Darrow turned the wheel hard to swing the ship around for a takeoff roll away from the alien mob.

Darrow jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “Doc, get to the stern compartment and keep an eye on them as we take off. Radio me if they do anything suspicious.”

“How would I tell?” Professor Abbot asked no one in particular as she turned to head to the back of the Peregrine. Her daughter Claudine followed.

When the ship had swung around 180 degrees, Darrow nodded and Stewart firewalled the throttles. The airship’s twin Wright Cyclone piston engines strained to drag the ship’s bulk along the smooth gray surface, until Darrow eased the wheel back and tilted the ship’s blunt nose into the sky. With a single bounce, the lumbering balloon launched itself skyward.

In the stern car, the Abbots watched as the ship left the gaggle of aliens behind and below. “Well, I’m happy to leave them far, far behind,” said Miss Abbot.

“Agreed, dear,” her mother said, turning away from the window and holding on to the winch overhead for support as the ship continued its steep climb. “But I just don’t know where we’re leaving them in favor of.” She stroked her chin thoughtfully.

“What is it mother?”

“Hmmm?”

Miss Abbot laughed. “I know that look too well. You have an idea, don’t you?”

“It’s just that I keep thinking about the symbols we saw inside the tower. I think they might have been directing us to its central control mechanism. To the source of the space disruption that we flew through.”

“You mean you might be able to operate it? To turn it on and help us get home?”

Professor Abbot thought for a few moments. “And perhaps even to turn it off. For good. I’m going up to the wardroom to work out some calculations. I need you to talk to the radar officer and find out everything you can about how his radar works.”

Miss Abbot blushed. “But, mother . . . ”

“Particularly whether the radar tube can be configured to generate a high-intensity and highly focused pulse of energy.”

Miss Abbot’s eyes widened. “You mean like a ray gun?”

Professor Abbot put her hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “I mean like the biggest ray gun anyone’s ever seen.” She turned to head forward to the ladder up to the wardroom. Miss Abbot lingered behind, puzzling over her mother’s cryptic — and dangerous-sounding — idea. Then she, too, left the compartment and headed forward.

(more…)

The Terror from the The Other Dimension!The reporter paused to refill his drink and collect his thoughts, which swirled like the smooth brown liquor in his thick-walled tumbler. Then, having collected the right words and assembled them in a way that he liked, he swallowed the drink in a single gulp and resumed typing in the rapid-fire staccato of a veteran newspaper man. Put yourselves for a moment in the shoes of Captain Darrow and Professor Abbott as they enter the ominous tower of the aliens, he typed, Imagine the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of questions that must have flooded their minds, looming ever larger as they probed deeper into the tower’s dark recesses. Would the next turn reveal a hidden chamber where they would find the aliens preparing the next phase of their nefarious plot against the Earth? Would they be able to match wits with whoever — or whatever — they found next? Had the flying saucers that had flown ahead of them to the tower warned of the Peregrine’s imminent arrival? Were Darrow, Abbott, and Sparks even now being watched by unseen eyes as they advanced cautiously into the oppressive depths?

* * *

As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, the trio were surprised to find that the tunnel they were in was being dimly lit from some unseen source, allowing them to stow their flashlights. The illumination was just enough to allow them to see that the walls were rough-hewn and curved, reminding them of cavern walls. The floor beneath them, except for the occasional boulder and stalagmite, was smooth, flat, and polished.

Professor Darrow stepped cautiously over to one of the walls, removed a glove, and touched it. “It feels like granite, Rick,” she whispered.

“I don’t understand it. We’re definitely in an artificial structure.”

“Maybe they built the tower on a mountain and over time they added to it until it encompassed the whole hill,” offered Sparks. “You know, like an ancient Roman temple or something.”

Professor Abbott put her glove back on. “Or something.” She pointed to various naturally formed features on the walls. “There are no hieroglyphs in here.”

Darrow resumed walking carefully forward. “Maybe we took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.” In the dim light, he couldn’t see Professor Abbott roll her eyes. Sparks grinned as he brought up the rear, rifle at the ready.

They continued on, their boots making the only sound as they walked. As they turned a corner to the right, the space ahead of them seemed to vanish into blackness. Darrow held out a protective arm to stop Professor Darrow, and with his other hand reached for his flashlight. When he turned it on, the beam formed a circle of light in front of them.

“Dead end,” Darrow whispered.

(more…)

The Terror from the The Other Dimension!Who were the mysterious creatures responsible for sending the flying saucers to attack Mother Earth? the reporter resumed typing after relighting the cigarette he had let burn out. Were they physical giants with super strength? Or small like children but with gigantic mental powers? Whatever their physical and mental prowess, Captain Darrow and the crew of the Peregrine could be sure of one thing — they were almost certainly more than a match for the brash human intruders and their flimsy flying machine.

* * *

Captain Rick Darrow turned the Peregrine toward the tower as his airship descended slowly through the alien atmosphere. None of the four people in the control gondola spoke, but their eyes were focused on the strange alien skyscraper, shaped like a steep pyramid and colored a rusty red/brown, that appeared to be the only structure on this strange world. As they closed the distance to the tower, they could discern startling details on the surface — shapes that resembled a hieroglyphic language printed in bas relief on the surface of the tower.

Professor Abbott broke the silence. “Are those symbols a greeting, perhaps?”

Next to her, Claudine, her daughter, shivered. “Or a warning?”

The portly ship bucked as Darrow nosed down toward the metallic platform surrounding the base of the tower like an artificial island. “There’s only one way for us to find out,” Darrow said.

Claudine turned to leave the gondola. “I’m going to go get my camera,” she said. Along the way she paused at Sparks’ radar station long enough for him to squeeze her hand in reassurance.

“See that dark spot at the base of the tower?” copilot Don Stewart said, pointing to a shape that resembled an archway. “I wonder if that’s an entrance.”

“Let’s find out, Stew,” Darrow said.

(more…)