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At the very least you could have adjusted the ship to the accelera­tion." "For two reasons." Morton answered. "Individually, we’re safer within the force fields of our spacesuits. And we can’t afford to give up our advantages in panicky moves." "Advantages. What other advan­tages have we got?" "We know things about him," Mor­ton replied. Pennons, detail five men to each of the four approaches to the engine room.

Take atomic disinte­grators to blast through the big doors. "Selenski, you go up to the control room and shut off everything except the drive engines. Gear them to the master switch, and shut them off all at once. One thing, though—leave the ac­celeration on full blast. "And report to me through the com­municators if any of the machines start to run again." He faced the men. We’re going to find out right now if we’re dealing with unlim­ited science, or a creature limited like the rest of us. I’ll bet on the last pos­sibility." MORTON had an empty sense of walking endlessly, as he moved, a giant of a man in his transparent space armor, along the glistening metal tube that was the main corridor of the engine-room floor. Reason told him the creature had already shown feet of clay, yet the feel­ing that here was an invincible being persisted. He spoke into the communicator: "It’s no use trying to sneak up on him.

He hasn’t been in that engine room long enough to do anything. In the first place, we could never forgive ourselves if we didn’t try to conquer him now, before he’s had time to prepare against us. But, aside from the possibility that we can destroy him immediately, I have a theory. "The idea goes something like this: Those doors are built to withstand ac­cidental atomic explosions, and it will take fifteen minutes for the atomic dis­integrators to smash them. True, the drive will be on, but that’s straight atomic explosion. My theory is, he can’t touch stuff like that; and in a few minutes you’ll see what I mean —I hope." His voice was suddenly crisp: "Ready, Selenski?" "Aye, ready." "Then cut the master switch." The corridor—the whole ship. Morton clicked on the daz­zling light of his spacesuit; the other men did the same, their faces pale and drawn. The mobile units throbbed; and then pure atomic flame ravened out and poured upon the hard metal of the door. The first molten droplet rolled reluc­tantly, not down, but up the door. The third rolled sideways—for this was pure force, not subject to gravitation. Other drops followed until a dozen streams trickled sedately yet unevenly in every direction—streams of hellish, sparkling fire, bright as fairy gems, alive with the coruscating fury of atoms suddenly tortured, and running blindly, crazy with pain. At last Morton asked huskily: "Selenski?" "Nothing yet, commander." Morton half whispered: "But he must be doing something. He can’t be just waiting in there like a cornered rat. Selenski?" "Nothing, commander." Seven minutes, eight minutes, then twelve. "He’s got the electric dy­namo running." Morton drew a deep breath, and heard one of his men say: "That’s funny. The little scintillat­ing streams had frozen rigid. The fe­rocity of the disintegrators vented in vain against metal grown suddenly in­vulnerable. The others come up to the control room." HE SEATED himself a few minutes later before the massive control key­board. We know that of all the machines in the engine room, the most important to the monster was the electric dynamo. He must have worked in a frenzy of terror while we were at the doors." "Of course, it’s easy to see what he did," Pennons said. "Once he had the power he increased the electronic ten­sions of the door to their ultimate." "The main thing is this," Smith chimed in.

"He works with vibrations only so far as his special powers are concerned, and the energy must come from outside himself. Atomic energy in its pure form, not being vibration, he can’t handle any differently than we can." Kent said glumly: "The main point in my opinion is that he stopped us cold.

What’s the good of knowing that his control over vibrations did it?

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