Creatures of Vibration by Harl Vincent Page 2 of 33
She was a companion of whom even the phlegmatic Martian was proud, she brought with her presence on the Nomad a subtle something that made of the coldly mechanical space-ship a thing of new beauty and a place of cheerfulness-a home. And, to think he had won her for his own. To think....
"Carr!" Mado's sharp exclamation startled him from his pleasant thoughts. "Come here and take a look at this," the Martian demanded, his voice betraying an excitement unusual for him. "Something is wrong on this satellite we're heading for."
Locking the controls in the automatic position, Carr turned to join his friend at the viewing-disk of the rulden.
Mado had found an opening in the heavy cloud layer, and before them was an unobstructed view of a rugged countryside where huge boulders had been scattered by the mighty hand of creation and where the sun shone weakly on the rim of a yawning crater in which sulphurous vapors curled.
They saw this strange land as from an altitude of a few hundred feet, though the Nomad was still more than a million miles from the satellite.
"What's wrong about that?" Carr grunted. "Excepting that it's just another of these barren and useless bodies that doesn't even provide us with an attracting interest."
"Wait," Mado replied, "You'll see in a moment. Something-"
At that instant there came a puff of blue flame from out the pit, carrying on its heated breath a drifting sheet of incandescence that fluttered and pulsated like a thing alive. Mado switched on the sound mechanism of the rulden and the roaring of the pillar of flame came to their ears. There were other sounds as well; the babble of alien voices and the rumble of drums.