Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Zero Hour
Author: Blade, Alexander
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Zero Hour" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                    ZERO HOUR

                       _by
                 Alexander Blade_


       By accident Bobby discovered the rocket was
 about to be shot to the Moon. Naturally he wanted
 to go along. But could he smuggle himself aboard?


            Illustrated by Lloyd Rognan


Dad had already gone when Bobby got up. This disappointed Bobby a little
but then he remembered--_this was the big day_. Naturally Dad would get
over to the project early. And at four o'clock-- Bobby shivered
deliciously at the thought of it.

He ate his breakfast in silence with Mom across the table drinking a cup
of coffee and looking at a fashion catalogue. He was glad she was
occupied because he didn't want to talk; not today he didn't. Might
spill something secret. Might even let out the _big secret_. That would
be terrible.

Of course, all things were secret at Buffalo Flats. So secret top
scientists like Dad didn't even discuss them with wives like Mom. And
wives like Mom never asked.

So it was really something to sit there eating breakfast knowing that,
today, Dad was going to rocket to the Moon. And with Mom not even
knowing the Lunar project was in the works, so naturally not dreaming
that he was going _with_ Dad! The thrill was overpowering.

Maybe they would have radio communication after they got there and he
would call back and say, _Hello, Mom! Guess where I am? On the moon with
Dad!_ And Mom would say, _Why, Bobby! Scaring me to death like this! I
was looking all over for you._ Sounding very angry but not being really
angry after all. Because maybe Dad would cut in and say, _Yeah, he's
right here with me, dear. What do you think of this boy of ours?_

Bobby gulped the last of his cereal so he could go outside and wriggle
for joy. As he got up from his chair, Mom said, "And what's your plan
for today, young man? Davy Crockett or Buck Rogers?"

[Illustration]

Bobby had a quick thought--a sudden temptation. Why not give Mom a hint?
Why he could even _tell_ her and she still wouldn't know. Then later,
after he was gone, she would remember back and say, _That boy! When he
tells you something he really means it._

Bobby smiled and said, "I think I'll go to the moon today."

Mom smiled too and went back to her fashions. "Well, see to it your fuel
mixture is correct."

"I'll check it. And Mom--I might not be home for lunch."

"Where will you be?"

"Oh, I don't know."

"Well, mind your manners and say thank you when you leave."

Mrs. Kendall, still smiling, watched Bobby dash out into the yard.
Living on a restricted government area had one compensation at least.
You didn't have to worry about your children. Four dozen families, all
with offspring, trapped behind ten-foot patrolled fence. Here, nobody
worried about their children. They came and went and at noon a mother
fed whatever number happened to be in the house at the time. Mrs.
Kendall usually drew six or seven. It would be a relief to dodge the
chore for one Saturday....

       *       *       *       *       *

Out in the backyard, Bobby fussed around his space rocket a little:
tightening a screw here--hammering in a nail there. Just until he could
slip away without Mom noticing his direction.

It wasn't a bad rocket at that, he thought. Six feet long with two seats
and a keen instrument panel. But kid stuff of course. After he found the
way in through the sewer he hadn't paid any more attention to his own
ship.

He could see Mom through the window, back in her book, so he went
casually out through the back gate and turned left, kicking at pebbles
as he sauntered along and trying to look as though he had no place to
go. Had to be careful. Didn't want to bump into any of the other kids
today, either.

The way in through the sewer was at a place behind Laboratory B. There
was a kind of an alley there that nobody ever walked through and then
this round lid you could lift up and look under. And a ladder you could
climb down.

Bobby hadn't dared go down at first. But, after thinking about it
overnight, his curiosity won out and he went back and ducked down
into the lower level. He called it a sewer because of sewers being
underground, but this place was clean and had bunches of wires strung
in every direction and faint little lights you could see by.

Bobby went further and further every trip he took, never telling anybody
because you weren't supposed to talk about things at Buffalo Flats--not
even to the other kids.

Then he found the big drome where they were building the rocket. It was
so sleek and beautiful and shiny that he just stared at it--up through
the grating in the floor that was for air circulation or something.

He didn't know it was the moon rocket at first. Not until he'd gone back
several times to peek up at it and then one day two scientists came
walking along right in front of his nose.

One of them was Dad.

Bobby almost called out but he caught himself and just listened to them
talking. This was the first time his conscience bothered him about going
underneath the drome. He thought about it a lot--whether it was the
right thing to do. And while he was never able to still his conscience
completely, he quieted down by saying he really wasn't doing any harm
because he'd never told anybody what he saw.

He learned the rocket was going to the moon by listening to Dad and the
other scientists talk when they thought they were alone. And it was
funny. Because even there, they spoke in low voices and didn't give too
much away.

He had known now for three days that at four o'clock the roof would open
and the drome would be turned into a blast-pit and the rocket would
shoot out through space to the moon.

That was all he _did_ know for sure. None of the men had said who was
going on the first trip to the moon. Nothing had been said on that
subject at all, but Bobby knew Dad would go. He would have to. After
all, Dad was the second biggest scientist at Buffalo Flats. Second only
to Schleimmer himself and Professor Schleimmer was very old and
certainly wouldn't make the trip. That left Dad. Dad would just have to
go in order to run the rocket. There probably wasn't anybody else smart
enough in the whole place.

The idea of going himself had been born the previous day--when he found
a larger grating in the floor near the rocket and realized if he was
very careful he could climb out of the sewer and duck into the rocket
when nobody was looking. Once inside he was pretty sure he'd find a
place to hide until blast-off.

All the men would probably be strapped in bunks but if he found a place
he could wedge himself in he didn't think he'd get hurt. Then, halfway
to the moon he would come out and find Dad and would he be surprised!

At first, thinking about it, he'd been scared but after he realized how
proud Dad and Mom would be, he made up his mind.

Now, crouched beside the grating near the ship, he waited while two
men--technicians in white overalls--walked by.

One of them said, "Well, whatever happens, she'll make a big splash."

"You said it. Hope the brains know what they're doing."

That made Bobby mad. Who said Dad didn't know what he was doing? Dad was
just about the smartest scientist in the world.

After the two men left he waited a long time. He heard voices but no one
came in sight. Taking a deep breath, he opened the grating and got out.
It was only four steps to the open port of the rocket. There was a
little ramp they'd used to roll things in and Bobby's feet touched it
but lightly as he jumped into the ship. He found himself in some kind of
a storeroom. It would be a good place to hide all right. It was full of
aluminum barrels all the same size. He found a space between two rows
and sat down and got his breath back. It was very quiet around him.
Scary quiet. But he set his lips firmly.

He was going to the moon with Dad.

       *       *       *       *       *

John Kendall was a little late that night. He kissed his wife and said,
"Well, did you see the big sky rocket?"

"How could I miss it, darling? Your supper is in the oven."

"I could use a Martini first."

"Coming right up."

While Myra fixed the drink John lay back in his easy chair and closed
his eyes. "We'd hoped to stage a little ceremony at the launching but
Washington said no."

"The Russians?"

"The Eastern Coalition. It was a race. That was why it had to be so
secret. Washington said, light the fuse and fire the thing."

"Is it still hush-hush?"

"No. Not between us at least. We fired an explosion rocket at the moon.
It will hit in about an hour and telescopes will show a big purple spot
when our explosives go off and throw dye all over the place."

Myra handed him a dry Martini. "I see. Lots of fun no doubt but what's
the purpose? Fourth of July on the moon?"

"Oh, no. If the experiment is a success the next rocket will carry men
instead of a bomb."

Myra went to the kitchen to see about supper. John called, "Where's
Bobby? In bed I suppose."

Myra didn't hear and John set his drink down and moved toward the
bedroom. Maybe he was still awake.

Bobby rolled over. His eyes popped open. "Dad! I thought you went to--"

John Kendall sat down on the edge of the bed and tousled his son's hair.
"No, son. It's the old _terra firma_ for me. Did you see the rocket
blast?"

"Uh-huh. It was really something. It went to the moon, didn't it?"

"That's right." Kendall smiled and thought. Try to keep a secret from
the kids. It just can't be done. "How's _your_ moon rocket coming along,
son?"

"Pretty good. Gee, Dad! As long as you didn't go, I'm glad I didn't go
either."

"You were planning to make the trip also?"

"Uh-huh. I got into the rocket and was all set but I got to thinking
about Mom--how one of us should stay and take care of her in case
anything happened."

"Smart thinking, son. Now you get to sleep. I'll have a little time
tomorrow. We'll play some ball."

"That will be keen!"

John Kendall smiled as he left the bedroom. Kids were wonderful! Give
them a few old boards and a steering wheel and they could build a ship
to fly to the moon. What a wonderful dream world they lived in!

Too bad they had to grow out of it.



Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from _Imagination_ April 1956. Extensive
    research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on
    this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and typographical
    errors have been corrected without note.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Zero Hour" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home