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: Call Him Savage
Author: Pollard, John
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 "Call Him Savage" ***

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



                         Transcriber's Note:

    This etext was produced from Amazing Stories March 1954. Extensive
    research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this
    publication was renewed.


                           CALL HIM SAVAGE


                           BY JOHN POLLARD


                     Illustrator: Sanford Kossin


     _Around the 15th of March each year, folks start saying,
      "Give the country back to the Indians!" Well, that's what we
      want to talk to you about._

       *       *       *       *       *



I didn't even hear her come in. What with the Sioux rising against the
white settlement at the fork of the Platte, the attack being set for
dawn, and Chief Spotted Horse's impassioned speech to his braves, I
wouldn't have heard anything under a ninety-seven-decibel war whoop.

Soft lips brushed the back of my neck and she said something.

"That's fine," I said.

"_Sam!_"

I heard _that_, all right. I looked up from the typewriter. "Hey,
that's a _nice_ nightgown!"

"I said I think I'm getting a cold."

"Well--with a nightgown like that...."

"Silly!" Her smile would have corrupted a bishop. "You coming to bed?
It's almost midnight."

"Soon's I finish writing this chapter. Best thing I've ever done."

"More Indians?"

I reached for a cigarette. "Sure, more Indians. What else would one of
the country's leading authorities on the original Americans be writing
about? I hate to keep harping on the same subject, my sweet, but the
dough from my last book bought you that mink stole you keep dangling
in front of your girl friends."

"If you make so much money at it, why are you still a reporter?"

"I _like_ being a reporter."

"What about _me_? Between reporting and Indians my love life is
beginning to wither on the vine. You should have married a squaw."

"Who says I didn't?" I gave her my best leer and reached out an
exploring hand. She blushed and backed away, laughing. "Nothing doing,
Sam Quinlan! You want me I'll be in bed."

"Hey-hey!"

She gave me a quick kiss, evaded my grasp and disappeared into the
bedroom. I finished lighting the cigarette, typed a few more lines.
But my working mood was gone, a casualty of a black lace nightgown.
Finally I got up from the desk and snapped on the radio and, while it
warmed up, strolled over to the living room window.

       *       *       *       *       *

At this hour Washington was largely in bed. Away over to the east I
could see the dim glow of lights marking the Mall, with the Capitol
dome beyond that. Now that communism was dead, buried and unmourned in
Russia and her satellites, with peace and prosperity booming from Iowa
to Iran, even the President would be sleeping like a baby. Any day now
I would be down to covering PTA meetings for the _Herald-Telegram_.
That was okay with me; my big interest was "Saga of the Sioux"--the
third in the series of books I was writing on the history of the
American Indian.

An early autumn breeze crawled in at the open window and moved the
line of smoke from my cigarette. A quiet serene night, with the faint
smell of burned leaves in the air and the promise of a cool, sunny,
peaceful tomorrow. A lovely night, made far lovelier by the thought
of the beautiful blonde waiting for me in the next room. After twelve
years of marriage I still found her to be the most exciting and
rewarding woman I had ever known.

"... most of eastern Colorado," the radio said suddenly, "as well as
the western fringes of Nebraska and Kansas."

I turned the volume down. Weather report, probably, except that the
announcer was making it sound like a declaration of war or a "sincere"
commercial.

"We repeat," the voice continued, "since 8:10 this evening, Eastern
Standard Time, literally nothing has come out of that section of the
country. All communication has ceased, outbound trains and planes are
long overdue, highway traffic out of the area has stalled."

"Sam?"

"Yeah?"

"You coming to bed?"

"... tuned to this station for further bulletins con--"

I clicked the set off. "Could I have three minutes for a fast shower?"

"Umm ... I guess so."

"I," I told her, "am coming to bed."

       *       *       *       *       *

Lois rattled the handle of the stall-shower door, and I shut off the
water. "Yeah?"

"Telephone, darling."

"At _this_ hour? Who is it?"

"Sounds like Purcell."

"For Crisake!" I came out and grabbed a towel. "This is worse than one
of those Hollywood farces about honeymooners. What's he want?"

"I didn't dare ask him, he sounded so grumpy."

I kissed her. "About that nightgown ..."

"You're getting me all wet!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Purcell was night Editor at the _Herald-Telegram_, a small, intense,
middle-aged, highly literate man. Years before, his wife had run off
with a reporter, leaving Purcell with an undying hatred for all
members of the profession.

His voice, over the wire, cracked like a whip. "Sam?"

"Listen, I'm off duty. You got any idea what time--"

"You're wanted at the White House. Now."

"The _White_ House? You mean--?"

"The White House. The President wants to see you."

"The _President_! Cut out the gags, will you? I'm in no--"

"I don't kid with reporters, Sam. On your way."

The phone went dead. I stood there staring stupidly at the receiver.
Lois had to shake my arm to get my attention. "What did he want?"

"The President wants to see me."

"You're joking!"

"Hunh-uh. Anybody but Pete Purcell, I'd agree." I put back the
receiver and went over to the dresser for clean underwear. "Get back
to bed, honey. I'll be home as soon as I get through running the
Government. Can you imagine! The President wants to see _me_!"

She yawned and stretched, looking like the June page on an _Esquire_
calendar. "Well, so much for my sheerest nightgown."

"Believe me, darling, if it wasn't the President--"

"I know. It would be an Indian."

I finished dressing while she sat on the bed with her knees drawn up
to her chin, watching me. I kissed her thoroughly and patted her here
and there and went downstairs. The night man in the garage under the
building put down his _Racing Form_ and dug my Plymouth out of a
welter of chrome and glass.

I drove much too fast all the way.

       *       *       *       *       *

A guard at the gate looked at my press pass and used a hidden
telephone. Within not much more than seconds I was ushered into the
Press Secretary's office. The Secretary, a badly shaken man if ever
I'd seen one, had evidently been pacing the floor. He looked at me
sharply out of pale, bloodshot eyes. "Your name Quinlan?"

"Yes, sir."

"May I see your identification?"

I handed him my wallet. He flipped through the panels holding my press
pass, social security card, driver's license and a picture of Lois in
a bathing suit. When he failed to do more than give the latter a
casual glance I knew this was a man with a troubled mind.

I said, "Maybe you could give me kind of a hint on what's going on."

"Going on?" he repeated absently.

"You know--going on." I got off a nonchalant-type laugh that would
have fooled anybody who was deaf. "I even heard that the President
wanted to see me!"

He gave me back the wallet. "Ah--yes. Come with me, please."

We left the office and went down a hall, around some corners and down
more halls, past a lot of doors, all of them closed. Finally he
stopped in front of a pair of doors with shiny brass doorknobs,
knocked twice, then turned the knob, said, "Mr. Quinlan, gentlemen,"
shoved me through with a jerk of his chin, and closed the door behind
me.

I never saw him again.

There was a long table down the center of a long narrow room. The
woodwork was white and the walls papered a dark green, with
walnut-framed pictures here and there of the kind of men you see in
albums of Civil War vintage.

But the men around the table were as modern as a jet bomber. There
were five of them, three of whom I recognized on sight: Army Chief of
Staff General Lucius Ohlmsted, Secretary of War Franklin McClave, and,
seated at the far end of the table and looking even younger than his
forty-nine years, the President of the United States.

The remaining two were just a couple of men to me: dark business
suits, clean collars, manicured fingernails and the type of faces you
see twenty of on any city block.

       *       *       *       *       *

I walked on down the room, feeling as conspicuous as a cheer leader at
a wake, while five pairs of eyes sorted me over molecule by molecule.
When I reached the near end of the table, I stopped, resisted an
impulse to salute, and stood there at attention.

The President managed to keep from smiling, although you could see he
wasn't far from it. "Thanks for coming here so promptly, Mr. Quinlan.
I'd like you to meet my associates."

He reeled off names and titles. The two strangers were a Mr. Proudfit
and a Mr. Kramer, occupations not disclosed. Kramer was small and
ageless, with a weather-beaten face and a mouth like a steel trap;
while Mr. Proudfit had the look of a benign monk, until you saw the
tempered steel glint in his piercing eyes.

When introductions were completed, I said, "How do you do?" once,
including them all, and went on waiting. Nobody suggested I sit down,
probably because there were only five chairs around the table to begin
with and the room's two couches were too far away to keep me in the
group. The President gave me the same winning smile that had pulled a
couple million extra votes his way in the last election, and said,
"Let me start off, Mr. Quinlan, by telling you that we've got a
problem on our hands--one that may very well involve the peace and
well-being of the entire country. The details are going to strain your
credulity beyond human limits, I'm afraid--just as they have ours. But
there is enough supporting evidence to what we've heard for us to do
something about it. And that's where you come in."

He paused, evidently waiting for a response from me. There was only
one response I could make--even though I hadn't the slightest idea
what he was talking about. "I'm at your service, Mr. President."

His smile was a medal for my chest. "Thank you. At this point I'd
better let Mr. Kramer take over."

Kramer leaned back in his chair, placed the tips of his fingers
together and stared searchingly at me over them. His voice, when he
spoke, was as dry as his skin. "Mr.--ah--Quinlan, I understand you
were born thirty-one years ago on a Potawatomi Indian reservation in
the state of Michigan."

I blinked. "That's right. Not many people know it."

"You are part Indian, I believe?"

"One quarter Potawatomi."

"Also, I'm told that you are something of an authority on the history
of the American Indian."

"I've written books on the subject and expect to write a good many
more."

"You speak the language?"

"What language?"

He floundered a little. "Why--ah--the--ah--Indian language."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Look, Mr. Kramer," I said, "there are scores of Indian languages.
Nobody in history, red man or white, could ever speak all of them.
Fortunately most Indians belonged to one of several great families,
and the language of each family was close enough for the tribes in
that family to understand each other. I can handle the language of the
Algonquin like a native, being part Potawatomi myself. I can get by in
the tongue of the Iroquois, the Caddoan, the Siouan, and the
Muskhogean. The Déné and Uto-Aztecan would give me considerable
trouble, while the Penutian would be just about a blank."

I stopped there, and shrugged. "Sorry. I didn't mean to turn this into
a lecture."

Kramer's weathered face stayed expressionless. "Are you familiar with
the customs of Indians of, say, two hundred years ago?"

"With their customs, clothing, religions, food, taboos, cultures,
weapons, or anything else you can think of."

Franklin McClave, the Secretary of War, cut in on us at this point. "I
think, Bob," he said to Kramer, "that Mr. Quinlan qualifies for the
job." His glance turned to me. "I'd like for you to meet a man waiting
in the next room, Quinlan. I want you to hear his story, talk to him,
ask him questions, then give us your opinion of the results. Do you
mind?"

I spread my hands. "Whatever you say."

Kramer got to his feet and went over to a side door. He pushed it
open, said something I didn't hear, then stepped rather quickly out of
the way.

A moment later young Daniel Boone came out!

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course, it wasn't really Daniel Boone at all. Leaving out the fact
that the "dark and bloody ground" frontiersman had been dead nearly a
hundred and fifty years, this man was a lot handsomer, with entirely
different features. But he was wearing the fringed buckskin trousers
and shirt, the beaded moccasins, the coonskin cap, and his coarse
black hair hung almost to his shoulders. A powderhorn swung from his
neck by a greasy cord, and he was holding on to a six-foot
muzzle-loader as though it were his only contact with reality.

I stood there with my chin two inches from the rug and gawked at him.
He was scared to death. His deep-set brown eyes rolled fearfully from
side to side, with too much white showing around the irises. His
clutch on the gun grew even tighter, whitening the knuckles of his
hand.

Muscles crawled on my scalp. A strange tension seemed to fill the
room. Kramer cleared his throat. "This man's name is Enoch Wetzel, Mr.
Quinlan. I want him to tell you exactly what he told us earlier
tonight."

I felt the tendons in my legs tighten, pulling me into a slight
crouch. I was back a hundred and seventy years in the past, with a
dull anger starting to move around in me. "Wetzel," I said, making it
sound like a dirty word. "Any relation to Lewis Wetzel?"

       *       *       *       *       *

The young man's eyes widened with astonishment and obvious relief.
"Well, now, I reckon so! Lew's my uncle."

"Lew Wetzel," I said between my teeth, "is a low, stinking, murdering
skunk!"

I ducked just in time to keep from being brained by the swinging stock
of the long gun. I came up under it quicker than I'd ever moved before
in my life and nailed him on the jaw with a solid right, getting my
shoulder behind it. It was like hitting the Hall of Justice. He
grunted and up came the rifle butt for another try.

Suddenly the room was bulging with strangers. A dozen arms folded
around the young man, the gun was ripped from his fingers and he hit
the rug with a thump that shook the room. The buckskin-covered legs
threshed briefly, then were still.

I moistened my lips and backed away as sanity returned. I looked at
the frozen faces around the table. "My fault, Mr. President. I can't
blame you for thinking I'm as crazy as he is. But, as Mr. Kramer
mentioned, I'm part Indian. Back in the seventeen hundreds a
frontiersman named Lewis Wetzel murdered a lot of Indians--men, women
and children. I suppose you might say I went atavistic, or something,
at hearing this fellow claim he was Wetzel's nephew. He's a screwball,
of course, and I owe you a good solid apology for starting a ruckus."

The President wasn't smiling now. "Perhaps I should have told you
before, Mr. Quinlan, we may desperately need this young man's
assistance in the near future."

I almost blurted out the wrong thing, but bit my lip instead and
remained silent. The President's eyes swung to the heap of humanity on
the floor. "Let him up, boys. I'll call you if I need you again."

The six Secret Service men rose and stood Enoch Wetzel on his feet,
then returned to the adjoining office, not looking too happy about
leaving a madman with the Chief Executive. Wetzel pushed the long hair
off his forehead and stood there glowering at me, spots of angry color
in his dark cheeks.

I said, "Forget it, Mac. I made a small mistake."

His thin lips peeled back in a snarl. "Halfbreed!"

I took it, although nothing was ever harder for me to do. Kramer
hurriedly stepped into the breach. "Mr.--ah--Wetzel, we're waiting for
you to repeat what you told us before."

The tall, broad-shouldered young man turned from me to face the long
table. There was a graceful dignity about him, in his posture, in the
way he held his head, that you don't see often. Again I felt the hair
move along my scalp. For a guy who was as nutty as peanut brittle, he
was certainly convincing in his role of frontiersman. Turn back the
clock far enough and this could have been one of General Anthony
Wayne's scouts at the battle of Fallen Timbers. He even _smelled_ the
part.

       *       *       *       *       *

"My father got hisself put on by General Harmer as a scout a fortnight
back. The General, on orders from President Washington, was to lead
his sojers to the north after the Injuns up there. Pop allowed as I
was ready to try my luck agin the abbregynes, so he took me along.

"Three-four nights after we set out ahead the rest, Pop an' me come
onto fresh Injun signs. We move powerful careful through the woods an'
right soon we catch sight of camp fires. There's a whole grist of them
red devils prancin' around, all fixed out in war paint--more of 'em as
I ever see'd afore. Even Pop allows as how it bugs out _his_ eyes--and
Pop's a man to do an amount of travelin'."

It was a page torn out of technicolor nightmare: three of the world's
most important men hanging onto the words of a madman who claimed to
be an Eighteenth Century Indian scout in the employ of one of George
Washington's generals. Yet the man's every word, every gesture,
everything he wore, was as authentic to that period as the powder horn
around his neck.

"We draw back in the woods aways an' wait. It's gettin' along to'ard
sun-up, an' Pop says he aims to get a better idea how many Injuns
they is, an' what tribes. Most of the braves got nice new British guns
an' General Harmer'll want to know about that."

Wetzel's voice began to shake a little, remembering. "Pop an' me are
hidin' in a clump of sumac when this here sudden racket starts up,
equal to a hundred waterfalls goin' all at oncet. We look up in the
air where it's comin' from, and holy hokey if fallin' right out of the
sky ain't this round iron thing! Flat as a hoe-cake an' big around as
an acre of land, with the fires of Hell breathin' at its edges!

"Well sir, them Injuns lit a shuck out of there like the spirits was
after them. My legs were tryin' to run, too. But Pop takes a holt on
my arm an' says, 'By Janey, I aim to see this if'en I swing for it!'

"It drops down," Wetzel continued, demonstrating with a slow graceful
movement of his hand, "lookin' no less than a big shiny stove-lid, an'
settles in the clearin' as light an' easy as the feather off'en a
duck's back. It stands high as a Pennsylvany school house an' twicet
the size around, an' no sound from it at all."

       *       *       *       *       *

He stood slim and straight as a Shawnee arrow, smooth-faced and
solemn, obviously not much past his twentieth birthday, yet by his own
account born before the Declaration of Independence was on paper. He
went on talking, sounding like a character out of James Fenimore
Cooper. His story, boiled down and translated, came out something like
this:

The sudden arrival of the strange object had literally paralyzed the
Indian encampment. The warriors dropped their weapons and called on
the spirits to protect them, while a hole opened in the side of what
couldn't be anything else but a spaceship. Then out of the opening
came huge steel caricatures of men. There were over a dozen of these
robots, each the height of two men, and their eyes were strange round
circles of faceted glass. In single file they moved down the ramp and
stalked through the ranks of fear-frozen Indians, disappearing into
the forest.

Enoch's father ordered his son to crawl up into a tree out of sight,
then shouldered his rifle and slipped away through the bushes to get a
better look at what was going on. Enoch "allowed" that his Pop was a
"moughty" brave man, and none of his audience gave him an argument on
that score.

From his place among the leaves, Enoch watched his father melt into
the trees. The sun was above the horizon by this time and the young
frontiersman discovered that his present position was the equivalent
of a box seat on the fifty-yard line.

The next figure to emerge from the spaceship brought an amazed murmur
from hundreds of throats. No twelve-foot robot this time, no alien
monster beyond description. Very simply, this was an Indian.

Yet what an Indian! He stood on the ramp, wearing only leather
breeches and unadorned moccasins, muscles rippling across a powerful
sun-tanned chest, his head thrown back in a posture of arrogant
dignity. He wore a single crimson feather in his black topknot, and at
his belt was a tomahawk only slightly less deadly looking than a
howitzer.

Arms folded across his chest, he swept his stunned audience with an
eye like an eagle's, then began to speak. His voice, deep and ringing,
carried beyond the edges of the crowd, so that Enoch was able to catch
a portion of what he was saying.

Wetzel admitted he understood very little of any of the Indian
tongues. He thought the one he was hearing had its roots in the
Delaware tribe, but admitted this was no more than a guess. However,
it appeared that the visitor was summoning the chiefs of the assembled
tribes to a meeting within the spaceship.

       *       *       *       *       *

Evidently it took some doing. Faced with a familiar danger, there is
no human more courageous than an Indian. But the thought of entering
the yawning maw of that steel cavern would have shaken the nerves of
Manabus himself.

Finally the visiting Indian's oratory paid off, and nine or ten of the
tribal leaders reluctantly entered the spaceship. Two robots took up
positions on the ramp to discourage kibitzers, and after an hour or so
in which nothing more happened, the rest of the camp returned pretty
much to normal.

Mid-afternoon came and passed, and still the meeting inside the ship
went on. Enoch was finding the tree branch not the most comfortable
place to spend a weekend, and he was growing steadily more uneasy by
his father's continued absence.

More hours passed. The sun was gone now and campfires began to dot the
night. Orders or no orders, Enoch decided, he was going to find his
Pop. With a stealth equal to that of any Indian, he dropped to the
ground and began a cautious advance in the direction his father had
taken hours before.

Suddenly the bushes crashed apart directly in front of him, and his
father came bounding through. Only a few yards back, its giant strides
rapidly closing the gap, came one of the huge steel men.

Enoch's gun flashed up and he fired without aiming. The bullet struck
one of the robot's huge eyes, shattering the glass and sending the
towering figure crashing headlong into a tree. At the same instant, an
ear-shattering wail came from the fallen robot, and powerful rays of
light flashed from the rim of the spaceship to bathe the spot where
the two Wetzels stood.

Mixed with the siren wail from the fallen man of steel came a chorus
of blood-curdling warhoops as the Indians made out the figures of the
two men, and a hundred braves came pouring across the clearing toward
them. Instantly the two scouts took to their heels, darting through
the inky blackness of the forest with the sure-footed celerity of long
practice.

They would have escaped easily under ordinary circumstances. But
suddenly the blast of another siren sounded directly ahead and a lance
of light impaled them. Blinded, they stumbled aside, only to be caught
by still another beam.

The two men split apart and dived for cover. Enoch, finding himself
shielded from the rays by the thick bole of a tree, scrambled into its
branches. A moment later the first wave of Indians passed below him.

For fully ten minutes he crouched there among the leaves. The barrage
of light, he discovered, had come from the towering robots, and he
recalled the dozen or so steel monsters that had left the camp soon
after the spaceship landed. Evidently they had been sent out to
encircle the camp so that no one might leave or enter until the
visitors permitted it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Finally Enoch heard the Indians returning toward camp. He knew they
would search every tree hunting for him. Reloading his rifle, he
dropped to the ground and adopting the only maneuver they would not
expect, made his way cautiously back toward the camp.

He had hoped to skirt the camp itself and find an avenue to freedom in
the opposite direction. But his hopes were almost immediately dashed,
for he soon made out the darting rays of light marking more of the
robots.

Enoch was trapped. Taking advantage of every possible means of cover,
he inched ahead, changing his direction a dozen times, until he
suddenly stopped short, his path barred by the towering spaceship
itself. Staying within the dense shadows at its base, he began to
skirt the ship, hoping to find a place where he could hide out until
the enemy gave up the search.

But again his luck failed to hold. This time he was stopped by a wall
of metal fully ten feet high, which turned out to be one side of the
entrance ramp to the spaceship. Circling it would bring him right into
the camp, to climb over it was impossible; to turn back, useless. This
was the end of the line!

As he stood there trying to figure out his next move, he caught the
sound of a guarded movement some distance behind him. Instantly he
dropped to the grass, his long rifle ready to take at least one of his
enemies with him. And that was when he learned that the bottom of the
ramp was nearly two feet above the ground.

Even Macy's shopping service couldn't have furnished him with a better
hiding place. Enoch wriggled himself under the edge and lay there
breathing quietly, while, a moment later, three pairs of moccasined
feet moved over the spot where he had been hiding.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some time passed. He could hear voices very near and the rustle of
feet moving through the grass. Then came the dull thud of metal
against metal over his head in a rhythmic tempo like the tread of
marching soldiers. Hardly had this ceased before he heard another
sound which he could not identify, and the ramp itself began to move!

It was drawing in toward the ship, very slowly. To stay where he was
would mean the loss of his hiding place; to try to run away would
almost certainly be fatal. And so Enoch acted in the only way left to
him.

By hooking his arms and legs around the girders forming the underside
of the ramp, he was able to lift himself clear of the ground. It meant
being carried into the ship, but even that, he decided, was better
than falling into the hands of Indians.

He clung there like a sloth to a branch. Fortunately the beams were
recessed enough to prevent his being scraped off when he reached the
opening into the hull. When the ramp finally ground to a halt he found
himself in darkness beyond anything in his experience. There was cold
metal under him now and he lowered himself gingerly onto it. When he
tried to crawl into the open, he discovered that the edges of the ramp
were now flush with the floor.

Suddenly a deep humming note tore at his ears, became a shrill whine,
then passed into silence. The floor seemed to press harder and harder
into his back, his lungs fought for air, a sharp burst of light seemed
to explode soundlessly before his bulging eyes and consciousness left
him....

The rasp of metal against metal aroused him. The ramp was moving
again. Once more he attached himself to its girders and was slowly
carried from the spaceship. Sunlight on the grass told him the night
had passed, and the moment the ramp came to a halt, he dropped to the
ground and squirmed into the open. He was close enough to the ship to
keep from being seen by those aboard, and he slipped quickly around
one side before making a break for the shelter of a clump of trees
bordering the clearing.

       *       *       *       *       *

"And that, Mr. Quinlan," Kramer said, "just about brings you up to
date. At 4:07 this afternoon Mr. Wetzel was found by the crew of an
Army tank twelve miles west of Burdette, Colorado. He told his story
to the colonel in charge of that perimeter of operations, and was then
flown directly to Washington." He paused and allowed himself a
humorless smile. "I assume you have some questions?"

I said, "I'm not going to ask if you take this man's story seriously.
Considering the positions of the men in this room you obviously do.
What I'd like to know is why?"

Kramer hesitated. "Let me ask you this, Quinlan," he said, choosing
his words carefully. "Based solely on this man's costume and speech,
would you say he is an impostor?"

"No," I told him promptly. "Frontiersmen dressed exactly that way, the
long gun is authentic and his pronunciation, phrases and idiom comes
straight out of pre-Revolutionary times. But I still fail to see why
you give a second thought to his story."

"You don't think it true?"

"My God, man, how can it be? Unless you're trying to tell me that this
character was brought here by a time machine!"

"One moment, Mr. Quinlan." Secretary of War McClave was back in the
picture. "Let me tell you why we do not regard Mr. Wetzel as a mental
case. Shortly after one o'clock this afternoon, Rocky Mountain Time, a
section of Washington County, Colorado, roughly thirty miles in
circumference was suddenly cut off from the rest of the country--cut
off as completely as though it never existed. Telephone lines ceased
to function, a radio station in the same area went off the air in the
middle of a soap commercial. All traffic, vehicular and foot, ceased
to come out of it. The Governor of Colorado sent in a detachment of
the National Guard; nothing has been heard from it since. Air
observers report all cars and trains appear to have stalled. Two
planes trying a bit of hedge-hopping apparently conked out and were
forced to land. No radio contact with them."

I said, "I heard some of this on a news broadcast shortly before
midnight tonight. According to the announcer the area involved was
larger than thirty miles."

McClave nodded soberly. "The affected area is expanding steadily. It
now reaches as far west as Strasburg, Colorado, and as far east as
the Nebraska state line. The north and south limits seem to be
somewhat narrower."

I looked at him and at the other men around the table. Their faces
held a quiet tautness, and General Ohlmsted's hand, holding a cigar,
was shaking a little. "And," I said, "you feel that this spaceship
holds the answer. Is that it?"

"It's all we have to go on," the President said softly.

"One more question," I said. "Where do I fit into this?"

There was a moment's awkward silence, broken by the creak of the chair
holding the man who had been introduced to me as a Mr. Proudfit. His
round face smiled at me almost jovially.

"I expect I'm the one to explain that, Mr. Quinlan. Wetzel tells us
the man in charge of the spaceship appeared to be an Indian. It seems
our best move is to send an emissary into the blacked-out section to
learn the reason for this--well--this attack. Such a representative
should be qualified to deal intelligently with this--this Indian.
Somebody able to understand the Indian temperament. In short, Mr.
Quinlan, you!"

       *       *       *       *       *

I rubbed a hand along the back of my neck and smiled. "You know, this
whole thing is utterly mad! Indians, time machines, robots,
spaceships! But then these days the most fertile imaginations can't
seem to keep up with reality. If you gentlemen want me to try to get
to this Indian and ask him what's the big idea, I'll do my best. Not
because I want to, but because I wouldn't know how to go about
refusing the President of my country."

Some of the tension seemed to go out of the room. The President said,
"You won't find me or your country ungrateful, Mr. Quinlan," and the
Secretary of War nodded approvingly, and General Ohlmsted's cigar
stopped shaking. Proudfit took out a sheaf of papers from an inner
pocket of his coat, leafed through them quickly and handed one to me.
"This authorizes you as a representative of the United States
Government, answerable only to the President, and with full authority
to act accordingly."

"Fine," I said, putting it away. "Maybe I can use it on these robots
Wetzel mentioned!"

Proudfit looked at his strap-watch. "An Army jet bomber will take you
and Mr. Wetzel to a point as close to Burdette, Colorado, as can be
managed. Wetzel tells us he can locate the spaceship from that point.
We don't know, of course, how closely guarded the ship is--or even if
it's guarded at all. But Wetzel is confident his training and
background as a frontiersman and Indian fighter can get you there
under cover of darkness. Once you reach the spaceship, the rest is up
to you."

"And if I don't make it?"

Proudfit spread his hands. "Two companies of Army regulars entered
that area at 6:30 tonight. They were fully armed, with orders to use
those arms if necessary. Nothing has been heard from them since. We're
sending you on the theory that where many can't get through perhaps
one or two can. You have until noon--slightly more than eleven hours
from now--to get word to us. If we don't hear from you by then or if
the 'dead' area continues to expand after that time, then we throw our
Sunday punch!"

Enoch Wetzel was still standing exactly as he had while telling his
story. I walked over to him. "Let's get one thing straight, mister. If
you and I are going to work together, we leave personal feelings out
of it. A few minutes ago I passed a remark or two about one of your
relatives and you tried to knock my head off. I'm willing to forget it
if you are. But I don't want any more cracks out of you about my being
a half-breed. Is that clear?"

He eyed me stonily, then without change of expression spat on the rug
within a quarter-inch of my left shoe. I felt the muscles in my arms
twang like plucked wires as I resisted the impulse to swing on him.
"Is that your answer, Wetzel?"

"I'll git you thar," he said tonelessly. "I promised these yere
gennelmen I'd do thet much. But it don't hold I gotta cotton to you."

We stood there staring into each other's eyes. There was a wall of
hatred between us that could never be destroyed, a wall not fashioned
by us but by our forefathers generations before. Yet a chain of
incredible events had made us allies against an alien foe. In spite of
our mutual dislike we must work together.

       *       *       *       *       *

I turned back to Proudfit. "I'll need a pair of heavy black basketball
shoes, dark coveralls, a good heavy sweater, a .38 Colt automatic with
plenty of ammunition, and a compass."

       *       *       *       *       *

The bomber pilot was a fresh-faced youngster who chewed gum and
claimed to have been the second-ranking tennis player in Des Moines,
Iowa. He shook hands gravely with me, eyed Wetzel and his strange garb
and out-size rifle with blank-faced wonder, and mentioned that it was
a nice night for flying.

The plane took off at 1:27. We were due over our target by 4:00
o'clock Eastern Standard Time, or 2:00 Mountain Time. The plans called
for the bomber to fly at a high altitude, then come in on Burdette
with jets off and drop us by 'chute. Wetzel had balked for a while at
the idea of stepping off into space, but a brief but patient
explanation of how a parachute worked finally brought him grudgingly
around.

The trip seemed to take forever. I was torn by a thousand doubts,
saddened by not being allowed to say goodbye to Lois, not a little
afraid of what I would likely run into in Colorado. And all the while,
my companion, out of his normal world and time, surrounded by wonders
beyond his wildest nightmares, slept sound as an infant....

A hand shook me awake. In the faint glow of a flashlight I made out
the face of the co-pilot. "Twenty minutes, Mr. Quinlan."

Wetzel was already on his feet. The co-pilot helped us don the
'chutes, and five minutes before arrival opened the heavy side door. A
rush of wind tore in, but there was no other sound. The jets had
already cut off and the plane was gradually losing altitude in a
shallow dive. As this was not a plane used for parachute troops there
was no wire to hook the 'chute cord to. It meant we would have to pull
our own, but both of us had been thoroughly versed in what to do.

"Get ready," shouted the co-pilot.

I grasped the door frame and waited, my heart pounding in my ears.
Wetzel stood directly behind me, the muzzle-loader in his hand, the
tail of his coonskin cap bouncing in the wind, his eyes narrowed.

"Five," the co-pilot said suddenly. "And a four, and a three, and a
two, and a one--_target_!"

I dived headfirst into blackness. I spun madly earthward, but in the
back of my mind a calm voice counted off the seconds. Then I yanked at
the ring-cord, black folds of nylon rustled above me, I heard a sharp
report like the crack of a giant whip, the straps at my shoulders
yanked painfully, and I was floating gently down toward the
night-shrouded surface of Colorado.

I landed in a meadow, if that was what they called it this far west. I
came down hard but in the way they had told me would prevent injury.
There was no wind to yank me about before I could unship the
parachute, and within seconds I was on my feet and searching for some
sign of Enoch Wetzel.

       *       *       *       *       *

Unexpectedly a hand struck me lightly on the back. I was jumping aside
and reaching for my gun when the frontiersman's quiet voice reached
me. "You scare mighty easy for an Injun."

I said, "We should be about a mile, two at the most, south of the road
where that Army tank picked you up yesterday afternoon. Let's find
it."

"Aye."

The land was by no means as flat as I had expected. Fortunately most
of it was relatively open, with only scattered clumps of trees and
bushes. There were too many small unexplained night sounds, but none
of these appeared to alarm Wetzel in the slightest, so I managed to
ignore them. Once we flushed a long-eared rabbit, and it was five
minutes before I could get my heart out of my throat.

A barbed-wire fence, the first we had encountered, told me we had
reached a road. It wasn't paved or even graveled--just a ribbon of
dirt pointing east and west as straight as an Apache lance. Nothing
moved along it in either direction as far as I could see. A line of
telephone poles bordered one side.

"Recognize any landmarks?" I asked.

Wetzel shook his head.

"We're probably east of where you were found," I said. "We might as
well start walking."

He grunted in agreement and we started out. It was a lovely starlit
night, no moon at this hour, and a lot warmer than I had expected for
October in Colorado. Now and then the road dipped and climbed, and as
we reached the crest of the third hill, I saw a good-sized farmhouse
set well back from the road among a group of out-buildings.

I pointed to the house. "Maybe they can tell us what's been happening
around here."

Wetzel nodded and we turned in at a fieldstone path leading across the
large yard to the front door. There were no lights visible from
within, no dog barked, no rustle of livestock in the barns or pens.

I saw him just before I stepped on his head. He was lying across the
path in the shadow cast by a gnarled tree, a stocky man in overalls
and a blue work shirt. A double-barrelled twelve-gauge shotgun lay on
the ground near his right hand. One side of his chest was black with a
sticky substance that could have been only one thing, and the top of
his head was black in the same way, except that no hair was there
anymore....

"_Scalped!_" I whispered hoarsely.

Enoch Wetzel stooped suddenly and picked up the shotgun and wordlessly
held it out to me. My jaw fell in astonishment. The twin barrels were
bent into a rude V.

I licked my lips and backed away. "Let's get out of here, Wetzel."

He tossed the gun aside and we turned back to the road. Neither of us
said anything for fully a mile. "No human hands could have done that
to a gun," I said. "I'm beginning to believe what you said about
robots. Robots that take scalps!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Another hill, another valley ... and Wetzel caught hold of my arm. "I
come across them sojers about here," he said.

"Okay. From now on you act as guide."

We went on. Several times Wetzel's long, swinging, tireless stride
left me behind and he was forced to wait until I caught up with him
again. I had the feeling that I was holding him back, and there was
something faintly contemptuous in his obvious patience. But the life
of a book-writing newspaper man hadn't prepared me for cross-country
marathons, and there was nothing to be done about it now.

The fairly level, open ground was giving place to a heavily wooded
countryside. After another mile of winding roadway, Wetzel suddenly
turned aside and plunged into the forest. It was as dark as the inside
of an undertaker's hat, and after I had banged into a few dozen trees
and tripped over a few dead branches, making enough racket to alert
half the state, Wetzel slowed his pace to a crawl.

Finally I grabbed one of the fringed sleeves of his buckskin shirt to
stop him and sank down on a fallen log. "How much farther?"

He leaned his folded arms on the muzzle of his long gun and I could
feel his deep-set eyes studying me without approval. "'Nother hour;
p'rhaps more. Dependin' on you."

"Sure," I said with understandable bitterness. "I'm not the man my
granddaddy was. Nobody is. When I take a walk it's down to the corner
for a pack of cigarettes. Anything farther than that I use a horseless
carriage. We don't need steel muscles and superior woodcraft these
days, brother. Just enough eyesight to read the directions on the can,
ears sharp enough to hear the boss bawling you out, enough nose to
smell the whiskey on your neighboring straphanger's breath, reflexes
quick enough to avoid being run down by some politician's Cadillac. If
I'd have known I was going to be called on to go batting around a
jungle, I'd have been down to the Y five days a we--"

He moved like a striking snake. A hand was clapped over my mouth and a
knee forced me to the ground. Before I could make an effort to fight
back, he placed his mouth close to my ear. "Danger! 'Tis death for so
much as a broken twig!"

He removed his hand and I could breathe again. We lay there side by
side close to a huge tree, deep in the shadows. And then faintly as
from far off I heard the crackle of disturbed undergrowth and, slowly
louder and louder, an evenly spaced thumping sound that seemed to
shake the earth.

Through the trees it came, directly toward the spot where Wetzel and I
hugged the ground. It loomed against the night, a tower of steel on
jointed legs, a horrible travesty of the human figure, a head like
King Arthur's helmet. Starlight picked out two round faceted eyes of
glass.

       *       *       *       *       *

My suddenly dry mouth puckered with the taste of terror. I did not
breathe; even my heart seemed to beat no more. I wanted to close my
eyes, but even the lids seemed paralyzed.

For almost a full minute the giant robot remained standing less than
ten feet from where Wetzel and I were lying. It seemed to sense the
presence of something of flesh and blood nearby. Its head turned
slowly from side to side in little uneven jerks that put ice cubes in
my veins. Finally the mammoth feet began their rhythmic thumping and a
moment later it disappeared among the trees.

After what seemed a long time Wetzel rose to his feet. I got up slowly
and leaned against the tree. "In a little while," I said softly, "I'll
wake up. I'll be in bed with my wife, under the nice clean white
sheets, and I'll know all this was a nightmare brought on by that
canned salmon we had for dinner."

This, I told myself sharply, wasn't getting me anywhere except next
door to hysteria. I ground my teeth together, shuddered uncontrollably
for a second or two, then was all right again. Or nearly so.

"Let's go," I said.

An hour or so later, after taking a twisting route through what seemed
to be the Belgian Congo, Wetzel halted under the spreading branches of
a towering cottonwood. With his lips close to my ear, he whispered,
"It's a-settin' out thar midst open ground." He gestured at the wall
of blackness hemming us in--blackness you could have cut into hunks
with an ax. "I'm thinkin' thar's plenty 'o them iron critters roamin'
'round twixt us an' it. You aimin' to await the dawn?"

"You," I said, "said it!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The dawn came up nice and quiet. Blackness turned gray and then a
pearl pink--and there she was: a hundred yards from us, of some
gleaming metal resembling aluminum, twenty feet high and covering
about as much ground as a caretaker's cottage. It resembled nothing
more than a soup plate turned bottom up to dry.

A tall, semi-circular opening showed black in one side, with a sloping
metallic ramp reaching from it to the ground. Two robots guarded the
entrance, stiff and towering and without movement, the early light
glistening along their jointed bodies.

In sharp contrast to this scene from the distant future was the
anachronistic spectacle of six Indians, in war paint, fringed
buckskin and stripped to the waist, squatting around a small cooking
fire near the ship. Within easy reach of each was a long bow and a
quiver of arrows.

Nothing about them gave me a certain clue as to which Indian family
they belonged to. The single feather in each scalp lock was pure white
with a vivid red tip. Two of them wore the black paint of untried
warriors, and all were gnawing on strips of meat grilled over the
fire.

Wetzel, placid and silent, leaned on his rifle and calmly stuffed a
cheek with a twist of black tobacco. "Reckon they be a little hard to
talk to?" he asked in a soft voice.

I shrugged. "Only one way I know of to find out."

"Thet fancy pistol you got could kill 'em all afore they get them bows
unlimbered."

"Are you suggesting I shoot them down without warning?"

It was his turn to shrug. "They be Indians."

The complete lack of feeling in his tone infuriated me. "You
cold-blooded bastard! I happen to be a good part Indian myself."

He eyed me without expression but with a chill glitter to his eyes.
"Aye. I ain't forgettin' thet," he said, and spat.

I took a slow breath and waited until I could trust my voice. "I'm
going out there," I said quietly. "Cover me with your gun. But don't
use it _unless_ it's the only thing left to do. I don't want that
trigger pulled until the last possible second. They may grab me, they
may even knock me around a little. That I can take. But don't try to
interfere until there's no other way out. Is that clear?"

"Aye."

I turned away from him. All I had to do now was step out from behind
that tree and walk across the open ground. Each of my feet suddenly
weighed a ton. Two steps into that clearing and the funeral could be
Monday. Instinctively my hand crawled toward the .38 automatic hidden
in my coveralls. It never got that far. Suicide was so final.

Wetzel's firm young mouth held an almost invisible sneer. Deliberately
I took out a cigarette, lighted it with an airy gesture and a match,
dragged deeply on it twice and threw it away. I said, "Lay off that
gun like I told you," and walked slowly out into the clearing.

       *       *       *       *       *

It got a rise out of them, all right. They were on their feet, arrows
notched, before I had traveled three feet. I never even hesitated.
Once I had gone this far, the bluff had to be carried all the way out.
I kept my spine stiff, my head erect, my hands conspicuously empty at
my sides. If my nerves were jumping I was the only one who knew about
it.

It caught them just a shade off-balance, which was all I had hoped
for. The one-sidedness of six drawn bows against one unimpressive and
unarmed man eventually registered and the flint tips wavered, then
turned aside.

The tallest of the braves--a lean number the color of an old
penny--tossed his bow aside and deliberately stepped squarely in my
path. There was an insolent arrogance in every line of his body--a
body that topped my six feet a full three inches.

I said, "Hi-yo, Silver," and put my hip into his naked belly and
grabbed his arm and threw him over my shoulder. He hit face first two
yards away and plowed up a furrow of grass, flopped around a little,
then lay still.

Nobody else moved, except me. I started for the spaceship again, not
hurrying and not crawling, head still up, spine still stiff, eyes
straight ahead. Feet slithered in the grass behind me and the sound
made the skin between my shoulder blades twitch like an aching tooth.
Every instinct that had anything to do with self-preservation was
fighting to make me turn around.

That was when the robots moved. They seemed to come alive at the same
instant, metal clanged on metal as they strode stiffly down the ramp
to meet me. Violence hung over them as it hangs over a Patton tank.

Every step toward them was like pulling my foot out of quicksand. Only
twelve kinds of a cretin would have gone on when faced with anything
like this. I went on. I couldn't do anything else. Once you show an
Indian a molecule of cowardice, you're twelve lines on the obituary
page.

The space between us was down to a narrow ribbon of grass by this
time. Four--three more steps and I would _have_ to stop. Nobody could
push aside a couple of tons of animated steel. Metal arms were lifting
slowly, preparing to close on me. Inside me a silent voice screamed a
prayer for Wetzel to pull that trigger and pump a bullet into one of
those round, staring, faceted eyes....

The robots seemed to go dead. They hung there motionless, arms lifted,
each with a massive foot caught in midstride.

What had stopped them at the last possible second I had no way of
telling. All I did know was a sudden release of tension that left me
with just enough strength to keep my feet moving.

I went on.

       *       *       *       *       *

The edge of the ramp was getting uncomfortably close. I was here to
see the head man, but I would prefer to see him out in the open. The
thought of walking into that black hole left me as cold as a barefoot
Eskimo.

The ramp. It was a good six feet wide, made of what seemed to be some
form of an aluminum alloy, and was waiting to be walked on. I started
up its shallow slope, the rubber soles of my basketball shoes
soundless on the smooth surface.

He appeared suddenly, without warning, in the doorway. He was quite
tall, slim in the hips, and his naked shoulders seemed almost as wide
as the opening. Elaborate beadwork designs had been worked into the
buckskin breeches, and his headdress resembled a Sioux warbonnet, its
twin rows of red-tipped feathers hanging almost to his moccasins. A
hunting knife hung in a snake-skin sheath at his right hip. He was as
gauntly handsome as a Blackfoot--and they don't come any
better-looking than that.

He stood there, arms folded across his chest, looking as immovable as
Pike's Peak. This time I stopped. My back was as stiff as his, my head
as erect, my shoulders as square if not as wide. For a long time we
stood that way staring straight into each other's eyes, our
expressions blank, our tongues locked.

When enough time had passed for me to open the conversation without
being accused of impetuousness, I said, "I am Long Rock, of the
Potawatomi. I have come in peace, to hold counsel with you."

My words, in the language of the Delaware because of Wetzel's earlier
remark, had no immediate effect, which was par for the course with any
Indian. Not even his eyelids moved. The silence went on, building into
tension. Anyone unfamiliar with the ways of the Indian would have
taken another stab at it. I knew better. I had made my pitch; now it
was strictly up to him.

Finally his strong lips came unstuck. "I am Lo-as-ro, War Chief of the
Kornesh." It was the Delaware tongue, all right, but with inflexions
and nuances strange to me. "How is it that your skin is white but you
speak in the way of the Orbiwah?"

That last word, I judged, was what the Indian in general was called
wherever this specimen had come from. I said, "In my blood is the
blood of the Orbiwah. That is why I am here, sent by the Great Chief
of all white men."

We squatted down facing each other on the ramp. At once a young brave
brought out a long, elaborately carved peace-pipe. Lo-as-ro put the
bit to his mouth and puffed smoke toward the four cardinal points of
the compass, then passed the pipe to me. The tobacco was far more
aromatic than any I had come across before.

With the amenities out of the way, the Chief said, "Why has the White
Chief sent you to me?"

"To welcome you to the land of the white man."

"I come not to the land of the white man in peace."

My eyes were as cold as his own. "This we do not understand. The white
man has no quarrel with the tribe of Kornesh."

"The white man," Lo-as-ro said sonorously, "has taken from the Orbiwah
his land and his home. He has driven the Orbiwah into small areas. He
has killed buffalo and the bison and the deer, leaving the Orbiwah to
eat the meat of the horse or to starve. The Orbiwah has been made foul
with the diseases of the white man."

"All this," I said, "was long, long ago. Perhaps it was not right, but
it is the way of life that the strong prevail and the weak perish."

His expression darkened. "You say this--you with the blood of the
Orbiwah in your veins?"

"I speak only true words, noble Lo-as-ro. The white men are in number
as the leaves of the forest, the Orbiwah few and helpless."

One of his hands made a graceful motion. "I have come to return the
land to the Orbiwah, to restore him to the greatness of his fathers.
Once more the land shall be alive with game, the rivers filled with
fish. Once more shall the Orbiwah hunt with the weapons of his
fathers. I have spoken."

"From whence do you come?" I asked.

He pointed dramatically toward the sky. "From a great distance. Up
there are many worlds."

"Tell me of your world," I said.

The telling took a long time but not a word of it was dull. According
to Lo-as-ro, his world was a planet revolving about one of the stars
in the Big Dipper. It was slightly smaller than Earth, with about the
same climates and development of life. It was peopled with only one
race, the Orbiwah, who lived much as the Indians in America did before
the arrival of the white man. Recently spaceships from another planet
in the same solar system had landed on the Orbiwah world. These
newcomers were friendly, had no thought of conquest, and possessed a
science and culture of amazing proportions.

       *       *       *       *       *

From them the Orbiwah learned of a planet on which were men of their
own kind. Lo-as-ro, fired by the thought of establishing contact with
people like himself, had borrowed spaceships manned by robots and
crossed the void to Earth. For weeks they had hovered in our
atmosphere, at first saddened, then angered, by the fate meted out to
the Indians.

Since the spaceships were able to move through Time into the past,
Lo-as-ro hit on the idea of going back to the days when the Indian was
still in control of most of America. With the power at his control he
could force the white man from the continent and restore the land to
those who owned it.

Arriving near the close of the Eighteenth Century, he found a sizeable
encampment of Indians, brought the ship down among them, and summoned
the chiefs to a Council of War, where he outlined to them his plan. To
his astonishment he found the chiefs suspicious of outside help and
confident that they could defeat the white man alone. In vain did
Lo-as-ro explain that they were doomed; they could not, or would not,
believe that he had visited the future. He offered to take them ahead
and let them see for themselves--an offer that was quickly refused.

Whereupon Lo-as-ro decided to return to the Present and wrest the land
from the white man and hand it over to the downtrodden remnants of a
once-powerful race. It was on that return trip that Wetzel had arrived
in the present century.

When Lo-as-ro finished, I leaned back against the side of the ship and
lit a cigarette, bringing a startled grunt from the chief. I said,
"You cannot defeat the white man, Lo-as-ro. He has weapons such as you
have never dreamed: machines that can throw things that explode and
kill hundreds of braves at one time, machines that travel through the
air as does the one you came in, things that can wipe out all life
within a circle as wide as a brave can ride around in one day on a
fast horse.

"No, noble Lo-as-ro. Return to your world and leave this one to the
white man. He took it long ago and he will never give it up. I have
spoken."

The chief of the Orbiwah smiled grimly. "In the ship in which I
arrived on your world is a small machine. It is working for me now.
Within its reach no weapon is useful, no explosion can take place, no
signal can be sent. Only Man is not touched by this machine, but when
it works he has no weapons with which to fight. Each hour the
influence of this machine widens. Soon all this land will be helpless.
Then the robots will take charge and those who oppose them will be
slain."

I thought of the "dead spot" I had first heard about on the newscast
the night before, and how it was steadily growing. I remembered the
slain farmer with the missing scalp, the two companies of soldiers
helpless without radio, guns and transportation. I thought of a
mechanized America helpless before a few score of these spaceships ...
and I knew that counter-violence would be useless.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Give the country back to the Indians!" The cry of the over-burdened
citizen. It seemed it was about to come to that!

For a long time I sat there, thinking, trying to hit on an answer that
would save my country. And when the answer finally stirred at the back
of my mind, it was so completely bizarre that I almost missed it
entirely....

"Noble Lo-as-ro," I said, "I must return to the Great White Father and
tell him what I have learned. I will tell him that there is nothing to
be done to oppose the Chief of the Kornesh. Within a few hours I will
return with his reply."

Lo-as-ro inclined his fine head in assent. "Let it be so."

"Until my return," I said, "let the influence of the machine draw back
until it holds helpless only a small section of land about your ship.
Only in this way will I be able to return quickly to the White Chief."

Again Lo-as-ro agreed. I took my leave of him ceremoniously, and a few
minutes later Wetzel and I were hurrying back toward the highway.

       *       *       *       *       *

Four hours later I was on my way back, this time with four companions.
The plane landed us at the edge of the newly set "dead spot" and the
five of us forced our way through the forest until we reached the
clearing where the spaceship still crouched.

A silent group of Indians watched us as we crossed the open ground.
This time the two robots flanking the doorway did not leave their
posts. As I came up the ramp with my companions, Lo-as-ro appeared in
the doorway of the ship.

He eyed me and the others without expression. I said, "Noble Lo-as-ro,
I have brought with me four of my world's Orbiwah. They have come to
hear your plan for them and their people. I have told them nothing of
what you said to me, only that you have come from another world and
are of their blood."

One by one I presented my companions. Yellow Arm was Johnny Armin, an
old school friend of mine; Iron Eagle, with whom I had spent a year in
Korea, had his telephone listed under the name of Luke Riegel; Strong
Wind was Sidney Storm, whom I had met while spending a year in
Southern California; and Lone Pine, known as Lionel Patterson, lived a
few doors down the street from me in Washington and shot eighteen
holes any day in the low seventies.

The color of their skins, the unmistakable cast of their features,
made up the only passport they needed. At the chief's invitation we
squatted in a rude circle at the top of the ramp, and the peace-pipe
was brought out and passed around.

Presently Lo-as-ro began to speak. The magnificent voice rolled out in
tones like a cathedral organ, explaining how the American Indian was
to assume his rightful place in a world of his own. It was a vivid
picture, painted by an orator equal to any of the almost legendary
Indian speakers, and they don't come any better.

Unfortunately I was the only one present who could understand him.

       *       *       *       *       *

When it was over and Lo-as-ro was smiling in confident expectation of
their gratified excitement, Johnny Armin gave me a baffled glance.
"What the hell was _that_ all about, Sam?"

I said, "You guys don't know how lucky you are. The chief, here, is
going to fix it up for you to go back to the good old days. Be noble
red men. No more taxes, no more taxis. Live out in the fresh air,
sleep under the star-studded sky, drink the unchlorinated spring
water."

"_What!_"

"You heard me. And he can do it, too. He's got the tools to flatten
the country."

They stared at me and at each other, horror and anger hardening their
faces. Lo-as-ro had stopped smiling and was glancing about the circle
in obvious bewilderment.

"You mean he's doing all that for _us_?" Storm demanded.

"For all Indians," I said. "Free them from the iron heel of the
oppressor, and all that."

"Nuts, brother!" Iron Eagle snapped. "Tell him I'm a graduate of
Carnegie Tech, make twenty-five grand a year with Standard Oil, and
vote the Republican ticket. If he thinks for a goddam minute I'm going
to chasing around on a pinto pony hunting buffalo, he's got rocks in
his head!"

"And that goes for me--double!" Lone Pine growled. "I never heard
anything so screwy!"

I repeated what they had said, putting it into words Lo-as-ro could
understand. He had the look of a man who couldn't believe his ears.
"They speak with stupid tongues," he cried. "Do they deny the blood of
their fathers?"

"They live as they want to live, noble chief," I said. "They are
grateful for your wish to help but they ask me to decline the offer."

He came to his feet with a bound, his lean face hardening into a
copper mask of anger. "These are not true Orbiwah!" he thundered.
"These are as women, soft with idleness and pleasure, weakened by
their white conquerors. The land is not for them; it is for those
forced to live in degradation and squalor, dying of hunger and
disease, ignored by the white chiefs. It is they who shall be given
back the ways of their fathers, that they may become a great Orbiwah
nation once more. I have spoken!"

       *       *       *       *       *

"Look at these braves," I said. All of us were standing now. "Of all
the Orbiwah in this world it is such as these who could hope to
survive under the conditions you wish to establish. The Orbiwah _you_
describe would starve amid a thousand buffalo, they would fall from
their horses, they would flee in battle. Take away the protection of
the white chiefs and they would die."

The chief of the tribe of Kornesh curled his lips in a sneer. "The
protection given by the white chiefs is the protection of death. They
do not care what happens to the Orbiwah. I have seen it with my own
eyes."

"You're right," I said promptly. "The Orbiwah has been badly treated
too long. I shall return to the Great White Chief and tell him this:
unless the life of the Orbiwah is made good, unless he has fine
shelter, plenty of food, warm clothes for his back and the right to be
as other men, you will return and force the white man from this land.
It will take much time, but it shall come to pass. _I_ have spoken."

Doubt flickered in his eyes. "Perhaps your words are empty. How do I
know they are true?"

"When twenty summers have passed," I said, "come back again. Look upon
the Orbiwah and learn if they still suffer want and privation. If
their life is not better for what has happened today, then you need
never trust the white man again."

For a long moment he stood stiff as steel, staring into my eyes. Then
his hand shot up, palm out, in a gesture of farewell, and he turned
and disappeared into the spaceship.

       *       *       *       *       *

I got a barrage of questions then. I held up a hand to quiet my
friends. "Some other time, gentlemen. I've got to get to Washington
just as fast as a jet plane can get me there."

"If it's that urgent," Luke said, "call him on the phone and reverse
the charges."

I scowled at him. "Call who?"

"The President. Isn't he the reason you're in such a hurry?"

"No! I've got to get to bed."

"Bed? If you're that tired--"

"Who said anything about being tired?" I demanded. "Being tired has
nothing to do with it."

"Then what--"

"It seems," I said, "there's a black lace nightgown...."

       *       *       *       *       *





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Call Him Savage" ***

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