Red Sun of Danger by Brett Sterling
Red Sun of Danger by Edmond Hamilton writing as Brett Sterling.
Is Captain Future dead? -No, he isn’t, but in order to infiltrate a criminal organization he must pretend to be his own attacker.
No, Captain Future isn’t dead, but in order to infiltrate a criminal organization he must pretend to be his own attacker.
The supply of Vitron, a drug critical to the peoples of the System was in danger of being interrupted by a criminal conspiracy on the distant planet Roo. Someone was trying to incite the natives of Roo to riot. Captain Future must solve this problem. In the course of doing so he and the Futuremen will face the oldest of the Old Ones – the Kangas. (Yes, Hamilton had a little fun with this one.)
Red Sun Of Danger (1945) – From the archives of the mighty Ancients, Curt Newton brings back forgotten Denebian science to balk a greed-maddened schemer who seeks to loose unspeakable terror on the Universe!
Chapter I – Seven Against a World
Chapter II – Night on Venus
Chapter III – Secret Stratagem
Chapter IV – In the Abyss
Chapter V – World of Arkar
Chapter VI – The Rooms
Chapter VII – Planet of Intrigue
Chapter VIII – Alien Mystery
Chapter IX – Star-World Peril
Chapter X – Cosmic Shadow
Chapter XI – In the Red Jungles
Chapter XII – Valley of Dream Flowers
Chapter XIII – Quest for the Crypt
Chapter XIV – Dragon Sacrifice
Chapter XV – Satellite Secret
Chapter XVI – To the Dark Moon
Chapter XVII – Crypt of the Old Ones
Chapter XVIII – The Kangas
Edmond Moore Hamilton (1904–1977) was a child prodigy that entered college at the age of 14, though he left at 17. His first published science fiction story was “The Monster God of Mamurth“, in the August, 1926 issue of Weird Tales.
Hamilton wrote prolifically for all of the pulp science fiction magazines during the late 20s and early 30s and is considered a co-creator of the “space opera” sub-genre of science fiction. His story “The Island of Unreason” won the first Jules Verne Prize (a precursor to the Hugo Awards) as the best Science Fiction story of the year in 1933.
Red Sun of Danger has 22 illustrations.
Read more about Captain Future and the Futuremen.
Excerpt: The Red Sun of Danger
Seven Against a World
TO SEE your whole life-work smashed to ruins by no fault of your own, to see the great dream of humanity which you had helped fulfill destroyed now by trickery and greed—yes, the taste of these things was bitter!
They put a sickness in Philip Carlin’s studious, spectacled face as his rocket-car purred up the wide north ramp into the center of Great New York. They crushed his mind with a black foreknowledge of disaster to come.
He drove into the great paved plaza that is the heart of Solar System civilization. The titanic bulk of Government Tower loomed like a thundercloud above the lights of the metropolis. Far up there against the stars glowed a lighted window, like a vigilant eye looking watchfully out into the universe that man had begun to conquer.
A Planet Patrol officer met Carlin. “Dr. Carlin? I have been ordered to conduct you to the President’s office. This way, sir.”
Carlin glanced at the officer as they walked toward the mighty tower. Impulse made him ask a question. “How old are you, Lieutenant?”
The Patrol officer looked surprised. “Thirty, sir.”
Carlin brooded over the answer a moment. “I suppose you’ve got your next seventy years all planned?”
The lieutenant grinned. “Oh, sure. There’s a lot of things I want to do after I quit the Patrol, some day. But I’ve lots of time.”
Carlin’s voice was heavy with foreboding. “I’d do them now, if I were you. I wouldn’t count on those seventy years too much.”
The lieutenant’s grin widened. “You’re joking, aren’t you? Everybody will live more than a century now, barring accident. Vitron has seen to that”
His cheerful words echoed ironically in Philip Carlin’s mind as a soundless magnetic elevator bore him upward.
“Vitron has seen to that!”
Vitron! The whole Solar System depended on the magic drug these days, as much as on the air it breathed—the drug of long life!
For vitron was a super-vitamin, a chemical agent that combated the poisons which cause the human body to age. It would give people a century of life, and decades of useful youth. It had at one stroke enormously expanded man’s prospective life-span.
But nine-tenths of the precious vitron came from a world far outside the System. Now that supply was threatened!
If the System learned of that danger, there would be a panic. But Daniel Crewe, the System President, had imparted it only to the scientists who had discovered vitron and to the others whom he had summoned to this urgent conference tonight.
CARLIN was thinking of those others now, without hope. “What can they do, if the Government is powerless? What can any of us do?”
When he entered the tower-top room that was the President’s office he found that Zamok, the solemn Martian biochemist, and Lin Sao, the plump Venusian cytologist, were already there. So was Commander Halk Anders of the Planet Patrol, a hard-faced, massive man in gray uniform.
But the room was somehow dominated by the fourth man, the worn, colorless little Earthman upon whose shoulders rested the vast weight of administering the government of the System’s worlds and moons. Daniel Crewe looked as though that weight were crushing him, tonight.
“They’re not here yet?” Philip Carlin asked hesitantly.
“They’re coming now,” Commander Anders said curtly. “Hear that?”
A low, muffled drone was audible from the night sky somewhere above this tower-top room. To Carlin, who was no spaceman, it was indistinguishable from the sound of any other rocket-ship. But Anders was sure.
“That’s Captain Future’s ship,” he said.
Crewe’s tired eyes lighted a little. “I was sure they would come quickly.”
Carlin was unimpressed. Why did all these people regard Captain Future as though he were something superhuman?
Who was Captain Future, anyway? The greatest of space-adventurers, people said. They told Wild tales of his planeteering exploits, of his scientific achievements, of his three non-human comrades who were called the Futuremen, of his mysterious home up there on Earth’s wild, barren Moon.
But what did it all boil down to? To the fact that a young Earthman with three freakish companions had performed certain exploits in space which popular enthusiasm had magnified beyond all reason. Just as legend credited the Futuremen with impossible scientific attainments.
Of course, Carlin grudgingly admitted, these so-called Futuremen did have one major scientific achievement to their credit. Their invention of the vibration-drive, giving space-ships speeds beyond that of light, was what had made interstellar travel possible. It had enabled the System peoples, in the last ten years, to explore and even to start colonizing the nearer star-systems.
People had to have a hero, Carlin thought morosely. This brash young adventurer had caught their fancy, had become the center of nonsensical legends. But why did the President and Commander, in a serious emergency like this, place such dependence on a cheap popular hero?
“I suppose none of us are wholly immune to mob hero-worship,” Carlin thought wearily.
The muffled drone above the tower reached a crescendo and stopped. Quick footsteps sounded on the stair leading down from the little landing-deck atop the tower. A man came quietly into the room.
“Got here as quickly as we could, sir,” he said to Daniel Crewe. “Hello, Halk. I presume these three gentlemen are the vitron scientists?”
With a little shock, Philip Carlin partly revised bis cynical estimate. If this man was Captain Future, he had about him little of the flamboyant or swashbuckling air Carlin had expected.
This was a tall young Earthman, lean in a close-fitting drab zipper-suit. Except for an atom-pistol unobtrusively holstered at his belt, he had none of the attributes of a space-adventurer.
His torch-red hair was uncovered. His tanned and rather handsome face was grave. His cool gray eyes looked as though they could light easily with humor, but their gaze was searching.
Carlin’s attention next centered upon the trio who were entering after Captain Future. Carlin rose sharply, astonished. He’d expected three clever, freakish automatons. He hadn’t expected these!
“This is Curt Newton,” Daniel Crewe was saying quietly to the scientists, “and these are the Futuremen—Simon Wright, Grag and Otho.”
Simon Wright, the one known to the System as the Brain, held Carlin’s fascinated gaze as he mumbled acknowledgement of introduction.
WRIGHT was totally divorced from human form. His “body” was a small, square transparent case, poised in mid-air on jetted magnetic beams. His face was merely the side of the case on which were his protruding glass lens-eyes and the curious resonator of his mechanical speech-apparatus.
Carlin now remembered the story that people told and that he heard skeptically. If it were true, inside that box was a living human brain. Once it had been the brain of Doctor Simon Wright, brilliant, aged scientist of a generation ago, but when Wright was on the point of death, so they said, his living brain had been surgically removed and placed in the ingenious serum-case which had ever since served him as a mechanical body.
If that story were true—but it must be true, after all, Carlin thought in stunned surprise, for the Brain was speaking to the President, in a metallic, inflectionless voice.
“You said in your telaudio call that the vitron supply is threatened. What’s wrong?”
“Yes, whats all this fuss about vitron?” boomed the loud voice of Grag. “It can’t be as important as people make out. I never take it.”
Grag was a gigantic robot—a metal man, seven feet high, having massive arms and legs and a bulbous head with glowing, photoelectric eyes. Carlin had always believed he was an automaton, constructed with unusual cleverness.
But this robot was no automaton! His blustering comment attested intelligence and perceptions equalling a human’s, a powerful mind and personality seated in the robot’s complex mechanical brain.
Otho, third of the strange trio of Future-men, was wholly manlike. Yet the stories insisted that he too had been artificially created, that he was an android or synthetic man born in a laboratory long ago.
His slender white figure had a litheness that hinted agility and speed to match the titan strength of Grag. An ironical, reckless personality was mirrored in the android’s thin, mobile face and slanted green eyes.
“Of course you don’t take vitron—only we humans take it,” he said tauntingly to Grag.
Grag appealed loudly to Captain Future. “Chief, I thought you said Otho was to stop insulting me? Did you hear that crack?”
“Cut your rockets, both of you,” Captain Future said sharply.”
Excerpt From: Brett Sterling. “Red Sun of Danger.”
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