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   Chapter 21 No.21

The Space Pioneers By Carey Rockwell Characters: 7867

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05

"And you kept giving Hardy wrong information?" asked Strong with a laugh.

"Yes!" snorted Professor Sykes with a wry grin. "You see, I knew right away Vidac was doing something funny way back-" He paused to sip his tea. "Way back before we landed on Roald." He grinned broadly at the people seated around the table in the dining room of the Logan house, Roger, Astro, Jeff, Tom, Jane, Billy, Hyram, and Strong.

After Strong had released the Space Cadets from the effects of the paralo rays, they had searched the Polaris and found the professor locked in one of the cabins. Placing Vidac and Hardy under arrest and confining them in the brig of the ship with Winters and Bush, they had returned to the Logan farm to clear a few of the mysteries surrounding the nightmare of violence since their landing on Roald.

"When Vidac and Hardy refused to let me go down and make an inspection of the satellite after the instruments conked out, I knew there was something fishy," Sykes continued. "Any fool could have seen that radio-activity would be the only thing to cause an instrument disturbance like that!"

"Then Vidac and Hardy knew about the uranium?" asked Strong. "We only discovered it at Space Academy ourselves a little while ago."

"They knew about it all right," asserted Sykes. "Hardy told me so himself. He got the information from an old prospector who had made application to come to Roald as a colonist. The space rat had been here before, as a sailor on a deep spacer that had wandered off course. The ship was running low on water so the skipper sent him down to the satellite to see if he could find any. He found the water and the uranium too. But he clammed up about that, hoping to keep it a secret until he could go back and claim it. His only chance was to become a colonist, and when he washed out in the screening, he told Hardy, hoping to bribe his way. Of course Hardy double-crossed him to get the uranium himself. That was why you were pulled off the project and sent to Pluto, Strong. Then he got Vidac to be his aide and everything looked rosy."

"It's still hard to believe that Hardy was behind the whole operation," said Astro, shaking his head. "Imagine-the governor of the colony ratting on his own people."

"It's happened before, unfortunately," commented Strong. "Better men than Hardy have succumbed to the lure of riches and power."

"You're right, Strong," snapped Sykes. "That's just what happened to Hardy. While I was his prisoner on the Polaris, he kept boasting about how rich he was going to be-how powerful. When I reminded him of his past achievements and of his responsibility to the colony, he just laughed. He said getting the uranium meant more to him than anything in the world." The little professor sighed. "If it hadn't been for the cadets, he would have gotten away with it."

"But wait a minute," said Roger. "If you suspected Vidac, why did you give him the information on the uranium to send back to the Solar Guard?"

"I just told him about a puny little deposit near the Logan farm," replied Sykes. "The big strike is on the other side of the satellite. I figured that if Vidac was honest it wouldn't hurt to delay sending information back about the big strike until later." He paused and added, "But then, of course, I had to tell him about the big strike."

"You had to tell him!" exclaimed Jeff. "But why?"

"To stay alive, you idiot!" barked Sykes. "As long as I had something they wanted, they'd keep me alive until they found out about it. They gave me truth serum, but I'm immune to drugs. All Solar Guard scientists are. They didn't know that. So I told them to look here, then there, acted as though I had lost my memory. It worked, and here I am."

"What about the way they antagonized us?" asked Tom. "Refusing to let us contact Space Academy and sending us out on a stripped-down rocket scout to investigate the asteroid cluster. It

seems to me they should have acted a little more friendly to throw us off the track. All they did was arouse suspicion and get us sore."

"But they hoped that you would get angry enough to do something rebellious, so that they could send you back," said Sykes.

"Well, that makes sense," said Strong. "But what about their treatment of the colonists?"

"Humph. A clear case of attempting to get the colonists to rebel which would give them the right to absolute control of the entire satellite and the people. Cadet Tom Corbett here is to be congratulated for not allowing Mr. Logan to go around like a vigilante and get us all in a space hurricane!"

Hyram Logan blushed and cleared his throat noisily.

The door suddenly opened and a uniformed messenger thrust a dispatch into Strong's hands.

"What's this?" asked Strong, tearing the Solar Guard seal.

"Message from spaceport control, sir," said the messenger. "They report a fleet of ships approaching Roald, under full thrust."

"A fleet!" gasped Strong. "But how? Why?"

Sykes laughed, winked at Jane, and slapped his thigh. "The Solar Guard coming to the rescue!"

"Solar Guard!" chorused the others at the table.

"Yes! Solar Guard. I sent for them. I figured if the cadets could build a communicator, I could too. I did it on the Polaris when Hardy went searching for the uranium. I told the whole story to Commander Walters back at Space Academy."

"Well," sighed Roger, "with the confession Jeff got from Winters on the audioscriber, I guess we can consider the first civil disorder of the star satellite of Roald finished. Peace and harmony will reign. And speaking of harmony, Jane, would you like to take a walk in the starlight?"

"I'm sorry, Roger," answered Jane, blushing prettily, "but I've already been invited."

Roger's face fell. "You've already been invited?"

Jane nodded. "Ready, Astro?"

"Sure!" replied the giant Venusian. He rose, offered Jane his arm ceremoniously, and the two walked out of the house. Roger's face turned a deep scarlet. The others around the table burst into laughter.

"Ah, go blow your jets," growled Roger.

Billy's eyes were shining. He turned to Strong. "Captain Strong, how old do you have to be to get into Space Academy?"

Strong's eyes twinkled. "Since Roger doesn't seem to be too busy, why don't you ask him for all the Academy dope?"

"Would you help me, Roger?" pleaded Billy. "I can recite the whole book of Academy 'regs' by heart!"

Roger glanced around the table with a sheepish grin. "There isn't but one regulation that's really important, Billy."

"Oh? What's that?"

"I'll answer that, Billy," said Tom. "Roger means the one that goes like this ... 'no cadet will be allowed to entertain any work, project, or ideas that will not lend themselves directly to his immediate or future obligation as a spaceman.'" Tom stopped and smiled broadly. "And that means girls!"

* * *

You, too, can be a part of the group of daring adventurers from the Space Academy who travel to mysterious lands in outer space on dangerous and exciting missions. It's as simple as opening a book ... if the book is


You'll discover the Earth of the future, where you can hurtle through space at breath-taking speed, and a trip to Mars will be as simple as taking a walk around the block.

Don't miss these thrill-packed books:









GROSSET & DUNLAP, Inc., Publishers

New York 10, N. Y.

Transcribers Notes:

Standardized punctuation and added missing quotes.

Pages 12 and 201: Changed Well to We'll (printer errors).

Page 114: Changed watch to watched (printer error).

Page 117: Changed became to become (printer error).

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