Friday, September 11, 2009

"The Golden Girl of Munan" by Harl Vincent, part 11

This is the eleventh installment of "The Golden Girl of Munan", the first published story by pioneering science fiction writer Harl Vincent; the first ten installments can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. The story first appeared in the June 1928 issue of Amazing Stories magazine, and was reprinted in 2001 in the anthology Rainbow Fantasia, edited by Forrest J. Ackerman and Anne Hardin.

As we join our story, Roy Hamilton, an artist in New York City in the year 2406, receives a videophone call from a mysterious woman. She warns him that a society of outcasts on an uncharted Pacific island called Munan are planning to wipe out the rest of the world. Hamilton and his friend Professor Nilsson travel to Munan in Nilsson's newly-designed areo, the Pioneer, where they are greeted by Hamilton's mysterious woman, Thelda Serano, and her chief advisor, Landon. They learn that the Zar, the leader of the Munanese, plans to attack the world with a fleet of invisible areos armed with disintegration bombs. Taking charge of the group, Nilsson sends a woman named Zora on an intelligence-gathering mission while Roy frets at his enforced idleness. Zora succeeds in her mission, but kills several soldiers while doing so, and the Zar cracks down on dissidents, executing several members of the group. Professor Nilsson is almost out of time . . .


Two days and three nights the men worked almost incessantly, alternating between the workshop and the Pioneer and only obtaining occasional snatches of sleep. During this period none of the group dared leave their hiding place. Thelda and Zora became constant companions. Before long, both had admitted privately their love for the two strangers from The Outside. Thelda ruefully thought of her avoidance of Roy and the reaction which it had produced. She had done that after the first day for the reason that his thoughts had told her of his love, and she had not been sure of herself. Now she realized that she loved this young man and could never live without him. But she was no longer able to bring his thoughts to her mind, for there was now a misunderstanding between them. She lived in constant dread that her treatment had killed the love which had at first existed. Zora’s feelings were of a much calmer nature. She was serenely confident, and happy in the love which she felt sure was returned.

In the meantime, Roy was much too busy to have constant thought of Thelda but, strangely, the golden voice intruded itself upon his consciousness at the most unexpected times. Success had crowned their efforts, and on the morning of the third day, the three tired men burst forth into the council chamber with a shout of triumph which brought all members of the group on a run.

“Folks, we have the solution,” the professor exulted loudly. “Listen. Get all of your belongings together at once and carry them aboard the Pioneer. We are all going to The Outside to finish our lives in peace and happiness. And we will destroy this miserable island as we leave.”

There was a shout of joy as all gathered around to hear the details. At that moment there was a crash at the entrance to the main passageway. Their retreat had been discovered by the Zarists!

“No time for explanations now, people!” cried the professor. “Get everything you wish to take with you and stow yourselves away on the Pioneer immediately. The entrance stone is some ten feet thick, and should resist their efforts for a long enough time to permit our escape. Evidently they have not learned the secret of opening the door. But hurry!”

The group scattered in all directions as the crashing at the entrance continued with increased violence. Soon there was the sound of automatic rock drills from the passage, but all, except the three men, were already aboard the Pioneer. With a sudden terrific jar and a yell from the attackers, the stone door came down and they swarmed through the passageway. Roy, Landon, and the professor had remained behind to see that all reached the aero safely. As they retreated towards the passage leading to the chamber in which the Pioneer rested, the enemy streamed into the council chamber in great numbers. Roy and the professor shot forth the purple rays from the hand weapons time after time, bringing down many of the Zarists and temporarily stopping the rush. Landon recklessly hurled himself into the massed troops and was down at once. Seeing that nothing could be done to save poor Landon, Roy and the professor ran for the aero and just had time to get the entrance manhole bolted from the inside when the attackers entered the second chamber. In a flash the professor was at the controls and the sphere started revolving as the enemy swarmed around the aero. With a great rush, the Pioneer arose, straight as an arrow, for the circular opening far overhead and they were in the sunshine, rising at terrific speed.

(continue to part 12)

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