Saturday, September 12, 2009

"The Golden Girl of Munan" by Harl Vincent, part 12

This is the twelfth installment of "The Golden Girl of Munan", the first published story by pioneering science fiction writer Harl Vincent; the first eleven installments can be found here, 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, 25th century artist Roy Hamilton and his friend (and the world's greatest living scientist), Professor Nilsson, have traveled in Nilsson's aero the Pioneer to the uncharted Pacific island of Munan. The Munanese, descendants of a group of outcasts exiled from civilized society in 1950, intend to launch a fleet of invisible aircraft armed with disintegration bombs to conquer the world. Hamilton and Nilsson, together with a small group of Munanese dissidents led by the beautiful Thelda Serano, have obtained a sample of the Munanese superweapon and have fled from their hideout in the Pioneer one step ahead of the Munanese authorities . . .


When the altimeter indicated thirteen thousand feet, the professor turned the controls over to Roy, instructing him to keep the Pioneer hovering in its present position. He pulled a lever which uncovered all the portholes in the bottom of the aero, and as he rushed back to the salon, he cried to all of the excited group to watch the scene below through the glass covered openings. All complied immediately, kneeling on the floor about the several windows. The professor uncovered a small mechanism which had been installed in the salon, and started manipulating its controls as he peered through the telescopic sight.

“Watch Leyris now, folks,” he shouted, and as they turned their eyes in that direction, there was a hum from the machine which the professor was operating. A faint ray, like a beam of sunlight which might have been reflected from a mirror, shot earthward, striking exactly at the last building of the arsenal, which could be seen as a small object far below.

Immediately there came a violent upheaval at that spot and a heavy yellow vapor poured forth from the point at which the ray had been directed. This yellow vapor crawled swiftly over Leyris like an octopus surrounding its prey, and the mountain melted away beneath their eyes as had the stone in Serano’s old workshop. The vicious yellow vapor continued to pour forth as from the crater of a volcano, and all in its path went the way of the mountain.

Munan was overtaken by the fate it had decreed for The Outside. None could escape. No quarter could be asked. None could have been given. No pity stirred the breasts of the little groups watching in awe-struck silence.

When the vapor reached the city, tall buildings sank into the yellow turbulence like pillars of ice undermined by boiling water. The population could be seen swarming into the ocean like a rippling massed formation of army ants. In five minutes all that remained of Munan was a seething mass giving the appearance of ebullient sculptural. This rapidly disappeared into the depths of the Pacific, leaving in its wake a foaming swirl which drew down with it the last of the survivors.

Gone were the invisible aeros. Gone were the deadly fluid and the supply of crysinum bombs. Gone was the race which hated the world with so great an intensity that this same fate had been planned for billions of innocent and unsuspecting victims. Gone were the results of centuries of misdirected mental and physical effort. The Outside was saved!

The various groups around the portholes reacted suddenly; some jumped to their feet and shouted for joy, others among the women sobbing in hysterical relief. Slowly the professor arose from the ray generator and looked for Zora. She came to him immediately and thanked him with tear-dimmed eyes, and the others crowded around, embracing him in their joy and praising him as the deliverer of mankind and of themselves from a most terrible fate. After what they had just witnessed, they could visualize more clearly than ever the awful destruction which had been prepared for The Outside, and their thankfulness knew no bounds.

Disengaging himself, the professor addressed the group, which was crowded into the little Salon:

“Dear friends, we have accomplished what we started out to do. We should be grateful to the Supreme Being who has aided his humble servants in saving the world at the expense of Munan, the accursed. There are only twenty-one of us left now, with poor Landon gone. Though we are somewhat crowded for sleeping accommodations, you will be able to make yourselves fairly comfortable on board the Pioneer for the comparatively short journey ahead. With your consent we intend to return to New York in the shortest possible time. The neutralizing wall has now left us forever, along with the island of Munan, and we can depart unhindered. We shall arrive at our destination in twelve hours. Afterwards I will tell you the story of our labors for the past few days and how this destruction was accomplished. For the present, suffice it to say that, in the experiments with crysinum and the deadly liquid, I discovered that a stream of electrical impulses of a definite frequency would cause a reaction between the fluid and the enclosing metal which would start the destructive action and render the metal no longer resistant. The rest was easy, since we had available the small beam transmitter which had been constructed by your deceased leader. This I was able to modify so as to produce the required frequency, a ray of which you saw projected to the spot which Zora reported as the location of the supply of crysinum bombs.

“Now tell me; do you all wish to return with us to our home and there take up peaceful lives as inhabitants of our world, which nevermore will be “The Outside” to you? Or had you rather be landed in some other location less thickly populated? Roy and I have both grown to love you all during the short time we have known you and we hope to have you always near us.”

Enthusiastically, all decided to make the city of the strangers’ choice their own future home, and to remain together as a group, at least until such time as they had become accustomed to the new order of things. In little knots they gathered on the several settees in the salon and cabin, there to discuss plans for the future, which, for the first time in their lives, seemed bright.

(continue to part 13)

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