Meteor Menace by Lester Dent

Meteor Menace

A Doc Savage Adventure

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subjects: Action & Adventure

This work is available for countries where copyright is Life+50 or less.

Description

Doc Savage and his fabulous crew journey to Tibet in pursuit of their most dangerous adversary, the evil genius Mo-Gwei. Battling against overwhelming odds, they try to stop him from conquering the world with a diabolical machine known as the Blue Meteor, a screaming blue visitor from space that turns men into raving animals!


191 pages, with a reading time of ~3.0 hours (47,882 words), and first published in 1934. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, .

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Excerpt

There is a theory among scientists that the ancestors of the Indians of North and South America came from Asia.

This probably explained how “Saturday” Loo could don a bright-colored blanket poncho, mingle with a crowd in Antofagasta, Chile, and pass himself off as a native son of the Andes.

Saturday Loo’s poncho was not a disguise, exclusively. It concealed an object which resembled a single-shot pistol, with a barrel large enough to accommodate shotgun cartridges. The poncho also hid a long rope, six pairs of handcuffs, a gas mask, and an assortment of tear-gas bombs.

Safety first was a fetish with Saturday Loo. The shotgun-sized implement, which was a Very pistol firing a slug that would burst into a smoke puff high in the air, should set machinery in motion to settle the business at hand. But there was always the chance of a slipup. Hence the rope, handcuffs, and tear gas to fall back upon.

Taking care not to bump into any one, which might call attention to what he carried under his poncho, Saturday Loo worked forward.

At least two hundred thousand Chilean citizens were gathered on this hill outside Antofagasta. The center of attention was a high speakers’ rostrum of temporary construction. Everybody was pushing and elbowing to get closer to the rostrum, although great loudspeakers of a public-address system were scattered everywhere, and should guarantee all hearing what was to be said.

Puerco!” gritted a man who had been elbowed. “Pig! Why do you shove?”

“I want to see the bronze man at close range,” said the one who had done the elbowing, unabashed.

That seemed to be the thought every one had. They wanted to see the bronze man.

Back of the speakers’ rostrum towered a structure which, once it was completed, would undoubtedly be the largest building in Antofagasta. It was possibly half finished. Its architecture was plain and substantial. A great sign hanging over the freshly mortared bricks read:

                     EL HONOR DE DOC SAVAGE

In case there should be any one unable to read Spanish, the legend was elaborated below in English:

                   THIS FREE HOSPITAL ERECTED
                     IN HONOR OF DOC SAVAGE

The building was being dedicated. The crowd was here for the ceremony, and to see the bronze man.

The bronze man was Doc Savage, that giant, mysterious worker of miracles about whom all Chile was agog.

             *        *        *        *        *

In make-up, the crowd ranged from austere grandees of Castilian descent, who had driven to the ceremony in shiny American limousines, to stocky brown Aymaran Indians from far back in the Andes mountains, who probably had come to town driving a string of llamas. The resemblance of these latter to Asiatics was startling.

Saturday Loo was an Asiatic, so he passed among them without drawing attention. To be exact, Saturday Loo was a Tibetan.

As many as one fourth of the Tibetan men become monks or holy men, with a very strict code of morals. Saturday Loo had never been tempted in that direction. A more thorough rogue than he could not be found between the Himalaya Mountains and the Gobi Desert.

Saturday Loo made directly for a cluster of poncho-clad men who hardly seemed to share the enthusiasm of the crowd about the bronze man. These also resembled Aymaran Indians, but were swart Asiatics.

“My children,” Saturday Loo hailed them grandly, “make less long the expressions on your faces. One would think you were going to your respective funerals.”

“If there should be an error, our fate may be exactly that,” mumbled a man.

“Aye,” agreed another. “I have heard that this bronze man, this Doc Savage, is very dangerous.”

“They say those who molest the bronze man disappear and are never heard from again,” offered a third.

“He is indeed what Yankees call ‘hell-on-wheels.’ ”

“Look what he did here in Chile.”

“Two hundred thousand people have come to catch a glimpse of him. That proves he is a great man, and dangerous to molest.”

“The gun which makes the loudest report does not always shoot the hardest,” quoted Saturday Loo. “You are children scaring each other with ghost stories. Stop it! This great crowd only makes our work the easier.”

The conversation was carried on in a Tibetan dialect, which none of the surrounding Chileans understood. In addition, voices were kept low.

Saturday Loo stared narrowly at his assistants. He could see that his words had not relieved them a great deal. Several times, the tobacco-colored men rolled uneasy glances upward. They squirmed, and tried not to let their chief see these overhead stares.

The skyward gazing came to Saturday Loo’s attention, however. He understood what was really making his helpers uneasy.

“So that is it!” he snapped. His voice, however, was a bit shrill.

The Tibetans shifted their shoulders under the ponchos, but said nothing.