Doomsday Warrior 19 - America’s Final Defense

Doomsday Warrior 19 - America’s Final Defense by Ryder Stacy Page A

Book: Doomsday Warrior 19 - America’s Final Defense by Ryder Stacy Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ryder Stacy
    “She looks fit! And her launch track and all the boosters look good.” The Russian ran up to the white steel of the giant horizontal spacecraft and banged a hand on her hull. It rang. “She’s a beauty. Best that NASA ever built.”
    Rockson didn’t like the look of the rails. He bent and with a finger rubbed one. Too rusty. “The rails need work,” he stated flatly. “Heaven knows what we’ll find inside the rocket.”
    There was a commotion behind them. The Millies had returned, pushing the nuke-device-laden chariot. “Here,” announced the Queen, “is your great dark present for the goddess.”
    “Thanks,” Rock said, “you girls are stronger than horses.”
    That set them to giggling like schoolgirls.
    When the girls left, Scheransky said, “True, these rails will have to be restored a bit. But the rocket is air sealed, or should be. Give me a hand.”
    They popped the door at the front end of the rocket with some difficulty. A wind rushed out—hot, moist air. Air that smelled like mildew and dry-rot.
    “Shit, it’s too warm in there. Something gone bad in there. I hope it’s not anything that can affect its operation.”
    “Right,” Rock said. “Let’s have a look inside.” Rock twisted the airlock door handle, and the door swung open wider. The stale, rotten smell grew worse. They entered, flashlights in hand, and saw ten dusty seats, and then a door. “Into the cockpit,” Rock ordered. “You first, Blondie.”
    With a cough, Scheransky quickly went forward and entered the cockpit. Rockson followed on his heels. The Russian technician carefully looked over the controls, now covered with dust. He consulted several crumbly manuals on a console and then took notes on an old pad with a crumbling pencil. Mold covered the cabin walls.
    As the Russian worked, Rock told the four technical men they’d brought to check the wiring, and main rocket boosters, and so on. The rest of the team poked around in a desultory way.
    It took hours to check everything out. Finally Scheransky went over his notes for Rockson: “What we have here, Rock,” he said gloomily, crushing the dry plastic handle of a control lever in his hand, “is a rotted out museum-piece, not a space vehicle. She won’t fly.”
    Rockson shook his head in dismay. With ultimate sadness in his tone, he muttered, “She certainly won’t fly the way she is, I agree with that. And we don’t have the equipment to make her fly, either. What the hell is that sour smell, though?”
    “It seems that the Millies just maintained the outside well,” Scheransky said, “but the natural decay of insulation and so on, inside, in the sealed rocket, did too much damage. That’s the main odor. If only they’d aired her out once in a while.”
    After they’d opened several air vents, Rockson sat brooding and dejected for a long while on the cracked leather of the pilot’s seat. He studied the dials again and again. “This gizmo looked different than anything I’d ever flown before, anyway. Even if she’d been in working order, I’d have had a fit figuring out this stuff.”
    He heard Detroit’s heavy footfalls, and a hand on his sagging shoulder. “Rock, what do we do now? I figure it was worth a try to see if anybody back in C.C. had any answers for us. I’ve activated the old radio. Doc Schecter is advised of all the problems we have. He has no solution. By the way, he wasn’t shot. Schecter got a medal for taking decisive action to save the earth, from the new council chairman.”
    “Who’s that?”
    “C.J.! The election was yesterday. McGrugle died of a heart attack when he found out it wasn’t us he had trapped down in the mines.”
    “That’s nice,” Rock said gloomily. “But it won’t matter in two weeks. Schecter, and us too; everyone dies.”
    Then Rockson pounded the dusty console with his fist. “No!” he exclaimed, “There has to be a way. If only someone could repair the main thrusters and its wiring, then

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