Tom Swift and His 3-D Telejector

Tom Swift and His 3-D Telejector by Victor Appleton II

Book: Tom Swift and His 3-D Telejector by Victor Appleton II Read Free Book Online
Authors: Victor Appleton II
eating muscle."
    "Guess you’re right."
    "Just come right on out to the airfield when you get to Enterprises."
    "I have to drive ?" Bud chuckled. "What’s the world coming to? You couldn’t just stop here for me in the cyclo?"
    "And have your neighbors flood the Shopton PD with flying saucer reports?"
    "They are a little excitable," conceded Tom’s chum.
    In less than an hour Tom’s ultrasonic cycloplane was streaking southward toward the coast of Georgia, outracing sound as it balanced on its whirling lift-cylinders. "So this Jennifer kid is a real person, eh?" remarked Phil Radnor. "And you think she’s trying to get in touch with you? Mentally , yet?"
    In the pilot’s seat, but with the craft’s cybertron brain controlling the flight, Tom replied. "That’s the impression I get—whether it’s coming from her directly, or from someone else concerning her."
    "I getcha, Tom," said Bud. "That image in space might have been symbolic, not the little lady’s genuine astral body or whatever they call it."
    "All these images may just be byproducts of some force that reaches directly into our unconscious minds," Tom elaborated thoughtfully. "Someone’s trying to get across a concept, a kind of living idea , which is so charged with emotion that it erupts out into the open, so to speak. But human sensitivity is mostly in the area of the visual sense, and so our brains’ basement gives these ‘signals’ the form of visible images—dresses them up, you could say."
    "But several of you have seen the same thing," Radnor objected. "In my book, that means it’s real, not some kind of mental hallucination."
    Tom smiled. "Good point, Rad. But I don’t mean they’re hallucinations —not exactly. Think of it as an artificial reality, a temporary construction that can only last for a few seconds. If one person is a better ‘receiver’ than the others around, he could act as a kind of repeating relay, causing others to see what he’s seeing."
    "Wellllp," joked Bud, "if it reached through my thick skull, it’s mighty powerful stuff! But it’s sure no surprise that what Tom tunes in on would get passed along to me—or other simpatico types like Sandy and Bashalli."
    After a supersonic jaunt the SwiftStorm landed, smoothly and vertically, on the Fearing Island airfield. The three breakfasted with Amos Quezada, Dr. Carman, and the head of island security, Mace Vendiablo.
    "The eight victims have followed the same course as Arvid Hanson," reported Dr. Carman. "They’re all completely recovered, with no lasting effects as far as I can tell."
    "And no one else here has contracted it?" asked Tom.
    "Not so far," the medic replied. "The whole situation is most peculiar, gentlemen. It’s not overly unexpected that we haven’t identified the specific infectious agent for such short-lived cases. But I’m struck by the fact that Simpson and I have been unable to find reports of this condition anywhere else. The CDC knows nothing about it; neither do the many parallel agencies overseas."
    "Speaking of peculiarities," interjected Phil Radnor, "my instincts are tweaked by the fact that all eight of these good folks happened to be standing near a rocket engine during a live test procedure. Were any of them actually participating in the test?"
    "They would have no reason to be," Tom said.
    "They’re not engineering specialists or technicians. They’re astronauts, mostly—rocket jockeys, like we used to say," noted Quezada.
    Tom picked up on a word. "You said, mostly?"
    Mace Vendiablo answered. "Boss, I started pulling the info together right on the spot. Seven of the victims are space vets. The other is a member of the visiting research project that Aciema Musa is working on—a junior physicist named Herb Nelson. If you’re thinking he was behind the engine problem, don’t forget that he was a victim too."
    Bud spoke between crunches of granola. "Seems to me nobody’s said yet why they were all there."
    Amos Quezada gave a

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