Operation Terror

Murray Leinster
Operation Terror
by William Fitzgerald Jenkins

Project Gutenberg's Operation Terror, by William Fitzgerald Jenkins
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: Operation Terror
Author: William Fitzgerald Jenkins
Release Date: February 27, 2006 [EBook #17870]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Greg Weeks, Geoffrey Kidd, Sankar Viswanathan, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

Murray Leinster

On the morning the radar reported something odd out in space, Lockley
awoke at about twenty minutes to eight. That was usual. He'd slept in a
sleeping bag on a mountain-flank with other mountains all around. That
was not unprecedented. He was there to make a base line measurement
for a detailed map of the Boulder Lake National Park, whose facilities
were now being built. Measuring a base line, even with the newest of
electronic apparatus, was more or less a commonplace job for Lockley.
This morning, though, he woke and realized gloomily that he'd
dreamed about Jill Holmes again, which was becoming a habit he ought
to break. He'd only met her four times and she was going to marry
somebody else. He had to stop.
He stirred, preparatory to getting up. At the same moment, certain
things were happening in places far away from him. As yet, no unusual
object in space had been observed. That would come later. But far
away up at the Alaskan radar complex a man on duty watch was
relieved by another. The relief man took over the monitoring of the
giant, football-field-sized radar antenna that recorded its detections on
magnetic tape. It happened that on this particular morning only one
other radar watched the skies along a long stretch of the Pacific Coast
There was the Alaskan installation, and the other was in Oregon. It was
extremely unusual for only those two to be operating. The people who
knew about it, or most of them, thought that official orders had
somehow gone astray. Where the orders were issued, nothing out of the
ordinary appeared. All was normal, for example, in the Military
Information Center in Denver. The Survey saw nothing unusual in
Lockley's being at his post, and other men at places corresponding to
his in the area which was to become Boulder Lake National Park. It
also seemed perfectly natural that there should be bulldozer operators,
surveyors, steelworkers, concrete men and so on, all comfortably at
breakfast in the construction camp for the project. Everything seemed
normal everywhere.
Up to the time the Alaskan installation reported something strange in

space, the state of things generally was neither alarming nor consoling.
But at 8:02 A.M. Pacific time, the situation changed. At that time
Alaska reported an unscheduled celestial object of considerable size,
high out of atmosphere and moving with surprising slowness for a body
in space. Its course was parabolic and it would probably land
somewhere in South Dakota. It might be a bolide--a large, slow-moving
meteorite. It wasn't likely, but the entire report was improbable.
The message reached the Military Information Center in Denver at 8:05
A.M. By 8:06 it had been relayed to Washington and every plane on
the Pacific Coast was ordered aloft. The Oregon radar unit reported the
same object at 8:07 A.M. It said the object was seven hundred fifty
miles high, four hundred miles out at sea, and was headed toward the
Oregon coastline, moving northwest to southeast. There was no major
city in its line of travel. The impact point computed by the Oregon
station was nowhere near South Dakota. As other computations
followed other observations, a second place of fall was calculated, then
a third. Then the Oregon radar unbelievably reported that the object
was decelerating. Allowing for deceleration, three successive
predictions of its landing point agreed. The object, said these
calculations, would come to earth somewhere near Boulder Lake,
Colorado, in what was to become a national park. Impact time should
be approximately 8:14 A.M.
These events followed Lockley's awakening in the wilds, but he knew
nothing of any of them. He himself wasn't near the lake, which was to
be the center of a vacation facility for people who liked the outdoors.
The lake was almost circular and was a deep, rich blue. It occupied
what had been the crater of a volcano millions of years ago. Already
bulldozers had ploughed out roads to it through the forest. Men worked
with graders and concrete mixers on highways and on bridges across
small rushing streams. There was a camp for them. A
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 62
Tip: The current page has been bookmarked automatically. If you wish to continue reading later, just open the Dertz Homepage, and click on the 'continue reading' link at the bottom of the page.