Warning from the Stars

Ron Cocking
Warning from the Stars, by Ron

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Warning from the Stars, by Ron
Cocking 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: Warning from the Stars
Author: Ron Cocking
Illustrator: Summers
Release Date: September 9, 2007 [EBook #22545]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Greg Weeks, Stephen Blundell and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

Don't believe in flying saucers? Neither do we, but that doesn't
necessarily mean that there can be no other way for Earth to get its

It was a beautifully machined container, shaped like a two pound
chocolate candy box, the color and texture of lead. The cover fitted so
accurately that it was difficult to see where it met the lip on the base.
Yet when Forster lifted the container from the desk in the security
guards' office, he almost hit himself in the face with it, so light was it.
He read the words clumsily etched by hand into the top surface with
some sharp instrument:
TO BE OPENED ONLY BY: Dr. Richard Forster, Assistant Director,
Air Force Special Research Center, Petersport, Md.
CAUTION: Open not later than 24 hours after receipt.
DO NOT OPEN in atmosphere less than equivalent of 65,000 feet
above M.S.L.
He turned the container over and over. It bore no other markings--no
express label or stamps, no file or reference number, no return address.
It was superbly machined, he saw.
Tentatively he pulled at the container cover, it was as firm as if it had
been welded on. But then, if the cover had been closed in the thin
atmosphere of 65,000 feet, it would be held on by the terrific pressure
of a column of air twelve miles high.
Forster looked up at the burly guard.
"Who left this here?"

"Your guess is as good as mine, sir." The man's voice was as close to
insolence as the difference in status would allow, and Forster bristled.
"I just clocked in an hour ago. There was a thick fog came on all of a
sudden, and there was a bit of confusion when we were changing over.
They didn't say anything about the box when I relieved."
"Fog?" Forster queried. "How could fog form on a warm morning like
"You're the scientist, sir. You tell me. Went as fast as it came."
"Well--it looks like very sloppy security. The contents of this thing
must almost certainly be classified. Give me the book and I'll sign for it.
I'll phone you the file number when I find the covering instructions."
* * * * *
Forster was a nervous, over-conscientious little man, and his day was
already ruined, because any departure from strict administrative routine
worried and upset him. Only in his field of aviation medicine did he
feel competent, secure.
He knew that around the center they contemptuously called him
"Lilliput." The younger researchers were constantly trying to think up
new ways to play jokes on him, and annoy him.
Crawley Preston, the research center's director and his chief, had been
summoned to Washington the night before. Forster wished fervently
that he was around to deal with this matter. Now that relations between
East and West had reached the snapping point, the slightest deviation
from security regulations usually meant a full-scale inquiry.
He signed for the container, and carried it out to the car, still seething
impotently over the guard's insolence.
He placed it beside him on the front seat of his car and drove up to the
building which housed part of the labs and also his office.

He climbed out, then as he slammed the door he happened to glance
into the car again.
The seat covers were made of plastic in a maroon and blue plaid pattern.
But where the box had rested there was a dirty grey rectangular patch
that hadn't been there before.
Forster stared, then opened the door again. He rubbed his fingers over
the discolored spot; it felt no different than the rest of the fabric. Then
he placed the box over the area--it fitted perfectly.
He flopped down on the seat, his legs dangling out of the car, fighting
down a sudden irrational wave of panic. He pushed the container to the
other end of the seat.
After all, he rationalized, plastics are notoriously unstable under
certain conditions. This is probably a new alloy Washington wants
tested for behavior under extreme conditions of
Continue reading on your phone by scaning this QR Code

 / 12
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.