Episode 46: Special Agent to Venus
by Thornton Ayre
Original publication: October, 1940 issue of Fantastic Adventures. Extensive research has not revealed the necessary renewal of copyright, so this is believed to be in the public domain.
Paul Wayne returned the salute sharply from the sentry as he strode into G.H.Q., New York Sector. He waited patiently as automatic rays and devices searched every inch of his massive six-foot body, recording the detail of the notes he carried, the weapons his belt contained; indeed, his whole setup, internal and external. G.H.Q. never took chances.
At length he was allowed to move on. Heavily lined, rayproof doors slid aside as he passed the barrier of the last photoelectric cell and stepped into the waste of robot-lighted maps and monstrous radio-television equipment adorning this, the New York headquarters of the vast Earth armies, engaged now in the bitterest struggle they had ever waged.
Wayne came to a stop at the controlling desk. Seven experts at work on instruments disregarded him—but the eighth and centermost man, grayheaded and square-jawed, looked up sharply.
"Squadron Leader Wayne, you are to be entrusted with an exceedingly delicate and dangerous mission. So dangerous, indeed, that you are permitted to refuse the assignment if you wish."
The commander waited, and as he had anticipated a grim smile broke over Paul Wayne's generously hewn countenance. His glacier-blue eyes even looked amused.
"There is no fear of my refusing, sir. What are your orders?"
For the rest, listen to the episode. If you'd like to read along, I posted a free epub version at the main site. Special Agent to Venus