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Professor Hindlemann Could Make Mannikins Out of Masters
—and Masters Out of Men!

Experiment With Destiny

By Oscar J. Friend

Author of "Robot A-1," "Of Jovian Build," etc.

CERTAINLY, there was no logical explanation for the catastrophe. It happened in broad daylight on Fifth Avenue, just one block south of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

For several hours blue-coated police had been gathering along both sides of the fashionable thoroughfare, an indication of something official and important afoot. This morning the traffic had already been shut off from the side streets in the vicinity of Radio City. No motor vehicles save the huge green-and-yellow buses were allowed on the avenue in this area, and pedestrians found it inconvenient to get to their jobs.

What was the occasion? General Felipe Moreno, newly successful dictator of the Moorish Peninsula and Greater Spain, was making a semi-official visit to the United States. The exact purpose of the dictator's visit was unknown, even in diplomatic circles.

The only thing of positive fact the newspapers had to go on was that precisely at ten-eight on this sunshiny morning, speeding along a cleared avenue from which even a double-decked bus was absent at the moment, came the glittering black sedan bearing General Moreno. Besides the chauffeur, the general had one aide-de-camp and one Washington official with him. An escort of six motorcycled policemen had already whizzed on ahead, and a couple of following cars contained city officials and governmental dignitaries.

THE car of the Spanish dictator shot along Fifth Avenue at a speed of approximately thirty-five miles per hour. Bluecoats lined the way. Pedestrians stopped to stare. There was no other traffic. The signal lights serenely blinked from green to red and were ignored.

Except by one man. This person, observing the change of lights for cross traffic, having just come out of Radio City, stepped down to the street and calmly started across. Too late a police officer yelled after him. All other eyes were centered upon the approaching sedan.

And then it happened. The siren of the sedan shrilled madly, brakes and tires shrieked protest as the chauffeur attempted to stop, the car lurched sickeningly as he spun the wheel to avoid an accident—and there was the terrific sound of a mighty crash.

Fairly in the middle of the street, yards away from any obstruction, the dictator's sedan came to an abrupt halt. The front end of the car crumpled back as if it were made of cardboard, driving the steering shaft back into the chauffeurs chest, subsequently laying him up in the hospital for six weeks. It looked and sounded as though the machine had run squarely into a steel pillar.

But there was no pillar or obstruction there. There was nothing to have caused such a terrific crash. Not even the mangled form of the unobservant pedestrian. There wasn't a thing in sight save the wrecked sedan.

At first the incredibility of the thing held everybody in a stunned condition. Then a shout from one of the occupants of the dictator's car broke the spell, and the police rushed out to form a cordon about the machine. A uniformed police captain took charge.

The cars behind braked to a stop to the right and left of the wrecked sedan. The motorcycle escort came noisily back. Save for the seriously injured chauffeur it seemed that there had been no casualties. The general's aide and the Washington official were only bruised and shaken up.

The general had fallen forward from the force of the impact, and his head rested against the chromium handrail that ran along the rear of the front seat. It was only when Colonel Delros solicitously pulled the dictator upright that the Washington dignitary shouted.

General Moreno was dead. His forehead had been crushed in by the blow against the chromium rail.

The police now got busy frantically. This was assassination!

But was it? There wasn't a soul to lay the tragedy on; there wasn't even anything to explain the nature of the disaster. It was simply catastrophe of inexplicable nature.

A ghost wreck, the newspaper headlines called it. And that most aptly described it. Homicide got busy. Ambulances took away the wounded chauffeur and the body of the dictator. Experts swarmed around the car, prying into this and that, taking pictures, measuring parts of the debris, making chemical tests for the possible presence of a time bomb or an explosive of any sort which could have been previously planted in the death car.

The net result was nothing. It was precisely as though the sedan had run into an invisible wall at thirty-five miles per hour.

SERGEANT McCARTNEY, the officer who had yelled at the lone pedestrian, offered his testimony.

"I sees this guy all of a sudden, Captain, halfway out in the street and walking straight across in the path of the Moreno car," he explained. "I yells at him, but it's too late. And then I hear the crash. It looks something like a blue flash and, bingo, there ain't nothing there but the wrecked sedan. It is just like that bird is carrying a quart of soup on him and explodes when the sedan hits him. Only there ain't a piece of him left—not even a drop of blood."

"Who was this-mysterious fellow?" asked Captain Brogan. "What did he look like?"

"I didn't more than get a glimpse," said McCartney, frowning, "when it all happens. He was dressed in brown-like a uniform-and was wearing a uniformed cap of some kind."

When the chauffeur recovered consciousness that evening and gave his statement,to the police, it only deepened the mystery.

"So help me," he whispered in feeble but earnest accents to the detectives and newspaper men who were permitted to quiz him, "I saw that guy just before I got to him. I tried to stop, to dodge 'im and then there was a God-awful crash, a sort of crazy blue light, and then the whole engine was dumped in my lap. The next thing I knew I was wakin' up here. But I didn't kill 'im. I know that. I'll swear we crashed before I even touched 'im!"

"How the devil can you know that?" growled Captain Brogan savagely.

"I seen 'im!" whispered the chauffeur. "I was tryin' to miss 'im, wasn't I? He musta been a good four feet out in front. He was standin' rigid, like a statue, one foot stuck out for another step—like a movie actor caught when the projector stops suddenly. Then we crashed into that bomb he musta thrown, and that's all."

In essence, that was truthfully about all. Only there hadn't been any bomb. And before midnight official wires and cables were busy trying to explain to the new Spanish government a fatal accident which was inexplicable.

Dozens of spectators, now that their memory was stirred, came forward to testify that they had seen that faint flash of blue light. One woman had seen the inevitability of the heedless pedestrian getting struck and had screamed and fainted. But, in spite of all these corroborating statements, not the least sign of the man remained-to substantiate the story. The unknown individual had vanished so completely that, officially, his existence was never admitted.

What international complications might have ensued will never be known, because within twenty-four hours came the world-shaking news flashes that the other five powerful dictators of Europe had suddenly and mysteriously vanished. The news leaked out in spite of rigorous censorship. Thus, Spain had little to argue about; she at least got back the body of her own dictator.

As far as Captain Malcolm Gregg was concerned the whole amazing thing began as a sheer coincidence. He didn't know that at first, however; it just seemed a fantastic experience come to life out of tfe pages of a volume of fairy tales.

Having completed his business in a nine o'clock call at the R.C.A. Building, it was one minute after ten as he came out and paused to admire the colorful scene that was the sunken plaza dominated by the heroic figure of Prometheus bearing the gift of fire to man. From here he walked over to Forty-ninth Street and turned toward Fifth Avenue.

At ten-seven he reached the famed thoroughfare of Easter fashion parades. Deep in thought, he failed to notice anything unusual in the morning crowds and the thickening police. He knew that General Moreno was in New York. In fact, he knew quite a number of things. For Captain Gregg, although attired in full army uniform, was attached to military intelligence.

Uniforms of all sorts come a dime a dozen in Manhattan. Thus, few persons paid any attention to the trim figure of a U.S. army captain as he elbowed his way to the curb. The traffic light turned green for the cross traffic. Gregg had business on the east side of Fifth Avenue. So he stepped down into the cleared street and started across.

Too late he heard Sergeant McCartney's angry shout. Too late he saw the oncoming black sedan out of the corner of his eye. He raised his extended foot a little higher to essay a sprint straight across and out of the way. In that split instant of time everything seemed to stand still with the vividness later described by the injured chauffeur.

As in a dream, he seemed caught inextricably in a solid medium which permitted no escape. He was suddenly molded in a transparent beam of pale blue light which had the unyeilding solidarity of steel. And then he lost consciousness with the abruptness of a shattered light bulb. . . .

ON the observation parapet atop the Empire State Building an odd business was transpiring. A mild little man wearing a black slouch hat and an Inverness cape stood back of a slender tripod upon which was mounted what appeared to be a small telescope. At his feet gaped the open mouth of a small black bag from which he had taken his instrument and tripod. Wires from the queer spyglass led to a belt around his waist under the obscuring cape, a belt which contained several dials and rheostats and switches.

Intently the little man was peering through his telescope, for all the world like a range finder sighting a Sixteen-inch gun on a battleship. The instrument was pointed at a barren stretch of pavement in the middle of Fifth Avenue just south of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Suddenly, as a glittering black sedan appearing no larger than an ant at this distance and from this height, came darting into the field of the eyepiece, the little man held his breath and looked down to manipulate the gadgets on his belt.

It was at this instant that Captain Malcolm Gregg stepped out into the path of the black sedan, and the chauffeur swerved and braked his car. But the man in the Inverness cape did not see this; he was busy with his dials and switches. A vibrant hum seemed to emanate from him, and the surrounding air had a sudden metallic smell and taste, like a charge of ozone just after a lightning bolt.

The several other sightseers nearby glanced at him curiously, but made no effort to molest him. With the naked eye they could not decipher what he had been focusing on, and the sound of the crash some fifteen blocks north failed to reach their ears above the faint roar of traffic that arose from the busy streets just below them.

Without the slightest fuss or sign of nervousness the little man swiftly dismantled his odd apparatus and restored it to his satchel. Then he calmly turned and made his way toward the elevator shaft within, bearing himself with charming nonchalance under the suspicious eye of the nearer tower attendant.

An inconspicuous dark blue sedan was awaiting him when he reached the street level at Thirty-fourth Street. The driver deftly opened the tonneau door, his eyes a pair of question marks.

"It is finished, Emil," said the man in the Inverness cape, getting into the car. "To the master's laboratory at once."

Emil saluted and set the car in motion. Threading smoothly through the traffic, he tooled the sedan westward toward the Hudson River ferry slips.

HOW LONG he was unconscious Captain Malcolm Gregg did not know. He was aware of no lingering or painful return to his full senses. Instead, he came awake as instantaneously as he had passed out, but still in a state of physical rigidity and amidst such bizarre surroundings that he was positive he must be dreaming.

Still poised to dart from the path of the oncoming black sedan, he stood upon a curving rampart of what seemed to bea futuristic theatrical stage. He was facing inward. Two steps down was the floor proper of the stage, inlaid with dials that were as large as his head. Beyond the dials were panels of white and green that tapered toward a circular pit.

Set flush in the white panels were large black buttons half the size of his foot. Obliquely to his right was a huge sphere of glass that looked somewhat like a Crookes tube. He was vaguely aware of a massive post or electrical terminal on his extreme right and of what might be a modernistic machine-gun or rocket rifle with an exaggerated fluted jacket on his extreme left.

Unable to move his eyes in his head, he gradually took in the details beyond the arc of the stage and the circular pit before him. He saw the curving light walls of a domed chamber with a massive door set in it. It looked like the ponderous setting for a cinema spectacle.

In the pit was a colossal chair. And then it dawned on him. This was not a stage; it was a huge desk upon which he stood. He had been transplanted to the abode of a giant—if this were not a dream or a ghastly joke of some kind. The final truth did not strike him until the door in the curving wall opened, and two men came into the lofty chamber.

One was a slender giant in an Inverness cape, but it was the figure of the other who caught and held Gregg's attention. For he knew that man! It was Professor Simon Hindlemann, or a giant replica of him.

Hindlemann, the world's foremost scientist in physics and mathematics, the man whose theories on light rays, the universality of matter as reduced to terms of energy, and other matters beyond Gregg, had revolutionized the study of the Universe. Hindlemann, the greatest mind of the century, Hindlemann, the man who had been exiled several years ago from Central Europe!

The savant approached the massive desk which, large as it was, was not out of proportion to his figure. His fine dark eyes, limpid and penetrating, were kindly as he bent his gaze upon the immobile figure of Malcolm Gregg. He stroked his Vandyke beard in approval as he neared the desk.

"This, then, Rigaud, is the sixth and last of our—Himmel! Rigaud! This is not General Felipe Moreno!"

The man in the Inverness cape uttered a cry like that Of a stricken animal. He stared at Gregg in pitiful bewilderment. Both men came nearer and examined the miniature figure of the captain in agitated consternation. Rigaud began to tremble; his face blanched white. Gregg could see the pores in his skin and the weave of the cloth of his cape as though they were of coarse or highly magnified material.

"May God help me!" exclaimed Rigaud. "You are right, Herr Professor. I cannot understand it. I had General Moreno's car properly focused in the field and made exactly the right count in allowing for the speed of the machine before closing the radio switch energizing the transmission ray. I cannot understand—"

"You missed the dictator of Spain!" cried Hindlemann. "How, I don't know, either."

"But I know that Moreno was in that sedan," protested Rigaud. "And I had the range finder trained upon the street intersection just as the car—"

"Gott!" exclaimed the savant, realization bringing fa sudden horror to his fine eyes. "You have caught an innocent little fly in our trap, Rigaud. Well, we can remedy that. But remember the utter impenetrability of the force field. Consider the outside area of that circumference—a shaft of force greater than steel. If you did not lift that barrage quickly enough the dictator's car must have crashed against-quick! Get in communication with Rockefeller Center and learn if anything happened."

RIGAUD was already flying from the great chamber.

His great eyes pools of concern, Professor Hindlemann turned back to the rigid Captain Gregg.

"My friend," he said as softly as he could, his great voice booming in the tiny eardrums of the immobile little mannikin, "I cannot ask you what happened yet, but I know that you can hear and understand me, so I will try to explain things to you. I see that you are a captain in the service of this great country. You are doubtless wondering what has happened to you.

Briefly, you have been transported from Fifth Avenue, New York City, to my laboratory here in New Jersey. Permit me to introduce myself: I am Simon Hindlemann, a professor of physics."

He paused and bowed with a modesty that was charming. As if anybody boasting the least bit of scientific education did not know of Simon Hindlemann.

"You cannot reply at this moment, went on the savant gently, "because you are still in the cataleptic state induced by a subjection to my force field ray which transmits matter from one place to another. This is done by means of an adaptation of the Crookes tube, such as you see here on my desk, the mathematical details of which I will not attempt to explain.

"To you I appear as a giant for the simple reason that the ray which picked you up and transported you hither compacts the atomic structure of all matter it transmits. Hence, you "are about one-third your natural size, clothes and all, although there has been no loss of weight.

"But do not fear. I have here in the laboratory a ray which will restore you to your proper size by reversing the compacting process without transmitting you to another part of the world. Neither of these apparently amazing phenomena, I however-simply explained by the application of reducing matter to electrical energy and then reconverting it—is the main purpose of my plan, nor the extent of my control over the mutability of matter. Indeed, they are no more than playthings for commercial developments of the future.

"My greatest discovery since coming to the hospitable refuge of this great democratic country has been that of the life ray, which I call the Omega Force. By the application of this ray to living organisms I can slow down the disintegration of matter&mdsah;the wearing out of the life force, as it were—to a degree approaching that of the decomposition of radium. In short, without causing any other appreciable effect, I can slow down the wearing out of man's tissues to the extent of prolonging his life.

"How far, I will not hazard a guess, but I can safely prolong a man's life a full one hundred years. I do not ask you to believe me, any more than I ask you not to consider me a madman. Proof shall come' later that I can conquer disease and death—barring unforeseen accidents, of course.

"My purpose in doing this? That requires an understanding of my philosophy of the brotherhood of man and universal peace. I believe in the destiny of humanity, a great destiny which transcends national boundaries and the selfish greed and ambition of any one race. In my own poor way I would offer a badly needed aid to all races and creeds of mankind. Now—"

THE door opened again, and Rigaud came hastily into the vaulted chamber. Still shocked and stunned and trying to assimilate what the great scientist had been saying, Gregg stared at the incoming assistant.

"Herr Hindlemann!" groaned Rigaud bitterly. "Alas! Your keen perception is infallible. General Moreno's car crashed into our force ray. The general is dead."

"Poor Moreno!" said Hindlemann sadly. "Poor little mad dictator! He will not have the choice I would have given him." He sighed, wearily. "It cannot be helped now. Do not grieve, Rigaud. The fault, if it be a fault, is mine. Perhaps it is an act of God. But it is upon my soul, not yours, that his slaying rests. Come, we will see that nothing else happens to disrupt our plans."

He reached below the level of the desk as he spoke and brought up his hand with a queer looking gun-shaped instrument that looked like a Luger with a small motion picture reel attached to the breech. He pressed one of the studs in a panel before him, and the Crookes tube came to dazzling life.

"Sleep now, my little friend," he said kindly to the rigid Gregg, and aimed the weapon at him.

There was an almost invisible flash of light in Gregg's face, and he felt himself falling into a deep arid soft but peaceful blackness.

This time there was an appreciable lapse of time before Gregg struggled back to consciousness. His time sense had reasserted itself, and he was aware that he had slept for an unknown period. He awoke, refreshed and comfortable—confident that he had been the victim of a bizarre dream.

And he found himself precisely as before, standing on the front and raised rim of Professor Hindlemann's desk. But this time he was not alone. And his eyes could move. To his right, one on each side of the huge brass terminal post, were the figures of two men no larger than himself. On his left stood two men in almost comic opera trappings, frozen in positions of ludicrous surprise and consternation. And beyond, was the erect figure of a man in Cossack regalia.

One after another, Captain Gregg studied them. They were like wax figures in a splendid museum. But they were not wax figures; they were human beings transfixed exactly like himself. And one by one he recognized them. Mustapha Demos of Turkey, Christopher Vampa of Italy, Otto Schwartzwahl of Germany, General Valdos of Brazil, and Comrade Leopold Borinski of United Soviet Russia. Dictators all, rulers of Europe. It was incredible.

Then Malcolm Gregg became intensely aware of the dignified figure of Professor Simon Hindlemann seated in the chair at the desk. There was an air of sad dignity, an almost godlike expression-on his fine face with its lofty brow. In his right hand he grasped the ray gun that looked like a Luger. His left hand rested above the queer keyboard of his desk. The Crookes tube was alive with electrical life in its vacuum, connected somehow by an insulated wire to the gun.

"Gentlemen," said the modulated voice of the savant. "I address you in English as that is a language which you commonly understand. I have already explained to each of you how you came to be here. A trusted agent in each of your countries focused you within the field of force generated by the matter transmitter which stands behind you, General Galdos, and you, Comrade Borinski. And you were brought here precisely as was Captain Gregg. You will note that you are now able to move your heads and that the power of speech has been restored to you.

"I offer you my apologies, Captain Gregg, for keeping you in this state, and in such company, for the past six days, but it would have been next to impossible to release you. At least, it is far easier to manipulate the entire experiment at the same time."

"Gott im Himmel!" articulated Otto Schwartzwahl. "Hindlemann!"

THERE was a babel of talk in several languages, protests, anger, fear, and amazement. Gregg could have smiled had he not been staggered at the savant's calm statement that he had been kept in this cataleptic state for nearly a week. The only ray of hope he had was that Felipe Moreno, the maddest dog of them all, the persecutor of Jew and Christian alike, was really dead. There was much that Gregg had to do, if this was not so. But Hindlemann silenced the verbal deluge with a waive of his armed right fist.

"I am Hindlermann, Herr Schwartzwahl," he said evenly, "the man whose family you oppressed, the man whom you drove from Europe. But you need not fear me, for I wish you no harm. You have already done your worst. That holds true for all of you in greater or lesser degrees. Some of you have done good things for your countries along with the bad. I will not judge you—now!

"But I will offer to you the choice between death, here and now and a great duty to all humanity. It would, perhaps, be a fitting punishment to hold you here as captives for a month and then return you to your countrymen to be torn to pieces as you warrant. You have already been absent six days and seven days from your positions of power. I need not stimulate your imaginations to think what longer absence will mean.

"But, no. I have not brought you here to exact vengeance for the many peoples you have caused to suffer. "You have each welded your respective countries into some semblance of order and control by now and I would not see them plunged back into chaos to bring forth other possible tyrants and bloody aggressors.

"Listen, dictators of Europe, and heed me. Only one of your number is not here to face this hour of atonement, of retribution; he has gone to stand before a higher bar of justice. But you are here, representing the power of most of Europe. Your countries are in a more or less settled state, a condition which wlll improve-if given time, and wise administration.

"Have any of you considered what will happen upon your deaths? You know the brevity of man's span of life. Have you considered the future of your countries after you have gone? Or have you been only the madmen who revel and glory in their own transient and fleeting power.

"In my hand is a weapon which, under the proper impulse, will seek, out every cell in your brain, cleanse them and purify them of all save good. Will you have this purge, or do you choose to die? In your present mental state, of your own volition, you must make this decision. I will not—cannot make that choice for you. Accept this mental liquidation and live one hundred years to guide your nations upward to a future great brotherhood of men, or die now at any hand. Choose."

There was silence for a long moment. Then the Russian, Borinski, by far the calmest of the lot, spoke in his guttural accents.

"What wizardry is this I do not understand, but if this is not a dream, and I am actually talking with you, Herr Hindlemann, standing like a puppet upon your desk in America-you mean that you will not injure my mind and will place me back upon my seat of power for a century longer?"

"I can and will," said Hindlemann gravely.

"And if I do not make this choice, I am to die here and now?"

"Precisely. Having gone this far, I will have no more compunction in raying you out of existence than in stepping upon a venomous snake."

SLOWLY a grim smile spread over Borinski's square and clean-shaven features.

"I accept," he said. "If this is no nightmare, I have no other choice; if it is, it makes no difference."

"Consider well," warned the savant. "This is no dream. And when you make this choice with the reservation in your mind that I am a tool who is granting you the of a hundred years of additional life in which you will conquer the entire world, remember that your attitude will have changed after this ray has searched out all the evil in your brain. You will live through the loves and hates and sufferings and hopes and despairs of the people you rule with a benevolent hand, and you may long for the boon of death.

"Longevity can be a curse as well as a blessing. You will live to see your loved ones and your friends and advisers pass on, leaving you alone, bitterly alone. Are you willing to make this choice?"

"I have no choice," said Borinski. "I have already made my decision."

The savant nodded and swung his weapon and his eyes along the row of midget men, like a boy with a popgun ready to shoot down his toy soldiers. It was awful as well as sublime.

One after another the dictators of Europe made the same choice.

"It is well," said the professor, and he smiled. "You have made this covenant in the sight of God and for humanity."

He pressed down a stud under his left hand as he aimed his weapon at Mustapha Demos. A thin pencil of flame came into life, striking the Turkish dictator in the center of the breast. There was a sudden minute burble of blood then a tendril of smoke arose, and Demos suddenly wilted as the ray swept up to play full upon his forehead. He staggered and pitched head long on his face before the seated savant, a small trickle of blood seeping out from the tiny chest wound.

Christopher Vampa was next. Even as he opened his startled mouth to protest at what looked like certain and pitiless death, death such as he had himself meted out to thousands in one form or another, the ray gun leaped to cover him, and a spot of blood and smoke blossomed from his breast. He threw up his arms with a strangled cry, released from his rigid state. His knees buckled, and he fell beside his Turkish confrére, a purplish-green aura lingering about his head.

Helpless to move aught save his head, Malcolm Gregg watched the ray skip himself and then fell the German, the Brazilian, and the Russian dictators one after the other. It was a weird symphony of light instead of sound, played upon the sounding pipes of men of destiny, upon their inmost souls, transmuting their baser aims and impulses into a theme of spiritual melody for the benefit of man.

"And now for you, my American friend," said the savant with a tremulous smile about his sensitive lips.

The color of the ray changed as Hindlemann shifted to another stud with his left hand, and Gregg felt himself bathed in a glow of warm and living pink light. The bounds which had held him frozen in a midget statue of a man melted away, and he felt himself falling forward on his face, He was dimly aware of motion in the great room behind him, felt friendly hands grasping him and lifting him from the desk, saw the figures of the European dictators sliding in unison with him. . . .

THIS time Captain Malcolm Gregg recovered himself to find that he was in the same chamber, still a huge room, but one which had shrunk to a size more proportionate to his six-foot stature; He was seated in a deep chair. Before him, stood Professor Hindlemann and the savant's assistant, Rigaud, talking with half a dozen news reporters and several police officers and a man who was addressed as Sheriff Ridgeley.

But most amazing of all was the group sitting in chairs similar to Gregg's, over against the wall. They were quietly talking among themselves, and upon the face of each was an expression of dignity and of placid peace that was breath-taking. Gregg recognized them with difficulty as the mad dictators of Europe.

Something vital, something majestic had taken place—a deep chemical and mental and spiritual change had occurred within them; From all appearances these were fit men indeed to rule Europe for a period of a full one hundred years, molding their fellow countrymen into such an inflexible pattern of peace and charity and good will for four or five more generations that hatreds and prejudices and wars would become things accursed.

"And that concludes the experiment," Professor Hindlemann was saying to his group. "You have all witnessed what transpired today. You newspaper men have interviewed these leaders of Europe and have found them in complete accord for peace and full of plans for the future of mankind. As they have evinced a desire for an international conference in Washington, since they are already here in America, I will ask you to arrange such matters for them and then see about properly conveying them back to their own lands.

"My research and discoveries in the transmutation and transmission of matter I shall bequeath to this great land, my adopted country. Now, for the death of General Felipe Moreno, I am ready to surrender myself to the proper authorities. To you, Sherriff Ridgeley, or to—"

"Just a minute!" cried Captain Malcolm Gregg, springing to his feet and approaching they group which turned swiftly upon finding this last party to the great experiment awake. "Is it true that General Felipe Moreno is dead? Tell me at once!"

"Deader than you would have been if his car had struck you, brother," advised a reporter, the special correspondent sent here by the New York Times, "Professor Hindlemann has explained the whole thing to us—I saw the finish of the experiment with my own eyes; and I still don't get it."

Gregg heaved a tremendous sigh of relief.

"That is all I need to know," he said. "It has bothered me the entire time I have been mixed up in this experiment. You need have no worries, Professor Hindlemann. There will be technicalities, of course, but I can promise you complete immunity. I represent the, United States Government—my credentials you have already found in my wallet, judging by the fact that you now know my name—and I was in New York for the express purpose of taking Moreno into custody and conveying him back to Washington as a military prisoner. We have incontestible proof that he was launching a secret attack on our fortifications in the Canal Zone. Professor Hindlemann has saved the entire world from a holocaust whether his plans for universal peace for the future work out or not."

LATER, after the most distinguished party of foreign heads ever to gather on American soil had been seen aboard the special train for Washington, after much of the furor and confusion had died away, released upon his own recognizance although still technically a prisoner of the federal government and in charge of Captain Malcolm Gregg, the great savant walked with his custodian along the main street of the sleepy little university town: Throngs of people followed at a respectful distance behind them, intensely awed and curious as to the destination of the great man.

"Why, Professor Hindlemann," asked Gregg, frowning, "couldn't you have returned the dictators to their countries by your mutable ray?"

"Aside from the advantages of them being all here at once to make a peace covenant in Washington," said the savant, "I could have. But without the proper equipment over there on the receiving end, my faithful friends and agents could not restore these dictators to their natural condition. Thus, they would arrive there one-third their proper size and in a cataleptic state—of little use to anybody."

"I see," nodded Gregg. "Of course. But will your purging ray work on them? And will they live that extra hundred years."

"It will, and they will," replied the great scientist simply. "But that fact will remain their secret, and the power to lengthen human lives will remain mine. That curse, at least, shall be spared the human race until they are worthy of living longer. That's why I spared you the fate of the dictators; I was sure you would not care to live on alone of all your generation."

"I wouldn't," agreed Gregg quickly. "But have you no curiosity yourself, sir, regarding the outcome of your experiment? Wouldn't you like to live on to see how things work out?"

"No," said the savant simply. Then he chuckled. "But it would be odd to live until nineteen eighty-four—the year in which final corroboration or disproof of my theory of the curvature of space will come—and learn whether I am really a wise man or a fool."

"I know already," said Gregg with conviction. "I have already seen a miracle."

"Under my hands," said the savant in a mild tone, "you have seen only the application of scientific principles. If you have truly seen a miracle, that was under the hand of God. Let us step into this store. I feel the need of a little diversion—of a little treat."

"Gladly," agreed the captain. "And the treat is on me."

The following crowd of spectators rushed forward eagerly. What was the great Hindlemann, the savant about whom the wires and the cables and the broadcasting stations of the earth were madly chattering, going to do next. They gathered thickly before the building and peered in awe through the plate-glass windows.

They saw the great man enjoying an ice cream cone with the gusto of a ten-year-old American boy.