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IT is only in the past few years that we have learned how much like a very complicated bit of medianism we are. As far as our physical processes are concerned there is nothing mysterious or metaphysical at all; and many scientists confidently assert that artificial organs can be installed to work as well or even better than our natural ones. Thus artificial hearts have been used successfully on animals and their application to human beings is predicted next.

But it is a far cry from the substitution of physical organs to the use of artificial means of stimulating brain impulses. Except for our purely abstract thoughts our brains work because of the stimuli sent to them through nerves. Each of the hundreds of thou-sands-of nerve ends has the possibility when stimulated of sending a message to the brain to do or not to do some act. But suppose it were possible to send such stimuli artificially and by appropriate means to even control the response of the brain. Then we have a complete control over a man's mind and body and perhaps over his—soul! That is the theme of this very unusual story.

MARVIN Martinoff was what might have been termed a contriver of queer contraptions. His home. his laboratory and his office were cluttered with clockwork, radio. and motor-operated jim-cracks and his life was filled with plans for more and more odd mechanical devices. Some of the machines had earned vast sums tor the inventor. Others were useless except as proofs of the workability of Martinoff's weird theories.

If it had not been for his robots which were among the world's greatest laborsaving machines, Martinoff probably would have been sent down as a crank. but there was no gainsaying his genius. He was regarded with a degree of respect and awe by others in his field.

That a grim and frightful tragedy lurked in the junk-like clutter of Martinoff's surroundings was suspected by no one. Nor did anybody even dream the strange developments which were to result from his experiments until one stormy night in September.

Yet it is not so strange that fate should play pranks when given such a heterogeneous moss of material to work with. Indeed, fate and destiny must have been sorely tempted by the clutter of these weird devices which seemed half human and half machine.

Like the planets, Martinoff's habits were so regular that his movements could be predicted accurately in advance. Each day he worked in his laboratory and shop from eleven A. M. until five. Each night after dinner he worked at his home from seven until heaven knows when. He was at his office only by appointment and these business appointments were few—for they usually bored him beyond expression.

His only close associate, Dr. Bliss Farnum, was strikingly in contrast to him. Farnum was a surgeon who worked in blood, nerves, bone, tissue and muscle, while Martinoff was working in metal. Dr. Farnum had a flair for radio and was quite an adept in this new science, which fact had brought the two together in a fast enduring friend-ship.

When the dread thing happened that forms the basis of this strange story, Martinoff was alone in his home.

He had just completed a new mechanical man. Fashioned of inert material, it was quite human in shape and appearance: It had a wax face. blinking electric eyes and a phonographic voice which could be amplified to an altogether inhuman volume.

On that fateful rainy night the metal monster stood back near the walls, its metal arms extended as if in greeting, its electric orbs blinking. Martinoff sat at his desk opposite browsing over ancient scientific lore. The robot, controlled by radio impulse, could count, add, subtract, multiply, recite the Lord's prayer and do a good day's manual labor; but, as has been said, on this particular night it simply stood there with its hack toward the wall.

It was in full tune and its electric eyes appeared to be staring banefully at the fullness of Martinoff's throat. On the table was a long, keen bladed Turkish knife, used by Martinoff to open his mail.

Such is the scene in Martinoffs study as it was reconstructed after sudden and bloody murder had been done.

OUTSIDE the rain fell in sheets and dripped dismally from the gabled eaves and turrets of the old fashioned house. The wind moaned and whistled.

Otto, Martinoff's personal attendant—the only servant on duty that night—said later that he had been obsessed by an uncanny fear all evening and at times had felt like rushing screaming from the quaint old house. He told this story tearfully, haltingly, and it had the ring of truth despite its almost unbelievable character. When questioned by detectives he said: "I loved Martinoff with a devotion that I cannot describe though he hardly said a word to me from one week's end to the other. He seemed to be working; but he was so good to me."

"In what way?" asked n brusque sergeant of detectives.

"Well," replied Otto, with a wistfulness in his voice, "when I fled from Russia and arrived here penniless I sought him out because his father and mine had been neighbors in Moscow.

"He took me in and paid me well. He made it possible for me to attend school and learn the language and allowed me at times to assist him in fashioning mechanical things, a work I loved.

"Sometimes he would upbraid me for stupidity in fashioning metal parts, but always with a kindly, fatherly air. Invariably he would reward me after such scoldings with an extra dollar or two. I had everything I wanted. I could draw on the bank for any sums necessary for my own use or for the use of the house. But I did not take advantage of this, I assure you."

"Outside of bawling you out what did he ever say to you that might throw light on this case?" asked the detective.

"Very little. Once, after calling me dumb, he said, 'It's only the brainiest men who know how really dumb they are.' Another favorite remark of his was, 'Otto, a man should be big enough to be little enough to be big.' He admitted the remark was not original, sir—"

"Never mind all that boloney," broke in the detective, "tell us just what happened the night he was killed."

"It was a miserable night, "Otto began tearfully. "I had been nervous and upset. He had left word that he was not to be disturbed and I was just aching for conversation. It was so dreary. I get that way sometimes—"

"Will you tell us just what happened?" exploded the detective with an oath.

"I was telling you sir, I—"

"Well then, go ahead. Martinoff was right, you are dumb."

Otto looked hurt but proceeded:

"It was my habit to serve him a cup of tea and some dry sausage and rye bread, or a bite of some kind at midnight, on nights when he worked. You know that thing, that robot. It could say the Lord's prayer. I was about to enter the room after knocking as was my habit. I had the tray on my hand. Then it happened . . . "

"What happened?"

"I heard the machine screech out. It yelled, sir—"

"Yelled what?"

"It yelled: 'Our Father who art in Heaven.'—Then it gurgled, sir. It gurgled mechanically and just then I heard a groan, a human groan, sir, and I heard a body fall. I was nervous, I was all upset, I was frightened. I did a most unmanly thing, sir. I dropped the tray there at the door and ran wildly out in the rain."

"Where did you go?"

"Nowhere, I just ran out, probably fifty feet from the house. Then I stopped and looked back. My knees were trembling, my heart was pounding and my head was hot. But the rain must have cooled me off some for I realized what a coward I had been and I went back to the house. Then steeling my courage I entered and you know what was there."

"What was there?"

"Just the way it was after I phoned you and you came in dripping and arrested me."

The Tragedy Reconstructed

THE detective was blustering with impatience. He banged his fist on o desk and swore full well-rounded oaths. He walked up and down while others at the grilling sat and watched him, and while Otto waved back and forth in his chair, his hands to his heed.

Suddenly the detective banged his big fist on a table, around which the inquisitors and the prisoner sat, and commanded:

"Tell us what you saw before we got there."

Otto was jarred out of his fit of emotion. He raised his haggard, thin, angular features to the detective and pleaded: "Do I have to go all over that again?"

"Absolutely, and damn quick," thundered the detective. Otto proceeded.

"My poor master was lying at the foot of the thing—the horrible blinking man-machine. The knife was there beside him. The wound was on his neck. Blood was on the floor. On his head was another wound, it bled too. Hooked at the machine and there on its outstretched metal hand was blood, sir, blood and a tuft of human hair.

"I liked all but falling where I stood. I trembled and cried out. I moved about some but I was conscious that I should not disturb anything. Then I forced myself to action and phoned you, sir. I phoned you that murder had been done. I did not go back in the room. The rest you know."

The detective had heard Otto tell this story probably twenty times. Each time he told it the details were exactly the same. There was not the slightest discrepancy.

"Well, that's that," said the detective sergeant, and Otto was led back to a cell.

Turning to his co-workers, the detective sergeant said with conviction: "That guy is telling the God's truth and you can't try a machine for murder." "You mean the robot committed the murder?" asked a thoughtful individual sitting at the end of the table.

"I do. It is hard to believe but what else is there to believe. That machine was too human to be safe. It had everything human but a heart and brain, and a human without a heart and a brain might be expected to commit murder."

Answering the look GI incredulity on all the faces he added: "I mean this: Martinoff was fooling with the mechanism. He evidently put the knife in the robot's hand and caused the arm to raise. Why, I don't know. Then something went wrong and the arm descended. The metal of the hand brushed the side of Martinoffs head, cutting the scalp and tearing loose a tuft of hair and the knife was driven into Martinoff's neck. Martinoff then fell against the machine, probably he tripped over a wire; and jarring some mechanism. This caused the robot to cry out in an amplified voice and it caused the hand to open and drop the knife to the floor.

"Martinoff, of course, dropped like a log. Death came within n few minutes while Otto was running around without enough presence of mind to know what to do."

Odd as was this explanation of the death it was the one generally accepted by the newspapers and public and in due time Otto was released from custody.

There was one person, however, who did not accept this explanation of the crime. This single disbeliever in the mechanical murder theory was Dr. Farnum. closest friend of Martinoff. He determined to solve the mystery by a method which was as bizarre, fantastical and unearthly as the uncanny crime itself. He gave up his surgical practice and devoted all his time to delving into what appeared to him as the unsolved mystery of Martinoff's murder.

His first act in this direction was to hire Otto immediately on his release from jail. He gave him a position as attendant in his household, and later placed him under the direction of a woman nurse, a Miss Hilda Spencer. The nurse was ordered to instruct Otto in the rudiments of nursing. Both Miss Spence and Otto thought this an unusual arrangement but they followed instructions without comment. Miss Spence, a beautiful blonde type, at first believed Otto to be of ordinary intelligence. She was destined to learn later that he was really quite an intelligent fellow and that he fairly absorbed information.

The truth was that Otto, while dog-like in faithful service, was of good blood and came from a family well-educated in Russia. He was anxious to advance in his new world and was tireless in his efforts to grasp the learning that would fit him as a practical nurse. He was agreeable, had a pleasing personality.


The Confession

IT was three months after Otto had come into the household of Dr. Farnum, that the surgeon called him into conference. Otto found Miss Spence already seated and was glad that she was to hear whatever the doctor had to say.

"You two," began the surgeon without preliminaries, "are to assist me in a most unusual—I might say startling and unheard of experiment—and you must not fail me. If you do it will mean endless trouble and criticism for all of us."

The two merely nodded their assent and the doctor proceeded.

"Otto," he said, "I have never felt right about the killing of my friend, Martinoff, or should I call it a murder? I positively do not believe that he was killed by his strange man-machine as the coroner finally decided. I am going to tell you of a conversation I had with Martinoff the last time we were together and from it you will gather what we now have ahead of us.

"Martinoff and I were dining at the Science Club. He told me he had perfected his new man-machine and. for reasons of my own, I was interested more than you might imagine. When he had explained the mechanism in detail I told him of an idea I had long had in mind.

"'Mechanical engineers' I said, 'are busy making men of machines, and I believe it would be possible for me to make a machine out of a man.'

"'What! How do you mean?' he asked and his voice rang with incredulity.

"'Yon know,' I said, 'that 1 am a deep student of radio and I believe every man has in his nervous system a complete radio receiving set that could be hooked up with platinum wires to a mechanical instrument or instruments that would cause the human to register and act upon radio impulses. I do not mean for him to respond to the transformed waves or spoken word but the actual Hertzian waves before they are transformed into sound waves.'

"'Quite interesting,' commented Martin-off. 'why don't you go ahead and make such a machine-man'?'

"'Because,' I replied, 'to do so I would have to kill out the will or the volition of the man before he would cease to be a thinking human and before he could be a machine in the flesh. Ethics would hardly permit of such vivisection,' I explained, and I had other compunctions. I explained that I had already invented a unit which could be used in such an experiment but that I had hesitated to use it even on larger species of dumb animals.

"I have brought you two here now to tell you that ethics no longer figure in this matter and my compunctions have fled. I am going to find tile man who murdered my friend Martinoff and when I do he will be the subject of my experiments. If these experiments are successful this criminal will become the first mechanically operated human being the world has ever known.

"It will really serve him right and will be good for him, because by depriving him of his free will and volition I will have curbed his criminal tendencies. I also will have made him a useful machine capable of heavy manual labor without the sense or the desire to protest against his fate. Do I make myself quite clear?"

"I follow you," said the girl.

"I am at your service," said Otto, "but how do you propose to find this suspected murdered and how do you propose to prove his guilt beyond question?"

"Leave that to me," said the surgeon finally and then he brought forth a small round object with attached wires. "Look," he said, "and behold my impulsaphone with which I propose to transform a human being into a machine."

OTTO and Miss Spence were all interest. They beheld a small object which resembled the receiving unit of a telephone. Otto noted that the attached wires were of platinum and that they were "frayed" at the ends, like frayed out string, into many ends of fine wire. They were so fine in fact as to be almost microscopic. Each multiple wire end was again "frayed" or divided into hundreds of additional fine terminals. When Dr. Farnum saw Otto examining these minute wires he said:

"The ends of those wires correspond with the branching out of tiny nerve lines from a neurone or nerve cell. It is my purpose to plant this mass of branched wires at points where they will interlace and communicate with important nerve centers in the human body.

"It will be a painful operation but the pain will pass as the system becomes accustomed to the new conditions. The nervous system is simply a telephone system anyway with the brain as the central office and the nerve centers as the branch exchanges and the nerves as the wires.

"In the human body there are many bundles of nerves or nerve trunks, just as there are trunks in a telephone system. The largest nerve trunk is the spinal column and I will extend minute platinum wires to every important nerve center and ganglion. This means we will hook up with the spinal cord at every vertebrae and that tiny platinum wires will be planted at all important reflex and other nerve centers.

"Many surgical operations. under a complete anesthetic, will he necessary and that is all that you two need to know at present. Now we will go about finding the killer."

The surgeon was addressing his remarks to Otto but he had known Miss Spence long enough to be sure she would not miss a word and that she needed no special instruction.

"You saw no one in the house on the night Martinoff met his death?"

"No one," said Otto, and his words were positive.

"Yet," said the doctor, "there was someone there." He paused for his words to have their effect.

"How do you know?" inquired Otto, surprised.

"I know," said the doctor slowly, "that there was someone hiding in the room with Martinoff and that he came there before the downpour of rain started."

"How do you know?" insisted Otto.

"I know because the machine could not have killed Martinoff in the manner described and if the killer had entered before the rain started he would have left his marks—wet ones. It was a heavy rain.

"Some man killed Martinoff, evidently for revenge. He was hiding in the room when you entered after the crime and he left when you ran from the house. You ran out the front way. He ran out the back. He had a car waiting near the lower road and made his escape back to New York. That is my theory."

"Quite possible," agreed Otto, "but I really do not know. Why are you sure that it was a man?"

"Because of the great force of the blow. I have treated hundreds of knife wounds and experience and observation proves that wounds inflicted by a weapon in the hands of a woman are different from those inflicted by a man."

"O, I see," said Otto.

"Now listen, Otto," began the doctor again, seriously, "you can help me by filling in the gaps in my deductions. We all believe the doctor had no enemies. Now I want to know who were his visitors. Who came regularly to his house?"

"Nobody," emphatically asserted Otto.

"O, yes, there was someone," said the surgeon with assurance.

"No, one."

"Now think."

"I am thinking. There was no one at all, no—. O, maybe you mean the typist, the girl. That was strange. She came once in a while in the evening when Martinoff had notes he wanted to set down."

"I thought so," observed the surgeon with evident satisfaction. "Tell us all about her. You see we are working by an old rule-first find the woman. Now what about her?"

"I don't know much about her. You said a man did it. This is a woman, a woman typist."

"The woman will lead us to the man," said the surgeon. "Tell us about her. I have reason to suspect someone well acquainted with Martinoffs habits and the room where the murder was committed."

"All I know was Martinoff got her name from a charity list. She was from one of the rougher districts. She had a had record but was trying to go straight, she said. Martinoff gave her a chance. She was pretty in a rough way and seemed willing and anxious to please. She behaved well, the little I saw of her except, she was given to slang, which nettled Martinoff."

"Did she ever act as though she was trying to impress Martinoff?"


"Or you?"

"O, no indeed. Why no, sir."

"What was her name?"

"Dorothy. Dottie she liked to be called."

"Her last name?"

"I don't recall. Let me see, it was a Russian name. He got her from a Russian aid society, the Helping Hand, or something like that. Let me see,—no, I can't recall."

"No need to," decided the doctor. "Look her up tomorrow through this Helping Hand agency. When you get her name and address I will engage detectives to get us all further information we may require. Good night to both of you. When I have anything further of interest I will confide in you."

Setting The Trap

IT was just one week after Otto obtained the required name and address that Dr. Farnum received a report from his detective agency.

"Dot Borsovich, reputed Russian agitator and Red, served eighteen months on the Island for a confidence game. Her male accomplice escaped detection. Has only one male admirer, an old friend who knew her in Russia. He is Nick Solokoff, big and burly, but quiet mannered. They attend radical meetings but their only real interest is in quick and easy money. The man is a lucky gambler. Politics with them appears to be a subterfuge to hide their real activities. Solokoff has no police record but is known in the underworld as a badger worker, a form of crime involving a confidence game followed by extortion at the point of a gun."

"I thought so," said Dr. Farnum, after reading the report.

A few nights later Dr. Farnum sat in a Russian restaurant. He appeared to he waiting for someone.

The scene about him was one of wild gaiety. Laughter was loud and quips of a rough nature were being exchanged with abandon and it was apparent that more than food was being dispensed. A Gypsy string hand was playing and the dancing space in the center was crowded. The form of dancing was anything but refined. No one could be at stranger long in such a place.

The surgeon assumed the air of one thoroughly familiar with such scenes and heartily in sympathy with the crowd. More than one feminine glance was directed at his table. This ogling he appeared to accept in good nature but with no further encouragement. Soon a large florid man entered with a frowzy female.

Once they were seated Dr. Farnum called a waiter and sent over a note scribbled on a prescription blank, the printed head of which he was careful to tear off. The note read:

"I am told you can take me to the house of Alex, the Greek. I will pay you well for your trouble."

The big Russian scanned the note. The waiter furtively indicated the doctor's table. Taking leave of the frowzy female abruptly, the big Russian, after scanning the surgeon suspiciously, came over to his table.

The surgeon bubbled with an affability which immediately disarmed suspicion. The Russian sat down.

"Where did you get the idea that I knew Alex, the Greek?" he asked.

"Simple," chortled the surgeon. "I play once in a while for high stakes. A dealer in the Cottage Club told me I would find you here and that you would introduce me at the place of Alex, where I am told they can cover big bets. You are Nick Solokoff, are you not?"

"Who wants to know?"

"Well, it doesn't matter who you are. Can you make it possible for me to risk a few thousand at the place of Alex?" replied the surgeon with an air of one entirely at peace with the world.

"Nothing easier." said the Russian, "but where do I come in?"

"I will stake you with one hundred dollars," said Dr. Farnum, "and, besides, should I win I will declare you in for one half the winnings. My car is outside waiting. Shall we go?"

"On our way." replied the Russian, with a great laugh, for the surgeon's affability was not only disarming but was also contagious.

"A little drink before we go?" questioned the surgeon.

"You're on," agreed the Russian. The drinks were served. Just as the big Russian reached for his drink the surgeon distracted his attention by a remark:

"Who is that important individual back of the desk?" he asked.

The big Russian turned half around and as he did the surgeon dropped a white powder in his drink.

"O, that's old Ivan, himself. He owns the place."

"Quite an interesting character," said the doctor, as they quaffed their liquor and left the place, the Russian waving a farewell to the female he was leaving behind.


A Strange Proposal

THE two piled into the doctor's car, which was waiting, with Otto at the wheel. The Russian gave an address and the car sped away. Within a few minutes he was unconscious from the drug administered in his drink and was leaning heavily on the surgeon's shoulder. Dr. Farnum was satisfied that at last he had the murderer of his friend helpless and completely in his power.

He was not vindictive or revengeful but neither was he in a frame of mind to adopt gentle methods in what he had determined to accomplish. If Solokoff had been conscious and could have realized the fate in store for him he would probably have chosen a quick death rather than to yield to his terrible destiny.

Otto drove directly to the offices of the famous surgeon. Solokoff was laid on an operating table in the room used by the surgeon for his private patients, and was securely strapped down. Then nature was allowed to take its course and in due time Solokoff. doomed to be the subject in one of the most astounding experiments ever recorded in human annals, awoke. He looked about him in a dazed manner.

"Keep still, it will do you no good to make an outcry," were the first words he heard and it was Dr. Farnum who was speaking.

"Solokoff," added the surgeon, purposely toning his voice to a deep and ominous note, "you murdered my friend."

Solokoff who could not see who was speaking did not answer; but there was a visible straining at his bonds. His head ached from the effects of the drug and his vitality was low. He was in the right state for a severe and successful grilling. The deep, uncanny voice continued.

"Martinoff was a scientist. You killed him and to atone you will now sign a paper before witnesses giving your body, after death, to the advancement of science. You will sign now. If you do not, you will die a horrible death within a few hours. I have you at my mercy."

"I'll see you in hell before I sign anything," blurted the Russian, his voice intensely agitated.

"If you sign I will see that Dot goes free. If you do not sign we will send Dot to the chair with you. Now let's see what kind of a man you are."

"I will sign," said Solokoff, in a tired voice, "but I ain't dead yet. Remember that."

A document which had been prepared and kept in readiness was produced and Otto, Miss Spence and a notary public were summoned.

Dr. Farnum addressed them simply, "This patient wishes to sign his will in which he gives his body to science after his death."

One arm of the patient was released. He was handed the paper and a fountain pen and without a word he signed the document. "You may go now," said Dr. Farnum turning to the others, "I intend to operate immediately." They turned to depart. The surgeon had mentioned operating to note the effect of his words on the Russian.

Solokoff strained at his bonds and started to cry out in his native tongue.

"Keep still," said the deep voice again. "Keep still or I will kill you." The face of the Russian was ashen. He made no further outcry. He was able to half turn his head and as he did so he saw his acquaintance of the restaurant. Amazement clouded his features.

"You?" he half questioned with an oath.

"Yes, I am Dr. Farnum, lifelong friend of Martinoff, and it is with me you will have to deal."

Solokoff noted that the doctor had a hypodermic syringe in his hands. He heard Farnum go to the phone and call the police, saying that he had the murderer of Martin-off in custody. Again he strained heavily at his bonds but an instant later the hypodermic syringe was forced home in one of his arms. Gradually he sank into a deep sleep.

The Confession

THE detective sergeant who had handled the Martinoff case soon arrived with four assistants. Otto and Miss Spence were summoned.

Addressing the detective Dr. Farnum said slowly. "Officer, I have taken the liberty to administer to this prisoner a liberal dosage of scopolamine, the truth-compelling drug, and under its influence you will hear a confession of Martinoff's murder. Should the court refuse to admit this confession in evidence, we still have other evidence of a damning nature.

"My detectives found this man's finger prints on the sides of Martinoff's robot. His revolver, which he feared to use, will be found in a Westchester County storm sewer. The proprietor and five men in a pool room were approached by this man in an attempt to arrange an alibi. My detectives threatened the six with arrest for conspiracy and they signed affidavits telling the whole and the true story."

"Whats the idea of tieing him up this way and filling him full of dope?" asked the detective. "Why didn't you call us sooner?"

"I called you as soon as was feasible," replied the surgeon in a tone that brooked no interference. "He was my patient he-fore he was your prisoner, and I wanted to hear the story from his own lips. I have faith in scopolamine, and under its influence he will tell us the complete story."

The patient already had begun to talk.

"I didn't intend to kill him," began the confession, low and clear, and in Russian.

"Talk English," commanded the surgeon.

"I did not mean to kill him," began the voice, this time in English.

"Begin at the beginning," commanded the surgeon.

The story was clear and connected.

"It was a badger game." (The badger game is to get some prominent and wealthy man as a victim. The victim is forced into a compromising position with a woman and the man posing as the woman's husband rushes in with accusations and in a great rage. He demands prompt payment for his injured feelings and backs his demand by flourishing a revolver. There is no idea to commit murder and when a murder results it is because the victim shows fight or messes things up so that the mart has to kill him to get away.)

"Using a charity dodge, Dot Borsovich would get employment with men of money and then I would come along and shake him down for as much as I could get.

"Martinoff paid no attention to Dot outside of business and we couldn't frame him with a badger racket so I decided to stick him up and get what I could. I had been losing heavily at gambling and we had to have some money.

"Dot let me in early in the evening and I hid behind that damned iron man. It was that crazy, praying metal thing that got on my nerves. When Martinoff started it counting and saying prayers it got me and I couldn't move. Once he ordered it to walk and I thought I was going to stand clearly revealed, but the thing just took a few steps forward and then back. It kept between me and Martinoff and he did not see me.

"The rain and the whir of the insides of the robot got me plum crazy. I was hoping he would go to bed and let me get out but he didn't. He came to the machine and reached around it and touched me. He reached in then and caught me and I put my gun in my pocket and grabbed him. He started to fight and I heard a noise like footsteps coming closer and closer. I was afraid to shoot so I jumped to the table and grabbed the knife and brought it down on bis neck. He fell against the thing, striking his head against its outstretched hand, then slid to the floor.

"That thing, that damned iron man, with the blinking eyes and wax face, it wobbled, then hell, if it didn't shout, 'Our Father, who art in Heaven.' I grabbed it to steady it. Then I wiped the handle of the knife with my handkerchief to remove finger prints but I forgot to wipe the metal sides of the machine where I touched it."

The form on the operating table stirred restlessly and the others in the room shuddered.

"I was so scared," continued the voice, "that I nearly dropped dead. There I stood looking at Martinoff bleeding and that damned thing, that iron man with white wax face and wobbling arms looked straight at me and blinked and blinked. Then I heard a knock on the door.

"I made one jump out the window and ran down the back gravel path and through the bushes to where Dot was waiting in the car all that time in the rain. She started to cuss me and I said, 'For God's sake, Dot, keep still. I killed him.' She started to whimper. I slowed up at the first storm sewer, threw the gun down and came to New York. I didn't breathe easy again night or day and I went around and saw the gang and tried to frame up an alibi. Then the cops said the machine killed Martinoff and I felt safe again."

THAT was all. Dr. Farnum turned to the detectives: "He is your man," he said, "he will be awake in about ten minutes."

The trial was not long and Dot was called only as a witness. On the advice of her man she told the truth and as a state's witness she was given her freedom after the trial. A month later Solokoff was electrocuted, and as the body was carried from the death chamber it was delivered into the hands of Dr. Farnum who had an ambulance waiting.

Otto and Miss Spence were with Dr. Farnum. There was a wild rush and scurry. As the body was being carried from the death chamber. Dr. Farnum leaned over it and injected a drug of his own discovery, a drug twenty times more powerful than adrenalin which heretofore was the most powerful of all heart stimulants.

In the ambulance the doctor and his assistants watched the dead man with bated breath. The doctor said: "I am afraid we have failed." Then he hurriedly injected another dose of the life-giving drug.

There was a few minutes of soul rending anxiety, and suddenly the man once dead returned to life. He opened his eyes slowly. His lungs expanded and he took a deep breath.

Dr. Farnum, who had one hand on that of Miss Spence, gripped her until she cried out with pain.

"We have conquered," he said slowly, almost professionally. "I knew I was right. Electrocution does not really destroy life. It merely shocks the heart so that it stops beating. And if nothing is done about it, of course the body decays. My dose stimulates the heart to activity again." And like the nurse that she was, the girl replied without emotion:

"It is a success."

Otto burst into enthusiastic excited comments and was sternly silenced by the doc-tor.

"The patient has painful burns where the electrodes came in contact with his skin," said Dr. Farnum. "We will have to nurse him carefully. He is too valuable to lose now that we have resurrected him."

For the next few weeks Solokoff was kept bound and guarded. Careful nursing had resulted in the healing of his wounds and Dr. Farnum was ready to perform his great experiment. Solokoff aware of what was to happen to him, ceased to protest once he was assured that he would not be deprived of his life.

Otto and Miss Spence assisted the doctor in the operations which extended over a period of several weeks. Local and at times complete anesthesia were used to relieve as much as possible the patient from feeling any pain during the actual operations. Soothing drugs were administered to help him endure his sufferings while the many wounds made by the doctor's instruments were healing.

Dr. Farnum first severed certain nerves, causing paralysis of parts of the brain controlling will and volition. This completed, he had a word to say to Miss Spence who had begun to protest against his planned procedure.

"My dear girl," he said, "humane scruples are one thing and common sense is another. This man has been dead. At death the soul is supposed to flee the body. If this is true our subject is a body without a soul.

"In depriving him of free will, I have removed his inborn or acquired criminal tendencies. He is harmless to himself and what is more important he cannot now go about harming others of his fellow men. Before I operated he was a menace to society. Now he is harmless, inarticulate, inoffensive animal. When I am finished he will be one-fourth animal and three-fourths machine. Under the term of his will I have the right to operate and I can't bring myself to sympathize with him. I am going ahead. If you care to withdraw from the case you may do so and I will get another nurse. If you decide to continue you will have a chance to learn much. You are not so wise that you can afford to throw away a chance like this."

Miss Spence was in the habit of permitting Dr. Farnum to decide matters for her and so it was in this instance. When they were finished Solokoff was a human radio set, tuned to receive Hertzian waves at a frequency of twenty thousand kilocycles. Since Dr. Farnum controlled a portable shortwave radio station, licensed to broadcast on this frequency, the experiment stood ready for a test.

For the mechanically inclined, a description of this human radio receiver might not be amiss.

On his head, resting like a helmet, was a large metal covering, with a space cut away for the exposure of the Russian's face. Resting atop the helmet and giving him a satyr-like appearance were two metal rods extending about a foot out on either side. Around them were hundreds of turns of a fine metal wire. The helmet held also a number of other queer devices the nature of which Farnum did not explain to his lay assistants, but to them, the things were sufficiently awe-inspiring to have an important place in the doctor's plans.

Exposed by his open shirt there was a dial control, and leading from this there began the fine wires that were to send the nerve impulses through to his nerve ends. If he were undressed he might, with the thousands of glistening wires over him, have presented the appearance of same strange nightmare-like horror; but Farnum with an eye to the aesthetic had covered up as much of the terrible as possible.

Between his shoulder blades and extending downward almost to the waist was n thin metal box containing the other necessary parts of the equipment. The power units were carried in his pockets and could be hooked up to him when he was finally dressed. He was indeed a living breathing man-machine, without volition, without a thought or desire that was not impressed on him by Farnum's radio broadcaster. Furthermore if theologians are to be believed, he was without a soul.

To Farnum's friends, an exclusive coterie of savants of high standing, Solokoff, the human radio machine, was a scientific sensation. He was exhibited to the chosen few and allowed to carry out practically all the functions of a normal human being but only on impulses broadcast by Dr. Farnum.

He was unable to feel pain, joy, despair or grief—and he could not feel even the pangs of hunger. Ii it were not for the fact that he was regularly impelled by Hertzian waves to lake nourishment he would have starved to death, but without pain or without emotion his life depended on the batteries, carried in the pockets of his clothing and on the will of Dr. Farnum.

After traveling about the world with his strange machine for several years, Dr. Farnum, accompanied by Otto and Miss Spence, returned to New York. But they had not been Homo a week before dire events, on which they had not reckoned at all, began to occur.

In some manner, probably through a leak in the prisons, Dot Borsovich learned that her man had been resurrected by Dr. Farnum after death in the electric chair.

Dot had gone from had to worse and had come to be known in the underworld as the gorilla woman, because of her cruel and relentless nature in dealing with victims and enemies.

For months she had been waiting and waiting—her whole life set only on the return of Dr. Farnum that she might at least see and talk to her man.

On their return, Solokoff was kept in a small tiled room over Dr. Farnum's private garage. He was given regular exercise and nourishment and was permitted to do small tasks such as, washing Dr. Farnum's cars and pottering about the garden. At times he was taken out and exhibited to scientists upon whom Farnum relied to keep his sec-T81.

The gorilla woman took to hanging about the country premises of Dr. Farnum and was not long in learning where her man was lodged. By dint of much clever scheming she finally made her way into his quarters in the garage, and there ensued a scene and a situation without precedent.

In describing it later to Dr. Farnum and Otto, the gorilla woman said:

"I threw myself in his arms but he was blind to me. He paid no attention at all. I fell to the floor and grabbed his legs and begged him to talk to me and he just didn't seem to know I was there. I climbed up to his lips and kissed him and he was as cold as if he had been dead. I beat at his chest and he toppled over on a cot and just laid there, staring up, his eyes dead and not moving. I ran my hands over him and his pockets bulged with boxes with wires on them. I unbuttoned his vest and shirt and he had wires running all over him, but he breathed. He was dead and he actually breathed. My Gawd, it was awful. I screamed out and I guess I fainted. When I came to my senses I was in a bed and you was standing over me."

The doctor had found her there in the garage. He had carried her into the house and had revived her after placing hes" on the bed. Half delirious she had told him of her meeting with her man.

Patiently the doctor told the woman the truth. He went into minute details, couching his account in simple words. The woman listened incredulously but she allowed him to finish.

"Your man is now a machine," concluded the doctor, "and as far as you are concerned he is dead."

The woman jumped from the cot in wild hysteria. She ran about the room crashing things and cursing.

"You are all damn liars," she shouted, "hell-hounds and liars." She fell upon Otto and the doctor who were trying to quiet her and bit and tore and scratched. She struggled and fought, until, panting and all but exhausted, she fell to the floor. The room was a wreck.

Finally she looked up at the doctor like a dumb brute in distress and whined, "Give him back to me, will yuh? Aw, go on. Give him back to me."

Again the doctor with all patience reasoned with her, explaining that her hopes were futile.

She whimpered for some time. Then she looked up at Dr. Farnum and, with bosom heaving and eyes as cold as steel, said:

"I'll kill you like a dog, the first chance I get. I'll kill you as sure as hell."

"You won't kill anybody," maintained the surgeon. "Remember girl, I brought him back to life and let him live after they had electrocuted him."

She pondered, alternately wiping at her eyes with a bit of handkerchief and instinctively dabbing at her nose with a powder puff. Suddenly she looked up with a queer light in her eyes and moaned, "If it wasn't for you he wouldn't even be breathing?"

"Most certainly not," repeated the doctor. "Now will you go and leave him to me."

"Can't I see him, sometime?"

"What good would it do?"

"Maybe no good but I'd like to see him sometimes."

It was the doctor's turn to ponder. Finally he said: "If you will cut out the rough stuff and settle down and go straight, I'll give you a job taking care of him."

"Will you on the level?" fairly screeched the girl, a strange light in her eyes.

"Absolutely, but you cannot expect anything but his nearness. He will not be alive to your presence."

"I don't care," said the girl happily, and with dog-like devotion, "I'll be near him."

"That you will." agreed Farnum.

And so began the strangest part of the unearthly case. Day in and day out the gorilla girl, losing interest in all else, attended the mechanical man tenderly.

Hand in hand they could be seen walking about the surgeon's garden. The girl, her criminal spirit broken, lived only for the shell of a man who had once been her nearest associate and lover. What solace she got from such companionship probably only a woman can explain but she appeared almost happy at times.

This strange situation endured through many months; but the surgeon, keeping close observation of both the woman and the man-machine, noted that the gorilla girl's health was failing. She seemed to have lost all interest in life.

Then the end came. Suddenly and tragically it happened but on reflection Farnum realized that it was in keeping with the other events in the weird chain. Dr. Farnum missed a quantity of a deadly poison from his stores. Divining that she had helped herself to the drug, he rushed to the little rooms over the garage.

There he found them—lying together on the one cot, the gorilla woman and the man-machine, dead in each other's arms. On the table was a note, and it read:

"I always felt helpless unless I was fighting, but it ain't no use—no use at all. I can't fight anymore. A woman can't go on forever like this. He's the only thing I got and he's dead, all but the wires. So I poisoned him and will kill myself. I'm sorry we both didn't do right. We could have lived on what we earned working but we didn't. We thought we was so wise. We called everybody dumbbells and suckers. Well—God help us. Good bye,
Dorothy Borsovich-Solokoff"

She had claimed the man's name in death. The signature wavered a bit but it was legible.