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INGRAHAM shifted the broad restraining belt around his waist a little with awkward hands, for the terrific deceleration of the ship made his arms seem almost too heavy to lift. Held in place before the astrogation panel, the man fought against dizziness, for at this critical time even the slightest mistake might easily dash them in ruins upon the jagged nucleus of the comet.

Radiant Comet, Ingraham had named it, for the spectroscope had shown it to be rich in radium, the universally used "starter" for all atomic disintegration processes. A tiny speck of radium activated the atomic motors of this very ship, and without radium the slender silver rods which slowly fed into the bulky power domes about them, and above and below them, were inert and useless.

Ingraham permitted himself a backward glance, to where Durphee's gross form gasped for breath.

"Be there in fifteen minutes," he said jerkily, struggling against the weight of his own diaphragm.

Durphee did not answer, except to moan, and Ingraham turned to his panel. As the image of the nucleus slowly enlarged on the teletab, crossing the graduations marked thereon, he plied the levers and dials, until their speed was well under control.

He breathed a sigh of relief and unclasped the safety belt.

Skillfully he permitted the ship to settle, until a slight jar proclaimed that they had landed.

Durphee lurched to his feet. He was a trifle taller than Ingraham's five feet ten, and thicker about the waist. Durphee looked older than his indulgence-sated forty years, and Ingraham younger than his thirty.

Ingraham was the scientist who had discovered the true nature of Radiant Comet, looping in a vast parabola around the sun, and already well on its way to the outer spaces again.

It was situated well beyond the orbit of Saturn, because of the delay in adapting an ordinary Earth-to-Moon ship for this mad adventure.

But Durphee had raised the money, in a last desperate gamble to recoup a wasted fortune.

"How much radium is there?" Durphee asked, staring out of one of the thick ports.

THE other man did not answer immediately. He also stared over the strange landscape. He saw a desolate inferno. They had landed on the side_ away from the small, brightly yellow sun, and looked upon night. But not a true night. Everywhere the rocks gave forth a light, faint and spectral, a light too weak to dim the unwinking stars. But light enough, it would seem, to allow a man to walk over the sandy plain.

"Millions of tons of radium," Ingraham said at last. "My spectroscopic analysis—"

"Millions of tons?" exclaimed Durphee in a loud voice. "What are we waiting for? Let's get going!" He made as if to turn the handwheel that locked the oblong door.

"Wait!" Ingraham commanded sharply. "Open that door, and you're a dead man. And I am, too. Put on this suit."

He opened a locker and brought out a single garment, which included a helmet and boots shod with lead. It was a typical space suit, and Durphee knew h...

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