Tom Swift in the Caves of Nuclear Fire (The eighth book in the Tom Swift Jr series)
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After both had duly admired it, the chef waddled out, preening the fuzz proudly with his fingertips. As soon as they finished eating, the two boys jeeped out to the airfield. The Sky Queen had already been raised from its special underground hangar.
#8 Tom Swift Adventure CAVES OF NUCLEAR FIRE Victor Appleton VTG Pictorial HC | eBay
This giant, threedecker aircraft, atomic-powered and equipped with jet lifters, was often called Tom's Flying Lab. Several employees and mechanics were standing by. Hank Sterling, the blond, square-jawed chief engineer of Enterprises, and Arvid Hanson, a hulking master craftsman who helped build the prototypes of the Swifts' inventions, hailed Tom as he climbed out of the jeep. Can't see much of it now, but when the prospecting run gets underway, a gun unit will extend out, containing the microwave radiator and the laser. Tom took his place at the controls, with Bud as copilot.
After they had completed the pre-flight check list, the tower radioed clearance for take-off. With a roar of its jet lifters the Sky Queen soared vertically into the blue. At a thousand feet Tom leveled off and turned to a westerly heading. He eased down to a lower altitude as they came to a barren, hilly area chosen for the test. Keep her hovering here until I tell you to move on to another spot.
A low hum came from the machine as he switched on power. Tom flicked a lever.
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Through the window of the blister, he saw the flaring tube of the gun unit move out into position. He aimed it at a bare patch of soil below and tuned the circuits. A light flashed as the analysis of the target substance appeared on the readout panel.
Tom Swift In the Caves Of Nuclear Fire
With a grin, Tom opened a small hatch on the recovery tank and scooped out a reddishbrown substance. Just dredged up some aluminum silicate-clay to you.
Let's try that next hill. Again Tom aimed and tuned the telesampler gun. He frowned in surprise at the indication on the readout panel. Before he could open the recovery tank, a blinding flash arced upward from the ground. Tom gasped. The console lights had gone dark and an acrid odor of burned insulation came from the machine. He spoke into the intercom: "Budl ,. Bud, can you read me? Tom sprang from his seat and scrambled up the ladder to the flight compartment.
See a Problem?
Bud greeted him with a startled look. How are the instruments? So's the radio and intercom. The laser must have cut into a buried conduit, and the tele-sampler beam nibbled the rest of the way through the insulation to the cable itself. Wouldn't the power short to the ground? The tele-sampler's microwave action is so complicated, it's hard to tell exactly. Tom piloted the plane back to Enterprises without benefit of the electrical servocontrols. Unable to radio the tower, he circled the field and waggled the Queen's wings until he got a green light to land.
Hank Sterling and the others, who had been waiting in the underground hangar for Tom's radio report, came rushing out on the field. They listened in dismay to his story. Hank, fly a repair crew over there in a copter, and do what you can do to help repair the break. Then, with the help of Arv and Bud, he removed his damaged telesampler from the Queen and trucked it to his laboratory.
At least there's one bright spot-the telesampler seemed to work fine on that first sample we took. He scooped it up. Are you ready to beg for mercy? Just stand by for more trouble because I intend to ruin you Swifts! Before I'm done, Swift Enterprises will be the laughingstock of the scientific world! Seeing the stunned look on his friend's face, Bud asked, "What's wrong, Tom? Who was it? Both Arv and Bud were shocked. Tom rubbed his jaw worriedly.
But this one sure didn't sound like any gag. My guess is whoever called was just trying to throw a scare into me-but I still don't like it.
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He, too, was disturbed by the threats. We'll start checking there. Swift listened to the news gravely. Swift shook his head. Something else has come up, Tom. The message, signed by a government official, requested the Swifts to attend an urgent meeting in Washington, D.
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Wednesday, the next morning. Tom Sr. Soon after they landed, they joined military men, space officials, and a State Department representative in a conference room at the Pentagon. Mungo Drake, the space agency director, began, "This meeting was called for two reasons -first, to consider the rumored Brungarian comet project.
The State Department official agreed, saying, "We certainly must avoid any risk of an incident in the present state of world tension. But what's to keep us from probing a natural comet? One of the space agency men pointed out that the Brungarians' cloak of se-recy and mystery around their project meant that even the wildest possibilities had to be considered. If we intruded on one they had captured, it would give them a perfect excuse to interfere with our satellites and space probes. Another official said, "The Brungarians are clever, the way they've handled this situation.
We don't even know if it is an artificial comet they're working on. By not confirming or denying the rumor, they've tied our hands. Their silence could mean the whole rumor is phony-a trick to block our American comet research. Some men at the meeting were swayed by the two famous inventors. After further discussion, a final decision was put off and Tom was told to continue work on the project for the time being.
Then Mungo Drake spoke up. What do you Swifts think about them? Swift said. Tom grinned. The general reported that American air bases had verified a number of UFO sightings. Tactical aircraft had been sent in pursuit of the colored disks, only to see them whiz out of range at tremendous speeds and then disappear. Swift was startled. Before the meeting ended, he promised to ask his space friends about the strange colored disks. Months before, a black missile from outer space had landed at Swift Enterprises. It was etched with curious mathematical symbols.
Tom and his father had decoded the symbols and later had made radio contact with the senders- creatures living elsewhere in our solar system. The radio signals were modulated to show up on an oscilloscope screen in the visual pattern of the code symbols.
After lunch the Swifts flew back to Enterprises. They went at once to the space communications laboratory. Here Tom beamed out a message over a powerful transmitter. Minutes passed as they waited for a reply from the friendly space creatures. At last a bell rang, indicating that radio signals were being picked up and decoded by the electronic brain which Tom had devised to process the messages automatically. Curious patterns of light appeared and faded on the machine's oscilloscope screen.