Any comments or questions about this site, please contact Bob Zolnerzak at





Chapter IX

            Spaceports were being swamped with emergency landings. Some of the rockets were no better than hospital ships; they were filled to overflowing with the sick and dying. Hospitals for miles around were piled to the rafters. Private cars were commandeered to carry the emergency cases that could not find room at the nearby surgeons for a breathtaking trip to the next available ward. The mutants landed too; but their ships could not be distinguished from the identical ones used by the government to evacuate the planet. The mutants disembarked and went their ways from the port; they could never be distinguished from the norm of the population; they went their ways, and reproduced in the same mad pace that had been their custom on Venus.
            One of the ships had been positively identified as bringing a cargo of the abnormal ones to Earth. The ship was silently surrounded and was in the ever-present confusion of loading, unloading, and checking for supplies. No sooner would most of the migrants land on their mother soil than they would embark on the next ship leaving for Mars or the Moon. The space-dream was on them---they would never be content with the mundane happenings of Earth---they were no longer tellurians, they were Venusians, Martians, Lunites, struck with space and the spaceship, lost forever in the cosmic dust of planets.
            The known mutants were captured swiftly and transported as fast as possible to a secret government retreat, where the finest specialists---those that were too frail, or important, or valuable to risk their lives with the others when they first journeyed to Venus to view the adult children---had their chances to probe, prod and poke the strange products of solar influence.
            The thymus condition did not die out with the absence of those mysterious rays. The children of Venus, as they were called, continued to live normal lives, though they were not yet teenaged, and brought forth children that were endowed with the same unfortunate powers that their parents or grandparents had acquired. If left alone, the females spent all of their time either bearing or nursing an offspring. The ones that escaped the watchful eyes of the station agents jumped through the void to Mars, or settled in the slum districts of the big cities, or in slums that were communities in themselves.
            Mars was the scene of a great expansion. Isolated towns that had sprung up were surrounded by settlements up to three times their size. Mars was overcrowded; diseases sprang up and exacted a horrible toll; nevertheless, the population figures spiraled upward. The gold rush days of California, or the land rush on the Moon, were not to be compared with the great surge of humanity that pushed back the frontiers of the red planet till they met; then there WERE no frontiers to conquer, men swarmed everywhere. On Earth the same conditions existed; it was a tidal wave of humanity, breaking on every conquered shore of the universe.
            Phobos and Deimos and Eros---the last Venus's moon, the first two circling about Mars---were rapidly surveyed for proper positions for new, more stable, domed cities. The Moon was right across the street for the inhabitants of the Earth; people flocked to it as the rich went to Europe for the summer, way back when.
            Daring spacemen lost their lives as they endeavored to set foot on Mercury, the Sun's neighbor. Somehow, most of the ships miscalculated; they were lost in the Sun, never to be seen again.
            At the census taken in 2010, the population of the Earth was set at 10,937,472,685---a jump of 50% over the preceding decade. Countless hundreds of millions on Mars; a billion, in round numbers, on the Moon; the government had no way of knowing how many thousands of enterprising men made the leap to the asteroids, there to dwell for all time, free of the taxes and governing that some rebellious people found oppressive.