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[Illustration: "_Behold one of those who live in the darkness._"]
The Dark Side of Antri
_By Sewell Peaslee Wright_
Commander John Hanson relates an interplanetary adventure
illustrating the splendid Service spirit of the men of the
An officer of the Special Patrol Service dropped in to see me the
other day. He was a young fellow, very sure of himself, and very
kindly towards an old man.
He was doing a monograph, he said, for his own amusement, upon the
early forms of our present offensive and defensive weapons. Could I
tell him about the first Deuber spheres and the earlier disintegrator
rays and the crude atomic bombs we tried back when I first entered the
I could, of course. And I did. But a man's memory does not improve in
the course of a century of Earth years. Our scientists have not been
able to keep a man's brain as fresh as his body, despite all their
vaunted progress. There is a lot these deep thinkers, in their great
laboratories, don't know. The whole universe gives them the credit for
what's been done, yet the men of action who carried out the ideas--but
I'm getting away from my pert young officer.
He listened to me with interest and toleration. Now and then he helped
me out, when my memory failed me on some little detail. He seemed to
have a very fair theoretical knowledge of the subject.
"It seems impossible," he commented, when we had gone over the ground
he had outlined, "that the Service could have done its work with such
crude and undeveloped weapons, does it not?" He smiled in a superior
sort of way, as though to imply we had probably done the best we
could, under the circumstances.
* * * * *
I suppose I should not have permitted his attitude to irritate me, but
I am an old man, and my life has not been an easy one.
"Youngster," I said--like many old people, I prefer spoken
conversation--"back in those days the Service was handicapped in every
way. We lacked weapons, we lacked instruments, we lacked popular
support, and backing. But we had men, in those days, who did their
work with the tools that were at hand. And we did it well."