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"Russian?" Brice asked, looking at Sam Morgan.
The dark complected Fed pulled the mangled cigar from his mouth and
pointed it toward the twisted wreckage. On the far side, Cartwell and
Dickson were looking it over.
"Why not?" Morgan asked.
"It seems outlandish, somehow."
Morgan grinned, his peg-like teeth flashing. "You small town cops are
good. I won't take that from you. But you look at everything from a
local viewpoint. In our business, you broaden, you might say.
"Look at the facts, Nolan. The Defense boys spotted the thing up north.
Radar locked on it and gave it a speed of over two thousand miles per.
So it crashes and we find no wings, no tail assembly ... and I have the
hunch that the damned thing ran on nuclear power."
"Atomic?" Nolan whispered, amazed. While the Federal cop talked about
nuclear power and fantastic speeds, all Brice could think of was the
watch he'd found at the scene. How the hell could an artist learn to
pilot a thing like that in a mere thirteen months, and what the hell was
behind it all. "You mean, atomic power?"
Morgan nodded. "See that funnel shaped gismo over there, with the round
ball-like affair?" He was pointing to what was probably the tail of the
ship, at least it was not the section that had absorbed the smash into
"That's a nuclear reactor," Sam went on. "Uncle Sam doesn't have
anything in the air with that kind of power. I think we're testing a few
engines, but nothing flying yet."
"Then it is Russian?"
"That's my guess. No other country would build it. Oh, Great Britain
could, but if it was one of theirs, they would have plastered the red
and blue targets on it. Offhand, it looks to me like a glorified version
of the old U-2 thing, only on their side."
Brice didn't answer. He stared at the wreckage as though it were some
sort of demon, while a million thoughts burst in his brain. Nick Danson
was in this? He flew it? Where did he get it? How did he get it? Was it
Russian? Was Nick a Russian spy?
He tried to cover the amazement on his face by lighting a cigarette.
"How come it didn't develop into a pint sized Hiroshima, if it has
atomic power in it?"
Morgan grinned at him, as though he was a kid. "I said it was powered by
atomic energy, not atomic bombs. There's a kind of difference in..."
"Hey, Sam! C'mere!"
Both of the men turned to look across the twisted mass of wreckage to
where Cartwell and Dickson were standing. The blond Fed was holding up a
piece of the wreckage and his face glowed with excitement that he didn't
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