Authors: John Rankine
The daring space travelers of Moonbase Alpha face new terrors as they wander through the silent stars!
A treacherous woman uses Alpha in an interplanetary war that's been stalemated for centuries . . . An innocent seance conjures up an invisible devil with deadly powers of possession . . . Alpha prepares to be engulfed by a
meteorite . . . And what seems to be Alpha's final battle draws to a close when Commander Koenig chooses certain death over life!
Collecting samples of the "meteorite" was not easy, and Kelly knew his problems were just beginning. Seen up close, the foamy creature was shapeless. When he touched it, it stuck fast to his gloves. Slowly it crept up his suit, half covering his visor. On the brink of panic, he called his ship.
"Alan, I can't get away from it! I'll need help!"
"Alpha's just signaled for us to abort, Kelly," Alan Carter replied. "I'm on my way."
Commander Koenig, racing into Main Mission, caught the tail end of the transmission. "Carter, no!" he screamed. "We've lost all trace of life signs on Kelly's monitor. He's
"Impossible, Commander!" Alan Carter was stunned. "He's still calling out to me!"
Books in the Space: 1999 Series
The Space Guardians
Published by POCKET BOOKS
Futura Publications edition published 1975
POCKET BOOK edition published March, 1976
This POCKET BOOK edition includes every word contained in the original edition. It is printed from brand-new plates made from completely reset, clear, easy-to-read type. POCKET BOOK editions are published by POCKET BOOKS, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 630 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10020. Trademarks registered in the United States and other countries.
Standard Book Number: 671-80305-0.
This POCKET BOOK edition is published by arrangement with Futura Publications Limited. Series format and television play scripts copyright, ©, 1975, by ATV Licensing Limited. This novelization copyright, ©, 1975, by Futura Publications Limited. All rights reserved. This book, or portions thereof, may not be reproduced by any means without permission of the original publisher: Futura Publications Limited, 49 Poland Street, London, England.
Printed in the U.S.A.
Hurled from her ancient orbit, Earth’s moon was a wanderer in the interstellar outback, a tattered hobo on a walkabout with no forseeable end.
The personnel of Moonbase Alpha had come to terms with a way of life where the unexpected had become the norm, where no experience, however bizarre, could be ruled out. They travelled where the writ of Earth-based logic no longer ran.
Any landfall, however tough the options, would be fine in their book. They still had the means to get clear, if the computers in Main Mission could pick a viable homeland out of the cosmic hat. The remnants of the Eagle fleet were on stand-by round the clock, fuelled and ready to blast off. But time was not on their side. It would have to be soon. At the back of every mind was the growing fear that disaster was only a short step away.
Commander John Koenig knew the score better than any one of his people. He knew the fears and tried to discount them every minute of the working day. He told himself it was better to travel hopefully than to arrive, but he was finding himself more hard to convince.
When the red planet showed like a glowing jewel on the black velvet pad of the big scanner in Main Mission, he reckoned soberly it was an answer to an unspoken prayer. But he clamped down on optimism. They could think he was the cold-hearted bastard of all time, but he wanted emotion out of the equation. This time it had to be right.
John Koenig left the command office and joined the operations team in Main Mission. He was in time to see Sandra Benes make a refined tuning ploy with slender, delicate fingers, that brought up a new feature to the screen. He thought bitterly that it had seemed too easy. There was the red planet. If they held course, their Moon would pass close enough to check it out. It was the best chance that had come their way in months. But the approach was under guard.
Sandra was looking open mouthed at the screen. Anyone less beautiful would have looked plain stupid. But it was a measure of the surprise that held them all rooted to their desks.
The three saucers, in echelon, which had appeared in clear detail between the hurrying Moon and the distant planet looked as venomous as wasps. They were military ships, strike craft. They would carry an armament that could disperse Moonbase Alpha and all it held as molecular trash.
Koenig had his hands on the back of Sandra’s chair. Data was flipping through his computer. Assessments. He judged that the technology behind the oncoming fighters was similar to Earth’s. But he knew for a truth that his Eagles had nothing that would stand up to a head-on confrontation. He asked harshly, ‘Where did they come from?’
It was an implied criticism of the watch kept by the scanner team and Sandra Benes said defensively, ‘There was no indication on long range. They came from nowhere.’
Grim faced, Koenig turned to Paul Morrow, Main Mission Controller, ‘Still no reply from the planet?’
‘No dice, Commander.’
‘Keep at it.’
Scientific adviser to the Alpha project, grizzled and balding, Victor Bergman had been leaning close, studying the detail of the approaching craft. His exclamation had Koenig turning his way. But what he said made no kind of sense. ‘They’re Hawks! They’re Mark Nine Hawks.’
Koenig forced himself to keep it cool. Once the idea was out and about, it gave a reference line and now he could see that Bergman could be right. But it raised too many side problems for comfort. He said slowly, ‘Could be. It looks that way.’
Chief pilot, Alan Carter had shoved back his chair and was on his feet. He had seen enough. ‘They’re war machines. That’s all we have to know!’
He was asking for a command decision and Koenig gave it. ‘All right, Alan. Get going!’
Carter was out at a run. Koenig shoved down an alarm button. Before he reached his command desk, Red Alert signs were flashing in every corner of Moonbase Alpha and strident klaxons were sounding out.
Like a well-serviced machine, the sprawling base moved into high gear. There was some satisfaction in it for Koenig at his command desk. He could feel the hive organising itself to meet whatever emergency might come, in the long tradition of an embattled camp. It was a castle with the cross bow men hurrying to the walls and the mail shirts coming out of the armoury. But then he remembered that the main enemy was always found inside the gate. Where would that be in their special case? In their own minds? There was no time to pursue it.
Paul Morrow’s voice was going on in a monotonously repeated call as he tried to establish contact with the planet surface, ‘. . . this is Moonbase Alpha calling on all frequencies. We are people from Planet Earth . . . Please acknowledge . . .’