Книга The Polar Treasure. Содержание - Chapter 3 FIGHTING MEN
Suddenly Victor Vail, in the outer office, emitted a piercing howl.
A shot exploded deafeningly. Men cursed. Blows smashed.
Doc's bronze form flashed through the laboratory door. Across the library, he sped.
From the library door, a Tommy gun spewed lead almost into his face.
DOC HAD charged forward. expecting to meet danger. So he was alert. Twisting aside, he evaded the first torrent of bullets.
But nothing in the library offered shelter. He doubled back. His speed was blinding. His bronze figure snapped into the laboratory before the wielder of the machine gun could correct his aim.
The gunman swore loudly. He dashed across the bookfilled room. Deadly weapon ready, he sprang into the laboratory. Murderous purpose was on his pinched face.
His eyes roved the lab. His jaw sagged.
There was no bronze man in the lab!
To a window, the gunner leaped. He flung it up, looked out.
No one was in sight. The white wall of the skyscraper lacked very little of being smooth as glass. Nobody could pull a human-fly stunt on that expanse. No rope was visible, above or below.
The gunman drew back. He panted. His pinched face threatened to rival in color the white shirt he wore.
The bronze giant had vanished!
Fearfully, the gunman sidled about on the polished bricks of the laboratory floor.
Two half circles of these bricks suddenly whipped upward. They were not unlike a monster bear trap. The gunman was caught.
His rapid-firer cackled a brief instant. Then pain made him drop the weapon. Madly, he tore at the awful thing which held him. It defied him. The bricks which had arisen were actually of hard steel, merely painted to resemble masonry.
Before the would-be killer's pain-blurred eyes, a section of the laboratory wall opened soundlessly. The mighty bronze man stepped out of the recess it had concealed.
The giant, metallic form approached, taking up a position before the captive.
"Lemme out of dis t'ing!" whined the gunman. "It's bustin' me ribs!"
THE BRONZE man might not have heard, for all the sign he gave. One of his hands lifted. The hand was slender, perfectly shaped. It seemed made entirely of piano wires and steel rods.
The hand touched lightly to the gunman's face.
The gunman instantly slumped over.
He was unconscious!
He fell to the floor as the bronze giant released the mechanical trap which held him. The trap settled back into the floor — become a part of the other bricks.
Like an arrow off a bow, the bronze man whipped into the library, then to the outer office.
The gunman had never moved after striking the floor. Yet he breathed noisily, as though asleep.
In the outer office, the bronze man saw Victor Vail was gone!
A DRIBBLE of moist crimson across the floor showed the single shot which had sounded had damaged some one. The red leakage led to an elevator door. The panel was closed. The cage was gone.
Doc Savage glided down the battery of elevator doors. The last panel was shut. His finger found a secret button, and pressed it. The doors slid open. A ready cage was revealed.
This car always awaited Doc's needs at the eighty-sixth floor. Its hoisting mechanism was of a special nature. The cage went up and down at a speed far surpassing the other elevators.
Doc sent it dropping downward. For a moment or two he actually floated in the air some inches above the floor, so swift was the descent
The cage seemed hardly to get going before it slowed. And with such an abruptness did it halt that only great leg muscles kept Doc from being flattened to the floor.
The doors opened automatically. Doc popped out into the first-floor lobby of the skyscraper.
An astounding sight met his gaze.
Directly before the elevator door stood an individual who could easily be mistaken for a giant gorilla. He weighed in excess of two hundred and sixty pounds. His arms were some inches longer than his legs and actually as thick as his legs! He was literally furred with curly, rust-hued hair.
A more homely face than that possessed by this anthropoid fellow would be hard to find. His eyes were like little stars twinkling in their pits of gristle. His ears were cauliflowered; something had chewed the tip of one, and the other was perforated as though for an ear-ring except that the puncture was about the size of a rifle bullet. His mouth was very big.
This gigantic individual held three mean-eyed men in the hooplike clasp of his huge arms. The trio were helpless. Three guns, which they had no doubt held recently, lay on the floor.
The gorilla of a man saw Doc. His knot of a head seemed to open in halves as he laughed.
"Listen, Doc!" he said in a voice surprisingly mild for such a monster. "Listen to this!"
His enormous arms tightened on his three prisoners. As one man the three howled in agony.
"Don't they sing pretty huh?" the anthropoid man chuckled. He squeezed the trio again, and listened to their pained howls like a singing teacher.
Across the lobby, two more mean-eyed men cowered in a corner. They had their arms wrapped tightly about their faces. Each was trying to crawl into the corner behind the other.
The cause of their terror was a slender, waspish man who danced lightly before them. This man was probably as immaculately clad a gentleman as ever twirled a cane on a New York street.
Indeed, it was with a sword cane that he now menaced the pair in the corner. A sword cane which ordinarily looked like an innocent black walking stick!
This man was "Ham." On the military records, he was Brigadier General Theodore Marley Brooks. He was one of the leading civil lawyers of the country. He had never been known to lose a case. But there was no sign of poor blind Victor Vail.
DOC SAVAGE addressed the grinning gorilla of a man.
"What happened, Monk?"
No other nickname would have quite fit the homely, long-armed, and furry fellow. The highly technical articles he occasionally wrote on chemistry were signed by the full name of Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Blodgett Mayfair.
There apparently wasn't room back of his low brow for more brains than could be crammed into a cigarette. Actually, he was such a great chemist that other famous chemists often came from foreign countries to consult with him.
"We were coming in the door when we met our friends." Monk gave his three captives a squeeze to hear them howl. "They had guns. We didn't like their looks. So we glommed onto 'em."
Reaching forward, Doc Savage placed his bronze right hand lightly against the faces of each of Monk's three prisoners. Only Doc's finger tips touched the skin of the men.
Yet all three instantly became unconscious!
Hurrying over, Doc also touched lightly the pair Ham menaced with his sword cane.
Both fell senseless!
Ham sheathed his sword cane. He twirled the innocent black stick which resulted. He was quite a striking figure, sartorially.
Indeed, tailors often followed Ham down the street, just to watch clothes being worn as they should be worn!
"You didn't see more of these rats dragging a white-haired, blind man, did you?" Doc asked.
"We saw only these five." Ham had the penetrant voice of an orator.
Neither Ham nor Monk seemed the least surprised by the way in which their prisoners dropped unconscious at Doc's touch.
Ham and Monk were accustomed to the remarkable feats of this mighty bronze man, for they were two of a group of five men who worked with Doc Savage. Each of the other three was a master of some profession, just as Monk was a fine chemist and Ham a great lawyer.