Книга Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Содержание - 5 Men from Mars
Men from Mars
There was no floating inside the Space Hotel. The gravity-making machine saw to that. So
once the docking had been triumphantly achieved, Mr Wonka, Charlie, Grandpa Joe and
Mr and Mrs Bucket were able to walk out of the Great Glass Elevator into the lobby of the
Hotel. As for Grandpa George, Grandma Georgina and Grandma Josephine, none of them
had had their feet on the ground for over twenty years and they certainly weren't going to
change their habits now. So when the floating stopped, they all three plopped right back
into bed again and insisted that the bed, with them in it, be pushed into the Space Hotel.
Charlie gazed around the huge lobby. On the floor there was a thick green carpet. Twenty tremendous chandeliers hung shimmering from the ceiling. The walls were covered with valuable pictures and there were big soft armchairs all over the place. At the far end of the room there were the doors of five lifts. The group stared in silence at all this luxury. Nobody dared speak. Mr Wonka had warned them that every word they uttered would be picked up by Space Control in Houston, so they had better be careful. A faint humming noise came from somewhere below the floor, but that only made the silence more spooky. Charlie took hold of Grandpa Joe's hand and held it tight. He wasn't sure he liked this very much. They had broken into the greatest machine ever built by man, the property of the United States Government, and if they were discovered and captured as they surely must be in the end, what would happen to them then? Jail for life? Yes, or something worse.
Mr Wonka was writing on a little pad. He held up the pad. It said: ANYBODY HUNGRY?
The three old ones in the bed began waving their arms and nodding and opening and shutting their mouths. Mr Wonka turned the paper over. On the other side it said: THE KITCHENS OF THIS HOTEL ARE LOADED WITH LUSCIOUS FOOD, LOBSTERS, STEAKS, ICE-CREAM. WE SHALL HAVE A FEAST TO END ALL FEASTS.
Suddenly, a tremendous booming voice came out of a loudspeaker hidden somewhere in the room. 'ATTENTION!' boomed the voice and Charlie jumped. So did Grandpa Joe. Everybody jumped, even Mr Wonka. 'ATTENTION THE EIGHT FOREIGN ASTRONAUTS! THIS IS SPACE CONTROL IN HOUSTON, TEXAS, U.S.A.! YOU ARE TRESPASSING ON AMERICAN PROPERTY! YOU ARE ORDERED TO IDENTIFY YOURSELVES IMMEDIATELY! SPEAK NOW!'
'Ssshhh!' whispered Mr Wonka, finger to lips.
There followed a few seconds of awful silence. Nobody moved except Mr Wonka who kept saying 'Ssshhh! Ssshhh!'
'WHO … ARE … YOU?' boomed the voice from Houston, and the whole world heard it. 'I REPEAT … WHO … ARE … YOU?' shouted the urgent angry voice, and five hundred million people crouched in front of their television sets waiting for an answer to come from the mysterious strangers inside the Space Hotel. The television was not able to show a picture of these mysterious strangers. There was no camera in there to record the scene. Only the words came through. The TV watchers saw nothing but the outside of the giant hotel in orbit, photographed of course by Shuckworth, Shanks and Showler who were following behind. For half a minute the world waited for a reply.
But no reply came.
'SPEAK!' boomed the voice, getting louder and louder and ending in a fearful frightening shout that rattled Charlie's eardrums. 'SPEAK! SPEAK! SPEAK!' Grandma Georgina shot under the sheet. Grandma Josephine stuck her fingers in her ears. Grandpa George buried his head in the pillow. Mr and Mrs Bucket, both petrified, were once again in each other's arms. Charlie was clutching Grandpa Joe's hand, and the two of them were staring at Mr Wonka and begging him with their eyes to do something. Mr Wonka stood very still, and although his face looked calm, you can be quite sure his clever inventive brain was spinning like a dynamo.
'THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE!' boomed the voice. 'WE ARE ASKING YOU ONCE MORE … WHO … ARE … YOU? REPLY IMMEDIATELY! IF YOU DO NOT REPLY WE SHALL BE FORCED TO REGARD YOU AS DANGEROUS ENEMIES. WE SHALL THEN PRESS THE EMERGENCY FREEZER SWITCH AND THE TEMPERATURE IN THE SPACE HOTEL WILL DROP TO MINUS ONE HUNDRED DEGREES CENTIGRADE. ALL OF YOU WILL BE INSTANTLY DEEP FROZEN. YOU HAVE FIFTEEN SECONDS TO SPEAK. AFTER THAT YOU WILL TURN INTO ICICLES … ONE … TWO … THREE …'
'Grandpa!' whispered Charlie as the counting continued, 'we must do something! We must! Quick!'
'SIX!' said the voice. 'SEVEN! … EIGHT! … NINE! …'
Mr Wonka had not moved. He was still gazing straight ahead, still quite cool, perfectly expressionless. Charlie and Grandpa Joe were staring at him in horror. Then, all at once, they saw the tiny twinkling wrinkles of a smile appear around the corners of his eyes. He sprang to life. He spun round on his toes, skipped a few paces across the floor and then, in a frenzied unearthly sort of scream he cried, 'FIMBO FEEZ!'
The loudspeaker stopped counting. There was silence. All over the world there was silence.
Charlie's eyes were riveted on Mr Wonka. He was going to speak again. He was taking a deep breath. 'BUNGO BUNI!' he screamed. He put so much force into his voice that the effort lifted him right up on to the tips of his toes.
Again the silence.
The next time Mr Wonka spoke, the words came out so fast and sharp and loud they were like bullets from a machine-gun. 'ZOONK-ZOONK-ZOONK-ZOONK-ZOONK!' he barked. The noise echoed around and around the lobby of the Space Hotel. It echoed around the world.
Mr Wonka now turned and faced the far end of the lobby where the loudspeaker voice had come from. He walked a few paces forward as a man would, perhaps, who wanted a more intimate conversation with his audience. And this time, the tone was much quieter, the words came more slowly, but there was a touch of steel in every syllable:
Mr Wonka paused dramatically for a few seconds. Then he took an enormous deep breath and in a wild and fearsome voice, he yelled out:
The effect of all this on the world below was electric. In the Control Room in Houston, in the White House in Washington, in palaces and city buildings and mountain shacks from America to China to Peru, the five hundred million people who heard that wild and fearsome voice yelling out these strange and mystic words all shivered with fear before their television sets. Everybody began turning to everybody else and saying, 'Who are they? What language was that? Where do they come from?'
In the President's study in the White House, Vice-President Tibbs, the members of the Cabinet, the Chiefs of the Army and the Navy and the Air Force, the sword-swallower from Afghanistan, the Chief Financial Adviser and Mrs Taubsypuss the cat, all stood tense and rigid. They were very much afraid. But the President himself kept a cool head and a clear brain. 'Nanny!' he cried. 'Oh, Nanny, what on earth do we do now?'