'Why Doesn't Our Ship Move'


(A science-fiction story of human appeal and original thought)

by Sam Moskowitz.

Weakly, Davidson rose to his feet, hands clasped to an aching and bleeding head. Tottering, he reeled to the door and with an effort, gazed upward. A tiny meteor-like moving speck was the object of his attention. Even as he looked, his mind cleared. The chaos of sound that roared in his ears and the true propensity of the disaster struck him like a cold sheet of water. They had stolen his creation. The labor of fifteen long years. Absolutely total destruction of the atom; until only pure energy remained. Those were the last thoughts of a wronged man. For as he faltered for the knob of the door, he stumbled and fell,-- overwork and injury extracted the extreme penalty, death!

Out in the stratosphere a pair of reckless, daredevil murderers steered their tiny ship into outer space. As they gained the outer reaches of the atmosphere the ship gained in speed and rushed soundlessly along in the general direction of the moon. Six weeks later a pair of murdering thieves lay gasping out their last breaths of life. Too near death to repent, they could only wonder. Wonder why their tiny projectile continued its endless circle around the faraway Earth and all the while the powerful rockets continued their blasting.

Even the greatest scientist on earth could not have told them why. Not knowing the facts of the case as it were, but dead Robert Davidson could have. For had the invention not sprung from his own fertile mind? The answer was simple. As everyone knows, rocket propulsion depends upon the rocket blast recoiling the ship from the gas particles ejected, which acts as the base or springboard. But Davidson had totally and absolutely destroyed matter. Liberating only pure energy force. Which although it worked well enough in the medium of air, proved futile in outer space because of the absolute destruction of matter, leaving not even gas particles.

(Data entered by Judy Bemis & Tony Parker)