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piece of metal. "Russian, huh?" asked Sam.
"Russian, hell," Cartwell snorted. "It looks like a cross between
Chinese and Arabic."
Sam took the piece and looked at it, the cigar clamped belligerently in
his jaws. After a tense moment, he grunted noncommittally and passed the
thing to Nolan Brice.
He knew nothing of Russian, Chinese or Arabic, but he knew what Chinese
characters looked like. The imprinted marks on the metal bore a certain
resemblance to the Chinese language, but yet were not the same. It
consisted of strange marks that were like nothing Brice had ever seen
"There are similar markings on the control panel," Dickson said into the
"Crap," Sam Morgan snorted. "I say Russian. How about you, partner?"
Cartwell furled his blond brows. "I think I'd rather let an expert look
this piece over before I make any kind of guess as to where that wreck
flew from." He turned to Nolan. "Where can we find an expert, Brice?"
"Everett College would be the only place I know of."
"Okay, we'll give them a try. Where's Lieutenant Peters?"
Morgan jerked a thumb over his shoulder toward the other side of the
clearing. "Over there," he said, "dressing down one of his Weekend
"Sam. How about going over and remind him to keep any characters off the
site. I have a horror of having the news boys scoop us on this."
Sam nodded and took off to talk with the Army. Dickson looked at
"Anything for me?" he asked.
"No. Just continue with your investigators. You can make the
arrangements about having this thing hauled down to Everett, but check
with me before you do. Okay?"
"C'mon, Brice," Cartwell said. "Let's get Morgan and find out what the
college professors can tell us about this screwy thing."
They wrapped the piece of metal in Cartwell's jacket and the three of
them headed through the forest toward the road in the valley.
* * * * *
Professor Nichols was a wisp of a man who peered at them through small,
bright eyes nearly hidden in fleshy folds. Although his body was about
the shortest Brice had ever seen on a man, the brain beneath his crop of
white hair had made him a giant. A linguist all his life, Professor
Nichols spoke a dozen languages fluently, in addition to reading and
writing them. Brice knew him by reputation and grinned at him as he came
into the empty Dean's office.
"Gentlemen?" He favored them with a smile. "I'm Nichols. Doctor Bendtolz
said you wanted to speak with me."
Brice introduced himself and the Federal men and, after a round of
handshaking, Cartwell handed the chunk of metal to the professor.
"We'd like to know about the writing, Professor," Sam put in.
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