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difference whether you believe it or not, it's there."
"Jesus," Cartwell said softly.
"And that isn't the payoff. We didn't find a body in the wreckage.
Unless that ship traveled by remote control, it had a pilot who is
wandering around the country right now. I can see it now. A wounded
little green man running around trying to hitch a ride back to Mars.
It'd be funny if it wasn't so damned serious."
Cartwell nodded at his partner. "We'd better get back up there to the
site. Maybe the air search or the rescue squads picked something up.
Nolan forced a grin. "With little green men running around?" Then he
became serious. "I'll be up a little later. I have something to do down
Morgan snorted as they headed for the door. "See if you can locate a
Buck Rogers ray gun. We might need it."
They went back to their cars and Nolan Brice wedged himself behind the
wheel but he didn't start the engine. He sat there, instead, watching
the Government men drive off down the street, his mind whirling with a
million jangling thoughts that tore through him viciously. Flying
saucers, Martians, little green men! The whole damned thing was
But true. A man just couldn't sit down and say "I refuse to believe in
lightning." It didn't make sense. You had to believe what your mind told
you ... and his mind was telling him wild things.
It all fit. Hell, it fit with a perfection that was absolutely
fantastic, but crazy enough to be the truth. Nick Danson, commercial
artist, disappeared thirteen months ago and every police agency in the
country can't locate him. It was as if the earth had opened and
swallowed him; but it hadn't been the earth, it had been the sky. _They_
had done it ... the Martians, or whatever the hell they were.
Why? Why steal a Terran?
To replace him? To send an alien being down to take the place of the
Terran they had stolen. That took care of the confusion the watch had
represented. For awhile it had looked as though Nick had piloted that
space ship, but now Nolan knew better. It wasn't Nick. It was an alien!
Had an alien, posing as Nick, located Beth and was now engaged in using
her to help in whatever they had come here to do? How many other Missing
Persons cases were wrapped up in this thing? How many aliens were
walking the streets of earth right now? To hell with that, Nolan, he
roared at himself. The important thing is Beth. You've got to find out
about this thing and stop it, before something happens to her.
He started the car, slammed it into gear and gunned it out onto the
street, the tires screaming a protest...
Janet was more than a beautiful woman and a good model. She was white
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