Post by Johnny1A Post by email@example.com Post by JimboCat Post by firstname.lastname@example.org
The Velantian demurred, declaring that he would not hide while his two
companions were fighting his battle, but Kinnison silenced him fiercely.
"Don't be a fool!" the Lensman snapped. "One of these beams would fry you to
a crisp in ten seconds, but the defensive fields of our armor could neutralize
a thousand of them, from now on. Do as I say, and do it quick, or I'll shock
you unconscious and toss you in there myself!"
I don't recall if this less-than-lethal capability was mentioned in any
other story. Since they were communicating telepathically via Kinnison's
lens, Kinnison must have been telling the truth. I note that Velantians are
very big and rugged and it may well have been possible to stun one of them
with a Delameter even if such an attempt would kill a more fragile being
such as a human.
Kinnison threatened to SHOCK the Velantian. They were in the POWER ROOM. It doesn't seem like a DeLameter would be involved at all...
Considering the description of Velantians it seems unlikely that Kinnison could have shocked any other way without consent...
KK was wearing his space armor. It would have been no problem to handle an unarmored Worsel wearing that.
The patrolmen's armor was very strong but it was not powered like the
Mobile Infantry's armor in _Starship Troopers_ . The following
passage starts when Kinnison and vanBuskirk are attacked after landing on
Delgon. I note that after their DeLameters are exhausted the spacesuits
are still powered up and capable of flight:
A crushing weight descended upon his back, and the Patrolmen found themselves
fighting for their lives. From the bare, supposedly evidently safe rock face
of the cliff there had emerged rope-tentacled monstrosities in a ravenously
attacking swarm. In the savage blasts of DeLameters hundreds of the gargoyle
horde vanished in vivid flares of radiance, but on they came; by thousands
and, it seemed, by millions. Eventually the batteries energizing the projectors
became exhausted. Then flailing coil met shearing steel, fierce-driven parrot
beaks clanged against space-tempered armor, bulbous heads pulped under
hard-swung axes; but not for the fractional second necessary for inertialess
flight could the two win clear. Then Kinnison sent out his SOS.
"A Lensman calling help! A Lensman calling help!" he broadcast with the full
power of mind and Lens, and immediately a sharp, clear voice poured into his
"Coming, wearer of the Lens! Coming at speed to the cliff of the Catlats. Hold
until I come! I arrive in thirty...."
Thirty what? What possible intelligible relative measure of that unknown and
unknowable concept, Time, can be conveyed by thought alone?
"Keep slugging, Bus!" Kinnison panted. "Help is on the way. A local cop--voice
sounds like it could be a woman--will be here in thirty somethings. Don't know
whether it's thirty minutes or thirty days; but we'll still be there."
"Maybe so and maybe not," grunted the Dutchman. "Something's coming besides
help. Look up and see if you see what I think I do."
Kinnison did so. Through the air from the top of the cliff there was hurtling
downward toward them a veritable dragon: a nightmare's horror of hideously
reptilian head, of leathern wings, of viciously fanged jaws, of frightfully
taloned feet, of multiple knotty arms, of long, sinuous, heavily-scaled
serpent's body. In fleeting glimpses through the writhing tentacles of his
opponents Kinnison perceived little by little the full picture of that
unbelievable monstrosity: and, accustomed as he was to the outlandish denizens
of worlds scarcely known to man, his very senses reeled.
As the quasi-reptilian organism descended the cliff-dwellers went mad. Their
attack upon the two Patrolmen, already vicious, became insanely frantic.
Abandoning the gigantic Dutchman entirely, every Catlat within reach threw
himself upon Kinnison and so enwrapped the Lensman's head, arms, and torso that
he could scarcely move a muscle. Then entwining captors and helpless man moved
slowly toward the largest of the openings in the cliff's obsidian face.
Upon that slowly moving mass vanBuskirk hurled himself, deadly space-axe
swinging. But, hew and smite as he would, he could neither free his chief from
the grisly horde enveloping him nor impede measurably that horde's progress toward its goal. However, he could and did cut away the comparatively few cables
confining Kinnison's legs.
"Clamp a leg-lock around my waist, Kim," he directed, the flashing thought in no
whit interfering with his prodigious axe-play, "and as soon as I get a chance,
before the real tussle comes, I'll couple us together with all the belt-snaps I
can reach--wherever we're going we're going together! Wonder why they haven't
ganged up on me, too, and what that lizard is doing? Been too busy to look, but
thought he'd've been on my back before this."
"He won't be on your back. That's Worsel, the lad who answered my call. I told
you his voice was funny? They can't talk or hear--use telepathy, like the
Manarkans. He's cleaning them out in great shape. If you can hold me for three
minutes he'll have the lot of them whipped."
"I can hold you for three minutes against all the vermin between here and
Andromeda," vanBuskirk declared. "There, I've got four snaps on you."
"Not too tight, Bus," Kinnison cautioned. "Leave enough slack so you can cut me
loose if you have to. Remember that the spools are more important than any one
of us. Once inside that cliff we'll be all washed up--even Worsel can't help us there--so drop me rather than go in yourself."
"Um," grunted the Dutchman, non-committally. "There, I've tossed my spool out
onto the ground. Tell Worsel that if they get us he's to pick it up and carry
on. We'll go ahead with yours, inside the cliff if necessary."
"I said cut me loose if you can't hold me!" Kinnison snapped, "and I meant it.
That's an official order. Remember it!"
"Official order be damned!" snorted vanBuskirk, still plying his ponderous mace.
"They won't get you into that hole without breaking me in two, and that will be a job of breaking in anybody's language. Now shut your pan," he concluded
grimly. "We're here,and I'm going to be too busy, even to think, very shortly."
He spoke truly. He had already selected his point of resistance, and as he
reached it he thrust the head of his mace into the crack behind the open trap-
door, jammed its shaft into the shoulder-socket of his armor, set blocky legs
and Herculean arms against the cliffside, arched his mighty back, and held. And
the surprised Catlats, now inside the gloomy fastness of their tunnel, thrust
anchoring tentacles into crevices in the wall and pulled; harder, ever harder.
Under the terrific stress Kinnison's heavy armor creaked as its air-tight joints
accommodated themselves to their new and unusual positions. That armor, of
space-tempered alloy, of course would not give way--but what of its anchor?
Well it was for Kimball Kinnison that day, and well for our present
civilization, that the Brittania's quartermaster had selected Peter vanBuskirk
for the Lensman's mate; for death, inevitable and horrible, resided within that
cliff, and no human frame of Earthly growth, however armored, could have borne for even a fraction of a second the violence of the Catlats' pull.
But Peter vanBuskirk, although of Earthly-Dutch ancestry, had been born and
reared upon the planet Valeria, and that massive planet's gravity--over two and
one-half times Earth's--had given him a physique and a strength almost
inconceivable to us life-long dwellers upon small, green Terra. His head, as has
been said, towered seventy-eight inches above the ground; but at that he
appeared squatty because of his enormous spread of shoulder and his startling
girth. His bones were elephantine--they had to be, to furnish adequate support
and leverage for the incredible masses of muscle overlaying and surrounding
them. But even vanBuskirk's Valerian strength was now being taxed to the
The anchoring chains hummed and snarled as the clamps bit into the rings.
Muscles writhed and knotted, tendons stretched and threatened to snap; sweat
rolled down his mighty back. His jaws locked in agony and his eyes started from
their sockets with the effort; but still vanBuskirk held.
"Cut me loose!" commanded Kinnison at last. "Even you can't take much more of
that. No use letting them break your back.... Cut, I tell you.... I said CUT,
you big, dumb, Valerian ape!"
But if vanBuskirk heard or felt the savagely-voiced commands of his chief he
gave no heed. Straining to the very ultimate fiber of his being, exerting every
iota of loyal mind and every atom of Brobdingnagian frame: grimly, tenaciously,
stubbornly the gigantic Dutchman held.
Held while Worsel of Velantia, that grotesquely hideous, that fantastically
reptilian ally, plowed toward the two Patrolmen through the horde of Catlats;
a veritable tornado of rending fang and shearing talon, of beating wing and
crushing snout, of mailed hand and trenchant tail:
Held while that demon incarnate drove closer and closer, hurling entire Catlats
and numberless dismembered fragments of Catlats to the four winds as he came:
Held until Worsel's snake-like body, a supple and sentient cable of living
steel, tipped with its double-edged, razor-keen, scimitar-like sting, slipped
into the tunnel beside Kinnison and wrought grisly havoc among the Catlats
As the terrific tension upon him was suddenly released vanBuskirk's own efforts
hurled him away from the cliff. He fell to the ground, his overstrained muscles
twitching uncontrollably, and on top of him fell the fettered Lensman. Kinnison,
his hands now free, unfastened the clamps linking his armor to that of
vanBuskirk and whirled to confront the foe--but the fighting was over. The
Catlats had had enough of Worsel of Velantia; and, screaming and shrieking in
baffled rage, the last of them were disappearing into their caves.
As shown in this battle, Worsel is much more capable physically even than
both armored humans together, as formidable as vanBuskirk is.