Here he is again, the irrepressible Septimus Spink, in a tale as rollicking as
an elder giant juggling the stars and the planets in his great, golden hands
and laughing mirthfully as one tiny world—our own—goes spinning away
from him into caverns measureless to man. With specifications drawn to scale,
Joe Archibald, whose versatility with the quill never ceases to amaze us, has
managed with slangy insouciance to achieve a rare triumph over space and
time, and to aureole Spink in a resplendent sunburst of imperishable renown.
by ... Joe Archibald
Septimus Spink didn't need to read Jules Verne's "Journey to
the Center of the Earth." He had more amazing ideas of his own.
Interplanetary Press, Circa 2022—Septimus
Spink, the first Earthman
to reach and return from New
Mu in a flying saucer, threw a
hydroactive bombshell into the
meeting of the leading cosmogonists
at the University of Cincinnatus today.
The amazing Spink, uninvited,
crashed this august body of scientists
and laughed at a statement
made by Professor Apsox Zalpha as
to the origin of Earth and other
"That theory is older than the
discovery of the antiquated zipper,"
Spink orated. "Ha, you big plexidomes
still believe the Earth was
condensed from a filament, and was
ejected by the sun under the gravitational
attraction of a big star passing
close to the Earth's surface.
First it was a liquid drop and cooling
solidified it after a period of a
few million years. You citizens still
think it has a liquid core. Some of
you think it is pretty hot inside like
they had atomic furnaces all fired
up. Ha, the exterior ain't so hot
either what with taxes we have to
pay after seven wars."
Professor Yzylch Mgogylvy, of
the University of Juno, took violent
exception to Septimus Spink's derisive
attitude and stoutly defended
the theory of adiabatic expansion.
It was at this juncture that Spink
practically disintegrated the meeting.
"For the last seventy years," he
orated, "all we have thought about
was outer space. All that we
have been hepped up about is what
is up in the attic and have forgot
the cellar. What proof has any
knucklehelmet got that nobody lives
far under the coal mines and the oil
pockets? Something lives everywhere!
Adam never believed anythin'
lived in water until he was bit
by a crab. Gentlemen, I am announcin'
for the benefit of the press and
everybody from here to Mars and
Jupiter and back that I intend to
explore inner space! I have already
got the project underway."
A near panic ensued as representatives
of the press made for the
audio-viso stellartypes. "You think
volcanoes are caused by heat generated
far down inside the earth. They
are only boils or carbuncles. Awright,
where do earthquakes come
from?" Here Spink laughed once
more. "They are elastic waves sent
out through the body of the Earth,
huh? Their observed times of transmission
give a means of finding
their velocities of propagation at
great depths. I read that in a book
that should be in the Terra-firmament
Institute along with the Spirit
of St. Louis."
Septimus Spink walked out at this
point, surrounded by Interplanetary
scribes, one of whom was Exmud R.
Zmorro. Spink informed the Fourteenth
Estate that he would let them
have a gander at the model of his
inner space machine in due time.
He inferred that one of his financial
backers in the fabulous enterprise
was Aquintax Djupont, and
that the fact that Djupont had recently
been brain-washed at the
Neuropsychiatorium in Metropolita
had no bearing on the case whatsoever.
I am seeing and listening to that
news item right now which has
been repeated a dozen times the last
twenty-four hours as if nobody
could believe it. I am Septimus
Spink, and descended from a long
line of Spinks that began somewhere
back at the time they put up
All my ancestors was never satisfied
with what progress they saw
during when they lived, and they
are the reasons we have got where
we are today. And if there was no
Spinks today the scientists would
get away with saying that the Earth
was only a drop from the sun that
got a crust on it after millions of
years. And they want to send me
back to get fitted for a duronylon
strait jacket again.
An hour after I shut off the viso-screen,
and while I am taking my
calves' liver and onion capsules, my
friend and space-lanceman, D'Ambrosia
Zahooli comes in. He just
qualifies as a spaceman as he takes
up very little and is not much easier
to look at than a Nougatine. Once
D'Ambrosia applied for a plasticectomy
but the surgeons at the Muzayo
clinic just laughed and told
him there was a limit to science even
in the year 2022. But the citizen
was at home when they divided the
brains. Of course that is only my
opinion. He is to fly with me into
"Greetin's and salutations, and as
the Martians say, 'max nabiscum,'
Sep," Zahooli says. "I have been
figuring that we won't have to go
deeper than about four thousand
kilometers. All that is worryin' me
is gettin' back up. I still do not
fully believe that we won't melt.
Supposin' Professor Zalpha is right
and that we will dive down into a
core of live iron ore. You have seen
them pour it out of the big dippers
in the mills, Sep."
"Columbus started off like us," I
says. "Who knew what he would
find or where he ended up? Chris
expected to fall right off the edge
of the world, but did that scare
"Of course you can count on
me," Zahooli says. "When do we
start building this mechanical
"In just two days," I says. "Our
backers have purchased an extinct
spaceship factory not far from Commonwealth
Seven. Yeah, we will
call our project 'Operation Earthworm,'
D'Ambrosia sits down and starts
looking chicken. "We wouldn't get
no astrogator in his right mind to
go with us, Sep. How many times
the thrust will we need over what
we would use if we was just cutting
space? We start out in about a foot
of topsoil, then some hard rock and
then more hard rock. Can we harness
enough energy to last through
the diggin'? Do you mind if I
change my mind for a very good
reason which is that I'm an awful
"Of course not," I says. "It
would be a coincidence if you quit
though, my dear old friend, and
right after Coordinator One found
out who was sipping Jovian drambuie
on a certain space bistro last
Monday with his Venutian wife."
"You have sold me," Zahooli
says. "I wouldn't miss this trip for
one of those four-legged turkey
farms up in Maine. It is kind of
frustratin' though, don't you think,
Septimus? We are still not thirty
and could live another hundred
years what with the new arteries
they are making out of Nucrolon
and the new tickers they are replacing
for the old ones."
"Let us look over the model
again," I says. "You are just moody
It still looks like it would work
to me. It is just a rocket ship pointed
toward terra firma instead of
the other way, and has an auger
fixed in place at the nose. It is about
twenty feet long and four feet wide
and made out of the strongest metal
known to modern science, cryptoplutonite.
It won't heat up or break
off and it will start spinning around
as soon as we cut loose with the tail
"How much time do we need and
how much energy for only four
thousand kilometers?" I asks Zahooli.
"We got enough stored up to
go seventy million miles into space?
We'll cross that bridge when we
get to the river."
"You mean the Styx?"
"That is one thing I will not believe,"
I sniff. "We will never find
Attila the Hun or Hitler down
there. Or Beelzebub."
All at once we hear a big rumbling
noise and the plexidomed
house we are in shakes and rattles
and we are knocked out of our chairs
and deposited on the seats of our
corylon rompers. The viso-screen
blacks out, I get to all fours and
ask, "You think the Nougatines
have gone to war again, D'Ambrosia?"
"It was not mice," Zahooli gulps.
"It is either a hydroradium plant
backfired or a good old-fashioned
After a while we have the viso-screen
working. The face of Coordinator
Five appears. He says the
worst earthquake in five centuries
has happened. There is a crack in
the real estate of Department X6
near the Rockies that makes the
Grand Canyon look like a kid just
scraped a stick through some mud.
Infra-Red Cross units, he says, are
rocketing to the area.
"There might be somethin' goin'
on inside this earth," I says. "If you
don't poke a hole in a baked potato
its busts right open from heat generated
inside. Our project, D'Ambrosia,
seems even more expedient
"That is a new word for 'insane'
I must look up," Zahooli
Professor Apsox Zalpha comes
out with a statement the next morning.
He says the quake confirms his
theory that the inside of the Earth
is as hot as a Venutian calypso number,
and that gases are being generated
by the heat and that we haven't
volcanoes enough on the surface to
allow them to escape.
Exmud R. Zmorro comes and
asks me if I have an opinion.
"Ha," I laugh. "I have many on
file in the Neuropsychiatorium. Just
go and take your pick. However, I
will give you one ad lib and sub
rosa. There is more downstairs than
Professor Zalpha dreams about.
Who is he to say there is no civilization
in inner space as well as outer?
How do we know that there is not a
globe inside a globe with some kind
of space or atmosphere in between?"
Exmud R. Zmorro says thanks
and leaves in quite a hurry. I snap
off the gadget and head for my
rocket jeep, and fifteen seconds
later I am walking into the factory
where a hundred citizens are already
at work on the inner spaceship. It
is listing a little to port from the
quake but the head mech says it will
be all straightened out in a few
hours. It is just a skeleton ship at
the moment with the auger already
in place and the point about three
feet into the ground.
D'Ambrosia Zahooli comes in
and says he has been to see Commander
Bizmuth Aquinox. "He
will give just enough of the atom
pile for seventy million miles," he
says. "And only enough superhydrogenerated
radium to push us
twenty million miles, Sep. I think
we should write to Number One. I
explained to the space brass that we
have got to come up again after
going down and have to reverse the
blast tubes. It is radium we have to
have to make the return trip. I says
a half a pound would do it. You
know what I think? I bet they don't
believe we'll ever git back. And
was their laughs dirty!"
"Skeptics have lived since the beginnin'
of time," I scoff. "They
laughed at Leonardo da Vinci, Columbus,
Edison, a guy named
Durante. Even the guy who first sat
down at a pianer. We will take
what we can git, pal, and then come
back and laugh at them."
"I wish you was more convincin',"
D'Ambrosia says. "I have
claustrophobia and would hate to
git stuck in an over-sized fountain
pen halfway to the middle of this
"Hand me those plans," I says
sharply. "And stop scarin' me."
Three months later we have it
made. Technicians come from four
planets to look at the Magnificent
Mole. The area is alive with members
of the Interplanetary Press, the
Cosmic News Bureau, and the Universe
Feature Service. Two perspiring
citizens arrive and tear up two
insurance policies right in front of
my eyes. An old buddy of mine in
the war against the Nougatines says
he wants to go with me. His name
is Axitope Wurpz. He has been flying
cargo between Earth and Parsnipia
and says he is quite unable to
explain certain expense items in his
book. A Parsnipian D.A. is trying
to serve him a subpoena.
"You are in, Axie," I says. "A
crew of three is enough as that is
about all the oxygen we can store
up. Meet D'Ambrosia Zahooli."
"Why is he wearing a mask?"
"You are as funny as a plutonium
crutch," Zahooli says.
"No hard feelin's," Wurpz says,
and takes a small flask out of his
pocket. "We will drink to Operation
As might have been expected, we
run into some snags. The Euthanasia
Society serve us with papers
as they maintain nobody can commit
suicide in the year 2022 without
permission from the Board. Gulflex
and other oil companies protest to
Number One as they say we might
open up a hole that will spill all the
petroleum out of the earth all at
once, so fast they couldn't refine it.
A spark could ignite it and set the
globe on fire like it was a brandied
Christmas pudding. But then another
earthquake shakes Earth from
the rice fields of China to the llamas
in Peru just when it looks as if we
were about to be tossed into an
outer space pokey.
The seismologists get together
and agree that they can't possibly
figure out the depth of the focus
and state that the long waves have
to pass through the epicenter or
some such spot underground. Anyway,
all the brass agrees that something
is going on in inner space not
according to Hoyle or Euclid or
anybody else and that we three characters
might just hit on something
of scientific value.
The Magnificent Mole is built
mostly of titanium, a metal which
is only about half as heavy as steel
and twice as rugged. It is not quite
as big in diameter as the auger, for
if it was any Martian moron knows
we would scrape our sides away
before we got down three miles.
We store concentrated chow to last
six months and get the acceleration
couches ready. We are to blast down
at eighteen point oh-four hours,
Friday, May 26th, 2022. Today is
Wednesday. The big space brass,
the fourteenth estate haunt the spot
We get it both barrels from the
jokers carrying press cards. They
call it Operation Upside Down. At
last three characters were really going
to dig a hole and pull it in after
them. Three hours before Dig-day,
Exmud R. Zmorro interviews us.
We are televised around the orbit.
"Laying all joking aside, Spink,"
the news analyst says dolefully,
"you don't expect this to work."
"Of courst!" I says emphatically.
"You forget the first man to reach
New Mu was a Spink. A Spink
helped Columbus wade ashore in
the West Indies. The first man to
invent a road-map all citizens could
unfold and understand was a
Zmorro turns to Zahooli and
Wurpz. "Don't ask us anythin'!"
they yelp in unison. "You would
only git a silly answer."
"A world inside of a world you
said once, Spink. Ha—"
"Is that impossible? You have
seen those ancient sailing ships built
inside of a bottle, Mr. Zmorro," I
He paws at his dome and takes
a hyperbenzadrine tablet. "Well,
thank you, Septimus Spink. And
have a good trip."
It is Friday. We climb up the
ladder and into the Magnificent
Mole. "Check everything," I says to
Wurpz. "You are the sub-strata
"Rogeria. I hope this worm can
turn," Wurpz says.
Zahooli checks the instruments.
We don't put on space suits, but
have a pressure chamber built in to
insure against the bends. I wave
good-bye to the citizens outside and
close the door.
"I have got to git out," D'Ambrosia
Zahooli says and heads for
the door. "I forgot somethin'."
"I forgot to resign," he says, and
I pull a disintegrator Betsy on him
and tell him to hop back to the controls.
"Awright, we have computed the
masses of fuel we need. Stand by
for the takeoff—er, takedown.
Eight seconds. Seven—Six—Five—Four—"
"I know now my mother raised
one idiot," Zahooli says.
"Three seconds—two seconds—one
second!" I go on. "Awright,
unload the pile in one and three
tubes! Then when we have gone
about five hundred miles, give us
the radium push."
Mole shudders like a citizen looking
at his income tax bite and then starts
boring. There is a big bright light
all around us, changing color every
second, then there is a sound like
all the pneumatomic drills in all the
universe is biting through a thousand
four-inch layers of titanium
plate. And with it is a rumble of
thunder from all the electric storms
since the snake bit Cleopatra. In
less than five seconds we turn on
the oxygen just in case, and I jump
to the instrument panel and look at
the arrow on a dial.
"Hey," I yell, "we are makin' a
thousand miles per hour through
"Don't look through the ports,"
Wurpz says. "In passin' I saw an
angleworm three times the size of
a firehose, and a beetle big enough
"Git into the compression chamber
quick," I says to him. "You are
I turn on the air conditioning as
it gets as humid in the Mole as in
the Amazon jungle during the dog
days. The boring inner spaceship
starts screeching like a banshee.
I look at the instrument panel
again and see we are close to being
seven thousand miles down, and
all at once the gauges show we are
out of energy. I look out the port
and see a fish staring in at me, and
a crab with eyes like two poached
eggs swimming in ketchup.
Then we are going through dirt
again and all of a sudden we come
out of it and I see a city below us
all lit up and the buildings are made
of stuff that looks like jade run
through with streaks of black.
The Mole drops down about a
thousand more feet and then hits the
floor of the subterranean city and
we land like a fountain pen with
its point slammed into the top of a
lump of clay. Bo-o-o-o-i-ing! We
twang like a plucked harp string for
nearly five minutes and I hit my
noggin against the pilot's seat.
When I pick up my marbles I
look around for either an Elysium
field or a slag heap but instead a
creep is staring down at me. He
looks part human and part beetle
and has a face the color of the meat
of an avocado. His head is shaped
like a pear standing on its stem and
has two eyes spaced about six inches
apart and they are as friendly as
those of a spitting cobra irked by
hives. He is about four feet tall and
has two pairs of arms. I guess I am
still a little delirious or I would
not have told the thing he would
make a swell paper hanger.
The subterranean creep throws a
fit and belts me with four fists.
"Dummkopf!" it says, and then I
really get scared as he has got a lop
of hair falling down over one eye
and has a black mustache the size of
a Venutian four centra stamp over
his mouth which is like that of a
I get to my feet and grab for a
railing, and I see Wurpz and Zahooli
held by two other monsters
that look more like beetles than the
one standing beside me.
"Zo!" the creep with the mustache
says. "It is a surprise I talk
Universa? We have radar and
telepathometers that give us everything
that is said in the upper
I think back and try not to. In
the hermetically sealed cylinder
back upstairs among my Americana
Spink I have some photographs,
Circa 1945. One is of a citizen of
old Nazi Germany who was supposed
to have cremated himself in
a bunker. Papers there record that
my forebear, Cyril Spink, had his
doubts at the time.
"I am the Neofeuhrer, Earthman,"
this creep says. "I will conquer
"Look," I says, pawing beads of
sweat as big as the creep's eyes
from my brow, "have you been
testin' atom bombs and worse down
"There, I knew Professor Zalpha
was off the beam," I yelp at Wurpz.
"This is what is causin' the earthquakes."
"Come, schwine," the creep says.
"I will show you something. The
tomb of my ancestor. Then to the
museum to show you how he arrived
in Subterro in the year 1945.
This is the city of Adolfus. Mach
schnell! Heil Hitler. I am Agrodyte
Hitler, grandson of the Liberator."
The short hairs on the back of my
neck start crawling down my spine.
We leave the Mole and walk along
a big square paved with a mineral
we never saw upstairs. Thousands
of inhabitants of Subterro hiss at
us and click their long black fingers.
We walk up a long flight of steps
and come to a cadaver memorial
and on the front there are big letters
and numerals in what looks like
bloodstone that says: ADOLPH
"Jar, Earthmen, mortal enemies
of Subterro's hero, you thought he
did not escape, hah? Come, we go
to the museum."
We do. In a glass case is an antique
U-boat. "I can't believe it," I
says to Zahooli.
"Neither do I. We never took off. They have us locked
up in the booby hatch in Metropolita. We went nuts."
"He escaped in a submarine,
bringing three of Nazi Germany's
smartest scientists with him. He
brought plans showing us he could
split the atom. He brought working
models." The creep laughs mockingly.
"We have certain elements
down here also. Puranium, better
than your uranium. And pitchblende
Plus Nine. It will power our fleet of
submarines that will conquer Earth.
It is nearly der tag! We will leave
through the underground river that
our benefactor found three miles
below the surface of the ocean near
Brazil. It spirals down through this
earth and empties into Lake Schicklegruber
eighty miles from here."
"And Hitler took one of those
Subterro dames as a mate, huh," I
says. "It figures. He was not human
I get another cuffing around but
I am too punchy already to feel anything.
The next thing I know I am
in the Subterro clink with Wurpz
and Zahooli. D'Ambrosia says maybe
we will get released from the
strait jackets soon and get shock
treatments and find ourselves back
in Metropolita in our favorite night
"We have to be dreamin' this," I
keep telling myself. The guard
looks in at us and he has little slanting
"How did Jap beetles get here?"
I ask Wurpz. I shiver. I think of all
the Subterro subs pouring out of a
hole under Brazil and sinking all
Earthian merchant marines, and
shooting guided missiles that will
land all over the U.S. They could
have rays that would reach up over
a million miles and wash up space
Then we get another jolt. They
bring us our chow and say it is
angleworm and hellgrammite porridge
as that is what the Subterro
denizens live on mostly. There is a
salad made out of what looks like
skunk cabbage leaves. We found
out later that Hitler's brain trust
had made an artificial sun for the
Subterrors and they had been given
greens for the first time and increased
in size over a hundred per
"We have got to escape," I says
to my pals.
"That is easy," Zahooli sniffs.
"First we have to break through the
walls here, get to the Mole which
can't never move again, and then
fight off maybe six million creeps.
We would git reduced to cinders by
ray Betsys the minute we hit the
I sigh deeply and reach into my
knapsack. I find some lamb stew
and tapioca pudding capsules and
split them with Zahooli and Wurpz.
Then I come up with a little box
and glance at the label. It says,
URGOXA'S INSECT POWDER—Contains
I get up nonchalantly and call the
guard to the barred window. Beetlehead
sticks his face in close and
asks what I want. I empty some of
the powder into the palm of my
hand and then blow it into his face.
The Subterro sentry's eyes cross. His
face turns as pale as milk and he
collapses like a camp stool.
"Eureka!" I yelp. "We are in
I hide the box of bug powder
when I hear two other creeps come
running. They start yakking in Universa
and in bug language both.
Agrodyte Hitler appears and looks
in at us.
"What happened, Great One?" I
ask very politely.
"We will perform an autopsy,"
Hitler's grandson says, and turns to
another beetlehead. "Open the
door," he says. "I am showing my
guests something before we exterminate
them. Too bad about Voklogoo.
Most likely a coronary entomothrombosis.
"It means get the lead out in old
Germanic literature," I says to
Wurpz and Zahooli.
"It is curtains," D'Ambrosia
gulps. "In about five minutes we
will be residue."
The Neofeuhrer is like all egomaniacs
before him. He wants to
brag. We get into a Subterro Jetjeep
and drive about twenty miles
through the underground countryside
to the entrance to a cave guarded
by some extra tall Subterrors.
Hitler the Third leads us into the
spelunker's nightmare and we finally
come to a big metal door about
eighty feet long and twenty feet
Agrodyte pushes a button and the
steel door lifts. Then we walk up a
flight of steps to the top of a dam
and take a gander at a fleet of submarines
that makes Earthian pig-boats
look like they belonged in
"We will take you for a ride in
one," the dictator of Subterro says.
"After that I will turn you over to
"We need lawyers," Wurpz says.
We cross a thin gangplank and
enter the sub. The lights in it are
indirect and are purplish green.
Hitler Number Three shows us the
telepathic machine, the radar, and
the viso-screen that pictures everything
going on upstairs on Earth,
and on Mars, Jupiter and all other
planets. There are four other beetleheads
on the sub and they carry
"These Subterro U-boats," our
genial host brags, "can go as fast in
reverse as full speed ahead, as the
situation warrants. They are alive
with guided missiles no larger than
this flashlight I have here, but one
would blow up your Metropolita
and leave hardly an ash."
He looks at me, and then goes
on: "We will proceed to the lock
that will raise us to the underground
river and cruise along its
course for a few hundred miles. It
is the treat I should accord such distinguished
visitors from the outside
of Earth, nein?"
The skipper of the Subterro sub
pulls a switch and there is a noise
like three contented cats purring.
The metal fish slides along the surface
of the underground lake and
comes to a hole in a big rock ledge.
We see all this through a monitor
which registers the scenery outside
the sub within a radius of three
miles. The sub slides into the side
of the rock, and then is lifted up to
the underground river that winds
and winds upward like a corkscrew
to the outlet under Brazil. Every
once in a while a blast of air that
smells like a dentist's office goes
through the sub from bow to stern
and I ask why.
"There is such terrific potency
to the power we use from our
puranium," Hitler Number Three
says, "that we purify the air every
few seconds with formula XYB
and Three-fifth. The basis of the
gas is galena."
I nudge Wurpz and Zahooli as
the Neofeuhrer goes over to converse
with his crew. "It is our big
chance," I whisper. "You watch
how they run this tub for the next
few minutes. Then when I cough
three times you be ready. I do not
know how much powder it will take
to knock off the big bug as he is
half human. Once I blow this insect
powder at the same time as the
purifying blast is to take place, you
two be ready to jump Agrodyte. I
noticed that a small purple light
flashes on over the monitor just before
that stuff turns loose. It is a
warning so the beetleheads can take
"Sep," D'Ambrosia Zahooli says.
"I take back all the insults of the
past five hours. Shake."
"I am doin' that already," I says.
"We have to work fast while we
are in the underground river."
We wait. The Neofeuhrer comes
walking back to where we are sitting.
The purple light flashes on,
and I count to three. Just as the
blast of air loaded with XYB plus
cuts loose I throw all the bug powder
left in the box into the current.
Hitler Number Three breathes in a
big gob of it and buckles a little at
"Grab him!" I screech. "Don't
let him yank that disintegrator
loose. Hit him with anything you
I see the other beetleheads collapse
like they had been hit with
bulldozers and I know now that insecticide
is more dangerous in Subterro
than all the radioactivity harnessed
up on six planets.
Agrodyte Hitler, however, has
some moxey left in him as he has
two of his hands around Wurpz's
throat, the third around Zahooli's
leg and is reaching for a ray Betsy
with his fourth. He grabs the disintegrator
just as I belt him over
his ugly noggin with a wrench about
two feet long and which was certainly
not made of aluminum or
"Himmel!" the Neofeuhrer
gulps. "Ach du lebensraum!" He
has to be hit once more which is
enough and we tie him up with
rope that looks like it was made out
of plutonium filaments.
"Well," I says. "We have a sub
from Subterro. Wurpz, you just
sit there at the controls and make
sure that needle on the big dial
don't move as I am sure this creep
has it on robot so that this tub will
automatically follow the course of
"We are sure takin' a powder,"
D'Ambrosia yelps. "Look at the
We see fish gaping at us from
the screen that even Earth citizens
with delirium tremens never saw,
and I look quite anxiously at the instrument
"A thousand miles per and we
are climbin'," I says. "I am glad this
Hitler used old Germanic on his
subs, and that I majored in it once.
I—er—I am gettin' arthritis all at
once! The bends! Uh—er—look, peel
them suits off the other creeps and
fast, Zahooli, as I bet they can be inflated
and made into compression
chambers. They have got connections
that plug into something."
We pull on the suits which were
too big for the beetleheads and for
a good reason. More bends than
there are in the Ohio River are with
us before we plug into the right
socket. The suits bulge out until our
feet almost leave the floor. I grin
through my helmet at Wurpz.
The sub keeps purring and purring.
The altimeter registers four
thousand feet. It is a caution, an
altimeter in a sub. Two hours later
we shoot out through a hole deep
under the coast of Brazil and I
know we are in the ocean as the
monitor shows some old wrecked
ships about three miles from us. We
disconnect the Subterro anti-bends
kimonos and peel them off. Agrodyte
Hitler is moving two of his
arms when we climb toward the surface.
"Hah, we will make a sucker out
of history," I says to Wurpz. "And
wait until we show this creep to
Professor Zalpha and Exmud R.
We come to the surface and contact
an Earthian Franco-Austro
atomic luxury liner. The skipper's
pan registers on the viso-screen.
"This is Septimus Spink," I says.
"Commander of Inner Spaceship
Magnificent Mole. I have come
from the center of Earth with a
captured Subterro submarine and
Agrodyte Hitler, the Neofeuhrer.
Over and out."
The universe goes into a cosmic
dither when we slide into a berth
in Hampton Rhodus. Thousands of
citizens hail us as we ride to
Metropolita in a Supercaddijet. Behind
us in a truck trailer made mostly
of transparent duralucite is our
captive, the descendant of Adolph
Hitler and three dead Subterro
"Well, you won't give up so easy
on a Spink from now on," I says to
Zahooli. "We are heroes and will
get medals. First thing we have to
do, though," I says to Coordinator
One sitting in the jet sedan with us,
"is to take care of the hole Earth has
in its head. All we have to do is
drop that new bomb down the tunnel
we made and it will wash up
all those subs that are left and most
likely cause a flood that will inundate
Subterro. What do you think?"
The brass is still tongue-tied.
"One thing I must do and that is
see that a certain insecticide manufacturer
gets a plug on Interplanetary
TV," I continue. "Ha, we
took the bugs out of this planet. It
should work quite smooth from
"I still believe in reincarnation,"
D'Ambrosia Zahooli says. "I have
the darndest feeling I've been
through almost as big nightmares
with you before, Sep."
Interplanetary Press, Circa 2022,
Junius XXIV—Professor Apsox
Zalpha, eminent professor of cosmogony,
and Exmud R. Zmorro,
leading news analyst of seven
worlds, have entered the Metropolita
Neuropsychiatorium for a routine
checkup. They emphatically denied
that it was connected in any
way with a lecture given recently by
Septimus Spink, first man to explore
inner space, at the Celestial Cow
Palace in San Francisco. Both men
expect to remain for two weeks.
"Of course there is nothing wrong
with either of us," Professor Zalpha
told your correspondent. "But if
you see a beetle, please do not step
on it. It could be somebody's
This etext was produced from Fantastic Universe September 1955.
Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S.
copyright on this publication was renewed. Minor spelling and
typographical errors have been corrected without note.