Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Super Salesman of Space

Another of the pulp fiction stories from Planet Comics, transcribed from the original JPEG fiche scans to make them easier to read and reformat. The two pages that this came from are included at the bottom.

Super Salesman of Space
by Tom Alexander, from Planet Comics #10 Jan. 1941.

They called him the Marco Polo of space, and later, the First Salesman of the Universe. The story was inter-planetary that he could sell cooling systems to the Plutonians and heating units to the Mercurians and it wasn't so far-fetched at that, for right now he was spinning on his way through the space lanes to get rid of a ship-load of uranium to a Saturnian satellite named Boolo, whose only export was rich uranium ore. It was like carrying those proverbial coals to Newcastle. But Charlie wasn't the lad to say "can't!" He knew he could sell those Boolonians anything.

Charlie Star was the man responsible for making Spludgus a household word on Earth. Good old Spludgus, that Venusian breed so rich in vitamin content that it turned our puny little Earthmen into muscle-bound Samsons in a month. It was Charlie who first found Plutoil gushing on the frozen plateaus of Pluto and made that famous deal whereby Earth got all the wells in return for the coal mines of Pennsylvania, which had long been in disuse -- The Plutonians used the coal for necklaces to decorate their frigid beauties -- and as long as they had no need for the oil -- it was a fair enough bargain. Star introduced Mercurian Hongony, Stungo Grass from Jupiter, Martian Gool, among many other things that now grace our finest tables. And women will always remember Charlie star as the man who gave them Nogud, the wonderful reducing liquid from the swamplands of Neptune.

And he wasn't only clever, he was a two-fisted fighting man from the old school. And trouble was almost as prevalent as cosmic dust in the Way Far Out -- as spacemen called the vast distance between planets.

Charlie stepped up the speed of his faster-than-light ship and headed in the direction of the ringed planet. He was going over his sales-talk that was to sell the unwanted uranium to the Boolonians he suddenly interrupted his conversation with an imaginary Boolox --

A black hulk was moving toward him through the void. Only one thin thread of purplish light edged over the top of the ship to tell Charlie that he was meeting his old enemy, the space-pirate from Mars, Rogero the Red.

And there was no swerving off his course to escape this time, for Rogero had already switched on his suction tubes and the two ships were hurtling toward each other, the one gaining speed while Charlie's freighter was steadily decreasing velocity against the fierce tug of the suction tubes.

Charlie sat back in his comfortable pilot's chair, lit a fragrant Venusian cigar and waited for the pirate to board his ship.

Rogero flung himself into the cabin -- much faster than he expected because he didn't have to break down the door. His crimson eyes glowed with startled anger as they burned out through his matted orange hair. He composed himself and drew up his to his full seven feet. Then he came to the point with a sudden explosion.

"Uranium. You've got it. I want it!"

"OK. Take it easy. Sit down and we'll talk this thing over. Have a cigar?" Charlie was all smiles.


"Well certainly, Uranium. But have a cigar. Finest tobacco in the Universe. I have the line exclusively. If you'd like me to supply you --"

"Uranium!" Rogero was almost bellowing. It infuriated him that this little Earthman was so calm, so unafraid.

"OK, you wanted to unload it yourself?"

"Yes. I unload."

Charlie walked through the narrow passage to the store hold. He put his hand on the door and as he felt the hot breath of the giant warming his neck from behind, he whirled with the suddenness of a weasel and shot a swift uppercut that tangled in the Martians's red whiskers and sent him back thru the passage with a dull thud.

Then, as though a whirling dynamo had been started within him, Charle went at Rogero with flaying fists. The ceiling was too low for the huge man and his head beat a tatoo against the steel plating as the Earthman drilled away at his chin.

But suddenly Rogero got smart and fell flat on his back -- Charlie tumbled head over heels into the pilot's cabin, propelled by a swift kick of the giant's bony knees. He scrambled to his feet, but the Red One was upon him, a murderous fist raised for the kill. It crashed down but sideswiped Charlie's shoulder. Charlie skidded out from under the next blow across the slippery floor. He yanked the covering from the top of his chart desk, bringing papers, pens, books and nick-nacks crashing down on top of him. But it also brought his Dyno-ray gun. Gratefully his fingers closed around it.

Rogero toward above the wreckage in blind fury.

Charlie pressed the ray release and a thin, hot streak shot across the Martian's face. He yelled in pain. Another streak cut across his chest, burning through the reptile skins and toughened fibrous fabrics that he wore. Rogero howled and fell back, clutching his wounds like a helpless beast.

Charlie rose to his feet.

"Now get out. Go back to your ship and don't let me ever hear from you again or I'll put this ray on full force and burn a hole right through you!"

Whining like a dog, Rogero the Red backed away toward the air-lock.

"Hey, wait a minute," cried Charlie, "I'm handling a swell line of ray-proof vests made of tempered Jupiter steel -- next time I run into you I'll have some along."


From the original fiche scans of Planet Comics #10 at Golden Age Comics, uploaded there by Rolster.

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