By David Wright O'Brien (1918-44).
First appearance: Fantastic Adventures, August 1942.
Novelette (45 pages).
Online at UNZ HERE (with 8 illos).
(Parental caution: Strong language.)
"Death meant nothing to Creegar when he came out of prison. He had something to do, and he did it!"Thorne Creegar—framed by the man he worked for, deprived of the woman he loves, sen-tenced to years on the most isolated penal planet—is determined to get revenge; Creegar thinks he's come up with a way of doing it, unaware that he's actually part of someone else's larger, much more intricate plan, a subtly conceived frame-up which that someone will regard as being successful only when Creegar is lying dead . . .
Chapter I: "Free and alone, and filled with bitterness"
Chapter II: "Bellham Builds a Frame"
Chapter III: "Building a Snare"
Chapter IV: "The Web Tightens"
Chapter V: "The Trap Is Sprung"
Chapter VI: "The Black Network"
Chapter VII: "Hudge Closes In"
Chapter VIII: "Inside New York"
Chapter IX: "Hudge Strikes"
Chapter X: "Hudge Returns"
~ Thorne Creegar:
"His knees, as he hit the rusty wharf planking, seemed for an instant to refuse to support his tortured body. And then he found balance, and moved lurchingly, almost blindly, to the machines ahead of him."
~ Sherry Bennet:
"Her cheeks were wet, her hazel eyes misty, her lovely mouth forming a tremulous smile of joyous relief."
"Your fear has driven you into this bargain. You are afraid of Judson Bellham, afraid of what he might do to Thorne if you didn't comply with his wishes."
~ Judson Bellham:
"My first hunch, on his release, proved damnably correct. I knew he'd try to get back."
~ Lee Hudge:
"Lee Hudge was no larger than a small atomic cannon. He was also just as deadly."
~ Captain Treowlan, of the Venusian space freighter, Verieshu:
"You can't try to jump ship and slip onto Earth Federation without getting a death ray through your hard young head."
~ A bandy-legged space tar:
"The skipper just didn't like the way you tried to make him run small-time errands. But he's dumping the shipment tonight. Space port. Smart thing to get down there."
"You'll need a few of the boys, then?"
Typos: "he would face Cregar"; "An as Thorne began to stride"; "Then Venusian captain"; "a few minutes before learned"; "the storm of abuse an invective"; "its still in one piece"; "seedy litle man"; "his indominatable will."
- Our last session with David Wright O'Brien, a World War II combat casualty, was (HERE).
The bottom line: "Revenge, the sweetest morsel to the mouth that ever was cooked in hell."
— Walter Scott