Did their arrival mean salvation or doom for mankind?
When suddenly all the fissionable material on Earth was exploded, Earthmen had their first notice of the aliens' arrival.
And by the time the panic, death and chaos had been sorted out, reports were coming in about mysterious cities scattered across the face of the planet—huge areas of flickering light and awesome free energy, disorienting to human senses and impregnable to attack.
The question was: were they alien bases... or something else?
No time to stand around brooding, he told himself. He had to get this prize of his off Grady's Ground, and not later than tonight. It should be in a proper government lab. All the aliens' scrap and rubbish should go to a proper lab!
He needed a crate. What could he pack the stuff into?
On the verge of turning to peer under a bench for suitable containers—he was sure he had some lying around—he checked, startled. Was something happening to the... device?
He stared. Yes! From the small glowing ovoid, the pattern of light was now oozing—permeating the bowl-like base, spreading into the larger ovoid, infecting the three objects piled above!
"Oh my God!" Bennett whispered.
For the process was not stopping when it reached the limits of the alien substance. It was spreading still further—staining the very air with radiance and taking on the shape of something as incomprehensible, as majestic and as fearful as the place from which its scattered parts had come. He gasped... and the inhalation drew with it some of the stained and colored air.
There was a sensation like a blow delivered to—not his physical brain, but—his abstract mind, and he collapsed on the floor without another sound.