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Edgar Wallace: balíček 16 elektronických knih (PDF+ePub)     za 589  236 Kč (-60%)

Náhodná ukázka:

15. Transit of Venus

When he woke the next morning, they were already at Venus. But the huge, dazzling crescent of the still cloud-wrapped planet was not the most striking object in the sky:

Goliath was floating above an endless expanse of crinkled silver foil, flashing in the sunlight with ever-changing patterns as the ship drifted across it.

Poole remembered that in his own age there had been an artist who had wrapped whole buildings in plastic sheets: how he would have loved this opportunity to package billions of tons of ice in a glittering envelope... Only in this way could the core of a comet be protected from evaporation on its decades-long journey sunwards.

'You're in luck, Frank,' Chandler had told him. 'This is something I've never seen myself. It should be spectacular. Impact due in just over an hour. We've given it a little nudge, to make sure it comes down in the right place. Don't want anyone to get hurt.'

Poole looked at him in astonishment.

'You mean - there are already people on Venus?'

'About fifty mad scientists, near the South Pole. Of course, they're well dug in, but we should shake them up a bit - even though Ground Zero is on the other side of the planet. Or I should say "Atmosphere Zero" - it will be days before anything except the shockwave gets down to the surface.'

As the cosmic iceberg, sparkling and flashing in its protective envelope, dwindled away towards Venus, Poole was struck with a sudden, poignant memory. The Christmas trees of his childhood had been adorned with just such ornaments, delicate bubbles of coloured glass. And the comparison was not completely ludicrous: for many families on Earth, this was still the right season for gifts, and Goliath was bringing a present beyond price to another world.

The radar image of the tortured Venusian landscape - its weird volcanoes, pancake domes, and narrow, sinuous canyons - dominated the main screen of Goliath's control centre, but Poole preferred the evidence of his own eyes. Although the unbroken sea of clouds that covered the planet revealed nothing of the inferno beneath, he wanted to see what would happen when the stolen comet struck. In a matter of seconds, the myriad of tons of frozen hydrates that had been gathering speed for decades on the downhill run from Neptune would deliver all their energy...

The initial flash was even brighter than he had expected. How strange that a missile made of ice could generate temperatures that must be in the tens of thousands of degrees! Though the filters of the view-port would have absorbed all the dangerous shorter wave-lengths, the fierce blue of the fireball proclaimed that it was hotter than the Sun.

It was cooling rapidly as it expanded - through yellow, orange, red... The shockwave would now be spreading outwards at the velocity of sound - and what a sound that must be! - so in a few minutes there should be some visible indication of its passage across the face of Venus.



(Arthur C. Clarke, 3001: The Final Odyssey)

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