Title: The Space Pioneers
Series: Tom Corbett, Space Cadet No.4
Author: Carey Rockwell
Author's Page: Other Titles
Publisher: Lots Cave, Inc.
Length: 53,668 Words + Original Illustrations
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When Tom Corbett and his Polaris unit mates, Roger and Astro, were assigned to the great expedition of one thousand space ships carrying pioneer colonists billions of miles to the satellite Roald, they did not dream that they were facing the most thrilling adventures of their careers.
eBook SERIES: Tom Corbett, Space Cadet
eBook TAGS Science Fiction, Tom Corbett, Space Cadet Academy, Action Sci-
"Go on, Astro," shouted the young Space Cadet. "Boot that screwy ball with everything you've got!"
The three cadets of the Polaris unit raced down the Academy field toward the mercuryball, a plastic sphere with a vial of mercury inside. At the opposite end of the field, three members of the Arcturus unit ran headlong in a desperate effort to reach the ball first.
Astro, the giant Space Cadet from Venus, charged toward the ball like a blazing rocket, while his two unit mates flanked him, ready to block out their opponents and give Astro a clear shot at the ball.
On the left wing, Tom Corbett, curly-
Jogging back toward their own goal line, the three Polaris cadets congratulated each
other. Astro's kick had tied the score, two-
"That was some feint you pulled on Richards, Tom," said Roger. "You sucked him in beautifully. I thought he was going to tear up the field with his nose!"
Tom grinned. Compliments from Roger were few and far between.
Astro clapped his hands together and roared, "All right, fellas, let's see if we can't take these space bums again! Another shot at the goal—that's all I need!"
Lining up at the end of the field again, the cadets kept their eyes on the cadet referee on the side lines. They saw him hold up his hand and then drop it suddenly. Once again the teams raced toward the ball in the middle of the field. When they met, Roger tried to duplicate Tom's feat and feint his opponent, but the other cadet was ready for the maneuver and stopped dead in his tracks. Roger was forced to break stride just long enough for the Arcturus cadet to dump him to the ground and then race for Astro. Tom, covering Astro on the left wing, saw the cadet sweeping in and lunged in a desperate attempt to stop him. But he missed, leaving Astro unprotected against the three members of the Arcturus unit. With his defense gone, Astro kicked at the ball frantically but just grazed the side of it. The mercury inside the ball began to play its role in the game, and as though it had a brain of its own, the ball spun, stopped, bounced, and spiraled in every direction, with the cadets kicking, lunging, and scrambling for a clean shot. Finally Astro reached the tumbling sphere and booted it away from the group. There was a roar of laughter from the Arcturus unit and a low groan from Tom and Roger. Astro saw that he had kicked the ball over his own goal line.
"Why, you clobber-
Astro grinned sheepishly as the three jogged back to their own goal to line up once more.
"Lay off, Roger," said Tom. "How come you didn't get Richards on that play?"
"I slipped," replied the blond cadet.
"Yeah, you slipped all right," growled Astro good-
"Ah, go blast your jets," grumbled Roger. "Come on! Let's show those space crawlers what this game is all about!"
But before the cadet referee could drop his hand, a powerful, low-
"What's up, Joe?" asked Roger.
The enlisted spaceman, an Earthworm cadet who had washed out of the Academy but had
"What about?" asked Roger.
"Report on the double for new assignments," replied the guardsman.
"Yeeeeooooow!" Astro roared in jubilation. "At last we can get out of here. I've been doing so blamed much classroom work, I've forgotten what space looks like."
"Know where we're going, Joe?" asked Tom.
Before Tom could answer, Richards, the captain of the Arcturus unit spoke up. "How about finishing the game, Tom? It's been so long since we've had such good competition we hate to lose you. Come on. Only a few more minutes."
Tom hesitated. It had been a long time since the two units had played together, but orders were orders. He looked at Roger and Astro. "Well, what about it?"
"Sure," said Roger. "We'll wipe up these space jokers in nothing flat! Come on!"
There was a mock yell of anger from the Arcturus unit and the two teams raced back to their starting positions. In the remaining minutes of play, the cadets played hard and rough. First one team would score and then the other. A sizable crowd of cadets had gathered to watch the game and cheered lustily as the players tore up and down the field. Finally, when both teams were nearly exhausted, the game was over and the score was eight to seven in favor of the Polaris unit. Roger had made the final point after Tony Richards had left the game with a badly bruised hip. A substitute called in from the bystanders, an Earthworm cadet, had eagerly joined the Arcturus team for the last minutes of play but had been hopelessly outclassed by the teamwork of the Polaris unit…