Trapped in the great dome, Darl valiantly defends Earth's outpost against the bird-man of Mars and his horde of pigmy henchmen.
Darl Thomas mopped the streams of perspiration from his bronzed face and lean-flanked, wiry body, nude save for clinging shorts and fiber sandals. "By the whirling rings of Saturn," he growled as he gazed disconsolately at his paper-strewn desk. "I'd like to have those directors of ITA here on Mercury for just one Earth-month. I'll bet they wouldn't be so particular about their quarterly reports after they'd sweated a half-ton or so of fat off their greasy bellies. 'Fuel consumption per man-hour.': Now what in blazes does that mean? Hey, Jim!" He swiveled his chair around to the serried bank of gauge-dials that was Jim Holcomb's especial charge, then sprang to his feet with a startled, "What's the matter?"
The chunky, red-haired control-man was tugging at a lever, his muscles bulging on arms and back, his face white-drawn and tense. "Look!" he grunted, and jerked a grim jaw at one of the dials. The long needle was moving rapidly to the right. "I can't hold the air pressure!"
"Wow, what a leak!" Darl started forward. "How's it below, in the mine?"
"Normal. It's the Dome air that's going!"
"Shoot on the smoke and I'll spot the hole. Quick, man!"
Thomas' long legs shot him out of the headquarters tent. Just beyond the entrance flap was one of the two gyrocopters used for flying within the Dome. He leaped into the cockpit and drove home the starter-piston. The flier buzzed straight up, shooting for the misted roof.