“Yes sir!” said “Streak” Burgess, star reporter of the Times, into the telephone.
“And write me up a good feature article of the trip,” the editor’s voice barked into his ear. “Give me vivid, human stuff. The public is sick of these dry science articles. And remember that we’re trying to arouse people to space-mindedness. Here’s three good planets, with no end of business opportunities, and the people are asleep. Wake ‘em up!”
Burgess hung up the receiver and whirled on his heel.
“Where do you have to go this time, Mr. Burgess?” inquired a youthful voice at his side.
“Oh, hello Chick!” said Burgess.
Burgess knew Chick merely as a boy of about seventeen who ran loose about the premises of the Club on his father’s membership, and who in his youthful fashion idolized the popular and successful reporter. In spite of the discrepancy in their ages, the two had become chummy, although Burgess hardly remembered Chick’s real name. Johnson, or some such common, everyday name, it was.
“I’ve got to start for Mars in four hours,” Burgess explained. “You see, to the Times managing-editor, a reporter is not a person; he’s merely a projectile.”
“Oh, Mr. Burgess, please take me with you. Please do!” implored the boy. “I’ll pay all your expenses in grand style. Please let me go with you. I’d give anything to go to Mars!”
“Well, at least you’re space-minded anyway,” the reporter laughed. “I’m sorry, kid,” he said gravely. “I couldn’t do it. It would get me into trouble with my paper. And the laws are mighty strict about anyone