Boy's Life for September, 1952
Story, "Tramp Space Ship" by Robert A. Heinlein
The brothers stood looking the old wreck over. "Junk," decided Castor. "Not junk," objected Pollux.
"Grandpa, are we buying a ship or are we getting to supper on time?" Pollux lowered his antenna and started up the rope ladders. He used hands only and despite his vacuum suit his motions were easy. His twin followed. Castor cheered up when they reached the control room. The space-battered old hulk was not a wreck, but merely obsolete.
"Wait!" Ekizian mentioned a lower price. "Cash," he added.
Pollux: "We've got both certificates, control and power. We wouldn't need any crew."
At breakfast next morning—"morning" by Greenwich time—the family acted out the episode Hazel had dictated the night before for Mr. Stone's adventure serial. He listened dourly. Hazel finished by knocking over her coffee. She plucked the cup out of the air and had a napkin under the flood before it could reach the floor under the Moon's leisurely pull.
It was agreed that they would study mathematics while in space through correspondence courses ordered up from Earth. They would take along spools to keep them busy for a year and mail their lessons from any port they might touch. Mr. Stone was satisfied, being sure that a person skilled with mathematical tools could learn anything else he needed.
"And—" Castor's chant was blanked out by the roar of the jet; the Rolling Stone cast herself into the void.
To be continued in October
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