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LAMBDA I

At the New York Terminal the giant "Mu Elektron" is preparing to take off on a routine flight to London.  After the final nuclear war the Earth's surface is no longer habitable, and because the survivors are forced to live underground, they have also been compelled to invent a new system of travel.  This is Tau, whereby the displacement of atoms enables one solid body to pass through another.  As all atoms are energy, a Tau ship must utilise one of several modes of oscillation in order to enter atomic space.  Experiments have shown that there are four, designated as Gamma,  Delta, Epsilon and Zeta.  There is a legendary fifth, but no-one has any proof that it actually exists.  It has been labelled "Omega", the end, the ultimate in horror because it is unknown.

Among the passengers of the "Mu Elektron" is Julie, the estranged wife of Paul Porter the Senior Controller of Tau Transport in the U.K., who has decided to return to him because she is pregnant.  Captain Dantor, the Commander, cynical and disillusioned, has been drinking heavily.  Suddenly alarming symptoms begin to show on the airport telescreens.  The ship seems to be slipping out of the known mode circuits.  The omega symbol appears.  Mu Elektron has landed at London Airport, but it is totally unreachable.  If the ship cannot be brought back the passengers are irretrievably lost.

(Lambda I, the original Tau Transport prototype , for long a museum exhibit, seems to be the only chance of rescue.  Because at the time it was built, the mode circuits were less fixable it may be possible by a hit-or-miss process to reach Omega.  The modern ships deliberately guard against slipping out of a set mode.  Porter himself, with Eric Benedict a psychologist, decides to take the risk.  Benedict has long held the theory that the physical laws which obtain in Tau space are somehow tied up with the human brain.  Apparently on their perilous journey and when they reach the stranded ship they discover that at the time she went into Omega a passenger had tried to commit suicide.  Now Julie, carrying Paul's child, by her own will to live is able to redress the balance, proving the continuing ascendancy of man's own mind over every physical law.)


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