For over three weeks the space fleet has been drifting towards Mars. They started with 9 ships, but are down to 8. There has been a strange incident with Whittaker. A man who is older than his records show that he should be.
Jet Morgan keeps up radio contact with the fleet as best as he can, while a solid object, or swarm, or whatever it is, has been detected coming their way. As they draw near, their radio contact grows more broken. Not only that, but gages, and measuring equipment becomes erratic.
Peterson, in the ship with Whittaker, sends a panicky radio signal, what’s that about? Suddenly, Jet Morgan’s ship emerges from the solid object, or meteor belt, or whatever it was.
When the other spaceships report in, everything seems to be returning to normal. However, ship 6, Whittaker’s ship is missing, and the cloud that was just flown through is effectively blocking communication from Earth.
With fresh bearings taken, the fleet continues towards the Red Planet. A call from Control, on Earth comes in. But wait. There’s something wrong with it.