Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/119

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The Centaurians

enjoy. We were soon familiar enough with Potolili's language to question him regarding the new land we were entering. We learned scientists were exploring the northern heavens when startled by thousands of vari-colored sparks belching from the earth.

They hastened back to headquarters and informed their colleagues, who flashed the news to various observatories and triumphantly published the report throughout Centauri. This aroused controversy and much speculation concerning the brilliant signals, and the following evening four different scientific societies sailed to the north in hopes of viewing the remarkable streams of light.

"Atmospheric experimenters and learned astronomers are continually invading the northern regions. Their aim is to circle the moon," Potolili informed us. "Ten years ago the inhabitants of the moon signaled to us. When the moon was at the full, a broad stream of vivid light issued from her heart, illuminating the heavens. The phenomenon aroused widespread discussion among the scientific societies throughout the country, the chief excitement being not one knew more than the other. Peace came only with the waning of the moon, which absorbed the brilliant stream, and the signal never flashed again. Since that time plans have been formed, experiments made, volumes written, all with a view to circling the moon."

"In what?" I gasped.

"Balloons!" muttered Saxe. "I told you they were balloons, and that ninny over there (indicating