Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/296

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

The Centaurians

dense, sultry, vibrating with electricity. All scented danger, calamity and clustered together in alarmed little groups, murmuring: "The Otega; the Otega."

The ship slackened speed as we sighted the Otega, and her great wings fluttered as though about to lower. Upon earth all was agitation, the ocean boiled furiously, at high tide crashing over the steep cliff wall and flooding the land; people, panic-strickened, scurried in all directions. Then Centauri appeared. We knew him by his long white beard. The little crowd gathered about him, but suddenly, all with one accord, rushed to the side of the mountain, where, in a hollow, their ship rested. We could see them scrambling over the side of the vessel, working, tugging with desperation to loosen her. We lowered a little to give assistance, but the ship bounded free, the great bat wings vigorously unfurled; then shouts of distress coming from land startled us and we saw a man running, mad with terror. He reached the ship, grasping the side just as she lurched upward, jerking his body out with the shock, then banging it back with terrific force. I turned sick, covering my eyes—the man was Sheldon. My blood curdled as I thought of his awful death, expecting, of course, that he'd fallen to earth and was dashed to pieces, but Alpha whispered he was safe, that he'd clung to the vessel as he had to his theory and Centauri had dragged him from his awful position. I could see him lying on the deck. The two vessels sailed close and established communication. Alpha talked with her father, and I learned the great Otega would soon be in erup-