Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/297

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The Centaurians

tion after a quiet of six centuries. We lingered to view the phenomenon.

"I am glad the matter is settled for all time," murmured Alpha. "Certainly the great Sheldon's visit to Centauri has been of some benefit, his laughable theories have obtained positive results and settled forever a grave doubt to the satisfaction of every one."

She laughed as I suggested that Sheldon, to a certain extent, had been deceived.

"He deceived himself," she replied. "No one disputed his positive assertions, and consequently he believed all agreed with him, but every one went up to the Ocstas bent upon private investigations. Your friend was intent upon discovering the source of that body of water and delegates from four geographical-geological societies accompanied him solely to determine whether the volcano was extinct or not—all have been successful. Isn't it strange, Virgillius," she continued, "that water was so fresh, wholesome, beneficial to the system, yet fish could not live in it. We tried, and——"

A warning shout came from Centauri's ship. Ours shot upward like a rocket and slanted across the sky, swift as an arrow.

A terrific explosion took place, thunder rolled from the heavens, while earth responded with tremendous detonations. The incessant roaring, sizzling noise was frightful—the majestic fury of the Otega had awakened from its long trance. Sulphurous flames played about the volcano, giving it a terrible, weird appearance, steam rose in monstrous