Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/299

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The Centaurians

forego that marvelous sight and accompany us back to Centur. The lava streams are rushing down the other side of the mountain into the sea. The flow will continue many days and there will be intermittent eruptions for months, then the Otega will be dormant, probably forever."

"Much damage done?"

"Some," she answered, "to the Potolilis. The Ocstas is the property of the Potolilis. They know the Otega and avoid it. There is much timber lost, but the Potolilis are a tribe of vast wealth. Centauri has ordered his ship brilliantly illuminated, so all may know he has not perished."

Our ship had ceased its aimless floating and slanted straight for Centur. Far in the distance, speeding toward the Ocstas, were thousands of red globe lights traveling thickly together, resembling the Milky Way suddenly lowered to our sphere. We darted in a westerly direction avoiding the flying multitude, which gradually sailed past like a great stream of meteors, traveling in groups or long straggling lines, and all heavily laden with sightseers. One huge vessel, sailing apart from the others, edged us closely. She was gayly illuminated and decorated with the colors of Centauri. We did not clear her in time, and she spied our dark hulk and saluted. We flashed farther into the darkness, but the sound of gay music, wild singing, shouts and shrill laughter of the men and women aboard followed us.

"A private vessel, party of pleasure-loving young people out for a lark," I suggested.