Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/314

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The Centaurians

terrible pain in my heart, a thousand tons seemed pressing upon my brain and vivid streaks of lightning pierced my sight. I was blinded, but danger roused me and I staggered, groping my way to the engine room. A heavy, inert form barred the passage, but I stumbled over it to the gigantic clock whose hands guided the ship.

An ominous roaring sound warned me of grave disaster; if we continued to travel upward the ship would explode. Ignorant how to regulate the ship's speed, I moved the upper hand of the clock downward, and down we shot like a rock, then I stared at the great hands hesitating what to do next when some one pushed me aside. A man, haggard, bleeding profusely from the mouth, deftly moved the hands of the clock and the ship slackened its crushing, downward course.

"Blessings upon your vitality," he whispered; "otherwise we would all be dead. We realize the nectar of existence when we feel it oozing from us. Life! Sol, give me life. Science! bah! nonsense!"

We revived as we approached our natural sphere, but it was an experience I shall never forget, and it cost the lives of two men, A noted professor and the engineer who died like a hero—much good it did him. He gave his life for science, believing himself the only one who succumbed. We took the professor and engineer to their homes, then toured Centauri, which consisted in dropping each member of the expedition to their city. When we dwindled to three, Centur was reached, and—er—here I am."