Page:Biagi - The Centaurians.djvu/99

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The Centaurians

become. We certainly were very jubilant and chatted in excited consultation over the great progress made during that week, when a sudden sharp, whizzing sound, coming from the Propellier warned us of disaster. The machine stopped with a jerk, the cars banged together and we were thrown from our feet, then with a dying spurt the doomed Propellier bounded forward. In panic we bolted from the car, but did not escape entirely, though we suffered little injury. The four of us were hurled high in the air by the explosion; one, two, three, like cannonading, then all was quiet, and Saxe.'s life-work, his brilliant invention, was destroyed. Destruction was complete.

Saxe. ran around the wreck wringing his hands, muttering incoherently. The top of the Propellier was blown clean away, the cylinders torn wide open, and the diamond prod had shot up in the air with such force that apparently it never came down again. We were unable to find it. Both cars were overturned, one entirely wrecked, but the other was hardly damaged and was to be our sole future conveyance.

We tried to be cheerful, but Saxe. took it hard and considerable time was wasted humoring him; he obstinately believed he could do something with his wrecked machine. We righted the last remaining car and stored everything in it that escaped the explosion; then we buried the Propellier, and courageously formed new plans.

It seemed easier and wiser to advance, so the word was: "Forward!" We hauled the car in