Across the Zodiac eBook

Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 587 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
have said, rare, these long and narrow seas with their lofty shores are exposed to rough currents, atmospheric and marine, which render a voyage on the surface no more agreeable than a passage in average weather across the Bay of Biscay.  After descending I was occupied for some time in studying, with Ergimo’s assistance, the arrangement of the machinery, and the simple process by which electric force is generated in quantities adequate to any effort at a marvellously small expenditure of material.  In this form the Martialists assert that they obtain without waste all the potential energy stored in ... [About half a score lines, or two pages of an ordinary octavo volume like this, are here illegible.] She (Eveena?) was somewhat pale, but rose quickly, and greeted me with a smile of unaffected cheerfulness, and was evidently surprised as well as pleased that I was content to remain alone with her, our conversation turning chiefly on the lessons of last night.  Our time passed quickly till, about the middle of the day, we were startled by a shock which, as I thought, must be due to our having run aground or struck against a rock.  But when I passed into the engine-room, Ergimo explained that the pilot was nowise in fault.  We had encountered one of those inconveniences, hardly to be called perils, which are peculiar to the waters of Mars.  Though animals hostile or dangerous to man have been almost extirpated upon the land, creatures of a type long since supposed to be extinct on Earth still haunt the depths of the Martial seas; and one of these—­a real sea-serpent of above a hundred feet in length and perhaps eight feet in circumference—­had attacked our vessel, entangling the steering screw in his folds and trying to crush it, checking, at the same time, by his tremendous force the motion of the vessel.

“We shall soon get rid of him, though,” said Ergimo, as I followed him to the stern, to watch with great interest the method of dealing with the monster, whose strange form was visible through a thick crystal pane in the stern-plate.  The asphyxiator could not have been used without great risk to ourselves.  But several tubes, filled with a soft material resembling cork, originally the pith of a Martial cane of great size, were inserted in the floor, sides, and deck of the vessel, and through the centre of each of these passed a strong metallic wire of great conducting power.  Two or three of those in the stern were placed in contact with some of the electric machinery by which the rudder was usually turned, and through them were sent rapid and energetic currents, whose passage rendered the covering of the wires, notwithstanding their great conductivity, too hot to be touched.  We heard immediately a smothered sound of extraordinary character, which was, in truth, no other than a scream deadened partly by the water, partly by the thick metal sheet interposed between us and the element.  The steering screw was set in rapid motion, and at

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Across the Zodiac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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