The hopelessness of my love was plain, for it was Almos whom she loved, and she believed also that Almos had confessed his love to her; and, with a lover’s conviction that everyone must love the one he loves, I felt that Almos undoubtedly loved Zarlah. Indeed, it was probably his affection for her through which I had silently won her confession. Almos would then have no cause to regret my action, and Zarlah would never know the strange circumstances that had brought them together. Thus did I picture in my mind a happy conclusion to my selfish and precipitate action, which, I had feared at first, must bring overwhelming sorrow and humiliation into three lives, two of which were dearer to me than any on Earth.
I was roused from these meditations by the sudden roar of rushing waters as, in order to reduce speed, we plunged along the surface of the canal. We were nearing our destination at last, and my mind at once reverted to the now imminent danger—that of arriving at the observatory only to find that the wave contact with Paris had ceased, and I was too late ever to return to the world from which I had come. In such a case, I determined to write a brief account of my experiences to Almos, and, after arranging the current of super-radium so that it would convey my spirit out of the virator (whither I knew not), I would then enter the virator and deliver the body to its rightful owner.
Although I determined upon this course as being clearly my duty, in the event of my being too late to return to Earth, the desperate nature of such a proceeding roused me to action. We had now risen from the canal and were floating slowly in the air at a considerable height. Striving hard to suppress my agitation, I urged Reon to make more speed, and he at once responded by increasing the power. As it was now after midnight in this part of Mars, we were in no danger of encountering small aerenoids in our flight, and in a few moments, to my great relief, I distinguished the observatory lying far beneath us. Describing circles over the building, we slowly descended and in a few seconds we had reached the balcony.
Thanking my companion with a hearty handshake (which came perfectly natural even on Mars), I bade him adieu, and, stepping on to the balcony, made my way into the observatory with all haste. Everything was in the condition I had left it, and I was greatly relieved to find that the necessary time for the process of departure still remained, before wave contact with Paris ceased. My heart now went out in true gratitude and love to her who, in the simple desire to do what was right, had placed duty before her love, and had thus been of such inestimable service to me.
Immediately upon my arrival, I had prepared the virator for my journey back to Earth by substituting the projecting apparatus of the radioscope for the receiving apparatus. It was only necessary now to start the clockwork that would shut off the current to earth in half an hour, and would start the current flowing through the upper chamber of the virator.