When he could look again, he saw that the machine had landed upon a steep slope, this time with its nose pointing upward. Far above was what looked like a cave, with a growth of some queer, black grass on its upper rim. The craft commenced to move upward, over a smooth, dark tan surface.
In half a minute the machine had reached the top of the slope, and the geologist looked eagerly for what might lie within the cave. He was disappointed; it was not a cave at all. Instead, another brown slope, or rather a bulging precipice, occupied this depression.
Van Emmon looked closer. At the bottom of this bulge was a queer fringe of the same kind of grass that showed on top of it. Van Emmon looked from one to the other, and all of a sudden the thing dawned upon him.
This stupendous affair was no mountainside; it was neither more nor less than the head of a colossal statue! A mammoth edition of the Goddess of Liberty; and the aircraft had presumed to alight upon its cheek!
The machine clung there, motionless, for some time, quite as though the airman knew that Van Emmon would like to look a long while. He gazed from side to side as far as he could see, making out a small section of the nose, also the huge curves of a dust-covered ear. It was wonderfully life-like.
Next second came the earthquake. The whole statue rocked and swayed; Van Emmon looked to see the machine thrown off. From the base of the monument came a single terrific sound, a veritable roar, as though the thing was being wrenched from the heart of the earth. From somewhere on top came a spurt of water that splashed just beside the craft.
Then came the most terrible thing. Without the slightest warning the statue’s great eye opened! Opened wide, revealing a prodigious pupil which simply blazed with wrath!
The statue was alive!
Next second the Sanusian shot into the air. A moment and Van Emmon was able to look again, and as it happened, the craft was now circling the amazing thing it had just quit, so that the geologist could truthfully say that he was dead sure of what he saw.
He was justified in wanting to be absolutely sure. Resting on the solid earth was a human head, about fifty yards wide and proportionately as tall. It was alive; but it was only the head, nothing more.
It will be remembered that Billie wanted to get in touch with a creature having the characteristic which she had said she admired: supremacy—“A worker who is the boss!” Bearing this in mind, her experience will explain itself, dumfounding though it was.
Her first sight of the Sanusian world was from the front of a large building. The former architect was not able to inspect it minutely; but she afterwards said that it impressed her as being entirely plain, and almost a perfect cube. Its walls were white and quite without ornament; there was only one entrance, an extremely low and broad, flat archway, extending across one whole side. The structure was about a hundred yards each way. In front was a terrace, seemingly paved with enormous slabs of stone; it covered a good many acres.