A Voyage to Arcturus
"Then you assert that Surtur is already there?"
"Surtur is where he is. He is a great traveller."
"Won't I see him?"
Krag went up to him and looked him in the eyes. "Don't forget that you have asked for it,
and wanted it. Few people in Tormance will know more about him than you do, but your
memory will be your worst friend."
He led the way up a short iron ladder, mounting through a trap to the flat roof above.
When they were up, he switched on a small electric torch.
Maskull beheld with awe the torpedo of crystal that was to convey them through the
whole breadth of visible space. It was forty feet long, eight wide, and eight high; the tank
containing the Arcturian back rays was in front, the car behind. The nose of the torpedo
was directed toward the south-eastern sky. The whole machine rested upon a flat
platform, raised about four feet above the level of the roof, so as to encounter no
obstruction on starting its flight.
Krag flashed the light on to the door of the car, to enable them to enter. Before doing so,
Maskull gazed sternly once again at the gigantic, far - distant star, which was to be their
sun from now onward. He frowned, shivered slightly, and got in beside Nightspore. Krag
clambered past them onto his pilot's seat. He threw the flashlight through the open door,
which was then carefully closed, fastened, and screwed up.
He pulled the starting lever. The torpedo glided gently from its platform, and passed
rather slowly away from the tower, seaward. Its speed increased sensibly, though not
excessively, until the approximate limits of the earth's atmosphere were reached. Krag
then released the speed valve, and the car sped on its way with a velocity more nearly
approaching that of thought than of light.
Maskull had no opportunity of examining through the crystal walls the rapidly changing
panorama of the heavens. An extreme drowsiness oppressed him. He opened his eyes
violently a dozen times, but on the thirteenth attempt he failed. From that time forward he
The bored, hungry expression never left Nightspore's face. The alterations in the aspect of
the sky seemed to possess not the least interest for him.
Krag sat with his hand on the lever, watching with savage intentness his phosphorescent
charts and gauges.