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The War Terror

The Submarine Mine
"Here's the bullet. What I want you to do, Professor Kennedy, is to catch the crank who
fired it."
Capt. Lansing Marlowe, head of the new American Shipbuilding Trust, had summoned
us in haste to the Belleclaire and had met us in his suite with his daughter Marjorie. Only
a glance was needed to see that it was she, far more than her father, who was worried.
"You must catch him," she appealed. "Father's life is in danger. Oh, you simply MUST."
I knew Captain Marlowe to be a proverbial fire-eater, but in this case, at least, he was no
alarmist. For, on the table, as he spoke, he laid a real bullet.
Marjorie Marlowe shuddered at the mere sight of it and glanced apprehensively at him as
if to reassure herself. She was a tall, slender girl, scarcely out of her teens, whose face
was one of those quite as striking for its character as its beauty. The death of her mother a
few years before had placed on her much of the responsibility of the captain's household
and with it a charm added to youth.
More under the spell of her plea than even Marlowe's vigorous urging, Kennedy, without
a word, picked up the bullet and examined it. It was one of the modern spitzer type, quite
short, conical in shape, tapering gradually, with the center of gravity back near the base.
"I suppose you know," went on the captain, eagerly, "that our company is getting ready
to-morrow to launch the Usona, the largest liner that has ever been built on this side of
the water-- the name is made up of the initials of the United States of North America.
"Just now," he added, enthusiastically, "is what I call the golden opportunity for
American shipping. While England and Germany are crippled, it's our chance to put the
American flag on the sea as it was in the old days, and we're going to do it. Why, the
shipyards of my company are worked beyond their capacity now."
Somehow the captain's enthusiasm was contagious. I could see that his daughter felt it,
that she was full of fire over the idea. But at the same time something vastly more
personal weighed on her mind.
"But, father," she interrupted, anxiously, "tell them about the BULLET."
The captain smiled indulgently as though he would say that he was a tough old bird to
wing. It was only a mask to hide the fighting spirit underneath.
"We've had nothing but trouble ever since we laid the keel of that ship," he continued,
pugnaciously, "strikes, a fire in the yard, delays, about everything that could happen.
Lately we've noticed a motor-boat hanging about the river-front of the yards. So I've had
a boat of my own patrolling the river."
 
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