From out of the meagerness of our censored histories we
learned that for fifteen years after the cessation of
diplomatic relations between the United States of North
America and the belligerent nations of the Old World, news
of more or less doubtful authenticity filtered, from time to
time, into the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern.
Then came the fruition of that historic propaganda which is
best described by its own slogan: "The East for the East--
the West for the West," and all further intercourse was
stopped by statute.
Even prior to this, transoceanic commerce had practically
ceased, owing to the perils and hazards of the mine-strewn
waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Just when
submarine activities ended we do not know but the last
vessel of this type sighted by a Pan-American merchantman
was the huge Q 138, which discharged twenty-nine torpedoes
at a Brazilian tank steamer off the Bermudas in the fall of
1972. A heavy sea and the excellent seamanship of the
master of the Brazilian permitted the Pan-American to escape
and report this last of a long series of outrages upon our
commerce. God alone knows how many hundreds of our ancient
ships fell prey to the roving steel sharks of blood-frenzied
Europe. Countless were the vessels and men that passed over
our eastern and western horizons never to return; but
whether they met their fates before the belching tubes of
submarines or among the aimlessly drifting mine fields, no
man lived to tell.
And then came the great Pan-American Federation which linked
the Western Hemisphere from pole to pole under a single
flag, which joined the navies of the New World into the
mightiest fighting force that ever sailed the seven seas--
the greatest argument for peace the world had ever known.
Since that day peace had reigned from the western shores of
the Azores to the western shores of the Hawaiian Islands,
nor has any man of either hemisphere dared cross 30dW. or
175dW. From 30d to 175d is ours--from 30d to 175d is
peace, prosperity and happiness.
Beyond was the great unknown. Even the geographies of my
boyhood showed nothing beyond. We were taught of nothing
beyond. Speculation was discouraged. For two hundred years
the Eastern Hemisphere had been wiped from the maps and
histories of Pan-America. Its mention in fiction, even, was
Our ships of peace patrol thirty and one hundred seventy-
five. What ships from beyond they have warned only the
secret archives of government show; but, a naval officer
myself, I have gathered from the traditions of the service
that it has been fully two hundred years since smoke or sail
has been sighted east of 30d or west of 175d. The fate of
the relinquished provinces which lay beyond the dead lines
we could only speculate upon. That they were taken by the
military power, which rose so suddenly in China after the
fall of the republic, and which wrested Manchuria and Korea
from Russia and Japan, and also absorbed the Philippines, is
quite within the range of possibility.
It was the commander of a Chinese man-of-war who received a
copy of the edict of 1972 from the hand of my illustrious
ancestor, Admiral Turck, on one hundred seventy-five, two
hundred and six years ago, and from the yellowed pages of
the admiral's diary I learned that the fate of the
Philippines was even then presaged by these Chinese naval
Yes, for over two hundred years no man crossed 30d to 175d
and lived to tell his story--not until chance drew me across
and back again, and public opinion, revolting at last
against the drastic regulations of our long-dead forbears,
demanded that my story be given to the world, and that the
narrow interdict which commanded peace, prosperity, and
happiness to halt at 30d and 175d be removed forever.
I am glad that it was given to me to be an instrument in the
hands of Providence for the uplifting of benighted Europe,
and the amelioration of the suffering, degradation, and
abysmal ignorance in which I found her.
I shall not live to see the complete regeneration of the
savage hordes of the Eastern Hemisphere--that is a work
which will require many generations, perhaps ages, so
complete has been their reversion to savagery; but I know
that the work has been started, and I am proud of the share
in it which my generous countrymen have placed in my hands.
The government already possesses a complete official report
of my adventures beyond thirty. In the narrative I purpose
telling my story in a less formal, and I hope, a more
entertaining, style; though, being only a naval officer and
without claim to the slightest literary ability, I shall
most certainly fall far short of the possibilities which are
inherent in my subject. That I have passed through the most
wondrous adventures that have befallen a civilized man
during the past two centuries encourages me in the belief
that, however ill the telling, the facts themselves will
command your interest to the final page.
Beyond thirty! Romance, adventure, strange peoples,
fearsome beasts--all the excitement and scurry of the lives
of the twentieth century ancients that have been denied us
in these dull days of peace and prosaic prosperity--all, all
lay beyond thirty, the invisible barrier between the stupid,
commercial present and the carefree, barbarous past.
What boy has not sighed for the good old days of wars,
revolutions, and riots; how I used to pore over the
chronicles of those old days, those dear old days, when
workmen went armed to their labors; when they fell upon one
another with gun and bomb and dagger, and the streets ran
red with blood! Ah, but those were the times when life was
worth the living; when a man who went out by night knew not
at which dark corner a "footpad" might leap upon and slay
him; when wild beasts roamed the forest and the jungles, and
there were savage men, and countries yet unexplored.
Now, in all the Western Hemisphere dwells no man who may not
find a school house within walking distance of his home, or
at least within flying distance.
The wildest beast that roams our waste places lairs in the
frozen north or the frozen south within a government
reserve, where the curious may view him and feed him bread
crusts from the hand with perfect impunity.
But beyond thirty! And I have gone there, and come back;
and now you may go there, for no longer is it high treason,
punishable by disgrace or death, to cross 30d or 175d.
My name is Jefferson Turck. I am a lieutenant in the navy--
in the great Pan-American navy, the only navy which now
exists in all the world.
I was born in Arizona, in the United States of North
America, in the year of our Lord 2116. Therefore, I am
twenty-one years old.
In early boyhood I tired of the teeming cities and
overcrowded rural districts of Arizona. Every generation of
Turcks for over two centuries has been represented in the
navy. The navy called to me, as did the free, wide,
unpeopled spaces of the mighty oceans. And so I joined the
navy, coming up from the ranks, as we all must, learning our
craft as we advance. My promotion was rapid, for my family
seems to inherit naval lore. We are born officers, and I
reserve to myself no special credit for an early advancement
in the service.
At twenty I found myself a lieutenant in command of the
aero-submarine Coldwater, of the SS-96 class. The Coldwater
was one of the first of the air and underwater craft which
have been so greatly improved since its launching, and was
possessed of innumerable weaknesses which, fortunately, have
been eliminated in more recent vessels of similar type.
Even when I took command, she was fit only for the junk
pile; but the world-old parsimony of government retained her
in active service, and sent two hundred men to sea in her,
with myself, a mere boy, in command of her, to patrol thirty
from Iceland to the Azores.
Much of my service had been spent aboard the great
merchantmen-of-war. These are the utility naval vessels
that have transformed the navies of old, which burdened the
peoples with taxes for their support, into the present day
fleets of self-supporting ships that find ample time for
target practice and gun drill while they bear freight and
the mails from the continents to the far-scattered island of
This change in service was most welcome to me, especially as
it brought with it coveted responsibilities of sole command,
and I was prone to overlook the deficiencies of the
Coldwater in the natural pride I felt in my first ship.
The Coldwater was fully equipped for two months' patrolling--
the ordinary length of assignment to this service--and a
month had already passed, its monotony entirely unrelieved
by sight of another craft, when the first of our misfortunes
We had been riding out a storm at an altitude of about three
thousand feet. All night we had hovered above the tossing
billows of the moonlight clouds. The detonation of the
thunder and the glare of lightning through an occasional
rift in the vaporous wall proclaimed the continued fury of
the tempest upon the surface of the sea; but we, far above
it all, rode in comparative ease upon the upper gale. With
the coming of dawn the clouds beneath us became a glorious
sea of gold and silver, soft and beautiful; but they could
not deceive us as to the blackness and the terrors of the
storm-lashed ocean which they hid.
I was at breakfast when my chief engineer entered and
saluted. His face was grave, and I thought he was even a
trifle paler than usual.
"Well?" I asked.
He drew the back of his forefinger nervously across his brow
in a gesture that was habitual with him in moments of mental
"The gravitation-screen generators, sir," he said. "Number
one went to the bad about an hour and a half ago. We have
been working upon it steadily since; but I have to report,
sir, that it is beyond repair."
"Number two will keep us supplied," I answered. "In the
meantime we will send a wireless for relief."
"But that is the trouble, sir," he went on. "Number two has
stopped. I knew it would come, sir. I made a report on
these generators three years ago. I advised then that they
both be scrapped. Their principle is entirely wrong.
They're done for." And, with a grim smile, "I shall at
least have the satisfaction of knowing my report was
"Have we sufficient reserve screen to permit us to make
land, or, at least, meet our relief halfway?" I asked.
"No, sir," he replied gravely; "we are sinking now."
"Have you anything further to report?" I asked.
"No, sir," he said.
"Very good," I replied; and, as I dismissed him, I rang for
my wireless operator. When he appeared, I gave him a
message to the secretary of the navy, to whom all vessels in
service on thirty and one hundred seventy-five report
direct. I explained our predicament, and stated that with
what screening force remained I should continue in the air,
making as rapid headway toward St. Johns as possible, and
that when we were forced to take to the water I should
continue in the same direction.
The accident occurred directly over 30d and about 52d N.
The surface wind was blowing a tempest from the west. To
attempt to ride out such a storm upon the surface seemed
suicidal, for the Coldwater was not designed for surface
navigation except under fair weather conditions. Submerged,
or in the air, she was tractable enough in any sort of
weather when under control; but without her screen
generators she was almost helpless, since she could not fly,
and, if submerged, could not rise to the surface.
All these defects have been remedied in later models; but
the knowledge did not help us any that day aboard the slowly
settling Coldwater, with an angry sea roaring beneath, a
tempest raging out of the west, and 30d only a few knots
To cross thirty or one hundred seventy-five has been, as you
know, the direst calamity that could befall a naval
commander. Court-martial and degradation follow swiftly,
unless as is often the case, the unfortunate man takes his
own life before this unjust and heartless regulation can
hold him up to public scorn.
There has been in the past no excuse, no circumstance, that
could palliate the offense.
"He was in command, and he took his ship across thirty!"
That was sufficient. It might not have been in any way his
fault, as, in the case of the Coldwater, it could not
possibly have been justly charged to my account that the
gravitation-screen generators were worthless; but well I
knew that should chance have it that we were blown across
thirty today--as we might easily be before the terrific west
wind that we could hear howling below us, the responsibility
would fall upon my shoulders.
In a way, the regulation was a good one, for it certainly
accomplished that for which it was intended. We all fought
shy of 30d on the east and 175d on the west, and, though we
had to skirt them pretty close, nothing but an act of God
ever drew one of us across. You all are familiar with the
naval tradition that a good officer could sense proximity to
either line, and for my part, I am firmly convinced of the
truth of this as I am that the compass finds the north
without recourse to tedious processes of reasoning.
Old Admiral Sanchez was wont to maintain that he could smell
thirty, and the men of the first ship in which I sailed
claimed that Coburn, the navigating officer, knew by name
every wave along thirty from 60dN. to 60dS. However, I'd
hate to vouch for this.
Well, to get back to my narrative; we kept on dropping
slowly toward the surface the while we bucked the west wind,
clawing away from thirty as fast as we could. I was on the
bridge, and as we dropped from the brilliant sunlight into
the dense vapor of clouds and on down through them to the
wild, dark storm strata beneath, it seemed that my spirits
dropped with the falling ship, and the buoyancy of hope ran
low in sympathy.
The waves were running to tremendous heights, and the
Coldwater was not designed to meet such waves head on. Her
elements were the blue ether, far above the raging storm, or
the greater depths of ocean, which no storm could ruffle.
As I stood speculating upon our chances once we settled into
the frightful Maelstrom beneath us and at the same time
mentally computing the hours which must elapse before aid
could reach us, the wireless operator clambered up the
ladder to the bridge, and, disheveled and breathless, stood
before me at salute. It needed but a glance at him to
assure me that something was amiss.
"What now?" I asked.
"The wireless, sir!" he cried. "My God, sir, I cannot
"But the emergency outfit?" I asked.
"I have tried everything, sir. I have exhausted every
resource. We cannot send," and he drew himself up and
I dismissed him with a few kind words, for I knew that it
was through no fault of his that the mechanism was
antiquated and worthless, in common with the balance of the
Coldwater's equipment. There was no finer operator in Pan-
America than he.
The failure of the wireless did not appear as momentous to
me as to him, which is not unnatural, since it is but human
to feel that when our own little cog slips, the entire
universe must necessarily be put out of gear. I knew that
if this storm were destined to blow us across thirty, or
send us to the bottom of the ocean, no help could reach us
in time to prevent it. I had ordered the message sent
solely because regulations required it, and not with any
particular hope that we could benefit by it in our present
I had little time to dwell upon the coincidence of the
simultaneous failure of the wireless and the buoyancy
generators, since very shortly after the Coldwater had
dropped so low over the waters that all my attention was
necessarily centered upon the delicate business of settling
upon the waves without breaking my ship's back. With our
buoyancy generators in commission it would have been a
simple thing to enter the water, since then it would have
been but a trifling matter of a forty-five degree dive into
the base of a huge wave. We should have cut into the water
like a hot knife through butter, and have been totally
submerged with scarce a jar--I have done it a thousand
times--but I did not dare submerge the Coldwater for fear
that it would remain submerged to the end of time--a
condition far from conducive to the longevity of commander
Most of my officers were older men than I. John Alvarez, my
first officer, is twenty years my senior. He stood at my
side on the bridge as the ship glided closer and closer to
those stupendous waves. He watched my every move, but he
was by far too fine an officer and gentleman to embarrass me
by either comment or suggestion.
When I saw that we soon would touch, I ordered the ship
brought around broadside to the wind, and there we hovered a
moment until a huge wave reached up and seized us upon its
crest, and then I gave the order that suddenly reversed the
screening force, and let us into the ocean. Down into the
trough we went, wallowing like the carcass of a dead whale,
and then began the fight, with rudder and propellers, to
force the Coldwater back into the teeth of the gale and
drive her on and on, farther and farther from relentless
I think that we should have succeeded, even though the ship
was wracked from stem to stern by the terrific buffetings
she received, and though she were half submerged the greater
part of the time, had no further accident befallen us.
We were making headway, though slowly, and it began to look
as though we were going to pull through. Alvarez never left
my side, though I all but ordered him below for much-needed
rest. My second officer, Porfirio Johnson, was also often
on the bridge. He was a good officer, but a man for whom I
had conceived a rather unreasoning aversion almost at the
first moment of meeting him, an aversion which was not
lessened by the knowledge which I subsequently gained that
he looked upon my rapid promotion with jealousy. He was ten
years my senior both in years and service, and I rather
think he could never forget the fact that he had been an
officer when I was a green apprentice.
As it became more and more apparent that the Coldwater,
under my seamanship, was weathering the tempest and giving
promise of pulling through safely, I could have sworn that I
perceived a shade of annoyance and disappointment growing
upon his dark countenance. He left the bridge finally and
went below. I do not know that he is directly responsible
for what followed so shortly after; but I have always had my
suspicions, and Alvarez is even more prone to place the
blame upon him than I.
It was about six bells of the forenoon watch that Johnson
returned to the bridge after an absence of some thirty
minutes. He seemed nervous and ill at ease--a fact which
made little impression on me at the time, but which both
Alvarez and I recalled subsequently.
Not three minutes after his reappearance at my side the
Coldwater suddenly commenced to lose headway. I seized the
telephone at my elbow, pressing upon the button which would
call the chief engineer to the instrument in the bowels of
the ship, only to find him already at the receiver
attempting to reach me.
"Numbers one, two, and five engines have broken down, sir,"
he called. "Shall we force the remaining three?"
"We can do nothing else," I bellowed into the transmitter.
"They won't stand the gaff, sir," he returned.
"Can you suggest a better plan?" I asked.
"No, sir," he replied.
"Then give them the gaff, lieutenant," I shouted back, and
hung up the receiver.
For twenty minutes the Coldwater bucked the great seas with
her three engines. I doubt if she advanced a foot; but it
was enough to keep her nose in the wind, and, at least, we
were not drifting toward thirty.
Johnson and Alvarez were at my side when, without warning,
the bow swung swiftly around and the ship fell into the
trough of the sea.
"The other three have gone," I said, and I happened to be
looking at Johnson as I spoke. Was it the shadow of a
satisfied smile that crossed his thin lips? I do not know;
but at least he did not weep.
"You always have been curious, sir, about the great unknown
beyond thirty," he said. "You are in a good way to have
your curiosity satisfied." And then I could not mistake the
slight sneer that curved his upper lip. There must have
been a trace of disrespect in his tone or manner which
escaped me, for Alvarez turned upon him like a flash.
"When Lieutenant Turck crosses thirty," he said, "we shall
all cross with him, and God help the officer or the man who
"I shall not be a party to high treason," snapped Johnson.
"The regulations are explicit, and if the Coldwater crosses
thirty it devolves upon you to place Lieutenant Turck under
arrest and immediately exert every endeavor to bring the
ship back into Pan-American waters."
"I shall not know," replied Alvarez, "that the Coldwater
passes thirty; nor shall any other man aboard know it," and,
with his words, he drew a revolver from his pocket, and
before either I or Johnson could prevent it had put a bullet
into every instrument upon the bridge, ruining them beyond
And then he saluted me, and strode from the bridge, a martyr
to loyalty and friendship, for, though no man might know
that Lieutenant Jefferson Turck had taken his ship across
thirty, every man aboard would know that the first officer
had committed a crime that was punishable by both
degradation and death. Johnson turned and eyed me narrowly.
"Shall I place him under arrest?" he asked.
"You shall not," I replied. "Nor shall anyone else."
"You become a party to his crime!" he cried angrily.
"You may go below, Mr. Johnson," I said, "and attend to the
work of unpacking the extra instruments and having them
properly set upon the bridge."
He saluted, and left me, and for some time I stood, gazing
out upon the angry waters, my mind filled with unhappy
reflections upon the unjust fate that had overtaken me, and
the sorrow and disgrace that I had unwittingly brought down
upon my house.
I rejoiced that I should leave neither wife nor child to
bear the burden of my shame throughout their lives.
As I thought upon my misfortune, I considered more clearly
than ever before the unrighteousness of the regulation which
was to prove my doom, and in the natural revolt against its
injustice my anger rose, and there mounted within me a
feeling which I imagine must have paralleled that spirit
that once was prevalent among the ancients called anarchy.
For the first time in my life I found my sentiments arraying
themselves against custom, tradition, and even government.
The wave of rebellion swept over me in an instant, beginning
with an heretical doubt as to the sanctity of the
established order of things--that fetish which has ruled
Pan-Americans for two centuries, and which is based upon a
blind faith in the infallibility of the prescience of the
long-dead framers of the articles of Pan-American
federation--and ending in an adamantine determination to
defend my honor and my life to the last ditch against the
blind and senseless regulation which assumed the synonymity
of misfortune and treason.
I would replace the destroyed instruments upon the bridge;
every officer and man should know when we crossed thirty.
But then I should assert the spirit which dominated me, I
should resist arrest, and insist upon bringing my ship back
across the dead line, remaining at my post until we had
reached New York. Then I should make a full report, and
with it a demand upon public opinion that the dead lines be
wiped forever from the seas.
I knew that I was right. I knew that no more loyal officer
wore the uniform of the navy. I knew that I was a good
officer and sailor, and I didn't propose submitting to
degradation and discharge because a lot of old, preglacial
fossils had declared over two hundred years before that no
man should cross thirty.
Even while these thoughts were passing through my mind I was
busy with the details of my duties. I had seen to it that a
sea anchor was rigged, and even now the men had completed
their task, and the Coldwater was swinging around rapidly,
her nose pointing once more into the wind, and the frightful
rolling consequent upon her wallowing in the trough was
It was then that Johnson came hurrying to the bridge. One
of his eyes was swollen and already darkening, and his lip
was cut and bleeding. Without even the formality of a
salute, he burst upon me, white with fury.
"Lieutenant Alvarez attacked me!" he cried. "I demand that
he be placed under arrest. I found him in the act of
destroying the reserve instruments, and when I would have
interfered to protect them he fell upon me and beat me. I
demand that you arrest him!"
"You forget yourself, Mr. Johnson," I said. "You are not in
command of the ship. I deplore the action of Lieutenant
Alvarez, but I cannot expunge from my mind the loyalty and
self-sacrificing friendship which has prompted him to his
acts. Were I you, sir, I should profit by the example he
has set. Further, Mr. Johnson, I intend retaining command
of the ship, even though she crosses thirty, and I shall
demand implicit obedience from every officer and man aboard
until I am properly relieved from duty by a superior officer
in the port of New York."
"You mean to say that you will cross thirty without
submitting to arrest?" he almost shouted.
"I do, sir," I replied. "And now you may go below, and,
when again you find it necessary to address me, you will
please be so good as to bear in mind the fact that I am your
commanding officer, and as such entitled to a salute."
He flushed, hesitated a moment, and then, saluting, turned
upon his heel and left the bridge. Shortly after, Alvarez
appeared. He was pale, and seemed to have aged ten years in
the few brief minutes since I last had seen him. Saluting,
he told me very simply what he had done, and asked that I
place him under arrest.
I put my hand on his shoulder, and I guess that my voice
trembled a trifle as, while reproving him for his act, I
made it plain to him that my gratitude was no less potent a
force than his loyalty to me. Then it was that I outlined
to him my purpose to defy the regulation that had raised the
dead lines, and to take my ship back to New York myself.
I did not ask him to share the responsibility with me. I
merely stated that I should refuse to submit to arrest, and
that I should demand of him and every other officer and man
implicit obedience to my every command until we docked at
His face brightened at my words, and he assured me that I
would find him as ready to acknowledge my command upon the
wrong side of thirty as upon the right, an assurance which I
hastened to tell him I did not need.
The storm continued to rage for three days, and as far as
the wind scarce varied a point during all that time, I knew
that we must be far beyond thirty, drifting rapidly east by
south. All this time it had been impossible to work upon
the damaged engines or the gravity-screen generators; but we
had a full set of instruments upon the bridge, for Alvarez,
after discovering my intentions, had fetched the reserve
instruments from his own cabin, where he had hidden them.
Those which Johnson had seen him destroy had been a third
set which only Alvarez had known was aboard the Coldwater.
We waited impatiently for the sun, that we might determine
our exact location, and upon the fourth day our vigil was
rewarded a few minutes before noon.
Every officer and man aboard was tense with nervous
excitement as we awaited the result of the reading. The
crew had known almost as soon as I that we were doomed to
cross thirty, and I am inclined to believe that every man
jack of them was tickled to death, for the spirits of
adventure and romance still live in the hearts of men of the
twenty-second century, even though there be little for them
to feed upon between thirty and one hundred seventy-five.
The men carried none of the burdens of responsibility. They
might cross thirty with impunity, and doubtless they would
return to be heroes at home; but how different the home-
coming of their commanding officer!
The wind had dropped to a steady blow, still from west by
north, and the sea had gone down correspondingly. The crew,
with the exception of those whose duties kept them below,
were ranged on deck below the bridge. When our position was
definitely fixed I personally announced it to the eager,
"Men," I said, stepping forward to the handrail and looking
down into their upturned, bronzed faces, "you are anxiously
awaiting information as to the ship's position. It has been
determined at latitude fifty degrees seven minutes north,
longitude twenty degrees sixteen minutes west."
I paused and a buzz of animated comment ran through the
massed men beneath me. "Beyond thirty. But there will be
no change in commanding officers, in routine or in
discipline, until after we have docked again in New York."
As I ceased speaking and stepped back from the rail there
was a roar of applause from the deck such as I never before
had heard aboard a ship of peace. It recalled to my mind
tales that I had read of the good old days when naval
vessels were built to fight, when ships of peace had been
man-of-war, and guns had flashed in other than futile target
practice, and decks had run red with blood.
With the subsistence of the sea, we were able to go to work
upon the damaged engines to some effect, and I also set men
to examining the gravitation-screen generators with a view
to putting them in working order should it prove not beyond
For two weeks we labored at the engines, which indisputably
showed evidence of having been tampered with. I appointed a
board to investigate and report upon the disaster. But it
accomplished nothing other than to convince me that there
were several officers upon it who were in full sympathy with
Johnson, for, though no charges had been preferred against
him, the board went out of its way specifically to exonerate
him in its findings.
All this time we were drifting almost due east. The work
upon the engines had progressed to such an extent that
within a few hours we might expect to be able to proceed
under our own power westward in the direction of Pan-
To relieve the monotony I had taken to fishing, and early
that morning I had departed from the Coldwater in one of the
boats on such an excursion. A gentle west wind was blowing.
The sea shimmered in the sunlight. A cloudless sky canopied
the west for our sport, as I had made it a point never
voluntarily to make an inch toward the east that I could
avoid. At least, they should not be able to charge me with
a willful violation of the dead lines regulation.
I had with me only the boat's ordinary complement of men--
three in all, and more than enough to handle any small power
boat. I had not asked any of my officers to accompany me,
as I wished to be alone, and very glad am I now that I had
not. My only regret is that, in view of what befell us, it
had been necessary to bring the three brave fellows who
manned the boat.
Our fishing, which proved excellent, carried us so far to
the west that we no longer could see the Coldwater. The day
wore on, until at last, about mid-afternoon, I gave the
order to return to the ship.
We had proceeded but a short distance toward the east when
one of the men gave an exclamation of excitement, at the
same time pointing eastward. We all looked on in the
direction he had indicated, and there, a short distance
above the horizon, we saw the outlines of the Coldwater
silhouetted against the sky.
"They've repaired the engines and the generators both,"
exclaimed one of the men.
It seemed impossible, but yet it had evidently been done.
Only that morning, Lieutenant Johnson had told me that he
feared that it would be impossible to repair the generators.
I had put him in charge of this work, since he always had
been accounted one of the best gravitation-screen men in
the navy. He had invented several of the improvements that
are incorporated in the later models of these generators,
and I am convinced that he knows more concerning both the
theory and the practice of screening gravitation than any
At the sight of the Coldwater once more under control, the
three men burst into a glad cheer. But, for some reason
which I could not then account, I was strangely overcome by
a premonition of personal misfortune. It was not that I now
anticipated an early return to Pan-America and a board of
inquiry, for I had rather looked forward to the fight that
must follow my return. No, there was something else,
something indefinable and vague that cast a strange gloom
upon me as I saw my ship rising farther above the water and
making straight in our direction.
I was not long in ascertaining a possible explanation of my
depression, for, though we were plainly visible from the
bridge of the aero-submarine and to the hundreds of men who
swarmed her deck, the ship passed directly above us, not
five hundred feet from the water, and sped directly
We all shouted, and I fired my pistol to attract their
attention, though I knew full well that all who cared to had
observed us, but the ship moved steadily away, growing
smaller and smaller to our view until at last she passed
completely out of sight.