Wanted-7 Fearless Engineers! - Cover

Wanted-7 Fearless Engineers!

Public Domain

Chapter III: Strange Destination

When Dick opened his eyes, there was a feeling of motion to the bed. The strangeness of the ceiling overhead drew his attention. It was not canvas, but shiny metal, almost purple in tint.

Suddenly he sat up. Dolores lay beside him. As his eyes cleared of the lingering mist, objects in the room became plainer. They were in a luxuriously equipped cabin.

Dolores slowly opened her eyes. A moment later she sat up beside him. Glancing through the porthole, beyond the bed, she turned away with a groan.

“We are under water! And deep! I can’t see a thing but strange blue light.”

When Dick joined her, his forehead puckered in a frown. “No, Dolores. It doesn’t look like water, it looks more like--No! It can’t be!”

For several minutes there was silence while he gazed through the opening. Dolores had lost interest in the outside and was examining the fittings of the cabin. It had everything that could be desired in a first class hotel room, and many little toilet articles besides.

Suddenly Dick turned away. “It’s true! We’re in the air--or above it! Dolores, this ship is an aircraft!”

“Never mind, Dick, this room is beautiful! Whether we’re flying or swimming, this is the nicest room I ever had. It has everything, and look at the dressing table!”

Dick sat down in amazement, a smile slowly spreading over his face. Dolores was happy--wherever they were. The room was all that mattered. But he couldn’t understand why Morquil had gassed them, and put them on board unconscious. He would have enjoyed seeing the new ship.

When a knock sounded at the door, Dolores was unpacking her clothes for the first time since they left the Primrose. Turning the knob, Morquil stepped in.

“I’m sorry, Dick, that I had to use gas, but I knew the people would be afraid of boarding this ship. John McCarthy is down in the power room already, examining the machines, but some of the others are upset about the transfer from the island. I hope you don’t feel resentful?”

“No, Morquil. We’re satisfied. If you don’t believe it--look at Dolores. She decided to like this room the minute she saw it, and is unpacking already.”

The worried expression disappeared from the strange man’s face. “I had the cabins equipped for women, as I know they are particular about such things.”

“Would you like to see the ship? It will be your home for a long time, and you might as well get acquainted. I’m sorry that no one but myself understands English, but you will have ample time to learn our language during the voyage. You must speak it fluently by the time we arrive.”

As they started out, Dolores dropped the dress she was holding, to join them. Curiosity overcame the desire to straighten out her clothes.

Entering a wide passage, they turned to the right. It ended abruptly in a room with several comfortable chairs. Three tables occupied the center in uneven positions, the underparts filled with metal-covered books. Two men of Morquil’s race looked up at their approach.

Dick returned their friendly smile. When Dolores smiled they appeared embarrassed; but truly greatly pleased. Barrow noticed that one of them was examining a book in English; the illustrations seemed to fascinate him.

A narrow passage, beyond the main cabin, led to the control room where three men sat in swivel chairs. The instrument board was a marvel to Dick, and he watched for several minutes. It would require months to understand even a small portion of the gauges.

The ship was built with two decks, and a large hold beneath the lower floor which contained the machinery. The strange men were quartered on the lower level, with the exception of Morquil. His cabin was next to the one occupied by the Barrows. The McCarthys were on the opposite side of the passage, in a room slightly smaller than the one allotted to Dick and his wife.

The quarters of the remainder of the party were smaller, but still quite comfortable; all located farther back on the same passage.

Morquil was proud of the ship, and displayed each section with pride. He opened every cupboard door, and showed them through all of the cabins. They were stopped for a while, when they met Mrs. Yarbro, trying to dispel her fear of the strange craft. The others appeared to be taking their new quarters for granted, and settling down for the trip.

The main cabin was toward the front of the ship, while the dining room was at the rear; the staterooms on the passage between. One stairway led to the lower level, from just back of the control room, another from the dining saloon. A ramp beneath the rear stairway led to the hold of the ship. When they started down, Dolores returned to her cabin. Her interest ended on the upper decks.

The source of this story is SciFi-Stories

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