The spherical space-ship stopped and Stevens, staring into his useless screen, drove the Forlorn Hope downward mile after mile, solely under Barkovis' direction, changing course and power from time to time as the Titanian's voice came from the speaker at his elbow.
In the beam many of the monsters died, but the Terrestrial ray was impotent compared with the weapons of the Titanians, and Stevens, snapping off the beam with a bitter imprecation, shot the visiray out toward the bare, black cone of the extinct volcano and studied it with care. "Barkovis, I've got a thought!" he snapped into the microphone.
As it hardened, the paste smoothed magically into the perfect mirror which covered the space-vessels of the satellite; and a full dozen of the mirror explosive bombs of this strange people were hung in the racks already provided. "Once again I must caution you concerning those torpedoes," Barkovis warned Stevens.
They did so, and even through the almost perfect insulation, and in spite of the powerful heaters of their suits, they felt a touch of frightful cold. The stranger turned a dial, and the two wanderers from Earth were instantly in full mental communication with Barkovis, the commander of a space-ship of Titan, the sixth satellite of Saturn! "Well, I'll be ... say, what is this, anyway?"
Placing them upon the white sward, he backed away, motioning the two visitors to pick them up. "It may not be necessary, Barkovis," Stevens said, slowly and clearly. "We do not know why, but we can understand what your people are saying, and it may be that you can now understand us." "Oh, yes, I can understand your English perfectly.
He was interrupted by an insistent thought from Barkovis. "You will save time, Stevens, by coming with us to Titan. There we shall aid you in repairing your vessel and in completing your transmitting tube, in which we shall be deeply interested. Our power plants shall supply you with energy for your return journey until you are close enough to Jupiter to recover your own beam. You are tired.
Think of living this close to one of the most wonderful sights in the Solar System, and never being able to see it. Think they know what they're missing, Steve?" "We'll have to ask Barkovis," Stevens replied. He swung the communicator beam back toward Titan, and Nadia shuddered. "Oh, it's hideous!" she exclaimed.
Nadia insisted that she, too, needed to work, and that she was altogether too good a mechanic to waste; therefore the two again labored mightily together, day after day. But the girl limited rigidly their hours of work to those of the working day; and evening after evening Barkovis visited with them for hours.
"It will take more than time it will take lives," replied Barkovis, gravely. "Scores, perhaps hundreds, of us will never again breathe the clear, pure air of Titan.
Stevens located the Titanian space-ship, and the two vessels once more hurtling together through the ether toward Titan, he turned to his companion. "Take the controls, will you, Nadia? Think I'll finish up the tube. I brought along a piece of platinum from the power plant, and something that I think is tantalum from Barkovis' description of it.