He seems to have afterwards told Bernal Diaz that he got to the top, which we know, by Cortes' letters to Spain, was not true. A few years later, Francesco Montano went up, and was lowered into the crater to get sulphur.
He closed the panel and brushed dust over it, and when the Second Officer came back, Bart was at his own station. As Antares fell toward them in the viewport, he found himself worrying about Mentorians. They would be in cold sleep, presumably in a safe part of the ship, behind shielding, or Montano would have made provisions for them. Still, he wished there were a way to warn Meta.
Bart's first incongruous thought was, He'd make a better Lhari than I would. His firm, commanding voice told Bart at once that this was the man in charge. "You are Bartol?" He extended his hand. Bart took it and found himself gripped in a judo hold. The other two men, leaping to place behind him, felt all over his body, not gently. "No weapons, Montano." "Look here " "Save it," Montano said.
But then the Lhari would detect Montano's ship, and kill Montano and his men. Did he believe that? He had to believe it. It was the only way he could possibly justify what he was doing. And then his chance came, as so many chances do when one no longer wants them. The Second Officer met him at the beginning of one watch, saying worriedly, "Bartol, old Rugel's sick not fit to be on his feet.
"As much as any Mentorian." Bart found he could move his right arm, and twitched the bandage away. Vorongil and the medic stood over him; in the other infirmary bunk a form was lying, covered with a white sheet. Sickly, Bart wondered if they had found Montano. Vorongil followed the direction of his eyes. "Yes," he said, and his voice held deep bitterness, "poor old Rugel is dead.
"The radiation counter is out of order," Vorongil remarked, unruffled. "How can you possibly know " Bart stood in despair. Could he say, A ship has landed here? Could he say, Check that bunker? Even if Montano was a would-be murderer, he was human, and Bart could not betray him to the Lhari. There had been too much betrayal. His voice rose in sudden hysteria. "Captain, there's no time!
We have left behind us the montaño, with its verdant uplands and waving forests, its blooming valleys, flower-strewed savannas, and sunny waters, and are crawling painfully along a ledge, hardly a yard wide, stern gray rocks all round us, a foaming torrent only faintly visible in the prevailing gloom a thousand feet below.
Yet it is very hard to believe that Zúñiga was no more than twenty-three when he took it upon himself to cast doubts on the orthodoxy of Benito Arias Montano; nor is it likely that Luis de Leon would discuss so delicate a topic with the most brilliant of youths. Let it not be said that the question of Zúñiga's accuracy in stating his age is relatively unimportant.
While the transactions between the king and the pope were in progress, and those in Tuscany in the manner we have related, an event of greater importance occurred in Lombardy. Cola Montano, a learned and ambitious man, taught the Latin language to the youth of the principal families in Milan.
And you came all alone on a Lhari ship, working your way as Astrogator? I must say you've got guts, kid! It was dangerously like the fantasy he had invented. But Montano interrupted at last. "All right, this isn't a party and we haven't all night. I don't suppose Bart has either. Enough time wasted. Since you walked into this, young Steele, I take it you know what our plans are, after this?"