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0105_001E The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

An Interlude

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"When nearly all had been provided for, there was one vessel left unoccupied, and four of the unmarried men had not been accommodated. They therefore took their places in the spare vessel. They were Peter Tamboff, Amos Vornjeh, Ivan Tscheszco, and Paul Oreloff, all Russians.

"We closed the hatches of the vessels, and remained inside till the storm ceased. When we were able to open the hatches again, it was pitch dark--so dark that it was impossible to see even a yard from one's face. Suspecting no evil, we retired to rest again till sunrise. When day dawned it was found that the vessel in which the four men I have named had taken shelter had disappeared.

"I at once ordered three vessels to rise and pass through the defile. On the outside we separated and made the entire circuit of Aeria, rising as high as the fan-wheels would take us, and examining the horizon in all directions for the missing vessel.

"We failed to discover her, and were forced to the conclusion that the deserters had taken her away early in the night at full speed, and would, therefore, be far beyond the possibility of capture, as we possessed no faster vessel than the missing one. So we returned. That is all."

"Go to the forward cabin and remain there till you're sent for," said Natas.

The President instantly turned and walked mechanically through the door that was opened for him by one of the sentinels. The other went in front of him, the second behind, closing the door as he left the saloon.

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A brief discussion took place between Natas and his two lieutenants, and within a quarter of an hour Nicholas Roburoff was again standing at the end of the table to hear the decision of his judges. Without any preamble it was delivered by Natas in these words--

"We have heard your story, and believe it. You have been guilty of a serious mistake, for these four men were all ordinary members of the Outer Circle, who had only been brought here on account of their mechanical skill to occupy subordinate positions. You therefore committed a grave error, amounting almost to a breach of the rule which states that no members of the Outer Circle shall be entrusted with any charge, or work, save under the supervision of a member of the Inner Circle responsible for them.

"Had such a breach been even technically committed your life would have been forfeited, and you would have been executed for breach of trust. We have considered the circumstances, and find you guilty of indiscretion and want of forethought.

"You will cease from now to be President of the Inner Circle. Your place will be taken for the time by Alan Tremayne as Chief of the Executive. You will cease also to share the Councils of the Order for a space of twelve months, during which time you will be incapable of any responsible charge or authority. Your restoration will, of course, depend upon your behaviour. I have said."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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