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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

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"The Russian fleet is in sight, heading to the westward, and therefore evidently meaning to reach the Atlantic by the north of the Shetlands. There are twelve large battleships, about twenty-five cruisers of different sizes, eight of them very large, and a small swarm of torpedo-boats being towed by the larger vessels, I suppose to save their coal. I see no signs of the Lucifer at present, but from what we have learnt she will be on the deck of one of the large cruisers. What are your orders?"

"Recover the air-ship if you can," replied Natas. "Send Mazanoff with Professor Volnow to convey the Tsar's letter to the Admiral, and demand the surrender of the Lucifer. If he refuses, let the Ariel return at once, and we will decide what to do. I leave the details with you with the most perfect confidence."

Arnold bowed in silence and retired, catching, as he turned to leave the saloon, a glance from Natasha which, it must be confessed, meant more to him than even the command of the Master. From the expression of his face as he went to the wheel-house to take charge of the ship, it was evident that it would go hard with the Russian fleet if the Admiral refused to recognise the order of the Tsar.

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When he got to the wheel-house the Ithuriel was almost over the fleet. He signalled "stop" to the engine-room. Immediately the propellers slowed and then ceased their rapid revolutions, and at the same time the fan-wheels went aloft and began to revolve. This was a prearranged signal to the others to do the same, and by the time they had overtaken the flagship they also came to a standstill. As soon as they were within speaking distance Arnold hailed the Orion and the Ariel to come alongside.

After communicating to Tremayne and Mazanoff the orders of Natas, he said to the latter--

"You will take Professor Volnow to present the Tsar's letter to the Admiral in command of the fleet. Fly the Russian flag over a flag of truce, and if he acknowledges it say that if the Lucifer is given up we shall allow the fleet to go on its way unmolested and without asking any question.

"The cruiser that has her on board must separate from the rest of the fleet and allow two of your men to take possession of her and bring her up here. The lives of the four traitors are safe for the present if the air-ship is given up quietly."

"And if they will not recognise the authority of the Tsar's letter, and refuse to give the air-ship up, what then?" asked Mazanoff.

"In that case haul down the Russian flag, and get aloft as quickly as you can. You can leave the rest to us," said Arnold. "Meanwhile, Tremayne, will you go down to two thousand feet or so, and keep your eye on that big cruiser a bit ahead of the rest of the fleet. I fancy I can make out the Lucifer on her deck. Train a couple of guns on her, and don't let the air-ship rise without orders. I shall stop up here for the present, and be ready to make things lively for the Admiral if he refuses to obey his master's orders."

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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