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0100_005E The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

The End Of The Chase

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Through the mist and darkness underneath they saw the white shape of the Lucifer almost immediately below them, so accurately had the position been determined. They sank a hundred feet farther, and then Arnold shouted--

"Now is your time. Cast!"

Instantly the eight grappling-irons dropped and swung towards the Lucifer, hooking themselves in the stays of her masts and the railing that ran completely round her deck.

"Now, up again, and ahead!" shouted Arnold once more, and the fan-wheels of the three ships revolved at their utmost speed; the air-planes had already been inclined to the full, the nine propellers whirled round, and the recaptured Lucifer was dragged forward and upwards through the mist and darkness of the thunder-cloud into the bright sunshine above.

So suddenly had the strange manoeuvre been executed that those on board her had not time to grasp what had really happened to them before they found themselves captured and utterly helpless. As she hung below her three captors it was impossible to bring one of the Lucifer's guns to bear upon them, while four guns, two from the Ariel and two from the Orion, grinned down upon her ready to blow her into fragments at the least sign of resistance.

Added to this, a dozen magazine rifles covered her deck, threatening sudden death to the six bewildered men who were still staring helplessly about them in wonderment at the strange thing that had happened to them.

"Who are the Russian officers in command of that airship?" hailed Mazanoff from the Ariel.

Two men in Russian uniform raised their hands in reply, and Mazanoff hailed again--

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"Which will you have--surrender or death? If you surrender your lives are safe, and we will put you on to the land as soon as possible; if not you will be shot."

"We surrender!" exclaimed one of the officers, drawing his sword and dropping it on the deck. The other followed suit, and Mazanoff continued--

"Very good. Remain where you are. The first man that moves will be shot down."

Almost before the last words had left his lips half a dozen men had slid down the wire ropes and landed on the deck of the Lucifer. The moment their feet had touched the deck each whipped a magazine pistol out of his belt and covered his man.

Within a couple of minutes the captives were all disarmed; indeed, most of them had thrown their weapons down on the first summons. The arms were tossed overboard, and all but the two Russian officers were rapidly bound hand and foot. Then three of the six men descended to the engine-room, and one went to the wheel-house. In another minute the fan-wheels of the Lucifer began to spin round faster, and quickly raised her to the level of the other three ships, and so the recapture of the deserter was completed.

The two officers were at once summoned on board the Ithuriel and shut up under guard in separate cabins. The rest of the crew of the Lucifer was found to consist of the four traitors who had carried her away, and two Russian engineers who had been put on board to assist in the working of the vessel.

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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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