|By 9-45 A.M. De Forest, Dragomiroff (Russia), Takahira (Japan), and Pirolo (Italy) were empowered to visit Illinois and to take such steps as might be necessary for the resumption of traffic and all that that implies. By 10 A.M. the Hall was empty, and the four Members and I were aboard what Pirolo insisted on calling my leetle godchild-that is to say, the new Victor Pirolo. Our Planet prefers to know Victor Pirolo as a gentle, grey-haired enthusiast who spends his time near Foggia, inventing or creating new breeds of Spanish-Italian olive-trees; but there is another side to his nature-the manufacture of quaint inventions, of which the Victor Pirolo is, perhaps, not the least surprising. She and a few score sister-craft of the same type embody his latest ideas. But she is not comfortable. An A.B.C. boat does not take the air with the level-keeled lift of a liner, but shoots up rocket-fashion like the aeroplane of our ancestors, and makes her height at top-speed from the first. That is why I found myself sitting suddenly on the large lap of Eustace Arnott, who commands the A.B.C. Fleet. One knows vaguely that there is such a thing as a Fleet somewhere on the Planet, and that, theoretically, it exists for the purposes of what used to be known as war. Only a week before, while visiting a glacier sanatorium behind Gothaven, I had seen some squadrons making false auroras far to the north while they manoeuvred round the Pole; but, naturally, it had never occurred to me that the things could be used in earnest.|
Said Arnott to De Forest as I staggered to a seat on the chart-room divan: Were tremendously grateful to em in Illinois. Weve never had a chance of exercising all the Fleet together. Ive turned in a General Call, and I expect well have at least two hundred keels aloft this evening.
Well aloft? De Forest asked.
Of course, sir. Out of sight till theyre called for.
Arnott laughed as he lolled over the transparent chart-table where the map of the summer-blue Atlantic slid along, degree by degree, in exact answer to our progress. Our dial already showed 320 m.p.h. and we were two thousand feet above the uppermost traffic lines.
Now, where is this Illinois District of yours? said Dragomiroff. One travels so much, one sees so little. Oh, I remember! It is in North America.