As we walked along the upper deck corridor, Firkon said, “Each of these large ships carries many pilots, who work in shifts of four, two men and two women. Kalna and Ilmuth are pilots on this Venusian ship.”

The corridor, like all parts of the craft I had seen, was pleasantly lighted from some invisible source, and led upward and forward into a small room at the end of the large ship.

As we entered this room, a young man who was bent over a chart of some sort looked up, nodded and smiled, but no introductions were made. I presumed he must be Ilmuth’s pilot companion.

“This seems a good moment,” said Firkon, “to explain a little more about this ship. It is a carrier for twelve Scouts such as the one in which we arrived. Actually, the interior is not nearly as large as one would guess from its outward size. This is due to much of our mechanical devices being installed between walls.”

“This particular ship,” Ilmuth added, “has four walls or skins. Some have more and some less, depending on their size and the purpose for which they are built.”

As I looked at the number of strange instruments within this room, I was curious to know what “mechanical devices” lay between the walls. Firkon said, “I will explain as fully as possible in the few moments available. The entire section of the ship through which we first entered is given over to storage space for the Scouts, except for a large machine shop in which any necessary repairs can be made. In spite of the great skill and care that go into the original construction, parts do break and materials do wear. Much is required of any craft that travels space.

“The pressurizing equipment which maintains a comfortable temperature throughout the ship is installed between the walls, and much else which would require more time to explain than we have just now. Entrance doors leading into the various walls in all parts of the ship make access easy. Each craft čarries several mechanics who, working in shifts, are on constant duty to inspect and check all parts. Therefore, it is seldom that any defect remains undiscovered to the point of giving real trouble.”

In this pilot room I could look up or out or down, in whatever direction I turned my head. As Firkon finished speaking, the young man reached out and touched a button.

Immediately, further openings like portholes began to appear in what I had thought was solid wall. Then both pilots took their places in small seats on opposite sides of the room. I felt a slight movement and the ship seemed to nose upward.

My heart beat violently as I wondered if perhaps they planned to take me to their planet. The hope was short-lived. It seemed but a moment before the ship stopped and again hovered. Ilmuth smiled up at me and said, “We are now about fifty thousand miles from your Earth.”

Firkon motioned me to come to one of the portholes as he said, “Perhaps you would like to see what space really looks like.”

I soon forgot my disappointment as I looked out. I was amazed to see that the background of space is totally dark. Yet there were manifestations taking place all around us, as though billions upon billions of fireflies were flickering everywhere, moving in all directions, as fireflies do. However, these were of many colors, a gigantic celestial fireworks display that was beautiful to the point of being awesome. As I exclaimed at this vast splendor, Firkon suggested that I now look back to Earth and see what our own little globe looks like from that distance out.

I did. And to my surprise, our planet was giving off a white light, very similar to that from the Moon, only not so pure as moonlight in a clear night on Earth. The white glow surrounding the Earth’s body was hazy, and its size was comparable to the Sun as we watch this body rise above the horizon in the early morning. There were no identifying markings whatsoever to be seen on our planet. It looked merely like a large ball of light beneath us. From here, one could never have guessed that it was swarming with myriad forms of life. At the fifty thousand mile altitude, the pilots had set their robot control and Ilmuth joined us, explaining to me,

“Each pilot room has a robot. These, working singly or together, can fully govern the course of the ship, as well as warn us of any approaching danger.”

The male pilot remained at his post and Ilmuth remarked, in explanation, “One pilot in each control room must always be on duty.”

She then asked if I would like to have a closer look at the pilot’s instruments.

At one side of each seat there was a small instrument which looked something like a tube set in the floor and standing high enough so that the pilot could easily look into it. “This,” Ilmuth explained, “is connected with the telescope you probably noticed in the large control or chart room through which you first entered the ship.”

At this moment, however, the telescope was not in operation, and I gathered that it was used only when the ship was in actual interplanetary flight, or perhaps also while hovering for observation and study purposes.

The entire floor in this section of the room was composed of magnifying glass like that in the floor of the Scout. But the angle of the ship at this particular moment was such that I would have had to kneel to look through it.

Space and its activity held me transfixed as I strained my eyes in an attempt to see everything that was going on out there. Apart from the firefly effects, I saw a good many large luminous objects passing through space. The larger bodies, so far as I could tell, were not burning, but merely glowing. One in particular seemed to give out three distinct colors—red, purple and blue. I asked if it could be another space ship.

“No,” Ilmuth said with a smile, but did not explain further.

Also I noticed that now and then dark objects of various sizes, darker than space itself, would pass. But none of these moving objects seemed to touch the ship. At times, even the dark objects would become partially luminous. These, I was told, were what we call meteorites, which become visible to us on Earth only as they create friction in passing through our atmosphere.

I asked what prevented them from striking the ship when seemingly they were headed straight for it.

“The ship itself,” Firkon explained, “is utilizing the power of nature—’electromagnetic,’ I think you call it— and has excess power at all times. Some of this excess is dissipated through its skin out into space for a certain distance, sometimes only a short way, although at times its influence can extend for several miles outward. This acts as a shield against any particles, or ‘space debris,’ as you on Earth term it, repelling such things by this constantly radiating force.”

He went on to explain that all bodies in space are negative to space and are actually moving in a sea of electromagnetic force. Therefore, a negative radiation repels all negative bodies while at the same time it prevents the ship from heating through friction. I could have stayed for hours enjoying this beautiful sight, but only a short time was allotted before the pilots resumed their seats and we returned to the forty thousand-foot altitude where the ship had been hovering when first we arrived.

There was no perceptible dip nor turn in the ship’s motion. The craft’s movement was so gentle as to be scarcely noticeable, and the only audible sound was something as slight as an electric fan in operation. None of us had been provided with special headgear or any device for breathing or balance, but my mind was clearly alert in every way at all times.

I was struck by the fact that all the instruments I had so far seen throughout the ship appeared to be operated by push-buttons. And nowhere did I see anything that even faintly resembled a weapon of destruction. But, after watching the repelling force of nature in space as controlled by radiations from the ship, I had a strong feeling that this force could very effectively be used for self-protection, should such a need ever arise.

Firkon answered this thought by saying, “Yes, that is so. As yet, the need has not arisen. Moreover, if the issue Is merely our lives as against the lives of our brothers— even those belligerent ones of your Earth—we would allow ourselves to be destroyed rather than to slay a fellow being.”

The implications of this simple statement affected me deeply. I could not help but reflect sorrowfully on the so different viewpoint of my fellow men on Earth; of the divided peoples, the nations even now engaged in a race to produce more dreadful weapons of destruction which would bring death, affliction and sickness to ever-increasing millions of their fellow beings throughout the world. I thought of the credo of hatred for “the enemy instilled in the minds of young men as a necessary part of preparing them for killing. For it is not inherent in natural man who understands even a little of his place in Creation to want to kill. I thought of the indescribable blasphemy of prayers addressed to the loving Eternal Father of all, asking Him to bless them in thus betraying the very humanity of their heritage.

Both Ilmuth and Firkon were silent while these thoughts went through my mind. Although I had many times before reflected on just these things, they had never penetrated my consciousness with such poignancy, and I knew that it would remain with me always. In a moment, Firkon called my attention to an instrument no larger than an ordinary cabinet radio, with a screen similar to a TV set. “With this,” he explained, we can picture and register anything taking place on the Earth, or on any planet over which we either pass or hover. Not only do we hear the spoken words, but pictures are picked up and shown on the screen. An internal mechanism breaks these down into sound vibrations, which are simultaneously translated into words of our own language, all of which are recorded in a manner similar to your own tape-recordings.”

To further clear this for me, he explained that all words are made up of vibrations or scales similar to a musical octave, just as all melodies are composed of certain notes. By knowing this law one can learn a heretofore unknown language in a short time. When strange vibrations become apparent, these are transposed into picture form, showing exactly what the strange words or their vibrations mean. Needless to say, the tape he showed me was different from any I had ever seen on Earth.

It all sounded to me like a jigsaw puzzle, and my mystification no doubt showed plainly on my face. In any case, Ilmuth laughed merrily and asked, “Would you be surprised to learn that races of people who lived on your Earth many centuries ago thoroughly understood and used the universal laws of sound and vibration?” I stated that I had long suspected the truth of this.

“Although this knowledge is utterly lost to your present-day civilizations,” Ilmuth continued, “a few individuals here and there are awakening to a slight conception of its possibilities. On other planets, these laws are a fundamental teaching in the educational systems. With these as a basis, pupils are able to learn very rapidly in all fields of knowledge and expression.”

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