But, we were speedily to learn that he was not as fatuous as he at first seemed. These two worlds--occupying the same space and invisible to each other--would be plunged into war. And Tako realized that no one, however astute, of either world could predict what might happen. He was plunging ahead, quite conscious of his ignorance. And he realized that there was a vast detailed knowledge of the Earth world which we had and he did not. He would use us as the occasion arose to explain what might not be understandable to him.
I could envisage now so many things of such a character. The range of warships and artillery. The weapons a plane might use. The topography of New York City and its environs.... And the more Tako needed us, the less we had to fear from him personally. We would have the power to protect Jane from him--if we could sufficiently persuade him he needed our good will. Ultimately we might plunge his enterprise into disaster, and with Jane escape from him--that too I could envisage as a possibility.
The mind flings far afield very rapidly! But I recall that it occurred to me also that I might be displaying many of the fatuous qualities I was crediting to Tako, by thinking such thoughts!
I have no more than briefly summarized the many things Tako told us during that hour while we strode across the dim rocky uplands toward his mobilized army awaiting its departure for the scene of the main attack. Some of his forces had already gone ahead. Several bands of men were making visual contact with the seacoast of the southern United States. It was all experimentation. They were heading for New York. They would wait there, and not materialize until this main army had joined them.
We saw presently, in the distance ahead of us, a dim green sheen of light below the horizon. Then it disclosed itself to be quite near--the reflection of green light from a bowl-like depression of this rocky plateau.
We reached the rim of the bowl. The encampment of Tako's main army lay spread before us.
The Flight through the Fourth Dimension "This is the girl, Tolla," said Tako quietly. "She will take care of you, Jane, and make you comfortable on this trip."
In the dull green sheen which enveloped the encampment, this girl of the Fourth Dimension stood before us. She had greeted Tako quietly in their own language, but as she gazed up into his face it seemed that the anxiety for his welfare turned to joy at having him safely arrive. She was a small girl; as small as Jane, and probably no older. Her slim figure stood revealed, garbed in the same white woven garments as those worn by the men. At a little distance she might have been a boy of Earth, save that her silvery white hair was wound in a high conical pile on her head, and there were tasseled ornaments on her legs and arms.
Her small oval face, as it lighted with pleasure at seeing Tako, was beautiful. It was delicate of feature; the eyes pale blue; the lips curving and red. Yet it was a curious face, by Earth standards. It seemed that there was an Oriental slant to the eyes; the nose was high-bridged; the eyebrows were thin pencil lines snow-white, and above each of them was another thin line of black, which evidently she had placed there to enhance her beauty.
Strange little creature! She was the only girl of this world we were destined to meet; she stood beside Jane, seemingly so different, and yet, we were to learn, so humanly very much the same. Her quiet gaze barely touched Don and me; but it clung to Jane and became inscrutable.
"We will travel together," Tako said. "You make her comfortable, Tolla."
"I will do my best," she said; her voice was soft, curiously limpid. "Shall I take her now to our carrier?"
It gave me a pang to see Jane leave with her; Don shot me a sharp, questioning glance but we thought it best to raise no objection.
"Come," said Tako. "Stay close by me. We will be in the carrier presently."
There was an area here in the bowl-like depression of at least half a mile square upon which an assemblage of some five thousand or more men were encamped. It was dark, though an expanse of shifting shadows and dull green light mingled with the vague phosphorescent sheen from the rocks. The place when we arrived was a babble of voices, a confusion of activity. The encampment, which obviously was temporary--perhaps a mobilization place--rang with the last minute preparations for departure. Whatever habitations had been here now were packed and gone.
Tako led us past groups of men who were busy assembling and carrying what seemed equipment of war toward a distant line of oblong objects into which men were now marching.
"The carriers," said Tako. He greeted numbers of his friends, talking to them briefly, and then hurried us on. All these men were dressed similarly to Tako, but I saw none so tall, nor so commanding of aspect. They all stared at Don and me hostilely, and once or twice a few of them gathered around us menacingly. But Tako waved them away. It brought me a shudder to think of Jane crossing this camp. But we had watched Tolla and Jane starting and Tolla had permitted none to approach them.
"Keep your eyes open," Don whispered. "Learn what you can. We've got to watch our chance--" We became aware that Tako was listening. Don quickly added, "I say, Bob, what does he mean--carriers?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. Ask him."
We would have to be more careful; it was obvious that Tako's hearing was far keener than our own. He was fifteen feet away, but he turned his head at once.
"A carrier you would call in Bermuda a tram. Or a train, let us say." He was smiling ironically at our surprise that he had overheard us. He gestured to the distant oblong objects. "We travel in them. Come, there is really nothing for me to do; all is in readiness here."
The vehicles stood on a level rocky space at the farther edge of the camp. I think, of everything I had seen in this unknown realm, the sight of these vehicles brought the most surprise. The glimpse we had had of Tako's feudal castle seemed to suggest primitiveness.
But here was modernity--super-modernity. The vehicles--there were perhaps two dozen of them--were all apparently of similar character, differing only in size.
They were long, low oblongs. Some were much the size and shape of a single railway car; others twice as long; and several were like a very long train, not of single joined cars, but all one structure. They lay like white serpents on the ground--dull aluminum in color with mound-shaped roofs slightly darker. Rows of windows in their sides with the interior greenish lights, stared like round goggling eyes into the night.
When we approached closer I saw that the vehicles were not of solid structure, but that the sides seemingly woven of wire-mesh--or woven of thick fabric strands.
 The vehicles were constructed of a material allied in character to that used for garments by the people of this realm. It was not metal, but an organic vegetable substance.
The army of white figures crowded around the vehicles. Boxes, white woven cases, projectors and a variety of disks and dials and wire mechanisms were being loaded aboard. And the men were marching in to take their places for the journey.
Tako gestured. "There is our carrier."
It was one of the smallest vehicles--low and streamlined, so that it suggested a fat-bellied cigar, white-wrapped. It stood alone, a little apart from the others, with no confusion around it. The green-lighted windows in its sides goggled at us.
We entered a small porte at its forward pointed end. The control room was here, a small cubby of levers and banks of dial-faces. Three men, evidently the operators, sat within. They were dressed like Tako save that they each had a great round lens like a monocle on the left eye, with dangling wires from it leading to dials fastened to the belt.
Tako greeted them with a gesture and a gruff word and pushed us past them into the car. We entered a low narrow white corridor with dim green lights in its vaulted room. Sliding doors to compartments opened from one side of it. Two were closed; one was partly open. As we passed, Tako called softly: "All is well with you, Tolla?"
"Yes," came the girl's soft voice.
I met Don's gaze. I stopped short and called: "Are you all right, Jane?"
I was immensely relieved as she answered, "Yes, Bob."
Tako shoved me roughly. "You presume too much."
The corridor opened into one main room occupying the full ten-foot width of the vehicle and its twenty-foot middle section. Low soft couch seats were here, and a small table with food and drink upon it; and on another table low to the floor, with a mat-seat beside it, a litter of small mechanical devices had been deposited. I saw among them two or three of the green-light hand weapons.
Tako followed my gaze and laughed. "You are transparent. If you knew how to use those weapons, do you think I would leave them near you?"
We were still garbed in the white garments, but the disks and wires and helmet had been taken from us.
"I say, you needn't be so suspicious," Don protested. "We're not so absolutely foolish. But if you want any advice from us on how to attack New York, you've got to explain how your weapons are used."
Tako seated us. "All in good time. We shall have opportunity now to talk."
"About the trip--" I said. "Are we going to New York City?"
"How long will it take?"
"Long? That is difficult to say. Have you not noticed that time in my world has little to do with yours?"
"How long will it seem?" I persisted.
He shrugged. "That is according to your mood. We shall eat once or twice, and get a little sleep."
One of the window openings was beside us with a loosely woven mesh of wires across it. Outside I could see the shifting lights. Men were embarking in the other vehicles; and the blended noise from them floated in to us.
Questions flooded me. This strange journey, what would it be like? I could envisage the invisible little Bermuda in the void of darkness over us now; or here in this same space around us. No, we had climbed from where we landed in the space close under the Paget hilltop. And we had walked forward for perhaps an hour. The space of Bermuda would be behind us and lower down. This then was the open ocean. I gazed at the solid rocky surface outside our window. Nearly seven hundred miles away must be New York City. We were going there. How? Would it be called flying? Or following this rocky surface?
As though to answer my thoughts Tako gestured to the window. "See. The first carrier starts away."
The carrier lay like a stiff white reptile on the ground. Its doors were closed, and watching men stood back from it.
Don gasped, "Why--it's fading! A transition!"
It glowed along all its length and grew tenuous of aspect, until in a moment that solid thing which had been solidly resting there on a rock was a wraith of vehicle. A great oblong apparition--the ghost of a reptile with round green spots on its sides. A fading wraith. But it did not quite disappear. Hovering just within visibility, it slowly, silently slid forward. It seemed, without changing its level, to pass partly through an upstanding crag which stood in its path. Distance dimmed it, dwindled it; and in a moment it was gone into the night.
"We will start," said Tako abruptly. "Sit where you are. There will be a little shock, much like the transition coming in from your world." He called, "Tolla, we start."
A signal-dial was on the room wall near him. He rose and pressed its lever. There was a moment of silence. Then the current went on. It permeated every strand of the material of which the vehicle was constructed. It contacted with our bodies. I felt the tingle of it; felt it running like fire through my veins. The whole interior was humming. There was a shock to my senses, swiftly passing, followed by a sense of weightless freedom. But that lightness was an illusion, a comparison with externals only, for the seat to which I clung remained solid, and my body pressed upon it with a feeling of normal weight.
Outside the window, the dark scene of rocks and vehicles and men was fading; turning ghostly, shadowy, spectral. But it did not quite vanish; it held its wraithlike outlines, and in a moment began sliding silently backward. It seemed that we also passed through a little butte of rocks. Then we emerged again into the open; and, as we gathered speed, the vague spectral outlines of a rocky landscape slid past us in a bewildering panorama.
We were away upon the journey.
 What we learned of the science of the invisible realm was perforce picked piecemeal by us from all that we saw, experienced, and what several different times Tako was willing to explain to us. And it was later studied by the scientists of our world, whose additional theories I can incorporate into my own knowledge. Yet much of it remains obscure. And it is so intricate a subject that even if I understood it fully I could do no more than summarize here its fundamental principles.
The space-transition of these vehicles, Tako had already told us, was closely allied to the transition from his world to ours. And the weapons were of the same principles. The science of space-transition, limited to travel from one portion of the realm to another, quite evidently came first. The weapons, the forcible, abrupt transition of material objects out of the realm into other dimensions--into the Unknown--this principle was developed from the traveling. And from them both Tako himself evolved the safe and controlled transition from his world to ours.
Concerning the operation of these vehicles: Motion, in our Earth-world or any other, is the progressive change of a material object in relation to its time and space. It is here now, but it was there. Both space and time undergo a simultaneous change; the object itself remains unaltered, save in its position.
In the case of the vehicles, the current I have already mentioned (used in the mechanism for the transition from Earth to the other realm) that current, circulating in the organic material of which the vehicle was composed, altered the state of matter of the carrier and everything within the aura of the current's field. The vehicle and all its contents, with altered inherent vibratory rate of its molecules, atoms and electrons, was in effect projected into another world. A new dimension was added to it. It became an imponderable wraith, resting dimly visible in a sort of borderland upon the fringe of its own world.
Yet it had not changed position. It still remained quiescent. Then the current was further altered, and the time and space co-ordinates set into new combinations. This change of the current was a progressive change. Controlled and carefully calculated by what intricate theoretic principles and practical mechanisms no scientist of our world can yet say.
It is clear, however, that as this progressive change in space-time characteristics began, the vehicle perforce must move slightly in space and time to reconcile itself to the change.
There never has been a seemingly more abstruse subject for the human mind to grasp than the theories involving a true conception of space-time. Yet, doubtless, to those of Tako's realm, inheriting, let me say, the consciousness of its reality, there was nothing abstruse about it.
An analogy may make it clearer. The vehicle, hovering in the borderland, might be called in a visible but gaseous state. A solid can be turned to gas merely by the alteration of the vibratory rate of its molecules.
This unmoving (gaseous) vehicle, is now further altered in space-time characteristics. Suppose we say it is very slightly thrown out of tune with its spatial surroundings at the time which is its present. Nature will allow no such disorganization. The vehicle, as a second of time passes, is impelled by the force of nature to be in a different place. This involves motion. A small change in the first second. Then the current alters it progressively faster. The change, of necessity, is progressively greater, the motion more rapid.
And this, controlled as to direction, became transportation. The determination of direction at first thought seems amazingly intricate. In effect, that was not so. With space-time factors set as a destination, i. e., the place where the vehicle must end its change at a certain time, all the intermediate changes become automatic. With every passing second it must be at a reconcilable place--the direction of its passage perforce being the shortest path between the two.
With this in mind, the transition from one world to another becomes more readily understandable. No natural change of space is involved, merely the change of the state of matter. It was the same change as that which carried the vehicles into a shadowy borderland, and then pushed further into new dimensional realms.
The green light-beam weapons were merely another application of the same principle. The characteristics of the green light current, touching organic matter, altered the vibratory rate of what was struck to coincide with the light. A solid cake of ice under a blow-torch becomes steam by the same principle. The light-beams were swift and violent in their action. The change in them was progressive also--but it was so swiftly violent a change that nothing living could survive the shock of the enforced transition.
There was little to see during this strange flight. Outside our windows gray shadows drifted swiftly past--a shadowy, ghostly landscape of gray rocks. Sometimes it was below us, so that we seemed in an airship winging above it. Then abruptly it would rise over us and we plunged into it as though it were a mere light-image, a mirage.
Hours passed. For the most part the shadowy void seemed a jagged mountainous terrain, a barren waste. There were great plateau uplands, one of which rose seemingly thousands of feet over us. And there was perhaps an hour of time when the surface of the world had dropped far away, so far down that it was gone in the distance. Like a projectile we sped level, unswerving. And at last the shadows of the landscape came up again. And occasionally we saw shadowy inhabited domains--enclosing walls around water and vegetation, with a frowning castle and its brood of mound-shaped little houses like baby chicks clustered around the mother hen.
Tako served us with a meal; it was strange food, but our hunger made it palatable. Jane and Tolla remained in their nearby cabin. We did not see them, but occasionally Don or I, ignoring Tako's frown, called out to Jane, and received her ready answer.
Occasionally also, we had an opportunity to question Tako. He had begun tell us the general outline of his plans. The important fact was that the army would mobilize just within visibility of New York.
"Nothing can touch us then," Tako said. "You will have to explain what weapons will be used against me. Particularly the long-range weapons are interesting. But you have no weapons which could penetrate into the shadows of the borderland, have you?"
"No," said Don. "But your weapons--" He tried not to seem too intent. "Look here, Tako, I don't just understand how you intend to conquer New York."
"Devastate it," Tako interrupted. "Smash it up, and then we can materialize and take possession of it. My object is to capture a great number of young women--beautiful young women."
"How?" I demanded. "By smashing up New York? There are thousands of young women there, but you would kill them in the process. Now if you would try some other locality. For instance, I could direct you to open country--"
He understood my motive. "I ask not that kind of advice. I will capture New York; devastate it. I think then your rulers will be willing voluntarily to yield all the captives I demand. Or, if not, then we will plan to seize them out of other localities."
Don said, "Suppose you tell us more clearly just how you expect to smash New York, as you call it. First, you will gather, not materialized, but only visible to the city."
"Exactly. That will cause much excitement, will it not? Panics--terror. And if we are only wraiths, no weapons of your world can attack us."
"Nor can yours attack the city. Can they?"
He did not at first answer that; and then he smiled. "Our hand light-projectors could not penetrate out from the borderland without losing their force. But we have bombs. You shall see. The bombs alone will devastate New York, if we choose to use them. I have also a long-range projector of the green light-beam. It is my idea, when the city is abandoned by the enemy that we can take possession of some prominent point of vantage. A tall building, perhaps." He smiled again his quiet grim smile. "We will select one and be careful to leave it standing. I will materialize with our giant projector, dominate all the region and then we can barter with your authorities. It is your long-range guns I most fear. When the projector is materialized--and we are ready to bargain--then your airplanes, warships lying far away perhaps, might attack. Suppose now you explain those weapons to me."
 Materialization bombs, we afterward called them; they played a diabolical part in the coming events. They were of many sizes and shapes, but most of them were small in size and shape, like a foot-long wedged-shaped brick, or the head of an ax. They were constructed of organic material, with a wire mesh of the transition mechanism encasing them, and an automatic operating device like the firing fuse of a bomb.
For an hour or more he questioned us. He was no fool, this fellow; he knew far more of the conditions ahead of him than we realized. I recall that once I said: "You have never been in New York?"
"No. Not materialized. But I have observed it very carefully."
As a lurking ghost!
"We have calculated," he went on, "the space co-ordinates with great precision. That is how we have been able to select the destination for this carrier now. You cannot travel upon impulse by this method. Our engineers, as you might call them, must go in advance with recording apparatus. Nothing can be done blindly."