It brought to my mind the three pilots now operating our vehicle. I mentioned the lens on their left eyes like a monocle.
"With that they can see ahead of us a great distance. It flings the vision--like gazing along a beam of light--to space-time factors in advance of our present position. In effect, a telescope."
There were a few hours of the journey when Don and I slept, exhausted by what we had been through. Tako was with us when we dozed off, and I recall that he was there when we awakened. How much time passed we could not tell.
"You are refreshed?" he said smilingly. "And hungry again, no doubt. We will eat and drink--and soon we will arrive at the predestined time and place."
We were indeed hungry again. And while we were eating Tako gestured to the window. "Look there. Your world seems visible a little."
Just before we slept it had seemed that mingled with the shadows of Tako's world was the gray outline of an ocean surface beneath us. I gazed out at the dim void now. Our flight was far slower than before. We were slackening speed for the coming halt. And I saw now that the shadows outside were the mingled wraiths of two spectral worlds, with us drifting forward between and among them. The terrain of Tako's world was bleaker, more desolate and more steeply mountainous than ever. There were pits and ravines and gullies with jagged mountain spires, cliffs and towering gray masses of rock.
And mingled with it, in a general way coincidental with it in the plane of the same space, we could see now the tenuous shapes of our own world. Vague, but familiar outlines! We had passed Sandy Hook! The ocean lay behind us. A hundred feet or so beneath us was the level water of the Lower Bay.
"Don!" I murmured. "Look there! Long Island off there! And that's Staten Island ahead of us!"
"Almost at our destination," Tako observed. And in a moment he gestured again. "There is your city. Have a good look at your dear New York."
Diagonally ahead through the window we saw the spectres of the great pile of masonry on lower and mid-Manhattan. Spectres of the giant buildings; the familiar skyline, and mingled with it the ghostly gray outlines of the mountains and valley depths of Tako's world. All intermingled! The mountain peaks rose far higher than the tallest of New York's skyscrapers; and the pits and ravines were lower than the waters of the harbor and rivers, lower than the subways and the tubes and the tunnels.
"Another carrier!" Don said abruptly. "See it off there!"
It showed like a great gray projectile coming in level with us. And then we saw two others in the distance behind us. Fantastic, ghostly arrival of the enemy! Weird mobilization here within the space of the doomed New York.
"Can they see us?" I murmured. "Tako, the people down there on Staten Island--can they see us?"
"Yes," he smiled. "Don't you think so? Look! Are not those ships of war? Hah! Gathered already--awaiting our coming!"
I have already given a brief summary of the events of the days and nights just past here in New York. The terror at the influx of apparitions. The panic of the city's teeming millions struggling too eagerly to escape.
It was night now--the night of May 19th. The city was in chaos, but none of the details were apparent to us as we arrived. But we could see, as we drifted with slow motion above the waters of the harbor, that there were warships anchored here, and in the Hudson River. They showed as little spectral dots of gray. And in the air, level with us at times, the wraiths of encircling airplanes were visible.
"They see us," Tako repeated.
They did indeed. A puff of light and up-rolling smoke came from one of the ships. A silent shot. Perhaps it screamed through us, but we were not aware of it.
Tako chuckled. "They get excited, do they not? We strike terror--are they going to fight like excited children?"
We were under sudden bombardment. Fort Wadsworth was firing; puffs showed from several of the warships; and abruptly a group of ghostly monoplanes dove at us like birds. They went through us, emerged and sped away. And in a moment the shots were discontinued.
"That is better," said Tako. "What a waste of ammunition."
Our direction was carrying us from mid-Manhattan. The bridges to Brooklyn were visible. Beyond them, over New York, mingled with teeming buildings was a mountain slope of Tako's realm. I saw one of our carriers lying on a ledge of it.
A sudden commotion in our car brought our attention from the scene outside. The voices of girls raised in anger. Tolla's voice and Jane's! Then came the sound of a scuffle!
"By what gods!" Tako exclaimed.
We all leaped to our feet. Tako rushed for the door of the compartment with us after him. We burst in upon the girls. They were standing in the center of the little room. One of the chairs was overturned. Jane stood gripping Tolla by the wrists, and with greater strength was forcibly holding her.
As we appeared, Jane abruptly released her, and Tolla sank to the floor and burst into wild sobs. Jane faced us, red and white of face, and herself almost in tears.
"What's the matter?" Don demanded. "What is it?"
But against all our questionings both girls held to a stubborn silence.
A Woman Scorned Jane afterward told us just what happened in that compartment of the carrier, and I think that for the continuity of my narration I had best relate it now.
The cubby room was small, not much over six feet wide, and twelve feet long. There was a single small door to the corridor, and two small windows. A couch stood by them; there were two low chairs, and a small bench-like table.
Tolla made Jane as comfortable as possible. Food was at hand; Tolla, after an hour or two served it at the little table, eating the meal with Jane, and sitting with her on the couch where they could gaze through the windows.
To Jane this girl of another world was at once interesting, surprising and baffling. Jane could only look upon her as an enemy. In Jane's mind there was no thought save that we must escape, and frustrate Tako's attack upon New York; and she was impulsive, youthful enough to think something might be contrived.
At all events, she saw Tolla in the light of an enemy who might be tricked into giving information.
Jane admits that her ideas were quite as vague as our own when it came to planning anything definite.
She at first studied Tolla, who seemed as young as herself and perhaps in her own world, was as beautiful. And within an hour or two she was surprised at Tolla's friendliness. They had dined together, gazed through the windows at the speeding shadows of the strange world sliding past; they had dozed together on the couch. During all this they could have been schoolgirl friends. Not captor and captive upon these strange weird circumstances of actuality, but friends of one world. And in outward aspect Tolla could fairly well have been a cultured girl of our Orient.
Then Jane got a shock. She tried careful questions. And Tolla skillfully avoided everything that touched in any way upon Tako's future plans. Yet her apparent friendliness, and a certain girlish volubility continued.
And then, at one point, Tolla asked: "Are you beautiful in Bermuda?"
"Why, yes," said Jane. "I guess so."
"I am beautiful in my world. Tako has said so."
"You love him, don't you?" Jane said abruptly.
"Yes. That is true." There was no hint of embarrassment. Her pale blue eyes stared at Jane, and she smiled a little quizzically. "Does it show so quickly upon my face that you saw it at once? I am called Tolla because I am pledged soon to enter Tako's harem."
Upon impulse Jane put her arm around the other girl as they sat on the couch. "I think he is very nice."
But she saw it was an error. The shadow of a frown came upon Tolla's face; a glint of fire clouded her pale, serene eyes.
"He will be the greatest man of his world," she said quietly.
There was an awkward silence. "The harem, I am told," Jane said presently, "is one of your customs." She took a plunge. "And Tako told us why they want our Earth girls. There was one of my friends stolen from Bermuda--"
"And yet you call him very nice," Tolla interrupted with sudden irony. "Girls are frank in our world. But you are not. What did you mean by that?"
"I was trying to be friendly," said Jane calmly. "You had just said you loved him."
"But you do not love him?"
It took Jane wholly back. "Good Heavens, no!"
"But he--might readily love you?"
"I hope not!" Jane tried to laugh, but the idea itself was so frightening to her that the laugh sounded hollow. She gathered her wits. This girl was jealous. Could she play upon that jealousy? Would Tolla perhaps soon want her to escape? The idea grew. Tolla might even some time soon come to the point of helping her escape.
Jane said carefully, "I suppose I was captured with the idea of going into someone's harem. Was that the idea?"
"I am no judge of men's motives," said Tolla curtly.
"Tako said as much as that," Jane persisted. "But not necessarily into his harem. But if it should be his, why would you care? Your men divide their love--"
"I would care because Tako may give up his harem," Tolla interrupted vehemently. "He goes into this conquest for power--for wealth--because soon he expects to rule all our world and band it together into a nation. He has always told me that I might be his only wife--some day--"
She checked herself abruptly and fell into a stolid silence. It made Jane realize that under the lash of emotion Tolla would talk freely. But Jane could create no further opportunity then, for Tako suddenly appeared at their door. The girls had been together now some hours. Don and I were at this time asleep.
He stood now at the girl's door. "Tolla, will you go outside a moment? I want to talk to this prisoner alone." And, interpreting the look which both girls flung at him, he added, "The door remains open. If she wants you back, Tolla, she will call."
Without a word Tolla left the compartment. But Jane saw on her face again a flood of jealousy.
Tako seated himself amiably. "She has made you comfortable?"
"I am glad."
He passed a moment of silence. "Have you been interested in the scene outside the window?" he added.
"A strange sight. It must seem very strange to you. This traveling through my world--"
"Did you come to tell me that?" she interrupted.
He smiled. "I came for nothing in particular. Let us say I came to get acquainted with you. My little prisoner--you do not like me, do you?"
She tried to meet his gaze calmly. This was the first time Jane had had opportunity to regard Tako closely. She saw now the aspect of power which was upon him. His gigantic stature was not clumsy, for there was a lean, lithe grace in his movements. His face was handsome in a strange foreign fashion. He was smiling now; but in the set of his jaw, his wide mouth, there was an undeniable cruelty, a ruthless dominance of purpose. And suddenly she saw the animal-like aspect of him; a thinking, reasoning, but ruthless, animal.
"You do not like me, do you?" he repeated.
She forced herself to reply calmly, "Why should I? You abduct my friends. There is a girl named Eunice Arton whom you have stolen. Where is she?"
 Neither Eunice Arton, nor any of the stolen girls, have ever been heard from since. Like the thousands of men, women and children who met their death in the attack upon New York, Eunice Arton was a victim of these tragic events.
He shrugged. "You could call that the fortunes of war. This is war--"
"And you," she said, "are my enemy."
"Oh, I would not go so far as to say that. Rather would I call myself your friend."
"So that you will return me safely? And also Bob Rivers, and my cousin, Don--you will return us safely as you promised?"
"Did I promise? Are you not prompting words from my lips?"
Jane was breathless from fear, but she tried not to show it.
"What are you going to do with us?" she demanded. There is no woman who lacks feminine guile in dealing with a man; and in spite of her terror Jane summoned it to her aid.
"You want me to like you, Tako?"
"Of course I do. You interest me strangely. Your beauty--your courage--"
"Then if you would be sincere with me--"
"I am; most certainly I am."
"You are not. You have plans for me. I told Tolla I supposed I was destined for someone's harem. Yours?"
It startled him. "Why--" He recovered himself and laughed. "You speak with directness." He suddenly turned solemn. He bent toward her and lowered his voice; his hand would have touched her arm, but she drew away.
"In very truth, ideas are coming to me, Jane. I will be, some day soon, the greatest man of my world. Does that attract you?"
"N-no," she said, stammering.
"I wish that it would," he said earnestly. "I do of reality wish that it would. I will speak plainly, and it is in a way that Tako never spoke to woman before. I have found myself, these last hours, caring very much for your good opinion of me. That is surprising."
She stared at him with sudden fascination mingled with her fear. He seemed for this moment wholly earnest and sincere. An attractive sort of villain, this handsome giant, turned suddenly boyish and naive.
"That is surprising," Tako repeated.