Like the Hammer of Thor was the clash of Danny O'Rourke with the mysterious giant of space.
He closed a switch, and from a compartment at his back a low whine rose and grew to a scream. It was echoed in a shriek more shrill from the bow where a port had opened to take in the air. And Danny knew that that air, of which eighty percent was nitrogen, was being rid of its oxygen in the retort at his back, and the nitrogen alone was pouring out beneath him in a tremendous and ceaseless blast.
The squadron had appeared--a row of dots that came in on a long slanting drive from the ten thousand level. They swung into faultless formation to "ride his tail" into whatever flaming breath he might lead. And Danny O'Rourke threw his red ship down and into the valley that seethed with a brew from the Pit itself.
* * * * *
There had been pines in that valley, and firs towering hundreds of feet in the air. They were living torches now, half seen through a whirling chaos of flame. It billowed as if the very gases that burned were tortured in the burning. The black-red of smoke-choked flames pa