THE Captain continued:
“This happened in the year 185, by objective time-calculation.
“Saint Venoma had been taken for his merits from the planet ‘Soort’ to the holy planet ‘Purgatory,’ where, after he had familiarized himself with his new surroundings and new duties, he gave all his free time to his favorite work.
“And his favorite work was to seek what new phenomena could be found in various combinations of already existing, law-conformable phenomena.
“And sometime later, in the course of these occupations, this Saint Venoma first constated in cosmic laws what later became a famous discovery, and this discovery he first called the ‘Law of Falling.’
“This cosmic law which he then discovered, St. Venoma himself formulated thus:
“‘Everything existing in the World falls to the bottom. And the bottom for any part of the Universe is its nearest “stability,” and this said “stability” is the place or the point upon which all the lines of force arriving from all directions converge.
“The centers of all the suns and of all the planets of our Universe are just such points of ‘stability.’ They are the lowest points of those regions of space upon which forces from all directions of the given part of the Universe definitely tend and where they are concentrated. In these points there is also concentrated the equilibrium which enables suns and planets to maintain their position.
“In this formulation of his, Saint Venoma said further that everything when dropped into space, wherever it may be, tends to fall on one or another sun or on one or another planet, according to which sun or planet the given part of space belongs to, where the object is dropped, each sun or planet being for the given sphere the ‘stability’ or bottom.
[4. The law of falling, p. 67]
“Starting from this, Saint Venoma reasoned in his further researches as follows:
“‘If this be so, may it not therefore be possible to employ this cosmic particularity for the locomotion we need between the spaces of the Universe?’
“And from then on, he worked in this direction.
“His further saintly labors showed that although in principle this was in general possible, yet it was impossible fully to employ for this purpose this ‘Law of Falling’ discovered by him. And it would be impossible owing solely to the atmospheres around most of the cosmic concentrations, which atmospheres would hinder the straight falling of the object dropped in space.
“Having constated this, Saint Venoma then devoted his whole attention to discovering some means of overcoming the said atmospheric resistance for ships constructed on the principle of Falling.
“And after three ‘Looniases’ Saint Venoma did find such a possibility, and later on when the building of a suitable special construction had been completed under his direction, he proceeded to practical trials.
“This special construction had the appearance of a large enclosure all the walls of which were made of a special material something like glass.
“Then to every side of that large enclosure were fitted things like ‘shutters’ of a material impervious to the rays of the cosmic substance ‘Elekilpomagtistzen,’ and these shutters, although closely fitted to the walls of the said enclosure, could yet freely slide in every direction.
“Within the enclosure was placed a special ‘battery,’ generating and giving this same substance ‘Elekilpomagtistzen.’
[4. The law of falling, p. 68]
“I myself, your Right Reverence, was present at the first trials made by Saint Venoma according to the principles he had discovered.
“The whole secret lay in this, that when the rays of ‘Elekilpomagtistzen’ were made to pass through this special glass, then in all the space they reached, everything usually composing the atmosphere itself of planets, such as ‘air,’ every kind of ‘gas,’ ‘fog,’ and so on, was destroyed. This part of space became indeed absolutely empty and had neither resistance nor pressure, so that, if even an infant-being pushed this enormous structure, it would move forward as easily as a feather.
“To the outer side of this peculiar structure there were attached appliances similar to wings, which were set in motion by means of this same substance ‘Elekilpomagtistzen,’ and served to give the impetus to move all this enormous construction in the required direction.
“The results of these experiments having been approved and blessed by the Commission of Inspection under the presidency of Archangel Adossia, the construction of a big ship based on these principles was begun.
“The ship was soon ready and commissioned for service. And in a short time, little by little, ships of this type came to be used exclusively, on all the lines of intersystem communication.
“Although later, your Right Reverence, the inconveniences of this system gradually became more and more apparent, nevertheless it continued to displace all the systems that had existed before.
“It cannot be gainsaid that although the ships constructed on this system were ideal in atmosphereless spaces, and moved there almost with the speed of the rays ‘Etzikolnianakhnian’ issuing from planets, yet when nearing some sun or planet it became real torture for the beings directing them, as a great deal of complicated maneuvering was necessary.
[4. The law of falling, p. 69]
“The need for this maneuvering was due to the same ‘Law of Falling.’
“And this was because when the ship came into the medium of the atmosphere of some sun or planet which it had to pass, it immediately began to fall towards that sun or planet, and as I have already intimated, very much care and considerable knowledge were needed to prevent the ship from falling out of its course.
“While the ships were passing near any sun or planet whatsoever, their speed of locomotion had sometimes to be reduced hundreds of times below their usual rate.
“It was particularly difficult to steer them in those spheres where there was a great aggregation of ‘comets.’
“That is why great demands were then made upon the beings who had to direct these ships, and they were prepared for these duties by beings of very high Reason.
“But in spite of the said drawbacks of the system of Saint Venoma, it gradually, as I have already said, displaced all the previous systems.
“And the ships of this system of Saint Venoma had already existed for twenty-three years when it was first rumored that the Angel Hariton had invented a new type of ship for intersystem and interplanetary communication.”