* * *
Rhymes with Wolf went over to where Lambert Otto sat. West had pointed out the man as a bounty hunter that worked with them earlier. Otto had his saber on his lap. The little old lady across from him continued to knit. Her face scrunched up in disgust when the Indian girl came over.
â€œHello,â€ Rhymes with Wolf said.
â€œHello,â€ Otto said. â€œHow are you?â€
â€œGood. Have you heard of this Dan McGoohan?â€
â€œYeah, I heard of him. I â€¦ well, I was part of a shootout that got him taken in.â€
â€œI know John Valentine.â€
â€œYou know him?â€
â€œNo, not really, no. But Iâ€™m working with Marshal Pierce to track him down.â€
â€œThat guy with the face is also helping us.â€
â€œThat guy with the face has a name.â€
â€œHeâ€™s a good man!â€
â€œSorry, he just â€¦ has a terrible face.â€
â€œWell, youâ€™re not much to look at either.â€
She turned and walked away.
â€œWell, you handled that very badly,â€ the old woman said to Otto. â€œIs that her brother? Is it another injun?â€
â€œBrother?â€ Otto said.
â€œYou shouldnâ€™t insult a womanâ€™s brother. Go apologize.â€
He got up with a grumble, putting his saber in his seat, and walked over to Rhymes with Wolfâ€™s seat.
â€œIâ€™m â€¦ sorry,â€ he said. â€œI didnâ€™t know you knew the man.â€
â€œWhether or not I know him doesnâ€™t make what you said right,â€ she said.
â€œYou calling me ugly isnâ€™t right either.â€
â€œLook, Iâ€™m just sorry. It just seems like most people know him by his face rather than his name.â€
â€œWell, seems weâ€™ll be working together, so letâ€™s put this behind us.â€
â€œAnd probably donâ€™t mention it â€¦ to him.â€
â€œNow youâ€™re asking me to keep your secrets?â€
â€œNo. Not necessarily. I would just rather not have â€¦ someone like him angry at me. Especially when weâ€™re trying to track down Valentine.â€
â€œThatâ€™s the first wise thing youâ€™ve said yet.â€
â€œIâ€™m smarter than I look.â€
* * *
Marshal Pierce took Jack West onto one of the platforms between the cars to tell him about who was in the express car and the suggestion they keep an eye out for suspicious folks. West started giving everybody on board the stink eye, watching them all suspiciously. He scared and unnerved a lot of people. He was more interested in people he didnâ€™t scare.
* * *
Professor Stalloid had won two dollars in the nickel ante faro game that was going on while others were breaking even or losing a few coins when the steam whistle blew a short blast followed by a long one. Wilder sat up straight as it was the same signal that had occurred on the Number 4 just before it had crashed into a boulder a month before. The train immediately started to slow down. Dr. Weisswald checked her pocket watch and saw it was 10:49 a.m. She remembered that was the next scheduled stop.
They had arrived in Orange, California. Someone asked a steward how long the stop was and he told them it was a 30-minute stop for water. They would get underway again at 11:19.
Professor Stalloid went back to the first-class car to find Professor Terwilliger. Dr. Weisswald, Wilder, and Jacali went as well, stopping long enough to ask Gemma if she wanted to go.
â€œOur science man has a very dangerous electric box that he wants to use in a field and try to discharge,â€ Jacali said. â€œWe think he will kill a cow.â€
â€œGoodness,â€ Gemma said.
â€œThat was a joke.â€
â€œI, for the likes of me, donâ€™t know what I see in the likes of you, but â€¦ Iâ€™m rather intrigued.â€
She accompanied them.
* * *
When the train stopped, the steward told those in the second-class car they would be in Orange for 30 minutes to get water. Passengers were free to leave the train to stretch their legs.
â€œYou want something in town?â€ Otto said to Rhymes with Wolf. â€œI could buy you something.â€
â€œNo no,â€ she said. â€œIt is forgiven.â€
â€œOkay,â€ he said.
He stood up.
â€œLady, watch my â€¦ uh â€¦ rifle under the chair,â€ he said to the little old lady who sat across from him.
â€œLady?â€ she said.
She rolled her eyes and went back to her knitting.
â€œIâ€™ll watch your sword, mister,â€ she said.
â€œIâ€™m taking my sword, but thank you,â€ he said.
She just gave him a look.
He went into town and purchased a box of .45 ammunition for the pistol heâ€™d gotten off one of the dead bandits in Yellow Flats.
* * *
Father Bishop noticed a dark-haired lady came into the lounge shortly after the train stopped. She gazed out of the windows for a few minutes. Then the blonde haired woman playing faro turned from the table as the dark-haired woman moved from the window and the two bumped into each other. They exchanged apologies and introductions. He heard the dark-haired lady introduce herself as Mary Foy and the blonde introduce herself as Lucy Miller. They continued some aimless talk, exiting the car onto the rear platform to converse.
* * *
The women found Professor Terwilliger disembarking from the first class carriage with Professor Stalloid, the former noting the battery didnâ€™t seem to be overloading and theorizing that maybe the box wouldnâ€™t explode. The town was on one side of the railroad track and there were empty, fallow fields on the other. He walked out into the field with the others following.
â€œThis should â€¦ I should probably walk a little further,â€ he said, looking back at the train. Then he saw the singer. â€œGemma Jones! Oh my goodness! Gemma Jones is here! I didnâ€™t know sheâ€™d be on the train!â€
â€œYes, quite,â€ she said.
â€œHow nice to see you! How nice to meet you again! I donâ€™t know if you remember me. I was in Yellow Flats.â€
â€œI remember you.â€
â€œOh! Oh! Gemma Jones remembers me. Oh my goodness!â€
He bounced off into the field, walking some 50 or 60 feet from the train. Professor Stalloid followed him about halfway and then stopped. Jacali went off to one side about 50 feet so sheâ€™d get a better view. Professor Terwilliger looked back at them.
â€œAre you ready?â€ he called. â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™s going to do anything.â€
â€œIâ€™m not sure what weâ€™re ready for,â€ Gemma called.
â€œMaybe a little light show,â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œOh! Oh! Oh!â€
He walked back and explained to Gemma how the Static Electricity Generator Battery worked and what the purpose of the demonstration was. He guessed there were be a few sparks but nothing else. He walked back out into the field to about the same place he stood before.
â€œYou ready?â€ he called back again. â€œAll right, here we go! Iâ€™m afraid everyoneâ€™s going to be very disappointed.â€
There was a crash of thunder as a lightning bolt ripped out of the device and blasted the ground 50 or so yards away in a quick burst of flame. Professor Terwilligerâ€™s jaw dropped and he looked at the box, then back at them, and then back at the box again.
â€œI didnâ€™t expect that!â€ he called out. â€œOh, Iâ€™d better put some kind of cover on this button. I donâ€™t want to push it by accident.â€
He walked back over.
â€œThis is surprising!â€ he said with a grin.
Wilder was gone. He had turned and ran away, leaping back on the train, as soon as the lightning bolt had come out of the device.
* * *
Other passengers looked up at the unexpected thunderclap. It was a beautiful, sunny day. While people were off the train, Rhymes with Wolf crept back towards the first-class car. She saw the conductor in the lounge.
â€œYes maâ€™am?â€ he said. â€œCan I help you? Youâ€™re one of the second-class passengers, right?â€
â€œYes,â€ she said.
â€œYou need something?â€
â€œNo, I was wondering if youâ€™d heard anything about a John Valentine.â€
â€œWell, heâ€™s just the most notorious man in the whole west!â€
â€œHave you heard anything from any of your passengers about â€¦ possible whereabouts?â€
â€œNo maâ€™am. No maâ€™am. I think heâ€™s up in Oregon. Thatâ€™s what I heard last.â€
â€œWhen did you hear that?â€
â€œOh, that was back in Newhall a couple days ago.â€
â€œOkay. Well, thank you.â€
* * *
Professor Stalloid took out his research book and wrote in it furiously.
â€œThis should make some good notes, Terwilliger,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
â€œHm,â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œIâ€™ve got tools here somewhere. I donâ€™t want this to get accidentally pressed. That could be bad.â€
He fished a tool and a bent piece of metal out of his pocket and got to work.
â€œI say, that was more than a light show,â€ Gemma said.
Professor Terwilliger was speechless and shrugged.
â€œCould I look at your notes?â€ Dr. Weisswald said as they headed back for the first-class car.
â€œThatâ€™s a great idea,â€ he said.
â€œHow long has it been since its last discharge?â€ Professor Stalloid asked.
â€œIâ€™ve never discharged it before.â€
â€œOh! So, who knows!?!â€
â€œAh, but look at the gauge there, professor!â€
The needle was perhaps down about 1/10 from where the green line ended. Professor Terwilliger told him the needle had never ventured into the red, but he thought if it went into the red it would probably explode. Professor Stalloid guessed the black probably indicated 20 percent or less, the yellow 20 percent to 60 percent, and green was 60 percent to 100 percent.
â€œIâ€™m curious about how long it will take to power back up,â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œIâ€™m very curious about that.â€
â€œExcuse me, Mr. Terwilliger, if this is too much of a logical leap, but â€¦ does that mean you have to keep on discharging other huge bolts of lightning like that at each of these stops in order for this thing not to overfill and explode?â€ Jacali asked.
â€œWell, I built this last night. And it started gathering energy since then so, Iâ€™m guessing itâ€™s been about â€¦ what time is it â€¦ 11 oâ€™clock â€¦ 24 â€¦ 30 â€¦ 12 hours ago?â€
â€œAnd it was at â€¦?â€ Dr. Weisswald asked.
â€œHundred percent,â€ Professor Stalloid said.
â€œYeah, it never went into the red,â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œIf it goes in the red â€¦ throw it away. And run as fast as you can. Because that would be a bad thing. Thatâ€™s my thought. We havenâ€™t seen it go in the red yet.â€
â€œBut, you donâ€™t have any way of stopping it charging except discharging it?â€ Jacali said.
â€œIâ€™d have to get inside it and pull out a bunch of wires.â€
â€œWhereâ€™d that bear-wearing man go?â€
â€œWhich would cause a discharge!â€ Professor Stalloid said.
â€œOh, I hadnâ€™t thought of that!â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œThatâ€™s a good idea! Where did that other man go who came out here? He was dressed as a bear.â€
â€œHe got back on the train,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
â€œOh,â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œYes, Iâ€™ll show you my notes. Letâ€™s go.â€
* * *
Jack West moved around the train, looking around and at people on the train. He noticed the Indian in third-class sitting towards the front of the car stared back, glaring at him. He was also eating jerky. The two of them stared at each other until they both blinked at about the same time.
* * *
The Sequoyah Star left Orange at 11:19 a.m. on the dot.
Professor Stalloid, Dr. Weisswald, and Jacali pored over Dr. Weisswaldâ€™s notes about the book she and Professor Stalloid had found in the caves under the Pettigrew House. Dr. Weisswald had jotted down notes on all of the supposed spells in the book. Then they went to the back of the car where Professor Terwilliger was making sure the cover on his device was sound. They looked through his notes, mostly drawings of various devices he had come up with in the last month or so.
One of the drawings looked like wings. There was a harness attached to the bottom of it in the drawing and he noted it was based on some of de Vinciâ€™s drawings. Another picture was a copy of de Vinciâ€™s flying machine but several notes indicated how the design could never work. He was hoping to possibly attach an engine to it. He thought an engine of some kind of very light metal materials might be attached to a balloon gondola with a giant propeller to allow for powered flight.
â€œAll these ideas came to me,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s just amazing. And theyâ€™re still coming.â€
â€œShould I show him my notes on the motors?â€ Professor Stalloid whispered to Dr. Weisswald.
â€œI donâ€™t know,â€ she said. â€œHeâ€™s kind of a blabbermouth.â€
â€œYeah,â€ Professor Stalloid said. â€œRight. Thatâ€™s what I was worried about.â€
â€œThis doesnâ€™t seem right,â€ Gemma muttered as she looked over the drawings.
She took out a book and read while they talked. Professor Stalloid asked if he could copy Professor Terwilligerâ€™s notes but the other man would rather he didnâ€™t. He noted he was hoping to patent the static electricity generator battery once he perfected it. Professor Stalloid respected that.
* * *
Professor Stalloid wandered around the entire train. He saw Lambert Otto in a seat in the second second-class car and recognized him though the two men had never actually been introduced or exchanged words. He continued forward.
* * *
Marshal Pierce went out the rear first-class carriage door and found the end door to the baggage car there was locked. He climbed the ladder near the door up to the roof of the car and walked back towards the back of the train. He climbed back down between the baggage car and the first cattle car but found the baggage car door there locked. There was no end door to the cattle car and he could see cattle within through the wide slits in the car. He saw a few horses in there as well.
As he climbed up onto the roof of the first cattle car, he saw a man approaching him on the second one. The man wore a uniform that matched the conductor and stewards on board. He waved at the marshal, who saw he was carrying a billy club.
â€œIâ€™m sorry, sir!â€ he called. â€œYou canâ€™t be up here!â€
He hopped onto the cattle car and made his way forward. Marshal Pierce showed him his badge.
â€œOh,â€ the man said. â€œFederal marshal. Weâ€™d rather passengers arenâ€™t up here, sir, if itâ€™s all right.â€
â€œI rather you not be up here too,â€ Marshal Pierce said.
â€œWell, itâ€™s my job.â€
â€œI understand. Iâ€™m looking for some suspicious people and Iâ€™m not going to ask you if youâ€™ve seen â€˜em or â€¦ youâ€™d be dead.â€
â€œNo, weâ€™ve just got a couple men back in the back in the caboose: another breakman and the baggage steward.â€
â€œHow often do you check these cattle cars?â€
â€œEvery stop. Just take a peek in. I mean, you can see right in â€˜em.â€
â€œYou said you got men in the caboose?â€
â€œYes sir. We got a man up in the top. Heâ€™s keeping an eye on the train. And weâ€™ve got another man whoâ€™s sleeping right now. Between his duties.â€
â€œAll right. Well, you just make sure you check those cattle cars and baggage cars each stop.â€
â€œWe are. Yes sir. Baggage masterâ€™s checking the car each stop, making sure itâ€™s secure. And weâ€™re keeping an eye on the cattle.â€
â€œWe gotta feed â€˜em two or three times a day, so â€¦â€
â€œYou take care, now, sir.â€
* * *
Rhymes with Wolf approached the dark haired Mary Foy in second-class and asked the woman if she knew anything about John Valentine. The woman said she didnâ€™t know anything about a John Valentine.
* * *
Around 11:30 a.m. the first-class steward announced the dining car would be serving lunch from noon until 2 p.m.
* * *
â€œDo you know the secret knock?â€ Dr. Weisswald asked Professor Terwilliger.
â€œFor what?â€ he said.
â€œThe express car.â€
â€œThereâ€™s a secret knock for the express car? Do you know it?â€
â€œOh! Thatâ€™s why youâ€™re asking me!â€
â€œNo, I donâ€™t know it. I donâ€™t know it. I was just on the train. I understand that that the â€¦ Iâ€™m not supposed to talk about it. The Secret Service had a talk with me. They werenâ€™t happy.â€
â€œAbout?â€ Professor Stalloid said.
â€œAbout â€¦ huh?â€
â€œWhat did you say?â€
â€œThey were upset with me because they said I need to not to talk about certain â€¦ secret things.â€
â€œWell, I just realized why you donâ€™t know the secret knock,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
â€œWhy?â€ he said.
â€œI think lunch is starting soon.â€
â€œOh, Iâ€™m dying for lunch!â€
* * *
Around noon, people from first-class made their way to the dining car. The food served was mostly canned or easy to transport without spoiling. There was canned salmon, peaches and other fruit, eggs, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, asparagus, and apple pie among other food.
Professor Terwilliger sat with Dr. Weisswald and Jacali, across from to Gemma Jones.
â€œSit next to me, Mr. Terwilliger,â€ Jacali said. â€œIâ€™m your new best friend.â€
â€œOh, I never had a best friend,â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œMost of the boys at school used to avoid me constantly. Of course, that was 50 years ago.â€
They had a nice lunch. Wilder was seated by himself and Professor Stalloid joined him.
They saw a man with a mustache who they didnâ€™t recognize at all.
* * *
Father Bishop was in the lounge a little after noon. He had managed to get a bottle of whisky at the last stop and was enjoying glass after glass of it. He saw the man with the mustache, who had passed through earlier, stop the conductor and tell him the stewards needed access to the express car shortly after 1 p.m. so they could deliver lunch. The conductor politely offered to escort the stewards whenever they delivered food to the express car.
He then went and talked to the dark-haired woman who was also in the lounge though Father Bishop could not overhear what they were saying.
Shortly after that, a man with a large and somewhat fancy hat sat down next to the priest. The man had a goatee and mustache, dark hair, and was quite good-looking.
â€œHello sir,â€ Father Bishop said.
â€œHowdy,â€ the man said. â€œIâ€™m Buck.â€
He had a southern accent.
â€œNice to meet you, Buck,â€ the priest said. â€œIâ€™m Father Peter.â€
â€œIâ€™m Buck!â€ the man said. â€œYou know what? I think thereâ€™s something fishy happening on this train. I saw a couple people whoâ”€â€
â€œWhy would you think that? Who are these people?â€
â€œSome people getting into the express car. Itâ€™s really strange. Thereâ€™s a private car in the front? I donâ€™t know what itâ€™s about, but theyâ€™re getting in there. Itâ€™s very odd. I think thatâ€™s very strange. Iâ€™m in third-class. Iâ€™m right behind there so itâ€™s kind of scary, you know?â€
â€œI bet it would be.â€
â€œIâ€™m just worried about my own skin, you know, because â€¦ that secret car might have bombs in it or something.â€
â€œWhat did these people look like?â€
â€œWell â€¦ letâ€™s see. Um â€¦â€
He looked around.
â€œThereâ€™s that fellow with the mustache,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s him. He was one of the ones going in there. And I think that lady heâ€™s talking to was going in there as well. I think.â€
â€œHm. Well, that is a bit odd.â€
â€œYeah, I donâ€™t trust â€˜em! I hope it ainâ€™t bombs. I donâ€™t like bombs.â€
Buck took a bite of his sandwich.
â€œThereâ€™s â€¦ thereâ€™s a marshal on this train,â€ Father Bishop said. â€œIâ€™m friends with him. Iâ€™ll talk to him when he comes back.â€
â€œOh, okay,â€ Buck said. â€œThatâ€™s a great idea.â€
He took another bite of his sandwich.
â€œYouâ€™re a good man, preacher man,â€ Buck said.
He patted Father Bishopâ€™s shoulder.
â€œYou want half my sandwich?â€ Buck asked. â€œDid you have lunch?â€
â€œI had a small bread roll, but â€¦â€ Father Bishop said. â€œThank you. Iâ€™ll take half.â€
â€œOh, here you go,â€ Buck said.
He ripped the sandwich in half and gave part of it to Father Bishop.
â€œThank you, Buck,â€ Father Bishop said.
* * *
Tom White entered the dining car around 12:30 for a meal. Other returned to the first-class car. There, they read, napped, chatted with neighbors or otherwise simply relaxed. The conductor, who had entered the lounge car to chat with the passengers and even play a few hands of faro, left a little after 1 p.m. and headed to the dining car.
Those still in the dining car saw some stewards get food and take it from the dining car, heading forward with the conductor.
â€œI wonder where theyâ€™re taking that food,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
Professor Terwilliger had been talking to Jacali, his â€œnew best friendâ€ about other inventions since they had sat down while glancing shyly at Gemma.
â€œPerhaps the express car,â€ Jacali said.
â€œOh, that would make sense,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
â€œProbably got to feed those, especially as they canâ€™t leave,â€ Jacali said.
â€œWho are they feeding?â€ Professor Terwilliger asked. â€œWhat?â€
â€œThe people in the secret car,â€ Dr. Weisswald whispered to him.
â€œOh, the one you were telling me about.â€
â€œYou gotta feed people in a secret car. That makes sense. Very good.â€
* * *
Jack West, sitting in third-class, saw the stewards walk through with trays of food. The conductor was with them. They went out onto the platform and the conductor knocked. A moment later, the door opened and West noticed a man with a gun within, aiming the weapon at the door. When he saw the conductor, he holstered the weapon. Then the stewards and the conductor went in.
The three left the express car a few minutes later.
* * *
At 1:30 p.m., the train stopped at Tehachapi Junction for water and coal. It was a tiny, desert town though did offer a general store and a saloon.
Dr. Weisswald asked Professor Terwilliger if he wanted to discharge the box again and the man noted the gauge was up to 100 percent once more. Professor Stalloid asked the man if he wanted to discharge it multiple times.
â€œWhy, whatever for?â€ Professor Terwilliger asked.
â€œBecause then you wouldnâ€™t have to discharge it again next stop,â€ Professor Stalloid said.
â€œWell, it hasnâ€™t gone into the red. Itâ€™s been almost two hours.â€
â€œWell, you know.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think itâ€™s going into the red. We could try.â€
â€œBut also, we want to see if itâ€™s 10 percent every time,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
â€œAh, an experiment!â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œI love the idea! Letâ€™s go!â€
Dr. Weisswald, Professor Stalloid, Jacali, and Gemma Jones went with him. Professor Stalloid led them down the tracks the way the train had come.
â€œJacali!â€ Lambert Otto called.
He had stepped off the train to stretch his legs. Jacali stopped and waited for the man to catch up.
â€œHello Otto,â€ she said.
â€œNice to see you here,â€ he said.
â€œNice to see you as well.â€
â€œWhat are you doing?â€
â€œAh, Mr. Terwilliger has a lightning box.â€
â€œA lightning box, huh?â€
â€œYes, you want to see it? He shows everyone.â€
â€œGot nothing else to do.â€
â€œYep, might as well.â€
They walked a couple hundred yards into the desert where they found a few trees trying to survive the harsh conditions. Professor Terwilliger walked away from the group towards the trees.
â€œDonâ€™t go close to it,â€ Jacali said to Otto.
â€œSo you said this is a lightning box?â€ Otto said.
â€œIt looks like a camera.â€
â€œOh, itâ€™s a lightning box.â€
â€œIâ€™ll follow your advice.â€
Professor Stalloid had followed Professor Terwilliger, standing behind him.
â€œSo, just one discharge, do you think?â€ Professor Terwilliger called back.
â€œHow about two?â€ Dr. Weisswald called. â€œWell, letâ€™s do one and then look at the gauge and then do two.â€
Professor Terwilliger saluted formally and then turned his back on them. He aimed the box this time, apparently at one of the trees. There was a blast of thunder as lightning flew by the tree some 50 yards from the man and struck the ground, creating a burst of flame there for a moment.
â€œBoom!â€ Jacali said.
Professor Terwilliger looked at the gauge and held it out for Professor Stalloid.
â€œTen percent,â€ Professor Terwilliger said.
â€œItâ€™s a lightning box!â€ Jacali said to Otto.
â€œLetâ€™s try it again,â€ Professor Terwilliger said.
He held up the box and there was another blast of thunder and crackling lightning that struck the tree. The narrow trunk of the tree exploded and the upper portion fell. The lower part had blackened and burned where the bolt struck it. Gemma Jones yelped. Terwilliger looked back at them, surprised, and Professor Stalloid motioned for him to cover the button once again. They examined the gauge and found it had used about another 10 percent.
â€œThat was a very good experiment,â€ Dr. Weisswald said as the two men walked back over.
â€œI hit it!â€ Professor Terwilliger said, delighted. â€œI was aiming for that tree. Thatâ€™s quite exciting. I wonder what the applications for it could be.â€
â€œTree cutting could be that much easier!â€ he said. â€œGenius!â€
â€œIt does seem very efficient at cutting trees,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
â€œWhat does it do to stone?â€ Otto asked. â€œHave you tried shooting stone?â€
â€œWho is this?â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œAre you a scientist?â€
â€œIâ€™m a friend.â€
â€œFair enough. Fair enough. I havenâ€™t tried stone. We should note the time. Note the time. Weâ€™ll see how long it takes to recharge it.â€
â€œI wonder if thereâ€™s a way to build up static near it,â€ Dr. Weisswald said.
â€œHave we done any tests on this with the Crescent?â€ Professor Stalloid asked.
Professor Terwilliger shushed him. He looked around nervously.
â€œThat person over there is a stranger,â€ he whispered, pointing at Otto. â€œI donâ€™t know him.â€
â€œIâ€™m a friend!â€ Otto said.
â€œI was not talking to you, sir,â€ Professor Terwilliger said.
He confided to Professor Stalloid heâ€™d made no tests with the Crescent as he had only built the device in the last few days. They walked back to the train, Professor Stalloid taking Professor Terwilliger to the side on the way and suggesting the next time they worked with the Crescent, Professor Terwilliger should discharge the lightning box completely, and then set it in the center of the Crescent to see if it would charge is quickly. Professor Terwilliger liked that idea but noted heâ€™d seen no sign of the Crescent since Yellow Flats.
â€œItâ€™s on the train,â€ Professor Stalloid said.
â€œWhat!?!â€ Professor Terwilliger said. â€œReally!?!â€
* * *
Wilder, sitting in the first-class coach, flinched every time he heard thunder. He looked up. The sky was blue and clear without a cloud in it.
* * *