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HOME > Classical Novels > Bill Bolton and the Flying Fish > Chapter XIII RESULTS
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 The Amtonia’s wireless operator heard the door at his back open and shut.  
“Stand up!” ordered a harsh voice.
The man obeyed immediately, his magazine slipping to the floor. He did not turn to look at this second speaker. The shiny black object in the hand of the ominous figure outside the window held his eyes like an electric magnet.
The chair in which he had been dozing was whisked away. Strong hands gripped his wrists, brought his arms downward. With a speed and thoroughness that bespoke nautical experience, a rope lashed his arms behind his back, first at the elbows and then at the wrists.
Next, a cloth was bound over his eyes. A gag, made of a rolled-up handkerchief was stuffed in his mouth and fastened by a band of cloth tied at the back of his head. He felt wads of cotton being placed in his ears and his ankles were then strapped together. He was grasped by the shoulders, caught round the knees and lifted to a narrow couch where a cushion was slipped under his head. Deaf, dumb and blind, he nevertheless knew that he lay on the locker which ran along the farther side of the room. He also knew that locker to be little more than a narrow shelf, and at least four feet from the floor. If he moved an inch, he’d get a tumble. He therefore lay still and tried to imagine which of the passengers he had to thank for his present predicament.
“I reckon he’ll do,” said Osceola, studying the bound figure on the locker. “It’s lucky he didn’t try to put up a fight. Things might have got messy.”
“Would you have, in his place?” Bill was taking in the details of the room and spoke rather absently.
“No—can’t say I would. The poor beggar was scared stiff. That wrench stunt was a happy thought. In the darkness, I guess it passed darned well for an automatic!”
“Say, look at the map on the wall over there. These lads certainly have a system!”
“What are those colored pins stuck all over it supposed to be—ships?”
“Yes. Ships within a radius of several hundred miles that have been sending out radio messages.”
“But how does he do it?”
“Oh, I guess our little operator is clever all right. I’m no wireless expert and there are a lot of gadgets in here that I don’t understand. Undoubtedly they’re delicate instruments by which the operator is able to determine the approximate distance and direction of any ship sending out messages. You see, he keeps this map constantly before him, charted with the probable positions of ships. He changes the pins when his new readings seem to be in error. This is how the noble Baron knows exactly what is going on in his neighborhood. Just as if he were looking down on the sea from the moon with a telescope!”
“That list up there beside the chart is the key to the colored pins, I suppose.”
“Sure. There’s the Stamford.” Bill pointed to a gray pin. “Well, here’s where I get busy. The sooner that cruiser is put wise to our position, the better.”
“But how did you find out where we are?” Osceola looked his surprise. “When have you had a chance to shoot the sun? Do you keep a pocket sextant up your sleeve? Or are you just guessing?”
“Nothing like that. A sight must be taken when the sun reaches it’s highest point. I got the dope tonight from Schneider. While you were asleep, I went on the bridge and got him to give me our position this noon.”
“But that’s more than twelve hours ago!”
“Certainly. But I also found out the speed and direction we’ve been steaming this afternoon and evening. Where we are now is a simple sum in arithmetic.”
“I know, but—”
“Gee, fella, when we’re out of this mess, I’ll take a week or two off and go into detail. But right now, I’ve got to raise the Stamford!”
He sat down in the chair before the sending apparatus and adjusted the earphones. Then his left hand sought the sending key and the room was filled with the crash and snap of electric discharges.
Osceola took up a pencil and pad from the table. For a moment he scribbled, then placed the written sheet in front of Bill.
“Go easy!” the message read. “You’ll wake up the whole ship!”
Bill smiled and shook his head. He was sending call after call out for the Stamford. In his right hand he held a pencil. Presently Osceola’s note was passed back with a few lines scrawled below his own.
“Don’t worry. These fellows are continually sending out fake messages in order to gain information from other ships. I’ve heard them. If nothing was sent during this watch, somebody on the bridge would be sure to smell a rat.”
Osceola drew up a chair and sat down. Fascinated, he watched Bill’s left hand pressing the sending key, calling—calling—calling. The young Seminole’s education had been academic, not scientific, and his knowledge of radio was only rudimentary. Although the International Morse Code of dash-dot letters was as much of a mystery to him as it is to the average layman, he soon realized that his friend was sending out the same short message over and over again.
Suddenly Bill lifted his hand from the key. He smiled at Osceola, nodded and commenced to write hurriedly on the pad before him. The Seminole leaned over and watched intently.
“This is the Stamford. Who calls?” he read.
Again Bill’s supple fingers pressed out an answer—a long one this time. And for the next fifteen minutes the crash and crackle of an electric storm reverberated through the room.
Presently he stopped.
“You raised the cruiser, I take it.” Osceola only half stifled a yawn.
“I did that, old sport!” Bill was delighted with his success. “Got all the dope over in great style. Told the operator aboard her who I was and a short story of our capture. Dad probably thinks we were both lost at sea, you know. The Stamford, will relay a message, assuring him of our safety. Then I tapped out details of this ship, the Flying Fish, their crews and armament. Last of all I gave our position, course and speed. By this time, she and some other craft of Uncle Sam’s are making tracks for us.”
“You’re sure a right smart feller, Bill.”
Bill laughed. “I agree with you, Big Chief.”
“About when do you reckon they’ll catch up with us?”
“Sometime tomorrow—or, rather, this afternoon. And then—boy, oh, boy............
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