第8章 超絶した土星の大母船

第8章 超絶した土星の大母船


What I shall attempt to describe is rather complex.


Most of the mechanical arrangements I saw after boarding the Saturnian mother ship were entirely new to me.


At first I could not fully comprehend their functions, but later I was helped to some understanding of them.


The platform beside which we had stopped (I say "platform," but actually it proved to be a magnetic elevator some fifty feet square) carried people and freight from the bottom to the top of this gigantic carrier ship through an enormous shaft two hundred feet or more in depth.


A magnetic pole rose the full height of this shaft, passing through the center of the elevator and, I learned, provided the power and means by which it operated.


This was the first thing -- this and the great shaft rising upward -- that struck me on alighting from the Saucer.


Ahead of us was a kind of bridge with side rails that connected the elevator platform to the deck where our Saucer had stopped, for the fifty-foot platform did not completely fill the width of the shaft.



This puzzled me at first.


As Zuhl and I walked on, I turned and gazed around me, awed by the majesty and superb construction of this colossal ship.


Looking back, I could see, high up above and beyond the dome of our Saucer, the ceiling of the immense chamber through which we had descended.


A large set of rails sloped upward and through this ceiling, continuing somewhere in the heights above where the airlocks must have been.


I could look straight on up to the opening in the mother ship through which we had just come.


As we reached the platform, Firkon suggested that I look into the elevator shaft.


I did so and saw three more floors or deck levels above, and three below, making a total of seven.


At each level a bridge or balcony-extension projected into the shaft to cover the gap between the edge of the platform and the deck proper.


These extensions, I later learned, can be raised like drawbridges.


In length they are equal to the height of the deck from floor to ceiling, so that when raised they obscure the deck entrance, making a smooth side to the shaft and completely sealing it off from the rest of the ship.


When the elevator platform arrives at its destination, this portion of the shaft wall hinges downward until it becomes the projecting balcony.


When this takes place, the handrails on the elevator swing outward and form handrails for the balcony.


When the elevator moves onward, these rails swing back from the balcony and form a guard rail on the elevator.


I saw how these rails operated just after leaving the Scout.


As soon as we had crossed the balcony and stepped onto the elevator, the side rails closed in behind us, even though we were not going to ascend.


While I was gazing around, trying to take in every detail, Zulu stopped by a small control panel which was raised about four inches from the floor of the elevator, probably to prevent anyone from stepping upon it accidentally.


This panel was about thirty inches long and somewhere between six to eight inches wide.


On it were six buttons staggered in two rows for easy operation by the feet.


Each button was marked to indicate its purpose.


But I could neither read nor understand these markings.


Zuhl stepped on one of the buttons, and immediately the railings on the other side of the platform swung outward and took up a new position as guard rails for the balcony extension on the far side of the shaft which we had now reached.


Simultaneously, a beautifully proportioned and ornamented door in the wall before us slid open, revealing to me yet another wonderful sight.


We were now in an exquisite salon, very similar in furnishing and design to the one in the Venusian carrier, though somewhat larger.


Once again it was beautifully illuminated by the same mysterious soft light without obvious source.


However, my attention was almost immediately arrested by six women and six men who apparently were awaiting our arrival.


They had been sitting in a close group, conversing amongst themselves.


As we entered, they arose and smiled.


A man and a woman came forward to greet us, including rue warmly although I had never met them before.


The women were dressed in beautiful, sheer gowns made of material that seemed to radiate an almost living quality.


Each had a wide belt apparently part of the garment itself, decorated with gems that sparkled with a softness and vitality such as I had never seen in any gem on Earth.


These jeweled belts are the only ornament that I have ever seen worn by women of other worlds.


And as I marveled at these gems, I found myself wondering if, rather than being superior in themselves to those of Earth, their extraordinary brilliance might not result from the radiance of their wearers -- a thought later verified by Firkon.


The ladies' gowns had long, full sleeves, drawn together at the wrists.


The necklines were cut round.


Although differing in color according to each lady's choice, all were of soft pastel shades which lent to the entire group an aspect of harmonious charm.


In height, the women ranged from a little under five feet to about five feet, eight inches.


All were slender and beautifully formed.


Their features were delicate and their faces lovely in contour.


In coloring, every type was represented, from complexions very fair with a faint rosy tinge to soft, smooth olive.


The ears were small; the eyes large and very expressive under brows beautiful in line.


The mouths of all seemed to be of average size with natural red lips, varying in deepness of color with skin tones.


All wore their hair shoulder length, loosely yet charmingly arranged.


Both men and women wore sandals.


None of the women looked to be more than in their early twenties.


Later, Firkon told me that their ages ranged from thirty to two hundred years!


While the loose, flowing gowns revealed merely a suggestion of the perfect symmetry of their bodies, when later they changed into close-fitting uniforms, the beauty and grace with which all were formed became clearly apparent.


The men wore gleaming white blouses, open wide at the throat, with long full sleeves drawn in tight at the wrists, somewhat similar to those worn by men of the eighteenth century on Earth.


The trousers were also loose, very similar to our own styles.


But the material had a softness and a texture unlike anything I had ever seen.


The men's height varied from about five to six feet, and all were splendidly formed, with weight in proportion.


Like the women, they varied in coloring, but I noticed that the skin of one was definitely what we would call copper-colored.


All had neatly trimmed hair, although it differed in length and cut to some degree, as here on Earth.


None wore long hair as did Orthon, my Venusian friend of the first meeting.


I have since learned that he had a particular reason for wearing his hair in this style.


The men's features, though uniformly handsome, were not greatly different from those of Earth men, and I am positive that any one of them could come amongst us and never be recognized as not belonging here.


None looked older than somewhere in the early thirties, but this impression was also corrected later by Firkon, who told me that their ages ranged from forty to several hundred years according to our scale on Earth.


Immediately after the greetings, we were invited to be seated around a large oval table, on which were goblets filled with a clear liquid.


Like all I had seen, this table had a transparent top, slightly different from either glass or any kind of plastic known on Earth.


It had no covering, nor was it etched, carved or decorated in any way.


There was an indescribable beauty about the material itself which needed no ornamentation.


The chairs drawn up to it were styled much like our dining-room chairs.


There were fifteen of these, corresponding to the number of persons present.


As we seated ourselves -- I between Zulu and Firkon -- we were invited to drink the liquid in the goblets.


Al-though as clear in appearance as our purest water, the flavor was similar to natural apricot juice; sweet and slightly heavy, entirely delicious.


Although the methods by which these space travelers were able to learn any language spoken on Earth had all been explained to me, this facility still held an element of surprise.


The lady who had first come forward to greet us as we entered started the conversational ball rolling as she said, "This ship is a scientific laboratory.


We travel space solely for the purpose of studying the constant changes taking place within space itself.


We observe the life and conditions on the many planets we encounter as we move through space.


Naturally, learning the different languages is a necessity.


It is through the research made by ships like ours that space travel has been developed to the present degree of safety.


Something of this was explained to you on the ship from Venus, but there you were not shown how the instruments are operated.


On this ship, however, you will see our instruments in operation, and we shall explain some of their functions to you that you may gain a greater understanding of how we have learned to use the natural forces."


She then went on to explain that this ship too belonged to no one planet, but was a universal ship, manned by people from many planets and operated for the welfare and knowledge of all.


"On this particular trip," she explained, "three of the women are inhabitants of the planet you call Mars, and the other three from Venus.


Usually, there are also three Saturnian women who, for certain reasons, could not join us on this trip.


So Saturn is represented only by her men.


Occasionally, men and women from solar systems even beyond our own join the crew of this and other ships of the same type.


In every case, crew members are highly trained by our most advanced scientists."


Almost as though there had been no interruption in the discussion between Firkon and myself earlier in the evening, the subject of the problems facing inhabitants of our world was resumed here, around this beautiful table.


As usual, the absence of condemnation or harsh judgment of any kind was remarkable.


Instead, an understanding sympathy for the suffering of the people of Earth was apparent throughout.


One of the Martian ladies said, "You Earth people do not desire to show such cruelty toward one another.


This, as you have been told before, is merely the result of your self-ignorance, which in turn blinds you to the laws of the Universe of which we are all a part.


Within your families, you speak much of the love you feel for one another.


Yet this very love you profess to hold often expresses itself as a possessive power of bondage over another.


Nothing could be more contrary to love in its free state.


Genuine love must embrace respect, mutual confidence and understanding.


As known and expressed on other worlds, love contains nothing of the false possessiveness which perverts it upon the Earth.


We understand love as a radiation from the heart of Deity through all creation, and especially through man toward all other forms, without division of any kind.


In reality, it is not possible to find virtue in one form, and none in another.


Yet, notice the distortion existing on Earth, solely because man there understands neither himself nor his Divine Father.


Because of this ignorance, men go forth in what you call 'war' to slaughter ruthlessly those of another nation, another color, another religion, without understanding what they do.


It is difficult for us of other worlds to grasp why men of Earth cannot see that not only is the mutual destruction of themselves by themselves no answer to any problem, but a cause for further woe on Earth.


So it has always been and so it will always be.


Now that your scientific knowledge has so far outstripped your social and human progress, the gap between must be filled with urgent haste.


Men of your Earth know the terrible power sealed within the bombs they are piling up for use against one another.


Yet they blunder on ever nearer to the brink of an unthinkable world-wide slaughter.


This, to us, is strangely illogical."


"Yes," one of the men agreed, "your behavior does often seem illogical to us.


Let me give you an example.


You have physical fathers on Earth, do you not?"


"Yes," I replied.


"If you had two sons, born of your own flesh and blood, as you say, and if for one reason or another one of your Sons knelt before you and asked your blessing on his determination to slay his brother, who is also your son, would you grant his request because he professed himself right and his brother wrong?"


My reply was naturally, "Of course not!"


"Yet," he pointed out, "that is exactly what you Earthlings have been doing throughout the centuries.


You all acknowledge a Supreme Being according to your understanding, and you speak of the brotherhood of mankind.


Yet you ask the Eternal Father of all things to do that which you yourselves would not do.


For when you people are warring against one another, you fall to your knees in unholy prayer.


You ask your Divine Father to bless your efforts to gain a victory over your own lifebrother, even to the extent of destroying him.


We, as your brothers living on other worlds than your own, view impartially the divided groups of people upon your planet.


We, who have learned more regarding our Father's laws, operative throughout the Universe, cannot make the distinctions that keep you in such constant turmoil and we are saddened to see what is taking place on your Earth.


We, as brothers of all mankind, are willing to help all those whom we can reach and who desire our help.


But at no time may we force our way of life upon the people of your world.


In reality, there are no inherently bad people on Earth, nor anywhere in the Universe.


If, as many of you express it, your lives seem to consist of a 'hell on Earth,' you yourselves are to blame.


Your planet, even as all others, was created by our One Divine Creator and is in itself a holy place, as are all His creations.


Were all mankind suddenly to be swept from the face of Earth, and 'with them the strife and woe and grief they have brought upon it by not learning how to live together, Earth would be beautiful."


But never so beautiful as a world on which men live as brothers with all in the Universe.


Because one man is a stranger to another does not give him the right to ignore, insult, or to kill a fellow being.


You have set aside a day each year for the observance of the Brotherhood of Man, and you speak of the FatherIhood of the Creator.


Yet, in complete oblivion of the actions which such declarations should bring forth, you lavish money and effort toward swifter and more widespread ways of maiming and destroying your fellow men on Earth.


Does it not seem curious to pray to the Divine Father to bless your efforts in this ruthless destruction?


We hear these prayers coming from your temples, from your government leaders, from your homes and from the battlefields.


Can you not see how far astray you have gone?


For you are actually asking your Divine Father to do that which you yourself would not do for your own children.


Can you not see how hypocritical you have become?


And this is but one illustration of the many things which you do against your Divine Father.


So long as you live this way, divided one against the other, your sorrows will be multiplied.


For when you seek your brother's life, someone seeks yours.


This is the meaning of the words once spoken by Jesus of Nazareth.


Remember that he said: 'Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they who take the sword shall perish with the sword.'


The truth of these words has been proven throughout the history of man on Earth."


As he ceased speaking, a picture of the Earth and the problems of the men thereon flashed before my eyes, and I was saddened for my fellow men and for myself as Earthlings.


For with the picture came also the realization of how gigantic is the task to correct these conditions.


So many throughout the world are unawakened to the causes behind them.


Only when enough people realize what they are and, with their whole hearts, desire to change them by giving up their personal greeds and the desire for exaltation, one above the other, can it come to pass.


No one person, no one nation, no one part of the world could alone be blamed for the conditions that I saw pictured, nor could any one segment of civilization do much to alter it.


Responsibility lies with each and every person -- and who can forcibly change another?


A bondage that is the result of centuries of accumulated misunderstandings, divisions and personal desire for power is difficult to break.


As this realization filled me, I was overcome with humble gratitude to our Divine Father for permitting His children from other worlds who understood our problems of Earth to come our way and extend helping hands of love and compassion to us.


Although they could not force change upon us, nor actively interfere, they could help the receptive amongst us to strive together for a better world, instead of warring against one another and thus causing further divisions.


I realized that much time must pass before such change could come, for mankind has grown to accept pain and sorrow as inevitable, seldom seeking to deviate from the familiar path.


Emerging from my musings, I noticed that the ladies were rising from their chairs.


"We must now don our pilot suits," a lovely brunette explained, "after which we shall go to the instrument room where you will see many things about which you have wondered."


Their departure gave me an opportunity to observe details of this beautiful salon.


On the wall directly in front of us was a huge chart of the heavens.


This showed twelve planets in our system with its central Sun.


Surrounding ours were other systems with their suns and planets shown in a way that was new to me.


Throughout space, between the planets, were details of the various atmospheric conditions existing in space, of which we on Earth are totally unaware.


I was told that this knowledge is very important for safe space traveling.


There were many markings on this chart, which I was unable to read, but I figured that the purpose was similar to that of our many road maps used by motorists on Earth for convenience in traveling.


This was corroborated by one of the men.


Beyond this huge chart, on the same wall but farther toward the back of the lounge, was a detailed diagram of this ship, and it too was marked with symbols of characters which were entirely unfamiliar to me.


The other walls were covered with landscape scenes of some of the planets which this ship had visited.


These were not framed paintings hung on the walls, but were more like murals.


There was such a liveliness about them that one felt physically present in every scene depicted.


This particular quality was something that I had noticed about all their paintings and portraits.


The explanation given me was that, whatever the people of space do, so much of themselves goes into their work that it actually does vibrate with their life-force and the radiance of their personalities.


The landscapes were very much like paintings and photographs of Earthly scenes.


They showed mountains, valleys, small running streams and oceans.


I saw that the six women had returned dressed in their pilot suits.


As they entered, the men rose from the table, and one of them said, "Now we will go to the laboratory."


We walked together to the elevator that had originally brought us.


At our approach, the door slid silently open, although I saw no one touch a button.


This could be similar in operation to our present-day photoelectric cell.


The fifteen of us stepped onto the elevator and Zuhl took over its operation.


I saw him go to another control panel in the corner opposite the one which I first described.


There he stepped on one of the buttons and slowly and silently we began to descend.


As we were lowered below the level of the Scout, which was still where we had left it, I noticed a vast chamber in back of it extending far toward that end of the ship.


Through the center of this compartment and at right angles to the elevator shaft was a pair of rails.


Resting on these were four other Scouts identical in size and design with the one which had brought us up from Earth.


This was apparently the storage hangar where they rested while the huge carrier was in interplanetary flight.


Along the outer edge, and slightly below each rail, was a catwalk about six feet in width, with a wall on the outside of the walk.


We passed two other balconies below the one over which we had entered the lounge, and I figured that each of these must lead to another deck in this gigantic carrier.


At the third balcony below the one leading to the lounge, the elevator was stopped.


Thus, looking up from the bottom of the great shaft I was able to count the seven decks on that side of the ship.


As the elevator came to a smooth stop, the railing swung open.


On the way down, I had noticed a pair of rails continuing through the lower front part of the ship.


These formed a V-junction with the rails by which our Scout had entered, and I realized that these were the rails down which it would travel when we left the carrier for our return to Earth.


This indicated that this whole section of the ship was taken up by arrival and departure tunnels, the main shaft, and the huge hangar deck for the Scouts.


Somewhere in the same section, either adjoining or beyond the hangar deck, there was probably a maintenance hangar and repair shop, while beyond that again, at the far end of the ship, I knew there must be a control room and pilot's compartment.


I had been told that there was one at each end of these colossal craft.


On this side of the ship we were taken into a very large room which proved to be the laboratory.

[日本語訳] 久保田八郎 訳(中央アート出版社「第2惑星からの地球訪問者」より)

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