Ĉe la koro de la tero

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

preterlasis okazon fari pregxon. Li pregxis,
kiam li vekigxis, li pregxis antaux ol mangxi, li pregxis post la
mangxo kaj nokte, antaux ol enlitigxi, li pregxis denove. Intertempe
li ofte trovis aliajn okazojn pregxi, ecx kiam la motivo sxajnis iom
dubinda laux mia mondeca vidpunkto--nun, kiam li estis baldaux
mortonta, mi antauxvidis kun granda certeco veran orgion de pregxado,
se decas per tia metaforo aludi agon tiel solenan.

Sed je mia mirego mi malkovris, ke, kiam la morto rigardacxis en lian
vizagxon, Abner Perry transformigxis en novan personon. El lia busxo
eliris ne pregxoj, sed klara rivero de nemoderigitaj blasfemoj, cxiuj
direktitaj kontraux tiu kviete obstina mehxanismo.

"Sxajnas al mi, Perry," mi riprocxis, "ke viro de via pretendita
pieco preferus pregxi ol blasfemi, kiam la morto proksimigxas."

"Morto!" li kriis. "Cxu tio cxagrenas vin? Nia morto estas
sensignifa, kompare kun la perdo, kiun la mondo devos suferi. Sciu,
David, ke per tiu cxi fera cilindro ni elmontris eblecojn, pri kiuj
la scienco apenaux ecx revis. Ni utiligis novan principon, kaj per
gxi ni donis al masiva peco de sxtalo la potencon de dekmil viroj. La
estingigxo de du homaj vivoj interne de la Tero tute ne estas
komparebla kun la mondotragedio, kiu entombigos en la interno de la
Tero la eltrovajxojn, kiujn mi faris kaj elprovis en la sukcesa
konstruo de la masxino, kiu portas nin pli kaj pli proksimen al la
eternaj fajroj de la centro de la Tero."

Mi ne hezitas konfesi, ke mi pli multe maltrankviligxis pri nia
propra sorto ol pri ia eventuala perdo suferota de la mondo. La mondo
almenaux nenion scius pri sia perdo, dum al mi la afero estis reala
kaj terura.

"Kion ni faru?" mi demandis, maskante mian cxagrenon per malalta kaj
firma vocxo.

"Ni povus halti cxi tie kaj morti de sufokigxo, kiam malplenigxos
niaj aer-rezervujoj," respondis Perry, "aux ni povus dauxrigi
antauxen kun la eta espero, ke ni baldaux suficxe devojigos la
borveturilon el gxia vertikala pozicio, por ke ni iru laux la arko de
granda cirklo, kio finfine revenigus nin al la tersuprajxo. Se ni
sukcesos je tio antaux ol atingi la tre altan temperaturon de la
interno, ni eble savigxos. Laux mia opinio, povas esti unu sxanco de
sukceso kontraux kelkaj milionoj, ke ni malsukcesos--se ni dauxrigos
antauxen, ni mortos pli rapide, sed ne malpli certe ol se ni sidos
senfare, atendante la torturon de malrapida kaj terura morto."

Mi ekrigardis la termometron. Gxi montris 110 gradojn. Kaj dum ni
parolis, la fortega fera talpo boris pli ol mejlon plu en la rokon de
la Tera krusto.

"Ni dauxrigu, do," mi respondis. "Kun cxi tiu rapideco baldaux venos
la fino. Vi

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