Instead of reaching Thrawn Island shortly after sunset, then, the Esperance was back above the place where the dredge had been dropped and the bathyscaphe wrecked. The Pelorus was gone. The people on board that ship must have been very upset. The bathyscaphe had cost more money than is usually allotted to most scientific researchers, and now it was smashed. How would they justify themselves? They could hardly blame the Esperance. The yacht sailed in a closed pattern over this area of the Luzon Deep. Deirdre served dinner on deck. Stars shone down almost instantly after a sunset of unusual magnificence, even for the China Sea. Tony brought his guitar aft, and a contagious feeling of exhilaration spread about the Esperance and an improvised party took place on deck. Maybe the mood for festivity arose from the realization that at least nine-tenths of the world’s population would have graded them as lunatics, had it known their project for the evening.
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The recorder, trailing a submarine ear overboard, had duly reported the presence of the hum in the water, just outside the lagoon. It had not been operating for forty hours or thereabouts. During that time the fish inside could go out of the lagoon, if they chose. And other fish could come in. Terry said suddenly, as the yacht went under power toward the tracking station wharf, “Suppose there was a cone of noise just outside the lagoon, and the flanks of the submarine mountain under us were included in the cone? And suppose the cone grew smaller, like the other one. What would happen?”
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