Sunday, August 29, 2010
"H.M.S. Thunder Child"
“...A vast iron bulk like the blade of a plough tore through the water, tossing it on either side in huge waves of foam leaped towards the steamer. Big iron upperworks rose out of this headlong structure, and from that twin funnels projected and spat a smoking blast shot with fire.
It was the torpedo ram, ”Thunder Child“, steaming headlong, coming to the rescue of the threatened shipping. The ”Thunder Child“ fired no gun, but simply drove full speed towards them.
It was probably her not firing that enabled her to get so near the enemy as she did. Martians did not know what to make of her. One shell, and they would have sent her to the bottom forthwith with the Heat-Ray.
Suddenly the foremost Martian lowered his tube and discharged a canister of the black gas at the ironclad. It hit her larboard side and glanced off in an inky jet that rolled away to seaward, an unfolding torrent of Black Smoke, from which the ironclad drove clear.
Another Martian raised the camera-like generator of the Heat-Ray. He held it pointing obliquely downward, and a bank of steam sprang from the water at its touch. It must have driven through the iron of the ship’s side like a white-hot iron rod through paper.
A flicker of flame went up through the rising steam, and then the Martian reeled and staggered.
In another moment he was cut down, and a great body of water and steam shot high in the air. The guns of the ”Thunder Child“ sounded through the reek, going off one after the other....”
H.G Wells "War of the Worlds" (1898)
(Click on painting to enlarge.)