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Tom Swift And His Electric Locomotive or Two Miles a Minute on the Rails

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Bartholomew. Just what the nature of that agreement was, would be
a matter of interest to the spy's employer.

Having failed in this attempt to learn something which was not
his business, the spy might make other and more serious attempts
to learn the particulars of the agreement between the railroad
president and the Swifts. Tom was sorry that the fellow had now
been forewarned that his identity as the spy and footpad was
known to Tom and his friends.

Koku had made a bad mess of it. But Tom determined to say
nothing to his father regarding the discovery he had made. He did
not want to worry Mr. Swift. He meant, however, to redouble
precautions at the Swift Construction Company against any
stranger getting past the stockade gates.

Arrived at Mr. Damon's home in Waterfield, Tom got quickly to
work on the little job he had come to do for his old friend. Of
course, Tom might have sent two of his mechanics from the works
down here to electrify the barbed wire entanglements that Mr.
Damon had erected around his chicken run. But the young inventor
knew that his eccentric friend would not consider the job done
right unless Tom attended to it personally.

"Bless my cracked corn and ground bone mixture!" ejaculated the
chicken fancier. "We'll show these night-prowlers what's what, I
guess. One of my neighbors was robbed last night. And I would
have been if I hadn't set a watch while I drove over to see you,
Tom. Bless my spurs and hackles! but these thieves are getting

"We'll fix 'em," said Tom, cheerfully, while Koku brought the
tools and wire to the hen run. "After we link up your supply of
the current with this wire fence it will be an unhappy chicken
burglar who interferes with it."

"That was an unhappy fellow who got your charge of ammonia last
evening," whispered Mr. Damon. "Heard anything more of him?"

"I think I have seen him. But Koku spoiled everything by trying
to eat him up," and Tom laughingly related what had occurred on
the way from Shopton.

"Bless my boots!" said Mr. Damon. "You'd better see the police,

"What for?"

"Why, they ought to know about such a fellow lurking about
Shopton. If he followed that Western railroad president here--"

"We'll hope that he will follow Mr. Bartholomew away again,"
chuckled Tom. "Mr. Bartholomew won't stay over today. When that
chap finds he has gone he probably will consider that there is no
use in his bothering me any further."

Whether Tom believed this statement or not, he was destined to
realize his mistake within a very short time. At least, the fact
that he was being spied upon and that the enemy meant him
anything but good, seemed proved beyond a doubt that very week.

Having done the little job for Mr. Damon, Tom allowed no other
outside matter to take up his attention. He shut himself into his
private experimental workshop and laboratory at the works each
day. He did not even come out for lunch, letting Rad bring him
down some sandwiches and a thermos bottle of cool milk.

"The young boss is milling over something new," the men said,
and grinned at each other. They were proud of Tom and faithful to
his interests.

Time was when there had been traitors in the works; but
unfaithful hands had been weeded out. There was not a man who
drew a pay envelope from the Swift Construction Company who would
not have done his best to save Tom and his father trouble. Such a
thing as a strike, or labor troubles of any kind, was not thought
of there.

So Tom knew that whatever he did, or whatever plans he drew, in
his private room, he was safely guarded. Yet he always took a
portfolio home with him at night, for after dinner he frequently
continued his work of the day. Naturally during this first week
he did not get far in any problem connected with the proposed
electric locomotive. There were, however, rough drafts and
certain schedules that had to do with the matter jotted down.

It was almost twelve at night. Tom had sat up in his own room
after his father had retired, and after the household was still.

Eradicate was in bed and snoring under the roof, Tom knew. Just
where Koku was, it would have been hard to tell. Although a fine
and penetrating rain was falling, the giant might be roaming
about the waste land surrounding the stockade of the works. The
elements had no terrors for him.

Tom locked his portfolio and stepped into his bathroom to wash
his hands before retiring. Before he snapped on the electric
light over the basin he chanced to glance through the newly set
windowpane which had replaced the one Rad had shattered in
escaping threatened impalement on Koku's spear.

Although the clouds were thick and the rain was falling, there
was a certain humid radiance upon the roof of the porch under the
bathroom window. At least, the wet roof glistened so that any
moving figure on or beyond it was visible,

"What's that?" muttered Tom, and he sank down lower than the
sill and crept slowly to the window. He merely raised himself
until his eyes were on a level with the sill.

Coming up over the edge of the porch roof was a bulky figure.
It was so dimly outlined at first that Tom could scarcely be sure
that it was that of a man.

However, it was not possible that any creature but a man would
be able to mount the lattice supporting the honeysuckle vines and
so creep out upon the porch roof. Once making secure his footing,
the enemy in the dark approached directly the bathroom window at
which Tom crouched.

Chapter IX

Where was Koku?

Tom reached up swiftly and pushed over the lever that locked
the two window sashes. In doing this he set his own patent
burglar alarm. If that lever was turned back again, or broken,
the buzzers would be set ringing all over the house, and in
Koku's room over the garage.

He did not believe that the marauder on the roof of the porch
could have seen the flash of his shirt-sleeved arm. But he took
no chance of being observed from outside by rising to his feet.

On his hands and knees he crept away from the window, and out
of the bathroom. Once there, he stood up, grabbed the portfolio,
and without coat or vest and as he was, dashed out of the
bedroom. He had been positive that nobody but himself was astir
in the big house, and he was right.

He did not punch the light button when he entered the library.
He knew where to put his hand upon an electric torch in the table
drawer, and he gained possession of this.

Then he went to the safe and twirled the knob and watched the
indicator find the four numbers which were the "open sesame" to
the burglar and fire-proof door.

He flung the portfolio into the inner compartment, closed both
doors, and twirled the combination-knob. Then Tom tiptoed to the
foot of the front stairs to listen. He could hear no sound from

He did not want his father to be startled, if the enemy did
break in; and he knew that old Rad, awakened out of a sound
sleep, would be worse than useless at such a time.

After all, the giant, Koku, was his main dependence under these
circumstances. Tom crept to the outer door, opened it carefully,
and slipped out, letting the spring lock click behind him. For
the first time he realized that he was in his shirt and trousers
and wore only felt slippers on his feet.

But he was locked out now. He had no key. He must run the risk
of the fine rain and the chill of the night air.

He stepped. off the end of the porch and ran around the house.
It was to the roof of the rear porch that the marauder had
climbed. But peer as he might from down in the yard, Tom could
see no moving figure up there near the bathroom window. It was
pitch dark against the wall of the house.

He turned to glance up at the window of the sleeping room over
the garage where Koku was supposed to spend the night. But Tom
knew the giant was seldom there during the dark hours. He was as
much of a night-prowler as a wildcat or an owl.

There was no light there in any case. But Koku did not use a
light much. He could see in the dark, like a wild animal. Tom did
not want to call him. If he must have Koku's help, he would have
to climb the stairs to his bedside. The giant always aroused as
wide awake as at noonday.

But while the young inventor hesitated a sudden, but muffled,
snap--the breaking of metal--sounded. Tom knew instantly the
direction from which the sound came.

Although he could see nothing up there at the bathroom window
because of the rain and the deep shadow, he knew that the
snapping sound meant the severing of the window lock that he had
so recently closed. Some instrument had been forced under the
bottom of the lower sash and pressure enough been brought to bear
to break the thin steel lever.

On the heels of this sound came another. A muffled buzzing
somewhere in the house--again! again! And then, startlingly clear
from the room over the garage, the burglar alarm went off in
Koku's chamber.

"It's all off now!" gasped Tom, and he ran to the foot of the
honeysuckle ladder up which he knew the enemy had climbed to get
to the roof of the porch. "If he comes down I'll have him!"
muttered Tom, staring up into the mist and gloom.

"Fo' de lawsy's sake! 'Tain't mawnin', is it?" Rad's sleepy
voice was heard to announce. "No, it's da'k as--" And the voice
trailed off into silence.

"Tom! Tom!" the young fellow heard his aroused father shouting.

Tom knew that his father was in no danger. In fact Mr. Swift's
voice did not even betray apprehension. It was. to the garage Tom
looked for an explosion. But none came.

If Koku was up there the prolonged buzzing of the alarm did not
awake him. Therefore he could not be there. Tom realized that if
the burglar was to be taken the whole affair fell upon his

"And I've got my hands full, if it is the fellow with the big
feet that we saw on the Waterfield Road the other day," muttered
the young inventor.

Nothing stirred on the porch roof. Moment after moment slipped
by. Tom began to grow more than amazed. He was worried. What
would happen next?

His father had not cried out again. Stepping around to the end
of the roofed porch, Tom saw a light in Mr. Swift's room. Rad had
evidently gone to sleep again. It would take more than an
intermittent buzzer to rouse fully that colored man.

"When old Morpheus has a strangle hold on Rad, Gabriel's trump
would scarcely awaken him," Tom muttered.

What had become of the enemy? If it was an ordinary burglar he
would have feared the electric alarm instantly. The buzzers were
still working. But there was no sign of the man who had set them
off at the bathroom window.

Suddenly Tom heard a door slam. It was from the front of the
house. Had his father come downstairs to look around and see what
the matter was?

The young fellow started around the house on a run. He heard
heavy bootsoles spurning the gravel of the path to the front
gate. He arrived at the far corner of the house in time to see a
man dash through the gateway and run down the street,
disappearing finally into the fast-driving rain.

"Fooled me! He went in and right through and down the stairs!
Out the front door!" gasped Tom. "Did he get anything? I wonder!"

He sprang up to the front porch and tried the door. It was
locked again, of course. Should he ring the bell and get Rad or
his father down to the door?

And then, of a sudden, the principal mystery of all this affair
bit into Tom Swift's mind. The burglar had made his escape. He
could relieve his father's anxiety later. It was his own
puzzlement of mind that he first wished to ease.

Where was Koku?

Even had the giant been circling the stockade around the shops
he surely must have come up to the home premises by this time.
His keen ears could not fail to hear the buzzers. They were still
going and would go until the switch was turned.

If the giant was in his room--Tom turned suddenly and started
on a run for the rear premises. He still carried the hand-lamp
and it lit his way into the garage door and up the narrow
stairway. He shot the round beam of the lamp into Koku's room.

He had been obliged to have an iron bedstead made to order for
the giant. It stood against one wall of the room. The buzzer was
snarling like a huge bumblebee above the head of the couch.
Below it sprawled the giant, eyes tightly closed and mouth
slightly ajar. From the lips of Koku were emitted sounds worthy
of Rad Sampson in his deepest slumbers!

"Asleep?" gasped Tom, stepping cat-like into the room.

And then he was suddenly aware of a sickish, heavy odor in the
chamber. The window had been closed. But it was something more
than stale air that Tom smelled.

A folded cloth lay on the floor beside the couch. The young
fellow saw at once that it had been originally placed over the
giant's face, but had slid off. And lucky for Koku that it had
been dislodged!

"Chloroform!" muttered Tom. "He's drugged. It is no wonder he
did not hear the burglar alarm."

In any event, the incident made one deep impression on Tom's
mind. The spies who he believed were working for the Hendrickton
& Western Railroad and its owner, Montagne Lewis, were desperate
men. Tom could not believe that the fellow with the big feet was
alone in Shopton and was unaided in his attempts to find out what
Tom was doing.

This attempt to burglarize the house betrayed the caliber of
the enemy. In chloroforming Koku he had taken the risk of
murdering the giant. Only the fact that the pad of saturated
cloth had fallen off Koku's face had, perhaps, saved the man from

Tom did not tell the giant when he aroused what the matter with
him was. Koku was ill enough! He was wrenched by interior spasms
that seemed almost to tear his huge body to pieces.

"What done got into dat big lump o' bone an' grizzle?" demanded
Eradicate. "He looks like, he swallowed a volcano, and it just
got to wo'kin' right. My lawsy!"

"He is a sick man, all right," admitted Tom. "Looks like he
wouldn't try to stab me to deaf wid no spear no mo'," went on
Rad, inclined to approve of Koku's sufferings.

"If he died you'd be mighty sorry, old man," declared Tom,

"Sho' would. Be a mighty hard job to bury him," was the callous

Just the same, the crotchety old colored man began to hop
around in lively fashion with hot water, and later with coffee
and other stimulants; and he nursed Koku all day as though he
were a big baby.

Koku, who had never been ill before in his life, was inclined
to lay the trouble to an evil genius of some kind. Perhaps, in
spite of his half-civilized state, he was still a devil-
worshiper. At any rate, he had a vital respect for the forces of

Naturally he considered this unknown and unexpected misery he
suffered the result of malignant influences of some kind. Tom did
not want him to suspect that the man with the big feet had any
possible part in the mystery. Had Koku suspected this, and had he
got his hands on the spy, the latter could never have been
successfully used in that sort of work again. In all probability
he would have said that he had had enough.

Meanwhile Tom made a point of considering each step he took
alone thereafter with particular care. He had a bodyguard--
usually the giant after the latter had recovered--between the
works and the house. He did not bring home any more the schedules
or drawings connected with the electric locomotive that he
proposed to have built and to test inside the stockade of the
Swift Construction Company.

He even put a private detective to work on the matter of
finding a man named Andy O'Malley who might be lurking around
Shopton. He had a pretty clear description of the fellow, for he
had not only seen him once, face to face by daylight, but Tom had
written to the president of the H. & P. A. and had got from that
gentleman a clear picture in words of the spy whom Mr.
Bartholomew believed was working in the interests of Montagne

"If O'Malley appears in Shopton, look out. He is a bad
character. He is not only a notorious gunman, with several
warrants out for him in these parts, but he is a cruel and
desperate man in any event. The minute you mark him, have him
arrested and telegraph me. We'll get him extradited and put him
through for ten years or more right in this county." The private
investigator, however, as the weeks went by, could not find any
man who filled O'Malley's description.

Meanwhile Tom Swift had got what he called "a lead" and was
working day and night upon the invention that he believed might
make even the Jandel people respectful, if not a bit envious.

First of all Tom had arranged to have built all around inside
the stockade a track of rails heavy enough to stand the wear and
tear of the heaviest locomotive built. Meanwhile the various
parts of his locomotive were being built in several shops, but
would be shipped to the Swift Construction Company and assembled
in Tom's try-out shed.

Great secrecy was of course maintained. Aside from the fact
that the new invention had something to do with electric motive
power, nobody about the shops could say what the new industry
portended. Save, of course, the Swifts themselves, Ned Newton,
and Mr. Damon, who was the Swifts' closest friend and sometimes
had furnished additional capital for Tom's experiments.

There was a thing that Mr. Damon furnished Tom at this time
that proved in the end to be of much importance. Before Tom had
seized upon this idea of his eccentric friend, and had made
proper use of it, something happened that came near to wrecking
utterly Tom's invention and completely putting an end to Tom
himself as an inventor.

Chapter X

A Strange Conversation

Mr. Wakefield Damon frequently came to the shops, for he was
not alone very friendly with the Swifts, but he was greatly
interested in Tom's new invention.

"If it goes as good as what you did for my chicken run," he
declared, chuckling, "bless my dampers! you'll beat all the
electric locomotives in the market."

"That is easy, perhaps," said Tom smiling. "There are not many
in the market at the present time. But I don't know what mine
will be. This is going to be some job."

"Bless my flues and clinkers!" cried Mr. Damon, "you are not
losing hope, Tom Swift? Look what you did for my chicken run. And
believe me, that entanglement will give a shock that makes a man
stand right up and shake."

"Have you tried it yourself?" asked Tom.

"No. But my servant did. I saw him through the window of my
study doing some kind of a shimmy with the shovel. Thought he'd
gone crazy. Then I saw what he had done. It was early in the
morning and I hadn't turned the current off, and he had put one
hand against the wires. When he dropped the shovel as I told him
to, bless my plyers and nippers! he was all right."

"The current would not seriously hurt him," said Tom. "I was
careful about that."

"It killed two tomcats," said Mr. Damon. "I certainly was glad
of that, for those two ash-barrel cats kept the whole
neighborhood awake. Bless my claws and whiskers! how those two
cats did use to yell. But when one tried to climb the wires and
the other sprang on him, it was all over! That is, all over but
the burial party."

Mr. Damon was on the ground when the mechanical equipment and a
part of the electrical equipment of the new locomotive arrived
and was set up in the erection shed. The length of the machine
was what first impressed Ned Newton as well as Mr. Damon.

"Bless my yardstick!" exclaimed the eccentric
man, it's as long as a gossip's tongue. What a
monster it will he!"

"How long is it, Tom?" asked Ned Newton.

"When completed, and standing on its drivers and bogie truck and
trailer truck, from cow-catcher to rear bumper it will be a few
inches over ninety feet. And that is slightly longer than the
biggest electric locomotive so far built. But length does not so
much enter into the value of the machine. I would have it built
more compactly if I could."

"What is the horsepower?" asked Mr. Damon.

"I figure on forty-four hundred horsepower. The power must be
received from a three thousand-volt direct-current trolley.
There are twelve driving-wheels, as you can see. Each pair of
drivers will be driven by a twin-motor geared to the axles
through a system of flexible spring drive. Remember, I have got
to obtain both speed as well as power in this locomotive, for it
is being built to pull a passenger train--a fast cross-continent
express--to compete with the best passenger equipment in the

"Bless my combination ticket!" murmured Mr. Damon. "You have
picked out some task, and no mistake, Tom Swift."

"He'll do it," cried Ned, with his usual optimism when Tom had
once started on any experimental work. "Of course he will. Just
as she stands there now, only half put together, I would be
willing to bet a farm that she is a better locomotive than the
Jandel patent."

"Three cheers!" laughed Tom. "Ned is as enthusiastic as usual.
But believe me, friends, we are not going to turn out a better
locomotive than the Jandel without both thought and work."

His friends' enthusiasm was heartening, however. No doubt of
that. He never let them into his experiment room, any more than
he allowed his workmen in there. Aside from his own father,
nobody really knew what Tom Swift was doing behind that always-
locked door.

The huge structure of the locomotive was set up on the driving
wheels and leading and trailing trucks by Tom's chief foreman and
a picked crew. Just such another locomotive had never been seen
anywhere about Shopton. Naturally the men at work on the monster
began to speak of it outside the works.

Not that they betrayed any secrets regarding the locomotive. In
fact, as yet none of them knew anything about what Tom intended
to do with the big machine. But the story soon circulated that
Tom Swift, the young inventor, was about to show all the previous
builders of electric locomotives how such machines should be

It was even whispered that Tom's objective was a two-mile-a-
minute locomotive. And when this was publicly known the
information was not long in seeping to the ears of certain men
who had been keeping as close a watch as they dared on the Swift
Construction Company and the activities of Tom himself.

Ned Newton went to the bank one Friday for money for the
payroll of the working and clerical force of the Swift Company.
It was an errand he never relegated to any employee.

Ned had once worked himself in the bank, and naturally he knew
many of its employees as well as the officials. With his back to
the general waiting room, he sat at the vice president's desk
discussing some minor matter. Only a railing divided the vice
president's enclosure from the long settee on which waiting
customers of the bank were seated.

Ned knew that there were two men directly behind him,
whispering together; but he paid no attention to them until he
heard this phrase:

"It's time to explode in just five hours; then good-night to
that invention, whatever it is."

This statement might mean almost anything--or nothing.
Ordinarily Ned Newton might not have paid any consideration to
the words. But "invention" was a term that he could not over-
look. His mind then was fixed upon Tom's invention almost as
closely as the mind of the young inventor himself.

Ned turned around slowly, as though idly, indeed, and tried to
see the faces of the two men behind him. One was a small, neatly
dressed man of professional appearance. He wore a Vandyke beard
and eyeglasses. The other's face Ned could not see; but as they
both rose just then and strolled toward the door of the bank he
could observe that the fellow was big and burly.

Ned wheeled to his friend, the vice president, and asked:

"Who are those men, Mr. Stanley? Do you know them?"

The pair were just going out through the revolving door. The
vice president craned his neck for a look at them.

"Don't know the small man, Ned. But the other is named
O'Malley, I believe. Somebody introduced him here and he gets a
check cashed occasionally. Not a customer of the bank."

At that moment the name "O'Malley" did not mean anything to Ned
Newton. But he bade his friend good-bye and went out after the
two men. They had disappeared.

Rad was in the electric runabout, waiting for him. The words
spoken by O'Malley (Ned thought it must have been he who spoke of
the invention because of his deep voice) continued to disturb
Ned's thought.

"Rad," he said, as he got into the runabout, "did you ever
hear the name O'Malley?"

"Sure has," declared the colored man. "And it's a bad name and
a bad man owns it."

"Do you mean that?" exclaimed the financial manager of the
Swift Construction Company, with increasing apprehension. "Who is

"Why, Mr. Newton, don't you 'member dat man?"

"Who is he?" repeated Ned.

"Dat Andy O'Malley is de one what tried to hold up Massa Tom
dat time. O'Malley is de man what's been spyin' on Massa Tom--"

"Great grief!" exclaimed Ned, breaking in with excitement.
"I'll drive as fast as I can, Rad. There is something wrong at
the works, I do believe!"

"What's wrong, Mr. Ned?" demanded Rad. "We just come from dere,
and everyt'ing was all right."

"I just heard something that O'Malley said. I want to get back
in a hurry. I believe that scoundrel is attempting to blow up
Tom's locomotive. We've got to get to the works just as quick as
we can."

Chapter XI

Touch and Go

The mechanical equipment of the new locomotive was now complete
and Tom was establishing the electrical equipment as rapidly as
possible. He not only acted as overseer of this work, but in
overalls and jumper he was doing a good share of the work

The weight of the electrical equipment when it was finally set
up was not far from two hundred thousand pounds. Altogether, when
the oil, sand, and water tanks were filled, the great machine
would weigh two hundred and eighty-five tons--a monster indeed!

"She is going to take a lot of current to run her," said Tom to
his father, who was standing by. "When I come to arrange with the
Shopton Electric Company for power, it's a question if they can
give me all I need. And I must have plenty of current to make
sure that my motors till the bill."

"As your tests will be made in the daytime, the company should
be able to furnish the power you need," rejoined Mr. Swift. "At
night, of course, when they must furnish so much light as well as
power, it might be difficult for them to give you the proper

"Forty-four hundred horsepower is a big demand," went on Tom.
"I've got to have at least a three-thousand-volt direct-current
to feed my motors. I will soon have to take up the matter with
the Electric Company."

The heavy work of setting the electrical parts of the
locomotive had been finished the day previous, and the track-
derrick was removed. Tom was engaged in adjusting the more
delicate parts of the equipment and had merely stepped down from
the cab to speak to Mr. Swift.

Now he climbed back into the interior of the great machine
which, in a general way, looked like a box car. An electric
locomotive has not much of the appearance of a steam engine. The
machinery is all boxed in and the entire floor of the locomotive
is above even the drivers.

These six pairs of driving wheels were about seventy inches in
diameter, while the diameter of the leading and following truck-
wheels was but half that number of inches.

Mr. Swift had turned away from the locomotive when Tom put his
head out of the door again.

"Do you hear that, father?" he demanded in a puzzled tone.

"Hear what, Tom?" asked the old inventor, looking up.

"That ticking sound? I declare, I'd think it was one of those
death-watch beetles had got in here. Sounds like a big watch
ticking. I can't make it out."

"Where is it? What is it?" repeated Mr. Swift. "I hear nothing
down here on the floor of the shed."

"Well, it gets me," muttered Tom, and disappeared again. In a
moment he called out: "Say, you fellows! who left his bundle of
overalls in here? Better take 'em out to be manicured. Whose are

Two or three of the mechanics working near looked up from their
tasks. Mr. Swift turned back to the door of the cab again.

"What is the matter now, Tom?" he asked, in added curiosity.

"That bundle, Dad."

Tom once more appeared and addressed the workmen: "Whose bundle
of dirty overalls is this in here? Come and take 'em away. They
shouldn't have been left here."

"Why, Mr. Tom," said the foreman who was near, "I didn't see
any soiled overalls in there when I left last evening. Any of you
fellows," he asked the group of hands, "know anything about any

"The bundle is here all right. Pushed back against the third
series motors. Come up here, one of you fellows

Suddenly there was a noise at the end of the shed where the
door to the offices lay. Two figures burst through from the glass
doors and charged down the lanes between the lathes and cranes.
Ned Newton led, Rad Sampson, his face a mouse-gray with fear,

"Massa Tom! Massa Tom!" shouted the colored man. "Look out fo'
de bomb! Look out fo' de bomb!"

The foreman sprang toward the high door of the locomotive where
Tom stood, staring out. The young inventor, quick as his mind
usually functioned, did not understand at all what Eradicate

"There's something wrong in there, Mr. Tom!" shouted the
foreman. "Come down, sir, and let me get up there and see what it

But Mr. Barton Swift grasped the meaning of what was going on
more quickly than anybody else. Tom's father, Tom frequently
said, had spent so many years investigating chemical and
mechanical mysteries that he saw more clearly and more exactly
into and through most problems than other people.

His raised voice now cut through the rumble of machinery and
all the other noises of the shop. Even Rad Sampson's delirious
cry was dwarfed by Mr. Swift's sharp tone:

"Tom! The ticking of that watch! That means danger!"

The declaration seemed to rip away a curtain from Tom's
thoughts. Perhaps Rad's cry about "de bomb" aided the young
inventor to understand the peril that threatened.

The faint ticking sound that had begun to annoy him during the
past few minutes betrayed the nature of the threatening peril.
Tom swung back from the open doorway of the locomotive cab,
reached in to the space between the motors, and seized the bundle
of overall stuff that he had previously spied.

He knew instantly that the rapid ticking came from that bundle.
It could be nothing but a time bomb. He had heard of such things
and, indeed, had seen one before, an infernal machine which, set
like an alarm clock, would go off at a certain time. That
indicated time might be an hour hence, or might be within a few
seconds! Ned Newton, almost at the spot, shouted to Tom when the
latter reappeared with the bundle in his hands:

"Get down out of that, Tom Swift! Quick! For your life!"

But Tom was cool enough now. He saw his father's white,
strained face at one side and the young inventor could even smile
at him. Behind the foreman was set a barrel of water in which
tools were cooled and tempered.

"Stoop, McAvoy!" Tom shouted, and tossed the bundle from him.

Had the infernal machine exploded in midair Tom would not have
been surprised. But McAvoy dodged, Rad clapped his hands over his
ears, and, even Ned Newton halted like a bird-dog at point.

The bundle splashed into the barrel of water. It sank to the
bottom. There was no explosion. When a few seconds had passed the
group of excited men began to relax. The barrel was carried
carefully to a neighboring field.

"Fo' de lawsy sake!" gasped Rad, and got a full breath again.

"That was touch and go, sure enough," muttered Ned Newton.

"Those overalls sure went to the wash, Boss," declared the
foreman. "What was in 'em? And who put 'em in the cab up there?"

But Tom dropped down the ladder and went to his father. Their
hands sought each other and gripped, hard.

"Better not tell Mary about this," whispered Tom. "She's
worried enough as it is."

"Right, Tom," agreed the old inventor. "From this time on we
cannot be too careful. If there proves to be an infernal machine
in that package we may be sure that we are dealing with desperate
men. We've got to keep our eyes open."

"Wide open," added Ned.

"I'll say we have," said Tom.

Chapter XII

The Try-Out Day Arrives

It did not need Ned Newton's story of what he had overheard at
the bank to prove that an attempt had been made to blow to pieces
Tom Swift's electric locomotive before even it had been tested.

An examination of the water-soaked package in the open yard of
the shops of the Swift Construction Company, proved that there
was enough explosive in the bomb to blow the shed itself to
pieces. But the stopping of the clockwork attachment of course
made the bomb harmless.

"The main thing to be explained," Tom said, when he and his
father and Ned discussed the particulars of the affair, "is not
who did it, or what it was done for. Those are comparatively easy
questions to answer."

"Yes," agreed Ned. "O'Malley did it, or caused it to be done;
and it was an attempt to balk Mr. Bartholomew and the H, & P. A.
rather than a direct attack upon the Swift Construction Company."

"I am afraid, however," remarked Mr. Swift, "that Tom has
aroused the personal antagonism of this spy from the West. We
must not overlook that."

"I don't," replied the young inventor. "O'Malley has it in for
me. No doubt of that. But he could not be sure that I would be
hurt by the explosion he arranged for."

"True," said his father.

"The attempt was against my invention. And O'Malley was
doubtless urged to destroy the locomotive that I am building
because my success will aid Mr. Bartholomew and his railroad."

"Quite agreed," said Ned. "But--"

"But the important question," interrupted Tom, "is this: How
did the bomb get into the interior of the electric locomotive?
That is the first and most important problem. Its having been
done once warns us that it can be done again until our system of
guarding the works is changed."

"We have five watchmen on the job at night, and the gates are
never opened in the daytime to anybody for any purpose without a
pass," declared Ned. "I don't see how that fellow got in here
with the time bomb."

"Exactly. It shows that there is a fault in our system
somewhere," said Tom grimly. "We cannot surround the place at
night with an armed guard. It would cost too much. Even Koku
cannot be everywhere. And I have reason to know that he was
wandering about the stockade last night as usual."

"The fellow was pretty sharp to slip by," Ned observed.

"The stockade is no mean barrier, especially with the rows of
barbed wire at the top," said Mr. Swift.

"Barbed wire! That's it!" exclaimed Tom. It was just here that
Mr. Damon's idea for guarding his prize buff Orpingtons came into
play in Tom's scheme of things. "Barbed wire doesn't seem to keep
out spies," he added slowly. "But believe me, something else

For Tom to think of a thing was to start action without delay.
Immediately he called a gang from the shops and set them to work
stringing copper wire along the top of the stockade.

He was sure that the man who had set the time bomb in place had
got into the enclosure over the fence. If he tried the same trick
again he was very apt to have the surprise of his life!

Each night when the shops closed and the watchmen went on duty,
a current of electricity was turned into those copper wires
entwined with the barbed wire entanglement at the top of the
stockade that would certainly double up any marauder who sought
to get over the top.

However, no further attempt was made against Tom's peace of
mind and against his invention during the immediate weeks that
followed. The young inventor was so closely engaged in his work
that he scarcely left the house or the confines of the shops.
Even Mary Nestor saw very little of him.

But Mary realized fully that at such a time as this Tom must
give all his thought and energy to the task in hand. She was
proud of Tom's ability and took a deep interest in his

"I want to see the test when you try the locomotive, Tom," she
told him, when she came to the shops the first time to look at
the monster locomotive. "What a wonderful thing it is!"

"Its wonder is yet to be proved," rejoined the young inventor.
"I believe I've got the right idea; but nothing is sure as yet."

In addition to his mechanical contrivances inside the
locomotive, Tom had to arrange for an increased supply of
electric power to drive the huge machine around the track that
was being built inside the stockade.

A regular station had to be built for receiving the electricity
in a 100,000-volt alternating current and delivering it to the
locomotive in a 3,000-volt direct current. Therefore, this
station had two functions to perform--reducing the voltage and
changing the current from alternating to direct.

The reduction of the voltage was accomplished as follows: The
100,000-volt alternating current was received through an oil
switch and was conveyed to a high-tension current distributor
made up of three lines of copper tubing, thus forming the source
of power for this station.

From the current distributor the current was conducted through
other oil switches to the transformers--entering at 100,000 volts
and emerging at 2,300 volts. Then the current was conducted from
the transformers through switches to the motor-generator sets and
became the power employed to operate them.

The motor generator consisted of one alternating current motor
driving two direct current generators. The motor Tom established
in his station was of the 60-cycle synchronous type, which means
that the current changes sixty times each second.

There were two sets, each generating a 1,500 or 2,000 volt
direct current; and the two generators being permanently
connected, delivered a combined direct current of 3,000 volts--as
high a direct voltage current, Tom knew, as had ever been adopted
for railroad work. The current voltage for ordinary street
railway work is 550 volts.

"I could run even this big machine," Tom explained to Ned
Newton, "with a much lighter current. But out there on the
Hendrickton & Pas Alos line the transforming stations deliver this
high voltage to the locomotives. I want to test mine under
similar conditions."

"This is going to be an expensive test, Tom," said Ned,
grumbling a little. "The cost-sheets are running high."

"We are aiming at a big target," returned the inventor. "You've
got to bait with something bigger than sprats to catch a whale,

"Humph! Suppose you don't catch the whale after all?"

"Don't lose hope," returned Tom, calmly. "I am going after this
whale right, believe me! This is one of the biggest contracts--if
not the very biggest--we ever tackled."

"It looks as if the expense account would run the highest,"
admitted the financial manager.

"All right. Maybe that is so. But I'll spend the last cent I've
got to perfect this patent. I am going to beat the Jandels if it
is humanly possible to do so."

"I can only hope you will, Tom. Why, this track and the
overhead trolley equipment is going to cost a small fortune. I
had no idea when you signed that contract with Mr. Bartholomew
that so much money would have to be spent in merely the
experimental stage of the thing."

Ned Newton possessed traits of caution that could not be
gainsaid. That was one thing that made him such a successful
financial manager for the Swift Company. He watched expenditures
as closely now as he had when the business was upon a much more
limited footing.

The rails laid along the inside of the stockade made a two-mile
track, as well ballasted as any regular railroad right of way. In
addition the overhead equipment was costly.

To eliminate any possibility of the trolley wire breaking, a
strong steel cable, called a catenary, was slung just above the
trolley wire. To this catenary the trolley wire was suspended by
hangers at short intervals.

These cables were strung from brackets so that a single row of
poles could be used, save at the curves, at which cross-span
construction was used. The trolley wire itself was of the 4/0
size, and was the largest diameter copper wire ever employed for
railroad purposes.

Several weeks had now passed since the great locomotive had
been assembled in the erection shed and the cab of the locomotive
completed. It really was a monster machine, and any stranger
coming into the place and seeing it for the first time must have
marveled at the grim power suggested by the mere bulk of the

When the day of the first test arrived Tom allowed only his
most intimate friends to be present. Mary Nestor accompanied Mr.
Swift into the shops at the time appointed, and she was as
excited over the outcome of the test as Tom himself.

Ned Newton and the mechanical force of the
shops knocked off work to become spectators at the exhibition.
The only other outsider was Mr. Damon.

"Bless my alternating current!" cried the eccentric gentleman.
"I would not miss this for the world. If you tried to shut me
out, Tom, I'd climb over the stockade to get in."

"You'd better not," Tom told him, dryly. "If you tried that
you'd get a worse shock than any chicken thief will get that
tries to steal your buff Orpingtons."

Chapter XIII

Hopes and Fears

Tom climbed into the huge cab of the electric locomotive. In
fact, the cab was the most of it, for every part of the mechanism
save the drivers was covered by the eighty-odd foot structure.
From the peak of the pilot to the rear bumper the length was
ninety feet and some inches.

As Tom slid the monster out upon the yard track the small crowd
cheered. At least, the locomotive had the power to move, and to
the unknowing ones, at least, that seemed a great and wonderful

What they saw was apparently a box-car--like a mail coach, only
with more high windows--ten feet wide, its roof more than
fourteen feet from the rails, its locked pantagraph adding two
feet more to its height.

Just what was in the cab--the water and oil tanks, the steam-
heating boiler to supply heat and hot water to the train the
monster was to draw, the motors and the many other mechanical
contrivances--was hidden from the spectators.

In fact, since completing the electrical equipment of the
Hercules 0001, as Tom had named the locomotive, the young
inventor had allowed nobody inside the cab, any more than he
allowed visitors inside his private workshop. Even Mr. Swift did
not know all the results of Tom's experimental work. In a general
way the older inventor knew the trend of his son's attempts, but
the details and the results of Tom's experiments, the latter told
to nobody.

But as the huge locomotive rolled into the yard and followed
the more or less circular track inside the yard fence, it was
plain to all of the onlookers that the motive-power was there all
right! Just what speed could be coaxed from the feed-cable
overhead was another question.

Nor did Tom Swift try for much speed on this first test of the
Hercules 0001. He went around the two-mile track several times
before bringing his machine to a stop near the crowd of
onlookers. He came to the open door of the cab.

"One thing is sure, Tom!" shouted Ned. "It do move!"

"Bless my slippery skates!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "it slides
right along, Tom. You've done it, my boy--you've done it!"

"It looks good from where I stand, my son,~ said Mr. Barton

It was Mary who suspected that Tom was not wholly satisfied--as
yet, at least--with the test of the Hercules 0001. She cried:

"Tom! is it all right?"

"Nothing is ever all right--that is, not perfect --in this old
world, I guess, Mary," returned the young inventor. "But I am not
discouraged. As Ned says, the old contraption 'do move.' How fast
she'll move is another thing."

"What time did you make?" asked Mr. Swift.

"Not above fifteen miles an hour."

"Whew!" whistled Ned dolefully. "That is a long way from--"

Tom made an instant motion and Ned's careless lips were sealed.
It was not generally known among the men the speed which Tom
hoped to obtain with his new invention.

"It is a wide shoot at the target, that is true," Tom said,
soberly. "But remember I cannot test it for speed on this short
and almost circular track. Right at the start, however, I see
that something about the power-feed must be changed."

"What is that?" asked Mary, curiously.

"I have only had rigged here one trolley wire. There must be
two attached alternately to the catenary cable. Such a form of
twin conductor trolley will permit the collection of a heavy
current through the twin contact of the pantagraph with the two
trolley wires, and should assure a sparkless collection of the
current at any speed. You noticed that when I took the sharper
curves there was an aerial exhibition. I want to do away with the

The fact that the Hercules 0001 was a going and apparently
powerful draught engine satisfied most of the onlookers that Tom
Swift was on the road to final and overwhelming success. The
mechanics, indeed, saw no reason why the locomotive could not be
run right out of the yard on the freight track and coupled to the
first train going West. Of course, the Hercules 0001 could not be
delivered to the Hendrickton & Pas Alos under its own power.

When the locomotive was run back into the shed and stood once
more on the erection track, Tom confessed to Mary and Ned, while
Mr. Damon and Mr. Swift were looking through the huge cab, that
he was not at all pleased with the action of the machine.

"I have the best equipment of any electric locomotive on the
rails today. I am sure of that," he said. "The Hercules Three-
Oughts-One is not as long as those electric locomotives of the
C. M. &. St. P. But that's all right. I have built mine more
compactly and, properly geared, it should have all the power of
either the Baldwin-Westinghouse or the Jandel locomotive."

"Then, Tom dear, what is wrong?" cried Mary.

"Speed. That is what troubles me. Have I got anything like the
speed I am aiming for?"

"Two miles a minute!" breathed Ned Newton. "Some speed, boy!"

"And must you have such great speed, Tom?" repeated Mary.

"That is in my contract. Not only that, but to be of much use
to the H. & P. A. this locomotive must have such speed--or mighty
near it. Of course, under ordinary conditions, two miles a minute
for a locomotive and train of heavy freights would burn up the
track--maybe melt the flanges and throw everything out of gear."

"Why try for it, then?" demanded Mary.

"It is the power suggested by the possession of such speed that
we want in the Hercules Three-Oughts-One. That two miles a minute
is a fiction of the imagination, cannot be claimed. It is
possible. It is humanly possible. It is coming."

"Then you must be the fellow to first accomplish it, Tom
Swift," Ned declared.

"Of course, if anybody can do it, you can, Tom," agreed the
girl complacently.

"Thanks--many, many thanks," laughed the young inventor. "I'd
be able to harness the sun and stars, and put a surcingle around
the moon if I came up to my friends' opinion of my ability.

"Nevertheless, two-miles-a-minute is my objective point, and I
do not believe it is visionary. Consider the motor-cycle. Ninety
miles an hour has long been possible with that, and some tests
have shown a speed of over a hundred and ten. That is not far
from my mark.

"Some Mallet locomotives of the oil-burning type have achieved
from eighty-five to ninety-five miles an hour with a heavy load
behind them. They are very powerful machines. The Mogul mountain
climbers are powerful, too, although they are not built for

"The electric Goliaths built for the C. M. & St. P., and the
Jandels, are both very speedy under certain conditions. The
former has a maximum speed of sixty-five miles and the Jandel
slightly faster."

"But that is only half what that Mr. Bartholomew demands of
your invention, Tom!" Mary cried.

"That is a fact. I must reach twice sixty miles an hour,
anyway, to meet his demand and gain that hundred thousand bonus.
But I have the advantage of a knowledge of all that has been done
before my time in the matter of electrical locomotive

"The world do move," repeated Ned. "You believe that you have
the edge on all the other inventors?"

"Along the line of this development--yes," said Tom. "I am
taking up the work where former experimenters ended theirs. Why
shouldn't I find the right combination to bring about a
two-miles-a-minute drive?"

"Oh, Tom!" cried Mary, with clasped hands, "I hope you do."

"I hope I do, too," said Tom, grimly. "At least, if trying will
bring it, success is going to come my way."

Chapter XIV


More than four months had passed since the contract had been
signed, when Tom made his first yard-test of the Hercules 0001.
For a month nothing had been seen or heard of Andy O'Malley,
whose identity as the spy, set by Montagne Lewis to cripple Tom's
attempt to help the Hendrickton & Pas Alos Railroad, had been
determined beyond any doubt.

The private inquiry agent that Tom had engaged to find O'Malley
had been unsuccessful in his work. The spy had disappeared from
Shopton and the vicinity. Nevertheless, the inventor did not for
a moment overlook the possibility that the enemy might again

Every night the electric current was turned into the wires that
capped the stockade of the Swift Construction Company enclosure.
Koku beat a path around the enclosure at night, getting such
short sleep as he seemed to need in the forenoon.

"Dat crazy cannibal," grumbled Rad, "got it in his haid dat
he's gwine to he'p Massa Tom by walkin' out o' nights like he was
dis here Western, de great sprinter, Ma lawsy me! Koku ain't got
brains enough to fill up a hic'ry nut shell. Dat he ain't."

Nothing anybody else could do for Tom ever satisfied Rad. The
colored man fully believed that he was the only person really
necessary for Tom's success and peace of mind. In fact, Rad
thought that even Ned Newton's duties as financial manager of the
firm were scarcely of as much importance.

When he heard that Tom was going West, after a time, with the
electric locomotive, to try it out on the tracks of the
H. & P. A., Rad was quite sure that if he did not go along, the
test would not come out right.

"O' course yo'll need me, Massa Tom," he said, confidently.
"Couldn't git along widout me nohow. Yo' knows, sir, I allus has
to go 'long wid yo' to fix things."

"Don't you think father will need you here, Rad?" Tom asked the
faithful old fellow. "You're getting old--"

"Me gittin' old?" cried, the colored man. "Huh! Yo' don't know
'bout dis here chile. I don't purpose ever to git old. I been
gray-haided since befo' yo' was born; but I ain't old yit!"

Mr. Damon chanced to be present at this conversation, and he
was highly amused, yet somewhat impressed, too, by the colored
man's statement.

"Bless my own antiquity!" he exclaimed. "I agree with Rad, Tom.
It's us old fellows who know what to do when an emergency of any
kind arises. Experience teaches more than inspiration."

"Oh," said Tom, laughing, "I do not deny the value of old
friends at any stage of the game."

"Bless my roving nature! I am glad to hear you say that. For I
tell you right now, Tom, I want to be out there when you make
your final test of the locomotive."

"Do you mean that you will go West when I take out the Hercules
Three-Oughts-One?" cried Tom.

"It's just what I want to do. Bless my traveling bag, Tom! I
mean to be present at your final triumph."

"What will happen to your buff Orpingtons while you are gone?"
asked the young inventor, gravely.

"I have got my servant trained to look after those chickens,"
declared Mr. Damon. "And this invention of yours is really more
important than even my buff Orpingtons."

"Just the same," remarked Tom to his eccentric friend, when Rad
had left the room,. "I've got to fix it so that Eradicate stays
at home with father. He doesn't really know how old and broken he
is--poor fellow."

"His heart is green, Tom. That's what is the matter with Rad."

"He is a loyal old fellow. But I shall take Koku with me, not
Rad," and the young inventor spoke decidedly. "And that is going
to trouble poor Rad a lot."

The prospect of going West, however, was not the main subject
of Tom's thoughts at this time. As the weeks passed and the end
of the six months of experiment came nearer, the inventor was
more and more troubled by the principal difficulty which had from
the first confronted him. Speed.

That was the mark he had set himself. A maximum speed of two
miles a minute on a level track for the Hercules 0001. With the
speed already attained by both steam and electric locomotives in
the more recent past, this was by no means an impossible
attainment, as Tom quite well knew.

But he became convinced that the conditions under which he
labored made it impossible for him to be positive of just how
great a speed on a straight, level track his invention would

There was no electrified stretch of railroad near Shopton on
which the Hercules 0001 might be tested. The track inside the
Swift Company's enclosure did not offer the conditions the
inventor needed. He felt balked.

"I believe I have hit the right idea in my improvements on the
Jandel patents," he told Ned Newton when they were discussing the
matter. "But believing is one thing. Knowing is another!"

"Theoretically it works out all right, I suppose?" questioned

"Quite. I can prove on paper that I've got the speed. But that
isn't enough. You can see that."

"Impossible to be sure on the trackage already built here,

"I haven't dared give her all she'll take," grumbled Tom. "If I
did, I fear she'd jump the rails and I'd have a wreck on my

"And maybe kill yourself!" exclaimed Ned. "You want to have a

"Oh, that's all right! I've taken risks before. I don't want to
risk the safety of the locomotive, which is more important. That
machine has cost us a lot of money."

"I'll say so!" agreed Ned. "You'll have to wait till you can
get the locomotive out there on the H. & P. A. tracks before you
get a fair speed-test."

"And suppose instead of a triumph it is a fiasco?" Tom said,
doubtfully. "I tell you straight, Ned: I never was so uncertain
about the outcome of one of my inventions since I began dabbling
with motivepower."

"We could build several miles of straight track in the waste
ground behind the works," Ned said, thoughtfully.

"Not a chance! There is neither time nor money for such work.
Besides, I should have to rebuild my transforming station if I
supplied longer conduit wires with current."

"You don't really consider that you have failed, do you, Tom?"
and Ned's anxiety made his voice sound very woeful indeed.

"I tell you that my belief doesn't satisfy me. I hate to go
West without being sure--positive. I want to know! I have tried
the locomotive out in the yard half a dozen times. It runs like a
fine watch. There doesn't seem to be a thing the matter with it
now. But what speed can I attain?"

"I don't see but you'll have to risk it, Tom."

"I mean to give her one more test. I'll run her out tonight
when there is nobody about but the watchmen--and you, if you want
to come. I'll arrange with the Electric Company for all the
current they can spare. By ginger! I've got to take some risk."

"By the way, Tom," said his chum, "did it ever strike you as
odd that that private detective agency never got any trace of

"Well, he's gone away. We needn't worry about him. Maybe the
detective wasn't very smart, at that."

"And yet he was here in town after you put the inquiry on foot.
I saw him in the bank. He came there occasionally. And either he,
or somebody he hired, placed that bomb in the locomotive."

"All those being facts, what of it?"

"Besides, there was that other fellow--the man with the Vandyke
beard. Might be a shyster lawyer, or something of the kind. He
wasn't spotted, either."

"To tell the truth, I didn't bother to give the Detective
Agency the description of that fellow, although you gave it to
me," and Tom laughed. "I must confess that I depend more upon my
man-trap electric wires to protect the invention than I do on the
private inquiry agent."

"It's funny, just the same. If I had another job for a
detective I should not submit it to the Blatz Agency," grumbled

"I fancy Montagne Lewis and his crowd called off their Wild
West gunman," said Tom. "In any case, every attempt he made to
bother us turned out a fizzle. I am not, however, forgetting
precautions, my boy."

Ned Newton realized that his chum had determined to make this
night test of the electric locomotive the pivotal trial of the
whole affair. He came back to the works after dinner and was let
in by the office watchman at about nine o'clock.

"Mr. Tom here yet?" he asked the man.

"Yes, Mr. Newton. The young boss didn't go home to supper,
even. That colored man brought something down for him, and he's
in the shed yet."

"Rad is here, you mean?"

"Yes, sir. At least, he didn't go out this way, and we watchmen
have instructions to let nobody in or out by the yard gates at

"I'll say Tom is being careful," thought Ned, as he stepped out
through the runway toward the erection shed.

Before he reached the entrance to the huge shed, however, Ned
chanced to look down the enclosure. There were several arc lights
burning, but even these only furnished a dim illumination for the
whole yard.

He supposed that four watchmen were tramping their several
beats along the inside of the stockade and close to the trolley-
track. But when he saw an instant gleam of light down there,
close to the ground, Ned did not believe that it was the flash of
a torch in the hand of any sentry.

"Funny," he muttered. "That's outside the fence, or I'm much
mistaken. I wonder now--"

He turned from the door of the shed, left the runway, and began
walking toward the distant point at which he had seen the
mysterious flash of light.

Chapter XV

The Enemy Still Active

Ned was dressed in a dark business suit, so he was not likely
to be observed from a distance, for it was a starless night. Half
way to the end of the great yard he began to wonder if the light
he had seen might not have been an hallucination.

He doubted very much if anybody was creeping about outside the
fence. The boards were close together, with scarcely a crack half
an inch wide anywhere. A light out there--

It flashed again. He was positive of it this time, and of its
locality as well. It could be nobody who had any honest business
about the Swift Construction Company's premises. It was not Koku,
for ordinarily the giant would not use an electric torch.

Ned did not know where any of the watchmen were who were acting
as sentinels. In fact, as it appeared later, three of them had
been called off their beats by Tom himself to help in some
necessary task inside the shed. The young inventor was getting
ready to run the huge locomotive out upon the yard-track.

Remembering vividly the attempt which had been made some weeks
before to blow up the Hercules 0001, it was only natural that Ned
should suspect that the flash of light he had seen revealed the
presence of some ill-conditioned person lurking just beyond the

A man might be crouching there prepared to hurl an explosive
bomb over the fence when the locomotive was brought around as far
as that spot. Or was the villain foolish enough to attempt to
enter the enclosure by surmounting the fence?

Ned, keeping close to the ground, crossed the rails in the
fortunate shadow of one of the posts. There he found a place
where, with his back to a pole-prop right at this curve in the
trolley system, the shadow enfolded him completely.

Had his movements been marked by the person outside the fence?
Ned waited several long and anxious minutes for some move from
out there. Then something rather unexpected occurred. For the
past ten minutes he had forgotten about the test of the Hercules
0001 which Tom had promised.

With a blast of its siren the huge electric locomotive burst
out of the shed and thundered around the track. It smote Ned
Newton's mind suddenly that the inventor was going to "take a
chance" on this evening and try to get some speed out of the huge

The electric headlight cast a broad cone of white and dazzling
light across the yard. It suddenly struck full upon the spot
where Ned Newton crouched; but the upright against which he
leaned was broad enough to hide him completely.

Looking up at the top of the stockade at that moment of
illumination, the young financial manager of the Swift
Construction Company beheld a crawling figure nearing the wire
entanglements on the summit of the fence.

The unknown man was climbing by means of a notched pole. Ned
could not see that he bore any bulky object in his hands; indeed,
he needed both of them to aid him to climb. But the man's right
hand was reaching upward, above his head.

The Hercules 0001 came roaring on. Its cone of light passed
beyond Ned's station. In a few seconds it reached the spot, and
roared on. Ned had not made a move. It seemed to him that he
could not move or speak.

The onrush of the electric locomotive all but swept the young
fellow from his feet. It had come and gone in an instant!

"He's making more than fifteen or twenty miles an hour, all
right," muttered Ned.

Then he flashed another glance up at the figure outside the
fence. The man's cap showed above the top of the boards. He
seemed to be dragging something up to him from below--something
that hung and swung around and around a few feet from the ground.

Ned was about to dart out of concealment and hail the fellow.
He was not armed, nor could he get out of the stockade near this
point. He feared what the marauder intended, and he felt that he
must frighten him away.

"Suppose that is a bomb and he means to fling it in front of
Tom's locomotive?" thought the anxious Ned.

He again saw the stranger's right hand reach up above his head.
But he had no bomb in his hand. Ned suddenly shrieked a word of
warning! It had come to him what the man was doing and what the
result of his act would be.

The wire-cutters bit on one of the copper wires. There followed
a flash of blue flame, and the man screamed. He dropped the thing
swinging below him and involuntarily grabbed at the wires with
his left hand.

He was caught, then! The crackling intermittent shocks of
electric fluid passed through his body in fiery sequence. His
limbs writhed. He mouthed horribly, and croaking gasps came from
between his wide open jaws.

The Hercules 0001 had rounded the enclosure and was coming down
upon its second lap. The cone of white radiance from the
headlight fell upon the writhing body of the victim on the wires.
The locomotive siren emitted a blast that almost deafened Ned.

The monster ground to a stop. Tom swung himself half out of the
cab window beside the controller.

"Who's that?" he yelled. Then he saw Ned below him. "Who is
that fellow?"

"No friend of yours, Tom, I believe," returned his financial
manager in a shaking voice.

"Where's Rad? Rad!" Tom shouted at the top of his voice.

"I's comm', Massa Tom," rejoined the colored man.

"Never mind coming here! Get a move on, and get to the
switchboard. Turn the current out of the fence wires.

"Yis, sir, I'll go Massa Tom," declared the old man.

"Is he a spotter, Ned?" demanded the inventor.

"He's no friend. I am going out by the gate. He's got something
there that means harm, I believe. Do you think he's killed, Tom?"

"Only ought to be. Not enough current to kill him. But he's
badly burned and--and--well! I bet he won't care to fool around
the works again."

Ned dashed away to an entrance. A watchman came running, opened
the small gate, and followed Ned into the open.

Before they arrived at the vicinity of the accident Rad had got
to the switchboard. The electricity was shut out of the stockade

Ned uttered another shout. He saw the writhing body of the
shocked man fall from the stockade. When he and the watchman got
to the spot the fellow lay upon his back, groaning and sobbing;
but Ned saw at once that he was more frightened than hurt.

"Well, you did it that time!" exclaimed the young financial
manager. "And I hope you got enough."

"You--you demons!" gasped the man. "I'll have the law on you--"

"Sure you will," cackled the watchman. "You had every right in
the world to try to cut those wires, of course, and get into the
yard of the works. Sure! The judge will believe you all right."

Ned was, meanwhile, staring closely at the fallen man. Tom had
come down from the locomotive and was close to the fence.

"Who is he?" demanded the inventor. "Not O'Malley?"

Ned stepped to the fence and whispered:

"It's the other fellow. The little chap with the Vandyke. He's
dressed like a tramp, but it's the same man."

"Is he badly hurt?" demanded Tom.

"His temper is, Boss," said the watchman callously. "And say! I
know this fellow. He works for the Blatz Detective Agency. I used
to work for those folks myself. His name is Myrick--Joe Myrick."

"Ned," said Tom sternly, "go to the office and call the police.
I'll make him tell why he was here. And I'll make the Blatz
people explain, too. Hullo! what's that?"

Ned had seized the rope he had seen in Myrick's hand, and from
a patch of weeds drew a two-gallon oil-can.

"What you got there, Ned?" repeated the young inventor.

"Whatever it is, I am going to be mighty easy with it. I think
this scoundrel was trying to get it over the fence and into the
way of the locomotive."

"You can't hang anything on me," said Myrick, suddenly. "I was
just climbing up to the top of the fence to get a squint at that
contraption you've built. You can't hang anything on me."

"He's evidently feeling better," said Tom, scornfully. "Nugent,
don't let him get away from you. Go call the police, Ned. And
take care of that can until we can find out what's in it."

Later, when the police had removed Joe Myrick and the
mysterious can had been deposited in a tub of water in the open
lot until its contents could be examined, Tom said to his chum:

"I was just working up some speed on the locomotive. The
speedometer indicated fifty-five when I saw that fellow sprawling
up there on the fence. I would not have dared go much faster in
any case."

"Why, you weren't half trying, Tom!" cried the delighted Ned.

"She did slide around easy, didn't she? Fifty-five on an almost
circular track is a good showing. I am not so scared as I was, my

"You think that on a straight track you might accomplish what
you set out to do?"

"It looks like it. At any rate, I shall risk a trial on the
H. & P. A. tracks. I'm going to take her West. Be ready on
Monday, Ned, for I shall want you with me," declared Tom Swift.

Chapter XVI

Off for the West

Of course, as Tom supposed they would, the Blatz Detective
Agency denied that Joe Myrick, their one-time operative, had been
engaged through their bureau either to spy upon the Swift
Construction Company or to injure Tom's invention of the electric

Nevertheless, three points were indisputable: Myrick had been
caught spying; in his possession was a can of explosive which
could be set off by concussion; and it was a fact that to Myrick
had been first entrusted the matter of hunting for Andy O'Malley
when Tom had put the search for the Westerner up to the Blatz

"He played traitor both to you, Mr. Swift, and to our agency,"
declared Blatz to Tom. "I wash my hands of him. I hope the police
send him away for life!"

"He'll go to prison all right," said Tom, confidently. "But the
main point is that one of your operatives fell down on a simple
job. I wanted that Andy O'Malley traced. He's out of the way,
now, of course. If you had put an honest man to work for me,
O'Malley would be behind the bars himself."

"Some doubt of that, Mr. Swift," grumbled Blatz.


"Where's your evidence that this O'Malley was connected with
the attempt to blow up your locomotive the first time? Mr.
Newton's testimony would need corroboration."

"Never mind that," rejoined the young inventor, with a smile.
"I'd have him for highway robbery. I recognized him. He robbed me
of a wallet. Guess we could put O'Malley away for awhile on that
charge. And by the time he got out again my job for that Western
railroad would be completed."

"Humph! Nothing personal in your going after the fellow, then?"
queried the head of the detective agency.

"No. But I frankly confess that I am afraid of O'Malley. He is
undoubtedly in the employ of men who will pay him well if he
wrecks my invention. But there really is no personal grudge
between O'Malley and me. At least, I feel no particular enmity
against the fellow."

There was a pause.

"If you say so we will give you a couple of good men as
bodyguards on your trip West," suggested Blatz, licking his lips

"As good men as Myrick?" retorted Tom, rather scornfully. "No,
thank you. Just make your bill out to the Swift Construction
Company to date, and a check will be sent you the first of the
month. I will take my own precautions hereafter."

And those precautions Tom considered sufficient. When the
Hercules 0001 was towed out of the enclosure belonging to the
Swift Construction Company early on Monday morning, each door and
window of the huge cab was barred and locked. Inside the cab rode
Koku, the giant.

Koku had his orders to allow nobody to enter the Hercules 0001
until Tom or Ned Newton came to relieve him of his responsibility
as guard. The giant had a swinging cot to sleep on and sufficient
food--of a kind--to last him for a fortnight if necessary.

He was not armed, for Tom did not often trust him with weapons.
The young inventor, however, did not expect that any armed force
would attack the electric locomotive.

If Montagne Lewis desired to wreck the new invention which
might mean so much to Mr. Bartholomew and the H. & P. A., he
surely would not allow his hirelings to attack openly the
locomotive while it was en route.

On the other hand, Tom did not really believe that Andy
O'Malley would attempt any reprisal against him personally. Of
course, the Western desperado might feel himself abused by Tom,
especially in the matter of Tom's use of his ammonia pistol.

But that had happened months ago. O'Malley had undoubtedly been
hired by Mr. Bartholomew's enemies to obtain knowledge of the
contract signed between the young inventor and the railroad
president; and later it was certain that the spy had tried his
best to wreck the electric locomotive.

As for any personal assault so many weeks after O'Malley had
clashed with him Tom Swift did not expect it. With Ned in his
company on this journey to Hendrickton, the young inventor had
good reason to consider that he was perfectly safe.

Mary Nestor and Mr. Swift came to the station to see the two
young men off on Monday evening. Mary had heard about the second
attempt made to blow up the Hercules 0001 and she begged Tom to
take every precaution while he was in the West.

"You will be in the enemy's country out there, Tom dear," she
warned him. "You won't be careless?"

"I know I shall be mighty busy," he told her, laughing. "I'll
let Ned play watch-dog. And you know, his is a cautious soul,

"I've every confidence in Ned's faithfulness," the girl said,
still with anxious tone. "But those men who are trying to ruin
Mr. Bartholomew's road will stop at nothing. I must hear from you
frequently, Tom, or I shall worry myself ill."

"Don't lose your courage, Mary," rejoined the inventor, more
gravely. "I do not think they will attack me personally again.
Remember that Koku is on the job, as well as Ned. And Mr. Damon
declares he will follow us West very shortly," and again Tom

"Even Mr. Damon may be a help to you, Tom," declared Mary,
warmly. "At least, he is completely devoted to you."

"So is Rad Sampson," said Tom, with a little grimace. "I
certainly had my hands full convincing him that father needed him
here at home. At that, Rad is pretty warm over the fact that I
sent Koku on with the locomotive. If anything should chance to
happen to my invention, Eradicate Sampson is going to shout 'I
told you so!' all over the shop."

Mary dabbed her eyes a little with her handkerchief, and Tom
patted her shoulder.

"Don't worry, Mary," he said more cheerfully. "There won't a
thing happen to me out there at Hendrickton. I'll keep the wires
hot with telegrams. And I'll write to both you and father, and
give you the full particulars of how we get along. You'll keep
your eye on father, Mary, won't you?"

"You may be sure of that," said the girl. "I will not leave him
entirely to the care of Rad," and she tried hard to smile again.
But it was a difficult matter.

Such a parting as this is always hard to endure. Tom wrung his
father's hand and warned him to be careful of his health. The
train came along and the two young men boarded it with their
personal luggage.

They had a flash of the two faces--that of Mr. Swift's and
Mary's blooming countenance--as the express started again, and
then the outlook from the Pullman coach showed them the fast-
receding environs of Shopton.

"We're on our way, my boy," said Tom to his chum.

"We certainly are," said Ned, thoughtfully. "I wonder what the
outcome of the trip will be? It may not be all plain sailing."

"Don't croak," rejoined the young inventor, with a grin.

"I don't see how you can appear so cheerful., Why! you don't
even know if that electric locomotive is safe. Something may have
already happened to it. The freight train might be wrecked. A
dozen things might happen."

"I am not crossing any bridges before I come to them," declared
Tom. "Besides, I propose to keep in touch with the Hercules
Three-Oughts-One in a certain way--Hullo! Here it is."

"Here what is?" demanded Ned.

The Pullman conductor at that moment came in through the
forward corridor. He had a telegram in his hand, and intoned
loudly as he approached:

"Mr. Swift! Mr. Thomas Swift! Telegram for Mr. Swift."

"That is for me, Conductor," said Tom briskly, offering his

"All right, Mr. Swift. Just got it at Shopton. Operator said
you had boarded my car. This is railroad business, you'll notice.
Have you any reply, sir?"

Tom ripped open the envelope and unfolded the telegram. He held
it so that Ned could read, too. It was signed: "N. G. Smith,
Conductor, Number 48."

"What's that?" exclaimed Ned, reading the message.

"'Locomotive and crazy man in it all right at Lingo,'" repeated
Tom aloud, and chuckled.

"No, Conductor, there is no answer."

"Good!" exclaimed Ned. "You arranged to get reports en route
from the conductors handling the Hercules Three-Oughts-One?"

"Surest thing you know," replied Tom. "And I guess, from the
wording of this message, that the crew of Forty-eight have
already found out that Koku is not an ordinary guard."

"He's a great boy," smiled Ned. "Glad he is on the job."

Chapter XVII

The Wreck of Forty-Eight

The two chums sought their berths that night in high fettle.
Even Ned sloughed off his mood of apprehension which he had worn
on boarding the train at Shopton.

For, true to the arrangement Tom had made with the railroad
people, another reassuring telegram was brought to him before
bedtime. The second conductor responsible for the management of
the Western bound freight to which the Hercules 0001 was
attached, sent back a brief statement of the safety of the
electric locomotive.

Naturally the two chums would have passed the freight and got
well ahead of it before reaching Hendrickton. But Tom had
business in Chicago, and they stayed over in that city for
twenty-four hours. The freight train went around the city, of
course. But the telegrams continued to reach Tom promptly, even
at the hotel where he and Ned stopped in the city.

Occasionally the trainmen in charge of the freight mentioned
Koku. His eccentric behavior doubtless somewhat puzzled the

"That's all right," chuckled Ned. "Let them think Koku is
dangerous if they want to. That O'Malley person believed he was!"

"I'll say so!" replied Tom. "The way he ran when Koku started
after him that time on the Waterfield Road seemed to prove that
he didn't want to mix with Koku."

"If he--or other spies--learns that Koku is with the Hercules
Three-Oughts-One, it ought to warn them away from the

This was Ned's final speech before getting into his berth. He,
as well as Tom, slept quite as calmly on this first night out of
Chicago as they had before.

They knew exactly where the electric locomotive was. It was on
the same road as this train they were traveling in, and, although
on a different track, it was not many miles ahead. In fact, if
the two trains kept to schedule, the transcontinental passenger
train would pass the freight in question about five o'clock in
the morning.

It lacked half an hour of that time when the Pullman train came
suddenly to a jolting stop. Both Tom and Ned were awakened with
the rest of the passengers in their coach.

Heads were poked out between curtains all along the aisle and a
chorus of more or less excited voices demanded:

"What's the matter?"

"Nothin's the matter wid dis train, gen'lemens an' ladies,"
came in the porter's important voice. "Jest nothin' at all's
happened. It's done happened up ahead of us, das all."

"Well, what has happened ahead of us, George?" asked Ned.

"Jest another train, Boss, been splatterin' itself all ober de
right of way. We sort o' bein' held up, das all," replied the

"That's good news--for us," said Ned, preparing to climb back
into his berth. But he halted where he was when he heard his chum

"What train left the track, George?"

"A freight train, sah. Yes, sah. Number Forty-eight. She jumped
de rails, side-swiped de accommodation dat was holdin' us back,
and has jest done spread herself all over de right of way."

"My goodness!" gasped Ned.

"Hear that, Ned?" exclaimed Tom. "Scramble into your clothes,
boy. The Hercules Three-Oughts-One is hitched to Forty-eight."

"Suppose she's off the track?" murmured Ned.

"It's lucky if she isn't smashed to matchwood," groaned Tom,
and almost immediately left the Pullman coach on the run.

Ned was not far behind him. When they reached the cinder path
beside the freight train it was just sunrise. Long arms of rosy
light reached down the mountain side to linger on the tracks and
what was strewed across them. A glance assured the two young
fellows from the East that it was a bad smash indeed.

Several of the rear boxcars were slung athwart the passenger
tracks. The passenger train that had been ahead of the Pullman
train on which Tom and Ned rode, had been badly beaten in all
along its side. Scarcely a whole window was left on the inner
side of the five cars. But those cars were not derailed. It was
merely some of the freight cars that retarded the further
progress of the transcontinental flyer. A derrick car must be
brought up to lift away the debris before the fast train could
move on.

Tom and Ned walked forward along the length of the wreck.
Suddenly the anxious young inventor seized Ned's arm.

"Glory be!" he ejaculated. "It's topside up, anyway."

"The Hercules Three-Oughts-One?" gasped Ned.

"That's what it is!"

Tom quickened his pace, and his financial manager followed
close upon his heels. The forward end of Forty-eight had not left
the track and the electric locomotive stood upright upon the
rails, being near the head end of the train.

"If this wreck was intentional, and aimed at your invention,
Tom," whispered Ned Newton, "it did not result as the wreckers

Tom scouted the idea suggested by his chum. And in a few
moments they learned from a railroad employee that a broken
flange on a boxcar wheel had caused the wreck.

"So that disposes of your suspicion, Ned," said Tom,
approaching the huge electric locomotive.

"Hey, gents!" exclaimed another railroad man, one of the crew
of the wrecked freight. "Better keep away from that locomotive."

"What's the matter with it?" Ned asked, curiously.

"Got some kind of an aborigine caged up in it. You put your
hand on any part of it and he's likely to jump out and bite your
hand off, or something. Believe me, he's some savage."

Both Tom and Ned burst into laughter. The former went forward
to the door of the cab and knocked in a peculiar way. It was a
signal that the giant recognized instantly.

"Master!" Koku cried from inside the cab. "Master! Him come

"No, Koku," said Tom. "I'm not coming in. Are you all right?"

"Yes. Koku all right. Him come out?"

"No, no!" laughed Tom. "You are not at your journey's end yet,
Koku. Keep on the job a while longer."

"Sure. Koku stay here forever, if Master say so."

"Forever is a long word, Koku," said Tom, more seriously. "I'll
tell you when to open the door. I'll be at the end of the journey
to meet you."

"It all right if Master say so. But Koku no like to travel in
box," grumbled the giant.

Tom turned from the electric locomotive to see Ned staring
across the tracks at a man who was talking to several of the
train crew of the side-swiped accommodation train. That train was
about to be moved on under its own power. None of the wreckage of
the freight interfered with the progress of the accommodation.

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