bottom side of the platform toward the direction of their orbit and

applied power. They would then drop toward the surface, but with

almost unlimited power available they could keep the downward

component of their fall within limits and prevent overheating. They

could probably be on the surface in less than an hour.

The first and most likely area of exploration would be Egypt. The

platform could be landed a few miles back from the Nile and be in

completely unoccupied desert. The four helicopter-equipped explorers

could put on their rotating-wing backpacks and by keeping low, come up

very close to some center of civilization without being seen. By going

up to a few thousand feet they could observe a fairly large area. Even

if they were spotted, they would be small and unrecognizable, and

cause a minimum amount of excitement.

Like any tourist in any age they would probably be most interested in

the territory around the pyramids. When they had finished here they

might want to look over the country around what is now Bagdad, but

_then_ only near the capital city of Nebuchadnezzar's empire. This is

about eight hundred miles away, an impractical trip by helicopter, so

they would return to the platform, climb to a few hundred thousand

feet, and scoot over in a few minutes. Here they would land again in

some uninhabited spot and repeat the maneuver. This country was

probably sprinkled with more people than they expected. Maybe that's

why this is the legendary flying carpet country, or maybe not. At any

rate, one lonely military prisoner, working by himself near the banks

of a stream must have seen them. Even if they did notice him, what

possible harm could he do? In the present state of the civilization

who would remember what he said or even believe him? I do.

THE END

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Arthur W. Orton

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