He looked up at the narrow section of the launching dome that showed above the edge of the cliff two hundred feet up in the sky, and imagined the four men in their gas-masks and asbestos suits watching the gauges as the terrible liquid explosive pulsed down the black rubber tube into the stomach of the rocket. He suddenly realized that they were in range if anything went wrong with the fuelling.
In 1849, we find Lincoln's name connected with an invention for lifting vessels over shoals. His sojourn on the Sangamon River and his memory of the attempt, successful for the moment but ending in failure, to make the river available for steamboats, had attracted his attention to the problem of steering river vessels over shoals.
The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. Then the soul-erosion produced by high gambling - a compost of greed and fear and nervous tension - becomes unbearable and the senses awake and revolt from it.
There was a rattle and a sickening lurch at the points and then they were out on the main line and the speedometer was trembling at thirty and the girl's hair was flowing back like a golden banner towards him.
'Oh really? Can't say I suffer from any myself.'
'Un banco de huit millions.'
Vallance put back the receiver and turned towards Bond. "Secretary says Saye won't be back until 3.30. I suggest you get there at 3.15. Never does any harm to have a look round first. Always useful to get your man a bit off balance. How's it going?"
When they reached the steel-plated floor of the shaft, Drax paused and looked up. Bond followed his eyes. Seen from that angle it seemed as if they were gazing up a thin straight shaft of light into the blazing heaven of the arcs, a shaft of light that was not pure white but a shot mother-of-pearl satin. There were shimmers of red in it picked up from the crimson canisters of a giant foam fire-extinguisher that stood near them, a man in an asbestos suit beside it aiming its nozzle at the base of the rocket. There was a streak of violet whose origin was a violet bulb on the board of an instrument panel in the wall, which controlled the steel cover over the exhaust pit. And there was a whisper of emerald green from the shaded light over a plain deal table at which a man sat and wrote down figures as they were called to him from the group gathered directly beneath the Moonraker's tail.
Chapter 3 Mankind at the Cross Roads