Then how can they tell if they've been exploded or not when we go submarining around them?

It's up to us to see if we can dodge the wires or contrive some way to disconnect them.

That disconnecting idea doesn't appear very feasible.

No, it does not, agreed Ned; but I think I can find a way to evade them, for all that.

Hum! So long as they're not loaded, I don't care even if we run bumpety-bang into one, declared Herc; but a loaded mine—no, thank you!

Our orders after that are general. We are to use our own discretion entirely, acting as the eyes and ears of the Red fleet, and forwarding to the flagship, via wireless, every scrap of information we think might be valuable to the attacking party.

That's one thing I don't like about this command, muttered Herc.

[Pg 95]

What is that?

Why, we're supposed to be enemies to the flag.

But only supposed to be, Herc, for the purposes of perfecting the strength of Uncle Sam's defenses, and playing a useful part in exposing any weakness in our nation's fortifications.

Huh; well, that's all the kind of enemy I ever want to be—a supposed one.

I'm going into my cabin to lay out our course, said Ned, after a few more words. I want you on deck, Herc, to see how things are going on. It won't take me long and—— What on earth is the matter? Got a stroke?

There was a large glass skylight over the wardroom and, owing to the warmth of the weather, the flaps of this had been raised. With the expression of one who has been suddenly hypnotized, Herc was staring with open eyes and mouth straight up at the wardroom roof.

What do you see? demanded Ned, springing[Pg 96] to his feet. Shall I get you a glass of water? Shall I——

Umph! You might get me a gun, snorted Herc.

A gun! What on earth do you want with a gun?

I want it to shoot a skunk!

A skunk! Do you think you're back on the farm?

No, but just the same I'd like to go gunning with grandpap's old scatter gun.

I wish we had a doctor on board, Herc. Any fellow who can go around seeing skunks——

Ought to shoot 'em on sight, muttered Herc belligerently. Well, Ned, this was a skunk I saw, all right, all right! And what do you think his name was?

Without waiting for a reply, Herc rushed on, Kenworth! He'd been listening to every word we were saying!
CHAPTER XII.  SAKI—STEWARD.
For the time being there was no opportunity to investigate the case of the eavesdropper. It was important that they should get under way at once. Herc hastened on deck after a few hurried words with Ned.

Just at that moment two bells—one o'clock—sounded in the slow, deep, mellow tones of the ship's bell. Simultaneously there appeared, through a doorway at one end of the wardroom, the figure of a dapper Japanese, dressed in white garments.

Hullo! Who are you? demanded Ned, looking up from a reverie into which he had fallen, following Herc's departure.

Me Saki. Officer steward. Me getee lunch for honorable capitan, rejoined the Jap with a low bow.