THE CHASE

Rapidly Bob considered the situation.
The speed craft he and Lang occupied had much the best of it on a
straight flight, but, against that, he had to set his inexpert handling.
The smaller craft could out-climb, out-maneuver the cabin ship but he
had no experience in stunting, especially dangerous at night.
Therefore Lang’s decision was the safest one.
To try to make a landing, Lang evidently concluded, was not wise. He
felt that he could take over the controls before that need arose, Bob
guessed.
A new complication came, however.
If the cabin ship had the disadvantage of being slower, she had gained
an offsetting advantage before they saw her. She was much higher in the
air than their craft; she could dive, if her pilot chose, and thus close
the distance between them—maybe come down “on their tail,” or ride them
to earth, if her pilot proved to be determined to force them to land.
Accordingly Bob opened the throttle wider, and slightly elevated the
nose to climb.
Lang, peering upward and to the rear, made a violent, vigorous gesture.
Bob, reading it, understood.
He did not question. Lang called for a sideslip!
Instantly Bob manipulated ailerons and rudder correctly and felt the
wind on the cheek toward the lower side of their bank, telling him they
were slipping.
Then, applying rudder and other controls to check the slip, dropping the
nose again to pick up flying speed quickly, he saw why the maneuver had
been executed. The cabin airplane had begun to dive down from above
them. Lang, having seen it, anticipated. He had not wanted to wrest away
control—too dangerous. He had risked the signal, and Bob had executed
his order accurately.
He was glad, all the same, when Lang shook the stick, tapped on his own
helmet to sign that he wanted the controls.
Bob relinquished them thankfully enough. At night, in strange
surroundings, in an airplane he had only handled a little, he was not
foolish enough to wish to risk neck and limb—far less Lang’s than his
own!—by trying to outfly a pilot who evidently meant to be vicious, to
resort to war tactics if they did not obey his signals.
Lang, somewhat recovered, took over and Bob, delighted, watched his
expert manipulation of the splendid little ship. She answered his every
command. He barrel-rolled out of the way of any immediate danger, thus
leaving the cabin craft well to one side. He started up a loop after a
swift dive, but at its top he executed half of a barrel-roll, and since
the top of the loop had the nose in the direction opposite their course,
the half-roll put the craft on its level, upright course, but going
directly away from the former one.
The cabin ship could not be stunted that way, or else its pilot against
his will was compelled to recognize superior tactics.
At any rate, as Lang swung around in a wide circle, slowly climbing at
the same time, the other craft seemed to be heading uncertainly back.
It came around, however, as soon as Langley straightened out on the
former course along the airway; but they rapidly outflew it and when
they landed at an airport in the distant city suburbs, the cabin ship
was nowhere in sight.
It was nearly eleven o’clock at night when Bob and Langley were ushered
up the hotel elevator and along a corridor and into Mr. Wright’s rooms.
The detective, who had been apprised, long distance, by his wife, that
his nephew was flying to keep the appointment, was waiting.
Hardly had his surprise at Bob’s presence been expressed and a late
supper for the air-hungered pair been ordered than another visitor was
announced.
“So this is where you were bound for!”
To Bob’s amazement, Barney spoke.
“Why didn’t you leave word that you were coming here?” he said, rather
sharply. “We could all have come together.”
“We didn’t know you were on your way here,” said Langley.
“We thought you were chasing us,” Bob added.
“So I was. The watchman said you hopped but he didn’t say where to. I
was coming over to confer with Mr. Wright, but I thought Lang and you,
Bob, were joy-riding. So I signaled you to land and when you didn’t I
decided to scare you into setting down—but it failed.”

He chuckled.
“I ought to know better than to think I could outfly Lang,” he said.
“Well—if you’ve come with information, it’s all right. We can have a
conference, all together.”
They did so, over the dinner. Lang listened to Bob’s recital of the
latest developments about Griff, with growing anger, until he saw
Barney’s face.
“Good boy, Bob,” commented Barney. “I’ve sort of had a notion in my head
for some time about——”
“Griff?”
“Yes. I’ve thought he was the one who’s crossed the wires on us and
short-circuited the whole plant. So he divided with somebody, did he?
Well—he must have gotten it from somebody higher. Have you thought
about?——”
“His father?” broke in Bob. “Yes—we have!”