by Captain W. E. Johns



XIII.                        BIGGLES PLAYS FOR TIME  (Pages 163 - 174)


Biggles says the problem now is to get the rest of the gold into the machine.  He want to find the best way to do it and by that he means the safest.  Ginger wonders what Lavinsky can do.  If he's trapped in the ice he must rely on one of them - a pilot - to get him home.  Biggles suspects Lavinsky has gone to confirm if Algy's report is accurate - that he is really trapped.  "If he decides he can get out he'll come back here with all hands to try to wipe us out".  Biggles main fear is if their aircraft fuel tanks get holed then they will all be stuck there.  After waiting a while, Biggles decides to load the gold, but he is not going to leave Larsen behind either.  The Skipper goes to fetch a gold bar and he is fired upon.  A gun battle then commences between Biggles' party and the men on the ridge.  When firing ceases.  Biggles sends Ginger and Grimy to help the Skipper shift gold bars.  This goes on for about an hour until a boat from the 'Svelt' makes its way across open water to the ice floe from which the gold is being recovered.  Abandoning the last half dozen bars of gold, Biggles and his colleagues take off and fly over to the 'Svelt' where they plan to set her adrift.  Ginger asks why they don't just go completely.  "Have you forgotten Larsen?  He may be dead, but there's a chance that he's still alive, possibly wounded.  I shouldn't sleep comfortably in my bed again if I thought we'd left him to the tender mercies of this ship-rat, Lavinsky" says Biggles.  They climb aboard the plane.