Excerpt: ...back the answer. "We're ready when you are." "Then here we go!" said Tom. "Hold fast, Ned! Of course there's no real telling what will happen, though I believe we'll come out of it alive." "Cheerful prospect," murmured Ned. The grippers were now in place. It only remained for the tank to propel herself over them, pick them up on the ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...back the answer. "We're ready when you are." "Then here we go!" said Tom. "Hold fast, Ned! Of course there's no real telling what will happen, though I believe we'll come out of it alive." "Cheerful prospect," murmured Ned. The grippers were now in place. It only remained for the tank to propel herself over them, pick them up on the other side of Tinkle Creek, and proceed on her course. Tom Swift hesitated a moment, one hand on the starting lever and the other on the steering wheel. Then, with a glance at Ned, half whimsical and half resolute, Tom started Tank A on what might prove to be her last journey. Slowly the ponderous caterpillar belts moved around on the sprocket wheels. They ground with a clash of steel on the surface of the spanners. So long was the tank that the forward end, or the "nose," was halfway across the stream before the bottom part of the endless belts gripped the latticed bridge. "If we fall, we'll span the creek, not fall into it," murmured Ned, as he looked from the observation slot. "That's what I counted on," Tom said. "We'll get out, even if we do fall." But Tank A was not destined to fall. In another moment her entire weight rested on the novel and transportable bridge Tom Swift had evolved. Then, as the gripping ends of the girders sank farther into the soil, the tank went on her way. Slowly, at half speed, she crawled over the steel beams, making progress over the creek and as safely above the water as though on a regularly constructed bridge. On and on she went. Now her entire weight was over the middle of the temporary structures. If they were going to give way at all, it would be at this point. But they did not give. The latticed and triangular steel, than which there is no stronger form of construction, held up the immense weight of Tank A, and on this novel bridge she propelled herself across Tinkle Creek. "Well, the worst is over," remarked Ned, as he saw the nose of the tank project beyond the farthermost bank....Read Less
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