The Martian vessel stopped and bent up. They saw human figures more than half as large again as men inside her staring at them through the windows in the sides. There were others at the breaches of the guns in the act of turning the muzzles on the Astronef; but this was only a momentary glimpse, for in a second the Astronef's spur had pierced her, the Martian air-ship broke in twain, and her two halves plunged downwards through the rosy clouds.
Without the slightest sign of fear, but with very evident astonishment in their round golden-yellow eyes, they came walking close up to the sides of the Astronef. Some of them stroked her smooth, shining sides with their little hands, which Zaidie now found had only three fingers and a thumb. Many ages before they might have been birds' claws, but now they were soft and pink and plump, utterly strange to manual work as it is understood upon Earth.