I'm not kidding about the configuration of the Akulla flier. Check on-line for some of the experimental aircraft; they look as I've described.
I used this kind of design because the stories (and movies) of "flying saucers" strike me as pretty dumb. There's no way that a true saucer-like configuration can be aerodynamically sound. Think about a frisbie for a moment. Sure, it sails along merrily through the air, but it gets its "lift"-actually, more a resistance to falling-by rotating speedily as it goes. Rapid rotation would be pretty dizzying to anyone (or anything) inside, don't you think? A saucer simply won't fly. But, as I point out in the story, the short-winged, short-fuselage design of some experimental craft will, and at a quick glance it could also be mistaken for a saucer. Q.E.D.
We're nearing the end of my story. Rather than drag out the denouement across multiple postings on separate days, I'm doing two chapters today and will finish up with the remaining three Friday. For those who'd like to keep the whole thing for revisiting, I'll again mention that it's available on Amazon for $3, as is the rest of my longer fiction (including some that I haven't posted on SOL). Thanks very much for reading; and thanks, too, to all those who've e-mailed. It's all been very encouraging-especially the fact that so many folks have been willing to go for a novel that has grand opera as its sub-theme.