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RESCUE IN PELLUCIDAR
Fiona travels to Pellucidar to rescue her long-lost children.
By Rick Johnson
Fiona was munching on a fish, naked as always it seemed lately, her gear at hand and as soon as she finished the meal, she planned to leave when Zurok appeared. How he got so close without her knowing, she put down to his hunter's skills for the man was a skilled and courageous hunter, but suddenly he was there, grabbing for her. One eye was gone, probably from her heel, the other damaged but still working. He didn't look good at all but he did look mean and angry.
“You she-jalok!” he yelled, “I'll make you pay for what you did to me. What I suffered, you'll suffer more until you beg me to kill you.” Then he reached for her but she rolled backwards, grabbing her spear as she did, alive only because he no longer had depth perception and missed with his grab.
Then on ready, she made a number of short jabs at his good eye exclaiming, “Better you left me alone or you'll loose the other eye. How's the kidneys? Still pissing blood?” She wanted him angry for anger may increase strength but it also causes the person to make stupid mistakes and she could never hope to match his strength so needed whatever she could get for an advantage.
He kept reaching for her spear but she knew that once he closed, she would be dead so she never committed herself to a thrust. In the movies they always had a small girl defeat large men but that was movie-magic. In the real world, Martial Arts and Boxing tournaments never matched women against men because the women always lost and often were broken. When the woman won, it was usually because the man couldn't bring himself to strike back. True some women could defeat some men and she herself was a prime example of that, but none of her opponents were as large and strong and angry as was Zurok. So she had no illusions about the outcome. She'd need to be faster, smarter, luckier and most of all, fight dirty just to survive.
Finally she managed to poke his hand which caused him to growl and swear then he slammed his one spear butt against her side, a blow that she barely managed to stop with her own spear, though the impact nearly knocked her from her feet and she feared another such blow would snap her shaft which was far thinner than his own. Only the wetness of the wood saved it for the spear shaft bent and rebounded. Had it been cured and dry, the outcome would have been different.
Zurok swung again and poked and stabbed with his own weapon and Fiona was instantly forced to the defense. He had none of the knowledge of Bo-Jitsu that Fiona had but he had spent a lifetime fighting with a spear in actual to-the-death duels so was good. Damn good! Too damn good! She also was moving backwards and would soon fall over one of the branches or trunks that littered the field. Then the question would be in which order would her beat, rape and kill her?
From the corner of her eyes she saw the bones of the sauropods and knew exactly where she was and with the next blow, she took a step to the side and leapt back between two of the erect ribs of the dead monster. Zurok swung and his spear shaft bounced between two of the ribs, catching for an instant, and Fiona took that instant of reprieve to stab at his face, drawing blood over his forehead but missing the eye which had been her target. The she turned and ran, not for the trees but for her bags which she reached a moment before Zurok who had to wipe blood from his one good eye. Then she leapt the stream and ran, legs pumping and ignoring the ache in her breasts which disliked jogging and let her know it.
Zurok couldn't jump the stream, she figured. He was too big and no longer had any depth perception and also didn't have her dancer's training so by the time he crossed the water she was in the trees. She ran, then hid and waited, holding the thongs of her make-shift morning-star in one hand as she caught her breath.
The man was blundering through the forest, screaming insults and threats but Fiona was no innocent maiden to be terrified by words. She'd been called worse in her life and while entertaining in Las Vegas and seeking a movie career in Hollywood, she had probably done worse than he could imagine. No, that description he was now giving of her over a tree trunk and the snakes and jaloks was very detailed and something she felt was anatomically impossible though telling Barry what Zurok said would give him plenty of fantasies for his all too often episodes of self-abuse. So she waited, her breathe calming then she tossed a rock to attract him. She had originally considered running forever but he'd only catch her again and this time she was awake and rested and fed. Had he arrived an hour earlier, he would have simply dragged her sleeping body from its lair and had his way with her.
Zurok moved in, close and suddenly quiet. Then she moved out into his blind-side, swung her rock on a thong and glanced it off his shoulder. Before he could recover, she continued the swing and hit his left hand, smashing the bones and then he struck. But she had planned this well and his spear became entangled in the trees and she struck again and again, the eighteen inch thong forcing her in close but with every strike, the rock broke bones and another blow to his knee as she ducked under his return strike dropped the man. Before he could recover, she struck his chest with the stone then backed away, took her spear and thrust into his throat as he lay there screaming, then she backed away, again gasping for breath, waiting for him to die.
Zurok raised his good hand to her, not to his throat that was pumping his life in a scarlet fountain, then he said, “I love you.” Those were his last words as he expired.
Fiona collapsed, removed the gourd from where she had stashed it and drank deep. Then she leaned against a tree and considered her next step.
She hefted his spear but it was too large and massive for her to use easily so she used her hand-axe to remove the head about six inches below the lacing, giving her a heavy knife with an eight-inch stone blade. Zurok's own knife she also kept and then removed his loin-cloth, wincing at the mess she revealed. It appeared that his bowels had voided as he died filling the fur with feces and urine and her kicks had done more damage than she thought for there was clotted blood gluing the loincloth to his loins. Well, she needed clothes but this was almost useless, still she searched and found a piece that was clean enough and cut it free. This had been a flap that fell behind over his rope that held the article to his hips and so had avoided the damage the rest of the Tarag-hide had suffered. This wasn't nearly enough to cover her breasts and loins but with some work, she had a furry loincloth that covered more than a g-string but not as much as her usual underpants. Well, a bikini bottom hid less so she cleaned it as best she could, used laces from Zurok's own belt to make a thong belt and as soon as the hide had dried, she now had at least her lower regions covered, after a fashion. Reaching behind she knew her buttocks were mostly exposed but she was decent. Now if she could find or make a decent bra.
Then after stripping Zurok of anything he had of value: knife, spearhead, leather thongs, flint and tender for a fire, and his sandals which she adjusted for her smaller feet, she set off to find her children again. As she walked, she realized that with the exception of her loincloth, she had gone from total nakedness and totally unarmed to armed and clothed completely without help. And had she time, she could tan leather and fur for herself but her children called so she'd have to go as she was. She had even been captured, escaped, and killed her abductor without much more than a few scratches and bruises. She was definitely doing well. And those Hollywood types thought she was fit only for the jiggly-films!
Strange thing is that there were only two men who actually respected her and they were Jason and Barry. Both saw her as a beautiful and sexy woman. Jason pretended to be a sexist but never hesitated to trust her with his or anyone else's life. Barry saw he as just a piece of ass but was learning that she was more. Yet, the only people she wanted to impress were her children.
Fiona pushed herself searching for the camp. Without landmarks and nothing but the pine forest around, she was essentially lost and tried to remember everything she had learned from Jason in the Desert and from the TV specials she had narrated over the years. She pushed herself until she was starving then hunted and ate the nearly raw animal for she wasted no time in a thorough cooking. Then she pushed herself until she was exhausted and only then would she find a tree to climb for a fitful nap. Twice she met predators, once she avoided by climbing a tree then she had to search for her spear that the smaller theropod had dragged away, the other time, she had no time and planted the butt of her spear and the beast that looked like a large wolf-sized ferret slammed onto the point and as it worked its way down the shaft at her, she braced the butt with her foot and struck the skull again and again with her stone mace until the bones had pulped. Only then did it die. And still she moved on, searching for something familiar.
After a couple sleeps, as the Pellucidaran Giliks counted time, she saw something familiar. So creeping up carefully, she recognized it as the fortress made by the government agents, a fortress totally unable to contain her or keep out the raptors. Just in case they still had bullets left, she moved around carefully, watching for snares and trip-lines and soon realized that it was deserted so she moved in close, her spear at the ready.
Within was carnage. No blood but scattered and rotting rags and a lot of bones, most of which had been crushed by the various predators that had discovered the place since the raptor attack. Looking around, she tried to count bodies but there were no intact skeletons and the number of skull fragments gave no clue. “Are you all dead or did some run and escape?” She wondered, then became angry and screamed, “THIS is the fate you would put my children through! I ran because you couldn't protect them and …” she kicked a rib, not caring if it was dinosaur or human then searched more carefully. Nothing of value could be found. She expected to find knives or a dirty handgun but the place had been picked clean. In such a hurry that the bodies had been left to rot but cleaned of anything of value it was. “Survivors… or Giliks.. or Sagoths?’ she thought, again at guard. Then the found the area that she had left with her children and passing through, tried to remember her flight. There! That was the tree they climbed to escape the raptor. There was the path they took as they ran and soon enough, her stride increasing with desire, she broke through to the field around her cliffs to stop suddenly. There was an army before her, an army of ape-men or something that could be either a missing link or a new species.
She moved back before she was seen and counted near fifty of the beasts, each wearing animal hide that from the smell were crudely tanned. Their weapons ranged from simple cudgels to stone maces and spears but she supposed that the work on the stone was as crude as her own, unlike the beauty that had been created by the other men in her camp produced.
They were searching the grass as if for escapees and in the distance she thought she saw more in her home. They had been attacked while she was away. She almost threw herself upon the beast-men intending to die with her children but then she realized that they were searching for her companions. They were searching for those who escaped from the cliff-house. Her children were still alive.
She reentered the forest then ran, ignoring the pounding of her naked chest until she was outward from the cliffs. The she searched for the escape path that they had planned when they moved in. Both Jason and Barry, military men, had emphasized a secret escape path and Jason made certain he had at least three. Now, please let them have had enough warning!
She searched then heard something running. Reading her sling and spear she waited in hiding then saw Barry and Ohna running, each carrying a child. She stepped out then screamed, “Duck” and slung a stone into the face of the first ape-man, then she joined them in their flight. That stone impact slowed the ape-men who weren't as fast as the humans and they quickly found the hide-a-way that they had prepared. Then inside, they huddled as the ape-men blundered past, Fiona trying to ignore her children for as much as they needed her comfort, they needed more for her to guard the entrance. They had planned this earlier, found a place that they could easily reach but was difficult to track and would dampen sounds from within unless you were on top of it.
When things had calmed and the children were no longer crying, she turned to them and said, “Don't worry sweeties, mommy's here again to take care of you.”
Jimmy hurried into her arms and Cynthia said, “Mommy, you're naked!”
“Yes I am sweetie but it's nothing you haven't seen before. Barry! What happened?”
“I really don't know. Galbo and Zurok went hunting, you went to take your bath and suddenly, these Sagoths were there. We couldn't defend ourselves against so many of them so we ran. But you were gone, and while running here, you showed up, looking like that.”
Fiona began to laugh, “Time is related to activity. You napped or relaxed so time slowed for you. I was active so time sped up for me. What about Galbo?”
“I don't know. He was with Zurok. I hope they are ok.”
“Zurok isn't. He kidnapped me from the hot-spring and dragged me across half of Pellucidar. I escaped then had to kill him. I don't suppose you remembered to bring me my clothing?”
“I'm afraid not. I was washing up myself so all I could grab were the children and your bow.” He was in his boots and shorts and bare of chest. “But I do have my pocket-knife,” he joked.
“Wonderful, maybe you can find some coconuts and carve me a bra.”
“It would have to be a giant palm tree, but then, everything here is giant. I think we should wait here until they stop looking or at least there is a lull in the search, then leave for a better place.”
“I think you're right. Move over so I can stretch out a bit.” Fiona moved to a more comfortable position and held her arms for her children then as they lay with her, Jimmy handed her something, “Mommy, I saved this for you.” It was the flute that Barto had made for her, the flute she used to sing her children to sleep.
“Thank you so much sweetie. But in the future, please worry more for your own safety. A flute can be replaced, you cannot my dearest baby.”
“I'm not a baby!” he insisted but nestled closer to his mother.
“Mommy, I saved you something too.” It was Fiona’s hairbrush so she set her daughter before her and began to brush her child's hair as he softly hummed a lullaby, then she noticed that Barry could not keep from staring. “Barry! I'm up here! Its not like you haven't seen them before.”
“But you look so incredibly hot!”
“Fine, I'm tired of arguing, stare all you want but don't bother me.” She noticed that Ohna had moved closer to Barry and was staring daggers at the outer-world woman so she added, “Ohna, he's not my type.” Then as she lay her sleeping daughter in her lap, she brushed her own hair and added, “Barry?”
“I wasn't always like this. I don't mean naked, I mean.. whatever I am now. I grew up in the 60s, a hippie chick. Love beads, end the war, drugs, the whole bit. I supported myself in Chicago by playing music on the streets. I sang and danced and played instruments for change and somehow between that and the occasional theater job, put myself through college. I even got a Degree in Theater Arts. I studied Aikido and Ju-jitsu, Fencing and Archery for the sole reason that women were not accepted in those sports. We had volleyball and not much else but it was the time of rising Feminism and we were forcing the barriers and doing things that were male-only.
“Then my boy friend turned up with a high draft number. So to prevent that, we got married and tried very hard to get pregnant. Cynthia here saved her father from Vietnam.”
Barry interrupted here, “My grand-father was in WWII and when he got home, he was a hero. My father went to Vietnam and when he got home, they spit on him and called him a criminal. I went to Bosnia and Desert Storm and no one knew what I was. I guess I can't blame you for doing what you had to do to save your husband.”
“I'm glad you understand. Then Jimmy came and somehow, I found that I loved being a mother. My happiest times were sitting on the couch in Chicago and nursing my babies. I wasn't as large then as I am now,” she laughed, “But nursing made me grow.”
“Then Philip and I just stopped being in love. I don't know what happened. There wasn't anyone else. The love just ended and we divorced. Phillips parents brought my religion into court and I was denied custody of my babies. I spent a week in jail because I tried to stop the police from taking them away. I cried, refused to eat, they ended up force-feeding me to keep me alive and they let me go because Di brought the press in and the mayor didn't like the bad publicity. But I never got my children back.
“Then Phillip remarried and instead of seeing my babies every day, it was only every week then… they were gone.” She was crying then.
“Di, Diane married her boyfriend for the same reason I did but he got drafted anyway before she could get pregnant. I think he knocked her up the night before he left for Basic Training but that didn't save him. He died in the jungle over there and Di miscarried from grief. Were best friends and we both lost our babies and there was nothing anyone could do about it.
“Di went suicidal and tried to jump off a bridge and the one thing that saved her is that Jason happened along. He was on an unexpected layover to Japan and saw her about to jump. He was Irish and, well you never hear the truth about what it's like in Belfast. The British police didn't like his politics, they hated him trying to free Northern Ireland and they were terrified that his political contacts in England would join him. So they waited until he was gone and they barred the doors to his home and burned his house to the ground with his wife and children inside. So he hunted British police and British soldiers out of revenge. The British turned him into the terrorist they claimed he was. He wasn't one before then. But he damn sure was afterwards. I wonder how many Arab terrorists we made the way England made the IRA?
“Well, Jason saved her and she decided to go with him to Japan to heal. I went along to protect her from this refugee from a Kurosawa movie and we ended up in Turkey, not Japan. Funny how that happened. The three of us, no money, no passports no way out so we survived. I sang and danced, Jason did sword and knife tricks and Diane helped out.
“Then we met Tears. She was an Amazon from Russia and somehow we became caravan guards, bodyguards, retrievers of stolen goods and savers of the universe. Jason likes to describe it as ‘We did what you pay $7.50 plus popcorn to watch on the big screen’. The first time I killed a bandit, I got sick. I couldn't believe that I had taken a life. But I got over it and I got good at it.
“We also found the regeneratives that kept us looking young and my body firm. That's why I don't sag, I take the potions whenever I begin to sag or wrinkle and then I firm up. We found other stuff too. Ways to slow hair growth so I only need to shave my legs once a month or so. Birth control that prevents STDs, and things far less pleasant.
“The point is that I learned to be good at surviving and killing. I learned to be the woman that actresses play on the screen. That's how I survive here. But the truth is, that all I really want is to be a mother again. But, somehow I feel that I was driven to these things, that the Gods forced me to become what I am to save my children.”
“Like predestination?” Barry asked. “I don't believe in that but if you are true, if God or whomever runs the universe knew this would happen, and they arranged for you to learn all this stuff, why the hell didn't they just stop the crash?”
“I think it's like the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. I don't remember it all because I saw it as anti-feminist because Beauty always had to be saved by a man so she could be a submissive housewife.”
“Even though that's what you want to do.” He laughed.
“Regardless, the story is that the King and Queen had a daughter and invited three fairies to the baptism. But they forgot to invite the fourth. One fairy gave her the gift of beauty, another gave her some other similar gift but before the third could give her gift, the fourth fairy stormed in and cursed Beauty by saying that on her sixteenth birthday she'd prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die.”
“The third then said, ‘I cannot stop the curse but I can mitigate it’ and she said that Beauty would not actually die but fall into a death-like sleep until a handsome prince kissed her awake. So I think that is what happened. Somehow the Gods knew that his plane crash would happen and They couldn't stop it so They made certain I learned the skills necessary to save my children after the crash.”
“Well,” he was actually looking at her face this time, “That presupposes that God isn't all-powerful and more importantly, that your children are so important to the future that they had to be saved at all costs, but with such subtlety that the ‘god’ or whatever who plans their death wouldn't notice your involvement. My God, Fiona, Chaplain Grijalva would have a field day with this thought. He was a Jesuit theologian before he enlisted. But then, the geologists would have a field day with this whole place. Assuming we aren't locked up in the loony-bin when we mention this.”
Ohna stepped in, snuggling closer to Barry as she spoke. “All this talk of gods and spirits makes my head hurt. Life is easy. You live, you die and we place the good people into trees so the birds take you to the Moon that orbits overhead. We place the bad people into the ground so the demons can take the body to the Molop Az upon which Pellucidar floats. Aside from that, who know what the gods want from us. I've never heard one talk to me.
“But I'm not worried. Fiona says you are a great warrior in your country and was so courageous that your king gave you a ‘Medal of Honor’ to show how brave you were. We'll get away safely. Then I'll show you what a fine mate I can be.”
He smiled and patted her on the head at that. “Fiona,” Barry began again after some thought, “You are too good at what you do. But I think you are also suffocating your children. You need to learn to let them be themselves. You are so afraid of loosing them again, to your ex or to the government or to some saber-tooth cat that you won't let them out of your sight. They're good kids and will surprise you. That and you are just too good at what you do. I get the feeling that you'll love being the mother but the kids will hate the leash you make them wear and eventually, you'll get antsy and find a babysitter and leave for someplace like this or some movie set or you'll not do that and resent your kids for talking away your life. So you need to balance your life with your children. My wife left me because we could never do that. The Air Force was always sending me someplace and she couldn't handle the long absences and neither could I. I had a job to do and family was second and it cost me my wife and children but at least I see them regularly. I know you think it was because of the handcuffs and whips but it wasn't. It was being away all the time. Fiona, find a way to be both that adventurer, that actress, and that mother or you'll make your kids as unhappy as you make yourself.”
Then he continued, “Fiona, I have something to confess. I'm not a hero. I've never killed a man in my life. My entire life has been search and rescue, not combat aircraft.”
“But those scars on your shoulder? Your Medal of Honor? The Purple Hearts? Are they fakes?”
“No, real enough. Kosovo. I was sent to rescue an F-15 pilot downed behind enemy lines and took a SAM. I landed in one piece but was torn up pretty badly doing so. But I didn't want to put the next searcher in danger and I refused to loose the pilot so bandaged my shoulder as best I could and went looking. Found him eventually a couple days later in a farmhouse. I traded my Rolex and $500 American for a crop-duster that barely flew. Didn't even have rubber. Worst take-off ever but I got it airborne with the pilot in the back and we flew mostly under the trees. Finally near our lines we took small-arms fire and with the craft burning I barely managed to get home. I dropped it into a pond and had to swim to shore dragging my charge under the arms of half the US Army who thought I was Bosnian. I can't remember how many people I've saved but I DO know how many I lost,” he fingered a series of parallel scars on his left arm.
“Fiona, I won't loose your kids. I won't add their lives to my shame. No matter what it takes…”
He stood up in the narrow confines and said, “I think it's safe now to leave. Where do you think we should go? If we set up at another cliff-dwelling, the Sagoths will only find us again. Are you willing to make the journey to Loak and hope Ohna's tribe will accept us? Or do you want to try to build a sled and exit through the polar opening?”
“Barry, in all honesty, I haven't thought about that. Before, I was willing to wait for Jason to arrive but now we can't do that so need another safe-place. But I've been so busy lately escaping from Zurok and getting my children to safety, I'm tired. So, as much as it bothers me to say this, you are only the second man I've asked this of, Please take over for awhile and tell me what to do.”
“Are you certain this Jason will find us AND be able to get us out? Assuming he isn't trapped here with us.”
“Without a doubt. He has never let me down no matter what I did or the situation. And he expects the unexpected even if it doesn't make any sense or seems impossible. I left him all the information we had and he'll take care to avoid any disaster, especially when two flights went down and vanished. He's like that. He always plans an escape route then he never lets anything stand between him and his objective, which is us.”
“Then I think we should return to the best landmarks that he can easily find. Our aircraft. We have food and warm clothing there and can hunt the local animals and since it's on the edge of the tundra, it will be easy to spot from the air. I know it won't be as warm as it is here but it will be easier to find.”
“Good plan,” she agreed. “When do we leave?”
“Now! We just have to avoid the Sagoths, the raptors, saber-tooth cats and maybe a herd of T-Rexes, find food and water on the way and try to not get lost. Couldn't be any worse that finding my way back to Kuwait after I got shot down over Iraq during Desert Storm.” He had the good sense to laugh at that.
Diane snapped out, “’Ware!” which caused Jason to drop to a crouch by the graves, his Kalishnikov at the ready. Then when he heard the sounds, he backed to and into the rear portion of the aircraft as being the most easily defended. The front half having shattered cockpit windows to provide two areas of entry.
Almost immediately, they hears screams and saw a group of five ragged men who looked like they had escaped from some hell running, carrying weapons they failed to use. Behind them was a pack of raptors so Jason asked, “Are you on single fire?”
She looked and said, “Yes!”
“Try to use one round per raptor. Chest shots at the lung or heart.”
“Then whenever you have a target,” and he fired at the nearest raptor. The round took it in the chest and the beast ran another two steps before falling. Diane shot an instant later and the group of ragged men rushed to the aircraft, reaching it with no further casualties that could be determined though both Diane and Jason were too busy aiming and firing to notice. Some of the beasts possessed that infamous tenacity that required sometimes two or even three rounds but the rest of the pack broke and ran from the sounds and muzzle-flashes, both echoed to massive proportions by the frame of the aircraft.
“Thank God you came!” one of the men grabbed at Jason who knocked him to the deck with a blow. “Get back, they're not done yet and I need my arms free.”
The five moved back and the pair waited, then Diane said, “Right! Two!”
Jason added, “A distraction, the rest are left and behind. Did you see if there was a back way in?”
“Yes, there isn't unless they can squeeze through a broken window.”
The next attack was through the opening and the reports sounded almost as if a machine gun had fired, so fast did the two operate the Russian Assault Rifles but within seconds, the survivors broke and ran, the aircraft still acting as an amplifier for the echoes of the firearms. The two relaxed a moment, Diane asking, “Now do you want some gum?”
“What? Speak up! I'm near deaf from the echoes.”
“Gum! Chewing it helps. I'm surprised you don't know that.” He shook his head and she added, “your loss.” Then they looked at the survivors who were in a sorry state indeed.
“Who are you?” Jason asked.
“I'm Lt ….”
“Never mind. I should have asked, Do you know about Fiona O’Neill, Barry Sullivan and two children?”
“They're gone, dead!” the man said.
Diane gasped at this news but Jason pressed forward. “What proof do you have?”
“The raptors. When they attacked the camp, those people left. They couldn't have survived.”
“Did you see the bodies?”
“Well no, but…”
“Then you have no proof. Diane, we assume they are alive until we find their bodies.” Then back to the men, “Tell me what happened.”
“We were on a flight from Finland…”
“Not that. I don't care about your flight right now. I care only for information regarding Fiona and her family. Nothing else is relevant at this time.”
“Jason, don't be so hard on them,” Diane asked.
He snapped a look at her and she quieted down. When he was like that, nothing else mattered. He had that look when he rescued them from that Arena in Turkey. He had that look when he went after Sulieman in Syria and he had that same look when he rescued his daughter in Japan.
“Tell me about Fiona and the children.”
“What the hell does it matter…” he hit the ground with the force of the blow Jason struck. Then Jason turned to the next man, shoved the muzzle of his rifle into the man's face and asked, “Fiona! Same question.”
To his credit, the man didn't wet his pants as would most who faced the Irishman when in that mood. Instead he sweated and said, “The plane crashed, then after we buried the survivors, we stripped the aircraft and the raptors attacked. We had a running battle and lost five men but made it away with the children safe. Later, I don't know how long later, the woman, their mother and her boy friend, that Air Force Major arrived and she and the.. well they argued and then the raptors attacked. I saw her kill two with a pointed stick, then she and the Major each grabbed a kid and ran through the barrier and … we were too busy trying to survive to do anything else.” He laughed, a laugh that bordered on hysteria so Jason raised the weapon to the ceiling, noticing that although some of them had weapons, none had raised them in defense of their fellow. It was as if they were dead inside. Jason had seen that before, men who had seen too much combat, too much death and so their brains had shut down. He went to one man and removed the weapon even though he resisted, the strength simply wasn't there. As he suspected, the weapon was empty of bullets.
“Does anyone have anything to add to this?”
One said, “We tried to defend the position but they kept coming and we ran out of ammo. We stripped what we could and we ran. We hid in trees and ate bird eggs raw and …” he started to cry. “We started with twenty men, all armed and trained and now.. five are left.”
“Has anyone seen their bodies? Did anyone see them die? Then they are still alive. Diane, we'd better get going.”
“Jason, can I talk to you a moment?” then when outside, both looking for more carnosaurs or other danger, she continued, “Cut them some slack will you! They've been through a lot. You, I, even Fi can handle this stuff but they can't. None of them has ever been in real combat. The only death they saw were some auto accident or someone they shot at from a distance and they saw their friends torn apart by something they know cannot exist. They need help, not contempt.”
“Ok, but we still need to find Fiona.”
Her arms went around his neck and she kissed him and whispered, “We will, my, love, we will.”
Returning to the craft Jason said, “Listen up! The rescue of Fiona and the children is my first priority. WHEN I find them, I will worry about you. About fifteen kilometers exactly behind this wreckage at the edge of the snow-line is another aircraft. Its ruined but mostly intact and there is food and clothing within. About a dozen kilometers behind that about ten degrees to the right is a Russian Hind Helicopter. Its being repaired and will take us back home. You can remain here, wait at the second aircraft or try for the Hind. Here,” He handed his rifle and extra magazines to one man, Diane doing the same, “One round, one beast. If you do the stupid auto-fire like in the movies, you deserve to die.” Then he climbed to the roof of the aircraft and reported to the Russians, explaining the Americans and asking the Russians to either come get them or wait for them, “but, don't sacrifice your men needlessly,” he added.
Jumping down, he found Diane already cutting saplings and trimming them for poles. Jason removed the Spear-head he had packed but he had planned for polar Bear, not dinosaur. Still, firearms gave one a false sense of confidence and they still had their hand-guns.
Walking into the forest, he commented on them, “They were grasping those empty guns as if they were something that could actually save their lives.”
“Its a security blanket, my love. A lot like that sword you insist on lugging around.”
He shrugged as he did when she touched a sore spot and they continued on into the gloom. Privately, Diane was glad he didn't hear her when he was on the roof. She had confronted the men snapping, “Grow some balls you guys, he's a foreigner and you better not make me embarrassed to be an American in front of my ex-husband!”
Once they stopped and hid then came out as a twenty-foot ankylosaur passed by, happily munching on fallen pine cones, Jason taking picture after picture with his digital camera that looked more like a fountain pen than an actual camera. Another time a dog-like beast the size of a steer ran at them only to be met by a round from Diane's .457 handgun that did three things: it nearly broke her arm with the recoil, it scared every bird and flying reptile in the vicinity and it stopped the dog-thing in its tracks. Jason looked at the beast then offered, “you don't have as many rounds in the magazine as their 9 mils,” he motioned back to the wreckage, “But you do have the stopping power. Don't be afraid of the weapon, just relax your wrist, elbow and shoulder like your Cowboys did.”
Another time the were treed by a cave-lion and instead of shooting the beast, Jason slung the pocket-hammock between two branches, wedged his spear in a crook, hung his pack from another branch and invited Diane in for a nap. It soon became apparent to Diane that his definition of nap was different from hers and he ceased only when she snapped, “I can't do this in a hammock! I'm afraid I'll fall out so find me a real bed or go to sleep!” When they awoke, the lion was gone so they continued on until they found the former ‘fortress’.
Jason looked at the thing and laughed, “They expected to stop carnosaurs with this! Its wonder any of them lived. I can see why Fiona left, she was safer in the forest than here.”
“So where is she?”
Jason shrugged and continued to look around until he said, “Here! Tracks, old but still boots. Does Fiona still wear those boots with two inch heels?”
“Yes, she says they are good for her posture but I think it's an image thing like all that make-up she wears. But these are definitely heel marks. She went this way with someone else but where are the kids?”
“Carried?” he suggested. “Shhh, something’s coming.” They quickly hid under an easily climbable tree with spear and handgun at the ready, Jason taking pictures the entire time. Diane sometimes worried about this for instead of focusing on the trail, he was taking pictures of dinosaurs, flowers, butterflies and even Diane when she saw her in a light he liked. The only reason she didn't complain was because she knew that he only pretended to absent-mindedness to throw the enemy off.
Sometimes you needed to impale the beast on the spear and hold it at bay while your partner killed it from the side. Thus the insistence that they both carry spears. Well, it worked with that pack of werewolves in Syria, it should work on a raptor or lion if Jason would actually face one. But the man felt that hiding was safer than confrontation and considering the sizes of some of these monsters, she tended to agree with him. The question now was what would they face next, a Tyrannosaurus Rex? A pride of saber-tooth tigers?
The group, much smaller than before for they only had two children and three adults, moved Outward in search of something familiar. In a land with no discernible landmarks, and conifers and pines so tall they blotted the sun, their only hope of direction lay with the sun at their backs. As it got lower, they knew they were getting closer to their goal. Since the first aircraft had crashed at the tree-line and the second at the snow-line, the idea would be to head away from the inner sun until they reached the edge of the forest, then move along the forest until they found the aircraft, then away from that to reach Barry's rental and the clothing within.
Barry could not keep his eyes off Fiona for as firm as she was, she still bounced with every step. Naked save for a fur g-string, a necklace of teeth from the Saber-tooth Cat and her grass pouch and spear, she was every man's fantasy of a cavewoman and Barry drooled at every step.
Ohna gave Fiona dirty looks and at one break, asked, “Fiona, I need to pee, will you come with me to protect me?” Fiona agreed and they wandered off as Barry mused, “I always wondered why women went off to the ladies Room together, must be some genetic holdover from these days.”
Once alone, instead of removing her clothing, she turned to the taller woman and demanded, “He's mine! I want him, I love him! You don't care for him at all so step aside and let me have the man!”
“You can have him,” she began then softly, “Ohna, if you want him, you have to give him what he wants and needs. All the men you know want lots of sons, Barry doesn't. He wants kink and if you can give him that, he'll be yours forever.”
“Kink? What is kink?”
She laughed. “I am certain that someone here could make you a leather bustier and riding crop. Hmmm, maybe had I worn an allosauruis bustier with a saber-tooth necklace, that movie Barry saw me in might have turned into a different career. Never mind. Ohna, you make love for babies. Barry fucks for pleasure. I know, you don't have the word for that but he likes to be tied up and spanked.”
Ohna looked at her as if she were crazy. “If we had time, I'd tell you about my role as a Dominatrix in a couple B-movies I did. THAT would get Barry's interest. Yes, he is a hero in every sense of the word, risking his life every day to save others but with a woman, he needs to be… well, take him off alone, throw him down, slap some sense into him and rape the ship out of him and he'll be yours. The rougher the better.”
A few hours(?) later, Barry asked her in English “What the hell did you say to that child? Do you know what she tried to do to me?”
Looking down, Fiona smiled, “I can see you liked it. Next time don't fight so hard.”
“Bitch!” he swore under his breath and this time he meant it.
Ohna approached and snapped, “It didn't work! He fought me off! Are you trying to keep us apart?”
“I see the problem. Barry is old enough to be your father. He sees in you a child, not a woman. And our people call men who have relations with children criminals and we lock them away in a very deep hole forever. By our laws, you are still a child, convince him you are a woman and you'll do better.”
“Well, he thinks you are sixteen years old. With us, eighteen years is legal. You need to be two years older.”
“What is this ‘year’? You use strange words.”
“A year is how we measure time.. age. Like well… two hands and two fingers of your woman's blood is a year. I figured that from this you were sixteen years old. If you can convince him that you started that very late in your life, that you were the last to start… then he'd think you were an adult by our laws. You need to be four hands and four fingers of woman's blood older than you are now before he can look at you like a woman.”
Stepping closer, “THIS had better work!” she growled.
Her place was taken by Barry who demanded, “What the hell are you up to?”
“True Love, my dear, true love. I think she would be good for you and I KNOW that you would be good for her and her people. Think of what you could be here? Introduce sanitation, decent agriculture so the fathers wouldn't die hunting. Medicine. You could turn a stone-age tribe into a major world power.”
“I never wanted to be a king, I'm happy finding lost people. That is all I ever wanted and I am fortunate in realizing my life-long dream.”
“I thought I was that dream? No scratch that. Barry, you need to … well, I may have been wrong. We've been talking and she may be older than we thought. By her standards, she's a really old maid. But selective and she could do a hell of a lot worse than you but not much better.” Then, “I am certain that lots of people get lost here. Hell, we're lost! So you can organize a Search & Rescue that they never saw before. Save even more lives.”
“Mommy,” Jimmy began to pull at her hand.
Looking down, she instantly picked him up as Barry did the same for Cynthia and the group entered the forest away from the trail they had been following. Shortly after, some women, large women built like Russian Weight-Lifters rode by on giant birds, examining the trail. One had two sagoth heads hanging from her saddle and their stone spears were bloody. They spoke in low tones as if they were afraid of being heard but continued on.
“Dyals,” offered Ohna. “Those are the Women-Who-Enslave-Men. They hunt men for breeding and slaves but never love them. After a time with them and you'd gladly take me as your mate.”
Fiona offered in a sarcastic voice, “A tribe of Amazons who ride phororachus’. This place just keeps getting more and more interesting. Ohna, what will they do if they find us?”
“Kill you and me, enslave Barry and Jimmy, raise Cynthia as one of them. The usual. It would be better for them to not find us for they are five to our two.”
“Surely you do not expect me to fight? I don't know how. Men fight, Women care for the children. That's what a wife does.” The dig at Fiona was not missed.
“Well it's obvious that they were searching for someone but they may not know who or how many. I'm hoping that they came across the Sagoths who attacked our home, killed a few and decided to search for survivors. If they don't find us, they may assume that there are none.”
“And our assets are?” Barry asked.
“A few stone knives, my spear and mace and sling. I think we are out-gunned. Better we try to avoid trouble.”
The small group moved through the forest as quietly as possible until they heard a cry and a crashing. The Amazons had found them.
“Go!” Fiona yelled as allowed Ohna to take the children as she readied for the charge, Barry at her side. Barry took her spear and as the first rushed, he managed to jump aside at the last minute, avoiding the beak and claws of the predator-bird. Then with the Amazon's lance missing him by inched, he swung the spear in a circle and tripped the bird, snapping leg bones as it fell. Fiona was slinging stones with the accuracy of the past couple months where a miss meant hunger and had downed two of the women before the remaining two closed in. Barry tossed her spear arched through the air and struck the closest bird in its chest, not penetrating far but enough to cause the bird to stop and snap at the stake, throwing its rider to the ground. By then Barry had thrust the spear of the one he had first brought down at Fiona and reaching down, tossed a handful of pine needles into the face of the last bird with a scream.
Panicking, the Dyal fought the air and to keep it occupied, he continued that action until the Amazon thrust at him, her rearing mount causing her to miss. Barry grabbed the spear, pulled and the woman fell to the ground where Barry wrestled the spear free and drove its but into her belly. As she curled up retching, he turned to help Fiona to find that she was busy killing her opponent with the lessons she had learned from the Giliks combined with her Martial Arts. The birds, once riderless, moved cautiously around, squawking and waging their tiny wings.
“They're blind,” Barry noticed. See those reigns! They hold blinders open and released, the blinders close over the bird's eyes.”
“It also looks like they can't kick sideways, like ostriches can kill a lion with a kick but only if it's in front of them.”
“Another Nature Channel you narrated?”
“Of course. Ohna, why are you back here?” Fiona was disarming the Amazons and saw Ohna pull a stone knife and approach one of the unconscious women.
“I knew you'd win. Even my Barry has proven himself a great warrior in my eyes. Now I know he'll give me great sons! You know we have to kill them. If we let them go, they'll chase us or return with help. If we tie them up, they will be eaten by the first jalok that passes by. There is no other choice.”
“I've killed people before, Ohna, many people. But never helpless like this. I can't let you do it.”
They argued with Barry taking Fiona’s side which upset Ohna until the scream of the first bird made the argument moot. A pack of Velociraptors had entered the forest and two had killed one of the birds. A third had torn into an unconscious woman and the rest were moving in for more prey.
“Form a ring, spears out and waving. Confuse them but short jabs!” Fiona commanded and even Jimmy picked up a stick and tried to help.
Slowly the group moved away, some raptors following, the rest content to kill the standing and blind birds or the helpless Amazons on the ground. One rushed in to be stabbed by Barry and as it backed off, it was attacked by its fellows who smelled the weakness of the wound. Slowly the group moved away, waving their spears and sticks to confuse the raptors as a flock of birds mills in flight to confuse a hawk. But it worked and they were soon free.
“I wished we could have saved them,” Barry said with more grief than he wanted. “First the police, now these.”
“They weren't your responsibility, Barry. My children are and you are doing a wonderful job there.” She dropped to hug her shaking children, “Jimmy, I am so proud of you, standing up and protecting your sister like that. And Cynthia, thank you so much for watching my back so no bad dinosaurs could jump on us. I am so proud of my darlings.”
“Can we go home now?” Jimmy asked, the adrenaline washing over him and making him sick. “I'm tired of the jungle and want to go home.”
“Of course, sweeties, we're going there now. Barry, lead on please.”
Breaking through the forest, Jason watched the group approach then began to take pictures as Diane flung herself into Fiona’s arms. After some moments of hugging and kissing, Diane asked, “Where are your clothes?”
“Stolen, hey! Di, do you have a lipstick?” Then, “Jason, what the hell are you doing!”
“Taking pictures of course. You look absolutely … well primitive!”
“Damn! Ok but if any of those end up on the internet or in a magazine, I'll nail your hide to a wall. Now put that thing away and give me your parka before I freeze to death.”
Reluctantly, Jason dropped his pack and stripped to his shirt as Diane did the same for Ohna who, though covered a bit more, wasn't dressed for the cold that they felt through the trees. Then dressed, Fiona went to him, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him saying, “I knew you'd come. It was just a matter of keeping alive until you found us. Sweeties, come here. This is your ‘aunt’ Diane who used to baby sit for you when you were babies. And this, really crazy man is your ‘uncle’ Jason from Ireland. Jason, these are my children, Cynthia and Jimmy.”
Jason knelt and pulled from his pack a couple of stuffed animals, “These used to belong to my own children but I think they'd be happier living with you.” Fiona turned to Barry and said, “THIS is why I love that man. Not only did he come to rescue us, he remembers to do the little things like that. Jason, this is Major Barry Sullivan, USAF and this is Princess Ohna of Loak. We need to return her to her family before we leave.”
“Of course. I have a helicopter back on the snow.”
Barry walked to him and asked, “How did you survive the Pteranodon attacks?”
“We didn't, but I expected trouble when both your aircraft went down in the same area and came prepared. Hopefully they are ready to lift off. I'll call them once we get out of the trees and can establish radio contact.”
The trip to the downed jet was uneventful and soon they reached the jet to find it empty. Looking around, Ohna pointed boot-marks leading back to the snow-line which they followed, Barry commenting, “If you told them about our aircraft, they'd go there for clothes and food. I hope they make it!” Jason just shrugged. To his mind, they were stupid and he believed in survival of the fittest and these men had proven to him that they weren't fit to survive in Pellucidar.
Along the way he called to the Hind and then a couple hours of hiking, passing a herd of Irish Elk that Ohna called ‘Tua’ that caused Barry to sigh, “If I had a rifle, I'd love to have one of those over my fireplace.”
“Killing for sport just to hang a body on your wall?” Jason asked. “And you think I am cruel.”
Another herd of what looked like normal caribou passed with some Dire Wolves in the background but again, the wolves were well-fed and ignored the humans. Diane commented, “A man who cannot feed himself here would starve in a supermarket! Jason, do you have a telephoto on that camera of yours?” When he nodded, she asked for it and took a series of pictures of the herd and the wolves and the scenery.
They reached the snow-line before they reached the aircraft and after another hour of hiking, fortunately, Jason had brought parkas for the children but no extra for the adults, they saw Barry's aircraft and they rushed to the thing where they saw the five Americans surrounded by a fire of burning caribou dung. Diane and Fiona entered instantly and tossed a parka to Barry and Jason as they found pants for Ohna and Fiona, both of whom had been walking through the snow with bare legs.
“Thank god you came back.” One of the men cried. “Now, can we please leave here.”
“Certainly. I've already called for pick-up and here it comes now!” He pointed outward and they all saw…
Barry snapped out, “You came here in a Russian MI-24 HIND Combat helicopter?!!”
“It got us here. Fiona, can you ask Ohna how far to her home?” The girl was hiding behind Barry with whom she was obviously enamoured. She was trying to pull him inside saying ‘Thipdar’ but he ignored her words. Finally Fiona calmed her down and Ohna pointed exactly to her home and Fiona translated, “She says about a weeks travel if I'm counting sleeps correctly. I would guess that at twenty miles a day, about 150 miles.”
When the Hind landed, Jason took the opportunity to retrieve the rifles from the Americans which they even gave over without much fuss. Then Jason walked to the Hind followed by Diane and then Fiona and her children to receive a bottle of Vodka, “We celebrate because the damage wasn't as bad as we thought. Usually it's far worse.” The pilot laughed. Then seeing the group, “So these are the ones we are seeking. Well, let's get loaded and away. Another storm approaches.”
“I can see. The snow-line has crept south by a half-dozen kilometers. Captain,” Jason asked, “Do we have fuel to go maybe 250 kilometers that way?” He handed the rifles to the soldiers who were greeting the Americans as old friends. The Americans took this in stride for they were so happy with rescue that they didn't care who was there.
The pilot called into the flight-deck, they talked a moment and said, “Easily. We dropped a couple empty wing tanks to lessen weight so even with your friends, we can do it.”
“Good, we need to return that girl to her family. Make ready please.” Then Jason nodded to the Spetsnaz who separated and Jason called, “Di, please take Fi and her children to the helicopter, I need to talk to the Americans for a moment.” Suddenly, the Russians were pointing their rifles at the Americans who were now backed against the aircraft.
“JASON!” Fiona screamed. “What the fuck are you doing? Barry saved my children's lives!”
“Fi! Trust me on this please.” Jason never called her ‘Fi’. Always ‘Fiona’. The man was up to something important so she backed down, “Ok, but if you kill Barry, I will be very angry with you.”
“I'm protecting your children.” He replied then turned to the Americans against the wall who were trying to protest to no avail as none spoke Russian and the Russians didn't speak English so had to rely on Jason who spoke both. So approaching, but not standing in the way of the rifles, Jason asked, “Do you know who I am?”
“I know what you are,” the leader of the police snapped with some disgust.
“Good! Then you know that I am more than capable of carrying out my threats. And you know that despite your efforts, you cannot stop me or my people. Oh, you may be able to stop some of us but we are patient and someday, you will relax and we will strike.
“So here is the deal. You get one chance to accept. If you refuse my terms or even try to negotiate, we will climb aboard that helicopter and leave you here, alone, unarmed.
“If you accept my deal and later try to renege, I will have you kidnapped and brought back here. I will have your mothers and fathers brought here. I will have your wives and your children brought here. I will have your brothers and sisters brought here. I will even have your cats and dogs and the roaches in your bathroom brought here and none of you can stop me. Do any of you believe that I cannot or will not carry this threat out? Good. Then we may proceed.
“Now, my only purpose for coming here is to rescue Fiona and her children. The rest of you are expendable. So, if ANY of you say or do anything that puts any of them at risk, even if you ask them in for questioning, I will carry out my threat and you can explain to your family why they are being eaten by those wolves.”
“What children?” Barry asked. The others stared at him and he added, “I risked my life to bring Fiona here to save her children. I'm not going to risk them now. We followed the trail, crashed in the snow, found your aircraft and some graves and bodies but no children were in or near your aircraft. And I will not only swear to this on a stack of Bibles, I'll take a lie detector test to that effect too.” They argued but their leader ended that by yelling at his men, “Do you have a problem with this!” He got no answer. Americans are so cowed by authority Jason thought. Whatever happened to the famous American strength that made them stand up for themselves?
“Good!” Jason continued. “Second condition. This place never existed. You crashed in the snow, the Major here found you and gave the survivors food and clothing until we found you, again in the snow.” It was snowing again, a storm was entering through the polar opening.
This time there was no argument. They all agreed, “I'll be glad to forget this place ever existed.” Which caused Jason to wave his hand and the Russian troops lowered their weapons and motioned for them all to enter the aircraft. As starved and beaten down as they were, Jason expected no last-minute attack to capture the Hind. None had the strength save Barry who was clearly on Fiona’s side. And with the vodka being passed around, it wasn't long before the Americans were too drunk to do much more than sing along with the Russians.
Although scared, Ohna tried to be strong for Barry who she still wished would be her mate but soon discovered the power of flying over the lands of Pellucidar, safe from almost everything and with her pointing, the Hind soon reached her village and landed in the field outside. Of course, the entire village had long vanished at this monster and Ohna insisted that they wait until she could see faces peeking before she left the aircraft. She raised her hands, slapped the armoured side of the helicopter and then called to Barry, “Barry, once again I ask you to lay even the smallest of animals at my door.” Then when he tried to explain, she interrupted him, “I know, you cannot see me past the dugs of Fiona but think of this, She cannot see you as a man and will never be your mate. I see your heart and soul and would gladly make you happy and give you a dozen strong sons. I will give you another two double hands and four, no six fingers for my woman's blood to flow then if you have not returned, I shall take another mate and think of you while I bear his sons. Think carefully for I would make you happy in every way possible.”
“I know you think so, dear Ohna, but there are too many differences between us and you'd grow to dislike me eventually. But I'll never forget you.”
She stared at him, then without a word or a kiss, turned and walked away, holding her fists over her head and opening and closing them twice as she called to her family.
In the air, Fiona told him, “She would really try and in two years, even you will have to admit she is a legal woman. Maybe you should accept her deal, it's better than you will get from me.”
“I know. She's beautiful and nice and.. but she's still underage and still .. well vanilla! I'd rather have a weekend with you than a lifetime with anyone else.”
“You, Barry, are such a total fool.” She laughed and returned to her children whom she took to the flight deck to show them the world.
Later, Fiona yelled in his ear over the noise, “Jason, I'm not happy with you threatening my countryman.”
“I did it for you. What would they have done had you returned to America and they began to question you as to why you and your kids and Diana and myself are still so young? What would they do to Pellucidar? What would they do if they learned about the StarGates and Time Travel?”
“I understand your reasonings but don't agree with your methods. You know they think you're a terrorist.”
“I've been called worse. You've called me worse. But if they think of me that way, fear of me will keep them silent and their suspicions will divert their investigations away from who we really are and they'll focus on something so far away from us that we and your kids will be safe.”
She kissed him on the cheek and asked, “Don't you get tired of protecting the world so often? You keep the Demons from turning us into an asteroid belt. You protect the past from the present and the present from the future and now you have to protect Pellucidar from the outer world. When do you rest?”
“That, my dear, is what you and Diane are for. To keep me sane and balanced so I CAN do this.”
“So Pellucidar is safe?”
“I believe it is. By the time we return your countrymen, they will be so drunk that anything they say will be accounted to alcoholism and snow-blindness and the stress of their crash. With your Major swearing to our story, no one will believe them.”
“What about the Russians?”
“They will keep this place a secret hoping to exploit it for themselves. But they don't realize that I'll change their beacons and aircraft flight recorder. They'll be searching a thousand kilometers away and hiding from the Canadians as they do so. Eventually, like Lysenko, their story will fade away.”
“That's why you chose the Russians over the British or Canadians?” Fiona laughed, “You are so devious. Sometimes I wonder why Di married you and sometimes I wonder why she divorced you. But I never wonder why we love and respect you.”
“What about your friend there?”
“Barry! He really did try. And when you consider that he was never trained for this, he did damn well. I think I'll give him his weekend. Care to babysit for me?”
“You trust me to watch your children?”
“Well, You are a wonderful and loving husband, but I'll ask Di to stay with you just to be certain they eat decently,” she laughed.
Rick Johnson Feature Articles and Fiction in ERBzine
|ERBzine 1645: Johnson:
ERB Fan Profile
ERBzine 1522: Sociology of the Wieroo
ERBzine 1527: Maltheusian Decimation in Pal-Ul-Don
ERBzine 1547: Opar
ERBzine 1710: Conflict!
ERBzine 1965: Rescue In Pellucidar
ERBzine 1974: Anatomy of an Alien
|ERBzine 1578: Barsoom
ERBzine 1370: Mapping Barsoom I: Can It Be Done?
ERBzine 1562: Mapping Barsoom II: Compromises
ERBzine 1565: Mapping Barsoom III: The Past
ERBzine 1633: Valley Dor
ERBzine 1634: Swords On Mars
ERBzine 1711: A Panthan of Mars
ERBzine 1712: Spy: Arrival On Mars
ERBzine 2165: Battle at U-Gor
ERBzine 2166: Lost On Barsoom
ERBzine 2167: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. I
ERBzine 2168: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. II
ERBzine 2169: North to Barsoom
ERBzine 2196: Jahar
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