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Volume 2983
Presents
James Killian Spratt's Graphic Interpretation of 
Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars 

CHAPTER 23a
(click panels for full-screen size)
.
 

PAGE 305:
 
Having to subdue a hostile female 
was as loathesome a task 
as I could imagine;  
far would I have preferred 
a dozen male adversaries, 
with whom I could have it out 
with no restraint, 
in a fair fight to the death if need be.  
I gagged and tied the sentry, 
then hung her over the side
in as comfortable a sling
as I could fashion quickly, 
confident that 
she would be found safe.


 
 
 

PAGE 306:
 
I hastened to the scoutboat sheds,
and soon had out both my machine,
freshly repaired, 
and Kantos Kanís.
 



 
 

As I hurriedly made Kantos Kanís craft 
fast behind my own, 
I was pleasantly surprised
to notice a third air intake:  
as well as cosmetic repairs, 
my boat had been given the new, 
upgraded engine and gearbox.


PAGE 307:
I started my engine and eased my throttle forward, 
then skimmed over the edge of the landing tower 
and dove into the streets, far below the altitude 
usually occupied by the Air Patrol.

PAGE 308:
 
In no time I was setting our fliers 
on the barracks roof,
beside an astonished Kantos Kan.
 
 


Plunging into our immediate plans, 
we decided that I should try to make Helium, 
and he would try to dispatch Sab Than, 
then join me in Helium if he succeeded. 

He set my compass for Helium, 
and with fond farewells, 
we rose together into the night sky.


PAGE 309:
  
Our routes agreed as far as the Palace, 
but we had flown only part of the distance 
when suddenly a light shot down from above, 
full upon my craft.  
Kantos Kan dove his flier
into the city shadows, and I rose sharply.
 


A voice roared out to halt.  
This evoked no reply from me, 
and was followed with a shot.  

I threw my machine into high gear and
exited the city of Zodanga at full throttle.  

Part of my route followed the waterway 
southwest toward Helium.  

More fliers had joined the chase.


PAGE 310:
In moments I was zig-zagging at terrific speed and being pursued by a dozen Patrol fliers. 

I managed to elude their searchlights but for brief moments, 
but I was losing ground in my wild maneuvering.



LEFT: Soon a swift, hundred-man cruiser with automatic guns joined the pursuit, 
so I decided to hazard everything on a straight course.

 RIGHT: Opening the throttle wide, I lay prone on the deck,
aligned the boat to the destination compass and ran flat out for Helium.


PAGE 311:
  
With the rapid setting
of both the moons, 
I felt certain that 
I could shake off my pursuers 
in the sudden darkness.  

I congratulated myself
on my good luck thus far, 
when the snap of bullets 
whipping close past me
convinced me that only by a miracle 
would I escape.
 
Then a lucky shot 
from the cruiser 
impacted in the bows 
of my tiny vessel.


The concussion
nearly rolled me over, 
and the craft began 
a sickening plunge, 
hurtling downward 
through the darkness.


 

PAGE 312:
  
How far I fell before 
I regained control of the plane 
I do not know, 
but I must have been 
very close to the ground, 
as I plainly heard the squealing 
of animals below me.
 


 

The boat was down 
by the port bow, 
but my shifting my weight 
aft and to starboard, 
I was able to fly on an even keel. 

Rising again, 
I finally made out 
the lights of my pursuers 
far astern of me,
apparently landing to search 
for my wreckage.


 
 

 

PAGE 313:
  
Not until I was out of sight 
of my pursuersí lights 
did I slow to flash on my little torch
to assess the damage.  
To my consternation, I saw that 
shell fragments 
had utterly destroyed my compass, 
my only guide, 
and also my speedometer.
 

Now my chances of finding Helium, 
a thousand miles from Zodanga, 
by the stars, were slim.  
Soon the moon would rise again, 
so I got back underway 
to put as much distance as possible 
between me and Zodanga 
while the concealing darkness remained.


 

PAGE 314:
 
I flew for a time in near total darkness,
palpable as a velvet cloak, 
turning on my interior lights 
only occasionally to check my altimeter.

  



 

Eventually the moons returned, 
to throw wild shadows 
on the rugged, desolate terrain, 
thousands of feet below.  

I wrapped my silks around me 
against the chill.


 

PAGE 315:
  
My chronometer still worked,
so I hazarded to guess
that four or five hours 
should bring me within sight of Helium, 
unmistakable with its twin cities, 
circular and walled, 
with their immense, mile-high towers 
of crimson and golden yellow, 
visible from a hundred miles.
 



 

At sunrise I saw that 
I had lost track of the waterway 
in the darkness.


 

 

PAGE 316:
  
Soon a city showed below me,
 
 
 

 



 
 
 
 

--but it was not Helium.


 
 

 

PAGE 317:
 
After six hours of 
continuous flying at high speed, 
I found myself over a vast expanse
of dead sea bottom.  

Convincing myself that 
I had come too far north and west,
I turned southeasterly.


In the forenoon 
I passed several other cities 
and long-abandoned ruins, 
but none resembled the description 
that Kantos Kan had given me of Helium.


 
 


.

CHAPTERS
Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 15a | 16 | 16a | 17 | 17a | 18 | 19 | 19a | 19b | 20 | 20a | 20b
| 21 | 21a | 21b | 21c | 22 | 22a | 23 | 23a |

CONTENTS

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