In Helium, tensions were high.
John Carter, who was still distraught over the loss of his beloved
wife, had also to contend with decaying relations between Earth and Barsoom.
Julian 67th, jemdar of Earth was, in the words of the diplomats,
"highly concerned" regarding the disappearance of his son. The feelings
of the Terran President were more ominous. The longtime era of peaceful
relations between Earth and Mars was threatened.
The jeddak had also to contend with the loss of Tamla, a favorite,
but troubled descendant. Her mother, Delah Kodal, who was the great, great
grand daughter of his own daughter Tara, appeared at court each day to
remind him that her daughter was still missing and his failure to find
her. Tensions were also growing within his family.
Carter had sent missions out covering the entire planet, personally
leading many of them until exhaustion threatened to claim him. To complicate
things, he had gotten word that Ras Thavas, the so-called "mastermind"
of Barsoom had vanished at the moment that he needed him most. Ras Thavas,
the ever-elusive, two-thousand year old scientist had been sought to consult
on the kidnapping of Tamla of Helium and the associated disappearance of
Julian 68th the prince jemdar of Earth only for it to be discovered that
he himself had vanished.
John Carter now sat alone in his apartments at the palace in Greater
Helium, his grey eyes reflecting an infinite sadness. His beloved princess
taken from him by age, his closest friends, Kantos Kan and Tars Tarkas
and even his own son, Carthoris, elderly and no doubt soon to follow her
and all the adventure having been slowly bled from his life, John Carter
was faced with an unfamiliar emotion, that of feeling sorry for himself.
In truth, any kind of introspection was more or less alien to his nature.
Carter was far from unintelligent, but he was, in a way, uncomplicated.
All he had ever asked from life was that he would be able to fight, laugh
and love. His current life had no enemies to fight, no woman to love and
little to laugh about. Curling his lip sardonically, he muttered, "I still
On Earth, The Jemdarate itself was in crisis. The President had now
twice appeared before the parliament to argue against the continued royal
succession. Never before had the heir to the throne been victim of such
a crime as it now appeared had come to pass. While peace had been the rule
between the two great empires, there had been some ongoing points of contention.
Both planets claimed mining rights on Mercury. Barsoom had placed a colony
on the surface of Earth's moon against the wishes of the Jemdarate. John
Carter had stated that the Jemdarate only had claim to Vah-Nah, while the
dead surface of the Moon was unclaimed. Also there was public discontent
within the Jemdarate regarding the Barsoomian failure to abolish slavery.
There was much made of the fact that the jeddak's previous allegiance,
although over one thousand years ago, had been to a government which had
revolted to preserve that very questionable institution. To now have an
Earthly prince who was supposedly a guest of the Barsoomian government,
vanish only added to existing tensions.
The Grand Council of Jeddaks met to discuss the rising tensions with
Earth. They started plans for evacuating the Lunar colony and heavily armed
ships were placed in orbit of Barsoom.
Earth openly sent an expeditionary force to Mars to "render aid"
in the search for the princess Tamla and the prince Julian 68th. The Speaker
of the Grand Council, Carthoris, jeddak of Helium declared that Barsoomian
authorities required no help in the search and politely refused permission
for the earth ships to come into Barsoomian orbit or to land on the surface.
The President of the Jemdarate responded that their government would take
a dim view of Barsoomian efforts to thwart Earth's attempt to recover the
prince. John Carter was alarmed. Earth and Barsoom were rapidly heading
into a dangerous situation which could easily escalate into war. This would
not be the kind of war that was fought bravely hand to hand as a true warrior
but a war fought mostly at great distances with bombs and rockets that
would claim the lives of many innocents and do nothing to test the metal
of those involved. How easy it would be to lay low these two great civilizations!
John Carter knew that he must prevent it, yet he had no means of doing
The expeditionary force of the Jemdarate fell into orbit around Mars
challenged only by words, for John Carter and the Council had ordered that
the first shot fired would not come from a Barsoomian. A single small vessel
descended to the surface just outside of the gates of Greater Helium. From
that vessel emerged seven men, one of them a diplomat in formal attire,
six of them heavily armed soldiers. As they approached the city gate, a
second, larger ship descended from the sky to alight about a haad away
from the city. It was a troop carrier.
There was some dickering, but finally the diplomat with only two
of his "honor guard" were admitted into Helium and into the chamber of
the Grand Council of Jeddaks.
The diplomat, Jayman Zandrik by name, made what started out to be
an impassioned appeal for the safe return of the prince, but also contained
several references to a number of perceived slights against the Jemdarate.
He informed the Council, and John Carter, for he had entered the chamber
when he heard that Zandrik had arrived, that their efforts at finding the
prince were woefully inadequate and their government felt it was best to
take over the search themselves. Then he came out and said flatly that
any attempt at interference by the Barsoomians would be treated as an act
There was an explosion of voices within the council and in some cases,
more than voices. Had not the jeddak of Warhoon been restrained (no easy
job, it took fifteen red men to hold back that single green man), he would
have instantly beheaded Jayman Zandrik for his temerity.
John Carter stood up, his face white with rage. This was not an emotion
frequently seen in the normally cool-headed warlord. "Jayman Zandrik,"
he began, "as you are empowered to speak for your government, so I am for
mine. If it is your intention to end centuries of peace by bringing armed
men to this world, you will not find us unready. While my people have lived
in peace for a very long time, our national character was forged in warfare
and knows it well. Engage us at your own great peril! This meeting has
concluded." With those words, he stalked from the room followed by all
the jeddaks. For a minute or so, Zandrik and his guards stood in the chamber
alone. They had to return to the city gate on their own where they were
escorted back to their ship. They were offered no hospitality in the city.
As that day passed into night, word was gotten to the armies of Barsoom
to get themselves to a state of maximum readiness. John Carter ordered
that if anyone emerged from the larger ship it should be fired upon.
Just before dawn broke, John Carter was awakened. A message carried
on a Gridley wave had been detected. The source could not be determined,
but the content of the message was that Tamla and Julian were safe.
The jeddak was taken to the communications office in the palace and
a recording of the message was played for him. The voice was that of a
man. Clear and educated, it conveyed a sense of great assurance and purpose.
"I hope that this communication may reach the ears of John Carter, warlord
of Barsoom. I am Savjoda, of Earth, now lord of Dhaimira and I wish to
inform you that princess Tamla of Helium and prince jemdar Julian 68th
are well and healthy in my care. Do not fear for their safety."
A second voice then came on. "John Carter, I shall not have to identify
myself as I am sure you know my voice well." Indeed he did, it was the
voice of Ras Thavas, the so-called "mastermind" of Barsoom. While generally
good-intentioned, Ras Thavas put learning above all things and did not
always worry about how individuals might be effected by his actions. "I
cannot describe to you the astonishing things which have come to light,
but rest assured that the greatest discovery in the history of Barsoom
has been made! We shall contact you again very soon."
That morning, Jayman Zandrik was summoned into a private audience
with John Carter. He was expecting to receive either permission to deploy
his troops or a declaration of hostilities. He certainly was not expecting
to be played a sound recording from a strange personage named "Savjoda"
claming to be an Earthman now living in a place called "Dhaimira". Although
greatly perplexed, he took a copy of the message and departed. That afternoon,
both ships left the surface of Barsoom.