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Volume 5115

And Baby Makes Three

Art by Paul Privitera
A Sequel to 'A Gentleman of Mars'
Part I: Chapters 1-4
(Concluded in Part II: Chapters 5-7 ~ ERBzine 5116 )
By John "Bridge" Martin
.

Chapter 1 -- The Americanization of Hanna

   It had been nine months since I had returned, via some mysterious space portal, to Earth from Barsoom, followed by the lovely Hanna Fulla, who had become my bride.

  I'll never forget my incredible Martian trip, and the strange adventure that befell me there, when I actually had the opportunity to take the place of John Carter, the Warlord of Mars, for a few weeks, to allow him time to start a campaign of destruction against the revived Barsoomian guild of assassins, based in Zodanga.

  It was there, while in the palace of the Warlord, that I had met the stunningly beautiful Hanna, who attended me and saw to my every need. Then having gained the secret of interplanetary travel from John Carter himself, she had followed me when I returned to Earth to become my lifemate.

  This was no easy mission for the brave Hanna, because the gravitational difference between Earth and Mars made her feel as if she weighed close to 400 pounds. Her figure remained almost as slim and svelte as ever, but beneath her silken beauty rippled some finely tuned muscles she had developed at the fitness center to help her deal with the heavier pull of Planet Earth.

  Then, shortly after we exchanged wedding vows, she had become pregnant, and the time was nearing when we knew she would give birth -- not to an infant in the traditional Earth sense -- but to a large egg, which we would need to keep in an incubator for ten years (the equivalent of five Martian years). It was just the way that Martian biology worked and we had no reason to believe it would be any different just because she was now on Earth.

  Meanwhile, Hanna had been taking English lessons and was doing quite well in learning to write and speak the language, and I had also been doing my best to acquaint her with the different customs, traditions and laws that we have here on the Earth -- laws such as how to have proper respect for and how to behave like a lady or a gentleman in the presence of police officers.

  We had not really encountered the minions of the law during Hanna's nine months but inevitably there came that day when I glanced into my rearview mirror and saw the flashing blue and red lights coming up behind me.

  It was the prowl car of a county deputy sheriff.

.

Chapter 2 Ė Please Donít Trouble Yourself, Officer!

.  "Oh, for crying out loud," I said. "What the heck does he want?"

  "Is there a problem Fred," Hanna asked, reaching for the jewel-encrusted dagger that was fastened to her short shorts by her belt.

  "No. No!" I replied. "And don't touch that knife. This is a man whose job it is to enforce the laws of Earth, and if you go for the knife he might think you're planning to attack him!"

  "Oh, all right Fred," Hanna said. "But I am ready to go into action at a moment's notice if you say the word."

  I had pulled over and the officer was approaching the driver's side window.

  "Good afternoon," he said.

  "Good afternoon officer," I replied. "I do need to let you know that my wife has a fixed-blade knife."

  The officer took a step back and drew his gun. "Both of you put your hands where I can see them," he ordered. Gentleman that I am, I already had my hands on the steering wheel so I looked at Hanna and motioned with my head and she raised her hands and placed them on the dash.

  "Okay now," said the police officer. "Ma'am, with the thumb and forefinger of your left hand, I want you to just barely grab the hilt of the knife and then reach over and drop it out the window."

  "What does he mean, Fred?" Hanna said.

  "Uh, officer, she's just in the process of learning English and doesn't understand every word you said. May I reach over and get the knife?"

  "Okay," said the policeman. "But take it easy."

  I smiled at Hanna to reassure her and reached over and plucked the knife from her belt, then stretched over further to drop it out the window.

  About that time another deputy pulled up. The new arrival slipped on his gloves and then picked up the knife and took it back and laid it on the hood of his cruiser.

  The officers ordered us from the vehicle, one at a time, and placed us in handcuffs and then patted us down. Next, they searched the car for more weapons. Finally, they finished and came back and removed our handcuffs.

  "Sorry for the inconvenience," said the first deputy. "But we had to do it that way for our safety. I appreciate you telling me about the knife."

  "I understand, officer," I said. "But my wife is a little nervous. This is her first encounter with something like this as she's new in the country."

  "Oh yeah," said the cop. "Where's she from?"

  "Barsoom," I said, without thinking. Then, "Uh...did I say Barsoom? Sorry, officer. I meant Khartoum. I'm a little tongue-tied and nervous, too, since my wife is pregant and she's due at any time."

  "Well, congratulations," said the officer. "Look, I just pulled you over because your license plate has a lot of dust on it and I couldn't read the expiration date of your tabs. But now I see it's legal so I'll just need to check your registration and license and then you'll be on your way."

  "Oh.......oh no," yelled Hanna in a shrill, pain-racked voice. "It's coming. It's coming."

  "Oboy!" said the deputy. "I've been on road patrols for a dozen years and this has never happened to me before. I've always wanted to deliver a baby in a car. Stand back."

  "Oh that's okay officer," I blurted. "We're just a short distance from home. We'll be okay. Honest."

  "Can it," said the officer. "You're in good hands. Besides, state law won't let me leave now. If I did, and your wife or the baby died, I would be in hot water."

  "Now don't you worry none, sweetie pie," he told Hanna. "You just sit there on the back seat, lie back, and Deputy Dawson will take care of everything."

.

Chapter 3 -- Hanna the Mule?

  There were tears streaming down Hanna's face. I made a shrugging motion, hoping she would understand that there was nothing else we could do.

  The deputy got into position and told Hanna to start bearing down. Actually, she could not help but do that since the egg was definitely on its way. My mind raced for what I could say when the deputy would finally figure out what was coming down the birth canal.

  "I can see its head," he hollered at me, "so it's in the right position. Bald as a cue ball!"

  The egg pushed out further.

  "Boy, this baby has some high forehead!" the deputy observed.

  Then, with a pop like a released champagne cork, the rest of the egg shot out into the deputy's hands.

  He turned with a look of horror on his face. "Good grits and gravy," he groaned. "His head come clean off! Wait a minute. He ainít got no eyes, or mouth. And this head is as hard as a rock." He looked at me quizzically. "What the devil's going on here?"

  "Oh...uh...we don't know," was all I could manage. "But give it to me and we'll take it home and care for it."

  A look of suspicion crossed his face.

  "Wait a minute," he said. "I've heard of people smuggling drugs this way. Stuffing all kinds of things up their private body cavities. We call 'em mules. Disgusting. What you got in this container here, son? Heroin? Cocaine?"

  "No, no," I said. "there's nothing like that. Just give it to us. It's ours. We need to get home."

  The deputy smiled a sinister smile. The other deputy put his hand on his gun and kept me under his steady eye.

  "Ain't no use you trying to talk your way outa this one son," he said. "We'll take this container back to the station and when Sheriff Peabody comes in Monday we'll get a warrant and then all have a nice little look at what's inside."

  "As for you and the missus, you're under arrest on suspicion of smuggling drugs," he said. "Hopkins, cuff 'em."

.

Chapter 4 -- Eggnappers

  I was sick to my stomach. Without proper heat, our baby inside that egg would die. Even if I told them the truth, they wouldn't believe me. I was going to somehow have to get that egg away from them and see that it had proper incubation before it was too late.

  During the booking process, I could see that the egg was placed into a walk-in safe, the door shut and the dial spun.  I took note of where it was. Hanna was watching, too, through her tear-streaked eyes.

  They led us to separate cells, slammed the doors, and turned the keys.

  I was alone. Hanna was somewhere else. What could I do now?

  I thought about it a little while. John Carter had told me the secret of interplanetary travel. I could easily leave this cell and go back to Mars. But what good would that do me?

  I wondered. Was it possible to travel shorter distances by this method? Could I simply travel to Hanna's cell and then, since she knew the secret as well, could we both travel to the inside of the safe, where our egg lay, retrieve it, and then vanish completely out of the jail?

  It was our child's only hope.

  I had no idea which direction Hanna had been taken so I could not face that way with arms extended, but instead I let her face swim before me in my imagination and I concentrated and started to do the things that John Carter said I must in order to accomplish astral travel.

  But just as I started, I saw Hanna standing before me. And she was holding the egg.

  "Since they dropped you off at your cell first," she said, "I knew which way to face. I picked up the egg on the way. Let's get out of here."

  "Yes," I said. "But where shall we go. Our home is the first place they'll search."

  "Sometime I wish I was just back on Mars, Fred," Hanna said.

  Of course. Why not return to the Red Planet? There, Hanna would be among familiar surroundings and no longer have the constant ordeal of her Martian-bred muscles forced to carry around a heavier burden of weight on earth. And I would have greater powers than I have on Earth and could more easily protect her. I should have thought of this myself long ago.  But...I'm a guy.

  "Yes, Barsoom," I said. "We'll go. Right now. And we'll stay there forever, dear."

  "Oh Fred," Hanna said. "You are so wonderul."

  We turned and I took her hand in mine and looked to the heavens in the direction where we knew the Mars would lie.

  We mumbled to ourselves the incantation, hoping that we would end up together in the same spot on Barsoom. There was a moment of extreme cold and utter darkness.

  I was gazing at a landscape that was obviously Martian in nature. I felt as if my body were 150 pounds lighter. I squeezed my right hand to reassure my wife and then turned and looked at her.

  I was holding the hand of a white ape and gazing into its murderous eyes.

.
Concluded in
PART II
A Gentleman of Mars by John "Bridge" Martin
with Sequel: "And Baby Makes Three"
ERBzine Volumes 5113-5116
Part I
Chapters 1-4
Part II
Chapters 5-7
Sequel Pt I
Chapters 1-4
Sequel Pt. II
Chapters 5-7

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