The Battle of Tubax
As we drew close to the fleet, I could see gunfire
coming from the city aimed at the fleet. A number of ships came out
of the city to engage the fleet. The battle was about to re-start.
“Looks like a new battle is starting.” I said to Nolan.
“I think not, there are too few ships. Most are small
flyers not battleships.” answered the flying man. “We had best get
into the protection of the fleet.”
He was right—the attacking ships were small ones. The
attack was not acting against the fleet but heading our way. The
heavier ships of Helium directed their fire at them as they raced towards
us. I saw two small gunboats go down in flames.
I was ready at the bow gun when Nolan gasp.
“Look Sire!” he said. The flyer coming
towards us at a great speed had something lashed to the bow.
I looked and saw it was Djor Kantos, the captain of the warship Cluos
and one of my friends. He was lashed to the bow of the ship. I was frozen
as he approached.
“Fire!” shouted Nolan. But, I couldn't. I
couldn't kill my friend. I saw Djor's lips were moving he was saying
“Fire! Shoot Warlord!” But I couldn't. The ship
was coming right for us now, the other Tubaxing ships had retreated back
behind the walls but the ship keep coming.
“He's going the ram us!” cried Nolan. “Fire!”
But I didn't.
Nolan stopped the ship. He unfolded his wings
and took off, flying off the ship, Then I felt two hands grasp my
harness and pull me from the flyer and pull me over the side and away from
the craft as it was rammed. Their was a great explosion. The Tubaxian
must have been loaded with a powerful bomb. The pilot lost
his life to slay me. The blast blew us away from the wreck and to
the ground. Nolan had saved my life. Djor Kantos was dead.
At least his end was fast.
“They knew we were coming and set this plan up to kill
you, sire.” said the flying man as we headed towards the closest airship—This
one with the colors of Zor. The crew seemed amazed to
see Nolan the flying man. When we placed me on the deck
a dozen warriors surrounded the batman with drawn swords.
“Stop!” I ordered, “This man is my friend. He just saved
“Obey him!” came a woman's commanding voice. I saw
my daughter, Valla, come on deck, all went to one knee and sheathed their
weapons. She looked older now, far older than I remembered her.
She now served as the Jeddara of Zor. She came and embraced
“If this creature saved you, father, he has no
enemies on this ship.”
“Did you see what the Tubaxians did?” I asked.
“Monsters! They had Djor Kantos tied to the attacking
“I couldn't kill him—they almost achieved their plan.”
I told her. “I will take my revenge on the ruler of Tubax.”
“You should blast the city to rubble.” Valla
said. As we spoke a smaller gunboat, a ten man ship, painted
with the colors of Helium, flew up to the Zorian battleship.
“Are you all right, Warlord?” as the commander of the
“Yes, but only due to the fast action of my winged friend
Djor Nolan,” I answered. “Tell me, Is Kantos Kan leading the fleet?”
“He awaits you on the flagship.” came the answer.
I said good bye to Valla and with Nolan mounted the gunboat and with
an escort of four other armed craft we headed toward the largest ship in
the the fleet. I recognized the craft by her sleek lines as
the Djana. As I drew close, I saw a vision that caused my heart
to race. On the bridge, next to my old friend Kantos Kan, my incompatible
mate, Dejah Thoris, in her scarlet silks.
As we touched the battleship, I leaped off and joined
her embracing as the crew watched.
“Where were you?” she asked after our warm kiss. “I worried
“Captured, But Lee is safe and in good hands, now.”
I answered. “I have a score to settle with the Jeddak of the West.”
“I saw what they did. Kantos Kan was moved to tears
as his son was killed in the attack.”
“He will be avenged,” I vowed.
“Look, Sire!” cried one of the crew as he pointed to Tubax.
“What new treachery is this?” asked Dejah Thoris in a
disgusted tone to her voice.
I turned and saw a ship rise from the walls of the city.
She was pained in the garish colors of Tubax but it was my swift battlecraft—The
Cluos. Above her main deck was a large white pennant---a universal
symbol of truce on Barsoom as it is on Earth.
“So they want to talk!” I comment.
Kantos Kan came running up with a powerful glass.
“Look who is aboard the ship!” he told me as he offered
I put it to my eye and saw men tied up, they wore the
harness of Helium. I recognized them as the captured crew. I noticed
they were gagged as well. I scanned the ship, from bow to stern—No
one else was to be seen. I noticed some scars of battle on
her hull from the fight in the inner sea—or perhaps at the walls of the
city. It was moving right towards us.
“Why are the men gagged?” asked Kantos Kan.
It hit me in an instant. “Its a trick, Pull the
fleet back, don't let the ship close!” The signal men
started to convey my orders as did the wireless men—the Flagship
ship started to slowly back away.
“Pull back!" shouted. “Its a trick.”
I noticed all the guns were out—but their were no crew to man them.
As I watched the approaching ship started to speed up to close the
Kantos Kan also had a glass.
“Look to the crewmen!” he said in an excited voice.
I looked back as the men lashed to a mast. One of the men,
with the help of another tied and gagged man, managed to pull off the rag.
He was yelling as others nodded their heads.
“What is he saying?” I asked.
“Send for a lip reader,” ordered the admiral.
In moments a crewman ran up and was given the glass.
“What is that man without a gag saying—we can't make it
out at this distance?” I ordered.
He studied the approaching ship.
“There is a bomb on the ship!” The crewman said.
“We are dead men—fire on us!”
“Open Fire!” I ordered. Almost before the words
left my mouth, every gun on the flagship fired, so did the others in the
fleet. The ship with the white flag fired back somehow and
put on speed to close with us. A second broadside hit her with damaging
effect and then she vanished in a mighty detonation. It was the most
powerful blast I had ever seen, the shock wave scattered the fleet.
I was tossed to the deck, Dejah Thoris fell beside me.
Kantos Kan was knocked back but hanging on to the rail he was still standing.
If the ship had been closer—the much of the fleet might have been
damaged or lost.
The lip reader had been blown from the deck.
I glanced towards the walled city and noticed that a whole fleet of Tubax
had come out to attack.
“Warn the fleet.” I yelled, “We are under attack.”
I could see two of the Heliumetic ships were burning,
having been struck with parts from the blasted ship. The treacherous
plan almost worked.
I could see the Heliumetic fleet and her allies were pulling
back and regrouping. I saw that Valla and the Zorians didn't take any damage
–they were further from the blast. The Tubaxian ships were older
and from the ragged formation they lacked the training of a major power—still
they were numerous. Now the battle was on as the roar of radium cannons
filled the sky. The Tubaxians were poor gunners and soon they
were being punished by the allied fleet. One by one the enemy ships
fell from the sky, burning, but still they kept coming. The fear
of their Jeddak kept them on the attack.
“Was it this bad when you first came?” I asked Kantos
“No, sire, But this time we will finish them.” he vowed.
“Kill them all!” cried my incomparable mate.
“They have no honor!”
“I do not blame these poor Tubaxians,” I answered. “ I
blame their ruler and a certain traitor who sold out his own nation.”
“I am shamed to know he is of my clan,” said Kantos Kan.
“He must face death.”
“For kidnapping my grandson he will die. It is my hope
he dies by my own hand,” I added.
The Tubaxians pressed their attacks, their ships taking
a great deal of punishment before they Took the long dive.
A few tried to surrender, with their captains jumping to their deaths.
As soon as a ship lowered her colors, they were targeted by other Tubaxians
and blasted to bits. It seems that surrender was not acceptable to the
Tubaxian air navy. One ship tried to race and
ram or board the flagship. Every gun was trained on this
one ship, Pieces were blown free of the craft, but still it kept
coming. I had to admire the brave captain for his attack, but it
was doomed to fail. Before she could get close to the flagship,
it was a burning hulk and took the long drive to the ground.
With her fall, the remains of the Tubaxian fleet returned behind their
“Don't think its over!” I said. “They have more
tricks up their sleeve.”
The Heliumetic fleet approached the city slowly, firing
as they went. They were targeting gun mounts. The fire from the walls
was sporadic, giving the impression they were finished.
“They look like their done!” said Kantos Kan. “Should
we raise a truce flag?”
“Let them raise the white flag first. Keep up the bombardment.
Focus on the gates. We wary of any ships trying to flee the city.”
It wasn't long before the fire from the city stopped all
together. Then, over the main gate, a white banner was hosted.
“Stop firing, but be ready for tricks.” I yelled.
No ships left the city—but I had seen Tubaxian treachery before.
The word reached the other ships of the fleet and the
bombardment stopped. We wait for a response from the Tubaxians.
But nothing happened. I was about ready to re-start the attack when
a single Tubaxian ship started out from the city. It was an older ship
but ornate with gold designs. More a royal barge than a warship.
It had guns at ready and a large white banner with flags of the royal house
Tubax. That should mean than the Jeddak was aboard.
“Good,” I said. “Now we can arrest the Jeddak of the West
and place him in chains and try him in court with an international tribunal.
He has broken the accepted rules of war.”
“I say kill him!” whispered Kantos Kan.
“That would make us no better than he.” I answered. From
the look on my Mates face—she was in agreement with the Admiral.
The barge moved slowly towards our line of battle. I didn't
know if this was their top speed or deliberately flying slow. I used
a glass to see who was on deck. I did see a fellow wearing the garments
of a Jeddak on a thrown—and just a handful of crew. I speculated
that all of the best crewmen may have been killed in battle.
I noticed the figure on the thrown was smiling.
“Why is the Jeddak smiling?” I asked almost more to myself
than anyone else.
“Treachery!” answered Dejah Thoris.
“Perhaps,” I answered. “It seems that this is their accepted
form of warfare.”
The ornate ship drew closer and a crewman stepped to the
bow with a speaking trumpet.
“We wish to surrender to John Carter himself.” the Tubaxian
“Let us go to the Jeddak of the West,” I said to Kantos
Kan. “But, be ready for anything.”
Nolan, the winged man, rushed to the bridge, saluting
as he approached.
“I fear Treachery, John Carter,” he said in an excited
voice. “Maybe another bomb ship to slay you?”
“I don't think that is his plan.” I said shaking my head.
Slowly the big, opulent barge drew closer. She was
headed for the flagship with her props slowly turning.
“Be ready for anything,” I said, drawing my long sword.
I saw my mate had drawn her dagger. I drew my short sword and gave
it to her—She took it in her right hand. She was skilled in its use.
The Barge was close when Nolan cried out.
“That's not Kulan Tith!” he yelled. “I know him.
That is an imposture.”
I took the glass—I had meet the Jeddak once but—through
he looked similar—it was not him. I was about to order the warship
to open fire when grappling hooks shot out from the barge and pulled the
two ships together. At the same time mobs of small man-like
creatures with long legs and spindle-like arms jumped
up and boarded the flagship. Some were armed with long metal tubes.
They were fast and came with such a fierce attack some of the crew were
cut down with their long bladed daggers.
“The Spider Men!” cried Nolan, “They are fanatically
loyal to the Jeddak! They are after hostages!” As he spoke
one of the short men fired his tube like weapon and it shot out a net ensnaring
a ships officer, and pulling him in. More and more came out of the
big vessel—they may have numbered over a thousand of them.
“I hate Spider Men!” shouted Nolan. They had reached
the Bridge. The little men were armed with a long dagger they
could use like a short sword or throw, each of them had several of these
One came for me and in a few strokes I disarmed him and
decapitated the enemy. Others of his kind got past me and engaged Nolan,
Kantos Kan and Dejah Thoris. Before I could help them several more attacked
me with their daggers. I noticed they didn't throw their weapons
at us—that told me they were ordered to take us hostage. Three
of the Spider men came to the bridge with the long tube new throwers.
I pushed back my foes to keep the weapons from getting on to the bridge—In
the fight my long sword sent three of the small men to their ancestors.
I saw a tube aimed at me. I jumped up as the net flew to the place I had
When I came down, I fell upon a spider man, crushing
him under my sandals, My sword flew in wide strokes and took out three
more. I saw a creature aim at my mate and fire. My sword
caught the net and mid-air threw it overboard. Unfortunately, my sword
was ensnared in the web and went with it over the side. All I had
to defend myself was a Radium pistol and a dagger. As
the enemy was using their net weapon I felt I was justified in using the
I drew it and started firing. Six of the Spider men fell.
Others followed my lead and began to use their pistols on the creatures.
Kantos Kan was ensnared by a net but used his pistol on
the attackers and pulled himself free of the net.
My mate was dueling with a bearded Spider Man when I shot
“John Carter,” she smiled, “I had him, I didn't
need your help.”
Just at that moment a net wrapped itself around her as
she screamed. My handgun spat death into the mob of enemy,
dozens fell, including those who had tried to capture Dejah Thoris.
I quickly pulled the sticky net away from her.
I looked up and saw a half a dozen ships were sending
warriors to defend the flagship and attack the barge. The white banner
on the vessel was cut down and the colors of Helium hosted. I saw
that the man playing the part of Kulan Tith was captured.
From what I could see all of the terrible spider men were dead. They
were loyal, I would give them that.
“Now that we have had our exercise for the day,” I said
to Kantos Kan. “Let us get back to the bombardment of Tubax—Ignore any
and all flags of truce.”
“With pleasure,” he answered. Giving out the orders by
wireless and with signal flags. The fleet started to move closer
to the walled city, now firing with all their guns. Even the ornate
barge –now with a prize crew-- joined in the bombardment.
“I fear they will have more tricks for us.” Whispered
“We will be ready for them!” I answered her.