Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute and Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ Over 10,000 Webpages in Archive
Volume 1309
A Graphic Interpretation of
Edgar Rice Burroughs'
A Princess of Mars
James Killian Spratt

A Fair Captive From The Sky

The third day after the incubator ceremony, 
the tribe loaded for the long journey back to Thark, 
but no sooner had the column left the city outskirts, 
than it was urgently turned back. . . 

Within minutes
the entire tribe had disappeared 
back into the city,
and was nowhere to be seen . . . 
Sola and I had entered a building 
upon the front of the city.
I climbed to an upper story 
to find out 
what had caused the delay.

The windows of all
the buildings were rapidly filled
with Thark warriors,
all armed with powerful radium rifles, 
which fired explosive glass bullets 
to a very long range. 
Something was approaching the city 
from the direction of
the dead sea bottoms.
I dashed to an empty window, 
and there I saw the cause 
of the sudden scurry to cover --

A huge craft swung slowly 
over the crest of the nearest hill. 
Following it was another,
and another.
I counted twenty ships.

I could see figures crowding
the forward decks and 
upper works of the aircraft -- 
Whether they had discovered us or 
simply were looking at the deserted city
I could not say,
but in any event they received . . .

. . .  a rude reception,
for suddenly and without warning
the green Martians fired 
a terrific volley 
from the facing windows.
The massed fire effect 
was devastating --
our precise aimed fire was worse, 
and the surprise was a total  shock . . .

The foremost ship returned fire,
but it seemed that 
a little figure aboard the ships 
dropped at our every shot. 

The other vessels followed 
in the wake of the first, 
each one opening up on us 
as she swung into position. 
Our own fire never diminished,
however, and clearly 
the ships had underestimated our force.
Within twenty minutes 
the great fleet swung off, 
several limping perceptibly, 
barely under control, 
and focused on escape . . . 
Our warriors harassed them 
until they were gone, 
firing from the rooftops. 
The fleet had been demolished,
the field was littered with dead . . . 
One by one the ships 
managed to dip below
the crests of the outlying hills 
until only one, barely moving,
was in sight . . .

Drifting slowly nearer,
the big boat was being pushed 
toward the buildings
by the slight breeze. 

As she gently collided, 
some of the Thark warriors
tossed grapnels
and dragged the derelict
to the ground.

After making her fast, 
they swarmed the sides and
searched the vessel. 
From my balcony above 
I could see them 
searching the bodies 
and presently dragging 
a little figure from below, 
another new Martian monstrosity, 
I surmised. 
Then commenced a systematic 
looting of the captive craft.

Among the loot were arms, 
silks, furs, jewels, 
strangely carved stone vessels,
solid foods and liquids, 
and a great many casks of water,
the first I had seen on Mars . . .

I watched while the green Martians
stripped the stricken ship of valuables,
hauling away many chariot-loads. 
Then some of the warriors 
hauled the gutted hulk
out into the field and set it afire. 
Higher and higher she ascended 
as the dead and wooden parts lightened her
as they burned, a mighty funeral pyre. . . 
I watched until she disappeared 
into the Martian heavens . . .

Unaccountably depressed, 
I slowly descended to the street. 
The scenes I had witnessed 
seemed to mark the defeat 
and annihilation of the forces
of a kindred people. 
I felt a strange yearning 
toward these unknown foemen, 
who had been so ruthlessly attacked . . . 
I was soon met  by 
a somewhat anxious Sola, 
and we returned to the plaza
with the rest . . .

As we entered the plaza, 
a sight filled me with hope, 
fear exultation, depression,
relief and happiness. 

The prisoner -- 
similiar in every detail 
to the earthly women 
of my past life -- 

Save for her 
highly wrought ornaments 
she was entirely naked --

-- nor could any apparel 
have enhanced
the beauty of her figure. 

She didn't see me at first; 
then she turned -- 


As her gaze rested on me 
her eyes opened wide
in astonishment, 
and she made a little sign
with her free hand ---

A sign -- 
which I, of course, 
did not understand.

Her look faded 
to one of dejection,
then loathing and contempt. 

I realized I had not answered 
her appeal for protection. 

Then she was dragged 
out of sight . . .

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 |

Send all correspondence to

ERB Text, ERB Images and Tarzan® are ©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
and all associated characters and their distinctive likenesses are owned by ERB, Inc.
No part of this Web site may be reproduced without permission.