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Volume 1711
Eibhlin on Barsoom

A 30,000-word novelette
Rick Johnson


The journey from Earth to Barsoom would be simple and quick.  At point-01c she could make it in a day which would give her time to reflect on her life and goals.  She did that a lot, reflecting, but never really came up with anything worthwhile. She was totally unsuited to be a housewife to man or woman and even as a lover, She was too selfish to spend her hours thinking of ways to pleasure her partner such as flowers or love-notes in her lunch, as much fun as that may be.  So the only thing she was really happy doing was adventure.  Smuggling, robbing criminals, assassinating bad people and fighting in wars for she tried to believe herself to be an ethical criminal.  Maybe it was because of her early life where at the age of fifteen when she should have been married and popping out Irish brats, she was a motherless orphan helping her father fight the British invaders.  And lacking a feminine role model, she learned to be a man in a man's world despite her gender.  Strange how she thought of herself that way for there were no men in her new life to provide that model.  Maybe it was hunting English soldiers after what they did to her family warped her into the more violent aspects of life.  Maybe it was being abducted by the Demons and changed into not only an alien but a technical-slave during the Kris Wars that did it.  Despite the years of lonely space travel, she still didn't know.  She just realized that every time she tried to work at a real job using the technical experiences and abilities she possessed (thanks to Demon programming), she got really bored and went looking for trouble, too often in a bar and then an alley for she was an obnoxious drunk.

She had heard about Barsoom when she lived on Earth from the books by Edgar Rice Burroughs and remembered something she had read in the Demon archives.  The planet existed, the Demons had visited it and the only difference between Barsoom as described by the author, Burroughs, and the real planet was that Burroughs dressed the place up and made it more exciting for his readers.  Well, Shakespeare did the same whenever he wrote history into a play for the reality of Julius Caesar or Richard III was far from that shown in the play.  And the television shows she had seen about Ireland under Cromwell's rule was nothing like what she had endured.  But then, 20th Century America was more English than they wanted to admit and so wouldn't tell the truth about what Eibhlin and her family suffered in the 17th century so she accepted the editorial differences and hoped that Barsoom would be as exciting as she needed.

Once leaving planetary surface and leaving those stupid people behind, (how could she have thought that she would fit in?) she did a quick scan, located the Red Planet and plotted the course.  Then her sensors detected something in Canada.  An energy spike that shouldn't be there.  Her charts said Saskatchewan near Montana in a remote area that had no real population to warrant that much power.  Curious she adjusted orbit and moved lower to investigate.  Her cloak would easily keep her undetected by the American radar system so she had no fear of them trying to shoot her down. Even if they tried, anything less than a nuke wouldn't get through her shields and she could easily outrun anything they tossed at her.  With only a pulse laser and beamer for a deck gun, she couldn't destroy a city or anything like they showed on the movies, but she could shoot down any aircraft or missile and decimate the originating base so had no fears at all.

The spike was strange, neither electro-magnetic nor nuclear nor thermal, or rather not like what Earth was capable of generating.  She had seen that spike before….  That's it!  A Stargate!  Ten years ago she had found one about 5,000 light years away and it had sent her to 1990 Earth where she met and fell in love with Jean before that woman betrayed her for a man.  It had taken Eibhlin six months to build a communicator to contact her ship, the Mairayd, and bring it to Earth to rescue her.  Then she had taken Kevin and Cyndi to the stars as lovers and friends.  Five years ago they had left to see the galaxy and so Eibhlin had resumed her smuggling career until she met Kara who had left just weeks ago wishing to live on the planet of her ancestors.  She hoped that Kara was smart enough to keep her origins secret for the Earth nations were too paranoid about alien visitors and would gladly torture information out of the woman as an alien invader even if she was 100% Saxon.

So Eibhlin had found a Stargate on Earth.  But where did it go?  Only one way to find out and she lowered until the ship was within meters of the tree-tops and did a thorough scan.  The Demons used Stargates often but they understood them.  Eibhlin did not.  Some were stable and went from one place-time to another with no problems. Others were unstable and shifted with the desires of the user.  Still others would just send you into the heart of a star or disperse your atoms to the emptiness of space.  You never really knew and this one was a bit strange.

Finding a clearing she landed the ship and as she dressed for excursion, called out, “Mairayd?””

The Mairayd a Vanthi Merchant Raider named after Eibhlin's mother

Yes, captain,” the ship replied.

“Please keep scanning the area for human life, I'd hate to be surprised while bathing in a stream.”

“Of course, Captain.”

“Also, I'm looking over that Stargate so keep in contact just in case something happens so you can rescue me.”

“Of course, Captain.”

She had used Stargates before with only a couple mishaps but you never took chances.  The Demons never had trouble with the things but then, they loved art and exploration so you could teleport a Demon a million light years away to a world that was killing it from poisonous atmosphere and temperature and they'd think it was a grand adventure that they had planned carefully.   As for Eibhlin, she preferred her adventures where she could breath the air, drink the water and not worry about the local animals or plants or rocks trying to eat her.

So, gear.  Boots with a decent sole and flexible enough to allow her to use her tarsial thumb.  Pants and shirt with armour fibers to deflect stingers and bullets.  Hat for rain and sun, gloves with two thumbs, her medial and lateral.  Water and food for three days, knife, sword, the one the Demons had made for her training with Brount, not the Katana she had bought in Las Vegas and her beamer. Plus a medical kit, fire and cooking kit and a bag of gold and silver coins to sell in case of need.  She didn't know what to expect but she might just decide to camp out and sleep under the stars.  She had done that in Ireland after humanity had become extinct and when she decided to go swimming and accidentally triggered that Stargate that took her to California ten years ago she wished she had this kit so was taking few chances.  She wasn't dressed for war but a knife was always useful and a beamer and sword diverted a lot of potential trouble-makers.   And the only difference between these clothes and the ones she wore aboard ship were that she usually wore a long dress and now was wearing pants.  The armour fibers were standard and prevented a loose drive-shaft or rogue meteorite from killing her when she was working.  Then she thought, “what the hell am she doing?  I'm in Canada!  The most polite nation on Earth!  What trouble do she expect?  A mad bear or a lumberjack looking for a beer?”  So she changed to some cotton pants (or what the Vanthi used as cotton) and carried only her sword and beamer calling out, “Mairayd, I'm leaving now, please keep a lookout for me.”

“Of course, Captain,” she responded as the former Irish woman left the ship.

Once outside she took a deep breath and smelled the recent rain.  It even looked like Ireland, same vegetation, same climate, same overcast sky.  All it needed was a peat bog and a few more rocks underfoot and a few less trees overhead.

She had been smelling a few flowers when she saw the bee.  She knew that the Americas had imported the European honey-bee but this one was different.  Not really different, but the bands weren't exactly right.  The flower too, it was different.  Now she began to look around carefully.  That was a pine tree but the cone was too tight.  Most of the biota was normal as she could tell but then, she'd see something different.  Eibhlin was an Engineer and a soldier (of sorts) not a biologist but she knew that mercury used in the paper industry would mutate genes and many other industrial pollutions were as mutagenetic.  So this could be a natural evolution or a genetic defect from pollution or….  she emenned for electro-magnetic fields and felt them to the right.  The Demons had given her those antennae to detect em-fields to help her repair their ships and she could just as easily feel the magnetic field of the Earth or even a human so the difference from a Stargate was easy to find.

But if there was a Stargate here, and if another animal crossed to Earth, the strange conditions would quickly kill the immigrating animal but some of the bacteria and parasites could survive long enough to reproduce and evolve.  This is why fleas colonized worlds that killed humans.  The simpler the life-form, the better their chances for survival and a single sneeze could change the face of any planet forever.  Then the local life here in Canada would react to the alien bacteria and parasites by adapting, evolving into a form that could resist the invaders.  Thus the new species.  Nothing drastic as a reptile changing into a bird or mammal but something more subtle like a new form of honey-bee or a different shape of a pine-cone.

The fields were from a cave, narrow and not very deep and she could feel the deflection field at maybe ten feet.  Normally these Stargates operated where kinetic energy generated by flowing water caused an iron mass to release tachyons or something like that.  She wasn't certain as she was as much a physicist as a biologist but she did know you need a natural worm-hole plus iron to de-gauss and some form of kinetic energy to degauss the iron and free-flowing water under and around an iron ring works well.  At least that's what the Demons said when they had her build one on some planet twenty years ago when she was maybe nineteen years of age.  There were obviously other ways Stargates existed but these were the ones the Demons preferred to use because they could be controlled.  The problem was often that since the mind generated low-frequency em-fields if you wanted something strongly enough, your thoughts and desires could influence the Stargate and shift the wormhole to another focus.  Maybe that was what happened to John Carter and Ulysses Paxton?  They wanted to go to Mars so badly that the Stargates in Arizona and France shifted to meet their desires?  Or maybe the Stargates there were stable and the reflections from Mars influenced their minds to think of Mars?  It's all very metaphysical, another field where she was lacking.

Eibhlin heard a grunting behind here and saw a bear rising over her.  She know she could have cut it apart with her beamer easily for her reflexes were far faster than that of the animal but it was probably defending its den and Eibhlin had no wish to kill a mother for she saw her cubs to the side.  So she leapt backwards to escape and slammed into the cliff-face.  Stunned, she felt for the opening and crawled inside grasping her sword and beamer and preparing to defend herself if she couldn't escape.

Moments later she was overcome by weakness and her last sight was a red star, Mars, just above the trees as the sun set.


Eibhlin awoke, hearing something grunting in the trees overhead and a dozen thoughts ran through her head at once.  She was no longer in the cave.  She was freezing cold.  She was wet from laying in a shallow bog.  Something was crawling up her leg and SHE SCREAMED AND PUSHED HERSELF AWAY then when on dry ground, as dry as a bog could be, she calmed and other thoughts meandered through.  The thing she had kicked off her naked leg was a snake with ten legs.  She had time to actually count them, her mind was shifting so fast and the snake was staring at her with no further movement.  It hissed at the girl and then she poked at it with her sword sheath.  It snapped but didn't bite then moved back into the water and swam away through the red scum that covered the water.  Her next action was to huddle into a ball, covering her breasts and privates for she actually was naked.  She still held her sword and beamer but nothing else.  It was also hard to breathe between the humidity and the thinness of the atmosphere.

She forced myself from her nudity for the only times she had ever been naked was while bathing, having sex or when she awoke on the Demon med-table after they did something to her.  No clothes, no med-kit, no food or water, just her, her skin and her sword and beamer.

The things in the tree looked like eight-legged lizards with long necks but she could estann intelligence from them.  Not on a human level, though some people were less intelligent than a frog she believed, but still there were concepts and ideas and drives there.  “Hello,” she called to them in Spanglic, then Vanthi, Gaelic and English.  With no answer of images, she tried the hissing of Demon which she could speak after a fashion though her accent was terrible.  The things stopped at this, stared then continued as if she had been mouthing gibberish.

Something bit her and she slapped it to red ruin before she thought.  Then she scraped the mess off her thigh and examined the wound.  It was already beginning to swell with venom and she toyed with the idea of cutting it open and sucking the poison.  But was that a good idea?  Ireland had no snakes and neither did any starship or space station she knew of but she recalled watching something on TV in America about more people being killed by fools who believed in the cut-and-suck than were harmed by the poison so decided to leave it alone.  After all, the Demons had created this body to survive and she hoped that they kept alien worlds in mind when they did so.  Or maybe since they created her as a tech-slave, they never thought she'd ever leave their ships.  That last thought was disturbing.

She crawled to the water, trying to slow her heart and respiration in case she was poisoned and washed the mess from her leg.  At least it wasn't growing worse and she'd suffered worse bites from bees and dogs.

Then she stood up, flew through the air and struck a tree.  Ok, gravity was less.  No problem for she had been on enough planets to know how to move about in everything from zero-g to three-g.  She was twice as strong as any human male and could survive in heavy or light gravity so all she needed to do was to re-learn how.  Preferably before she cracked her skull on a branch

Being naked bothered her for she had been born into a nation where women wore dresses to the ground, sleeves to the wrist and more undergarments than most Americans owned.  She stood carefully, never letting go of her beamer or sword and took inventory.  The last time she crossed alone through a Stargate, she ended up on Earth in California and wearing her clothes.  This time she was naked but holding her weapons.  Why?

Because of her desires!  She had planned to visit Barsoom and those thoughts were in her mind.  She was thinking of John Carter and Ulysses Paxton who had transited to Barsoom and they were in her mind.  She was thinking of escaping the bear while hiding in the Stargate and that triggered the Stargate and thrust her to…. Barsoom?  Wasn't Barsoom a desert and not a bog-infested forest?

“Shut up!” she screamed to the things overhead.  So the Stargate stripped her naked including the weapons she wasn't frantically grasping as was its wont.  Biologicals only it seemed under normal conditions.  But her strong desire for self-defense and her clutching of these two weapons as a life-line brought them along.  She seemed to remember that both Carter and Paxton thought only of escape and so thoughts of fighting or even decent attire never crossed their minds.  Thus they'd escape everything, including their clothes.  DAMN!  Why couldn't she be more worried about nudity!  Now she would bounce all over this planet until…

She'd need to build another transceiver to summon her ship.  Left alone, it would eventually start to search for her, she had programmed into the Mairayd a really strong loyalty, but telling her where she was would help tremendously.  All she had to do would be to survive until her ship arrived.  Last time this happened it took six months to be rescued.

Looking around she chose a direction towards higher and dryer ground then noticed that she was walking with her hands and tail covering her breasts and private areas.  She tried to laugh for who would see her here?  She was alone with a few alien animals and God and she no longer believed in him so it mattered not if he watched her.  Hell!  God watched her get gang-raped in Ireland by British soldiers when she was seventeen so he probably enjoyed the sight of naked flesh.  “Probably a good reason to dress though,” she thought.

The sounds continued despite her wishes and finally she stopped, held her sword under her breasts and screamed to the trees, “Look all you want!  I may not be the most beautiful woman in the galaxy but I've never wanted for a lover or had my lovers been embarrassed to be seen with me in public!”  The sounds died again then commenced.  Stupid animals.  At least in this low gravity she no longer bounced and her breasts felt much lighter than on Earth despite their size which got in the way sometimes.  Damn those Demons for not understanding human physiology.  Life was easier with her original body.

She continued on using the glide that Brount, her sword-master and teacher of spiritual-philosophy had taught her when she was a Demon slave to avoid leaving the ground with every step.  She didn't know why she used the word ‘slave’ when talking about Demons.  They didn't really own her and she was treated far better by them than by her own family in Ireland.  And they did give her the Mairayd and healed her wounds and educated her.  “Habit” she guessed.  Something crawled up the inside of her leg and she swatted it away before it crawled inside her.  THIS is why she needed clothing, to keep the vermin outside her skin and out of her womb which they'd probably find inviting.

She also needed a belt or rope to hold her weapons, a canteen for water, a pack for whatever food she could find and numerous other things that she had no way to make.  She tried a vine but it broke when she tried to tie a knot.  Then she tried to weave the grass, for weaving wool and flax into thread then into cloth was something every Irish girl learned as she suckled at her mother's breast.  Eventually she was able to make a pad of sorts.  It wasn't beautiful but would allow her to sit without something seeing her privates as a potential home.  After some time she was able to roll and braid the grass into a flat rope of sorts and this made a belt to hold her sword and beamer, thus freeing her hands for other tasks, like climbing a tree or swatting the bugs.  Next came a skirt and panties though this grass against her nether lips might be as uncomfortable as wool.

She did find a rock with a moderate edge (She was totally ignorant on how to chip flint even though some Irish men needed a modicum of that skill to repair the flints in their flintlocks on Earth) and began to scrape the purple grasses until she had the fibers left which she collected.  With some pounding, they softened well and she was able to weave them into something that was protective and wouldn't chafe.  Looking down into the murky water she felt like a topless dancer on stage with desperately lonely and horny men staring up at her.  She only needed those 7 inch heels with the stupid 2 inch soles and a pole to complete the image.  She also decided that a bra wasn't overly needed in this lighter gravity but she'd need a hat once she got away form the trees.  So by the time the sun was setting, she had a belt and panties of a sort and a sitting mat but nothing more so she sought a place to sleep the night away.  She did tie her beamer tightly to her thigh and her sword to her back for fear of loosing them and sought safety for the night in the trees.

Fortunately, the adaptations the Demons made for her to work in the zero-gravity of a starship worked equally well in a forest and she was easily able to climb any tree she chose, first by leaping the distance to the lower limbs, a feat made easier by her enhanced strength as much by the lower gravity then using her tarsial thumbs and prehensile tail to hold onto the branches about her.  And soon she was watching the lizards and bugs glow in the dark.  Reptiles are cold-blooded and never glow since their body temperature matched their surroundings.  These glowed with infra-red which meant that although they resembled lizards, they were warm-blooded.

Soon the sun vanished and with it the heat.  She had spent many an Irish Winter with few clothes and this was as bad if not worse for she was naked save a triangle of ‘cloth’ that covered her pubic hair and privates, for the string in back ran between her cheeks to separate around her tail then join into a belt to hold the front, thus she was effectively naked!

The atmosphere was so thin it probably held little if any heat so she pulled as many leafy branches as she could around her and huddled and shivered through the night.  Once she awoke from a dream of falling to find she WAS falling.  Then she hit a branch across her belly and near died from the impact.  She would need to make a hammock or platform or learn to not roll over in her sleep she reflected as she returned to her bower, her aches driving the cold away.

In the morning she was cold but alive and crawled upward to the sun which was rising in what she took to be the East.  Were she in the southern hemisphere or the planet rotate backwards, these directions would be reversed but for now she enjoyed the thought that she had learned the cardinal directions to her new home.  As the sun rose, it shrank to be much smaller than on Earth though the colour was the same.  She spread out to catch the em-fields but felt none.  No magnetic field to this world.  This meant that either the iron core had cooled because the planetary mass was too small to keep it molten or this world had no iron core.  Either way was dangerous for without a magnetic field, there would be no Van Allen belts to stop the UV-radiation and she'd sunburn quickly once away from the trees.  Damn! Another problem to endure and solve.

Then she noticed that although she had a few welts from the evening, none of the bugs were biting her.  She watched carefully and saw one alight then leave without biting.  They had decided that she wasn't a snack which meant that their biologies were different.

Demons took humans because they shared the same biology and so we could eat their food, breathe their air and live in their ships without fear of us dying off.  The worlds colonized by the abducted humans during the Diaspora were mostly Demon terra-formed worlds so were compatible with humanity but this world may be different.  If the bugs decided that she wasn't edible, did that mean that the local food was equally poisonous to her?

She picked two nuts then, holding them against each other in her palms, pressed and cracked the shell of one.  Then after investigating them with every sense the Demons had enhanced, she ate one, chewing slowly and feeling for any sensation that would indicate poison.  But aside from a slight acrid taste, they were bland and caused no numbness or tingle or sting so when she had masticated the nut to a fine paste, she swallowed, prepared to stick her finger down her throat if it became necessary to void her stomach.

Her Vanthi pleasure slave, Ethelinda, had bragged that she had no gag reflex which had made her male owners very happy but for Eibhlin, the one time she tried with her tail to see what it felt like, she near lost her lunch so she knew a simple finger in her throat would cause the nut to vacate her bowels immediately were she to feel poisoned.

After some time and no ill effects, she repeated the same with the other nut then as she digested that one, she began to pick others.  Another tree over held fruit but biting into one made her spit and rush for water, not caring if she were sucking parasites with the water, so determined was she to wash out the taste of that thing.

She tried another fruit with the same results then finally found one that looked like an American potato only growing from a tree.  This was as bland as the nuts but between the two she filled her belly.  At least she had found a nut and a ‘fruit’ she could eat and a number she could not.  Of course, they hadn't gone through her system yet and she knew not which leaves would be safe to use when she wiped.

She traveled on in a general northerly direction for a few days before she found the forest thinning and the desert taking over as the ground rose.  Ahead of her was the desert, red rock and reddish moss and little else.  She remembered driving though Death Valley ten years ago when Jean and she visited Los Vegas and even that desert was lush compared to this one.  So, perhaps she was on the Barsoom of Burroughs?  The forest said no but the desert said maybe.  She'd need to see some eight legged lion or a fifteen foot six-limbed Green man to be certain.  One thing she was certain of as that she had no desire to cross that wasteland on foot, naked and with no supplies.

Since the desert was littered with broken hills and no evidence of water, she chose to follow the edge of the forest for a time.  She could easily climb a tree to escape danger from the desert and run to the desert to escape forest predators.  She recalled that John Carter, was that his name? was able to outrun a horse and leap thirty feet once here.  So she experimented.  She marked a spot then jumped as far as she could, then paced off the distance.  She was twice as strong as any human man and more than two and a half times as strong as she was when human so as Mars had 38% Earth Gravity, some simple calculations implied:
     A Human male can long jump 7’ on Earth + 62% = 11’ on Mars, twice that at a run.
     A Human female can long jump 5 ½’ on Earth + 62% = 9’ on mars, twice that at a run.
     She was twice as strong as a Human man so she should jump twice as far or 23' or 46' at a run.

Her distance was near sixteen feet.  A bit lower than expected but then, she wasn't an athlete and being twice as strong as a man didn't mean she could simply double his abilities.  With work, she could probably do maybe eighteen feet though that would reduce to maybe fifteen feet as she adapted to the lower gravity.  But she as still having trouble breathing in the reduced atmosphere and would need more meat to build up red blood cells and the few lizards she could eat weren't doing that fast enough.

Well, right is lucky so she turned to her right and followed the forest eastward thinking to myself, “How the hell did John Carter jump thirty feet when the math shows he should be barely able to jump twenty and experimentation indicates barely ten or twelve?

If a man can jump three to four feet up and a woman can jump two to three feet up, then a man should be able to leap to the top of a six foot wall and a woman to the top of a five foot wall… she thought the author was exaggerating when he described human abilities on Mars.

Thus employed she near tripped over the skeleton in her path.


The skeleton was scattered over a wide area and some bones were covered with the ochre moss while others were fully exposed and most showed the tooth marks of whatever had eaten the thing.  The spine was mostly intact and stretched for dozens of feet, each vertebrae as round as a dinner platter.  Yet they were deceptively fragile-looking.  The skull was huge, bigger than a throne but the bones were thin and there were many holes as if to reduce weight.  When she found the legs, for a leg bone is a leg bone, she counted eight but too thin for something of this size.  Each was more than five feet long but only as thick as a cow's leg.  This thing was tall and long and thin and then she laughed, “You don't need to fight Earth's gravity so you don't need strength.  And you have to be long to keep from tripping over your own feet.”  She searched the corpse some more but found nothing of use, no harness, no meat, just bones so she traveled on.

By the third day she was doing better time, having made a sling from grass and used that weapon to kill some four-winged birds that had two or four legs.  Once she found a clutch of fresh eggs, each the size of a goose egg and dined well that day but mostly she ate nuts, that potato fruit and the occasional lizard.  She slept in trees and walked in the shade as her skin slowly tanned and soon forgot that she was naked for her breasts were so light for their size she could almost forget they existed.  Plus the moss was so thick that she rarely stepped on a rock and so her feet toughened easily and suffered little damage though she wore a set of grass sandals she had woven.  She also was breathing well for her diet had allowed her to build the necessary blood to use this thin air and she had enough breath to even sing as she walked.

But of humanity she saw naught.

Each day as she walked she would gather dried sticks and branches and tie them into a bundle for her evening fire.  Then well before sundown she would seek a space between some large rocks well away from the forest, a place where the rocks would be hot from the day and keep her warm most of the night.  She would build her small fire, cover her alcove with leafy branches to retain heat and by the time the sun had set, she was safe and snug in her temporary hut where she would practice weaving the local grass into mats and finally a bag in which she could carry the treasures she found.

One day, maybe a week into her journey she was squatting by a rock, peeing and watching the moss send runners to her urine at a speed she could almost observe, so desperate was the red moss for any water.  She knew men in Ireland and even the Vanthi who would brag about being able to write their names in the snow but for her, she was happy if she kept her legs and feet dry.  She didn't hear it, but she estanned intelligence and quickly wiping with a bit of grateful moss, stood a bit to espy two green monsters mounted upon a couple long-bodied, eight-legged and olive-coloured horses.  These then must be the Green Men described by Captain Carter to his biographer.  She recalled that they were a cruel race and not wishing to be tortured and raped again, she started to duck down when she heard a woman moan in pain.

Each thoat, for that is what they were, held some prisoners tied to their mount.  The extreme length of the beasts allowed for not only their rider and gear but also two prisoners hanging over the spines of the beasts.  Three were men, she believed but the fourth had long black hair that hung for feet, hiding her head and the sides of the mount of her captor.

"Hey there!" she stood and cried, forgetting to pull her loincloth up.  The two immediately turned to see her, then their mounts made a slow turn towards her location.  She took the time to dress though why she don't know other than she disliked nudity.  A naked woman may be beautiful but a naked man, dangling there was just laughable and her own feminine nudity embarrassed her, though many women on Earth and Vanthi wished they had a body as firm, tight and attractive as was Eibhlin's.

She adjusted her clothing around her tail then slid her sword to a handy position and ensured her beamer was ready then waited.  She had killed Green Pirates twenty years ago when she returned to Ireland to conquer England and free her nation but those where more robust, heavier of limb ands possessed advanced Inter-stellar technology.  These were almost insect-like, their limbs were so thin, doubtless adapted to the lesser gravity.  Idly she wondered which race had made the mistake of abducting Green Men from Barsoom and discovered that their captors were not as complacent the prize they thought.  Humans could be tamed and trained, Green men could not.  At least these didn't have lasers or scanners or skimmers.

One dropped his lance and charged her then as she drew and waited, trusting to her strength and reflexes to survive, he saw that she wasn't what he expected and pulled up at the last moment and called to his companion for she estanned no friendship in these monsters for her or for each other.

Both came to a halt, staring at her with lances pointed to her heart but yards away.  They would have to spur their mounts to pierce her but the threat was there, if she moved, she would die.  The two looked her over and she estanned flashes of images as they seemed to discus her tail, eyes, feet and even her breasts then some decision was made and one called to her to do something that she believed was ‘surrender or die’ though it could have easily been ‘why are you peeing in public?’

She responded in Spanglic, then Gaelic, English, Vanthi and Demon, “I don't understand what you are saying,” but she was as unintelligible to them as they were to her.

The two discussed this again and as they did so she took note of their weapons.  Their lance was some forty foot long and was held by their right middle limb in its armpit, being counter-balanced by its right upper arm which held the lance steady by grasping it far behind his body.  His middle left arm grasped the lance before its body and helped to guide the point thus freeing its upper left arm for other weapons for she saw neither reigns nor harness on the thoat.  She would occasionally receive a flash of ‘turn’ or ‘stop’ which implied that they controlled their mounts through telepathy.  She suspect that the lightness of the metal which wasn't steel, iron or wood aided by the lower gravity enabled them to do this for on Earth they hadn't the muscles to even stand, much less hold a lance of such length steady.

Each also carried two swords at their left hips, one six foot long and the other three foot long with an eighteen inch dagger and heavy revolver at their right hip.  She also noticed a pack at their belt behind their back and a number of pouches plus a rifle with a barrel far longer than her own height in a holster at the side of the thoat though one had his rifle slung over his back.

She called these two ‘he’ only because she believed them to be so for she did not believe that a woman would be acting as did these nor did she see any sign of breasts though for all she knew, they could be male, female, neither or both.  But didn't John Carter mention that Green Women fought but only in defense?  Perhaps she should have taken more care in her reading.

Thrusting the pointed butt of the lance into the ground (she hesitated to say earth and ‘into the mars’ didn't sound right) it stared down at her for its head was easily seven or eight higher than her own five foot height.  It walked around her and she received an image of it breaking her tail bones one at a time from distal to ass.  The thing was assessing her use as a plaything for torture, not for ransom or curiosity.  Once, as it moved before its fellow, she acted, jumping forward, and rolled between its legs and before it could react she hamstrung it with one slice of her sword.  Then as it went to its knees with a cry of anger, curiously not pain, she ran for its fellow who dropped its now useless lance and pulled its longer sword from his side.

By then she had avoided the thoats sharp teeth and closed in for a sword that long was made for cutting people with the last couple feet of the edge and once closer than four feet, it was useless.  The sword Brount made for her, however, was made for cutting while close in and though she could have thrust, she wanted to get too close for it to avoid her blow and so she leapt up, grabbed its leg with her tarsial feet, wrapped her tail around a saddle projection for a brace and struck it in the side above the belt then pushed in and drew as she pushed myself backwards.

The draw-cut worked well for the green monster stood in slow motion, its side opening and then it watched its own entrails fall from its body for she had cut it to the spine.

With that one dying she returned to her first opponent and circled it at the guarde.  Loosing its lower legs seemed to only inconvenience it slightly for it used its middle limbs as legs and upon its lower knees, resorted to a mode of quadrapedal motion that was hindered only slightly by the damage she had caused to it calves.  It reared its upper body upright and resembled a centaur, green and hideous but none the less a centaur and went on guard with its longer sword held in both hands.  Rather than crippling the thing, she had simply moved it down to her level of attack and now it had the advantage of reach for it could thrust and cut long before she could reach a killing distance herself.

Its skill far surpassed her own for Brount had taught her the sword as an art and a means to spirituality, not as a means to exterminate her fellows, for a space-faring people fight from thousands of miles away, not feet.   She tried to block and charge, deflect and leap, any tactic that she thought might get her within the Green man's point to no avail and soon she was bleeding from a number of cuts and pokes, none fatal but all irritating and she was sweating like a horse in the sunlight which the Green Man seemed to accept as natural.

When she advanced, it held position and thrust or cut. When she retreated, it followed.  When she moved around, it easily turned and she was about to cut her losses and run away then she thought of a plan.  It was moving its legs slower as it bled from her cuts but in this heat it she would desiccate from thirst before it bled to death so she backed towards the forest and shade.  Once under the leaves, the thoats grazing some distance away and ignoring them, she felt cooler and better though it became much muggier with the humidity.  She allowed the Green Man to back her further in, and she needed not to feign exhaustion for she was rapidly loosing strength.  Confident in her eventual loss, she allowed herself to be backed further into the forest then she turned and ran before her enemy could react and by the time it thought to chase her, she was hidden by the boles of trees and grass.

Then she leapt to a low branch and climbed overhead to spy down upon her victim.  She had guessed right.  Like humans this thing had evolved in the open plains so its instincts were to look out and down for that was where prey, danger and safety lay.  Being a desert creature, it never thought to look up into the trees so she carefully climbed overhead until she was directly overhead.  She froze when it did look up but it never saw her and she appeared to be invisible to its telepathy while she estanned its direction at all times.  Then as it turned to leave the forest, she dropped onto its back, driving her blade through its spine and pinning it to the ground. Without care she released her sword and grasped its head and twisted, hearing its neck snap and then she was alone, on top of the body of her foe where she collapsed in exhaustion.

How long she lay there she know not.  Minutes? Days? Hours?  She only know that when she roused herself, it was because some of the local reptiles had started to munch on her and when she kicked one away, it hissed then moved to consume the dead Green Man, not caring that she was but feet away.  Her blood had dried and so she stripped the body, kicking away the scavengers who bit at her as she did so and dragged the weapons, gear and harness back to the edge of the forest.  There she collapsed again and examined the Green Man's gear finding a canteen with a milky substance that tasted like cheese.  Drinking this, she easily kept it down and then, refreshed, found some dried fruit which she ignored and that potato-fruit which she consumed with more nuts.  Then her strength recovered, she bundled the gear of her foe and returned to the thoats that had wandered some distance away in their search for food.

She dropped the gear near the other body and with but her own sword and beamer, (why didn't she just shoot them both with her beamer when she had the chance?) she approached the thoats and called them to her.  Horses could be tamed by a gentle word, a kind thought and some grain held under an armpit to collect sweat and cause the horse to associate your smell with good food.  So she cut some thick and tasty-looking, she hoped, moss and approached the beasts calling to them in a gentle voice and finally caught one.  She cut the prisoners free then repeated the act with the second, then carried her unconscious burden to the shade where she lay them as she retired to collect the remaining gear from the dead and the thoats.  By the time she had returned to the shade with her burdens, she was exhausted and collapsed again though she managed to force a few drops of the milky-cheese down the throats of three of the captives, the fourth being dead.  Obviously, the Green Men had enjoyed their breaks by torturing their prisoners and one had died from this treatment, another looked like he would not survive but the woman and the other man might with care.

Twice she chased off scavengers who were attracted to her dead companion until she had the strength to drag the body into the desert and pile rocks over the poor man.  Not knowing of their beliefs, she could only call out, “If there are any gods here, please care for this poor man who suffered so and give him rest and an ease to his torments.  Thank you.”  Then she returned to her charges and sought whatever medical supplies she could find in the gear she now possessed.

Something in a container that was obviously not cosmetic or food seemed to be medical so when she rubbed it on one of her own cuts, the pain vanished and the wound began to heal immediately.  This must be that miraculous healing salve that Captain Carter had described and so she used most of it on her companions who needed it far more than did she.  So cruelly was the woman used that Eibhlin cried as she treated her wounds and prayed that she would survive for such beauty that was evident even under her bruises and cuts deserved life.

She made each a bed from the silks and furs she had taken from the thoats, trusting to their own body heat to keep them warm, laved their wounds with water she fetched from the forest, force-fed them water and the milky-cheese and cared for them as best she could.  Then before the sun set, she built fires around them to drive away predators and to keep them warm and determined to remain awake to protect her charges.

She awoke shivering and realized that she had fallen asleep and saw the three glowing infra-red in the dark.  The three people with heat patterns were so different from humans that she knew not if that was normal or a result of their injuries.  The darkness around them glowed with the wild-life that approached in the darkness so she built the fires again, destroying her own night-vision in the process and using her beamer to kill one swamp thing that the fires failed to intimidate.

She must have fallen asleep again from exhaustion and blood loss for her next memories was of the sun up and the girl moaning in terror as she dreamt of her captivity.  She touched her to soothe and comfort her but the images and sensations she was broadcasting were so vivid she let go and backed away to empty her stomach in terror.  How could the Red Woman survive that, she did not know for the injured woman's experiences made what Eibhlin had suffered at the cruel hands of the British seem like pleasure.

Steeling myself she tried to project thoughts of calmness and love but the woman seemed to not be able to detect her own telepathy so she carefully laved her wounds, used the rest of the Green man's salve on her and when she rested, she sought her companions to find another dead in the night.  Crying, she cared for the last man and then carried the body to bury him next to his fellow who had not been disturbed.

She stood there, naked in the sun, wondering what god could allow such cruelty and fearing that tomorrow there would be two more graves to dig.  Then, she returned to her charges and hunted food for them all.

During her morning meal, which she had taken late due to her labours, she looked over the gear she had inherited.  A spyglass of such power that distant mountains came into sharp focus though the further they were, the harder it was to keep them in view for even her breathing and blood pulsing would move the spyglass a fraction that was imperceptible to her but caused the distant images to flit about like a moth.

There was a chess set with a cloth board of 100 squares and tiny pieces which caused her to wonder how such a cruel race could take such pleasure in a game like this.  This was but one of the many inconstancies that she was to discover on her sojourn upon the red planet.

The revolver was too large for her to hold but a larger man might do so.  The handle had been rebuilt for the larger hand of the Green Man but could be re-fitted to a smaller hand though it would still be too large for Eibhlin.  She remembered the explosive power of the weapon from the books so she sighted upon a distant rock, held her breath and holding the weapon with both hands, squeezed the trigger and with the report of the weapon came an explosion and the rock blew apart as the radium explosive shattered the target into fragments.  With weapons like this they still chose to fight with swords?  Perhaps there was some reason for even though she had a beamer that could easily have killed both Green Men instantly, she still used her sword which was totally unlike her.  Why?

A torch that could be adjusted for dim to blinding light, from a narrow beam to a broad pattern was a joy to find, as were a few other devices that she could not understand but would in time.  So she spent the morning shortening the leather belts of the Green men to fit her own frame and soon had a sword belt from which hung her own sword and one of the daggers of the Green Man which was like unto a short sword for me.  She also cut some of the silk to replace her loin-cloth with one far more comfortable, a skirt that fell to her knees (for the shorter skirts and pants she wore in California were never to her liking) and another cloth to cross her chest and form a bra of sorts to conceal her breasts (she had no needle and thread to make a blouse) and finally a scarf to protect her from the sun. Thus attired, she felt much more confidant, though she admitted she looked more the barbarian her ancestors were. The revolvers she could not handle so left those for her companion should he awake.  Of the thoats she never saw them again for they must have wandered away in the night and returned to the wild for how does one hobble a creature with eight legs?

Much of the saddle-bag contained harness and jewelry that obviously belonged to her charges and these she left for them, hoping that they would awaken soon which they did later that afternoon.

Eibhlin smiled at them and greeted them with a hearty “Cén chaoi 'bhfuil tú ?” for she hadn't really spoken her native Gaelic in near twenty years, but soon gave up on these people and switched to speaking Spanglic instead which was almost universal among the Demon-Abducted humans of the galaxy.

The man stared then tried to smile through smashed lips and broken teeth then replied, “kaor!” which she remembered was a greeting so replied the same which seemed to relax the two.  So she touched myself and said, “Eibhlin inghean Ui Bhrian.”

They tried to repeat her name then settled on Eivleen Obreen which she accepted for she would have time to correct their pronunciation.  The man introduced himself as Dar Moras and the woman as Lanor then they asked for a couple other words which she took to be names of their companions so she pointed to the desert and thought about the graves she had dug as she told them, “they died in the night.  I'm sorry for your loss.”  Lanor cried at the news though she didn't estann her thoughts, the tone of her voice spoke volumes.  She gave them more of the milky-cheese which they called ‘mantilla’ and so her language lessons commenced.

Eibhlin spent the day caring for them and bringing them food and water and when the man asked for something, she received an image of a sword and revolver so she gave these to the man who relaxed immediately, now he was armed though too weak to hold either.  Fortunately, the extreme simplicity of the Martian language (for the thoats and Green Men had convinced her that she was indeed on Barsoom) and the telepathic images that accompanied most of the words and the fact that the Irish are natural linguists aided her and within days she could speak and understand simple sentences like ‘may I have some water’ and ‘this is a rock’ and ‘I don't understand you.’

When it became clear that they wanted to know where she was from, she drew a picture of the solar system on some paper-like material she found in the saddlebags, pointed to the sun and the central dot, the fourth dot which she called Barsoom and when they named the other planets, “RASOOM, COSOOM, JASOOM, BARSOOM, SASOOM and so on, she pointed to Earth and said, “I am from Ireland on Jasoom,” which caused them both to look at her like she was mad.  She laughed at that for she looked like no Human they had ever seen and doubtless they thought she was some strange race from an isolated part of their world.

All she could do was smile and wait until she knew more of their language to explain her abduction, physical changes and her life in space.  But they stared at her constantly and it wasn't until days later that she found it was her dress that was stranger than her physical appearance for neither was bothered at being totally naked though both had ample silk to cover themselves had they wished.  And when they were strong enough to go through the saddle-bags and separated their own belongings, Lanor dressed in a simple panties and loin-cloth flap with a few belts and a lot of jewelry.  Dar Moras dressed the same though he didn't wear earrings as did Lanor but both wore bracelets, arm-bands and ankle chains and such with pins on their harness.  Lanor cared not that her breasts were fully exposed though hers were so small as to be almost non-existent.  But she did have the soft curves that ensured that she was, definitely, a woman.

Looking closer as they stood and carefully walked on damaged legs, Eibhlin saw that both were near hairless though both had wavy black hair, his short and hers flowing to her waist in a manner that made her wish her tresses were flowing over her body as they kissed.  Other than the coppery red colour of their skin, the larger rib-cage and their lack of body or facial hair, they resembled humans in every other way she could see.  Even their heat patterns were becoming familiar as they healed and when she looked carefully, she saw the normal finger-prints on their digits, the same as upon her own fingers and tail.  Until her abduction, her body was as hairy as any man's for women in her time never shaved their arms, legs or other areas but the Demons hated her being hairy and had removed it all save her pubes, head and eyes.  But her pubes were a jungle compared to Lanor's which were a meadow so though they appeared to have a common ancestor, Barsoom had robbed them of body hair as the Demons did to Eibhlin.

Both were attractive in the extreme, Lanor being so beautiful she took Eibhlin's breath away whenever she shook her hair or smiled.  He being so handsome that even the Irish-woman, who preferred women, could appreciate with a body hard but not overly muscular to indicate the man who exercised but not to extreme.  Sometimes she would hear them whispering about her when they thought she did not hear and when she would return from hunting, they would act embarrassed as if she had caught them in some conspiracy.

The potato-fruit she ate they called ‘usa’ but the bitter one she could not stomach, they ate with relish and called it ‘somp’.  Thus she learned that their digestion was different and so Eibhlin would have to be careful with what she ate.

It was almost a week before they were able to leave the forest for home and during that time Eibhlin became more fluent in their language though their discussions tended to be very general and impersonal with many pauses while Eibhlin would ask about a word and they'd have to explain it which would lead to another digression.  But she learned that the planet was called Barsoom which she knew, that John Carter as a Warlord or military leader of a number of cities.  The planet was shared by many races from the Red to the Green who were almost always at war over dwindling resources.  Barsoom had been dying for a half million years and only heroic efforts by the ancient White Race had staved off death but the current Red Men were taxed to even maintain the constructions of the ancients and all knew that death was inevitable though there as talk of sending ships to Sasoom (Jupiter) and bringing ice water back to replenish some of the ancient seas and atmosphere but politics and jealousy made cooperation in this endeavour unlikely for no one trusted anyone else and few could divert valuable resources from survival to such a project.   Each city tried to be independent but sometimes one would conquer another along the waterways and form an empire such as Ptarth to the west or Helium to the southwest or Jahar to the southeast but all empires were seen as dangerous.  The Green Men were mostly in the south but there were some smaller hoards in the north like the Northern Warhoons near the Artolian Hills.
Further they were apparently near or at the Koal Forest which was dangerous for Koal protected their forest savagely for fear other nations would take the valuable lumber and water.  To the north was the Toonol Marsh ruled by Toonol at the east and Phundahl at the west with the River Iss flowing from these marshes south through the Koal Forest and eventually to Dor about which they would not speak.

Nor would they say which nation they came from though they did mention that they were on one of the rare scientific expeditions to track the moisture-laden winds the circled the planet when they met a hoard of Green Men that decimated their ship with rifle fire.  Lanor, Dar Moras (for they always used both names) and six others escaped alive in the damaged flier. Or so they thought until they passed over a hill and met more Green Men who finished the flier and in the battle, all but these four, two other Red Men and four Green Men survived.

That first night the Green Men tortured two of the Red Men to death along with their own two wounded, then they took the remaining four across the desert, stopping at meals to torture their prisoners for fun.  Neither remembered much of that journey other than the agonies they endured then blissful unconsciousness as the Green Men pushed off for some unknown destination.

“Then as I am a stranger here until I can be rescued, where do you suggest we go for you two are her only friends on this world,” Eibhlin asked.

Dar Moras thought then said, “Without any real gear and supplies, she can only suggest that we follow the forest east seeking the River Iss then follow that north to Toonol or rather one of the smaller free cities that surround the Marshes.  Maybe there we can find a way to contact our own nations and return home.  I cannot guarantee the reception you will receive for we are a suspicious race and see every stranger as a potential enemy until proven otherwise.”

“What about mercenary soldiers?” Eibhlin asked.  “I seem to recall that these could pass safely.”

“Sometimes, Eivleen Obreen.  But too many at one place is suspicious and you, being a woman and armed is even more suspicious.”

“You would be more concerned with me being armed than alien?”

“Here, women rarely fight and female Panthans are so rare as to be immediately noticed.  That and your dress would attract more attention than your features.”  Lanor explained to her.  “Were you to disarm and dress more feminine, then perhaps you could pass safely with little notice.

Eibhlin had to laugh at that.  The fact that she wore a skirt and bra attracted more attention than her tail, eyes, hands and feet.  Then, “Let us assume that I will refuse to disarm myself.  What suggestions do you have for me?”

Dar Moras left the women then for this was embarrassing to him.  Lanor walked around her then suggested, “That skirt is far too long.  It hides your knees even.  Shorter would be more feminine.  Maybe remove three/fourths of it to a decent and respectable length.”

“Three-fourths?” Eibhlin cried.  “I couldn't even sit without showing where babies come from at that length!”

“That's another thing, you sit and move like a man.  Move more lady-like.  When you sit, keep your knees together and your back straighter.  Like this,” and she sat on the ground in a manner that was extremely feminine even to Eibhlin's eyes.  It as similar to what she learned when she lived in Ireland twenty years ago but different, more fluid and Eibhlin had to admit that Lanor showed nothing but promised everything as she sat.  “Also, why do you cover your breasts like that? Are you ashamed of them?  I know that they are so huge I wonder how you can walk so does their size embarrass you?”

“Large?  Well, larger than they were when I was still human but I grew up in a country where women wore dresses to their wrists and the ground.  At parties we would show some back and reveal a bit of chest but nothing more.  Even now I feel so over-exposed that I feel like a trollop.  Even in Los Angeles I wore more than this and you want me to wear less?”

“That cloth you wear crossed over your chest attracts attention.  Here,” Lanor came forward and placing her hands around Eibhlin's neck, “Let us remove it and see what we see.”

Her touch made Eibhlin want to kiss her hard and long and she'd have let Lanor do anything to retain the feel of her hands on her body.  “There, well, they are horribly huge but now are not as noticeable.  And when your hair grows longer, you can comb it before you to hide them.  How do you manage your hair so straight?”

“I was born with straight hair.  I am so jealous of your natural waves.”  Eibhlin hesitated to tell her that many of her nation had red, yellow or brown hair, straight and wavy as too confusing.

She removed her shirt, folded it a few times then retied it and said, “Much better.  Now you almost look like a woman.  Are you certain you won't give over your weapons?”

“Absolutely!  If your world is as hostile as you say, I'll need them.  Besides they saved you and myself from the Green Men.”

She sighed, “Very well, then let us make you into a female panthan.  The right harness, some feminine clothes, some jewelry and cosmetics and lighter revolver and you may be able to pass.”

By the time Dar Moras returned Lanor had totally remade her harness to a woman's fashion, altered her clothing so she wore a micro-mini shirt and nothing to cover her breasts and she didn't know if she felt like a whore offering myself or a man with a chest.  She had also done her eyes to call attention away from her cat-like feature and her lips and nipples, commenting on how hard and erect they became when she touched them.  “And why are you panting so?”

How could Eibhlin tell her that she found her so attractive and desirable? But she was saved by Dar Moras who said, “Now you look presentable.  You will still attract attention but people will think you are from some isolated nation where everyone looks like you.  We occasionally see bald Therns or Black Pirates or even the rare Jasoomian as Panthans so we have an explanation for your looks.  But please don't tell people you come from Jasoom.  We can see it easily in the sky and know that the Jasoomians look like us, not you so such a claim will only earn you time in the pits while the psychologists probe your mind.”

Eibhlin looked at myself in her hand mirror, turned about and admitted that she looked good.  Slutty by Earth standards, but good, then laughed.

“What's funny?” Lanor asked.

“I was just remembering that abut ten years ago on Jasoom, my lover Jean and I were in a park wearing far more clothes than you saw me in earlier.  We considered ourselves decently dressed but saw some women from Arabia with their children. These women were required by their religion to cover every part of their body save their hands and eyes and Jean commented on how degrading it was for them to be forced to wear so much clothing.  Were she here, expected to undress as do you, she'd die of mortification for you say the same to her that she said about them.”

“She?” Dar Moras asked.

Oops, she made a mistake.  Well, nothing to it, “I prefer the attentions of her own gender,” Lanar moved back a step then.  “Maybe it was being abused so harshly by the British when I was still young that made me turn from men, maybe the Demons messed with my mind when they changed me into a Weir, maybe I was born this way and didn't know until I was changed.  I occasionally need a man to bed me to stay alive but prefer a feminine lover.”  The secret was out.  But somehow Dar Moras accepted this easier than Lanor who was shocked.

Neither spoke other than to say, “Well, we should continue on.”  And from then on their relationship changed.  Lanor was more distant and Dar Moras stared at her more often, almost as if he were deciding on if he should approach her as a potential lover. If so, then he wanted Eibhlin, Eibhlin wanted Lanor and Lanor wanted neither, a fine situation for us all.

Of course, these few paragraphs appear to have happened immediately but the entire conversation took almost a week to cover and it was only the last day that they had even a modicum of normal conversation. And then they were only able to do so because of the Barsoomian telepathy and Eibhlin's own enhanced telepathic abilities that allowed her to receive an image or emotion with many words.  Fortunately, the language had few adverbs or adjectives, preferring to add case endings to denote such things or simply flash an image of colour or size and she wondered how non-telepathic peoples like normal humans could communicate so well, lacking this ability.  No doubt, the Red Men considered Earth Humans to be somewhat autistic.

But by the time they reached a river which flowed from the desert into the swampy forest the three were able to communicate almost normally.

“What is this river,” she asked for it was narrow and shallow, probably not more than a few dozen yards across though the water was red from the reddish dust that existed everywhere.

“I know not,” Dar Moras commented, bending over and touching the water. “There are so few rivers that the only one that comes to mind is the River Iss which flows from the Toonolian Marshes through the Koal Forest and eventually to the Valley Dor.  But I imagined the Iss to be much more grandiose.”

“I seem to recall that Barsoom is mostly desert with few forests or lakes. If so, then it should be easy to determine which forest this is and so what river this is and where we are.”  Eibhlin suggested from ignorance for it is a habit for those who know nothing to assume that they who know everything had not thought of the obvious.

“Perhaps.  Most of the large forests exist along or near the equator and they are Koal, Lost Souls and Manator Forests.  Some valleys have forests but all are small and easily circled so this must be one of the three great one.  From where we were captured and the general easterly direction of travel of the Green Men, I assumed this to be the Kaolin and I know of only the Iss which flows into that forest.  I would suggest that we follow this north for if we remain along the forest, we will eventually reach the Iss and the patrols of Koal who will enslave all who are not pilgrims.  The way will be safer though food more difficult to find.”

Having no opinion and Lanor being content to allow Dar Moras to lead and protect her, Eibhlin accepted the wisdom of his logic, though with reluctance, and they spent a couple days collecting as much food as they could for the trip.

Dar Moras explained over dinner that night, “If this is Koal, then the Toonol Marshes are about a thousand Haads north of us (about 375 miles) though following the river will increase that distance.  The closest city I know is Toonol which lies within the marshes though there are doubtless other cities scattered wherever water can be found so once outside the influence of Koal, we should find cities upon the banks of this river.  Unless it is the Iss in which case no one is allowed to live along the banks.”

“Why?  I would think that in a desert, any water would be so valuable that people would fight over it.”

“Because,” Lanor explained, “You being from another world wouldn't share the same religion as do we.  The ancient religion of the worship of Isis requires that all Barsoomians make their final pilgrimage down the Iss to the Valley Dor some time before their thousandth year.  Cities along the banks would interfere with this sacred journey so were forbidden. And although Isis and the Therns have been discredited, we are ruled by custom and so the rule remains.  Have you nothing that you follow even when common sense speaks otherwise?”

Eibhlin sighed for aside from one Mass she attended in Los Angeles that left her spiritually empty, so different was it from what she attended in Ireland for the Priest faced the people and not the Altar as was proper and he spoke in English not the Latin she remembered.  She felt that they had gutted the Mass to please the people and had forgotten that the Mass was to glorify God. Save that one time, she hadn't been in a church since she was seventeen and that was more than twenty years ago.

“I was Catholic as a child and we were taught that the world was flat even though Magellan and others had sailed around the world to prove the Church wrong.  Still, they taught a flat Earth made by God only a few thousand years before.  Also they taught that God was all-powerful and all-good but if so, then why was there evil?  Because he is helpless against the will of Satan which means he is NOT all-powerful or he chooses to not interfere which means he is not all-good.  Also we were taught that you could be as evil as you wished and once you confess, all your crimes are washed away so why be good.  Plus the Priests were as greedy for wealth and power as any other and a woman or child in confession would oft pay for forgiveness with their bodies so how could God allow men such as these to be His representatives?

“About the time I was born, the Protestant reform tried to answer these questions with as little success as did my own Church and after what happened to my family and me, the priests could only say that it was ‘God’s Will’ and I should praise Him and not ask embarrassing questions.”

“So do you have any faith now?” Lanor asked.

“I don't know.  The Catholics on Earth told us that any evil was justified if done in the name of God and that the Protestants were evil.  The Protestants said exactly the same thing.  Centuries ago, the Holy Empire was formed ten thousand light years away and said the same as they expanded and murdered billions in the name of God and somehow God, who was so good and powerful, stood by as all this evil was done in His name and did nothing, so I stopped believing.

“The Vanthi are pagans who worship Wotan and Thor who seem to encourage war and piracy for their God seeks to populate the Vanthi Asgaard with only the best warriors, and the Mon are Pagans who worship a Moon Goddess and Horned God and who speak of peace but gladly fight and kill the Christians out there.  The S'tyr follow a religion similar to the Mon and they seem to be the only ones who DO believe in peace but they manipulate others to make the galaxy in their image despite their claims of free-will.  So what do I believe?  I don't know any more.  Everyone I met believes, but few are really ‘good’ people because of their beliefs and I've never seen a God or Goddess actually do anything for their people.”

Lanor touched her arm and spoke, “I see that distresses you.  We are a people who once believed with all our hearts and souls, then the Jasoomian, John Carter stripped us of that and since then we have been a people without a faith.  I was a devout follower for centuries then suddenly, only seventy years ago, he discredited my faith, killed my Goddess, turned the priests into mercenaries and destroyed my hopes for eternity in Heaven.  Sometimes I wonder why we continue on without hope.”

Eibhlin took her hands and tried to hold and comfort her but she misconstrued her desires and pulled away, embarrassed.  Or maybe her telepathy allowed her to see Eibhlin's true desires for her though this time, her motives were innocent, pr so she thought.

Angry Eibhlin moved off to throw rocks into that water and complain about people and gods and people.  Dar Moras came to sit by her and tossed a couple rocks too and fortunately didn't speak or she'd have snapped his head off then.  Finally he asked, “Eivleen Obreen, lately you've been irritable and anger easily. Is something wrong?”  He placed his hand over hers and without reason she turned and kissed him.  No, she raped his mouth with hers, forcing her tongue into his mouth and dragging his hand to her breast, pressing it tight as her tail sought his lap.  He forced himself away, no mean feat as she was easily more than twice as strong as was he and he cried in shock, “What are you doing?  A maiden doesn't do that!”

Eibhlin tried the pull him again then fell down crying, “I don't know. I'm sorry.  I'm so angry all the time, I hurt, my belly aches and my loins are always wet and… oh god, my Need is here.”

She turned away and stared at anything but him, “My kind need sex or we die.  I must be … done.. every few weeks or the pressure builds up and I die.  This poor diet has delayed it but now it's here and if you don't… if you…”  she sent him images, graphic images of what she needed because she couldn't say it.  Her mind and soul wanted Lanor but her body needed his male member.

He was horrified and backed away until he was a dozen feet away then turned and left.  She was still touching her breast, kneading it and her hard nipples and finally said, “oh hell!” and removed her loincloth and jilled for what seemed like hours, using her tail then finally the handle of her dagger until the pressure was eased.  She still ached but no longer suffered so, though in hours the Need would return again and again until she was dead.

When she returned to her companions, neither would look at her for they both knew.  But neither understood.  “I'm sorry,” she began.  “I'm not like you.  I need food and water and air and sex or I'll die.  What I do.. what I've been doing to myself these last weeks is just to hold it off.  But please understand this, If I don't get sex soon, a lot of sex, I will be dead within days.  I want a woman but I need a man.  Dar Moras, I know this horrifies you but please, I need your body.  I hate myself for being like this but…”  she couldn't look at them because they saw in her a monster.  They could overlook her alien physical attributes but her needs disgusted them.  Had she been a man, she would easily have raped Lanor to survive and not realized what she was doing.

Finally, Lanor touched her then pulled away.  She didn't even know she was laying on the moss crying.  “Eivleen Obreen, I… she don't know what to say.  There are some few people here who … they seek their own gender in slaves but….  I'm sorry.  I like you and she can feel your desire for me but I cannot return that.  You saved our lives and I suppose..  I'll go away for awhile.  Please call me when you are done.”

A moment later, Dar Moras was stroking her hair.  “Eivleen Obreen, I don't know what to do for you but Lanor said that you saved our lives so we must save yours.  She wishes she could help you but you say you've waited too long so,”  He lifted her face and kissed her under the twin moons and that image is what made it endurable.  His face was in the shadow as the Nearer Moon raced across the heavens and she imagined he was Kara for she was always the aggressor in their love-making.  Eibhlin didn't remember undressing and easily climaxed as he entered and never ceased to climax the entire time.  He tried to be gentle but it was too late and she cried out “harder!  Faster!” until she was screaming in ecstasy until she felt him match her own as he climaxed.

Without waiting, and knowing that if she did wait, he'd grow soft but she could keep him ready with a little work, she rolled him over then rode him until he was done and useless to her.  Finally, she let his hands fall from her breasts and tried to shut his thoughts from her mind for this wasn't making love, but an animal rutting.  She was like a cat in heat who needed a pack of toms to ease the pain and cared not who the tom was.

Finally she rolled off, lay under the further moon and said, “Thank you,” as he moved to the river to wash her sweat off his body and her other juices off his genitals.   She didn't care as she wanted to do the same but the longer she kept him inside, the longer it would be before her Need returned.  At times like this she wished she liked men for it would make times like this easier.

“I heard, it sounded like he was torturing you.” Lanor said standing nearby.  She had returned when we were done.

“I guess she am a bit noisy at this time.  Normally I am much quieter.  I must disgust you.   I disgust myself.”

“It's the way you are made.  I don't understand but you aren't in pain and angry now.  How long…”

“Tomorrow again. Maybe the next day.  Then perhaps I will be safe for another month.  The better it is, the longer I can go between.  I'm sorry I am like this.”

“I… I felt your… I could feel what you felt even in the forest.  The animals were silent and they… I wanted to ….”  She was embarrassed at this.

“You felt it too? That is different but then, neither Vanthi nor Human are telepathic so unless I am touching them during the act, they can't estann me.  Earlier, days earlier when I was alone and… did you feel me too?”  Now she was embarrassed.

“Not days, but today and yesterday.   I didn't know because we don't do that.  Not to ourselves. I'm not a virgin but it's been a hundred years since my husband died and I haven't been with a man since… I missed it I think.”

Eibhlin started to reach for her because now that her rutting was done, she wanted to make love but Lanor stiffened and she let her go. She looked up then turned away as Dar Moras returned.  Then in silence they ate and fell asleep with some distance between each other.  Eibhlin tailed herself to sleep thinking of Lanor this time wondering if she were estanning her emotions and sensations.  At least this time she was quiet and gentle.

The next morning Dar Moras awoke with her on top of him and he responded more so than he did last night and they were done before Lanor woke up, she thought.  Then she cleaned myself, dressed and stood in the desert as he washed up.

Her sandals were of thick grass but were near worn through and her feet too small for those of the dead Red Men so she cut some lizard skin with her dagger and made a pair of soles that would work, though not be very comfortable.  Years aboard a climate controlled starship with comfortable shoes had given her sensitive feet.

Then they said our good-byes to the forest and struck out north along the river.  Neither of the two Red Men would look at her but she was feeling better and another evening would flush her system enough to think clearly so they'd have to tolerate her again.  Or not for she knew that if they hadn't been here with her, she could easily be dead in another week of celibacy.

That first lunch break, Dar Moras stopped early and showed her a Mantilla plant which looked a bit like an Earthly pineapple but larger than was Eibhlin.  “Here Eivleen Obreen, your skin is burning so rub this on yourself,” he said as he cut a leaf free with his dagger then split it and scooped the inside, mashed it to a pulp and handed it to her.  She rubbed the goop over her skin and her sunburn immediately stopped burning.  In a few days, her body would produce enough protection from the UV but for now, this Mantilla juice would save her considerable pain and misery.

He also showed her how to cut a small scale free and allow the milky sap to collect into their canteen for later use.  So this was the source of that milky-cheese she had been drinking from the Green Men!  Had she known about this plant, she could have had her fill from the beginning for the plant was common in rocky hollows where it could collect air-borne moisture and bask in the rock-absorbed heat.  He also showed them how to find the darkest and thickest of the ochre moss and to dig down to find water.  Or rather damp dirt that could be used to distill water.  And once, when the sky darkened pink, he rushed them to a deep space where he soaked some silk in water and had everyone wrap it around their faces as they waited out a sand-storm.  Eibhlin was certain that he saved her life in a dozen different ways, not including how to use silk to filter the red sand and dirt from the river water before they drank.

Along the way, she also insisted that he fence with her to improve her skills for the Dances taught to her by Brount were proper moves that were designed for meditational combat, they just weren't designed for a real battle.  So Dar Moras would show her how to use them in a real fight and slowly she shifted from being a fencer to a fighter.  Of course his experience with the sword was centuries greater than her own and when she won, it was only because she was stronger and faster and not because of any skill.  Once after she had disarmed him, he rubbed his wrist and said, “You use that blade as if it were a club.  I can see talent there but you still need to think of it as a part of your arm and not something you carry in your hand.  Otherwise when you meet a real warrior, he'll cut you down in an instant.”

“You sound as if you weren't a real warrior yourself?  Are there people better than you?”  She asked.  The man could give Brount a run and win easily.

He laughed.  “Me a warrior?  Hardly.  It's true I've fought in my share of wars but I am far from a professional warrior and my skill is but adequate.  No, Eivleen Obreen, I am a flier mechanic by trade.”

She laughed then, “Me too.  Only I was trained to repair starships.  I only fight because I cannot find much of a job save as a technician and sometimes I get bored soldering connections and tracing shorts.”  Here was a man who had more knowledge she could use.  But when she questioned him, she found that without a flier to study, much of what he described was unintelligible to her.  She did understand that the fliers were wood and metal boats with flotation tanks that were filled with some substance (gas or energy she couldn't understand the word) that was pushed away from a gravity source.  The greater concentration of this buoyancy substance, the faster and higher the boat was pushed up.  Their engines used a concentrated fuel that lasted almost forever because the spent fuel was returned to the tanks where it was recombined and refreshed by mixture with the original fuel.  It appeared that the fuel could be reused a hundred times or more before it wore out or rather, lost its radioactivity.  She got the feeling that the fuel tank was a breeder reactor that kept refreshing the spent radioactive fuel.  Thus the fuel of a single flier was almost limitless and rarely needed replacing.  The main problems were dust and sand clogging the fuel lines or parts wearing out from sand damage.  The Red Men built to last and many of the original fliers constructed almost a thousand years ago were still in operation unless destroyed in war or accident.  She knew that she'd have to study one of these fliers for what she think she understood made no sense at all to her and she was certain that a physicist would say that it was impossible.

Unlike Earth or the Vanthi, the Red Men saw no use for a jet engine for that would waste fuel in thrust while a propeller could re-use the same fuel in an enclosed system.  Still, some propeller-driven fliers could almost reach a thousand miles an hour or so though three-hundred-fifty miles was average.  “On Jasoom, a 747 jet flies at around 600 haads per zode with four jet engines that waste hundreds of gallons of fuel per zode.  You fly the same speed with a propeller and no fuel consumption.  I must look at your engines when we find one,” she insisted.

Lanor shook her head at that.  “Eivleen Obreen, I can well believe that you will never fit in as a woman on Barsoom.  Between your desire for combat, your lust for engines and technology and your need for.. carnal acts, you are so different from a Red Woman that I fear we have nothing in common.”

Eibhlin hugged her then, chastely for her Need was gone for another few weeks and cried, “I was raised to be a proper Irish wife and mother, so I learned to spin, weave, sew and most other feminine values though cooking was one I missed.  Doubtless, had my mother not been sold into slavery and my father not hanged and our home not burned, that is exactly what I would be.  But circumstances forced me into war and technology and there I remain.”  Then she thought and continued, “But Lanor, my dear friend, I did try.  Ten years ago on Jasoom, I met a woman I loved with all my heart and soul.  I tried to be a good housewife to her but failed miserably for I found that robbing criminals made more money and was more enjoyable than repairing broken televisions and being a lover more pleasant than dusting which I hated.”

“Then, Eivleen Obreen, by all means take up the sword for with that attitude you will never fit in with proper Red Woman society.”

After a week, she was done with the desert.  Yes the mountains, or rather broken hills were beautiful in their reds and browns and occasional blues and greens but all were covered with reddish moss and after a few days, they all looked alike.  Three days out, they met a banth, one of the ten legged lions that continued to rush them even though Dar Moras emptied a half dozen rounds into the beast, each blowing away chunks of meat and bone the size of her double fists.  Damage that would kill any Earthly beast was ignored by the thing that ran on even with both front legs blown off.  Finally Eibhlin cut it in half with her beamer and regained consciousness with Lanor laving her face with river water for she had been struck by the bottom half of the beast at a very high speed.  Another second and she'd have been killed as it died.

She was crying in relief as she awoke, “Dear Eivleen, she was terrified that you were dead.” And she actually kissed her. For that kiss Eibhlin would allow a dozen banths to strike her down.

“Then, Eivleen Obreen,” asked Dar Moras as he examined the body.  “If your weapon could kill so easily, why wait to use it?”

She sat, groaned for though she had denser bones, still a straw can kill if thrown fast enough by a tornado, and answered, “My beamer isn't a weapon but a cutter I use to get through starship hulls and replace plating.  Its range is normally inches, sofs, but can be extended to a dozen ads (near a hundred feet) with some loss of cutting ability.  At that range it won't penetrate metal but flesh vanishes at its touch. The banth moved too fast for me to adjust for range.  I'll try to act faster in the future.”

He laughed and cut the banth's claws and teeth free, “I wasn't complaining, just curious.  Do your people have weapons that are as effective at range?”

“Ireland?  No!  Not in my time, though today most nations on Jasoom do.  War and hunting there never occur where you can see your enemies eyes and so lacks the courage required by you Red Men.  Demons prefer to kill with claws but can easily destroy an entire planet from a dozen light years away.  I fear to ask what Demons and Mon use in war today for when I am back in Demon Space, I do so three centuries ago.”

“You travel through time as well as space?  That's amazing,” Lanor commented.

“More trouble than you think.  The Demons ensure that I never return to their space much past her own time though they don't seem to care if I visit Jasoom in my past, present or future.  So I must always calculate the Relativity Curve to ensure that I return to their space in my own time lest I pass on dangerous knowledge.  Though to tell the truth, the Demons and Mon wining the Kris Wars is predictable and so why fear that knowledge?  Perhaps they fear me bringing weapons from this century back in time to my own and help the Vanthi return to piracy.”

“Then you are now in your own future?  You come from the past?” she asked.

“I am.  I actually come from and live in the 17th century by Jasoomian reckoning but it is now the late 20th or early 21st century there. That's why I stopped trying to free my country.  By now most of Ireland is already free and soon will die when the planet is destroyed.”

“Was, Eivleen Obreen.  Jasoom has already been destroyed.  I suppose you are farther into your future than you knew.”  Dar Moras added.

“What mean you?” she demanded.

“About thirty five (Barsoom) years ago some of our scientists contacted one of your governments via Gridley Wave and gave them considerable information. They kept our existence a secret from their people but used the knowledge we gave them to visit their own moon.  Then a few years ago, a ship from Barsoom left for Jasoom to contact the people and we announced it to your planet.  Shortly afterwards, we detected massive radioactive explosions that decimated most of your world.  We think they feared us so much that they destroyed themselves rather than admit that they were not alone in the universe. When the ship arrived, most life on your world was dead and the remainder of the population was trying to barely survive and attacked the ship which was never heard from again.”

Somehow this saddened Eibhlin.  True, twenty years ago, her life-time, she returned to Earth intending to free Ireland in her past time but the relativity curve threw her into the future after humanity had destroyed itself so she knew this was inevitable, but hearing it hurt.  She used the Stargate to go from Earth, early 21st century to Barsoom, mid-21st century.  This meant that She'd need to build a communicator that would cross time as well as space to reach the Mairayd.  It was no longer a matter of waiting hours for her ship to cross from Earth to Mars but maybe months or years?  She knew she was thinking about her ship to avoid thinking about the destruction of her homeworld but then, Earth was no longer her home.  In the forty-some years of her life, she had spent less than half that on Earth and were she to appear as she was now, they'd either burn her as a demon or werewolf or capture and vivisect her as an alien, depending on which time she arrived. Still…  she had friends and lovers there who were destined to die and she was helpless to save them.

The next couple days she was sad though both tried to cheer her up.  During this time they hid from two groups of Green Men who may or may not have been looking for them then they were discovered not by Green Men but by Red.  There were six of them on thoats, the eight legged horses but unlike the monsters ridden by the Green Men, these were the height of a real horse though in profile they were twice as long and much thinner.  Also these were controlled by reigns as much as by thought.  Dar Moras explained it was to prevent an enemy from controlling your mount in battle.

The group surrounded the three travelers and after looking them over, demanded to know their intentions.  Dar Moras answered for all, “We are visitors who were captured by the Green men until Eivleen Obreen here rescued us.  Now we simply seek a place to rest and to make our way home. We are asking only the width of the desert for the length of time it takes us to cross your lands.”

The group looked the three over and the padwar asked, “And you, Eivleen Obreen, a strange name for a strange race.  You look more like a cross between a Thern and a moorouk than a real person.  What is your story!”

She didn't like his attitude and was tired of being laughed at so retorted in anger, “I am the LADY Eibhlin UiBhrian, a Princess of Eire and so demand due respect from a commoner like yourself.”

Lanor whispered, “You are a Princess, I didn't suspect and apologize for…”

Eibhlin waved her away and stared at the mounted men for she didn't need a distraction. Then one of the men laughed and said, “A princess of arboks I would say.  Look at her, she has a tail like one of the creatures of Gooli in the Marshes.  Come here, creature, have you a pouch too?”

This was to much so Eibhlin jumped the dozen feet that separated them and pulled him from his thoat and to the ground yelling, “When you speak of me, do so politely and when you speak to me, don't!”

Instantly the man was up with his blade out crying, “calot!  I'll use your pelt as a bed covering!” and thrust at her.  Eibhlin had her blade out and easily blocked for the man was no decent swordsman.  Then she heard Dar Moras call out, “Lady Obreen, don't kill him!”  as his padwar called out, “Lower your blade, she is a woman!” for Red Men do not raise their blades against a woman, even one as alien as was the Weir.

The man retorted, “The beast wears a sword, it has given away all protection of her sex,” and thrust again.

Now she was angry and blocked, deflected, stepped in and slamming her blade against his belly, stepped through and cut him in twain with a simple draw-cut.  Without looking at what she did she went on guard facing the other five and cried out, “Any others wish to join this peasant?  Come forward for you can die no sooner.”

The padwar stared and called, “Enough Lady.  He was crass and deserved death.   I would have killed him myself as I see your companion would also with his drawn blade.  You did the job only because you were faster than we.  But it is over if you would wish for I judge the killing to be honorable.”

She forced herself to calm down then cleaned her sword on the silk of the dead man and sheathed it saying, “Agreed.  I have no quarrel with you or your nation.  If you will let us go our way, I shall consider this matter closed.”

Then Dar Moras called, “Padwar, a word please.”  He was sheathing his own blade for she estanned his intent to kill the man himself for insulting one of his charges.  “As said, we are simply passing through on our way home.  But if your city is nearby, perhaps we could visit and seek employment to earn tanpi for supplies or even a flier to our own nations?”

“We are not a war so need no panthans.  What else can you do that is honest?”  Since theft is unknown on Barsoom, he was probably thinking of gorthans, the assassins and kidnappers of Barsoom who plague the cities.

“I am a flier engineer and the Lady Eivleen Obreen has knowledge of advanced technology.  We can offer these skills and promise to obey your laws while in your city.”

And so were we admitted to the city of Arlas on the shores of the Koal River which branched from the Iss and wound its way to the southwest to enter the Koal Forest some hundred fifty haads southwest from where the Iss enters that same forest.  Arlis was on a bend that was near the hills that bordered the southern edge of the Toonolian Marsh and was one of many independent city-states that owed loyalty to none and sought no foreign entanglements that would risk the wrath of larger empires.


Both Lanor and Eibhlin were given the thoat of the man she had killed while Dar Moras had to ride double with another man.  When she asked Lanor why this was when we lighter women could ride double with a soldier and ease the load of Dar Moras’ mount she replied, “Because Princess, it wouldn't be seemly for an unattached woman to ride behind a man not her protector or chieftain.”  Eibhlin admitted she wished to be both for her dear Red Woman and thrilled with Lanor's arms about her waist as she learned to ride the new mount.

Soon they reached the walls of the city, the first the Irish had seen, and after seeing the cities of Londinium and Edward and even Earth, it wasn't overly impressive.  It was high-walled with massive round gates at the four quarters but smaller ones scattered about.  It was to one of the larger they approached and when there, the Padwar called for the officer of the gate to whom he explained the situation in total honesty, explaining how they had found us, how his man had insulted and challenged the alien Weir and how she had killed him. Then the Dwar looked us over and called for us to dismount and follow him which they did.

The group entered the Dwar's office where he took everyone's statements then leaned on his elbows and looked Eibhlin over until she blushed in embarrassment.  The last weeks she had almost forgotten she was naked but now became concerned with her state of undress and she tried to move her hair to cover her chest though it was inches too short.  He stared at her breasts not in lust but in amazement for no Red Woman was near as large as was she, a fact she learned later on.  On Barsoom, anything the size of a fist was considered large and here was she easily thrice that size.  This fact attracted unwanted attention on Earth for though she was larger than most human women being what the Americans call a ‘small D-Cup’, she was still not grossly huge by Earth standards.  He tried to not stare at her tail or hands, ears, eyes or antennae though.  she suppose had her own father showed up with horns and four arms, she'd notice his saucer-sized eyes before anything else, so accustomed are we with normal attributes that enlarging these would be stranger than additional limbs.

He did force himself to look over her weapons which looked out of place on the harness and body of a woman, noting her two-handled sword of alien design and beamer which failed to match the remainder of her blades and revolver.  “Lady Eivleen Obreen,” he asked.  “Can you hold that revolver with your hands?”

She pulled the weapon, both thumbs curling in opposition to her remaining three fingers and commented, “I can but not well, Dwar.  I suppose I should have a better grip made for me when I can afford it.”

He laughed at that and the tension ended, “I was just curious.  Excuse me for staring but I have never seen anyone like you and it is my task to determine threats to my city.  Not only do you possess features that are unknown among any race I have seen, those you do have are… exaggerated and I cannot read any thought in your mind.  Here is the name of a hostel that caters to foreigners.  If you move, you must notify me immediately.  Have you any money?”

Dar Moras mentioned, “We have some, but it won't go far.”  He lay the money he had on the table.  The coins were all oval and the same size though their thickness differed and some few were gold while most were silver and bronze.  The thinner bronze were pi and valued about a penny, the silver were teepi or ten pi and the gold were tanpi or 100 pi.  The thinner were one tanpi, the thicker ten tanpi and she learned that there were even thicker 100 tanpi coins.

The Dwar looked them over then exchanged them for identical looking coins but with the face of the current Jed or king of Arlis. Then he thought and looked at her and said, “I will give you a loan to ensure you remain honest.  Repay it when you can for my interest is less than the money-changers.”  Never had she met a race as honest as these Red Men.

Then he handed them papers and said, “Princess Eivleen Obreen of Eire, Lanor of Ptarth and Dar Moras of Talum, you are authorized to remain in Arlis for no more than a teean (month).  If you choose to or must remain longer, return here that she may update your papers.  Thank you and good visit.”

“Thank you Dwar,” Dar Moras said as the women smiled to him.  And that was that.  Eibhlin knew people who had to spend six months arguing and begging and bribing for a visa to America because they came from a country America didn't trust.  This was so simple but then despite the natural distrust the Barsoomian had for any and all foreigners, once accepted, matters happened quickly.  So from his office they were taken to a room where a camera took their photo and measured their height and weight at the same time and impressed this image on the identity papers.  Copies of these were sent to a number of government offices and she supposed any noble could call for them for another interview if he so desired.

They retired immediately to the hostel they were assigned to and checking in were given rooms on different floors.  Eibhlin wanted them all to remain together but was told, “Women and men never stay on the same floor unless they are married.”  The first floor was the desk clerk and the automated restaurant with the sleeping rooms above that.  Married couples had separate rooms on the third floor, men on the fourth and women on the fifth with the roof being a landing pad for fliers.  She never saw the inside of the man's room but was told it was similar to the woman's which was a dormitory where there were simply rows of beds with a deck and trunk assigned to each bed.  The two lay the silks and furs they were given at the desk on the bed, placed their belongings on the desk or in the trunk, neither of which could be locked and never worried about anyone stealing them.  At least Lanor never worried.  Having been born in Ireland during the British occupation and lived among the Pirate Vanthi and in Los Angeles, Eibhlin wasn't as trusting.

There were female slaves, most of which were naked with a collar but a few had jewelry or a loincloth or short skirt which were gifts of guests and who patrolled the floor.  One introduced herself to us, kneeling on the floor, looking down with her waist length hair hiding almost everything and said, “Princess, Mistress, if it pleases you, my name is Anora.  Please call upon her for anything you need.”

Lanor mostly ignored her saying, “A bath would be nice.” To which after leaving most of her weapons on her bed and taking only her sword and beamer, they followed Anora to another room where she helped the two travelers strip naked, then she bathed them with cloths and washed their hair only after which were they allowed to soak in the common bath.  Water, it seems was too precious even on the river, to waste by plunging in while dirty.  Women were washed by slaves outside the tub and entered to relax only when clean.  Their harness, silks and jewelry were then cleaned and washed by Anora as they soaked. “One of the things I miss about Jasoom is that I could bathe in hot water all day and every day if I wished.  Aboard my ship I washed in five gallons of recycled water.”

Lanor laughed at this, “This is the first real bath I have had in near two months.  I know I was beginning to stink before we found the Koal River.”

“My dear,” Eibhlin replied, “Even at your worst you smelled wonderful to me.  I, however, must have stank like a horse!”

“I don't know what a horse is but you did stink a bit,” she laughed.  Red Men, it seemed, used a different method of cooling than sweat or maybe they sweated very little compared to humans and Weir.

Other women entered and joined them, all staring at Eibhlin and asking questions.  ‘Where are you from?’ ‘Does everyone look like you?’ ‘What do you use your tail for?’  ‘Why are your breasts so grossly huge?’  ‘You are a princess?’  ‘It’s fascinating how your eyes open and close in the light and dark like a sorak.’  ‘What are your antenna for?’  ‘Can you use your tail like fingers?’  ‘Your hair is so straight and short (below her shoulders) and your pubic hair so lush and thick, are all your women like that?’ ‘Why are you armed?  Have you no men to protect you?’  and so on.  A hundred questions and no answers that satisfied any of them much.  But they did impress upon her a lot of jewelry and if she mentioned that she liked the nail polish of one woman, a dozen other women would call for a slave to fetch their own cosmetic case and her nails would be done and she'd be given a vial of the stuff in any colour she could imagine.  She wasn't used to this much attention even in Ireland when she had servants, and over the last couple decades never.

Finally as Anora was drying them and dressing the two, Lanor whispered to her companion with some embarrassment, “it isn't a disgrace for you to ask the slave girl to … service you, though a tip afterwards is customary.”  It seemed that a free man or woman must be celibate or faithful but what was done between master and slave didn't matter at all.  Plus a slave could own property and saved their tips and gifts in the hope of buying their own freedom.

Eibhlin curled her tail around and used it to raise Anora's face to hers, actually to lower it for she was inches taller then her own five foot but the slave always looked to the floor around them, and so she smiled at her.  Then she leaned forward and whispered, “I am told you are available to my more physical needs. Is this true and pleasing to you?”

She looked at the Irish woman, then without breaking eye contact, raised the sensitive tip of Eibhlin's tail to her lips, kissed it and gave it a flick with her tongue and whispered back, “I await the Princess’ call.” Then she looked down again but Eibhlin thought she saw the hint of a smile there.  A woman every few days would keep her alive as easily as a man and be much more pleasant.

As they returned to the dorm, she asked Lanor, “How did you know?”

She laughed, “Your tail.  All women are curious about what you can do with that.  I simply noticed how the slave stared and licked her lips.”

“And you, dear Lenor, are you curious too?”

“That, Princess Eivleen Obreen, we will not discuss for I am a free woman and widowed and unmarried."

They met Dar Moras for a late dinner on the first floor and discussed their options.  They weren't much.  Arlis was at peace so had no need for panthans though body-guards were always in demand.  He would seek employment as a flier mechanic the next day but cautioned her to not follow for women would not be hired no matter how capable they were.  In short, both Lanor and Eibhlin would be expected to remain here, be a good girl and allow their man to care for them.  Eibhlin had no problem with that for the American ways of Sexual Equality was not as she was raised, but she knew that she would get bored very quickly just associating with the women, bathing, talking, visiting as Lanor found to be normal so asked, “If kidnapping is so common that we have armed guards outside our dorm, why do they not arm the female slaves inside?”  She knew the answer but wanted it mentioned.

“Because, aside from you and a very very few female panthans, women do not go about armed and men are not allowed in a woman's sleeping quarters.”

”Then her dear friends, I shall be the first and hire myself out to guard women for I can go into their bed-chambers.”

Lanor was shocked but Dar Moras laughed, “That you may do.  I shall put the word out tomorrow. But do not expect many replies.”

“I don't see why not.  It seems that I offer the best of all worlds.  I can fight and being a woman can attend my charge anywhere, including the bath, and being a Tierna, can attend royal functions whereas a common warrior cannot.”

“Still, Princess Eivleen Obreen, you are still only a woman and custom rules here.”

He was right.  Within a week he had found employment repairing the fliers in a nearby hanger but she did not.  So to while away the time, for she found woman's banter to be as useless as she found it to be in Ireland, she helped Dar Moras work on the fliers and learned the Barsoom technology during the day as she pursued Lanor's affections each evening with the determination she used to hunt British soldiers in Ireland.

Her one enjoyment during this time was that Anora was a willing and enthusiastic lover.  True, she expected a tip after each encounter which made her a whore and Eibhlin her John or Jane but the alternative was her own fingers and tail and without privacy, that was unworkable.  Anora knew the hideaways where they could sneak away for minutes or hours for though Eibhlin climaxed easily and near instantly when she had time to think about the event, she enjoyed the long kisses and caresses before and during and afterwards.  Men just want to get it in and over with but women take time. On Earth there is a saying that a Lesbian quickie is four hours and a Lesbian second date is moving in together.  Here she found that Anora would see her walking, pull her into a closet and finger or tongue her to climax almost instantly as she knew that people were walking outside, mere sofads away. Or she would approach, kneel before her the dutiful slave and request her appearance at a certain place which would be a nice room with silks and furs and candles and perfumes and she would leave hours later, satiated.

Eibhlin felt bad about giving her money so arranged to have small bags of coins left on her pallet in the slave quarters at odd times so she wouldn't feel that she was selling her body or Eibhlin buying it, both of which were true.  There was one time when Eibhlin insisted upon an encounter and Anora demurred but finally agreed only to find that a man had been there shortly before. Eibhlin stifled her anger for really, Anoa wasn't her wife or girlfriend, only a woman she rented and that taught her that she also rented herself to others.  After that, when Anora begged off, she let her.  That night as she lay there on her bed next to Lanor's pallet she whispered to her friend more for someone to listen to her than any other need, “I know I have no exclusive rights to her but still, knowing or rather discovering that way that she had been with another, a man, upset me.  Still, for a few years I had as lovers Cyndi and Kevin who were married and I shared them. Not caring that he was with her just before I was with her so why is this time different?”

Lanore never answered but she did listen and never judged her out loud though Eibhlin could estann her tensing when she spoke. But still she listened and that as what she needed though she wished daily that she would succumb to her seductions and she could forget Anora.  But though they ate meals together, shopped together and spent much quality time with each other, Lanor made it clear that she saw in her naught more than a friend.


You may ask how Eibhlin was able to pay for her room, meals and her sexual activities when she had no employment and the answer is simple.  In the baths, she became quite famous as the strange warrior Princess from Erie who traveled about the planets.  So she would bathe, answer questions and tell tales of her adventures on other worlds.  The incident with the Green Pirates terrified the women while her romance with Jean saddened them.  And afterwards, they would reward her tales and attentions with coin and jewelry.  It wasn't much for Arlis wasn't as large and wealthy as Ptarth or Helium but when she wandered about the city and talked in a eatery, she never wanted for food or wine.  The wine she drank in moderation for her stools ran green and loose afterwards such was her allergy and so she never became drunk on Barsoom.  Then she would keep her favorite pieces of jewelry, necklaces, rings, bracelets for arm and leg and sell not only what she didn't want to keep but also some of the larger Green Man pieces for she found that wearing the metal of the Green men she had killed enhanced her reputation.

She couldn't pierce her ears though, for her body healed too fast and would fester about the earrings until she was forced to remove them.  Nor was she able to wear much jewelry on her tail for the taper caused all rings and bracelets to fall off as she moved and the muscles and tendons flexed.  Then one woman suggested that she wear clip-on earrings and tie a light golden chain to her waist and wrap that around her tail as a net sleeve with gemstones and devices here and there and for the first time, she could decorate that beloved member.  Plus it was free so long as she told people which shop had made it for her.

When she tired of the endless prattle of the women of Arlis, for they talked of nothing but marriage, gossip and other matters that had no interest with the alien, she would seek out Dar Moras and assist him in his labours in the hanger.  At first the other Red men saw in her just a strange looking woman with a curiosity about fliers then one day when she crawled from inside after replacing a cable, covered with grease, Dar Moras told the observers, “She has a talent for engineering that I find valuable.  Besides, her employer gets two workers for the price of one and she is small enough to crawl into places I cannot.”  Then she would discuss the job and soon was accepted by the others as a capable mechanic though were she human or rather a Red Woman, this would have been impossible.  Her alien features opened for her doors that were normally closed to a woman.

And so she survived though not well but she had a room in which to sleep, food to eat and a lover of sorts and she had her friends who would soon return to their homelands.   Finally the time came when Dar Moras was paid to deliver a flier to Ptarth which is exactly what he had been seeking and soon they were in the air covering the 6700 haads west to Ptarth.

Dar Moras climbed slowly to allow her to see the desert and the hills bordering the Marshes and the sight took her breath away.  Some of the smaller hills were revealed to be impact craters from ancient meteors and the curvature of the larger hills suggested the same.  The Barsoom word for ‘valley’ was better translated as ‘crater’ and though true valleys did exist here, there appeared to be no real continental plates and so lacking plate tectonics, the only true mountains were ancient or volcanic.

Soon though she was gasping for breath and Lanor called to Dar Moras to drop lower for she was suffocating.  At a much lower altitude, Dar Moras set the Destination Compass for Ptarth and both cared for her asking, “What's the matter?  We weren't high enough to suffocate.”

Gasping, she tried to think, “I was born on a heavier world with thicker atmosphere.  Your air is maybe a third of what I am used to. I was able to breathe in the low desert but this high, the air is too thin to support me.  I'm sorry but to continue with you we must fly lower.”

“Nothing to it then but to fly at a lower altitude.  Keep watch, though, for Green Men who would do to us what they did to our original flier.”  His words made Lanor blanch for she still carried the scars of their torture both on her body and within her mind.

“Then dear Dar Moras, fly higher and I will tell you when I can no longer breathe comfortably.”

They rose slowly but it didn't take long before she had to gasp, “enough,” to him.  It seemed that the air thinned out quickly and so the Navy and mountain climbing would be barred to her on this world.  Lanor tried to joke about it, “With a chest as huge as is yours, I wonder that your lungs are so small and weak.”

Rather than become angry she laughed back.  “Would that this was true, but you Red Women, being egg-layers, have no need for breasts other than as another means to differentiate between the sexes.  Humans are live-bearers who birth helpless young and our breasts are mostly fat and possess milk glands that feed the baby.  But when the Demons changed me, they also changed her breasts.  Before my milk glands were tied to my blood system for food.  Now they are tied to my breast fat which is more nutritious than my normal body fat.  It seems that when I have babies, a normal woman wouldn't be able to produce enough milk for the child so my body creates and stores food in my breasts to feed the child which is why they are so much larger than before.

“They do get in the way a lot,” she added then laughed, “though here they weigh almost nothing and make excellent flotation when I swim.”  Eibhlin weighed less than a hundred pounds on Earth and her breasts felt like half that.  On Barsoom her total weight was nearer thirty-eight pounds and her breasts felt almost weightless though the reduced air pressure and gravity made them swell larger and lift higher than before.  Then she had to stop talking for even that explanation tired her and caused her to pant for air.

A little over a zode later Dar Moras changed course to the south to avoid another city.  “I would move north where the Marshes are and avoid the desert which is the home of the Green Men but both Toonol and Phundahl own the Marsh and I would the more avoid their navies.

Another few zodes and they reached the hills that curved down from the western edge of the Toonol Marsh then up to meet the snow-capped Artolian Hills.  “We seek a low pass to cross into the plains for on the other side of these hills is Talum and beyond that Ptarth which rules much of the plains.”

He slowed the flier even more and both Lanor and Eibhlin kept to their spyglass searching for Green Men and other dangers as their pilot sought a low area in the hills.  Normally he would simply fly over them but with Eibhlin's infirmity, he must choose another way and soon they were moving slowly through the hills which were real hills, eroding away by wind and sand and so the shapes were beautiful and fantastic.  Here one that resembled a mushroom, there an arch and another that could have been a face carved such was the whim of nature.  For such a small planet, the sights here were far more fantastic than any on Earth.

They flew slow and low and any Green Man in those hills could have simply tossed a rock down onto them if he wished but Lanor told Eibhlin, “The Green Men prefer the deserts and rarely enter the hills save the occasional raiding party.”  But it wasn't a Green Man that attacked them.

They were cruising very slow between two hills and as the flier passed under one of the beautiful stone arches that took her breath away with their beauty, she failed to notice the movement upon the bridge.  Suddenly the flier tipped and near rolled as a White Ape landed upon the stern.  It grasped the deck with arboreal feet and its intermediary limbs as Eibhlin did the same with her similar feet and tail but Lanor wasn't as lucky.  Unlike Dar Moras who was strapped into the pilot's chair, she near fell overboard and survived only because Eibhlin was able to grasp her harness with one hand.  So Lanor hung over the edge and Eibhlin held onto her with one hand, grasping the rail with feet, tail and her other hand, and as Dar Moras fought to steady the flier and prevent a crash, the White Ape moved forward, holding on with six limbs though once in reach it would use its two upper arms to grasp and kill the passengers.

They say that the White Ape is the only thing that instills terror into the Green Man and seeing this one Eibhlin could well believe that for the thing was thrice her height, even taller than a Green Man and though white skinned and hairless, it had muscles that were far greater than it needed.  Its ape-like face and shock of bristle hair on its skull was why John Carter called it an ‘ape’ for the Barsoomian word was untranslatable other than it was a cognate with ‘terror’ or ‘nightmare’ so ‘white terror’ would be a better description.

Only the twisting and bucking of the flier as Dar Moras fought to steady the craft in the updrafts and shifting weights of the passengers and invader prevented the beast from attacking faster than it did for it must release one limb to seek another hold before advancing another and that slowed the beast.  On flat ground or a larger flier, it would have charged and killed them all so only the small size and poor movement of the flier saved the crew.  But Dar Moras was so busy trying to steady the craft he was ignorant of the beast and Eibhlin was too occupied holding onto Lanor to do much else save hold on herself.

At that time she thanked the Demons for making her into what she was for were she still human, both Lanor and herself would have gone over the side and it was only the adaptations created for climbing around a starship in zero-gravity that saved them both.  Pressed against the side holding Lanor who was twisting in the wind (she weighed a bare forty pounds but the wind and rocking made it seem more) she couldn't reach her beamer or the revolver that had been modified for her grip, so she had to release the hull and draw her sword, trusting to her feet and tail to keep them both aboard.

As the beast moved into range, she cut hard and the demon poly-steel with a near molecular edge severed the hand that was holding the rail.  Perhaps had the limb been free, she might have only cut or broken the wrist but braced as it was, she easily cut it free.  Now the beast roared in anger and grabbed at its bleeding stump with its other hand which she also severed.  It lunged forward and instead of leaning back as it expected, she thrust forward into its maw and near two feet of the blade penetrated the back of its neck as if forced itself to her.  She held onto the handle with all her might and twisted as the monster shook its head and blood burst from mouth and wound then her sword cut free, severing the juggler and throat.  At least if it killed her now, it wouldn't be able or swallow.

Then she gave up all pretense of fencing and just hacked away at its head and face as it continued to approach.  Without hands, and with the rocking of the flier to occupy its feet and intermediary limbs, it could only fight with its fangs which were as long as her dagger.  Blood was everywhere, the thing was blind from her cuts and then inches from her face, its breath stinking of rotten meat, it shuddered and fell over the edge to strike the ground but a few feet below.  Eibhlin immediately dropped her sword to the deck and grasping the rail, swung the object of her desire back over the rail and onto the slippery deck hoping that Lanor was still alive for the entire time from when she had grasped her, only a single scream had escaped her lovely lips.

Then gasping for breath, she sat on the deck as Dar Moras was able to bring the flier under control now that their unwelcome passenger had left.  He brought the craft to a stop and landed on a flat place between some rocks then turned to call out, “Is everyone safe… by Isis what happened there?” as he saw the blood covering Eibhlin and the craft.

Gasping from the altitude and exertion, she held up a severed hand and called, “We had an unexpected passenger but he didn't like the service or maybe the food disagreed with him and he left,” then she tossed the limb over the side and collapsed with hysterical laughter.

Lanor joined her and when she could talk again, Dar Moras searching them both for injury, asked, “I thought you were unconscious or dead?”

“No dear, once I felt you grasp my harness I ceased to struggle or scream fearing that anything I did would hinder your attempts to pull me aboard.  And when I saw the white ape, I almost undid my harness fearing that you couldn't save both me and yourself and would rather sacrifice my own life to save yours.”  She sighed and continued, “but there was so much pressure on my leather that I could not undo the buckles and so had to hang there hoping that you could do something.  I had hoped you would hang me from a stantion and use your revolver or beamer on the beast but it seems that you are a better swords-woman than I thought.”

“Not better, stronger, and fear gives even more strength.  But we still live and that is the important thing.”

“Dar Moras,” she suggested, “Perhaps we should continue on and clean the flier when away from these dangerous hills?”

“An excellent suggestion and we are near through.” And he returned to the controls shaking in fear for the women for it wasn't the Way of the red Man to allow as woman to do the fighting while he did other matters.

They crew soon was past the hills and a zode later they had much of the blood cleaned though the new owner would have to pay for a good washing.  “I hope he doesn't deduct the cleaning bill from your fee,” Lanor called to their pilot who laughed back at her jest.

They approached a waterway that was miles wide and stretched into the distance.  “This waterway stretches from Talum to the northeast then east to pass the Marsh to their north.  We just follow it to Talum then another waterway to Ptarth and our journey will be at an end.”  The waterway was not the canal envisioned by the astronomers but a huge covered pipe that stretched from the north ice cap to various cities along the way. Water was taken from this pipe to feed the roots of the crops which grew in a wide band along its length.  Nobles would patrol the waterway on thoat keeping peace and defending the valuable vegetation from desperate men and animals. It kept the nobility busy and out of the palace and so prevented trouble and guarded the crops upon which the cities depended.  Plus as valour was so important to the Red Men, it offered the Nobility a chance to earn honours and impress the ladies of the court.

Dar Moras soon saw a large building and landed to give his name and city and the reason for the foreign flier in Ptarth lands for Empires here were linear and followed the waterways and not circular as on Earth or in space.  Wars on Barsoom were fought over water and farmlands, not a few acres of desert as would be the case on Earth.  Thus you could have two antagonistic empires a hundred miles apart and they would be at peace if no waterway connected them.  If there was a waterway, such as between Ptarth and Talum, the weaker would eventually be conquered by the stronger and absorbed into the Empire.

A zode later we landed in Talum where Dar Moras was met outside the city by a naval flier who tied us to their larger craft and questioned us at length until he was satisfied that Dar Moras and Lanor were citizens and Eibhlin was no threat to the Empire of Ptarth.  Then they proceeded on the land in a rooftop hanger in the building where Dar Moras’ family lived.


After tying the craft down and arraigning tie-down fees, he led us to an elevator that used magnets and not cables to move up and down.  Eibhlin's antennae, being sensitive to em-fields, ached whenever she was in the thing and she would prefer stairs or ladders had the Red Men any such.

Dar Moras introduced them to his mother and father, both of whom looked to be in their twenties though both were centuries old and after hearing how she had saved their son from the Green Men and banth and white ape, they showered her with gifts and praises until she thought that she would die from embarrassment.  Irish love to brag about themselves but somehow Eibhlin found this attention to be different.  They did insist that she tell them about her life and adventures until she begged to sleep from exhaustion and then she was given a private room, her first on Barsoom and she didn't even remember undressing and falling into bed.

She awoke late to breakfast and had to refuse much of the delicacies offered for her digestion wouldn't handle them and she must answer as many questions as before.

The worst of it as when they asked “Eivleen Obreen, have you no family or husband to care for you that you must take up the sword?”

She hated this part, “Had I a normal life, I would be dead a grandmother by now for we marry by our 14th year (Jasoomian time), pop out babies almost immediately and are usually dead by forty.  I think I was engaged for I seem to recall my parents discussing some boy from another part of Antrim but then my mother was taken and sold as a slave and then our house burned and my father hanged so I took up the fight to free my land that he could not.”

On Barsoom, Red Men remain in their eggs for five years as they grow to near adulthood so as Eibhlin ceased to age at seventeen, she resembled one of their youths but a few months from her shell though how it was possible for an egg to grow from a small chicken's egg to one large enough for a near adult she had no idea.  It seemed to be impossible but it happened.  Then the youth was tamed, taught and matured at forty years, her current age, then stopped aging until near their thousandth year.

“I suppose I would be a disgrace to my Clan for at 40, I am neither married, virgin nor proper woman.” she laughed at that.  Even her own family would probably disown her were they to see her today.

Then she was rescued by Dar Moras who had cleaned the flier and informed his parents that they must continue on to Ptarth and so left the family and soon were in the air again.

By flier, Ptarth was but a zode and a bit along the waterway and they met the Ptarth navy long before they saw the city.  Dar Moras showed his papers to the officers who stared at Eibhlin, not the papers then they waved him on.

Ptarth was huge and crowded.  The city was walled and unable to build out so they built up. As they flew over, she saw at least three sets of inner walls, each marking the edges of the city as it was older and smaller for Ptarth had been founded on the foothills some 75 thousand years ago!

“Seventy-five THOUSAND?” she called out. “That's older than the human race on Jasoom.”  Though to be honest she saw a Demon city that was inhabited thirty million years old so she don't know why she was amazed.  “I was born in a house that was built four hundred years before and all my ancestors were born in that same home before the English burned it.  My house was older than was Jean's country and she thought fifty years was an antique.  But 75,000 years is totally unimaginable to me.”

“Eivleen, her dear, my home was built eight thousand years ago and is far from old.” Lanor explained.  “My bed is four thousand years ago and this ring I wear is twenty thousand years old and is far from an antique.  We are a long-lived race who build to last and so rarely have need for new items as you tell me is common on Jasoom.”

They landed on another roof-top hanger for in a walled city, this was the only place for aircraft to land and Dar Moras turned the newly cleaned flier over to its owner and collected his fee.  Then they took another elevator down to the ground (another headache) where they took a ground flier to the home of Lanor.  These ground fliers resembled an automobile in the same way an auto resembles a horse-drawn wagon.  But they rolled along on huge tires and the ride was totally smooth and comfortable.  Air traffic flew overhead in lanes and once again she marveled at the country that had firearms with nuclear rounds but preferred the sword, had aircraft and anti-gravity but rode horses, had a technology that rivaled and exceeded Earth but preferred a simpler life.

Her house, being ‘only’ 8,000 years ago was in one of the newer parts of Ptarth but had its own walls and guards who immediately let us in when she was recognized.  And by the time we exited the ground-flier, slaves were at the door to aid us and carry our limited baggage inside.  One female who she saw was a slave only because of her collar for she wore the harness and jewelry of any Red Woman flung herself into Lanor's arms crying that they had heard of the attack and feared she was dead.  “Your father was so angry with himself for allowing you to go on that expedition he will probably never allow you out of this home ever again.”

“That is fine with me, I have had enough adventure to last me a lifetime.”  Then her parents and family met them in the main visiting room and all tried to be proper and dignified but upon seeing the scars on their daughter's body, fell apart and cried as they held her.  Dar Moras ignored this display for unlike many Earthly races, the Red Men weep openly and hug their loved ones in public.  Eibhlin supposed that when your children live for centuries, the bonds of love run deep.  Would her own children be as loving after four centuries?  Could she remain married to the same woman for that long, she watching her wife take an endless stream of male lovers to remain alive and sire her babies?  And how many children would she have over the centuries?  One every few years or one every century for she had no idea of how her reproductive biology worked.  When pregnant would her Need end? Or would she wish her children would move out after a few decades? Would she even remember her children's names and faces as the centuries rolled by?  Twenty years ago that Mon Starfleet officer recognized her as a Weir so there must be others like her.  Perhaps the Demons had been taking and changing humans for a thousand years.  She had just been too busy to seriously search for them so resolved to search out others like her when she left Barsoom to answer these questions.  Yes, a lesbian Weir, each satisfying the other with tail and lips sounded very … desirable to her.

She had a lot of time to think these thoughts for her parents examined every scar and injury given to her by the Green Men and cried over them all.  Eibhlin had forgotten they existed and saw only the beauty of her former self. Finally they were done and she tried to stifle their tears with introductions, “Mother, Father, this is the Princess Eivleen Obreen of Ireland who rescued her from the Green Men and many other dangers.  And this is Dar Moras who also fought for me and returned me to your arms. Please offer them the hospitality of our home for as long as they wish to remain.  Lady Eivleen Obreen and Dar Moras, this is my father, Odwar Bimos Lan and my mother Ullia Tome.”

Eibhlin tried to curtsey to them but they would have nothing of it and she had to explain, “I'm not really a Princess but I am a Noble for the rank of a Tierna in Ireland rises and falls with the number of other Tierna who swear fealty to you and right now,” she laughed, “That number is about… none.  Though my mother and father are both descended a few centuries from the Great Jeddak Brian Boru for whom I, my family and Clan is named.”

“Then to us you are a Princess and a Princess you shall remain for the blood of Jeddaks flows in your veins and your courage and nobility are those that any Jeddak would admire.  Our home is yours, our slaves yours and all that we have is yours.”

Dar Moras remained a guest for a few days then returned to his home and former employment though on another ship.  Eibhlin stayed a couple weeks then became too embarrassed with all the attention though Lanor did find her a couple attractive female slaves to bed her as she wished and even found a male slave “for when your Need arises, my dear Eivleen.”  Ever since the White Ape incident she had become far more friendly and personal but still refused Eibhlin's advances, though with good humor saying, “My dear Eivleen, had I any desire for a woman, you would be the one. But for now let us be friends and sisters.”

Eibhlin tried romance.  She tried being her friend.  She tried everything, even wishing Lanor would be kidnapped so she could rescue her and during their trials as she returned her to her family, she would learn to love her for her acts, but nothing worked and the two remained just friends.

Finally all good things must end and Eibhlin went to her saying, “My dear Lanor, I love you and your family has made me feel so welcome it pains me to say this but, I need more freedom.  I enjoyed the dances and your friends but really, I am not a pampered pet and must seek adventure but so long as I remain here, I will never find my way.  Please watch over the communicator I built so when my ship arrives she can find me but if I remain here, I'll become a lady seeking marriage and I want to see more of your world and must live on my own to do so.  But I will visit often for I love you so.”

They both cried and held each other then Eibhlin walked out with her jewelry, weapons, kit, a little money and her harness and sought her own life in the city of Ptarth.


The only thing worse than being unemployed is being unemployed on a strange planet that has few prospects for female employment.

Eibhlin's ship was probably still in orbit around Earth and fueled for she had taken the precaution of skimming the gas giant to refuel before coming to Barsoom though she hoped it had received her signal and was fast approaching.  She even had plenty of water on board for the same reason but food was a concern because of two reasons, the first being that she had little cash and the second being that most Barsoomian food disagreed with her and aside from Mantilla milk and Usa fruit, most would make her sick in time.  She enjoyed the Barsoomian wine but suffered on the toilet the next day.  Yes, once the Mairayd responded to her signal and arrived she could reach Earth easily in a few hours or days but then how would she buy the supplies she'd need to reach Demon/Mon Space.  She could easily sell her military skills and technology to earn whatever she needed but… the temptation for the local Earth-humans to try to take her ship and her for their own use would be too great for them to resist and she had no desire to be vivisected.  At least on Barsoom, they had a belief that a person's property belonged to the person and not to the state.  So no matter how much they wanted her starship and her Beamer and other advanced technology aboard the Mairayd, they'd not take it.  Also there were so many races on this world that an alien Weir like herself attracted attention but not the kind that would put her in a lab for study as would happen on Earth.  Had she returned to Earth in her own time, she'd be burned as a devil but as Earth became more civilized they replaced the stake with the surgeon, the Inquisitor priest with the government agent.

So she was safe here.  Safer than on Earth where she was born.

Unfortunately, there were problems too.  Local clothing styles required near nudity.  People wore a very brief loin-cloth, a few belts and little else.  She could wear a man's warrior harness and be considered very strange since women here were rarely warriors for here, women were slaves, wives and little else, so unless she was willing to marry and be a housewife, a situation she learned that she was totally unfit for ten years ago on Earth, she had to resort to being a technician or a mercenary warrior.

So far she was able to make a sparse living repairing and upgrading the local fliers for the simple reason that the Demons had created her for exactly that purpose, to be a tech-slave.  But she wanted more.  She had spent the last couple decades being a technician on a dozen worlds and she was tired of being greasy and dirty and sweaty all the time, breaking her nails and getting her hair caught in a drive-shaft for pennies.

She had been a pirate, a merchant, a soldier, a smuggler and a technician and she found being a soldier was more to her liking than any other.  The thrill of combat, the knowledge that she was winning because she was better than everyone else made her so excited, she found normal life dull by comparison.

Were she still human, she'd be a freak, but now she was simply an alien and aliens were tolerated here despite their beliefs and appearance.

She even tried being a body-guard but no Red Man would demean himself by allowing a woman to protect him so she mostly guarded their wives and daughters which allowed her to see the city but offered little in excitement or pay.

About the only time she did anything other than carry packages while her charges were shopping was a few days ago.

“Eivleen Obreen,” Maral Nara called.

“I am here.  What do you wish?”  She approached from the drapes for one of the advantages of her former human life was that she was undetectable to the Barsoomian telepathy so once out of sight, she was totally invisible.  But she could estann any Red Man within a hundred feet so no one could sneak up on her.  This made her fairly valuable.

“I would show you off to my friends.  And not at a party but in the outside world.  So we are going shopping and wish you to accompany us, to defend our persons and to entertain us with your adventures on other worlds.”

“Of course, I am at your command.  When do we leave?”

“Soon.  My friends will arrive anon but with the recent kidnappings, be alert.”

“Of course I shall.  Give me a zode to rearm and I will be ready.”

Inside her charge's father's home Eibhlin carried little more than a short-sword and Revolver, her Beamer being hidden, so she returned to the ante-chamber for her other weapons and gear, then left for her hostel where her other belongings rested.  If she wanted to show Eibhlin off, she'd have to tie her hair back.  She wished she could braid it as she did in Ireland but Red Women never braided their hair, preferring to allow it to flow loose or to tie it into various styles with combs and ribbons of silk.  That was something about the Red Women she loved, their long wavy black hair.  All Red Women had wavy black hair and all grew it long.  Eibhlin's was as black and growing longer but was straight and she normally combed it before her to hide her breasts which the Red Men saw as a deformity.  Well, being egg-layers, the Red Race laid some thirteen goose-sized eggs a year, destroyed most of these, and those few which were allowed to hatch remained in a roof-top incubator for five years where they grew until they hatched a child who was physically near adulthood, for the Red Men knew no infancy or childhood.  Then at forty they were fully mature though some married as young as twenty and all would remain young until they reached almost a thousand years.  Eibhlin, herself was forty but looked seventeen for she ceased to age when the Demons changed her and she would not age again until she was 400 and would eventually die at 500 years.  In this case, she was similar to the Barsoomian for they both enjoyed near eternal youth.

And since the Red Woman never nursed, they had very small breasts which were more a sexual dimorphism left over from their ancient ancestors a half-million or more years ago than anything else.  When surrounded by women whose breasts could fit in a hand easily, Eibhlin's, which were as large as a child's head, looked to them to be grotesque.  And since the Red Woman had no need for support, brassieres were unknown here.  Fortunately for the former Earth-woman, the .38 gravity aided her natural Weir firmness so she almost felt as if she were under water, her breasts were so light.  She recalled her former American lover Jean who was more endowed than herself showing her the ‘pencil test’ where she held a number of pencils under her breasts.  With Eibhlin, they fell to the floor.  Perhaps Jean would do the same too here but too many years braless and nursing a baby had taken their toll on her.

Since her employer wanted to show her off, that meant that she was expected to expose everything that was alien.  Her pale skin had tanned but was far different from their coppery-red.  And she had to expose her pointed ears and antennae which required a different hairstyle, her tail must be revealed and she must ensure that they could see her tarsial toes and medial thumbs.

Only slaves went habitually naked so although she was forced to expose her breasts, her nipples were always erect and aching in the cold here, she could wear a loin-cloth and a bit of a short skirt to hide her woman's area and keep the red dust from up where it should never go.

Eibhlin tied her hair back to reveal her ears and choose a skirt to match her ribbons.  Damn! she wished it were longer as she never enjoyed the micro-minis she wore in America on Earth.  Growing up in 17th century Ireland and living on a Vanthi station gave her an appreciation for dresses that went to her ankles while pants were more comfortable on a Demon ship and even her own. It's not that her legs were fat or unattractive, she just preferred to keep them covered.

Once her ‘dress’ was chosen, she strapped her sword belt and revolver belts to her waist, wrapped her shoulder straps to these and crossed them between her breasts to ease the weight of her weapons.  Unlike the man's harness, she could wear smaller and narrower belts that wouldn't chafe her breasts or push them apart overly much.  She chose a light tan leather to compliment her skin tone and ensured that the device of the house of Mar was prominent over her right breast.  When she left her service, she'd have to return the device but the jewelry she received as the occasional gift she could keep.  She also added to her left breast strap the Arms of her family in Ireland for she was Tierna, a Noble of Ireland and never forgot her home to which she could never return.  She had no awards to wear so her leather was mostly plain though she did wear the jewelry of the Green Men she had killed which added to her reputation for few men could defeat such monsters and she had killed two on Barsoom and a dozen of their Space-faring brethren years before.

So with long and short swords at her left hip, revolver and dagger at her right hip and beamer strapped to her back under her hip-pouch, she adjusted her cosmetics, added some clip-on earrings for her Weir body healed too fast for piercings, a few bracelets on arm and leg and a choker necklace that drew the eyes to her face and away from her chest and soon was ready to return for her charges.  Although she lusted after women and worked in a man's occupation, she found that if she looked feminine, she could attract feminine women and not those California dykes that dressed, looked and acted as a man.  If she wanted a man, shed date a man.  Unfortunately, Barsoom had the belief that sex was reserved for a man and his lawful wife or wives so she was forced to resort to slaves for her Needs.

Once returned to the house of Mar, she was shown her charges who circled and stared at her forever.  She was getting used to this, almost.  Demons never stared and neither did the Mon out of politeness but the Saxon Vanthi had been isolated so long that they never saw anyone other than the occasional human slave and so wherever she went, they stared.  Most of her time on Earth was as a human and the few days she spent there as a Weir was in disguise so she had to allow these women to look and ask their questions.  It was a part of her job and she wished she got paid extra for this part.

Maral Nara interrupted, “Please, we can talk as we walk. Please Eivleen Obreen, walk among us and not behind so we may converse.”

“As you wish, Maral Nara, though please if trouble occurs, move away from me that I may react quickly.”

Along the way, she was asked about her life to which she replied, “I was born a Noble in Ireland in the 17th century.  England, a nation to the east, had conquered her nation and we fought constantly to free ourselves.  The English sold my mother into slavery, burned our home, hanged my father and gang-raped and shot me, leaving me for dead.

“Then I was taken by Demons, an alien race who needed technicians to repair their ships. They took my body, healed my wounds and changed me into what you see here.

“Years later I was given a star-ship of her own and I've been traveling around the galaxy ever since.”

“Then why, Lady Eivleen,” one of her friends asked, “Do you wear the harness of a man and bear weapons?  Why not return home, marry and live a life as before?”

Eibhlin sighed.  She hated thinking of this but… “All that I know is dead and gone.  I tried to return home to free my nation but found the planet dead.  Laid waste by some catastrophe and all life dead.  I saw the futility of my designs and left.  I returned once again but too much was different and I didn't fit in.  Besides, I enjoy the excitement of the sword.”

“That catastrophe, I remember it.” Another commented.  “Jasoom had just developed space travel again after Carson Napier left for Cosoom.  Some of their nations had contacted Barsoom via Gridley Wave and Helium built a ship to visit Jasoom.  When we told them we were coming, they went insane and destroyed themselves with atomic weapons and plagues.  I think they feared us.”

“More likely they feared what you represent.” Eibhlin added.

“And what is that?”

“That humans are not alone and that other ways and beliefs are as valid as theirs.  That is very terrifying to some people who believe in only their own ways.”

“And you don't fear that?”

“I am Irish.  I was raised Catholic and taught that there was only one Church and only one way to God.  The Protestant English were different and conquered us so the Catholic Church must be wrong though the English said the same beliefs as the Catholics.  When I was taken by the Demons, I saw so many other races and beliefs and customs living in peace and war that I realized that all are valid, so long as they respect each other.  Unfortunately, humans and Christians tend to believe in their way alone.”

“All this talk is disturbing.  Let us talk of..” she looked around, “love.  We all have warriors and nobles who we wish to marry.  What of you.  Is there some prince on another world that attracts your eye?”  She smirked in conspiracy for these Red Women were like Irish and American girls and even Vanthi for women are women and love to talk about love and romance so long as the objects of their affections cannot hear the truth.  She had asked the Demons about this and they said to her, “We are not the only race that takes humans for our use.  This and the Stargates that cross the quae ensure a wide distribution of life.  If it looks human, you probably have a common ancestor.”   If she closed her eyes, she could imagine talking with her girl-friends in Ireland in the 17th century or her woman-friends in America in the 20th century.

“I fear not, Ladies, for her desires lie with her own gender.”

“I've heard of women who love other women, rare though they may be.  But how can you marry a woman and have children?”  She was both shocked and intrigued.  Perhaps the curiosity of Vana Horas would be to her advantage.

From then on she listened to the four speak of certain men who they wished to attract and the scandals of the court for none of these were nobility, though all were wealthy and the merchants love to discuss the personal problems of their betters.

Eibhlin slowly allowed herself to lag behind the women for their lovers, real and imagined, interested her not at all and she had a job to do.  And well it was for a group of six men approached from a side street and surrounded her charges.  “Maral Nara!” one cried, “give over to us and none shall be harmed.”

This wasn't an assassination for the Red Men do not murder their women.  So it must be a kidnapping.  Doubtless some rejected paramour had hired these here to kidnap her employer for his own use or perhaps they felt that they could make a profit by selling the other women as slaves.  Rape on Barsoom was unknown but slaves could be required to bed their owners with no ill thought for either.  Obviously they saw Eibhlin, a small alien woman, as no threat at all and their casual glance implied that neither was she their target for abduction.

“If you will,” she called to them, her hand on her sword-hilt, “These are my charges you are accosting.  Please let be and leave now lest I resort to violence.”  she adjusted the sword Brount had made for her by the Demons to a drawing position and waited.

Eibhlin thought that they noticed her for the first time then for they stared and one laughed, “You?  What can you, a woman do?  The smallest of us is easily a sofad taller than are you.”

He was right for she was a bare five foot tall in thick sandals but her Earthly strength made her almost twice as strong as were they and twice again because of her Weir enhancements.  Thus she had naught to fear from them other than they had centuries with the sword and she had but a couple decades of part-time practice and little in actual battle save one duel and a single fight with a couple Green Men.  She had killed before, but that was mostly with crossbow, matchlock or beamer.  This would test her metal.

She glanced around to ensure that there were no others, for although she had found that she could easily read the Red Man's thoughts, she was invisible to them.  Then, assured that these six were the only threat, she moved through the women and stood before their leader.  She could read confusion in their thoughts because they had never been faced with a woman who carried more than a dagger and their natural chivalry prevented them from attacking the bodyguard.

One laughed than looking down to her called to his fellows, “She will make a fine exotic for some harem.  Let us sell seven instead of six.” Then he made a fatal mistake by grabbing her.

She wrapped her tail around his neck and choked as she grasped the offending limb and broke it at the wrist.  Once he was off-balance she pulled with her tail and flung him to the ground.  Knowing that with a sword she was at their mercy despite the training Brount had given her and the fencing classes she attended here in Ptarth, she waded in and kicked one in the family jewels, jumped to the side and back-fisted another and grabbed a third by the throat and squeezed, feeling his larynx crush beneath her grip.

The remaining two leapt back and drew steel, forcing her to do the same.  They both had the Barsoomian long sword which was similar to a European rapier or light saber but with a 30” blade while she had a curved sword similar to the Japanese katana though without a guard.  She could fight single-handled if she wished or carry a sword in one hand, short sword in the other and use her tail as a grasper but preferred the two-handed style she had been taught.

One came at her as the second waited, honor that was unknown on Earth, and she lived only because she was stronger and faster than was he.  Then she realized that he was playing with her, testing her skills.  She recognized some of the moves she had learned from her fencing school and knew that he could have gotten past her guard and killed her at any time.  His eyes were on her alone and she dared not look at his companion so relaxed and estanned someone behind.  A trap!  And she almost fell for it.  She waited for the emotion from behind then leapt aside and cut, killing the man who was about to club her into unconsciousness.  He was the one with the broken wrist

The one she had back-fisted was unconsciousness, another dying from a crushed throat, ignored by his fellows and this one spilling his guts.   She now had two angry men to defeat and a third struggling to stand after emptying his stomach after her kick.  She charged the one waiting, blocked with superior strength and opened his throat as she passed, then killed the one she had kicked with a thrust.  That made the first angry and he forgot about the prohibition against fighting women as he attacked for real.

She went on the defensive and only by leaping back was she able to avoid the worst of his thrusts.  But she was bleeding from shallow jabs and a few cuts, the worst across her breast as he tried for her heart, which wasn't where he had thrust but still the wound was painful and messy and her breasts were too large of a target.

Finally she felt a wall behind and leapt up, twisted, struck the stone with her feet, bounced and flipped over her opponent, striking down as she passed.  He blocked but then she was on the ground, he turned and she thrust before he could return to a guard.  She twisted the blade, he screamed and she cut as she withdrew, near severing the man in twain.

Eibhlin leaned against the wall, panting for she still hadn't fully adapted to the thin air and her wounds bled, then slowed as she healed though she'd need medical treatment soon.  She barely noticed the women surrounding her, commending her for her actions and exclaiming that they'd never seen anything like that before.  Soon after the police, or what the Barsoomian used for police which was whatever soldier who wasn't busy or at war, arrived and took statements, arrested the one who was still unconscious, took her name and hostel and told her that she needed to make an official statement upon the morrow.  Then all were released and they sought a doctor to treat her wounds and clean the blood from her body.

Now she was passing people on the street and someone bumped into her.  She turned and almost challenged him but he apologized and continued on while she fumed.  She was cramping and irritable.  Were she still human she would think her menses were about to occur but she hadn't shed woman's blood in twenty years since the Demons had changed her and stopped that Curse of Eve.  Well, there was that six months on Earth when she was human again but had ended when she was able to resume her Weir life.  But without menses, there was only one thing this meant and she didn't need to see her lips and nipples reddening over the days to know that her Need was approaching and she needed sex fast.  She would get more and more irritable, the cramps would get stronger and more painful, then she'd die.  Jilling herself with tail and fingers and phallus would only slow the inevitable.  She needed a woman or, she shuddered, a man.  Maybe it was time to visit Vana Horas.  Many human women are bi-curious and resisted experimentation only because they feared social disapproval.

Unfortunately, when she called at her home, she was busy with company, “Eivleen Obreen, enter and meet …”

Eibhlin saw who was there and realized that she had no chance at all so made her excuses and left.  Damn!!!  On the way to her room, her thighs rubbed against each other and she was not fat.  In fact there is near an inch between them so it was the way she was walking that caused the friction that made her insides itch and her love button tingle.  She knew her loincloth was soaking so she stopped to have a drink of wine, then another, not considering what the alien alcohol was doing to her digestion, and headed for the slave rental.

Slavery was a big thing on Barsoom with most menial work being done by slave labor for no honest man would resort to cleaning a toilet or picking trash from the street, work that needed doing in every city in the galaxy.  Most menial labour for the city was done by slaves taken in war but owning a slave was expensive for you needed to feed and house them and care for their medical needs.  Yet, these jobs needed to be accomplished so some dealers would rent out their unsold stock or certain businessmen would buy slaves for rent and for a reasonable fee, you could rent a slave to do all those tasks you needed done but would not do yourself.  This task, unpleasant as it was, would be one of those.

The no-longer-human woman looked over the stock and realized that although she wanted a woman, she was soaking, her nipples ached and she had to force her thighs apart for she had waited too long.  Even a woman with a phallus in hand wouldn't save her life so she looked over the men and chose one who was as effeminate as possible.  Red Men never grew beards or hair on their chest or arms or legs so that wasn't a problem but she wanted someone with curves and found one who would do.  Doubtless unsold because he wasn't as large or as strong as most men and so unsuitable for heavy labour.

Paying his daily rental, she called, “Follow me,” and led him to the inn where she had another drink, gave him one and tried to not look at her rental.  She thought he tried to speak then gave up as she ignored him while she wondered what to do next.  She couldn't take him to her room for only women were allowed in the dorm, private rooms on Barsoom are only for the very rich or married couples.  Then she called the slave who waited her table and asked, “Have you a room where I can conduct some private business?”

She looked at Eibhlin, then at the slave, finally deciding that the Alien was planning something illegal or needed to question the slave over some matter best done away from curious ears for the idea she had was incomprehensible to the Red Man.  Then she said, “Yes Lady, for four tanpi we have a room.”

$4 or so for a private room for a few hours.  Well, income on Barsoom was low but they built to last and the American concept of conspicuous consumption was as foreign to them as would be a brothel so she said, “Show me please.”

The room was far from romantic but it was clean and had a table and a comfortable couch so she paid her and directed, “send her slave here with a bottle of wine please.”  And waited.

He arrived and she removed her harness, handing it to him and said, “I was in a fight a few days ago and this needs a better cleaning than I was able to do.”  Then as he began the task, she lay her weapons upon the table and sat on the couch wearing nothing but her g-string.  How the hell do you seduce a man?  On Earth or among the Vanthi, she would just walk into the room and men would surround her.  She knew she wasn't beautiful (at least when compared to the incomparable beauty of the Red Woman) but she was attractive and with her athletic body and more than adequate breasts she could have any man she wanted though not the women she desired.

She started to toss her hair behind her back for even the Red Woman used that tactic to show interest but stopped when she realized that he looked away when her breasts were exposed.  What a human would see as a sexual signal, the Red Man would see as a deformity so she let her hair fall forward again.  Dammit!  Why was this so hard?  The Vanthi outlawed lesbians, the Barsoomian didn't know they existed and Earth was some distance away and it would take days or weeks to find someone there even if she had her ship.  Like it or not, she did not, she was stuck with this man.

So she tried honesty.

“Do you get many visitors from other worlds here?”

“Some, but few, lady.  I've never seen an alien though I hear visitors from Jasoom are becoming more common with the planet dead as it is.”

Eibhlin had heard that sometimes a human would die on Earth and be ‘called’ to Barsoom where they would have a physical body free from the injury that had killed them, at least that is what Burroughs said had happened to both John Carter and Ulysses Paxton though she privately thought that both had stumbled into a Stargate as did she.  She continued,  “I've been on a dozen worlds.  Most were colonized by Jasoomians.  The Demons, a reptilian race, tend to abduct us and change us to their needs and uses.  I was once human until they took me and changed me into what I am now.”

She took another drink, ignored the gurgling as the alien alcohol ate its way through her guts and continued, “But they made mistakes.  You Red Men need food and drink and air to survive.  Weir like me need those too but more.  You need three zodes of decent sleep and dreams a night or you go insane and die.  Jasoomians are the same but I need but a zode to a zode-and-a-half a night and can make do with a zode every couple nights for a teedan with no ill effects.”

Another drink, “But there is one thing I need every three teedans. If she don't get this, I die and my time is fast approaching.”  He was still cleaning her harness but listening now for someone talking to a slave, even an alien, was so unusual it was worth his attention.  “Sex!  I need sex or I will die.”

He froze, uncertain what to do or say.  She lay a couple tanpi on the table and offered, “service me, keep me alive and these are yours.”

He was torn between greed and disgust for the money he earned occasionally as a tip, added to the coins he found on the street or the floors of places like this would be hoarded and someday used to buy his freedom.  Yet, what she was asking was against everything a Red Man believed.  In the end, greed won out.  Had he been human, she could have saved her money.  “What do I do?” he asked.

She don't know if he was a virgin or not but he followed instructions, twice, then as she lay there, disgusted with herself but no longer in pain, she told him, “You can leave now.  If I need you again, I'll call in a couple days.”  He actually tried to kiss her goodbye but she turned her face away, wishing he were a she for although her body reacted with enthusiasm for his, her mind fantasized that he were a woman with a phallus strapped to her hips.  After he left, taking his earned gold, she removed her mirror from her hip-pack and checked herself.  Her lips and nipples were pink again, no longer red with Need and her cosmetics needed little touch-up for although she learned to wear make-up ten years ago with Jean, she rarely wore them in space.  She resisted the urge to see if her labia were pink again for she didn't want to see what he had left inside her.

Eibhlin wiped the sweat from her body, dressed, combed her hair quickly, applied a little perfume to cover her sin and drained her glass, then his, and left for the toilet where she peed away everything she could in her bladder and womb.  Half a block away, she cringed as her loincloth became soaked with something she didn't want inside her but didn't want running down her legs right now.  She thought it was all gone but was wrong and the Barsoomian wine was adding to her misery.

She imagined that people were staring at me, knowing what she had done and, well, staring at her.  “Please whatever god or goddess is out there, let them think I just peed myself”’ she prayed, then ran down the alley to find a less traveled way to her hostel.  Along the way she interrupted an assassination and killed the assassin as she passed without slowing.

Finally she reached her cot which was surrounded by curtains as the only privacy a bachelor woman had in these dorms and frantically tossed her weapons on her cot as she searched for replacement clothing.  Then near naked, or at least, wearing naught but a cloth wrapped around her waist and a short-sword, she entered the common baths and washed herself until she was raw.  Then she soaked in the hot water forever, watching the occasional Red Woman enter, stare and leave.

The next day, disgusted with herself and for her sin and wishing to forget what she had been forced to do, she took a position as a Panthan in another nation and left seeking mental release in the blood and violence of a war on an alien planet.

EIBHLIN INGHEAN UI BHRIAN    (41-42) Eivleen Obreen- what the Red Men call her
Ral Silvas, her Padwar  (42-45 on Barsoom)  c. 2004?
Mairayd, Eibhlin's mother and ship
Kara - Vanthi lover, now on Earth 20th century
Lanor of Ptarth
Dar Moras of Talum
Maral Nara- Eibhlin's employer
Anora - slave at the hostel in Arlis.  Eibhlin's whore
Vana Horas - friend of Maral Nara
Odwar Bimos Lan, Lanor's father
Ullia Tome, Lanor's mother.

Maps and Illustrations by Rick Johnson
ERBzine Refs
Rick Johnson Feature Articles and Fiction in ERBzine
Worlds of ERB
ERBzine 1645: Johnson: ERB Fan Profile
ERBzine 1522: Sociology of the Wieroo
ERBzine 1527: Maltheusian Decimation in Pal-Ul-Don
ERBzine 1547: Opar
ERBzine 1710: Conflict!
ERBzine 1965: Rescue In Pellucidar
ERBzine 1974: Anatomy of an Alien

ERBzine 2304: Prelude to Weir-Lu of Caspak

ERBzine 2388: Bright-Eyed Flower of Pal-ul-don

ERBzine 2394: Dinosaur Survival On Earth

ERBzine 1578: Barsoom Questions
ERBzine 1370: Mapping Barsoom I: Can It Be Done?
ERBzine 1562: Mapping Barsoom II: Compromises
ERBzine 1565: Mapping Barsoom III: The Past
ERBzine 1633: Valley Dor
ERBzine 1634: Swords On Mars
ERBzine 1711: A Panthan of Mars
ERBzine 1712: Spy: Arrival On Mars
ERBzine 2165: Battle at U-Gor
ERBzine 2166: Lost On Barsoom
ERBzine 2167: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. I
ERBzine 2168: Meeting of the Panthans: Pt. II
ERBzine 2169: North to Barsoom
ERBzine 2196: Jahar
ERBzine 2303: Return to Barsoom I: Letters

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