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Volume 2167

By Rick Johnson



Jason rode across the desert with mixed feelings.  Now that Jennings was safe, he felt the need to find and rescue North, Stroud and even Steve, the technician who preferred to be called Bar Komas.  He felt this not from loyalty for they were a danger to Earth, Barsoom and every other planet in the Galaxy including his own Barony of Drakonis, for once Earth became convinced that they were not alone, the Humans would divert everything but military spending towards space travel.  They would impoverish their planet and let people starve in the streets in the hope of finding their ‘brothers in the stars,’ which was their way of saying ‘we must be strong and powerful to protect ourselves at any cost even if we have to con or steal advanced technology’.  If the other humans in space wanted to be found by the Homeworld, they’d have returned to Earth centuries ago.  And when Barsoom had contacted Earth in the early 1960’s, the Terran governments had repressed that knowledge from their own people, used the information given to them for their own ends and lied to the Red Men to gain even more technology.

Once they found Barsoom or any other world, one of two things would happen, they’d do something stupidly arrogant and be destroyed or, if outnumbered and out-gunned, they’d buy land under promises of peace, then buy more and slowly spread out until they could steal the land they wanted.  It would be Africa or America all over again.  No, better they die here and now and keep the secret for the good of all.

But then, he had promised Jennings and she had paid for his promise, first grudgingly then willingly.   But pay she did and he’d be just like a human if he broke his promise, even if Jennings had released him.  The question now was, where to search and who to find first?

Steve, no, Bar Komas as he wished to be called, had headed north with Kara and Vos Kar who were thoat herders.  Since the River Iss is in the middle of the Great Desert, that meant they’d need to remain close to water. And since the Therns swept the Iss free of habitation, that meant another hidden valley or the thoat herds of Heaven’s Gate would be their goal.

North and Stroud would head south into the Otz Mountains.  There would be trails into the mountains, built and maintained by the Therns to facilitate the travels of the pilgrims.  North would drag Stroud down these paths until even he realized that Wilkes was dead or had left the Iss kilometers upstream.  The question here was: how far in would North go before this realization struck?

Either way they both would stick close to the River as the only source of water so he rode east to find a starting point.  By thoat he could ride 35-40 kilometers a day easy which made the Iss a two to three-day ride away depending on how hard he pushed the animal. Three days would be enough time for him to decide.  He would miss Jennings though and not for the sex alone for the woman was intelligent and personable and kept him entertained with her wit and conversation.  But alone he worried only for himself so he balanced the loneliness with safety for he could more easily defend himself if he didn’t have to worry about protecting anyone else.  With Jennings safe, his only real worry for himself was how long would he survive before he died of Celibacy?  A month?  Maybe two!  So he was on a time schedule or he’d have to find another bed-mate and among the Red Men, that meant a female slave and another life to protect.

The first day was the roughest for the red sand dunes slowed him by forcing the thoat to travel north to avoid getting bogged down.  There was no moss to speak of and the heat was unbearable during the day and freezing at night.  The morning after that first night, his silk tent was frozen from residual humidity trapped in the folds when he had rolled the material.  But the silk soon thawed out and he was able to pack it and head on after he dug his thoat from the sand.  The animal had somehow buried itself in the sand to remain warm over the night for this far south, the days were hot and the nights freezing.  Despite his attempts, he never found out how a two-toed animal could so easily dig such a large pit in the sand so he listed this as one more mystery of the Red Planet that would be incomprehensible to Earth minds.

By the third day he saw to the northwest another line of hills, another impact crater that littered the planet and whose stony-iron composition added so much mass and free iron to the planet.  This is why Mars was the Red Planet, all that iron on the surface from millions of years of impacts absorbed the water in the air and ground to form rust.  The planet was literally rusting away even as the atmosphere leaked into space.

But hills meant moisture traps and that meant Mantilla for him and moss for the thoat so he turned towards the hills, reaching them the next day.  After days in the saddle, Jason needed rest for although he could ride and had often lived in the saddle, he was out of shape and sore.  His ass hurt, his tail was cramped from always being turned aside in the Martian saddle and his thighs were rubbed raw.  A few days rest would do both him and the thoat well so he moved to the east seeking the Iss and water and a place to set camp away from Thern fliers and white apes but near moss and water and mantilla.


Eibhlin was not happy.  She was a soldier, a Panthan hired to fight for some king on some planet that no one in 17th century Ireland knew existed.  Hell! When she was born, they were still arguing if the Earth or the Sun were the center of the universe and the planets were still seen to be lights on a crystalline sphere surrounding the universe.

Now, twenty years later and after being abducted by aliens, physically changed by them and traveling around the Galaxy, she knew the truth, but that truth didn’t comfort her sore arse any.  She had ridden horses on Earth but that was when she was still a teen and the thoat she had found was a horse only by use, and for the last couple decades, she had ridden starships where the chairs were made to be comfortable even for an alien with a tail.

Because the air on this planet was so thin, she couldn’t join the flying Navy and her thirst for adventure and her desires for her own gender as lovers almost forced her into the role of an alien mercenary.  At least until her starship could find and rescue her.

Normally, the Red Men refused to allow women to be soldiers.  Something about the natural chivalry of the male which prevented them from fighting women but unlike Earth where English knights would regularly rape Irish, French and even English girls, here they really did believe in that.  So how did she manage to allow them to accept her?  Because as an alien, she didn’t have to fit their roles.  Red Woman were flat-chested and human-looking and near helpless, or so they allowed their men to believe.  Eibhlin thought it was just a pretense to avoid the battlefield and the hardships of war.  Or maybe it was the way women really were for she saw no difference between the Red Women of Barsoom, the women of Ireland in the 17th century and the women of California in the 20th century.  They all wanted to marry someone though the American girls looked for a pretty face, the Irish girls looked for wealth and title and the Red Women looked for chivalry and strength.  When Eibhlin had told her American lover about arraigned marriages in Ireland, the woman was angry and called Eibhlin’s father a panderer who would sell his own daughter for a few bucks.  No, Eibhlin’s father actually loved her as much if not more than Jean’s father loved her.  The difference was that Eibhlin understood that a good marriage was better than a loving marriage for Jean had loved a half dozen people, been married twice and each time swore eternal love and then divorced or left her ‘eternal love’.  At least if Eibhlin’s father married her off, she knew she would be married forever and her marriage would serve her nation and make her people’s lives easier and better.  Duty was the difference.  And love sometimes had to be sacrificed for Duty.

And duty was why she was riding across the desert, he arse sore and her hair dirty.   Fortunately, with the lower gravity of Barsoom and her natural firmness and the gentle gait of the thoat, her breasts didn’t ache like her smaller ones did when she rode real horses in Ireland.

“Damn that woman!” she cursed for the hundredth time.  Did she know nothing of family duty?  And that was why she was here.  Eibhlin was an alien and despite her looks, she was valuable because she was stronger than any man on the planet (thanks to both her Earthly birthplace and the Demons who wanted their tech-slaves strong) and she was telepathically invisible to any Red Man.  It was too easy for a local Red Man with training and experience to detect the minds of his pursuers long before they could be caught.  Young Red Men had some skill but that skill increased with age until at near a thousand years of age, a Red Man could easily read and sort every thought in a dozen minds and probably could see through each other’s body with what she could only believe was something akin to ‘x-ray’ vision.  But that was impossible.  Yet, her Jed was near 800 years old and could see her organs as she stood before him as if she had no flesh or skin.  No wonder they were required to take their Pilgrimage to Heaven long before then.  Or had been, before John Carter had near destroyed the Martian religion, leaving the Red Men without faith or purpose.  In that Eibhlin felt kin for she had lost her own faith in God when she had been gang-raped and murdered on Earth long ago.

Also. Being a woman, the Odwar who was her father felt his daughter would be safe with the panthan.  Eibhlin laughed at that for the Red Woman had a reputation as being a slut and bedding anyone who would embarrass her father.  Had the man known in advance what he would bear, he would have destroyed her egg long ago and had his wife lay and hatch more complacent children.

But the girl, for Red Women were still considered to be girls until they had long past forty years, had run off with some fool from another city.  The girl had thrown away her future, her position and probably her life just to prove that she was an individual.  Hell!  Even Eibhlin would have married a man with position had her parents asked.  She would have kept a female lover but she would have been the dutiful wife and born children for her husband and allowed him his own affairs, but she did understand family duty.  And now she was racing across the desert seeking this idiot girl who understood nothing.

And what when she found her?  Kill the boy?  Tie the girl up and bring her back fighting?  These and other thoughts passed through her mind as she crossed the mossy landscape.

She had started in a flier, going low to breathe the thin air but then a lucky shot from a Green Man south of the Koal Forest had burst a buoyancy tank and only by piling all her gear in the stern and tossing everything else over the side was she able to keep the nose up.  Miles later, hundreds she hoped, she slammed into the ochre sward.  She ran for a day to escape more Green Men and fortunately she was able to out-run their thoats so she found sanctuary in the hills as they found her flier.  Then, days later she found her current thoat and calling it to her, tamed and mounted for the animal was of the domesticated variety and probably one gone feral after a battle had killed its master.  At least it accepted her and allowed her to mount and so she continued her journey bareback following the River she had passed over.  She had an idea of where the two had gone and a gamekeeper in the Koal Forest had told her, eventually, that the two had flown south along the River Iss.  Although their ancient religion had been discredited, following the river as if on Pilgrimage would be exactly the stupid thing she would do to embarrass her father even more.  Didn’t that idiot she was running with know he was but a toy to be used and cast away when she was tired of her game?

But game or not, she’d not be able to return to her father without help and that was why Eibhlin was racing across the desert, her only hope was the knowledge that the girl wanted to get caught.


Jason moved into the forest valley, another one watered by the Iss and walked north, seeking what he wasn’t certain.  South, the Iss entered another long valley which was almost fully marsh and so unlikely to be habitable though he recalled in Iraq along the Tigris when he was a galley slave that Marsh Arabs would make floating islands from the reeds and so rarely needed to visit shore.

But for some reason, he felt the need to move north along the Iss and that brought him into this secluded valley which was probably inhabited by anything from apostate pilgrims who had turned away from Dor to any of the dozen species of intelligent life that inhabited Barsoom.  They had Green and Red Men, Intelligent Insect Kaldanes and even the sentient Marsh Kangaroos that Ras Thavas had created in one of his pedagogueic states.  So he walked slowly and carefully, his thoat left outside, searching with all of his enhanced senses for danger because that single snake-bite had taught him how vulnerable he was.

Occasionally he would sit aside and hide as a pilgrim would paddle down the river but this valley was generally avoided for he found a trail that led along the Iss to pass along the outsides of the valley.  As the Iss exited the valley, it did so by way of a very low opening with considerable rapids, proof that this valley was avoided by the Therns and their prey.  The smashed boat on the rocks outside the valley was proof that some souls would dare the valley with dire consequences.  But, unlike the Martian, Jason could swim for he had learned in the rocky surf of Western Ireland and so managed to pass into the valley, wet and bruised but alive.

How wide or long the valley was he could not tell for distances on this world of a too close horizon were difficult to measure.  And the scarlet trees made him further confused for most planets he had visited had green vegetation, bred from green algae by the Demons.  On Barsoom, the plant life evolved from red algae, he believed, though there was no proof of this and for all he knew, the red colour could come from iron absorbed by the vegetation.

It was some miles in that he found the flyer in a clearing.  Undamaged by rifle-fire it had simply slipped a bearing due to poor maintenance and twisted the prop-shaft.  It would float but not fly until a machine shop could straighten and re-temper the shaft and so had been abandoned.  Now to find the owners.

A search revealed tracks to the river then nothing so he followed them and chose north not really caring what or whom he found but it gave him a destination.  His thoat would be fine and with so much water and thick moss, would not leave for some time.  Graystoke would have simply jumped into the trees and moved through the branches but trying that, Jason quickly fell with a broken branch in hand and tail.  It appeared that maybe in Africa the trees would support such travel but not here where the trees never needed to develop strength to counter gravity, heavy animals or strong winds and rains.  True he could easily climb into some of the larger but not travel between so he continued along the ground which had no path.  More evidence that the pilgrims avoided this valley. But why?

Eventually he heard screams and estanned violence so running forward with drawn sword, he burst into a hillock upon which were a number of Red Men fighting with savages armed with old swords but no sheaths or modern gear.  A quick glance showed not even the silk and leather worn by the normal Red Men but mud painted over their body in imitation of harness.  Being a native of an invaded nation himself, Jason was unwilling to risk his life for anyone without knowing who was invading whom.  For all he knew, the savages were Barsoom’s version of the Red Indians of America who were defending their valley from British and American invaders and despite the century and more between him and his dead wife, he still remembered living in an occupied nation.  So until he could be certain, he moved around and avoided the fight.

On the hill-ward side of the clearing he saw the Red Men finally break and run, chased by the larger hoard of savages and once all were gone, he approached the hillock to see what he could discover.  There wasn’t much, either the savages didn’t believe in taking heads or other bodily trophies or had no chance to do so in their chase and none of the bodies carried firearms or indications of rank or nation so he moved around until he heard a moan.  He quickly leapt to the top of a pile of rocks to be met by a woman pointing a sword at him and standing by a wounded man.

The woman was Weir but wore a woman’s harness in a male fashion with a silk bra, clothing that was unknown upon Barsoom, and the sword she held resembled a Japanese Katana but was different, lighter, longer without guard and held easily by the woman who would be hard put to reach five feet in height.  He looked, then lowered his own blade and commented, “I wasn’t aware that other Weir had visited Barsoom save myself and Ayiesha and those Historians.  But as Weir do not war against Weir, might I suggest you lower your blade also.”


Eibhlin found a trail that entered another valley and left her thoat to climb over the rocks to the forest within.  Like all Martian vegetation, it was red, not green and the trees looked more like giant reeds or ferns but she felt the need to explore the valley for evidence of her charge.

Days of exploration later she met a group of pilgrims who had ignored the road around the valley for the water that passed her and joined them, hoping for company and information.  Then the savages had struck and the group had made a stand on a hillock.  The savages were armed with swords taken from previous pilgrims but had no skill and so despite the odds, the Red Men and their Weir companion were barely holding their own until more savages arrived.  That was when the Red Men gave ground and raced for the safety of the valley walls.  Eibhlin would have joined them but remained behind to carry a wounded man and when she found herself alone, decided to treat him there and leave later. 

Eibhlin estanned someone, not a Red Man and not a human but different and yet similar.  So she left the man she had been helping, drew and was on guard when the other arrived.  He was Weir, like herself!  The same prehensile tail, the same pointed ears and antennae, the same cat-eyes and feet and hands, totally Weir but armed and harnessed as a Red Man.  He stared back then lowered his weapon and spoke to her in a form of Spanglic that she did not speak.  She was so shocked by his appearance that she froze then lowered her own blade and spoke, “Who are you?  You are Weir!  Did the Demons take you too?  Are there more of us?  You said other names….”  She rattled on until the other returned his sword to its sheath and looked at her again.

“I read confusion in your mind.  Aren’t you from Drakonis?”

“I am not.  I am the Lady Eibhlin Ingean Ui Bhrian from Belfast, Earth,” she answered in Barsoomian.

Upon hearing this Jason switched from Spanglic to Gaelic, “Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú?”  which caused Eibhlin to look at this strangely then recognition and she said, “My father was from Innis and spoke thus.  You are a Connachtman.  In Ulster we say, Cad é mar atá tú?” 

Jason laughed, “Either way it means the same, ‘how are you’.  If our speech differs so, perhaps we should continue in Barsoomian?”

“Never!  I haven’t heard the tongue of Eire for more than twenty years since I was taken by the Demons.  Even your Western accent is a song to my ears.  We’ll understand each other well enough in time.”

“Then I am the Lord Jason Obrien of Innis in Connacht, and also Baron Drakonis on the Frontier of the Commonwealth.  Perhaps we are related?  I was taken by the Demons in the middle of the 20th century then when returned to Earth, sought a way to return to the Commonwealth where I helped form the Barony of Drakonis.  And your story?”

Eibhlin knelt to help the wounded but it was no use.  Even the fantastic healing salves of the Red Man of Barsoom could not heal that many deep thrusts and the man was dead.  All she could do was make him comfortable.  “I was taken from Belfast in the middle of the 17th century.  I was a Demon slave for three or more years then they gave me a Vanthi ship and released me.  I’ve been searching for others like me for twenty years.”

“So, what year do you think this is?”

“I know not.  I originally left Earth in 1653 and assume that I lived in Demon and Vanthi space the same time.  But when I return to Earth, it is late 20th to late 22nd century.  Would that I could return to my own time to free my homeland.  But I cannot for some reason and when I do find that Ireland is free or destroyed with the rest of the world.”

Jason thought, sat then mused, “So you live in Demon space in the mid 1600s.  The Kris war is still being fought and I think the Demons are then turning humans into Mon.  But I didn’t know they were taking Humans and making Weir back then.  I thought that I was the first.”

“But there are others like us?  Tell me please.  I’ve searched for twenty years ever since they released me but only rumors have I heard.”

Jason smiled and said, “I always thought I was the first Weir and when I was released, I lived in the Commonwealth but hated it as only Mon existed unless I wanted to live among the Vanthi or Kentauran or a few others.  So I settled on a Kos Frontier World, allowed some others from Earth to live there too then as our numbers grew, negotiated independence and the grandchildren of the Human settlers were born Weir and today, well today by my standards which is about the first decade of the 21st century, Drakonis covers four dozen stars with millions of Weir and humans living in peace.  You know nothing of this?”

“Nothing.  I don’t even know this Commonwealth or Kos but Kentaurus is the center of the Holy Empire of God in Christ which covers much of Demon Space.  Edward and Londinium and Vanthi are human nations and Vanthi are the only fully human with the Demons changing the humans of Edward and Londinium into their Soldier Mon.”

“Well, Lady Eibhlin, we have much to discuss though I fear changing history if I tell you too much.  Instead, you said your father was from Innis?”

“He was.  Aonghus O’Brien of Innis who married Mairayd Ui Neill of Belfast to bear me in 1635.  The British under Cromwell (she spat), may he rot in Hell for eternity, took my mother and sold her into slavery to the Americas then hanged my father and burned my home.  They then raped and shot me then the Demons found me and made me thus.”

“Hm, then it appears that we are family for I have distant relatives in Ulster.  You, Lady Eibhlin, are probably my great-aunt 300 years ago.”

“Family?  Clansmen?” she flung herself into his arms in happiness.  “I felt I was alone and now I am found.”

“More than that, Auntie,” He confessed.  “You say you are forty years old.  I am some two hundred years old so although you are my senior in objective time, I am yours in subjective time.”

She looked up to him for though Jason was short by 20th century human standards, he still was some ten inches taller than she.  “Two hundred.  It seems the Demons told the truth when they said I’d be young for centuries.  You must have learned to solve the problems that plague me.”

“Perhaps but we should leave for the savages return and I have no wish to kill them.”

“Why not?” but she allowed herself to be led away.

“They haven’t harmed me and for all I know, this is their home and you invaded their land as the British invaded ours.”

“I never thought of it that way.  I fought the English for years until they killed my family and myself.  It’s hard to think that these savages may be like me and I have murdered the loving fathers of orphan children.”

“I fought the Brits myself, even when they burned my house with my wife and children inside but I learned that I could kill every Brit in Ireland and they would still come.  And even if I killed them all, it wouldn’t bring my wife and children back or make them rest any easier.”

“Then, dear nephew, we are related by blood and Clan and tragedy.  We should get drunk together could I stand this swill the Red Men call wine.”  Jason understood for although he enjoyed the alcohol, the Martian wine gave him overly loose stools so he tended to avoid strong drink on Barsoom.

The two moved quickly to the south as each explained their mission and method of arrival upon Barsoom.  Jason had discovered that some American scientists had accidentally invented a teleporter and he was sent to destroy the device, only to be caught in the explosion he had set which brought him and the scientists and their security personal to Barsoom.  Some had died, one scientist, Jennings, was safe nearby in a hidden city and he was searching for the security chief, Captain North, the project head, Dr Stroud and the technician, Bar Komas, to return them all to Earth somehow.  He hadn’t figured out that last part yet.

Eibhlin had decided to visit Barsoom and gotten trapped in a Stargate on Earth which caused her to arrive in the Koal Forest.  She eventually met and assisted a Red Men and Women, then took a job as a panthan where she was assigned to find a lost Red Woman who was last seen flying this way.

“I wonder if that was their flyer I found.  The shaft was twisted but otherwise undamaged.  Red with blue stripes and the device of a rope intertwined with a sword?”

“Exactly.  Show me that flier for I must return my charge to her father, though privately I think she, no he would be better off with her dead.”

They moved through the forest avoiding the savages by hiding in the trees until they found the flier and examining it she commented, “I see no blood or sign of violence.  It looks like they landed safe and walked away.  Did you see any sign of their passing?”

“I did not.  I thought that they may have moved north the way they came but found nothing until I met with you.”

“And I saw nothing as I moved south.  I’ve been in this valley for days spying on the savages and only recently met the Red Men who were attacked.” She sighed then changed track, “They could not have crossed the river for Red Men cannot swim and if neither of us met them, then they must have moved away from the river to the hills in the west.”

“Or maybe taken a boat down the river.  I did see some do that.  The southern entrance, though, is dangerous to use, what of the north for Red Men are as good at climbing as they are at swimming?”

“The opening in the north can be crossed with some effort.  There are rapids where the river cuts through the hills but it is covered with trees and dangerous reptiles. I was near eaten a dozen times entering.  I suspect that they would have flown over and knowing the size of this valley, chose to follow the river to the nearer entrance in the south.”

Jason agreed for Eibhlin had spent days inside following the Iss while he was only inside for a few hours but they were still far from the exit when night fell.  So choosing a strong tree, they built a bower and roofed it with branches and silk to contain body heat and crawled inside.  Jason had spent more than half a century among the Weir Race and Eibhlin wanted to know everything.  Then in the darkness lit only by a hanging radium torch set on low power, she asked, “Nephew, I don’t know how to ask this.  When the Demons changed me, they made a mistake.  I… I suffer every month unless I am… I cannot say.”

He looked at her, glowing in the dark and understood, “Your Need?”

“My Need.  You are centuries older, have you solved this?”

“We have not.  We all endure, but on Drakonis there are so many of us that we never suffer for want of a partner.  I suffer also but until a few days ago, I was traveling with a human woman who settled my own Need so I am not in pain yet.  Are you?”

“I am.  And I am shamed for this sin which I cannot control and which makes me disgusted with myself for what I must do.”

“I understand,” he was sympathetic and took her hand. “In your time, sex is a sin.  In mine, a pleasure.  Humans don’t understand us or why we must do this or die.  It’s one of the reasons Drakonis was founded, to give us a place where we could bed each other safely without fear or shame.” He leaned to her and kissed her and felt her Need.  Touching like this, her Need lowered and his raised so she no longer suffered but his advanced by weeks.  With that long kiss, she pushed away.

“You did something to me.  I don’t suffer now. What did you do?”

“We shared intimacy.  When we kissed, we conjoined our cycles to one.  My Need was a month away, yours immediate.  Now we both are weeks away.”

All that in a second’s kiss?” She asked.

“A second?”  he laughed.  “Look at the larger moon.  When we kissed it was not even risen, now it’s near setting.  That kiss lasted near a half-hour.” He reached for her again, stroking her breast but she pushed him away.

“I’m not suffering now.  Please let me wait.”

“Why?  Sex is fun and we are together, why not spend the night in passion?”

“Jason, nephew, I,… I prefer women for my pleasure.  You are a nice man and family but I have no lust for you.  I’m sorry but ..”

“You’re gay?  Figures.  The first Weir I meet on this planet with whom I can let go and not fear breaking to pieces in my passion and she likes women.  Eibhlin, most Weir are bi-sexual and take their pleasures however they can.  Have you no desire for men?”

“I do not.  Jason, I was seventeen and a virgin when the British raped me violently. They beat me, breaking teeth and ribs and then took their turns not caring that I was dieing with the pain of my injuries.  Then when they were done, they shot me.

“Later when I awoke, my only companion who was even remotely human was a S’tyr woman and she was my first lover and I went to her only because I must, though I learned to enjoy her touch.  When she was replaced by a S’tyr male, I went to him only when I was forced by Need.  I hated myself for needing his body. Can you accept this?  In weeks I will come to you because I must, not because I want to.  Can you be patient?”  Eibhlin knew that although she was far stronger than any human man or Red man, Jason was stronger than she and could easily force her.  She had spent too many years being stronger than she looked and easily able to defend herself.  Now, this man, her own race and ancestry, was far stronger than was she and that made her feel inadequate, helpless and she hated that feeling.  She hoped that family ties would make him respect her wishes and save her another assault.

Jason leaned back, sighed and commented, “When I was that age, younger really, I was kidnapped by Arabs, made a galley slave and for a year was starved, beaten, worked near to death and gang-raped often.  You had one assault, I had dozens.  But I learned that not all men are like that and I got over it.  Maybe it was being with normal men who didn’t attack me that helped but you never had that chance.  I can wait.  I won’t like it but neither will I force you.  But remember, Auntie, we both suffer Need and as you will come to me when yours rises, I will come to you when mine rises.  We need each other and will die without sex.  Please remember that when I approach you.  But I will try to wait until you are ready.”

Eibhlin squeezed his hand and smiled in the dark. “Thank you dear nephew.  When the time comes, please be gentle with me and try to not be insulted when I wish you were a woman.”

Jason laughed then, “Most men don’t care what their partner thinks during sex.  I’ll try to close my mind and not read your thoughts.  Good night.”


In the morning they broke their fast with trail rations and what fruit they could safely eat then left for the opening.  Although it was nearby, Jason had no desire to either climb the cliff or ford the cave in the dark.  When they approached, Eibhlin stared and asked, “Could anyone pass through that and live?”

The cave was low and had rapids from rock fall and the river Iss stretched from side to side with but a foot of air-space above.  “I did but it wasn’t easy.  I would have turned away but I felt something calling me and I suppose it was you.  Weir can sense each other.”

She looked at him again then said, “I have so much to learn about myself from you.  The Demons told me almost nothing save what they felt I needed.”

“I suspect that despite their 50 million years of intelligence and thousand years experimenting on humans, the still never fully understood us and made more mistakes creating us than we know.”

As Jason led her into the river, they fought the current and rapids and often survived only because they had not two hands as a human but feet and tail to grasp as well.  So when a hand slipped free, they had feet and tail holding and so, moving one limb at a time, they passed through, wet, bruised but safe.  Then they passed a haad downstream where the Iss widened and the current faded to make their exit easier and on the shore, Jason pointed, “My thoat is over there.  It can carry two I hope.  We Earthers are much heavier than the Red People.”

“Jason!” Eibhlin snapped, “Look there.  Hold me!” and she dropped her weapons-belt and returned to the river.  Jason lay down and took her wrists as she probed the water with her feet then said, “Pull me up.”  In her left foot was a diadem, a rope twisted around a sword.  She held it to her breast, the silk covering her breasts transparent in the wetness and Jason saw what she held matched one she wore on her harness, save Eibhlin’s was plainer than this jewel.  “This belongs to Para Far.  She came this way and lost this in the rapids.  She may be downstream alive or dead.”

“Or still in a canoe.  You search the river and I’ll fetch my thoat,” he commanded and ran off to the hills.  Running on Barsoom was easier than on Earth for both his Weir constitution and the lower gravity and soon he found the place where his gear was stored and called for his steed who came to be saddled.  Green Men control their mounts by thought alone, Red Men by thought and touch and so bit and spurs were unknown.  Jason wondered occasionally about that considering the Thoat was a herbivour, it did have a nasty bite and could do damage if it was angry and spurring a thoat was likely to make it throw you and kill the maker of its pain.

It didn’t take long to return to the river and follow south to see his aunt beset by a half dozen Orovars.  Orovars!  Every visitor claimed that they were extinct and here they were, twice he met them and twice they were seeking the lives of his own.  So with a thought and gentle kick, Jason drew his swords and charged.

On Earth, a horse is a thousand pounds of bone and muscle charging on steel-shod hooves at thirty-five miles an hour.  Only a fool stands their ground for risk of being knocked aside, broken or being trampled to death.  The skill of the horseman was to cause the enemy to leap to the rider’s shield or lance side so he could defend and attack.  On Barsoom the thoat was more graceful and was more like a very long antelope.  The lighter gravity made for lighter bones and muscles and the eight legs were long and thin and with eight to support the weight and move the animal, a thoat looked more like a long thin antelope than a horse.

Thus the tactics were different.  Running a man down would injure the thoat as much as the man so you passed to keep the enemy on your right or sword-side and slashed as you passed by.  You never stopped for fear someone nearby would stab you from behind.  So pass and slash is what Jason did and two Orovars fell before his blade as he ran on. Then turning he charged again but this one was ready and jumped to Jason’s left and cut at his undefended left side.

Jason barely blocked with his short sword and couldn’t use his right so ran on, turned and charged again.  Jason sought to pass his enemy on his right, the Orovar sought the left and so they danced on the moss.  The Orovar had a bit more agility than a charging thoat who was committed to a charge and as Jason passed, the man leapt to his left and cut to be blocked again by Jason’s short-sword.  Then before he could recover, he saw too late that Jason had his long-sword behind his back and hanging over his left side and the blade caressed the Orovar’s neck, killing him instantly.

Jason turned again and found that of his aunt’s two main opponents, one was dead and the other seeking her life.  He stopped his mount and watched.  This was the first time he saw her in action and he wanted to see her skill.  Jason had no worries about women warriors for he had trained many in his day and he respected those who survived.  And Eibhlin had fought the British and won, mostly, so she wasn’t the helpless teen she looked.  Barely five foot tall and looking seventeen years, her body had the reflexes and strength the Demons felt was needed to repair their starships and it soon was obvious that Eibhlin fought with speed and strength but her skill was barely adequate.  The Orovar was the far better swordsman and was held at bay only because of Eibhlin’s greater strength, speed and her unusual moves that resembled Kendo but weren’t.

“Will you help me!” she demanded between breaths.

“You are doing fine, Auntie,” he laughed back.  “Beware his feints, he uses them well but opens his lower left as he does so.”

This was in Gaelic so the Orovar understood nothing until he feinted and Eibhlin ignored the presumed stroke and struck his left leg, crippling him as her Demon-made blade cut to the bone.  The Orovar went down and she disarmed him then knelt to bind his wound though the near molecular edge had done its work too well.

Jason dismounted and helped as she asked the Martian, “A woman and man passed this way, She in the harness of an Odwar’s daughter, he as a simple Than.  Did you see them?”

The man stiffened in pain and said, “No.  Not them.  But we did take two others, both in plain harness and accompanied by a Jasoomian of no skill at all. Too many aliens are on our world.  Soon there will be no room for us.” Then he died.

“That was Vos Kar, Kara and Steve who now calls himself Bar Komas.  He is one I seek and has managed to get himself captured by slavers again.  The fool thinks he is a great adventurer who will triumph because of his greater strength.  But John Carter was a swordsman long before he came to Barsoom and even then, barely survived until he could take fencing lessons.  Speaking of which, you could use some yourself.  You have skills and were trained but aren’t good enough yet for real combat.”

She helped strip the body and commented, “When I was a slave of the Demons, we took aboard a Warrior-Monk named Brount.  He was like a boar, standing erect and with a long snout and three fingers.  He carried a sword like this one which the Demons made for me and he taught me to fight with sword and hand and to meditate.  He saved my sanity and soul.”

“Well, a lot of his moves are excellent, but more suited for meditation and form than on the battlefield.  I was like that with Kendo and Karate and Fencing.  What I learned in the Dojo was fine but needed to be adapted to the battlefield where rules don’t exist.  It seems that my search lies south as does yours so we have more reason to travel together.”


Although the thoat wasn’t built for their combined weights, they mounted and rode for an hour then walked for an hour to rest the beast and alternating, made decent time and conversed on the way.

“The Demons took me from Belfast in 1653 when the British left me for dead.  I remember being killed and dead on the peat then when I awoke, I was like this.  They gave me only a few hours to accept my new form before they put me to work repairing their ship.  It was days before I could convince them to give me clothes. Then some years later, we captured a Vanthi Merchant-Raider and I was given their ship and freed.”

“My story is different and more curious,” Jason explained, “For it was in 1965 (I think) when I was taken.  It was an accident.  I was walking along a pond when this large reptilian monster came out and I thought it was attacking me.  I defended myself and lost.  When I awoke, I was still human and they said I was alive only because it was the Time of the Divine King and they were forbidden to kill but when the Holiday was over, they’d toss me out an airlock so I could be good and free until then or bad and be locked in that airlock.  I wasn’t stupid and made myself as useful as I could.  They never did get around to tossing me out that airlock though over the next year or two they began to change me.  I’d go to sleep in my room then wake up in their med-bay with enhanced ears or eyes.  Once I woke up furry then the next day hairless.  I got the feeling that they were experimenting with me to see what would be useful and what not.”

He laughed then continued, “I took to piling furniture against my door or sleeping in hidden places but it never helped.  Strange thing is that when they did something like adding this tail, it worked perfectly as if I was born that way.”

Eibhlin thought then said, “Strange.  You were taken three centuries after myself yet with me they knew exactly what to do and probably did so to others before me.  Yet we are the same. It makes no sense.  If I was made thus in one operation in 1653, why did they experiment on you in 1965 to perfect our race?”

“I don’t know.  I always thought I was the first, now I may be the thousandth.”

They talked about their abilities and she told him, “I find that not only can I sense EM-fields but can control them too.  It is simple for me to control computers on Earth though Vanthi and Demon and Mon machines are beyond me.”

“And can you seek and implant thoughts too?”  he asked.

“I can to an extent.  It’s easier to implant a thought than to seek one.”

“Try this.  Ask the question and the thought will surface.  Seek the memory at that time before they can bury it then ask again later and compare.  You won’t be able to do a probe like the S’tyr but this will help.”

“A S’tyr, Chlareissah was the ship’s telepath and my friend.  She helped me accept what I became and taught me to enjoy sex though with a woman.  I missed her when she returned home and was replaced by Silvorak’k who was nice in his way but he was like you, his thoughts were always of sex and I found I desired women so sought him only when in Need.”  Jason could estann her longing easily.

“The S’tyr telepath of my ship was Chrisiess and I eventually learned that to her I was just something to do at night.  After she left without even saying ‘good-bye’ I realized that sex was the only thing we did.  We never talked or were close.  She would call for me, we’d had sex and then separate. Being a young kid in my twenties, I saw that as the perfect relationship but now I want more.”

“That’s why I look seventeen and you twenty-five.  They stopped us from ageing when we were taken.  I hope they never take a child for she would spend centuries never growing up,”  that was a mixture of humor and fear for Eibhlin.

At their break, Jason would teach her some of the sword-tricks he had learned over the centuries of his life and with Brount’s earlier training, she learned well.  “In Ireland I thought sword-play was hack-and-slash with a heavy broad sword.  Brount taught me that the blade was art and the Demons made this for me to match his.  Strange but until this time, I never used it in anything other than my Dance.”

“Dance?”  he asked.

“Like this,” and she showed him her Dance of the Blade, going through every stance and cut and block. 

When she was done, he took her sword and said, “This is like a lighter katana.  But we called those Dances ‘Kata’.”  He showed her some and she said, “I see many of the same moves.  Could Brount have learned his ways on Earth?”

“Doubtful.  I’ve heard of these Warrior-Monks.  They are rare but they all carry the same sword and are seeking something.  I don’t know where they are from though and never saw one myself.” He returned her sword and they continued on searching.

Later she said as they rode, she asked, “Is sex all you think about?”

“It’s hard to not when your chest is pressing into my back.”

“Your thoughts are obsessed with using my body.  Can you at least stop projecting them?”

“I’m not consciously doing that.  But frankly, Eibhlin, you are an attractive and sexy woman and it’s difficult to keep my thoughts off you.”

She secretly enjoyed that comment for she knew she was far from plain but never saw herself as beautiful though many had told her that, and most were saying whatever they needed to bed her.  Her telepathy and IR-sight always told her when they were lieing and she knew that her nephew was not.  But his constant lust was a problem and she argued with herself to give in or not.  She hoped that if she did, he’d be satisfied and leave her alone but he may pursue her all the more if she did.  She knew that eventually she would be forced to lie with him or seek female slaves to share.  Hopefully she had a couple weeks to consider options.  Still, he was always hard when she touched him or held him like she was now and that disturbed her. How long before he gave up and forced her just to ease his erection?  She tried to move back for the thoat was that long but the undulations of the animal soon forced her against him again.  She needed to find one of her own and she cursed herself for seeking the girl instead of returning for her own thoat.  That stupid slut needed a good spanking.

Damn! He picked up that image and his erection was back.  Was the man a pervert too?  It would be so easy to slide her hand down to ease him and pretend it was an accident but she held his harness at his chest instead, feeling her own sexual need rise with the motion of the thoat and the smell of his sweat that was making her heady and wet.


That night over dinner she approached the subject.  He was older than she, looked older and had more experience so should know.  “Jason?  When we suffer our Need and there are no women around, what do you do?  Do you resort to men?  Or did your experience as a galley slave, being gang-raped, make you as afraid of men as mine did me?”  She was embarrassed and curious at the same time and he could see the heat flush her face and chest.

He laughed, “A hundred years ago I would have refused to answer and even now it’s embarrassing but yes, I have resorted to men upon occasion.  And yes, I felt ashamed doing so.  Those who are born Weir on Drakonis are mostly straight for we have no real Lesbians or Homosexuals as on Earth.  But most are also bi-sexual and see nothing wrong with members of their own gender as occasional bed-mates.  Ayiesha preferred men and is engaged to a Red Man but beds Lanai women when she is on patrol and human and Weir men or women when apart from her lover.  I understand she also beds her best friend Caroline even when she has a man in her bed. Weir are very accommodating like that and if they see someone in Need, they offer themselves with no thoughts for gender or age and never feel shame for what they do and with whom they do it.

“For me, I grew up in Ireland as did you and in that catholic country, with aunts and sisters who are catholic nuns and uncles and brothers who are catholic priests, a horror and disgust of homosexuality was pounded into me at a very early age.  Being repeatedly gang-raped as a teen only reinforced that and it took years to get over my hatred of gays. 

“But I was fortunate in having gay and bi-sexual friends who showed me that gays were not the evil I had been taught.  And it was when I was cursed in Russia some years ago that taught me to be more accepting.  I still prefer women and resort to men only as a last resort simply because, well, my body is designed for women and ‘back-door’ sex often hurts unless I am very relaxed.  Besides,” he laughed, “Men are ugly.  A naked woman is a work of art.  A naked man is just hairy.  I don’t know how you women can stand to be with us.”

“My only good experience with a man was when I traveled with Kevin and Cyndi.  They helped me on Earth after Jean left me.”

“Jean?”  Jason caught her image.  “This Jean?” he touched her with his tail tip and sent his own image to her.

Eibhlin gasped, “It is!  Younger but the same.  You and she?”

Jason laughed, “The Gods are having fun with our family. It seems that the Demons like the Obriens for their technicians and we choose the same profession and it now seems that we dated the same woman.”  Jason stood and cried to the twin moon orbiting low in the north, “Will one of you PLEASE explain why You are playing with our lives?”

When he sat and sulked, Eibhlin forced jealousy down. This man had loved her love.  He had been with the woman she still loved and she could estann that he still did.  He had had her first and Eibhlin was just the left-over.

Later, she tried again, “Sex with Kevin was nice.  Sex with other men was just sex. Why?”

Jason tried to snap at her because Jean had cheated on him with other women and now, he was with one of those.  No, logic dictated that Eibhlin was with Jean long years after she left so didn’t count but logic and the heart rarely talked.  So he tried to repress his anger and asked, “When you were with other men, why?”

“Because I needed them. I was about to die from lack of sex and this body the Demons cursed me with forces me to rut like an animal in heat.”  She as bitter and angry, a slave to her needs which prevented her from just relaxing and enjoying what her S’tyr lover had said was a gift of the Goddess.

“And Kevin?”

“Kevin found me on the lake-shore after I was attacked by criminals. He and Cyndi were kind and caring and helped me when I needed it.  My Need was high as it always is when I change and Cyndi offered herself to ease my pain and suffering.  Kevin joined in and it was … nice.  We were lovers, we three for years aboard my ship.  It was the only time I enjoyed sex with a man.”

“So, Auntie, when a man is kind and gentle to you, you enjoy it but when you are desperate and will die without, you seek a man in shame and disgust.  I see a pattern.  Perhaps if you would think of men as fun and not desperation, it would be easier for you.”

“And if I do, will I be straight?”  He picked up a mixture of hope and revulsion under the curiosity.  This woman had never had the benefits of living among her own kind.  But then, neither did he until fifty years ago.

“Probably not.  You are a lesbian.  Why, I don’t know or care.  But you enjoy women too much to give them up any more than I will.  The best you can hope for is to enjoy the men you are forced to bed and not feel guilty or disgusted.  Someday I’ll tell you a story about a certain Chinese Merchant I knew.  But now I am sleepy.” 

Jason was a morning person as Eibhlin a night person.  Eibhlin could party all night but Jason, it seemed, fell asleep with the sunset and was disgustingly cheerful at sunrise when decent people were sleeping off their hangovers.  Eibhlin heard the thoat nestling between rocks to remain warm and she checked the silk tent and fires they banked for their own warmth, then watched and thought.  Silvorak’k was always after her body and when she submitted, it was to keep him quiet or when her Need drove her to him. But when he had saved that Vanthi from the Demons at her request, she rewarded him with her body.  To prevent his telepathy from knowing, she forced herself to believe that she wanted him and somehow it was not unpleasant. Maybe Jason was right.  At times he was an ass but he was loyal and considerate and far more experienced than she.

The man was snoring now.  He denied it when awake claiming that he slept lightly and never snored but a banth could hear him a dozen haads away and eat his foot and Jason wouldn’t awake until the banth had worked its way to his hip.  Like all men Jason thought with his dick.  Unlike all men, Jason could control his urges and focus on other things, sometimes.

She licked her lips and enjoyed the sensation as the Martian climate dried them quickly.  Without the tingle, she knew she didn’t Need sex.  She did wonder if Jason’s lips and nipples turned red with his Need as did hers or did just his penis redden in its hardness?  There was so much to learn about her Weir body and this man could explain it all and more.  He could introduce her to other Weir, to Weir women who would love her.  Maybe she could marry?  He kept his title so could she live on his world, again a Tierna with lands and title and wealth?

Strange though how when she and Jean first began as a couple, Eibhlin wanted her every day, all day without a break.  She could have starved to death in Jean’s arms and died happy.  But with Kara and her other lovers, sex was fun and daily at first but then settled down to once a week.  She didn’t need sex often but enjoyed it more when she was in love. That was the key!  She enjoyed sex more when she cared about it and her partner and wanted to enjoy herself.  Jason was right. She saw men as an evil necessity.  But those few times when she approached it as a pleasure, she actually enjoyed it.

She crawled under their low tent and reached for Jason. He wouldn’t awaken easily so this would be an interesting experiment. Like her, he removed his harness to sleep.  Like her he slept in his loincloth and she slept in hers and her bra.  She unfastened his loincloth and turned the light up a bit.  She had seen many male members but never looked at them, believing them to be hideously aggressive organs.  This time she divorced herself and looked as if she were studying a circuit board.  It wasn’t large and she knew it would grow, but how large?  Those British soldiers felt like they were horses, but she was a virgin and they had forced their way into her unready body.  She never really noticed with most men, that wasn’t what she needed. 

She played with it and watched it stir them grow a bit.  Uncircumcised, though by Demon or surgeon, she could not tell so like a toy, she licked it and almost laughed as it stirred again.  She was actually having fun. But then, she was in control this time and could quit whenever she wanted.

She touched his testicles, feeling their hardness within their hairy sacks then ignored them and returned to the shaft.  The skin was amazingly soft and she caressed it with her cheek.  Very soft and more pleasant than a man’s scratchy face.  She leaned over rubbed her breast over it, feeling her nipple grow hard and erect as she did so.  He became erect below and she above.  But she had two to his one and she switched breasts then moved again to hold his now full erection between her breasts, carefully sliding them as if she were stroking him to climax. She had seen men masturbate on TV in those porn movies she & Jean occasionally watched in California and found the sensation of his penis sliding between her breast to be somehow, sensual.  Then she stopped and using her tongue, wet the shaft with her saliva and found the lubricant to be nicer.

Finally it was time and she moved above and slowly lowered herself onto him, gasping with pleasure as she engulfed his manhood.  This was better than Kevin.  She sat there, impailed and feeling every sensation from lips to cervix then began to move slowly.  She rubbed her breasts as she did so then lifted off, reached down and collected some of her own juices to rub onto her nipples as she continued.  Moments later she climaxed.  Not an earth-shattering one but nice anyway. 

She considered stopping but decided that if she was to do this, she should go all the way. Hell, she was having fun.  So she moved again and taking his hands, placed them on her breasts feeling the rough soldier callouses on her soft skin. Then he moved and squeezed.

Panicking, she almost left but he was gentle and she idly wondered when he had awoken.  But so long as all he did was massage her breasts, she was content and began to move again, stroking her own ‘little lady’ as she did so.  His tail wrapped around and she took it with her free hand and kissed the tip, moving her own to his mouth so he could kiss the sensitive pad on the end.  He was licking her tail and rubbing her breasts and inside and soon, too soon, she climaxed again. Then again and she lost count but each was better than before and as she felt him grow harder inside, she held his hands to her, squeezed her breasts hard with his hands, forcing them flat and felt his spurt then she screamed with her final orgasm.

Satiated, she lay on him, feeling his warmth, the hairlessness of his body so much like a woman but so much harder and touching his lips, whispered, “shhh, go back to sleep.” And she nestled in his arms as she felt him grow soft and slip out.

She woke the next morning, alone and then she heard him calling to her.  When she exited, the morning cold stinging her nipples, he was there, naked long sword in hand and examining the earth.

She approached and his tail reached up to caress her cheek.  She had unconsciously done this to her lovers and now felt that experience for the first time.  It was pleasant like when her father had squeezed her hand to say, ‘I love you’ so she turned and kissed it then looked.

“We missed this last night but someone camped here a couple days before.  Maybe ten men but no thoats.  But look here, these marking scratched in the rock!  As if someone were leaving a message.”

“Can you read it?” she asked.  Maybe it was Para Far and as pleasant as last night was, she wanted to finish her mission.

“I cannot.  Although the telepathy of the Red Man keeps the language uniform, their written languages differ.  It could be those slavers.  Maybe they have Steve, maybe your charge. Maybe neither.  We should get moving… unless you would like…”

“Shhh,” she pressed her fingers against his lips.  “Let me think for awhile without speech.”

She felt his lips move as if he were about to say something or it could have been a kiss but he respected her wishes for she radiated confusion.

They had a quick breakfast and mounting, rode south again.  She still loved women, that she was certain, but he was pleasant and she found the motion of the thoat, her breasts rubbing against his back and the memories to be erotic and she began to moan as she allowed the sensations to flow.  Her hands slid low and then worked inside his loincloth and she linked herself with his feelings to climax together.  Then, almost disgusted with the mess she had made, wiped her hands on some silk and returned to holding his harness.  He patted her hands but she ignored the compliment.

At lunch Jason approached her, taking her from behind and kissing her on the neck as he moved her waist-length braids aside.  She began to respond then stopped, “Please. Not now.  I’m not ready or certain.”  He hugged her again, kissed her shoulder then released her.  “Do you want to talk yet?”

She looked down then said, “Later please, let us return to business for the moment.”

That night, she resisted again, still confused and asked, “Will I become pregnant?  I was implanted with a contraceptive device on the Demon ship but that was twenty years ago and I don’t know how powerful Weir seed is.  I may be barren for I’ve not suffered my menses since my change.”

He approached and ran his hands over her body, not touching, feeling her as if she were feeling for energy currents in a circut.  “There it is.” He closed his eyes and ‘felt’, his hands inches over her belly.  He then took her hand and said, “Feel the energy here, then here! Move around and feel the difference.  This one is your device on your womb, more a biological machine to regulate yourself. It prevents menstruation and ovulation and regulates and calms your hormones so you are constant without the normal female cycles.”

He dropped his loincloth and held her hand over his lower belly then down to his manhood and below.  “Feel here,” He held his manhood up and away with his tail and placed her hand between his spread legs, not allowing her to touch him.  “I have the same thing only next to my prostate.  We are given these when they changed us but normal Weir are born with them.  Weir become sexually active at fifteen but cannot be fertile until twenty-five.  Even then, both must want the baby to make the organ go dormant.  Weir don’t pop out babies every year like humans do, we have to work each time so we don’t overpopulate the galaxy.

“So unless you and I both want babies, we cannot.”

She was relieved and ignored him replacing his loincloth.  “That’s why I never got pregnant.  I thought it was because my Need interfered.”

They settled in and she lay in his arms.  Yes, she still wanted a woman but being held like this was comforting and made her feel safe.  It wasn’t sexual at all, just very safe and secure as when she lay with her father and he held her telling her that everything would be fine.  It was obvious that he felt otherwise.

As she stiffened, the mood broken, he stroked her hair, “Eibhlin, men are wired differently than women.  You see sex as romance, we see it as sport.  Men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love.  I understand that you can lay here and sex is the furthest thing in your mind but to a man, a woman’s touch, no matter how chaste, is a signal for sex.  Relax, accept that we are like this and don’t be insulted.”

She tried but, “So if a dog were to lay in your arms, you’d want sex?”

“Not with the dog but the feelings are the same.  I like cuddling too, but after sex.  I’ll try to not push but I cannot change what I am any more than you can change what you are.”

She settled in again, tried to relax and when he made no more moves save that hardness below, she calmed, “It must be easier for humans who cannot estann emotions or thought.”  Later as she began to drift off, she turned and kissed him.  “Shh, wake up.  I’m ready now.”

“It’s late.  How about morning?”  he mumbled.

She reached down to find him soft but soon had him ready and awake.  This time it was different and in its own way as pleasant. Between her fears for pregnancy being eased and the knowledge that he would stop when she asked and the knowledge that she was initiating the act and so in control, she was able to relax and enjoy it.  She even enjoyed his weight on her, something that she hated before and afterwards, she was glad that Weir only needed a few hours sleep a night.  If it wasn’t so damn cold at night, they could travel in the dark. But being held in the dark afterwards was worth the lost time.

Over the next days, she experimented and learned to enjoy sex with a man and he taught her about the changes the Demon created and how an entire race acted to each other.  He also told her about Drakonis and the Commonwealth.

“Drakonis is less than a century old and the first Weir born only 50 years ago so we are still learning, still forming our culture.  Until you, I never thought there were others of our kind outside the Barony.

“I fought in the Kris Wars with the Demons.  Your time the War was a stalemate, Pagan and Demon almost exterminated then as the Demons changed themselves into Termagants and Fiends, and the Humans into Mon, they were able to fight back.  By my time the Kris were restricted to a couple dozen stars and being pushed back further.  We would attack a world, the Kris would send everything they had to stop us as their civilians escaped.  It was a war of extermination.  We had sought peace and the Kris nuked dozens of worlds into radioactive dust, sent billions into their death camps as ‘heretics’ or ‘inhuman’ so we changed our ways and did to them what they did to us.

“When the Demons dumped me back on Earth, I didn’t fit in.  Earth was almost dead from the Rapture and the few survivors were more concerned with staying alive than conquest.  I was in England but still hated the English.  Strange as most of Ireland had become free before I was born and I was fighting with the IRA to free Ulster.  Then the Rapture happened and it all became useless when humanity came near extinct.  I found myself begging the ‘enemy’ for work and the Brits not understanding why I was angry with them.

“I was sent to Barsoom via StarGate, the same one Ulyssus Paxton used, to track down some previous agents and got stuck there for a couple years.  Then I managed to capture a Morgor ship, hired a crew from Earth and left for the Commonwealth.

“A few months out we found a Vanthi freighter drifting. They had run out of fuel and froze to death.  So we towed it to a gas giant, used the Morgor engines to refuel and I took half the crew on and out while the remaining humans took the Morgor ship back to Earth.”  Eibhlin thought it strange how Jason, born human as was she, now saw himself as different.  She rarely thought of herself as Weir in the same way he did.  She saw herself as human only changed.

Eibhlin added, “I had heard that the Vanthi had sent ships to Earth but none returned.  I always suspected it was a fuel problem.  There aren’t many Class-M worlds between the Demons and Earth.  When I returned to Earth, I made certain I had a converter installed so I could refuel at any gas giant.  It messed with my engines and would require a total rebuild every few years but I got home and back.”

Jason continued, she still wouldn’t hold his hand as they walked, “I suppose that with the War on, the Mon couldn’t spare anyone to go back and the Kris were too concerned with the War to spare anyone either.  When I returned to Demon Space, I used the Vanthi ship to smuggle weapons, food and medical supplies to the surviving Kentaurans. Since they were no longer ‘as god made them’, the Kris killed them when they could and the Kentaurans were hiding in the caves.  I got shot down and joined then as a guerilla.  It was like Ireland all over only in the desert.

“After five years, the camps had stopped and there were no more patrols.  We snuck out to find the cities deserted. A Mon fighter flew overhead and we found the people, they had entered their churches and committed mass suicide to prevent defeat.  The War was over, finally.  So I remained to help bury the dead, millions of dead, all women and children and old crippled men. Then I rebuilt for awhile, got another ship and settled in Kos, that’s outside Londinium, until I got tired of being around 9’ tall people. 

“So I found Gaea, a Demon-changed world and settled in and eventually built it into Drakonis Barony.  We negotiated independence because even Kos was tired of war, bought a couple old Ramjet starships and began to bring select humans back to Gaea.  The Demons helped and fought to help defend the Barony but took their pay by doing something to ensure that all humans would bear Weir grand-children.  So we are spreading, the Demons occasionally take our people and no one is poor or oppressed or homeless.  It’s a very nice place to be.”

“But the Demons still take your people?”

“They do, but no one seems to mind.  Those taken can message their families and are gone a few years then are in demand as ship-crew when they return. Really, do you regret your service?”

“Sometimes, but then, I had no family alive to miss.  I suppose you are my only family now.”

“When you visit Drakonis, tell them you are my aunt and a member of my Clan.  We aren’t large but are very wealthy and powerful and are always welcome in my home.”

“One question then, nephew, I may be learning to enjoy sex with a man but my tastes still prefer women.”

He laughed, “We are not Earth.  We take their best and reject the rest.  So we do not legislate the heart.  Marry or bed whomever you will, man, woman or both and none will think ill of you.  Those in higher position understand arraigned marriages but most people marry whom they will and gay marriages are as legal and accepted as are straight so long as children are born within marriage for we see unwed parents as a disgrace.”

“Then, nephew, before your Barony, how did you stand those years alone in your ship without women?  It was always a problem with me.”

“Simple.  I built a woman!”  then seeing her expression, “I used Demon technology to build Andromeda, the first Lanai.  I patterned her after Weir but without reproductive organs so she would be a sex-partner and crew, then later built Casseopea as well.  We three worked well together, they crewed with me, served my sexual needs and when on Kentaurus, fought with me.  Today they are Field Marshals in the Barony, the highest positions in the military.  Something like the Barsoomian Jedwar or the American Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

“I was wondering about building a lover.  So it can be done?”

“Easily.  If you know what you are doing and aren’t afraid to admit that you need help.  Terran cinema has the ‘Frankenstein Complex’ where the mad scientist tries to create a robot or clone or synthetic and they always seen to go berserk.  When was the last time tour toaster tried to take over your ship?  Be humble and program a good loyalty complex but avoid jealousy and you can have whatever you want.”

“A crew of beautiful women and the occasional male to operate my ship and serve my needs.  Sounds … nice.  When we finish here, you must show me how.” 


A couple days later, they were resting the thoat which was rapidly being exhausted under the double burden of the Weir when they saw a party of Orovars approach.

“Slavers?” she asked.

“Perhaps.  We should prepare in case.  When the Issus religion was discredited, Slavers saw no reason to avoid taking those pilgrims who continued their obligation.  The Therns kept their numbers down before but with their reduced numbers, slavery on the Iss seems to have increased.  Of course, this is all conjecture.”

Eibhlin explained to him, “My company from Ptarth had Therns as panthans, three of them.  They were unbelievable fighters but most of the Red Men avoided them because they were still seen as gods by many.”

The main party stopped some meters away then after talking, two approached, “Koar!” one said, raising his hand in peace.

The Weir replied in kind and waited.  Jason knew that he could easily take a number of the Orovars who seemed to be but adequate swordsmen but there were too many and his aunt was still barely adequate herself.  So if it came to blows, their best chance would be to flee for no Red Man could catch them on foot.  Assuming that none had firearms.

After the usual examination by the Orovars, a fact that neither Irish ever became accustomed to, the leader of the Auburn-haired white-men asked, “I’ve never seen anyone like you before.  Are you some hidden race and why are you on Pilgrimage?”

Jason smiled back, neither he nor Eibhlin could estann any aggression from the White Men and so assumed peace and made their Introductions.  “Neither.  I am Jason Obrien, Lord Drakonis.  We both originally come from Ireland, a nation far away though I now serve Drakonis.  But we are both seeking lost companions and our path leads us along the Iss so we travel together for reasons of family and Race.  I seek three Jasoomians, all men, one elderly.”

“And I,” Eibhlin jumped in, “am the Lady Eibhlin Ui Bhrian, a Panthan in the service of Ptarth and am seeking a Red Woman and her Red Man companion.  Their Flier was damaged in the north and I believe they are walking downstream seeking rescue or safety.”

The Orovars conferred in whispers that the Weir could not hear well then replied, “None of us have seen any Jasoomians who would be immediately noticeable.  But as for the Red Man and Woman, we see many of these though we hide to avoid them for our safety lies not in numbers but in secrecy.  It is only that you look so different that our curiosity was raised and we sought you out.”

“You sought us? Eibhlin asked.

“Yes, we’ve been watching you for days now, arguing as to what manner of people you are.  You act almost as if married yet no Barsoomian takes his wife into danger and few are the women who carry swords.  You, Lord Jason Obreen, are armed as a Pilgrim but you, Lady Avleen Obreen are as a Panthan with revolver which is forbidden along the Iss.  It is clear that you only met recently though you claim relation and act as married.  We find that to be curious and would learn more.  Thus were we sent by our Jed to contact you.  Please, if you would. Come with us to our camp and let us discuss these matters.”

“Can we trust them?” Eibhlin asked in Gaelic.

“I don’t know.  They survive in secrecy so revealing themselves to us opposes that tactic so they either intend to kill or enslave us to keep their secret or have unknown ways to ensure we do not speak of their existence as I intend to do to the Humans I return to Earth.  So far the only Orovars I have met was one centuries ago who was possessed by a Corphal and had been entombed for a couple hundred thousand years until she arose from the dead to eat a couple Toonol military companies and then a group of slavers whom I killed shortly after this most recent arrival.   Orovars are supposed to be extinct though.  So I cannot judge yet.  Have you ideas?”

“I do not.  I cannot estann duplicity but reading their thoughts is difficult.  Maybe the Barsoomian telepathy developed with the Red Race and these are telepathically as dense as are normal Earth-people.”

The leader of the Orovars added, “If it makes your decision any easier, there is a sandstorm approaching from the west and there is no cover for some dozens of haads besides our camp.”

Sighing, for the Orovars were not aligned for battle and none had asked for their weapons, “Then, please lead on.  I admit that I am tired of mantilla and trail rations and could use a comfortable bed.”

The group walked away into the Great Desert, none asking the aliens any questions nor did they answer any and soon they left the ochre moss-covered rocks and entered the dunes and rocks of the Desert proper.  As always, the Weir eye-slits narrowed to mere slits though the Orovars seemed to not mind the bright sunlight for none wore hats or sun-glasses, a fact that Jason never understood for he tended to suffer without either though he noticed that Eibhlin had pulled the ends of the silk bow that tied her braid over her head and shoulders as a scarf to shield the sun.  “Smart girl” Jason thought, “smarter than me sometimes.”

Within an hour Jason asked their leader, “How far?”

“Not far,” he replied.  “With the Therns patrolling the River, we prefer to keep far enough away to avoid their discovery and capture but close enough to spy on the river and those who travel.”

Soon they reached a pile of rocks that resembled any of the others save this was larger, almost a kilometer across and a couple hundred meters high.  The group moved to the north side as if to pass around then as the wind began to whip sand around, turned into a crevase and soon stopped at a sheer wall which opened to reveal the hillock to be hollow.  The hillock wasn’t hollow as tunneled but appeared to be a small impact crater with a dome overhead and lights hanging below to illuminate the interior which was lush with red vegetation.

“It’s like a garden,” Eibhlin commented noticing the paths and neatly cared-for vegetation.  “And this is but a camp?”

“Yes.  We must live in the Desert that Barsoom has become but we don’t have to live like the savages who now inhabit the planet.”

“I gather that you pipe water from the Iss?”   Eibhlin noticed the pipes and sprinklers that crossed overhead.  “For rain?”

“Of course.” Her guide responded.  “And we recycle as much water as we can to avoid draining the River.  We have had 200,000 years to perfect our science.”

“I would think that in that time you would have developed space travel to either move to another world or bring frozen water and air from Garobus to replenish what you have lost.”

“We tried but Morgors on Garobus attacked our ships that we sent there, we cannot adapt to Jasoom’s greater gravity and those we sent to the stars never returned.   And now we are too few in numbers to divert vital resources from survival to other areas.  We, like the Red and Green Men are a dying race with no future so we seek sucrose in pleasure and memories of our past.”

Jason commented to his aunt, “There is a theory that the nearer moon was colonized by Orovars long ago whose descendents became the blue-skinned Thurians.  But if they sent ships to the stars, they must have been sleeper-ships or generation-ships for I cannot see these people having developed star-drives.  When I get home, I’ll have to send ships to search for them as well as other Weir worlds.  Meeting you, my dear, has opened my eyes to a lot of things.”

She touched him with her tail and fingers, smiled and added, “As you have to for me.  But if they think we are married, we should allow them thus or we will be separated and I believe our safety depends on us being together.”


Jason started to do some rough calculations.  A Morgor ship can do 19 million miles a day which puts that at 220 miles per second or .0012c.  Which means that if the Orovars were similar, the Orovars could be about 2400 light years away from Sol.  No, he was thinking in Terran years.  If Martian years that would be closer to 4500 light years or halfway to Drakonis.  IF they were headed in that direction.  There are a lot of Class-M planets within 4500 light years and there was no guarantee that they’d be heading in a straight line.  More likely they’d head for a nearby G-type star seeking a Class-M and if they found none then to the next G-type which meant a zig-zag course all over the place.  Unless they had those marvelous Barsoomian telescopes that allowed them to actually see nearby star systems as easily as the Hubbard Telescope around Earth saw nearby planets.   If so they’d spy a nearby Class-M world, determine its possibility as a potential home and head there.  If it was suitable, they’d settle in and send the ships back for the remaining Orovars.  If not they’d look around, find another and so on.  But then the Morgor Fleet left Jupiter in the mid-Twentieth Century and arrived 10,000 light years away in the mid-Twenty-first Century though this was impossible with Morgor technology so they must have found a Stargate out in the Oort Cloud that shifted them to Leviathan where they met the Drakonan Fleet and were destroyed.  Things like this gave Jason a headache so he gave up but decided to remember the possibility of an Orovar ship or colony out there along with a centuries-old Weir Colony too.  It would give the Spacers something to look for instead of causing trouble when they were flying around the Galaxy pretending to be Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon or Han Solo.

Eibhlin whispered to him, “You are thinking too hard and not about me, our task or safety, it’s giving me a headache.  Can’t you just relax and enjoy the beauty of this place?”

He reached out, squeezed her hand and smiled back, “I’ll try.  But I am interested in learning more about their ships.  These and the possibility of other Weir colonies are worth searching for.”

“It’s a big galaxy and I’ve spend twenty years searching Demon Space for others of our race with no luck. I don’t think a colony exists though there may be numerous solitary Weir out there someplace.  At least those who survived the Celebacy problem. In the meantime we should focus on ensuring that we leave here alive.”

The group walked across the interior which was so much like a park that Jason wondered why it was empty of humanity. The ceiling was criss-crossed with pipes and lights and what he took to be sprinklers for the vegetation inside appeared to be similar to that he saw in the edges and islands of the Toonol Marsh.  Vegetation that had died off long ago as Barsoom became desert.  The ground had paths and the occasional bench for rest and the Irishman noted that each bench faced a particularly beautiful grove of Glorestra or Pimalia bloom. Orovars, he recalled, had been obsessed with beauty and that showed even in this small isolated camp.  “Back home,” he commented to his guards, “we do the same.  Place bowers like this in special places and often will gather together to observe the cherry trees bloom in the Spring or a particularly beautiful sunset over the ocean.”

“So your people are not so militaristic as are the Red or Green Men?”

“Hardly.  We breed Lanai to fight for us so we do not have to but I am one of those very few Weir who choose to take up the sword to defend my nation.  But I suspect that you give the Red men discredit.  They love beauty as much as do you and I, only they cannot divert as much wealth to wards that as they would wish.  The waterways require constant maintainance after a half-million years and they are arguing over sending a fleet to Garobus to collect ice-water and that alone would break most nations and leave them helpless against the Green Men.  John Carter is trying to form an Alliance of Red and Green Men to crate peace and so encourage the ice-project but a half-million years of war isn’t easy to forget.”

“When we began to intermarry with the Yellow and Black Races and produce the Red Race, some of us saw this as good to breed a race capable of survival in the desert.  But others saw this as mongrelizing the purity of the Orovars.  So our ancestors came here, hid away and focused on survival in our own manner.  Here we are safe from Green and Red attacks.  Safe from the desert and we have enough water stored below to survive another million years even were the Iss to run dry.  Plus we have our own air-generator plants to enable us to..”

“:Shh!” another hissed.  “You act as if these are our friends.  They may not be prisoners but they are not allies.”

“I apologize, Padwar.  I shall watch my tongue.”

Eibhlin tripped over a small stone then called out, “I’m ok.  Please, let me rest a moment,” as she knelt there, he hands and feet firmly on the grassy walkway for the walls were mossy but the ground covered with the red grass so beloved by the Red Man but which was rare for it required frequent waterings.  Then she stood, with assistance and with a polite ‘thank you’ they continued on.  Jason knew the fall was a subtrefuge but for what?

Soon all reached a small building carved into the walls and entering, their escort saluted the man behind the desk, “Dwar, here are the foreigners you called for.”

The Orovar behind the desk stared at the two for some time, examining ever aspect of their bodies and harness then said, “Please sit.  I have a lot of questions to ask you.  Wine?”

Jason begged off but Eibhlin said, “Please,” and took the glass happily.  Jason knew the two were allergic to Barsoomian alcohol and she would suffer later on if she drank the entire glass but Eibhlin sipped the wine carefully and so the interview began.

As interviews go it was similar to that he endured when he left Jennings at the other city.  Very casual, friendly and designed to encourage the two to talk.  Since most of Jason’s interrogations had been done with rubber hoses and cattle-prods (the British and American police used techniques similar to every police-state he had ever visited)  he was pleasantly surprised and found himself opening up more and more.  The two confessed that they were originally from Jasoom but abducted and modified by alien Demons.  That both had been trained in both war and technology, that Jason lived in a Barony of four dozen stars some ten-thousand light years away but Eibhlin lived centuries in the past in another nation.  And Jason told how he had been sent to destroy the Human’s teleporter and had been caught in the blast and transited here.

The Dwar then asked, “And you Lady Avleen Obreen, you said you had plans to visit our world but these were changed.  Might I ask you why you wanted to leave Jasoom for Barsoom?”

She finished her wine with a gulp and held it for more, knowing that very soon she’d be running for the toilet.  But the memories hurt.  “My lover, Kara, decided to see Earth, the world of her ancestors.  And so I brought her there in my ship and she just left me.  I was devastated and didn’t know what to do until I saw a comic book or graphic novel, I don’t know for certain what they are called other then they are booklets of cheap paper filled with drawings and words to tell a story.  This one was about John Carter, an Earthman who had come to Barsoom and told his uncle the story.  His uncle pretended that it was all made-up but I knew that it was true and it seemed like an omen so I decided to visit and forget Kara.”

He thought about this then said, “Do you mind remaining her until the storm passes?  I’d like to think about what you said.  Padwar, show our guests our nicest quarters and find slaves to attend to their needs.”

Bowing, they were led away and across the park to another door where they were shown how to lock their quarters which turned to be a small private apartment with one bedroom, a small kitchen and smaller toilet and bath.  Eibhlin immediately stripped and began to fill the bath as she called, “Nephew, how about you fix dinner.  I’m a terrible cook but am so filthy I need a bath.  You are so lucky with your short hair.”

“You would be better at cooking yourself.  I’m a worse cook and can barely cook on the trail.”

“Then we’ll starve in a supermarket.” She laughed.

Moments later there was a knock at the door and two Red Women in the collars of slaves knelt and asked to enter.  “Master, we are assigned to serve you in all your needs while you are here.  Please, command and we shall obey.”

Like all Red Women, they were beautiful in face and form though smaller in their body than Jason preferred but he bade them enter, “Well, then, dinner first.  But we have a constitution sensitive to many of your foods.  So, let me tell you what we can and cannot eat and try to avoid spices.  Even your salt is dangerous to us in large quantities as we are adapted to sodium chloride and not your potassium chloride.   And Streichnine and Arsenic are deadly to us.”

One of the women entered the bath and soon Jason heard moans of pleasure as his aunt endured her back being scrubbed and her hair washed.  For him he tried to engage the other slave in conversation but she refused to respond, speaking only to ask questions about the meal.

Later on, the two slaves waited on the Irish who ate with gusto.  Eibhlin held her glass which was immediately refilled and commented, “I miss servants.  We had a houseful of them in Belfast.  I wonder if any survived when the British burned my home.”

“By my time, our family fortune was gone and we had to sell most of our lands to pay the tax bills.  I was born in a small thatch-roof house that once housed a servant family in your time.  I never had the advantage of servants until I was an adult but never became comfortable ordering people about save in war.”

“Yet, you enjoy this as well as do I. Yet…”  Eibhlin stood and said, “I am going to suffer this wine tomorrow.  She stretched and was immediately served by her slave who rubbed her shoulders.   “That feels so good.  Tell me girl, what are your duties here, aside from feeding and spying on us?”

Jason was wondering the same but yawned for the hour was getting late.   “Mistress, the Orovars think of little more than pleasure.  They are a dying people and take slaves from Pilgrimage which go below and are never seen again save we few who are deemed beautiful enough to serve here.  Command and we shall obey with entheusiasm.”

“Interesting, then come here and give me a kiss for I have been long without a woman and I see my nephew is fast falling asleep and so will not need either of you.”

Jason didn’t quite fall asleep and soon was kept awake by the passion of his aunt and both slave-girls who seemed to work hard at their task.  Eventually, Eibhlin said, “Enough!  I can do this all night with two such beauties but I see Jason has been at attention for some time and needs his flag-pole lowered.  Let me relieve myself of the wine while you two care for him.”  And she ran to the toilet while the slave-girls insisted on tending to their master’s needs.  Jason could barely hear Eibhlin in the toilet as the Barsoom wine ate its way through her system and probably clogged the drain pipes.  But the girls were very good at their task of giving pleasure and soon the condition of his relative was gone from his mind.

In the morning, he found himself alone with Eibhlin around whom he was wrapped so woke her up.  “Not now, I’m exhausted.  I spent more time shitting that wine than fucking those girls and my arse is sore and raw and my head hurts with my hangover.”

“You sound still drunk else you’d not be so graphic.  But listen up.  They won’t let us leave.  We know too much and they will be terrified that we’ll tell someone they exist.  All this is a ruise.”

“I know,’ she moaned as she rolled over.  “I felt it when we entered so when I faked my tripping, I felt the ground and felt vibrations.  I’m not like you, Jason.  I may be what you call ‘medieval’ in origin but I spent half my life on starships and space-stations.  We feel the engines through the deck and wake at the slightest change.  I felt that here.  And those braces holding the ceiling.  They aren’t just to keep the air in, they are too strong for that.  This ‘camp’ is a ship!  Maybe a generation ship, probably one of many.”

“I wondered.  The girls said most slaves go below and are never seen again.  They are probably being worked to death to build the structure below and keep the engines working.  No one here knows how star-drives work so they need standard Boyancy tanks to lift off and into space which is slow but dependable.” 

“How long do you think they’ve been doing this?”

“I don’t know.  The technology for space travel is old.  The Atmosphere plants were built so long ago that both the Yellow Okar and Red Panar were able to build their own hot-house cities in the Artic with individual atmosphere plants.  There is also a theory that the Orovars colonized the nearer moon and visited Earth and Jupiter so roofing over an impact crater to provide an isolated and sustainable home then turning that home into a ship is but a small jump.

“Humans have a difficult time thinking past a couple decades.  A few will think to their children but most do not because they are dayflies and die so quickly.  Draconians with our 500 year lifespan think in terms of  thousands of years.  I don’t know how long the Orovars live, certaintly centuries, possibly less than the Red Man’s thousand years but they think in terms of a hundred thousand years.  The waterways were built to last a half million years easily so I can see them roofing over a crater, moving inside and spending ten thousand years making it a nice place to live. 

“Then some Jed decides to leave Barsoom and seek a better world and so they start to dig down and build a hull under the ground, add engines and so on, all a little at a time with captured slave labour and found materials.  They are patient so spending a hundred thousand years to complete the project and another hundred thousand in space flight doesn’t bother them at all.  That Orovar I met my first trip had been buried a half-million years and was patiently waiting for someone to dig her up.”

“So, nephew, the Orovars saw their race as being degraded into the Red Race and wanting to be pure, isolated themselves here because the Therns keep everyone away, the Desert keeps the Green Men away and the Iss provides water.  Then they capture Red Men for slave labour to convert the valley into a generation star-ship and when they are done, they leave.  So why us?  Why are they being so kind to us?”

“Because, dear Auntie, they know we are aliens and so understand space travel.  They know you are a Starship Engineer and I a Navigator and pilot who knows which worlds are suitable.  The Americans have a saying, ‘you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar’ so by making us happy, they can entice us into their service.  Thus the pleasant demeanour, the beautiful slaves and all else.  One thing though, we spoke too freely during the interview.  Could we have been drugged?”

“Only I drank the wine so it would have been a gas we could not smell.  But it affected the Dwar not at all.  And they keep us here in this camp so we don’t contaminate or threaten the main city and what they learn is sent to the other cities and camps.  As a military woman, I appreciate the plan but as an Irish Noble I refuse to be a slave again.  Let’s get out of here.”

“How?  They are adequate swordsmen as are you but outnumber us and I cannot kill them all.”

She laughed, “But we can climb and I have my beamer to cut a hole in the roof.”


Almost immediatly they heard someone at the door and switching from Gaelic to Barsoomian, answered to find the Dwar from yesterday smiling at them.  “I have come to invite you to breakfast.  I understand that my slaves gave you the service you wished?  If not, I will ensure that they do better in the future.”

Eibhlin returned to dress in private as Jason offered, “They were quite attentive.  And imaginative.  I gather that … “ he trailed off not knowing how to ask then Eibhlin entered and pushed him back to finish dressing himself.

“My lover asks but fears embarrassing you about your beliefs and attitudes towards our desires on the more physical level.”

The Dwar laughed and responded as he led them away.  “The Green Men think of nothing but war and torture.  The Red Man thinks of war and adventure.  Here, we are isolated from both so we seek to end the tedium with pleasures of all sorts.  Food, drink, art, nature, and even love-making.  Here, see this Glorestra bloom.  It was specially bred by us over a hundred years.  Note the color, the unique shape of the petal.  We do the same with our other pleasures as well.  So although the Red man would find your personal lives and desires for each other and your own gender to be an abomination, we see it as we do with a good meal, seeking pleasure as we wish.  So fear not our disdain for your lack of marriage or the relation of aunt and nephew and think nothing of your desires for other women, just enjoy the experience and experiment as you will for with so many willing slaves, nothing is forbidden and they are, I assure you, willing.”

Jason looked at the blossom but was unable to tell any difference between this and the ones he had seen in the Toonol Marshes.  It was still adapted not for reproduction but for feeding and soon an insect-like thing flew in, attracted to the scent or colour, and the blossom snapped closed to consume it.  On Barsoom, flowers were designed to eat. 

Eibhlin whispered, “I see no difference from any other.”

“Me neither but they do.  I recall one woman on Earth who had 125 different colours of red nail polish.  To me they all looked similar and could be orange, red and slut-red but she saw tones and shades I missed.  At least they won’t stone us for our Need.”

“Tell me, Dwar, you say this is but a camp?  This implies more than one and a main city somewhere.”

He ignored the remark and commented on the flowers, the intricate watering system and anything else to avoid their questions.  Finally as all were eating, the two visitors carefully picking at their meal, the Dwar asked, “I understand that you, Lady Avleen Obreen, possess a starship that can cross the expanse far faster than light.  But you, Lord Jason Obreen do not?”

Once again he found himself opening up but could not detect any reason for this.  On Drakonis they used truth drugs on all of their suspects and interrogations or a mechanical device that forced the subject to believe that they were helping out by speaking all, but he could not smell anything in the air or taste anything in the food nor did his antennae detect any EM-fields so the reason was unknown to him.  The fact that he wondered why implied that this openness was unnatural and coerced though he still spoke.  “I have a ship but prefer to use the Stargates.  These are natural wormholes in the universe that can be stabilized and we have one between Jasoom and Gaea.”

“With all your travel, surely you have seen many worlds.  How many are suitable for colonization and what dangers will we find if we visit them?”

He had apparently dropped all pretense of anything polite as his voice became stern.  Eibhlin added, “I come from centuries in the past but we prefer to visit only those worlds that are what we call Class-M or Jasoom-like where we can live because air, gravity and biology are similar to our own.  Barsoom is at the lower end of Class-M and so is barely habitable to us.  If you travel, you’d need to find similar worlds to this lest a greater gravity crush you or the biology be Right-Handed instead of our own Left-Handed.  This is why most aliens look so similar.  They come from similar environments.”

Jason added, “There are, of course, different life-forms like Black Clouds which are intelligent gas-beings a thousand karads across which float through space.  Or silicates which live in the atmosphere of Gas Giants like Garobus or anything your imagination can conceive.  But really, we cannot live on a gas giant and they cannot live on a stony-iron world so we rarely visit each other and focus on worlds that are similar in form with life that we can relate too.”

“How many of these are out there?  And how close?”

“It’s hard to say.  There are 100 billion stars in this galaxy.  Another 100 billion in the satellites and another 100 billion in the Halo so this galaxy has easily 300,000,000,000 stars.  About half are G-type and most have planetary systems but only about 10% have a Class-M world and only half those have Left-Hand molecules.”

“Still,” he continued, “that is near seven and a half billion possible worlds which would place one habitable world every….. ten light years?”  [note: I translated this to Earth measurements for ease]

“True, if the math were true.  The truth is that although there should be a thousand Class-M worlds between Barsoom and Drakonis and a hundred of these with a technical civilization, you would be lucky to find ten along your route.  If the math worked, the Vanthi would have long ago returned to Jasoom and conquered their former homeworld.” Eibhlin added.

The Dwar thought for a moment then added, “It seems an impossible task.  Our ships are far too slow so we must choose our destination well before we travel or… have better ships.”  He nodded and immediately the two Weir jumped to their feet and drew their longswords, only to face their opponents standing at ease.

“Re-sheath your swords, hand to me your blades and revolver.  Then go calmly with the Padwar and make no attempts to escape.”  The Dwar ordered and the two obeyed.  They knew they were being controlled but were helpless to resist and did as they were told.

They were led through a concealed door then down a winding stairs for Orovars retained these anachronisms until they reached a large room with throbbing machinery.  “This,” their captor explained, “is the drive to this city.  It gives us power and will someday launch us into space.  Can you improve it to multi-light speeds?”

Eibhlin looked it over and then replied, “I don’t know.  I was trained to repair starships, not build them.  I’ll have to see what I can do.”

“Then do so.  You, Jason Obreen, come with me and show me where me may find our new home.”

Following orders, Eibhlin looked over the engines and saw that they were primitive even by Vanthi standards.  A demon engine this size could move a planet and one capable of moving this ‘camp’ at multi-light speeds would barely fill a small room.  Still, welding a damaged brace was far easier than creating and forging the exotic metals needed to produce that brace.  Even in Ireland, she used a matchlock and could even repair it but if tossed into a dungeon, she would be totally unable to actually build a forge to create such a weapon. Yet they wished her to do that here.  Create metals capable of taking ten-thousand gravity forces for years at a time without fail.  This camp may be structured to withstand a four-g acceleration but that is far from the forces suffered in starflight and if the metal didn’t deform, the welds would snap or rivets shear with the forces involved.  Building a space ship is easy.  Even Earth proved that when they invented the submarine.  It was getting that ship into space and to another planet without it falling apart that was the hard part.

Still, she might be able to improve the engines and perhaps double the speed without danger to the structure or crushing the inhabitants.  The problem with garden-colony ships like this was that they needed a constant one-g acceleration to keep things from floating away.  This was possible up to a point.  And course changes were always a problem as the ship rotated 180 degrees, thus tossing everything against the bulkhead and Barsoomian plants just weren’t as strong as most other Class-M vegetation.  With .38 gravity, they didn’t need strength so even the trees were more like giant ferns than woody growths and would bend or snap at the slightest course change.


Jason was taken to another room where he saw one of the marvelous an-opticonic telescopes that allowed the Red Men to observe life on all the planets in the Solar System with considerable detail.  With this device he could actually see a planet around a nearer star as easily as the Terran Hubble Telescope observed Mars.  He had used one in Ardane in the Toonolian Marsh so knew it had a glass lens only to protect the internal circuitry for the telescope did not use a lens to concentrate light as Earthly telescopes did, they used magnetic fields to enhance the random light waves detected and so although looked like an optical telescope were closer to a radio telescope.

Jason looked over their readings, images and data that they had collected over a hundred thousand years.  There wasn’t much, just refinements of previous sightings which caused the older records to be recycled but they did show what he wanted to see.

“Searching the galaxy is impossible with 300,000,000,000 stars for if you spent even a quarter zode on each one, it will take a million years to search them all.  So we must narrow the search and we do that by eliminating as many stars as is possible.  Gas Giants are either Sol-type stars that are dying and so expanded to destroy their systems but will shrink before the new planets can cool or are naturally so large that they will die long before a planet cools enough to form life.  Other stars have similar or different problems so we search stars that are about the mass of your sun to twice its mass. We call these G-type stars because they have a life long enough to form habitable planets and are the proper temperature to support life on those planets.

“Next we calculate the eco-sphere for carbon-based life.  Since temperature is a function of distance, we determine the surface temperature of the sun then work out to the idea temperature for Orovar life which is about 2.6 million Karads plus or minus 20%.

“Then we search for a suitable stony planet of Barsoom mass to twice Barsoom mass within that eco-sphere and here we find three.  Cosoom, Jasoom and Barsoom.

“This is Alpha Centauri, the nearest star to Barsoom outside the one we orbit.  I don’t know what you call it.  As you can see it is a G-Type star with a number of planets but if you calculate the eco-sphere based on the mass and temperature of Alpha C we know where to look for a Class-M world you can live on.  Now it is a matter of searching that eco-sphere and if you find nothing useful, too large or too small, you move to the next G-type star, recalculate for the different mass and temperature and search again.”

They looked at him strangely then the dwar said, “We know that.  We discovered the basic principles of cosmology a half million years ago.  We’ve searched the stars within a hundred light years of Barsoom and found nothing useful.  At least nothing confirmed useful.  What we want you to tell us is what nearby stars can support us and the safest and fastest way to reach them.”

“Oh, I misunderstood.  I’m used to dealing with Jasoomians who are so brilliant in one area then so stupid in others.  As for your question, I don’t know.”

The White men looked at each other then at him then the Dwar screamed, “YOU DON’T KNOW!  You told us you navigated starships across the galaxy and you don’t know!”

“Well,” Jason smiled, “I navigate between Jasoom and Drakonis.  That’s almost a straight-line 10,000 light years long by our measurements.  I know that path fairly well but I just don’t go exploring.  Oh I did some when I was younger, but that was in Commonwealth Space which is, as I said, ten thousand light years away.  And, as a kid I traveled with the Demons who went everywhere but they never told me where they were so for all I know, I could have been a dozen light years from here or a dozen thousand.  Sure if you visit my Barony, we have a dozen worlds suitable for your people but you’d have to buy your way in and agree to become Baronial subjects and we enforce interbreeding between the races.  I’m sure that there are probably terra-formed worlds in the Commonwealth that you can use for the Demons are always making them but they don’t tell us where they are and we stumble across them only when we are lost.”

The Dwar stared for a time then snapped, “He is useless to us.  Take him below.”


Eibhlin was examining the engines a Padwar came in with a dozen slaves, each of whom looked as if they had been worked near to death.  “These will do as you wish.  If you need more, call. If they do not work to your standards, tell us and we will return them below.”

She looked them over then called, “Food!  I cannot have my workers starving.  A man dying of nourishment makes mistakes and a mistake on a containment field or a structural brace could easily destroy the entire ship.  Feed them well and they will serve me well.  Starve them and you risk all.”

As the Orovars left to fetch food, not with any entheusiasm she noted, she looked over her charges.  “Do any of you understand spaceships?  Quantum mechanics?  Anti-matter physics?  How about flier technology?”

One stepped forward and introduced himself, “I am Koran Flar, I was a flier mechanic for Helium.  Since you seem kind, at least you are no Orovar, I’ll be honest with you.  None of us are willing slaves. We were all captured on the Iss seeking Heaven and forced to work below or die.  The Orovars take the most beautiful and handsome for their pleasure and the rest of us go below to work until we die.”

She thought about this for less than a second, already come to the same conclusion.  No wonder the female slaves were so willing to service hers and Jason’s carnal desires.  The alternative is to go below and work until they were dead from exhaustion.  “Do you know how they control us?”

“No.  They approached us, offered us safety and supplies for the trip and we simply followed.  The longer we remained, the more willing we are to serve them.”

“And what of escape?”

“In the beginning we think and plan but then those images and desires fade with time.  Even now when you mention the word, I want to leave and continue on to Dor but I cannot seem to force myself to plan or to carry my plans out.”

Eibhlin had given up the thought of drugs in the food, drink or air and had met enough races with telepathic abilities to understand that they were probably controlled by either a mind of such power that it could subdue hundreds or some device that did the same.  Either way, she wanted to escape but found herself diverted to the problems at hand.  “The Orovars wish this ship to be made stronger and capable of interstellar flight.  This I can but not at the speeds they need.  The stresses are so great at near light speeds that striking even a grain of sand will destroy this entire ship and any course change other than a casual drift will shear welds and bolts.  So we will be enhancing their engines and the structural integrity as best we can.”  Such things were learned more from trial-and-error than an engineer’s dreams and the Orovars hadn’t been in space for half a million years.

And so the work began.  Eibhlin would examine the engines and radium reactor, make changes and the Orovars never questioned her designs, a sure sign that they knew their control was perfect.

Once when an Orovar came to her and began to stroke her arms, she pushed him away in disgust, “I am not some tramp to submit to your desires.  Seek another slave!” and she pushed him so hard he struck the wall and fell to the floor senseless.  Later after his fellows had removed him, giving her ill looks, she realized that their control over her wasn’t total.  Whatever methods they used made her subject to their will to work hard and avoid escape but her personal life and desires were still her own.  That gave her a clue that slipped away as she sought it and so she began to wander around the ship, always below examining the structure and power leads, assigning slaves to this duty and that until she saw her cousin.


Being taken ‘below’ wasn’t what Jason thought it would be.  As a former Galley-Slave, he knew the whip and long hours of hard work with little food followed by the dead being left in their chains until the stink was so bad the overseers finally tossed it overboard before the other slaves would resort to cannibalism.  Although he feared and hated those thoughts, the idea of escape was but a casual thought with no real meaning and this disturbed him on a much deeper level.

Here, although the food was poor and limited, there were no whips.  Most of his work was to crawl around the smaller rooms of hydroponics and tend the crops then harvest and preserve the yield for future use.  The storerooms in this camp alone would feed a city for a generation easily and still they grew more.  Unlike the main garden at ground level, below was simply the inside of a ship, ceilings maybe three meters high, corridors as wide or wider when necessary and rooms upon rooms.   As he traveled between the hydroponics and storerooms he began to map the structure and plan his future.  After two hundred years, he was very good at keeping his subsurface thoughts hidden from a casual probe for this is what he decided was happening here. 

Some worlds used low-frequency radio waves akin to telepathy broadcast across a city to control the population.  Drakonan Ramships did the same to encourage the new colonists they took from Earth to abandon their old ways and racial hatreds and to merge into one homogonous society.  After a year of that influence, it was safe to release them into the general population.  This must be a similar device.  But the bad points were that the influence was so broadband that you could only influence, not control people and could only read surface thoughts and desires.  Actual mind control required far more power which must be concentrated in a smaller area.  Star Fleet had those which were used to interrogate prisoners who thought they were helping by offering any and all information.  Having been in that chair (all Draconian military were required to so that they could understand the effects and not misuse them) he knew that what he suffered was a simply broad-band influence and not total control.  But he had to find and destroy the device before he could use his plans.  So for now he played the slave.

He took Eibhlin aside when she found him and spoke in Gaelic for thinking in this language would confuse their captors and hopefully miss their probes.  “Auntie, I believe we are being controlled by a device that mimics telepathy.  Our human-minds have a different transmission frequency than the Barsoomian which is why we can read their thoughts but they cannot read ours.  I believe that we are receiving their control-broadcasts but they are unable to receive our mental transmissions so if we speak Gaelic, we should be safe.”

“Then come with me,” she said in Barsoomian, “for I need an engineer familiar with starship structure to help instruct the Red Men.”  Then in Gaelic, “I believe the same but am unable to locate the device.  I’ve traced the power drains and there is nothing save the reactor and engines that take more then normal power.  Have you any ideas?”

“One, this ship is a food production plant growing and storing massive amounts of food and water and air.  I suspect a fleet will leave, the main city with many of these camps following or attaching to one large colony-ship, each capable of independent survival if necessary.  Most of the Orovars go about unarmed and with their slaves under their mental control, this explains why they are such poor fighters.  But there is one place below that is heavily guarded.  And these with radium rifles.  Something or someone important is there.”

“Possibly.  I know that the engines and reactors are poorly guarded which implies that your area is more important than even the ship’s heart and strength.  Can you take me there?”

“Easily,” and as he led her away he switched to Barsomian.  “I don’t see how this ship can lift off buried under tons of rock for millennia.  Even our own battle-cruisers are unable to push up more than a few meters of rock when hidden underground.”

“Unless their metals are good enough to compensate for the poor structural design, they may be trapped here and need to dig themselves out first.  And that will attract attention from the Therns who patrol the Iss. Still, I need to strengthen the integrity of the hull and for that I need someone familiar with interstellar stresses.”

As they passed down a corridor with three slaves in tow, Jason tapped his aunt with his tail and she glanced aside to notice an ornate door guarded by a number of Orovars who glanced at the group but never readied their arms.  Doubtless they thought their control good enough to place but an honour guard about.  “Feel that?”

“I do,” she replied.  “We found it.” Then turning to Koran Flar asked, ‘Why do the pleasure slaves above fear being sent ‘below’ so much.  It seems like a pleasant enough fate.  You are not beaten or worked to death though the food could be better.”

“I know not,” he replied.  “I know only that those who displease the Orovars are terrified when they come here and mourn for their easy life above.”

“Probably an aspect of the control, to make them think this life is so terrible that they will gladly sell their souls to remain a play-toy.” She suggested.

Jason took her by the arm and pulled, “You are slowing, glancing back, why?”

“I don’t know.  I have a feeling that I should go back.  Something behind that door is calling to me.”

“Focus on the task at hand.  Mental control influences the Right side of the brain.  Logical thought like engineering problems are ruled by the left side of the brain.  If we concentrate on difficult logical and technical problems we can break the influence.  Tell me about the reactor and how the ship will lift off.  There must be something there that we are missing to allow these crater-bases to become starships.”

She did so and as she talked and answered questions, the pull lessened and faded from her mind.  Something or someone behind that door wanted her.  And her life taught that anything that wanted her that bad wasn’t what she wished to meet.

As they worked on some bracing, discussing the needed additions and describing them to the slaves so they could fetch tools and equipment, Eibhlin commented in Gaelic, “Whatever was behind that door wanted me.  Not me, my body.  I’ve felt that before in Human-worlds like Earth and the Vanthi.  I call it the ‘desire-for-exotics’ where men see me and wonder what sex would be like with a woman who has a tail.  I think it’s their latent homosexuality but most men seem to like strange and unusual women in their bed upon occasion.”

“Probably why the magazines in America are filled with ads for meeting Asian women.  That means that whatever is controlling us is human for no machine thinks of sex.  And if human, he must sleep sometimes.  I have a plan but you won’t like it.”

“I rarely like your plans but they seem to work more often than not.” She replied with some caution.


The group worked late, sending out for meals until the braces were done to the satisfaction of both Irish.  Occasionally an Orovar would pass by, stop to watch then move on so sure were they of their control.  During this time, the two would casually touch each other, then sneak a kiss and once when alone, almost consummated their passion until interrupted, forcing both to hurridly adjust harness and return to work.  During all this, Eibhlin felt her Need rise and knew Jason’s was too.  Despite the service of the Red Women slaves a few days ago, the interrupted sexual teasing was taking its toll on the two much to the embarrassment of the Red slaves who tried to not watch and move away. Finally Eibhlin said, “Enough!  I cannot concentrate.  I need a man or two and perhaps some girls as well.  Let us quit for the day and return when I am calmer.”  And she led the group back to their quarters only to be met by an armed guard at the intersection that led to the decorated door.

“Send the slaves back but your two come with me.” And he led them to the door where he stopped and asked, “Have you any blades or revolvers?  Good, then enter and obey.”

Once inside the two were confronted by a large room of sybaritic luxury that caused them to stop.  Silks decorated the walls and ceiling, rugs of exotic furs and weavings covered the floor and an entire wall was filled with a kitchen and bottles of drink of all vintages.  But the center was a bed of massive proportions, hanging from the usual chains to prevent vermin like the ulsio from entering.  Upon the bed were five slaves, naked and not wearing anything which was unusual for even slaves wore collars or some harness.  Two were well-built men the other three beautiful women, all fondling the main occupant of the bed.  The center of their attention was obviously an Orovar but one the likes neither had ever seen for on a world that prided itself on the beauty and conditioning of its citizens, this one was a slug.  His head was bulbuous as if his brain had grown twice normal size and he must have weighed as much as four normal men.  So fat was he that he could not even sit and simply lay there as his slaves would rub oils and lotions over him only to have another wipe him clean.  The Weir could see fatalism in their eyes yet still they worked, unceasingly to give physical pleasure to a man who was unable to seek it himself.

It was easy to look away and on another wall was a complex device with wires that led to the back of the head of the corpulous man.  Both could feel the em-fields radiate from this device, fields that gave both a migrane which helped break the control of their captor.

“You wonder at my magnificence?” the man said in a surprisingly feminine voice.  What need is there for chains or armed guards when I exist!  I control all.  I see all!  I prevent revolution or escape.  And in return, I receive the best we have.  Food, drink, scent, slaves.  There is no pleasure that is denied me and now I would wish you.”

“You control the Orovars?” Eibhlin asked as she began to remove her harness.

“No, just the slaves for we Orovars have little telepathic ability.  I was bred for this task and this device your companion studies amplifies my thoughts and will.  Each city and camp has one like me to sustain it.  But think not of escape for though I cannot read your thoughts, I see that I can control your actions.”  Jason found himself caressing his aunt as if on stage.  Angered but unable to control himself he began to calculate the power drain and circutry that would allow the Orovar to link with such a device.  Then he felt himself rise as he kissed Eibhlin whose harness fell to the ground with his.  Naked they moved towards the bed to join the obscene occupant and then Eibhlin pushed Jason away long enough to rise her Beamer and rake their taskmaster.  The invisible beam opened him from hip to head within a second and his screams of agony were cut off as his throat and head fell apart in twain.  Then, shaking herself as if from a nightmare, she turned and ran to the amplifier and began to cut it into pieces as Jason ran to the door to attack the guards who were entering in a panic.

Although unarmed, he was easily thrice their strength and speed and had near two centuries of unarmed combat experience and so soon they were alone.  “Good thing they specified blades and revolvers.  My Beamer is a tool modified to a weapon and as long as I focused on it being a tool, I was able to keep it.”

“Then Auntie, I see the slaves are awakening so as I don’t know how long it will be before they return to their senses and turn violent, and on the chance that there may be another of these around, I suggest we leave now!”

He tossed her a sword then swore at the firearms, “These are useless, just decorations,” and tossed the rifles aside.  “Well, we do it the hard way.” And led his relative out. 

Although Orovars tried to stop them, beneath the Irish fury of the two, angered at how they had been forced to perform, they cut down the limited opposition.  And as the Red Slaves followed, gathering what swords they could as they followed, by the time any real force was mounted to stop them, the two Weir led an army of their own.  The Orovars may have invented the Sword on Barsoom but it was the Red Man who perfected the Art and soon all who opposed were dead.

They ran to the office of the Dwar seeking revenge but he was gone.  Eibhlin paused only long enough to trade her long-sword in for her Demon Blade that was on a wall then they ran to the exit hatch, leaving their Red Companions to finish their revenge as they would. Then outside, they made for the Iss.

“The Orovars will follow!” Eibhlin panted.

“No other water in the Great Desert so we have no choice.  Just keep thinking how disgusting men are and how much you hate slavery and keep technical matters in your mind until we are away from their influence.”

“How many of these camps are there do you think?”

“Dozens?  I know not.  But they must be scattered and are torn between the need to kill us and keep their secrets and fear for our abilities.  We’ll see what happens.”

“I hope that they cannot control the Banths, calots and Green Men.”  She commented, not at all in jest but fear.

Finally, they saw the banks of the River Iss and were soon joined by a dozen Red Men and Women, all former slaves with maybe a dozen more straggling behind.  Koran Flar mentioned, “I wouldn’t have thought escape possible.  But I feel no more influence so perhaps we are now safe.  Jason Obreen, Lady Avleen Obreen, since your path goes south, do you mind if we accompany you for a while?  Some of us have lost our taste for Pilgrimage and wish to return home, others like me feel we will be safer with you.  And besides, I owe you a debt to repay.”

The two looked at each other and Jason said, “I don’t mind and would enjoy the company though my aunt and I tend to be a bit ribald at times so bear with our less attractive needs.”

The Red Man laughed, “After fifty years as a slave to those, I will happily accept the honest love you two express over the decadance we endured.  Lead on!”



Jason stood too fast and was shot, the radium round blowing away the nearby rock and the shrapnel tearing through his ribs and lung.  Breathing was hard in the thin Martian atmosphere at the best of times, with one lung damaged and collapsed, even that was impossible and he collapsed.  They had come across the Green Man raiding party attacking some slavers or pilgrims and joined in to assist.  He never regretted that decision as he fell.

Eibhlin killed her enemy then ducked and beamed the distant Green Man with the rifle and looked around estanning death all around.  As far as she could tell, she was alone so went to search for her friend, the only other of her race on the entire planet.  Before him, she thought she was alone, the sole human abducted and changed by the Demons.  She suspected that there were others but in twenty years of futile searching, she finally found him here on Barsoom. 

And she was but twenty years since her change and still learning what the Demons did.  Jason, her nephew a dozen generations younger, was actually near two centuries older than she and friendly to the Demons so knew more and had been explaining to her what they were when the Green Men attacked.  He had so much knowledge and experience.  True, he expected her to lie with him and she did so only to ease her own Need for both suffered the enhanced sex-drive that was common among Weir.  She was trying to learn to enjoy normal sex, she really was, but though she could bed a man and even enjoy the experience, she still preferred women and daily wished that Jason had breasts and vagina, sometimes so strongly that his telepathy picked it up.  At those times he would laugh and offer to find them both an attractive woman though Jason was obsessed with breasts and Eibhlin enjoyed them but saw the face as more important.  And on Barsoom, all women had beautiful faces and small breasts.

She soon found him laying under the shattered rock and ran to her companion.  “Wake up! Dammit!” she screamed and shook him to no avail.  He was dead and she was alone again.  She cried, holding his hand, “You have so much to teach me.  I was going to take you back to your home and meet your people, our race.  We were going to get drunk and pick up women together.” She was crying, her thoughts and desire and emotions without control so she sat there, in the shade and cried for what seemed like hours.

Finally she let go, his body already stiff for his hand remained aloft, and searched the dead for food and supplies then returned to bury the Weir.

She had the hole dug by dark, knowing he was pagan though raised catholic and her catholic past wanted to do a proper service, and as she dragged him in the dark she stopped.  This was wrong somehow.  He was stiff but not with rigor-mortis.  She tapped his skin and it felt like a shell?    She relaxed and looked around, the rocks glowing in the dark as they gave up their absorbed heat but the bodies of the Green Men and even the Red Men already cool and dark.  Jason should be cold too but she saw some heat.  Not much but still….

She lay her ear over his breast but heard nothing.  She licked her wrist and held it over his nose and still nothing but still, she knew he wasn’t dead.  Something had grown a shell over his skin to protect him.  The Demons did things to her that she was still discovering like she could not only estann thoughts but she could sometimes implant thoughts or influence others.  She could detect EM-fields and even control them to an extent.  She healed easily and even re-grew her maidenhood if she avoided penetration for a few weeks so maybe this was another aspect of the Weir that the Demons forgot to tell her? Jason knew everything because he remained close to the Demons and claimed to live on a planet of Weir.  Despite his rutting ways with her, she remained to learn more.  But he never told her about this.

Ignoring the grave, she took silk and made a tent over some still-warm rocks, built thoat-dung fires around to contain heat and sat on guard with the radium rifle taken from a Green Man she had killed.  It was long, far longer than she was tall but then, so were British muskets and she had used those in the past.  She knew she could stay wake for days if need be and determined to stand guard until she was certain that Jason was alive or dead.

And awake she remained. The banths and calots arrived and ate the dead, ignoring her in favour of easier carrion and she still watched, holding him with her tail, wishing him back to life.  After the second day, she had food and water and mantilla milk but she was beginning to nod off and forcing herself awake she fantasized about her former lovers, Chlariassah, Kara, Jean and the other women she had loved, wishing that they were here with her for she missed their touch, their kisses, even their breasts.

Breasts? She must be hallucinating for as much as she loved her own Weir-large breasts, and as much as she loved touching and kissing the breasts of her lovers, why think if those now? 

Jean was there, talking, Jean had large breasts but they sagged as do all humans who were that large.  Still Eibhlin loved her.  “It was never to be, Eileen,” Jean was saying.  “I always told you I was straight. And I was involved with Jason too.  I’m sorry but we couldn’t even hold hands in public.”

“But you used me and abandoned me!” Eibhlin cried out.  You all abandoned me!  Even Jason left me!  Why can’t I find a woman who will love me and stay with me.”

Kara spoke up, “I never loved you either but I liked you.  And I was straight too and that’s why I left you, you tried to make me into something I wasn’t.”

“I liked her too, just not that way, and your tits sagged too, just not as much because they weren’t big enough.” Jean insisted.  And the two argued for a long time while Eibhlin tried to interrupt, “Shut up!  You aren’t real!  I left you both on Earth.  YOU ARE NOT REAL!”

She obviously needed sleep and then passed out from exhaustion.


Jason was overwhelmed with claustrophobia.  The Shitai and their Green Pirate allies were coming by the thousands.  His Lanai already dead and only he and Ayiesha alive.  Alive only because they had been fucking behind a rock.  Grenades and rockets struck the rock and he was buried with Ayiesha, she trying to drag him free but not strong enough to move the boulders.  She was screaming, “We have to get out!  Don’t leave me!  The grubs are here and want to eat me!  Hold me Jason!”

He struggled, too small and weak to move the rocks that covered him.  He struck and fought then finally broke through!


Jason sat up holding his side where the rocks had broken ribs.  The pain was gone but dried blood flaked off with his touch.  He coughed, tried to vomit but his stomach was empty and he was starving.  “Water,” he croaked to her aunt. 

Eibhlin sat there, holding the rifle and staring at her, doing nothing else but stare.

He called again, “Water!  And food, I’m starving,” then he collapsed.

He felt water dribble into his mouth and he awoke to swallow, then taking the canteen, sucked it dry, not caring about the cramps in his empty stomach.  Then, “More please!”  He moved his strawberry-blonde hair from his face and accepted another canteen, this of Mantilla milk.  He drank this slower for his body could not process Mantilla any faster than a human body could process milk.  Finally as he allowed his system to absorb the Mantilla, he stopped and asked, “What happened?” I remember the Green Men attacking, I think.”

Eibhlin stared at him, never looking away, “We were ambushed.  Maybe a dozen Green Men.  They killed half the slaver company within moments and we tried to make a stand here.  You and I are the only survivors but… a rifle round exploded and sent shrapnel through your chest and you died.  I thought.  I was going to bury you when I saw a shell form.  You weren’t alive but not dead either.  Then a few days later you broke free.” She pointed to the husk that still looked like Jason but was fast breaking apart.

“That happens sometimes.  If we don’t die immediately but the damage is too bad, our skin shells to protect us while we heal.  If the damage is too bad, we starve before we heal and die in the shell so hospitals feed us nutrition and regeneratives by IV until we are ready to awaken.  I must have been at the mid-point and you fed me enough energy to keep me alive.  You must be starving too.”

“I am, I ate more than normal and never left your side.  Another thing.. Jason, you…. Here!”  She handed her a mirror and he looked at herself.  His strawberry-blonde hair was to his shoulders already, his breasts large and full and firm, he, no she looked twenty again and spreading her legs, saw her vagina and upon examination, her new maidenhead.  “Damn!  I hate it when this happens.”

She looked at her nephew?  Niece? and asked, “This happened before?  Weir change sex?”

Smiling, Jason said, “Sometimes. Rarely, but we’re special.  I was human so when the Demons changed me they lengthened my Y-chromosome and sometimes my body gets confused and thinks I am XX instead of XY.  It normally isn’t a problem so long as I produce testosterone to keep me male and sex causes my testicles to keep pumping out what I need.  Then, years ago, in Russia I was cursed by an androgynous god who used that to change me into a woman.  I was female for three years before I could change back but the damage was done.  Now if I accidentally take estrogen or don’t make enough testosterone, and if I am damaged, and if other conditions are right or wrong, when I repair my body gets confused and I change gender.”

“Like when I change from Weir to Human because of my werewolf genes?” she asked.

“Werewolf?” he asked.

“Something the Kris did to me to kill Demons.  I’ll explain later.  So, because of all this and because I was awake and touching you and hallucinating about my female lovers, I helped change you?”

“Probably.  Any one or two conditions I could fight but all together overwhelmed me.  Eibhlin, this isn’t going to be easy for either of us.  I have to get used to being a woman again until I can change back in a few months.  My hormones will be going mad for two or three months and that will prevent me from changing back.  During those months I will be moody, cranky, horny and a real bitch so please try to understand and help me through it.”  He reached for her hand which she gave willingly.

Then she smiled for the first time and commented, “So, you are a real woman now.  I watched as you looked yourself over.  Something else, your lips, above and below and your nipples are bright red.  When mine turn that colour, it means my Need is here and I need sex or else.  Are you like that?  What do I do, find you a man?  That won’t be easy out here.” She didn’t look at the bones scattered around.

Jason laughed, pulled her to her new body and kissed her hard, “I liked women as a man and still like women as a woman.  I’m glad you are gay as it makes things easier but, dear Auntie, be rough with me for I like my sex hard but gentle for I am a virgin again.”


The sun was up before Janice begged Eibhlin to stop.  “Goddess,” she mused, “And I thought I was a queen in heat.”

“It’s been a long time for me, my dear,” her aunt whispered.  “To many months without a woman, too many with a man.  I fear I tried to make up for lost time.  Are you angry?”

“Not at all.  It has been a long time since I felt that much passion.  I think we linked and fed on each other’s desires and needs.”  Janice felt below, sore for Eibhlin hadn’t listened to her request for gentleness with her hymen, or maybe she had listened to Janice’s demands for rough sex?  Who knows, who cares, for the deed is done and the obstacle removed.  Then as Eibhlin raised both tails and began to lick the blood from them, Janice almost shuddered.  But then, Eibhlin had been born a woman and had years of menstrual cycles to get used to that mess.  Janice never had one and so retained the male attitude that anything that bleeds for a week without dying is just wrong.  Fortunately, the Demons saw that too and prevented menstruation in their Weir.

Janice tried to lift her breast to look at her nipples but even flattened from laying on her back, they were too firm.  Human women after a few years were so floppy they could suckle themselves, this pleasure was denied all Weir.  Touching them, they still felt good but was her Need over or just satiated for a day?

“You cringed when I licked your virgin’s blood from our tails.  Will you regrow as I do without regular entry?”

“Probably, but I don’t know.  My only times as a woman were Human and each time I changed, I was a virgin but never re-grew.  But Humans don’t regrow.  Strange, though, when I return to being male, I am still circumcised.  Weir are born with neither hymen nor foreskin so they have a few advantages over we who were made this way.”

Eibhlin leaned over Janice, causing the other to reach up and cup her breasts and play.  “Keep doing that and we’ll never leave here.  When my ship arrives, we must explore this Drakonis of yours.  I’d love to see others who are like me.  Will I be rejected?”

Janice laughed, “Why for?  Because you are made-Weir and not born-Weir?  I’m the same.  And honestly, I’ll be embarrassed to return female but not so much that I will be scorned.  Also, dear Auntie, most Weir are bi-sexual so you will never want for beautiful and desirable lovers.”

“You are like a goat!” Eibhlin commented.  “I tried to wear you out and thought I did.  I can feel you ache down there from being torn… and yet you want more. Your lips and nipples are pink so we should probably leave now while we have sunlight and before the banths and Green Men return.”  As they dressed, she continued, “I can see that I am going to spend more time on my back than feet with you.”

“Complaining,’ Janice asked as she goosed her lover with her tail.

Eibhlin wrapped her tail around Janice’s, raised it to her lips and kissed the sensitive pad then dropped it and moved away to collect her gear and weapons.

“Nephew,  or rather niece, what do I call you now?”

“Janice Obrien.  It fits.”

“Obrien?  That’s a man’s name.  Why not Ui Bhrian as is normal for a woman?”

“Because the male form is common in my time.  Only people from centuries ago or peasant farmers well away from the cities or artists seeking to reclaim the past use the feminine form for Irish is a dying language.  But if it will make you happy, call me Janice Eileen Ui Bhrian. Thus I carry the old and the new and even your name.”

“It does, my lover.  Though we be related, I am your aunt by 300 years and more than a dozen generations so I don’t think this is incest.”

“Plus, Eibhlin,” Janice added, “You may have been born three centuries before me, but you are only forty and I am two hundred years old which makes me your senior in age and experience.”

“Still, I am closer to our common ancestor, Brian Boru so am senior in rank for in my time I still was Tierna and my title respected.  Yours,” she kissed Janice “Is just a formality,” and she pushed her niece away and walked out laughing.

“As you wish, My Lady,” Janice laughed as she curtseyed and fell over.  “Damn!  Now I have to learn how to curtsey again.  Especially with this weight on my chest.  I wonder how much they weigh?  We should do a displacement measurement and weigh our breasts sometime.”

“Men are so obsessed with breasts.  Try to be a woman and ignore them until they are needed.” Eibhlin called back.

“Easy for you to say for yours are smaller than mine. Though I find not as sensitive for I climax with a caress and a kiss and you just get excited.”

They argued in good nature as they packed their kits, chose the best weapons and gear from the dead and then walked to the east in their searches.


Their first rest, Eibhlin cut the Green Man’s radium rifle down to size.  The barrel itself was longer than either her or Janice’s body with the stock almost as long.  But with a little work, the rifle had been shortened at both ends to something long by the Assault Rifles of Jason’s time but short by her own. Still it was useable and that is what mattered to them.

“This is a very long valley that is filled with marshland. The center channel is probably kept clear by the Therns to facilitate travel to Dor.  I don’t believe we will find my people there but we may find yours.” Janice commented.

“What about those ridges?  They look low and maybe we can take the thoats along there.  Otherwise we either take a boat and abandon the thoats or travel around and maybe miss anyone in the marsh.  I’d rather not separate.”

“Even if we did, the path is on both sides of the valley so we would need a third to follow the marsh as you and I covered the two sides of the valley on thoatback.”

The night before they slept in one of the way-houses the Therns had built for their pilgrims.  And tonight they would do the same for there was one at the entrance to the valley.  Although the Thern religion of Issus had been discredited by John Carter, many still believed and Barsoom was torn between those who knew the truth (including Therns who walked the planet as Panthans) and those who still believed the lie (including Therns who remained priests without a Goddess).  As a result, the way-houses were falling apart and some being abandoned as too much trouble to repair.  But both enjoyed the hanging beds they found inside, which kept them off the floor and protected them from the ulsios which infested anyplace where they could find food.  “We should picket the thoats and I’ll climb the ridge to see what I can see.” Jason mentioned. 

Eibhlin glanced over, saw Janice on her thoat, back straight, hair loose and breasts bare.  She refused to wear a bra claiming that she had no need of one and enjoyed the freedom.  Eibhlin still wore hers but that was more modesty.  Janice did wear a short silk skirt and had adjusted her harness to resemble a woman’s version though and even wore some cosmetics she had borrowed from Eibhlin who generally ignored them until needed at a party.  When Eibhlin asked why, she was told, “Remember those werewolf movies in America?  In Ireland a werewolf is fully man or fully human.  But with each change, if the werewolf fights it, they retain a bit of their other self.  Then the next change is not as extreme until the beast remains a wolfman, neither man nor wolf like Lon Chaney Junior.  It’s like a pendulum.  You release it and it never reaches the other side, then it never returns to the starting point.  Each swing is less and less until the pendulum comes to a stop in the middle.  Same with me, if I don’t embrace the Change, go all the way to give the pendulum a push, when I return I will be mostly male but an effeminate male.  Then a masculine female until I am trapped androgynous, neither man or woman but a joke to both like those trans-sexuals who pretend that no one notices.”

“And how many times have you changed?”

“This is my fourth.  My first in Russia when I was cursed, the second when I accidentally took my daughter’s birth control pills (don’t ask but that person will never play that joke again) and the final when I had to change to rescue my daughter in Japan.  Each of those I was human female.  This is the first time I am Weir female and it does take some getting used to, especially re-learning how to pee without drenching my legs.”  Although Eibhlin loved her relative, she did wish the woman would give up her male speech and be more poetic when she described anatomy or bodily functions.  It just wasn’t lady-like to say ‘pee’ and ‘boob’ and such.

So they stabled their thoats in a make-shift paddock, ensured that they had enough water and moss and as Eibhlin readied the shelter, Janice climbed the hills.  Eibhlin wondered at the resilience of her Niece but then, the Demons changed them both from Human to Weir and the Holy Empire had changed her into a Werewolf so changing from a man into a woman was no worse.

Shortly after gathering thoat dung and dried moss for the fire, she washed in the river wishing for a tree or bush along the bank to provide real wood that didn’t stink as it burned.  But the water was down there and the ground up here and the plants that grew along the bank were little more than moss and something that looked like mossy ferns or horsetails that sent roots down to the water.  At least the horsetails were hollow and collected and filtered water which could be drunk without spitting out dirt.

“Hello!” she heard and looking up saw a man, human from his color and heat patterns with a Red couple run up.  The man stopped, breathing hard and continued in English, “I’m Bar Komas from Earth.  You are another alien!  Are you looking for Jason Obrien?  Do you speak English?   Jason promised to take us back to Earth but I’m staying but Dr Jennings, Dr Stroud and Captain North want to go back.” 

The man refused to shut up, Eibhlin thought then she turned to his companions and said in Barsoomian, “Koar!  I am the Princess Eibhlin Ui Bhrian of Ulster, a panthan in the service of Odwar Farren Koff and seeking his daughter Para Far who was last seen on this river after her flier was damaged.  My companion, the Baroness Janice Ui Bhrian is here with me seeking this man and the others he named.  You must be Vos Kar and his sister Kara.  The Lady Janice will be happy to find you all safe.”

Both Red Men stared at Eibhlin, which was normal for her though she wished that she had removed her bra and combed her hair free to flow before her chest to reduce that gaze.  Her braids and bra attracted more attention than loose hair and nudity.  But when your hair is near your waist, you had to do something to keep it from getting in the way.  Kara’s hair was as long and wavy but like all Red Woman, it never seemed out-of-place. Maybe their natural waves did that.

Then Vos Kar smiled and said, “I am glad that Jason Obreen and his.. family are reunited.  We have heard so much about Jasoom from Bar Komas we would like to apologize to him for our earlier behavour.”

“Jason Obrien isn’t exactly here,” Eibhlin commented not certain how she should mention this subject.  “But please, I am collecting water for the cistern and we should have water to drink and bathe soon.”

The others placed their gear in the house and helped gather more fuel for the fire and water to be filtered until Janice arrived carrying a large fat reptile with too many legs.  “Eibhlin,” she called, “I found dinner!  It’s even something we can eat safely!”  then she stopped, embarrassed at the sight of Steve who just stared at Janice’s naked chest, equally embarrassed but unwilling to turn away.

Janice looked back, then twisted her upper body to the right and left adding, “tick, tock, tick, tock.  Hypnotizing aren’t they?”

Embarrassed, the human stammered as he looked down, then crossed his hands before his loincloth, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything.  I,.. I…,”

“Forget it Steve, stare all you want.  It’s like a nudist camp where if you pretend, you will always be sneaking glances but if you get your eyes full now, in fifteen minutes, you will forget the Twins exist.”  Then she walked to the river, deliberately swaying her hips and tail and hair as she walked then knelt to butcher the lizard and toss the unwanted parts into the river where fish and water reptiles gathered for the feast.

“What was that all about?” Eibhlin asked as she arrived to help.

“Just having fun, dear Auntie.  He never took his eyes off Jennings when we arrived and pretended to not stare.  Sometimes the pretending is worse than the overt.”  She stroked her relative’s cheek with her tail to show compassion and affection.  They loved each other as family but were lovers in the physical because of their Weir sexuality but neither actually ‘loved’ the other as in being married.  Still, both were possessive and Eibhlin found herself being a bit jealous of the attention the man gave her niece. 

Inside, as the sun set and the fire tried to keep away the chill, for the Barsoomian houses were designed to store heat during the day and release it at night to make the inhabitants a bit more comfortable, Kara cooked the reptile for both Weir admitted that they were poor cooks who would burn the meat into leather.  Steve was speaking in Barsoomian.  Poor Barsoomian and he reverted to English often but still he had been learning the language.

“After Kara and Vos Kar and I left His Grace, we traveled north along the Iss to their home in a valley called Heaven’s Gate I think.  Actually I think it was an ancient asteroid impact crater like the one in Arizona only much larger.  The river passed through it and watered the inside, half being farmland and the other half being grazing pasture.  Vos Kar got me a job watching thoats in the valley because I couldn’t fight well enough or herd them enough to be trusted to take the herds out the valley to be traded and sold.

“Then one day we heard from the farmers during a trade meeting.  That’s where we traded thoats and meat and leather for produce, they told us that a Thern Goddess had arrived followed by an alien that looked like a moorouk.  I gather that is some kind of monkey. Well the alien had been bitten by a snake and had a bad reaction and when the Thern couldn’t heal him, they wanted to stone her or burn her at the stake or something.  I knew immediately it was Dr Jennings and Baron Obrien and snuck out to help them.  Vos Kar and Kara came with me to help because they had relatives on that side who they thought could help but by the time we arrived, the two had killed some important scientist, burned his lab, murdered some guards and ran off. 

“Since I was their friend, they wanted to punish me for their crimes and we barely managed to escape and were driven north.  We headed around these mountains,” he motioned to the ones that bordered the marsh and continued, “looking for Jason and Dr Jennings, hoping that they would be able to help us find a new home and then met you here.  So, where is your starship and how many more of you can we expect?  I guess you have to go native to blend in here like Jason did on Earth.”

Eibhlin started at Janice and giggled.  She hadn’t had this kind of fun in a very long time.  Steve, no Bar Komas as he wished to be called, thought that Janice and Jason were two different people.  He never stopped staring at Janice’s chest and she made certain that he had a good view but she also made it clear she wasn’t interested in him.  Kara was an enigma.  She obviously didn’t love the Earthman but she did like him and saw his interest in Janice’s anatomy as strange and Eibhlin’s bra as more so. 

Vos Kar jumped in then, “You are the third of your race we’ve seen here.  Do you have a hidden city around here?  Or are you the vanguard for an invasion?  The Morgors are still remembered for their invasion of Barsoom and from what Bar Komas tells us of the weapons of Jasoom and how yours are so much more powerful, I fear we couldn’t stop you.”

“Fear not, Vos Kar.  My people never invade other worlds so you are safe.  But we do study other peoples and so there are some of our Historians on your world occasionally, pretending to be one of you for the purpose of learning about your race and world.  As for we two, we arrived by accident and as soon as we can find a ship, will leave your world in peace. You have nothing to fear from us.”  Janice glanced at her aunt when she had finished who smiled at her then added, “I had built a transmitter before I came here and sent a message to my ship.  When received, it will find me and take us all away and you will be rid of us.”

Kara remained silent over dinner but stared daggers at Janice who never ceased to find joy in Steve’s attention until even Eibhlin got angry.  Finally, Janice stretched, tossed her hair back and said to all, “Please let me explain something to you.  My race are not warlike.  We were created to be workers, technicians and though some very few of us seek the sword, the numbers who do so can be counted on your fingers.  We prefer peace and farming and exploring devices over action.  I and the Lady Eibhlin Ui Bhrian are among the very few who fight.

“But we are not Red Men nor are we Jasoomian.  We are as different from you as are the Green Men and so must not be judged by your standards for our bodies have needs you cannot understand.  Most of your food that makes Bar Komas ill such as somp, can easily kill us and foods that will kill him are as nothing to us.  As you know, we stink in the heat for our bodies produce a chemical that evaporates in the heat to cool us down, a method of remaining cool that is different from your race.  Also your Barsoomian race lays eggs while mine, like those of Jasoom, bear live young.

“So here we live mainly on Mantilla milk, usa, and reptile meat and must bathe often to hide our stink.  But there is another way we are different from both your races. Sex!” Both Kara and Vos Kar became embarrassed and turned away but Steve leaned forward.  “We need sex or we die.  Were I or Eibhlin to go a month without sex, we would suffer, then die so we must often pair with someone to ease our suffering.  It doesn’t matter if we like the person, only that they keep us alive.  Thus Jennings sacrificed herself to keep Jason Obrien alive as he sought to return the Jasoomians to their homeworld.  I know that disgusted and angered you but had she not done so, he would be now dead of torture for lack of sex tortures us as would the attentions of the Green Man.  And another thing, both Eibhlin Ui Bhrian and myself prefer women as lovers.  Sometimes we are driven to the arms of a man for survival but we find that together, we can keep each other alive for months and hopefully more.

“So, as much as this will anger and disgust you, Eibhlin and I must be lovers and sleep and ‘love’ each other often for the alternative is the agony of celibacy which will lead to our deaths.  If you cannot accept this, then I must either ask you to leave us as you did leave Jason and we will continue to seek North and Stroud alone.”

The Earthman glowed with hope.  Of course, he was a nerd, beaten by jocks, probably had to pay his cousin to go to the prom with him, probably still a virgin and played D&D twice a week hoping to meet some woman on the inter-net who was as geeky as he.  And now to have two women, sexy and built, who admitted that they needed casual sex to just stay alive…  He was in every man’s fantasy.

“That’s why Jason and Dr Jennings made that deal.  She kept him alive so he could save us.  What would have happened if she wasn’t with us?”  The Earthman asked.

Janice took his chin in her fingers, looked up to him and said in English, “Then, dear boy, he would have made that deal with you and your oh so inviting ass!”

He jumped back in shock and both Weir laughed.  “Don’t worry, the last time Jason was on Barsoom, he bought a slave-girl to keep him alive.  We are a very accommodating race but have no word in our language for rape.”

The two Weir faced off after cleaning up and Janice continued with her fighting lessons.  All watched with Vos Kar offering suggestions to both and eventually joining in to help teach them more than they knew.

Kara was jealous for some reason.  She knew that there could never be anything between her and the Jasoomian man.  He had no prospects, almost no fighting skills and on Barsoom a woman sought a man who could and would protect her and her eggs and that was not Bar Komas, the Jasoomian who took a Green Man’s name.  Were she to marry him, she would probably never bear fertile eggs and those that were laid would be destroyed.  That is IF the Jasoomian were able to protect and provide for her.  Still, the way he stared at the obscenely large chests of the alien women was disgusting.  She had a vague understanding that they used those mounds to feed their children but they still looked like some tumor brought on by plague.  And the way Avleen Obreen covered hers up simply brought attention to them.  When they confessed what they needed, she couldn’t even say the word, ‘physical attention’ or they’d die, the Jasoomian man lit up and he never stopped staring at them.  He even drooled as a starving man would at a meal of broiled Thoat with somp cakes and the best wine from Dusar.  The more she learned about these Jasoomians, the less she liked them.  That Dwar Mark North was even more disgusting.  With genitals like a Green Man’s thoat, he seemed to feel that she and the Jasoomian woman would marry him for that alone.  The Doctor Stroud was a fool whose egg his mother should have destroyed as unfit.  How he survived that long was a mystery to her and even the other Jasoomians laughed at the man. Jason Obreen kept him alive only because he promised the Jasoomian woman that he would.

These aliens though.  They were different.  Jason Obreen had much skill with the blade and even these two women had some, Janice Obreen being far better than her aunt Avleen Obreen.  And both took advice and criticism and suggestions from her brother with good grace though it was clear that both were faster and stronger than was he.  The Aunt was younger in age but Elder in Rank than her niece Janice Obreen which was not unusual on Barsoom though she gathered strange on Jasoom with their unbelievably short life-spans, and both fought over leadership, compromising but still, both were Nobles and both accustomed to being in charge and so it wasn’t easy for either to take orders from the other or from her brother who naturally was and should be leader.  If she could pretend that they weren’t rutting like ulsios or even showing affection in public, Issus, no decent woman would kiss or hold hands in public with her husband and these women touched and kissed each other constantly.  Well, she could no longer return to her home, not that she had much there with her family dead, perhaps these could help her find another home, a husband worth marrying and a new life.  All she had to do was learn to accept their ways without anger.

Steve was in heaven.  Two gorgeous bi-sexual women with large boobs and a desperate need for sex. The possible combinations were near infinite.  Just the possibilities of he and they were enough and when you tossed in positions and ….  He didn’t even care about their tails or feet that made them look like monkeys.  He soon learned to ignore those on Jason and he could… no, the possibilities there, what did they do with their tails when together?  Could he watch?  If they were so open about kissing and touching now, they probably made love in public too.

He sighed and took inventory.  Dr Jennings was beautiful!  She was blonde and built and intelligent but she couldn’t even remember his name and both these knew his name immediately and didn’t forget.  Plus they both made Dr Jennings look like a boy.

Eileen Obrien, or was it Ubrien? Was the younger.  She looked like a teen (fantasies of her in a cheer-leader outfit jumping around with pom-poms) at barely five feet tall and her hair was black, straight and braided to almost her waist.  She had that Irish pug-nose, a decent chest as good as Dr Jennings but was jealous when Janice paid him any attention. Jealous was good (fantasies of a pillow-fight in baby-doll nighties)!  But she was a Princess and expected to be treated like one even though she got her hands as dirty as anyone else.

Janice Obrien, Ubrien?  Did men and women of their race use different endings on their nouns? Was ‘O’ a masculine and ‘U’ a feminine prefix?  was taller, maybe five four or five five, strawberry blond hair that curled around her shoulders like a waterfall (fantasies of that hair leaning over him) and looked to be in her mid-twenties.  Her features were more Nordic he thought (didn’t the Vikings invade Ireland and get a lot of the Irish women pregnant?) plus she was topless and her chest would put any Hollywood sex-kitten to shame.  Larger and totally firm, he could tell she was natural and not stuffed with silicon. Pity this lower gravity wouldn’t let them bounce much.  Even Dr Jennings sagged but was firmer on Barsoom than she would be on Earth.  Janice was also a Noble and like Jason, expected people to use her title.  But she was the better fighter and both Weir seemed to be enjoying some private joke which they shared in their native language.

Three alien Weir, all related (twin fantasy) and all trying to rescue him and the rest of the project members.  How long would they be in that spaceship and how bored would they be before (fantasies of zero-g groupies, some with Dr Jennings joining in) they invited him?

Neither had piercings or tattoos though both wore necklaces, bracelets and rings.  Jason had said something about Weir healing so fast piercings wouldn’t take and tattoos festered like boils. Eibhlin had earrings clipped to her ears and a chain round the base of her tail that matched the one on her ankle plus clips in her hair, and her jewelry was more delicate and feminine, like Kara’s.  Janice’s jewelry was heavier and more masculine like Vos Kar and resembled that worn by Jason.  Did the Weir use jewelry to indicate family ties?   She tried to dress feminine but her lack of proper jewelry was a hindrance and gave the appearance of a woman who had found the body of a Red Man (as did Captain North) and tried to make the man’s clothing look feminine without much success.   Almost like a tomboy suddenly deciding to act like a woman but with no idea of how.

As for weapons, Eibhlin carried her Demon Beamer, originally a cutting and welding tool but easily modified into a weapon more dangerous than any hand-weapon on Earth or Barsoom, as well as her curved sword that was made from Demon metal with a near molecular edge.  Although it looked vaguely like a Japanese Samurai Sword, its handle was wrapped simply with a small plain guard to show the irrelevance for materialism but could cut an engine block in half.  Her other weapons and gear were normal Barsoomian and her harness was feminine, with weapons.  Eibhlin was the only one who carried a radium revolver, smaller than a normal one but still as deadly, though made for a woman and with a handle modified for her extra thumb.

Janice was totally Barsoomian in her weapons save like Vos Kar and Bar Komas, she carried no firearm. 

Sometimes, either alien would use their tail to snap out and grab a wrist to pull her opponent off balance or if close, an ankle and Vos Kar had to be aware of that for these women had hand-like feet and a grasping tail that they easily used and against him and against which he had no defense.

Vos Kor tried to involve Bar Komas but he refused to stand, instead watching the three with that hip-pack in his lap for some reason.

Then later, after an hour’s work-out, both Weir were sweating and stank to the Barsoomian nose though Steve found the smell as enticing as the beads of sweat that ran between their breasts (fantasies of licking every drop of sweat from their body). So the two excused themselves for a bath and closed the door behind.  Soon the sounds of water splashing and giggles were replaced by moans and screams which caused the Red couple to leave and walk along the dock.  Steve just sat there and stared at the closed door.


The next morning, the two left their room, dressed, and even Eibhlin gave in and exited topless to the delight of the Earthman.  She decided that cold nipples were better than being stared at and left to check the thoats for the next stage of their journey.  They had three thoats, two for riding and one for pack which would now be given to Kara.  Kara!  The same name as her Vanthi lover but they looked and acted nothing alike.  Once again she missed that woman and last night had dreamed of her, Janice not caring who she thought of as they coupled.  If Janice had even thought of anyone else when they were together, Eibhlin would have stopped immediately in anger and rejection.  The two men left to search the area for food to take.  At one time, these houses were provisioned but since John Carter, the Therns were hard put to even keep the roof and walls intact.

Then as Janice was combing her hair, she approached Kara who turned away.  “I’m sorry we disturb you with our ways but we must be true to our bodies and ask you to not judge us.”

“BUT,” the Red Woman snapped, then apologized for the Weir were, after all, Nobility and Royalty.  “Can you be certain you will die?   Maybe it is just uncomfortable like when we drink too much dirty water and the stomach cramps make us think we are about to die?”

Janice started to laugh then stopped, “Dear Kara, on Jasoom the men often tell a girl that if she does not submit, he will die for no other reason than to get her to submit.  Humans lie always to get what they wish and to justify their deeds.  Even Bar Komas wishes to bed us and thinks of plans to convince us to submit.  Yes, you cannot read his thoughts but we can because we have the same ancestry. 

“Here, let me explain thus.  In Ireland on Jasoom, men would often leave their homes and families, build a hut of stones to resemble a beehive and spend their lives in fasting and prayer.  Alone, they live for years with no hardship save a touch of malnutrition but live they do.  In Japan and China men do the same, leaving to be alone in the mountains or forest to pray or to perfect their martial arts.

“Sometimes, a Weir will do the same.  They do so because their parents were very religious or they don’t believe what we are but they try.  In every case, within a couple months, they are dead.  Always!  And the pain and suffering of their death remain and we feel them with these antennae so cannot enter.  We must have humans who are dead to such sensations and trauma enter and cleanse the place and bury the body.  The only time we can live without sex is when we give birth and are nursing.

“You Barsoomian lay 13 small eggs a year and these are so small and easy that few can tell that you are pregnant or have laid. Humans and Weir bear our young live and with humans, they carry them for nine months and birth a baby between their legs that is more than 8% of their total weight and size.”  The Red Woman cringed at that, unconsciously glancing downward.  “How?” she asked then instantly, “No, I don’t want to know.”

Janice smiled and continued, thinking of herself who had been carried for eleven months and whose mother had been in labour for 35 hours.  “We Weir carry our babies for three or four months and birth a tiny helpless child who must be nursed with these.  But the infant needs so much intense milk that a mother can do naught but nurse, feed and sleep for the first year after birth.  She simply has no strength to work and that saves her from this curse of eternal sex.  Sometimes a mother will seek to raise her child alone and always both die from malnutrition within months so with us, unwed childbirth is a disgrace and we must hire House-whores to help care for the mother, the home and to sexually service the husband until his wife can resume those duties.”

“What a horrid place your Drakonis is.  I’m glad I live here for despite our problems, we have none like yours.”

“There are advantages.  On Jasoom everyone bolts their doors fearing crime.  Women never go out alone fearing rape and people die in the streets from hunger and disease.  Slaves we may be to our sexuality, and we live in terror of being lost alone to die of celibacy. And without Eibhlin, I would soon die as she would without me or we would simply be forced to bind your brother to a bed and abuse him nightly.” Kara shuddered so Janice continued, “But on Drakonis few own a weapon and fewer carry one and no one has locks on their doors.  Women may sleep in the parks naked and alone and be safe from defilement or abduction.  No one goes hungry and we have no word for rape or theft or murder or poverty or starvation so we all have good and bad in our lives.

“But I need to beg a favour of you.  Although my aunt carries weapons, she wears the Harness and jewelry of a woman.  Mine is that of a man.  I would beg you to assist me in to dress properly as a woman who is a panthan for I am new to your world and never paid much attention to how a free woman dresses here.”

For the first time Kara smiled at the Weir and agreed, having Janice stand and turn as she examined her.  Then she took her into the room she used alone, had her strip and commented, “There isn’t much we can do with this harness but perhaps the smaller, lighter belts and if we move them thus and….”  Then when she had dressed Janice to her satisfaction, she opened her own pouch and offered her jewelry, “It’s not much and not suitable for a Noblewoman but it will help. Now for your cosmetics.  You wear your lips and eyes like a, well I don’t know what that is but if it is proper on your world, it looks terrible here.  Your aunt the Princess wears none though she would look much nicer if she would. So let me advise you here.  Your hair is so totally unusual it distracts from everything.  It is wavy which is normal but far too short and almost yellow like a Thern but with highlights of red that I have never seen.  All the Red Race has wavy black hair and women wear it long and free, though your aunt has hair that is straight and braided. We must find a color for your lips and eyes that will compliment your hair and face. Why are your eyebrows so much darker than your head-hair?  Oh, you darken them I see.  We shall see what we can do.”

Even on Barsoom women enjoy dress-up and although Janice hated the game, she understood that it would reduce tension between the two races and help her return to normal later so pretended to enjoy the experience.  When Eibhlin returned and called out, finding the common room empty, Janice called, “Eibhlin, come here, we are having a party!”

“Well, dear Niece, do not you look so beautiful.  Not as beautiful as does Kara who would steal the heart and mind of half the races in the galaxy but still I would not be ashamed to be seen in public on your arm.”

That compliment was exactly what Kara wished and Janice insisted that Eibhlin join in and be made up herself.  “I do enjoy the look and wear it in public but here, in the desert, it is just too much work to maintain.”

“Then, Princess,” Kara insisted, “you will not, but for a few hours you shall look as a proper Red Woman. I only wish we had the proper jewelry and harness for you.”

When the men returned, calling out for they were long ready to leave, Kara had them stand by the door and said, “May I present to you the Princess Avleen Obreen and the Lady Janice Obreen.”

When they entered the common room, Vos Kar stood straighter then bowed, “Never have I seen such loveliness,” and sought to kiss their hands.  Bar Komas just stood there, his mouth open until Janice passed and whispered, “Go change your loincloth.” Then to her aunt, “I think we made an impression on Steve.”  They both laughed and packed their gear for the men would walk and they rode.  Janice said to Eibhlin, “I always knew I was attractive to men but I always thought it was because of my chest.”

“Well, at least Steve now knows what colour our eyes are.” Eibhlin laughed as they mounted.  “I will miss the look though,” she sighed.  “I don’t know how Kara keeps herself looking so good when I never see her making her face.”

“She has a lifetime of practice and besides, scrub we three down and even naked, no one would notice you or I with her in the room.”  Kara beamed at that for all women, no matter what their planet or age or sexual-preference enjoys an honest compliment.


They soon reached the hills and had to decide which way.  “Well, your charge went down the river we know but did she leave the river and proceed on foot or was her boat salvaged for a water trip?  I can give my thoat to Bar Komas or Vas Kor and one can go with you along one trail with the other on the other while I follow the marsh.  Then we can meet on the other side.”

Vos Kor interrupted for it wasn’t the way of the Red Man to allow a woman to make his decisions for him, even women who were as strong and capable as were the Weir.  “These marshes go for more than 700 haads, a thousand if you follow the trails.  That is a dozen days alone on the trail and who knows what dangers we will see from White Ape to Calot pack to Banth to Green Men.  I suggest we search along the dividing of the trail and search for clues.  You said she lost her device but maybe she left it as a clue for rescue?”

“Perhaps,” Eibhlin added.  “By now she will have become tired of her sport and she knows I am searching for her.  A good idea Vos Kar.”  And although both women wanted to be in charge, they found themselves agreeing to his ideas.

Within an hour, Steve found a fragment of silk, “Here!  Does this mean anything?”  and when together, Eibhlin commented, “It could be hers.  The silk is far too fine for anyone other than a wealthy person and she was wearing that colour.  I think our direction is decided.” And they rode and walked to the southern edge of the cliffs.

Two days later they climbed a low place in the hills and gazed out upon the marsh.  Some twenty miles away, near the horizon they saw the further edge though the length stretched into infinity.  Down the center they saw the Iss, red with dust but open of reeds to facilitate travel but ringed with plants that a spyglass revealed to be something like cattails, though different.  Janice commented, “I don’t see any land.  When I was a galley slave, Marsh Arabs made islands in the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers from reeds.  I’ve been looking for some but don’t see any but maybe your eyes will be better.”

“Why do you think the marsh is inhabited?”  Kara asked.

“Because I have found that wherever life can exist, life will exist.  And on a world like Barsoom where resources are so limited, people will manage to find a way to exploit those resources.”

Vos Kor added, “It doesn’t mean that those who life there are human?  I’ve heard of the Insect Kaldanes and the swamps of Toonol have leaping creatures that think so perhaps these marshes have other life that is different.”

Janice looked around, weighing responsibilities and decided.  “Perhaps later.  What about canoes?  Pilgrims?”  But no one saw anything so they turned back and continued on.  Eibhlin asked, “You wanted to go down and explore, why didn’t you?”

“I have responsibilities.  Steve must be returned to Earth.  Stroud and North too.  Until my duty is done, my own desires must be second.”

Later they made camp in a culvert where they would be warm over the night and Janice kissed Eibhlin goodnight as was her custom and upon being kissed back, proceeded further until Eibhlin pushed her away, “He’s watching!” she hissed.

Janice glanced then whispered back, “Let him, it gets me hot to know we’re being watched.”

“I don’t like being public.  If you wish to proceed further, find us privacy.  He’ll probably do himself if we continue.”

Janice laughed and sat up, “Could be fun to watch, or he could join in.  Men love to watch two girls.  They think we’ll invite him to join us.”

“Men are pigs.  I don’t know how you live with yourselves.” And she rolled over and slapped Janice away until she gave up.

“Bar Komas, you are really ruining my sex life.” Janice whispered.

The Banth struck just before dawn when the sun was up but not over the hills and the moss still frozen.  It was the crunching of that moss that alerted the group and Eibhlin was thrown as her thoat reared to confuse the predator with the waving of its multiple legs.  In hindsight, she realized that it was similar to a school of fish or a flock of pigeons that milled to confuse a shark or hawk.  The seconds the banth took to realize that the waving legs were one animal and to sort out the target gave the thoat a chance to turn and run.  Instantly Vos Kar and Janice drew their swords and faced the banth, poking at eyes, ears and nose to hold the beast off.  Still confused from the thoat, the carnivore growled and snapped and struck with its forepaws which was the only thing that saved the group.  Steve pulled Kara to cover, or rather was pulled for she knew that if she were hidden and safe, the men would be able to focus on their own defense. Then the Earthman ran to pick Eibhlin up.  Stunned, she allowed him to help her then he pulled her revolver from her holster and proceeded to empty the cylinder into the side of the banth.

Parts of flesh and blood larger then a fist were blown away and the banth turned to its new enemy, exposing its side to Janice who ran in and attempted to thrust to its heart.  The new pain caused it to turn again and as strong as the Weir was, her sword was wrenched from her hand and she was tossed some distance to land bleeding from a clawed paw.  Then the banth fell in two, bisected along its body from head to tail, the invisible beam also cutting through rock yards away.  Janice survived only because she was on the ground and the beamer passed but inches above her.

All ran to her and rolling her over, she screamed in pain, blood flowing from her hip.  Eibhlin unfastened Janice’s sword belts revealing that most of the force was taken by her sword sheaths causing wounds to her hip-bone but not fatal ones.  Bar Komas washed the wounds with the last of his water as Kara carefully applied the miraculous healing potions that often made death take a vacation. 

Janice looked down and swore, “Damn!  That is going to leave a scar.  No more g-strings in public for me!” then she passed out.

Hours later she woke up, sore and bandaged and asked, “What happened?”

Eibhlin explained, “You and Vos Kar kept the banth occupied until Bar Komas was able to shoot it with my pistol.  Then I got the banth with my beamer but not before it clawed you.  Had your sword sheaths not been in the way and tangled its claws, it would have pulled your intestines from your belly.  How do you feel?”

“Terrible. My hip hurts.  You have a Beamer?”

“You don’t remember?  I kept it when I left the Demons. It’s not military grade but a cutter that I modified, but it works well enough as that Orovar telepath learned when you were still Jason.”

“What’s the power and range. The ones my Lanai use are T-class and can cut a battleship in half at a dozen kilometers.”

“This is maybe G-class.  I can kill a man at a hundred yards easily but not much more.  The power decreases with range after a few yards.”

“I guess a beamer is a weapon but T-class?  G-Class? What does that mean?” asked Steve, again a technician. 

“Power useage.  Think of T-class as taro-watt and G-class as giga-watt.  It’s not accurate but gives you an idea.  We use them instead of lasers though, ouch!  Fuck that hurts! If we can find a decent lab, maybe we can make a laser or T/R-ray since beamers are beyond even Barsoomian technology.  Do you have any other technical devices with you that I forgot to ask about?”

“I don’t, dear.  When I transited, I was clutching my sword and beamer and thinking of defense and escape.  Thus my clothes and gear were left behind but those weapons came with me.”

“What’s a T/R-ray?”  Again Steve was curious.  For a man planning to remain on Barsoom, his Earthly training did appear at the most inopportune times.  Kara pushed him aside and began to remove and examine Janice’s wounds.  Steve stared and Eibhlin said finally, “Yes, she’s a natural blonde and no she cannot have sex right now or until her injuries heal.”

“What do you mean no sex?  Just be careful!” Janice complained.

In Gaelic Eibhlin snapped, “That is your inner-man talking.  Men want to get laid when they are dieing.  Women loose their sex-drive as soon as we are ill or injured.”

“But a few good orgasms will help accelerate the healing.” Janice suggested.

“Are you just saying that or is that true?”

“True, Auntie.  Just give me enough time to prevent you from ripping the wounds open and stuff my stomach to provide replacement mass and I can be walking tomorrow.  Damn, I forgot, lez-sex doesn’t heal so it will have to be Steve.  Lucky boy.”  Then to Bar Komas in Barsoomian, “It’s an Amtorian weapon.  Basically, you combine parts of the Actinide Series in such a way that the radiation breaks down the Weak Forces of anything or just animal tissue, depending on the way it’s constructed.  Since the Barsoomian use Radium so easily in their bullets, they should have the technology to generate T and R-rays.”

“Phor Tak,” Steve mused.

“Who,” Janice bit her lip as Kara cleaned the pus from one of the deepest scratches.  “Maybe no sex tonight.  Sorry Steve.”

“Phor Tak.  He was a scientist of Jahar I think.  He invented invisibility paint, guided missiles and a disintegrator that sounds like your T-ray.”  Then as Janice stared at him, “Ok, I read the novels and they are coming back to me.  I don’t see how that could be though.  The Actinide Series is the highly radioactive series between Actinium (#89) and Rutherfordium (#104) and Radium is number 88, a totally separate Group with different Valences.  Besides, the lead shielding you’d need for a Radium reactor would be too heavy for any aircraft, not to mention a hand-gun.  I don’t even see how these bullets can contain Radium and not kill us with radiation sickness.”

Eibhlin switched to Gaelic, “The man is smart and fortunately, too smart to allow his imagination to run free.  He knows what he learned and nothing else. I’ve already figured out how to combine Neptunium and Plutonium to do the task.”

“He did say that he built what Jennings told him to build and Stroud wasn’t smart enough to realize that degaussing a metal mass wouldn’t deflect radar.  So we are probably safe allowing the two to return to Earth.  Try Neptunium and Berkelium with a Cesium- Helium catalyst.”

“You’d need a coolant to drop the Helium to -273 degrees for that.”

“Not if you …”  The discussion got very technical for both had been engineered for that purpose by the Demons.  Neither could invent a new device but both could build anything they could imagine and both had seen similar weapons in the past.

But the discussion did take Janice’s mind from her wounds, which was her aunt’s plan and soon, she was bandaged again, fed and Kara said to them, “Your hip-bone is scratched and skin tore badly.  I am not a physician but did what I could.  You will live and walk again but be scarred, though looking at your back and legs and belly, this is not unusual for you.”

Janice laughed, “It does mean I’ll have to get undressed in the dark when my lovers are present.”

Bar Komas spoke softly, “I think your skin is beautiful as it is.  Were it perfect, the Gods themselves would strike you down in jealousy.”

He had spoken in English so both Weir turned to look.  He hadn’t intended for them to hear and became embarrassed until Janice motioned him over, “Thank you, though I am far from beautiful.  Attractive and sexy with a rack that won’t quit but hardly beautiful.”

“I think you are.”

Then she kissed him.  On the lips and gently and pulled away quickly, embarrassed herself and said, “I need some sleep.” Then Eibhlin covered the two of them with a fur and silk and asked in Gaelic, “What was that for?”

“I felt like it.  Besides, he deserves a reward for shooting the banth.”  Then added, “Maybe my hormones are still going crazy.  This clawing isn’t enough to force me to change back.”

“Good thing we are not in love or I’d be jealous right now.”

“We also need to distract him from local technology.  Jennings understood a lot of it immediately, I’d like to not worry about him doing the same because the more who learn this stuff, the more our people have to watch.  If I can keep his thoughts on our ass and tits, then he will be too confused to study what he shouldn’t.”

“Just be careful it doesn’t backfire or you’ll never be able to bend over around him.”

Janice yawned then asked, “Wake me for my watch,” and was snoring immediately.


The next morning no one woke Janice and when she did awaken, she was angry.  Everyone ignored her complaints until Kara arrived to change her dressing, “I’m not an invalid,” Janice insisted.

“You will be if you don’t let this heal.  My, it is well on the way to healing.  Is that tender?”  She poked carefully at the scabs.

“A little sensitive but not painful.  My kind heals fast.  The Demons didn’t want to loose our service while we malingered in the med-bay.  Just give us lots of food to rebuild and we’ll be fine.  I gather there is no infection?”  She was thinking about the snake-bite that almost killed her not long ago and feared the same with the banth.

“None. Banths are very clean and rarely have dirty claws.  Tomorrow we shall see if you can ride.”


“Tomorrow or I shall have the Princess sit on you as my brother and Bar Komas tie you up.”

Janice lay back defeated.  “I’d enjoy that too much but even a light spanking would be too much right now.”  Kara looked at her in disgust, not knowing if this was another joke or if she were serious.  You could never tell with Janice.  Eibhlin was simple to understand.  She had a terrible life and refused to allow herself to heal as she searched for something even she didn’t know.  Janice had a terrible life and joked about it and seemed to have a purpose in her life which she enjoyed. But the Earthman was now ignoring the Red Woman and running to serve Janice, begging as a slave to bring her breakfast, wash her face, fetch her anything.

Eibhlin tried to explain that Steve was a ‘nerd’ or a ‘dork’ and although decent looking, was desperate for any female to pay him any attention.  Since Janice had kissed him, he thought he was in love.  “She will hurt him soon enough.  She won’t mean to but it is inevitable when she reminds him that she prefers women and they cannot have that kind of relationship.”

“I thought you Weir would…” she couldn’t say the word, “be with anyone?”

“We do, when desperate.  But right now we are not.  Maybe in a few months when our bodies realize that we are women and not a man and women. Then Bar Komas will have every fantasy he could ever wish.  But we hope to have found whom we seek and be well on the way to returning everyone to their homes by then.”

That afternoon Janice asked help to stand and walk, help that was politely refused until she called, “Steve, if you don’t help me stand up right now, I will roll over and stand by myself and tear open every scab on my body!”

Eibhlin came to help and with one under each arm, the human glorying in feeling her breast press into his body, she cried out, “Dammit!  I spent three years on this planet and never got anything more than a scratch.  Now I cannot even walk a haad without almost being killed.  What the hell is going one with me!” 

With some help, she was able to walk and rest and walk some more.  By sundown she could walk some distance without aid though her hip ached so.  Steve commented to her, “You are amazing.  Had that been me, I’d be in ICU in a hospital for weeks and not healed this much in months including physical therapy.”

“We heal fast or we die.  Thanks Steve.  Feel free to take a grope as your reward.”  He turned red, averted his eyes and ran away.  “That wasn’t nice,” Eibhlin commented.

“I was serious.  He’s been nice and brave, as brave as he can be so I was going to reward him.  You know how men are, let them cop a feel and they are happy for days.”  Eibhlin wondered if her niece was beginning to accept her new sex too well and turning to men for lovers.  If so, everyone would be hurt when Janice returned to being Jason.

The next day Janice insisted, “The longer we wait, the more chance that Para Far will be lost to us.  I can walk and when I cannot walk, I can ride.  We need to move out now!”

Sighing, Eibhlin agreed and even Vos Kar said she was right.  But they were down to two thoats, Eibhlin’s having run off with her saddle and gear and the Green Man’s radium rifle during the banth’s attack.  So Kara rode one with half their gear, the being second for Janice and the other half of their gear.  She walked until her hip hurt and then rode until her thighs hurt then dismounted and walked again.  And always the Earthman was there to offer her his arm and ask if she needed water or anything.

Finally she asked Eibhlin to walk with her and asked her shadow to walk the thoat slowly to cool it down.

The two walked ahead of Bar Komas and conversed in Gaelic for privacy, “Was I ever that bad?” Janice asked.

“Worse,” her aunt replied.  “I couldn’t bend over for fear you’d poke me in the arse or cunny.”

Janice shook her head causing her hair to flow and the Earthman to drool again.  “What shall we do with him?”

“I think you should either bed him or tell him who you are.  He’s either a virgin and will be desperately grateful for any sex or homophobic and disgusted but still desperate for sex.  The former will make him fall in love, the latter drive him away.”

“Then why don’t you?  You have more experience with men than do I?”

“I? Janice? I’ve only had maybe one or two male lovers in my entire life ad you were one of them.  You know more of what a man likes than do I.”

Janice laughed at that, “One or two?  You rent male whores every month to ease your Need!”

Eibhlin snapped, “They don’t count!” and moved ahead.  Her ‘sin’ as she called it, was always a sore spot with her.

“Then, dear Auntie,” Janice called to her back, “What was I?  Lover or unimportant!”

Bar Komas came forward to ask, “Lady Janice, Pardon me for asking but I seem to recall that you say that you were born in the mid-20th century and are 200 years old but look 25.  Your Aunt, Princess Eibhlin was born in the 17th century, is 40 years old and looks 17.  How can that be when this is the early 21st century?”

“Time travel tends to cause a lot of anomalies.”  Janice commented, not really thinking about the question.

“Time Travel?  But Einstein proved that time travel is impossible.  It violates the Law of Conservation of Matter.”

“Then,” Janice snapped, still upset with her aunt’s hypocrisy about her sexual relations with men, “I must be as mad as my own mother to think such a thing possible.” And refused to listen to anything else he said.

It was Vos Kar who, being in the lead, heard the White Apes and weapons-fire first.   Torn by his need to protect his sister and the alien women and the knowledge that they could care for themselves, he allowed his natural attitudes to control his actions and he called out, “Wait here with Bar Komas, I’ll see what can be done,” as he ran ahead.

Janice tried to run too but her hip wasn’t healed enough so Eibhlin called, “You have my revolver, protect the group,” and ran to join Vos Kar.”

“Dammit!” Janice swore, also torn but she knew that with a beamer, Eibhlin was almost invulnerable and Kara and Steve needed her for although the Earthman saw himself as a great Barsoomian warrior and was stronger than any Red Man, he was still a child with a sword and even one White Ape would tear him apart.  “We stay here, Bar Komas,” she told Steve and rested on a large rock, Eibhlin’s revolver loose in its holster her hand on the handle.  Both Bar Komas and Vos Kar had requested the weapon but Janice asked, “Can either of you hit anything with a revolver?”

When Bar Komas was still Steve, on Earth, he confessed that he never handled a firearm in his life.  Vos Kar admitted that he had fired one occasionally but wasn’t a good shot for most Red Men prefer the sword.  At that Janice tossed a rock far into the distance then drew and destroyed the rock with a single shot as it struck the ground.   It was a lucky shot and she was glad she didn’t have to repeat it for though a good shot in recent decades, revolvers were designed for short ranges of a few yards. But the demonstration served its purpose and there were no more arguments.

Kara dismounted and led her thoat to be next to Bar Komas, ready to mount and run if needed.  “Lady Janice,’ Kara called, “Should you not be mounted in case we must flee?”

“I am a warrior.  My duty is to remain behind and protect my charges.  If we are attacked, Bar Komas will flee with you and protect you until he can return you someplace in safety.”  Janice wasn’t really listening, her attention being focused on the battle ahead.


Vos Kar had little concern for leaving his sister behind for though he knew that Bar Komas was inept but Janice Obreen was an excellent fighter, still his guts cringed at leaving a woman alone.  Almost immediately Eibhlin joined him and slowed to his speed, her sword as ready as his.

Once around the rocks and across the plain, they stopped and observed a dead White Ape, killed by revolver fire with another climbing to reach a Red Man and Red Woman.  Three other Red bodies showed that the Apes had lived up to their reputation.  The remaining was injured, one arm blown away but it climbed on four limbs, its two legs and two intermediary limbs which in this situation were used to climb as it swung a stone cudgel at the couple with it’s remaining arm.

Vos Kar whispered, “I will attack from behind and cripple it, you climb around and assist the Red Woman.”

Seeing no reason to question the plan, she ran and jumped up the rocks with an ease that made the Red Man stare then he gathered himself and attacked the beast, cutting at its legs which were within reach.

Eibhlin joined the couple above and both she and the Red Man stabbed down with their swords into the face of the Ape, narrowly avoiding the cudgel that broke rocks every time it struck.
Finally, giving up on its prey as unreachable at that time, the ape dropped to confront Vos Kar, doubtless intending to finish him quickly then return to those above once the distraction behind was finished. 

With a scream intended to freeze its prey, the ape raised its cudgel and advanced, its fifteen-foot height dwarfing the Red Man.  Then Eibhlin jumped and landed on the apes back, her heavier weight and the impact of her arrival dropping the ape to its knees.  A lesser being would have been crushed by the impact but on Barsoom she weighed a bare forty pounds and it was the surprise of her action that staggered the beast.  She wrapped her tail around the arm of the ape, used her tarsial feet to take further purchase and with both hands drove her blade downward into the ape’s body as Vos Kar ran in to thrust upward to the heart of the animal.

The thing shuddered, screamed again, dropped its cudgel and collapsed just as the Red Man moved back to avoid being crushed.  Eibhlin picked herself from the ground where she had been flung and smiled, “Thank you Vos Kar.  I wasn’t certain I would survive that.”  She wrenched her blade from the body then together they rolled the ape over to pull Vos Kar’s sword free.  Only then did they focus their attention on those they had saved.

“Well, Para Far, it has been a long road but at last I have found you.  Are you ready to return to your father or must I kill this man, bind you like a prisoner and drag you back behind my thoat?”

The Red Woman stiffened and said, “I shall not be talked to thus by a Moorouk!”

Eibhlin sighed and struck so fast her charge never saw the hand that stopped less than an inch from her face, a slap that would have broken the woman’s neck had it connected.  Then Eibhlin took Para Far’s chin in her hand and whispered into her ear, “I serve your father but call me that again and I will tie a rock to your ankles, drop you into the Iss for the silians to eat and tell your father that you were killed and eaten by banths.  Do you understand me?”

She shuddered and barely nodded in agreement and said in a loud voice, “Panthan Avleen Enyen Obreen, you may escort me back to my father.” Deliberately ignoring the Irishwoman’s title and position, she walked away to the south.

Giving her charge’s companion a look that said, ‘one reason and I will happily kill you,’ Eibhlin pointed and said, “That way!” then sighed in disgust as the woman turned around to go north.  “I shall have my womb torn out to prevent ever having children like her,” she sighed.

Vos Kar came close and asked, “Is she that bad?”

“Her father is Odwar and related to the Jed.  She is sole child and spoiled and now I see why.  After she hatched, her parents must have stomped every other egg they bore into the ground to prevent another such mistake.”

Soon enough, they reached the remainder of the group, Para Far never faltering and acting as if she were on display the entire walk.  Then Vos Kar said to the newly enlarged group, “Here we have mantilla and a water seep and comfort, it will be dark soon so we should sleep here tonight.”

Para Far looked around and asked, “You came on Thoat?  What of that flier you chased us with?”

“MY flier,” Eibhlin started to snap then calmed and spoke softly, “was grounded by Green Man firearms.  The Lady Janice found your flier destroyed by poor maintenance.  So unless you have another suggestion, this is how we go.”

Para Far stiffened and said in as cold a voice as she could, “It is not my place to make those decisions.  That is why my father hired you, to ensure my safe and comfortable return.  I suggest that you do your job.”  Then she sat after staring at her companion who quickly placed a fur on a rock for her.

Janice stood, alone and without help though all save Para Far and her companion rose to assist, “And I thought I was a bitch!  Who’s the fop?”

“Just some idiot who thought a grand adventure would endear her to him.  She does this often and I was the only one her father told to fetch her back.  I suppose that he was afraid that anyone else would toss her overboard.”

“I met a woman like that in Italy around the end of the fifteenth century.  She was a Medici and thought the world revolved around her.”

“What happened to her,” Eibhlin asked, taking mental notes.

“Lucretia Borgia hired ruffians to cut her nose cut off after she bragged that she was the more beautiful.  In this case, I don’t think that would work.”  Like all Red Woman, Para Far was undeniably beautiful and Janice idly wondered about that.  ALL Red Women were beautiful by human standards.  At least Janice had never seen one lacking in beauty.  So if all were beautiful, how did they differentiate the beautiful from the plain?  Would a beautiful woman by Earth standards be seen here as ugly or because her ear lobes were one half a millimeter too wide would she be seen as unattractive?

“Can I get you something?” Bar Komas asked.  The suddenness of his arrival caused Janice to start and grasping her chest between her breasts, she panted, “Don’t do that!  I near had a heart attack.”

“I’m sorry, I thought you looked sad and thought I could help cheer you up.”

She looked him over from head to feet then back again, trying to see him as a potential lover and not an annoyance.  He was decent looking.  The flab from working around a soldering iron on Earth having given away to some muscle.  He was no Mark North but he did look .. nice.  Hard, lean, tanned.  Put him in trunks and on a California beach and he’d now attract attention.  “Stand and turn around please.” She asked.  Nice ass.  Really nice ass.  The kind you grabbed and dug your nails into as he …  bury that thought!

“Why me?” she asked.  “Why not Kara who is far more beautiful than I could ever be.  Is it these?” she held her breasts in offering, “Or the fact that you know you stand no chance with her?  Or you think my promiscuity will eventually get you laid?  Why?”

Steve looked like a puppy she had just whipped for piddling on the floor.  “I just like you.  You are beautiful and intelligent and you were nice to me.  Women aren’t nice to me, they use me.  They had me do their papers in school and even at the project, Dr Jennings didn’t even know my name and we worked together for three years.  You knew who I was even before we were introduced.”

“I remember.  I was the same way, I never had a date until I was, what, I really don’t remember but it was late, very late. People used me and cast me aside.  Now they chase me for this (she stroked her hair) and these (she touched her breasts) and because I am a bit of a whore at times.”  She sighed, took his face in her hands, he not even tensing at her dorsal thumbs and looked up into his eyes, eyes that looked back not seeing the cat-folds but the person he thought was within.  “Bar Komas, Steve, I’m not what you think I am.  I’m not what you want and I am certainly not what you need.  There may come a time when I bed you, but it will be for sex only and I will use you and cast you aside though while together I will give you every fantasy you could dream of and try hard to be the best lover you will ever have.  But I’m not what you think I am and when you learn the truth about me, you will hate yourself almost as much as you will hate me.”  She kissed him, gently, almost wishing she were wearing lipstick to give him something to remember, forcing herself to keep her lips together and her tongue behind her teeth, then she said, “You are a nice boy but I’m centuries older than you and will still be young centuries after you have died of old age.”

Then she brightened, “I have an idea.  Stand there.  Eibhlin!  Bring another mirror.” Then she removed a small one of polished brass from her pack and held it before him.  “You are not the dork you were on Earth.  Look at that body.  Lean, hard, athletic.  If I liked men, you would be one to choose.  Not as buff as North but still, enough to turn any eye on the beach.  This planet has been good to you.  Eibhlin, hold that mirror behind Bar Komas so he can see his back.”

The man looked, perhaps seeing himself for the first time and Eibhlin added, “Were I not a confirmed lesbian, I’d do you.  Tight ass, nice pecs.  Strong legs. Not too hairy.  You won’t win a Mr. Universe contest but then, I never saw what girls saw in them.  Too much on the shoulders and too little in the head and pants.”

They left him as Eibhlin added to her niece, “Now you’ll never get rid of him.  And he won’t be able to handle the truth.”

“How did you?”  Janice asked.

“I saw it happen.  Had it been the other way, Janice to Jason, I would have been very angry and hurt.  But you helped me accept men and then you changed.  Besides, after twenty years in space living among Demons and Skree and S’tyr and Vanthi and Mon and whatever Brount was and a dozen other races, you learn to be really accepting of aliens and whatever humanity changed into over the last thousand years.”


Over dinner Vos Kar called them together and asked.  “Princess Avleen Enyen Obreen, now that you have rescued your charge, will you now leave us to return Para Far to her father?”

“I don’t know yet.  My flier is destroyed by Green Men, Para Far’s flier has a twisted shaft so cannot fly and we have but two thoats for seven people and my goal is some 10,000 haads away.  That is a long way to walk.”  A glance prevented Para Far from speaking her mind and she elbowed her companion when he tried to speak.

“And you Lady Janice Obreen?”

“I still have to find the remaining two Jasoomians or proof of their deaths. I figure maybe 30 days walk to the place we left them then how long into the Otz Mountains I don’t know.  Then another forty days to where I left Jennings.  I really hadn’t planned to be here that long.”

“I have a thought if you would are to listen,” Vos Kar added.  He knew that both women were prideful of their position and disliked taking orders from anyone.  Bar Komas, he knew, would go wherever the Weir led and both he and his sister were glad that he was no longer interested in the Red woman.

When both agreed to listen, he spoke out and all agreed, all who mattered anyway, that it was a sound plan.  Janice only wished they still had the rifle Eibhlin took from the Green man for two revolvers and a beamer would not do enough.

Two days later they were at the entrance to the marsh where they released the thoats and tossed the last two canoes into the Iss.  Then they piled rocks along the expected path to their goal to allow closer approach and both Eibhlin and Janice searched the rest-house for any EM-fields which would indicate hidden cameras or other observation devices.  Finding none, they left and made camp within the nearby reeds that ran from the Iss to the marsh in the valley.

Para Far complained but a suggestion by Eibhlin, “You can either aid us, stay out of the way or we walk home,” silenced her to an extent though she ordered her companion as if he were a slave and no one interfered.  “If the fool is that stupid, he deserves her.  At least it keeps them both from underfoot.”

“Are you certain this will work?”  Kara asked Janice when they were ready.

“Not at all.  But I am an expert at this sort of thing and your brother’s plan seems to be the best we have.  At least the moss will prevent my knees from being bloodied.”

From then on, it was wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Eibhlin and Janice made love often and once when Janice saw Bar Komas staring, she blew him a kiss and a smile and continued with her actions.  He avoided her the rest of the day. No one cared what Para Far did so long as she did it away from them but soon it became clear that she had abandoned her paramour and was pretending interest in Bar Komas, probably because he was exotic and strange.  “She is using you and unlike Janice, cares not for your feelings,” Eibhlin told him. 

“You are just jealous of her beauty and wealth so return to your lover,” he snapped.  Eibhlin could have fought back but gave up thinking that he needed to learn and she had tried to warn him.

Eibhlin scanned the skies for her ship but found nothing.  Since she had no idea of when she was, the Mairayd would have to search time and space for her.  She hoped it wouldn’t take too much longer She had been here far longer than she had planned.

And Kara and her brother played Jetan and discussed where they would go and how long before it would be safe to return to their home.  When your lifetime is measured in centuries, you learn early on to remain quiet for long periods of time and to respect your fellow’s thoughts so boredom that was driving the human insane, was easily accepted by the others.

Finally it happened.  Kara was scanning the sky with the spyglass from their hidden spot and signaled the rest.   Vos Kar took over and ordered, “Para Far, take your position in the reeds.  Lady Janice and Princess Avleen, make ready.  Bar Komas, ready yourself.”

Eibhlin and Janice hid in the reeds as Steve hid under the wharf.  Red Men are terrified of deep water so none would search there.  And being stronger than any Red Man on the planet, if he could surprise them, he would have a chance.

The flyer stood to the desert for some time, doubtless scanning the rest-house and road for signs of life.  Then seeing none, it approached and landed nearby and the Therns opened the cargo bay to remove canoes which they placed on the dock.  During this time, both Weir crawled along the low area from rock to rock until they were close enough and waited. 

Then Vos Kar judged the time right and signaled, firing his revolver and killing the Thern on lookout on the flyer.  At that moment the Earthman left the water beneath the wharf and screaming like a madman, charged the Therns on the dock who, startled at a white-skinned brown-haired lunatic, forgot to draw until it was too late.  Bar Komas, paddle in hand, simply used his greater mass and strength to slam into the Therns and push them all into the water.  Not fearing drowning, he gladly went into the river with them and as they panicked, he released the paddle and swam for the shore and drifted along until he found the rope that had been placed there for him.  He then climbed to shore and ignored the cries of the Therns who were swept downstream until they drowned.

Both Eibhlin and Janice ran for the open bay door which closed immediately, so the two women met beneath the rising craft and Eibhlin, being the smaller and lighter, leapt into the waiting hands of her niece who flung her as high as she could.  Eibhlin easily reached the deck and pausing only to clip a hook to the rail, tossed her rope down and faced the Thern who ran onto deck, sword at the ready.  The man was far better than was Eibhlin who barely stood her ground for as strong and fast as she was, the centuries of experience possessed by the Therns fighting Black Pirates meant that the Thern was one of the best swordsmen on the planet or he would have died long ago.  Having served with Thern panthans, she had considerable respect for their abilities.

Fortunately, he didn’t count on her companion for Janice grabbed the rope before the flyer rose too high and climbed the cable.  Hands, feet and tail made to climb around a starship hull found a rope to be as simple as a steady ladder and a feat that would have taxed a human or Red Man was easy for the Weir who climbed over the rail and confronted the Thern who was cutting her aunt to pieces.  A quick blow with her fist and the Thern fell with skull crushed from behind.  Eibhlin was bleeding from a number of cuts, none deep and gasped, “I’m having trouble breathing, we need to lower this craft …,”  the two ran forward to the flight deck to find the door locked.  Eibhlin drew her beamer and the door fell in with a kick, cut from its frame.  The Thern flying pulled a revolver then fell, the top of his head gone from the beamer.

Janice pulled the body free, snapping the retaining belts as Eibhlin struck the release lever that lowered the flyer and soon they were low enough to breathe easily and to return to the rest-house.

Vos Kar was pinned down by the two Therns in the house.  Every time he tried to stand to fire, one of the Therns sent a radium bullet to explode too close to his head.  He couldn’t run or attack or even hide for the Therns would soon approach and he would die.  Then he watched the fop who had said little and done less than seduce Para Far walk from the reeds, hands empty.  The fool!  Then he drew and two rounds fired almost as one and the man holstered his revolver as he continued to walk forward.  Vos Kar stood to see both Therns dead, a large hole in their chest over their hearts.  Looking at the fop he heard the man say, “You may neither like nor respect me, but were I as useless as you think, Para Far would have long ago died from the dangers of our journey.”  Then the man removed the gold from the dead and walked away.

Finally together, they stripped the bodies of the Therns and boarded the flyer with Vos Kar at the controls.  Eibhlin said to him, “Fly low lest we die from lack of air for we have not your lungs.”

“How do I know how high?”

“Watch Bar Komas and when he can no longer breathe, drop a bit lower.  And,” she whispered, “Keep him from your technology and avoid his questions about your devices.”  Vos Kar nodded and invited the Earthman to sit with him as they flew.

Para Far took the captain’s cabin, insisting that her former paramour clean it for her.  The fact that she had left him for the Jasoomian not concerning her or him.  So with the remaining three women on deck with spy-glasses scanning for life, the flyer headed south-east along the Iss.

“The Jasoomians could not paddle upstream so they would follow the road.  They are the only white men with brown and gray hair so should be easy to see.  We will fly south along the Iss until near Dor then turn about and return searching all the way.  When we reach the forest where Para Far’s flyer was abandoned, we will give up the search and return to the city where Jennings was left and beg for entry as citizens.  Then the Lady Janice Obreen will decide how to return her charges to Jasoom while the Princess Avleen Obreen returns her charges to Odwar Farren Koff.”

Kara adjusted Steve’s hair under a blonde wig of the Thern and said to him, “Since you are the only man with white skin, you must play the role of a Thern.  If we pass another Thern flyer, smile, wave and hope that they accept your harness and wig.  If not, we fire upon them and hope to survive.”

“I’ll do my best and hope we don’t meet any Black Pirates.”  Bar Komas was still angry with himself for disbelieving the Weir about Para Far.  They knew this planet, not him, and as much as he wanted the adventure, maybe it was time to return to Earth.


Janice was on deck, scanning the road and desert for the humans and for raiders for having a hoard of Green Men attack the flyer was always a fear when the Earthman appeared and asked, “Janice, Lady Janice, now that we can finally rest without running or riding or fighting, I’d like to ask a question.”

She agreed and shook her hair to flow in the wind.  Eibhlin preferred hers shorter or braided when long and gave in to Barsoomian custom of long free hair only when she must.  But now kept her near waist-length hair braided and tied up.  Janice enjoyed the feel of her hair over her neck and ears and wished it were longer than her shoulders.  That was one of the many differences between the two.  Janice liked sex, raw, rough sex but Eibhlin enjoyed making love.  Eibhlin was totally woman but saw sex with a man as ‘sinful’ but Janice was beginning to want sex with a man, a sign that her body was settling in.  She even was considering Steve but that would complicate matters too much, especially when she changed back.  So to buy time, she stuck her head above the wind-sheer and felt the wind in her face and hair.   Steve just stared, seeing a woman’s hair flowing free as erotic, then focused and asked, “Dr Jennings is safe you say.  But the last time I saw her she was with Jason Obrien on the river.  I don’t doubt that she’s safe with him, I’ve seen him fight.  But why are you and your aunt looking for us and not him?”

“Eibhlin didn’t know you existed until she met Jason a few weeks ago.  Then Jason was wounded by a Green Man’s rifle and I took over the search.  Jennings is safe and working as a mechanic in a nearby city.  We’ll pick her up after we find North and Stroud.”

“Wounded!  Is he ok?”  Steve showed a lot of concern for the man.

Janice laughed, “Well enough but .. not available right now.  He should be back in a couple months.”  She found her hand on his and embarrassed, removed it and looked out again.

“I know that Eileen is your aunt but what are you to Jason?”

She signed, “It’s complicated.  You humans see aliens as people in make-up.  Or rubber monsters but all have human emotions and desires.  Your older monster films always have an alien monster abducting the beautiful blonde because it fell in love with her as if an intelligent carrot could or would mate with a human.  And when you want to show aliens as really different, you make them sea-horses where the human-looking male bears the babies like in _Mork and Mindy_ or _Alien Nation_

“Truly alien species are so alien that you’d not recognize them as even alive.  Even my race, descended from yours, is too different for us to relate to.  Eibhlin and I were once human so we can understand but others of my race, those who were born and raised this way, are too different.  If I told you the truth, you’d run from us in horror.”

“I don’t understand.” He really didn’t.  “Do you implant eggs in my chest or suck my brains out?”

She laughed and enjoyed the experience then wrapped her arms around his neck almost pressing her bare breasts against his chest, looked up into his face and said, “No, but still, your human ways are set and you are not as accommodating as we must be.  These bodies Eibhlin and I wear were created by a race so alien that you would find nothing in common.  We don’t have anything in common either but we serve them in virtual slavery occasionally, enduring their ways and needs because resistance would be futile and suicidal.  But we are… something different and the differences between our two races is more than a tail and pointed ears.  Even the Red Race of Barsoom would be shocked at us and they can barely tolerate our sexual needs.  So be careful what you ask because the answer will disgust you.”  Then she kissed him, lightly and found she enjoyed the sensation as his arms wrapped around her body and kissed him again, her face upturned, wishing he would pull her to him.

“Excuse me,” Eibhlin snapped.  “You are supposed to be on watch.”   Steve apologized and moved off as Eibhlin joined her relation. “What the hell was that?”

“Just a kiss,” Janice returned to scanning the ground to cover her embarrassment.

“Americans are homophobic.  They cannot stand the thought of kissing another man and even are disgusted by their own transvestites and transsexuals.  They have a name for that, ‘queer-baiting’ where they gather in packs to assault lesbians, homosexuals and gender-benders.  If a transvestite or transsexual kisses a man and he learns that she is a he, they beat the other to near death and his fellows see it as deserved.  What will he do when he learns that the woman he kissed is really a man?”

“I wasn’t thinking.”

“Sometimes, Janice, for all your centuries of life and the hundreds of planets and times you visited, your brain falls below your waist as often as does a human male’s. Were you as stupid when you had a dick?”

“That is uncalled for?” she snapped back.

“The truth hurts.  Janice, if you bed him, and I get the feeling that you will, make certain that he never learns the truth.  Give him that much respect.”

“I’ll try.  It’s hard being a woman.  All these new feelings and desires are mixing me up.  When we two were alone together, I was happy because… well, now that he is around and the stress of the march is gone, new feeling are appearing.  Damn I hope that we don’t find North because he has the body that most women find sexy and I’d hate to be that superficial. Plus the man is so arrogant that he reminds me of the macho jerks who used to use and dump the girls at school.”

“Like you see inside Steve?  Then focus on the mind and personality of this Captain North and avoid looking at the body.”  She snapped.

Janice pulled her back then looked at her carefully, then said, “How long?”

“How long for what?  Sex, this morning as you know since you were there!  What, are you so bored that you can’t remember anymore!”

“No, Eibhlin, we can keep each other alive and hold off our Need for months but eventually we will need a man and your lips and nipples are beginning to redden.”

“Damn!  My last man was you.  We were together then and now.  No wonder I snapped at you.  And no wonder you are sniffing at Steve like a bitch in heat.  Your new hormones are making you need a man faster than do I.”  She wanted to throw something but there was nothing to release her anger.  “Janice… I’m not in love with you but we are lovers.  I, I don’t know if I can stand you being with a man.  I don’t know if I can be with a man knowing you are here.  How do you do that without resorting to murder.”

Janice held her aunt close and whispered, “I don’t know.  This is new to me.  But Weir don’t care.  They have sex parties, share spouses and lovers casually.  Were we born-Weir, we’d simply invite Steve, Vos Kar and Kara into our cabin for fun-and-games and they would join in or not, each of us watching and sharing the other.”

“Like a porn movie in Los Angeles?”

“Just so, it would be just sex with no expectations or rules or guilt.”

“I don’t know if I can do that.”

“Me neither.  Even on Drakonis I have a reputation for being a prude and never attended a sex party.  But we need to do something before the Need grows too strong.”  She laughed then added, “I am glad that Jennings was there when we transited or I’d have been stuck alone with all those guys.”

“I think Janice would have loved that but Jason….  I don’t know.”  She kissed then broke apart,  “We need to search.  Get away before I rape you here and now.”

“I’d like that.”

“Pervert!” laughed Eibhlin.

“Eibhlin,” Janice called to her back, then in Gaelic, “I enjoy being with you like this more than you can imagine.  And I can handle being with him if I must.  But, my lover, I don’t think I can deal with being with him or you after you two had been together so please don’t tell me and clean up well afterwards.”

“Like you with Jean,” She replied, not looking back.  “I loved Jean and it hurts to know that you and she were..”

Janice wanted to say, “At least I was long before she knew you.  The woman cheated on me often while we lived in the same bed.  She was a whore with me and a whore with you.”  But didn’t.  Some words can never be recalled and some injuries should never be caused.


The flew southeast long the outer hills of the marshes looking for signs of their quarry but aside from the rare pilgrim following a dead religion, they saw nothing.  Janice privately hoped to find some Orovar slavers to question but even these were hidden or elsewhere.  As the approached Heaven’s Gate, Vos Kar said, “I don’t think they would be allowed into the Valley save in chains.  We hold the south pass, the other city the north pass.  I suggest we fly along the river then return to examine the valleys themselves later.”  For a thoat herder, he did know how to fly so Janice had the fop teach them how to use the ship’s guns.  Though only a freighter, the craft was armed in case of attack by Black Pirates or Red Men seeking to destroy the remnants of the Thern religion and had a magazine fed cannon at bow and stern of near an inch bore.  Steve commented on the small size suggesting “A four inch cannon would be the smallest I would think,” until Janice whispered in his ear, “Thermo-nuclear rounds”.  In addition there were heavier rifles at the port and starboard amidships but essentially, against a real warship, their best hope would be to hide.  The fop ran them through some aiming and dry-fire drills but expected little in the way of success were they to be attacked. 

When Kara asked him how he knew so much, he replied, “I am from Helium and we had a well-deserved reputation for having the most accurate gunners on Barsoom.  Fortunately, the Therns of Issus kept civilization from the River Iss and with the Thern religion discredited, few are the pilgrims who travel so we should be safe enough.”

After he left to return to his attentions towards Para Far, Eibhlin commented, “Helium has the reputation of being the most honorable people on Barsoom.  It’s curious that he would resort to seduction to make his living.”

“Be glad he sees us as ‘hideously deformed’ and Kara as too poor to support him else we’d be diverting his attentions.  I have enough trouble keeping Steve away from us.”

The Craft flew at a decent speed of nearly a hundred miles an hour by Earth reckoning, though it could easily do near thrice that speed.  Then when someone was seen ahead, the flyer would slow to examine the people and then speed on.  With the lack of pilgrims, they did this but twice before they reached the Otz Mountains shortly before dark that first day.    Janice thought that these last seven hours were much more comfortable than the thirty days she had planned for.

They landed near the river away from the mountains and hid the flyer in a gully to avoid detection and rested for the night.  Although not as comfortable as the rest-houses and with one private cabin which had been taken by Para Far, the rest made do on deck or in the common bunk-room (taken by Kara and the Weir) or even in the now empty cargo bay which as the largest and roomiest in the craft.

The night was without incident and departure was held up by the appearance of another Thern flyer moving upriver over the mountains.  Janice commented as they waited, hidden, “We would never be able to breathe that high.  The Martian lungs must be amazing to handle that thin air.  When I was here before, I couldn’t even climb to the top of some of the taller buildings.  Good thing we had planned to fly low to search.”  When the Thern flyer was gone, they lifted and proceed along the Iss, cliffs high on both sides as Eibhlin searched above as often as below fearing White Apes dropping onto their craft.

The road itself wound to and from the river, following the natural contours of the hills but never straying too far from the Iss.  Because of this, much of the road was hidden and Janice was about to suggest that they drop her off to search by land when Kara cried out, “I think I see someone.  White skin, brown hair, I don’t think he is an Orovar.”

Bar Komas took the spyglass and watched the man walk north as if he were depressed and had no life left.  “I can’t be certain but it could be Captain North.  Can we land?”

They passed overhead but the traveler never even looked up and they landed in a wider area and waited.  Bar Komas left the craft while the Weir trained the side guns in that direction and waited.

Just as they were about to give up, the traveler came around the bend and Bar Komas called out, “Captain North! It’s me!” and ran to his former countryman.

For the first time the traveler looked up and a smile lit his haggard face as he ran forward to embrace his former companion.  “Steve! I thought you were dead.  What the hell!  More aliens?”

“Captain North of Earth, this is the Princess Eileen Obrien and the Baroness Janice Obrien of Drakonis.  They are related to Jason and have been looking for us for weeks.”

North stared at the topless and near-naked warrior-women and said, “I thought I was the last of us.  I worried that Jason might have killed Dr Jennings when he got tired of her and you might be dead too.  Where is Dr Jennings?”

Janice answered for him, “She is safe.  Once we find Stroud we can go get her and start to work on getting you back to Earth.”

“Stroud is dead.” North explained with more than a touch of sadness.  “He got more and more depressed, wouldn’t eat or drink and then one day, he was dead.  I think he just stopped wanting to live.  Sometimes I think of joining him.  I was Special Ops with the Air Force.  I fought in Desert Storm and Bosnia but none of my training prepared me for this.  Monsters everywhere, those fifteen-foot four-armed gorillas, ten-legged lions, snakes with a dozen legs, I even saw a man with a hideously gigantic head sit down then the head walked off on insect legs.  I used to be the best there was, now I feel that I’m lucky to just be alive.”  The man was suffering dysentery, malnutrition, pneumonia and it was a wonder he was still breathing.

“It’s all right, Captain, we’ll take you to safety.  You just need some rest and a good bath.” And so Bar Komas helped his Earth companion into the flyer which took off and headed north at full speed.  An hour later they flew past Heaven’s Gate where Janice asked, “Do you want to leave now?  That is your home.”

“No longer.  I will miss it but there was nothing for us when you found us and our return proved that there is nothing for us now.  We will seek our lives in another city.”

Then another hour over the marsh where their speed was too fast to see anything in detail and they soon left the marsh and circled to find and catch their two released thoats.  From there they carefully flew over the next valley to land inside and tie Para Far’s flyer to theirs and then towed it up and over to the Great Desert in which nothing could live.  Janice directed them to land by the Iss and wait in the crevices, “I’ll go get Jennings.  I’d bring you, but promised to keep the location of their city a secret and so must go alone.”

She saddled her thoats and said, “’I’ll be back in four to six days depending on how long it takes me to get her released from her contract.”

North saw her plan to return with only Dr Jennings and not Jason Obrien so approached her and asked to join her, “I want to come too. Dr Jennings is my responsibility and I want to find Obrien again.  He is wanted for terrorism by my country and I have to bring him back to justice.”  The entire time his eyes never left her chest and his manhood was obviously stirring with the thought of being alone in the desert with her.

Janice was just a bit upset at that for she understood how the Americans insisted that people turn over family to be arrested and tried but to her, such matters were settled by Clan and not police. Plus the man was as arrogant as she remembered, the entire trip he did nothing but eat and try to seduce both Eibhlin and Janice. When they told him they were lesbian lovers, he had to gall to smile, “That’s cool, I like girl-on-girl and have more than enough for both of you.”

Stifling her temper, Janice said to him in English, “I understand that you think of Jason as a terrorist and a criminal who destroyed your project and you feel your duty lies in arresting him.  But remember this, I am returning you to Earth because Jason and I are the same Clan and his Clan Debt falls to me.  So I will return you because I am indebted to do so by Clan Law.  BUT, he is my Clansman and if you seek to harm or arrest him in any way, I WILL kill you without thought or hesitation.”

“He’s a criminal and needs to stand trial for his acts.”

“Then, by your logic, were Bosnia or Iraq to demand you to stand trial by their laws for your action in their country during the American invasions, you should be bound and extradited to them for trial?”

“That’s different.  We were..”

“Don’t give me that crap about defending America.  Desert Storm was to defend the right of Kuwait to slant-drill and steal oil from Iraq.  Bosnia was to divert attention from your president who got his dick stuck in Monica’s mouth.  Neither were to defend America so the argument fails.  YOU, as an individual, killed Bosnian and Iraqi citizens and should stand trial. If those acts were justified by international Rules of War, then you have nothing to fear.  The fact is that has Jennings succeeded in her teleporter, you would have been a danger to us and we would have been forced to destroy your planet to protect Barsoom and the rest of the galaxy from your arrogance.  He was as justified in his act as you pretend you were in yours.

”Would your courts care that he was defending our people by destroying your device or would they care only that he destroyed government property and took American lives?  So why should you be tried by a different set of rules than those you insist apply to him?”  She mounted her thoat and just before she rode off, leaned over watching eyes follow her down so grabbed his hair that was no longer buzzed, pulled his face to hers and yelled,. “And keep your eyes off my tits before I pluck them out and feed them to the worms!”

She rode off, Eibhlin watching and then the smaller Irish girl said, “and my tits are not for you either.”


Two days across the desert.  Two days to decide what to do with Jennings and what to tell her.  Two days back to calm her down and then the real problems begin.  Eibhlin had a Vanthi starship that could easily reach Earth in hours, IF it were here.  Since they still had no idea of how far in time they were from her departure, her ship still may be in Earth orbit waiting for her to call.  Barsoom did have space ships, some developed by Phor Tak and his competing scientists, others adapted from Morgor ships taken in the war.  These former carried cargo between Barsoom and Thuria, the nearer and larger moon but could be adapted to reach Earth IF they could convince someone to rent them one.  Maybe Janice could find a return StarGate?  She knew that there was the French StarGate that led to the Toonol Marsh but that one was one-way only.  The Arizona Stargate was two-way but its Barsoom location wasn’t well-known.  The Canada one that Eibhlin used went to Koal but was that one or two-way?  Well, she had a week, Terran, to figure that out.

The first night, as the thoats dug themselves into the sand for warmth and Janice set her tent for the same reason, she relaxed and felt Eibhlin some fifty kilometers to the northeast.  Weir were telepathic and once intimate, could find each other over distances that varied with the situation.  So Janice or Eibhlin could close their eyes, turn and point to the other though they’d not know how far the other was.  That was probably what drew Jason into that first valley to originally meet with his aunt.  Because of this, she had no fear of becoming lost in the desert for she would just move in a straight line to Eibhlin, providing the other were close enough to detect.  That same telepathy, though poor by S’tyr standards, was strong enough to influence a homing device to lead the Weir to the sub-space communicator that she planned to place on both Earth and Barsoom.  Once done, they’d not worry about being stranded again.

Janice relaxed and felt no one else.  To the Barsoomian, she was telepathically invisible as were all Earthmen.  But if the medium-class Drakonian Battle-Cruiser Flavian was near, it would find her.  IF she were in the same time as Ayiesha and her save-the-planet project.  A few years time-wise either way and that plan was useless.  That was the problem with starflight or Stargates.  The Relativity Curve would often shift you a few years or centuries from your origin which is why Eibhlin left Earth in the 17th century but returned in the 21st only a few years later, subjective.  She simply got too close to a stellar mass which shifted her Temporal Triad.  And Stargates used planetary masses so warped time as easily as space.

Tired, she fell asleep and woke up cold, as usual, but soon warmed as the sun rose and heated the planet.  Then she ate breakfast, dug the thoats free, saddled them as they ate the moss she had packed and then traveled on.

She arrived at the hidden valley well before sunset but had to explain why Jason had left but Janice returned.  “I’m his Clans-woman.  Jason was injured by a Green Man bullet and is recovering but his Clan Obligation to find and return the Jasoomians to their home planet holds for me.  His promise, be it the secrecy of this valley or the return of the humans is my oath as well.”

They weren’t convinced but took her to the Jed where she explained the entire thing again.  Jennings was there too and said, “Twins are common with my kind so perhaps with hers too.  I do see the family resemblance in her face though.”  Jennings was even wearing the harness of a Red Woman, her breasts bare which she never did before.  “Will you take me to Jason?”

“I can but not as you would think.  It’s complicated.  Our Aunt Eibhlin is there too with North and Steve.  Stroud died in his sleep and North was on the edge when we found him.  But a day of decent food, rest and the knowledge that he was safe returned him to his usual arrogant and lecherous self.”

Jennings laughed and said, “I’m sorry for you two.  I usually ignored him and focused on my work but alone with you…  And I see Jason wasn’t lieing when he said I was flat-chested compared to his race.  God, can’t you sag just a little to make me feel better.”  Now that she was about to be reunited with her fellows, she was cheerful and friendly and remembered Jason’s jokes and comments that America would find sexist but seemed to be normal among his race.

A little more discussion and they were allowed to leave only because Jennings had nothing else to contribute and Janice convinced the Jed that Jason Obrien’s vows extended to her entire Clan.  “Besides,” Jennings added, “She has a flyer and could have flown here with her friends in ease and safety.  Instead she risked her life in the Great Desert to ensure that no one else knew of your valley.”

They left the next morning and the first few hours until lunch Janice told of their adventures, “Then when Jason was injured by that rifle-round, his obligation fell to me and I took over to travel with Aunt Eibhlin to find and recover everyone.”

“I’m glad your family is so honest and helpful with each other.  I’m also glad that I only have to keep your existence a secret and make the project fail.”

“What do you mean?” Janice asked, knowing the answer.

“Well, did you know about the rest of our deal?  How I, … kept him alive?”

“Of course.  And just because I took over his obligation does not release you from your part.”

“But!… I can’t!… I’m a woman!”

“As am I.”

“But we can’t.  I’m straight.”

“I’m not.  I prefer to take my pleasure with an attractive woman.  And I need sex to live as much as Jason.”

“But I’m straight, I’ve never done that before.  I don’t even know how.”  She protested.

“You will learn.  It’s not difficult, only a lot more kissing and the sex lasts for hours and you aren’t that sore afterwards.”  Janice was enjoying herself.  Two days across a desert marked by red sand dunes and rocks would be her death by boredom.  Playing this game of pretend-seduction would entertain them both.

So for the rest of the day she would flirt with the blonde, “I love the way your breasts jiggle while you ride.  It gets me so hot with anticipation.  Mine are too firm for that.” Then Jennings rode with her arms folded across her chest to support them until Janice asked, “If they ache with the bouncing, you can ride before me and I’ll hold them for you.”  Then the next break Jennings cut a strip of silk, wrapped it behind her back to knot before her breasts then tied the ends up and behind her neck to form a sort of brassier.

That first night as they set the tent, Janice added, “It will get cold tonight, we should cuddle and spoon.  You kept me hot all day and I’m looking forward to repaying the favour.”

“I’m fine,” she stammered.  I like a brisk evening.”  But woke up with Janice wrapped around her, kissing her ear when she was certain that Jennings was awake.

As they rode, Jennings tried to divert Janice’s flirtation by asking, “What was it like growing up with your brother?  I only knew him for a few weeks.”

“I don’t know.  Mother was insane and gave her children away to be raised by others.  Some to the Church to become Priests, Jason to one Aunt, others to other relatives.  Only the youngest was raised by mother.”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to bring up sad memories.”

“Not that bad.  Aunt Kathryn was a much better parent and our father tried when he wasn’t gone with the military or at war.  He just had no idea of how to be a father, being from a warrior family.  He’d return home to name one baby and start another before being sent off to another war.  Sometimes I wonder if he knows how many children he has.”

“What about you?  Do you have any?”

“Just because I prefer women doesn’t mean I refuse the occasional male.  Duty calls and with us, Duty to Clan and Barony sometimes requires marriage to people we may not desire.  Fortunately, we are allowed lovers and concubines, both men and women, so long as we bear only our spouses children.  Yes, I have children.  Daughters.  All grown up and living well.  Unlike me and Jason, neither wish the military life.  I suppose we should make more babies and hope some will defend the Barony.”

“The more I learn about your race, the more I’m glad to be on Earth.”


When they arrived, Jennings actually hugged the Earthmen, even North, in her happiness.  Janice hugged Eibhlin and asked, “Being with her and pretending to seduce her got me going, would you care to relax my needs for an hour or so.”

The two missed dinner but arrived for left-overs, hair mussed but smiling.  North gave both a dirty look and Eibhlin explained in Gaelic, “The man was unstoppable.  He only ceased chasing Kara when she pulled a dagger on him and gave him a choice of her blade or her brother’s.  Then he focused on me but settled for Para Far to the disgust of the fop.”

“Does the fop even have a name?” Janice asked.

“Do you care?  We should leave for Ptarth tomorrow morning.  We spent the last few days filling the water tanks and hunting food, both meat and fruit.  North was expert with a snare and caught more than did I though half his catches were released as inedible.  We decided to fly into the desert to avoid Green Men and other craft, then north. It is some five thousand miles and around twenty hours flight.”

“Fine with me.”

“Now Janice we have a problem.  North is as big a slut as Para Far or yourself and will do anything in a skirt and so we have to keep them apart or her father will insist I kill him to save honor.  The only advantage we have is that he isn’t fertile with a Red Woman.”

“Why not just castrate him?  Not the entire thing but maybe six or ten inches?  Healing will keep him off her, make other women less sore and he’d not miss the length.  What about the fop?”

“He has agreed to leave when we reach a waterway friendly to Helium.  He knows that Farren Koff will order him killed and he does have excellent survival instincts.  He even ceased to chase me when I grasped his cherries and lifted him from the ground with one hand.  How are you planning to return the others to Earth?”

“I am still planning.  I was hoping your ship would arrive but if we are even a year in the future or the past, the message will miss your ship.  I’m thinking of building a StarGate or renting a Barsoom Space-ship.”

They were still planning when the sun set and Steve brought a fur to wrap around the two.  Eibhlin smiled at him and patted his hand which caused Janice to stare,” You?  And he?”

“It’s your fault, my love.  Jason taught me to enjoy a man.  I’m not giving up women but it’s nice to know I won’t hate myself when my Need drives me to their arms.”


Janice Eileen Obrien  nka Janice Eileen Ui Bhrian  aka Janice Obreen
Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrien  aka Avleen Enyen Obreen

Slaves: 1 black (Sojar), 2 red men (Hanno & Vos Kar), 1 red woman (Kara)
Bar Komas- name taken by the tech steve
Wilks & kahn- soldiers.  Kahn was eaten by a banth.  Wilks drowned in the Iss
Eddie-  Ellen’s boyfriend
Dr Ellen Jennings PhD
Captain Mark North
Dr. Carl Stroud
Steve Wadding?  Waddel  aka bar komas
Nolan Ghal- mad scientist. In heaven’s gate.

Odwar Farren Koff and his daughter Para Far

Aonghus O’Brien of Innis who married Mairayd Ui Neill of Belfast


Rick Johnson's Barsoom Fiction
Eibhlin Story 
Crossover Stories
Jason Story
Panthan on Mars =>
Lost on Barsoom
Meeting of the Panthans I
<= North to Barsoom
 Meeting of the Panthans II
Battle at U-Gor <=>
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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