CHAPTER 36: "VOVO'S HARVEST"
Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst
Mars is not a world where people often reflect upon such
subtleties as vindication and irony, but Vovo's defeat came more in Dejah
Thoris' plea for restraint than it did in the unrestrained force of Woola's
mighty paw. The wizard had expanded the girl's mind in hope of creating
an ultimate weapon, never realizing that an expanded consciousness might
be accompanied by expanded prudence and compassion. But the green man had
no chance to contemplate the justice in his final failure -- the calot's
weight crushed out the wizard's life and Barsoom was rid of one of her
many dangerous monsters.
The speedy Martian dawn broke over Eo, bringing both a
new day and a new era for the hermit city. While the tiny beings at her
feet were yet hidden in the fading shadows, Dejah Thoris watched the red
light appear and intensify across the far horizon.
"How beautiful!" she exclaimed. "I'm not sure that I ever
before realized just how beautiful our sunrises can be!"
But then she again wondered who she was and what concepts
like "before" and "our" really meant. Preceding the day there was a night
-- a night that just ended. What had happened during that night, her dazed
senses could not yet tell her. The gleam of the morning sun upon the rooftops
of the city caught her eye and the giantess, accompanied by the huge calot,
wandered off to investigate.
Of all of Eo's mechanical inhabitants only Oman could
feel anxiety. His concern over the great damage the uncontrolled calot
might do was only slightly relieved by his witnessing the maiden's good
influence with the creature. The robots the animal had so far damaged could
be repaired or replaced, but the Odwar of Eo knew that Vovo's evil methods
must never be replaced by any similar mind control. As the new leader of
the mechano-men he had to insure their safety and protect the city, while
avoiding the corrupting influences demonstrated in the rule of the little
green tyrant. So it was a different kind of anxiety that Oman ordered two
of his most highly advanced robots to repair Vovo's microphone and bring
the important device to him in the city with all possible speed.
Before sunrise John Carter had tried every method he could
think of to gain the attention of Dejah Thoris, but nothing worked. Employing
the lifting power of a band of the mechano-men he and Oman had struck the
giantess' foot with the trunk of a fallen tree, but she ignored the slight
discomfort altogether. Even when the Virginia fighting man leaped as high
as he could and shouted with all his strength, the giantess did not hear
him. Finally, he had attempted mental contact, but the results were not
very useful. He could perceive some of her confused thoughts but, so far,
the giantess had not responded with any telepathy of her own. As for Woola,
the sight of Vovo's crushed body told the Earthman that it might be best
to avoid the angry calot's notice until the could be properly restrained.
Captain Carter could see both giants crashing through
the jungle in the direction of the little city, but, as the height of the
princess was a little lower than that of the taller trees, he soon lost
sight of Dejah Thoris. The two huge bodies made such a wide trail through
the dense vegetation however, that it was not difficult to follow their
path. Here and there the large footprints had broken through the topsoil,
exposing broken ceilings trampled rooms and in Eo's cavernous complex of
underground factories and storage rooms.
"Oman!" he called to the leader of the robots, "can you
raise Vovo's tower? I think that activity might attract Dejah Thoris' attention.
She and Woola must be approaching the edge of the city about now. If we
hurry we can try to intercept them!"
The mechano-man nodded in assent and the two of them ran
together, through the trees, to the outskirts of Eo. Along the way Oman
again impressed upon the Virginian the fact that Vovo's web of illusion
had not been entirely destroyed by the wizard's death. Dejah Thoris was
obviously still very much affected by Vovo's drugs and his mind expansion
process. As for John Carter, he could be assured of Woola's arrival, Vovo's
death, and other basic events he had witnessed, but Oman was adamant in
saying that the Jasoomian's perception was still impaired. Only when he
departed Eo would he comprehend all that had happened there.
Still dazed by Vovo's drugs and mind-expanding experiment,
the Princess of Helium wandered almost blindly through the city of Eo.
Many of the streets were quite narrow and most of the higher buildings
reached almost to her shoulders, so her movements among them were slow.
The racing Earthman and metal man reached the vicinity of the late wizard's
tower a couple of minutes before the giantess wandered into that quarter
"Make certain that the large window on the top floor is
opened. I will signal the princess through that, once the tower reaches
the level of her head."
With those words John Carter sped into the metal building
and awaited its elevation. True to his word, Oman caused the unique structure
to rise to its full size, above every other edifice in the city. Tearing
a wall handing and its rod from an interior wall, John Carter fashioned
a makeshift flag and this large signal banner he carried with him to the
The princess proceeded with caution through the maze of
buildings. Here and there she saw some of the little robots in the streets
and in open windows. She forbade Woola to injure the tiny creatures and
the calot did his best not to trample the things. When they came to a plaza
the giantess ordered the beast to remain there. At that time Dejah Thoris
saw the silver tower rise into the air above the city and she moved near
the wonder to see what it was. The window in which the Earthman stood,
waving his signal flag, was above her eye level, however, and the giantess
missed seeing him.
None of his shouting reached the enlarged girl's ears
as intelligible language. Twice she uttered words to the calot, but this
communication reached Captain Carter's ears only in the form of a low rumble.
The single word he could distinguish in the thunderous noise was "Woola."
The bronzed swordsman measured in his mind the distance from his perch
to the maiden's huge head, then, gambling desperately with fate, he leaped
toward the girl's raven locks.
While wandering through the buildings the princess was
a little amazed that she was able to identify and name practically all
the architectural features. She comprehended that the structures had been
built by beings much like herself and a dim recollection came to her mind
that once she herself had lived in such a place. It seemed inexplicable
to her, however, that an entire city had shrunk to such an extent that
she could look over the tops of its many buildings without even raising
her eyes. Something extraordinary must have happened -- but what?
She felt something irritating near her ear and instinctively
she swatted the little pest. Dejah Thoris had no way of knowing that her
giant fingers could crush the man who now clung to her flowing hair.