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Volume 2243
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Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter®of Mars



43. "INTO SPACE!" -- Sept. 27, '42
(read novelization

P1: When Dejah Thoris toppled backward, Cro-Yat prepared to grab her. 

P2: The Earthman swung out over space, his hands clinging to the veil of the giant princess. 

P3: Cro-Yat grasped the girl's ankle and braced himself on the narrow ledge. 

P4: Now Dejah Thoris' fall was checked, but Carter's fingers burned as his hold slid toward the end of the fabric. 

P5: Then the ground below seemed to be reaching upward and he knew that death's hand was clutching for him. 

P6: Once the path of his fall was deflected when his body, striking soft vegetation, glanced away from the cliff side. 

P7: So he struck water instead of rocks -- the river water that flowed in the canyon below the cliffs -- and savage eyes and snapping jaws rose to greet him. 


1. Compare 


Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

When Dejah Thoris toppled backward, Cro-Yat was very close behind. His outstretched arms were prepared to grab her even before she lost her handhold on the cliff face. The princess, however, fell a little to one side of her pursuer and the bird-man barely managed to grasp the girl's ankle as she went flying by. 

John Carter's fate was far different from that of the red princess. While the giantess fell backwards, the Earthman plunged directly into the declivity the girl had reached before the accident. He expected to be smashed to death among the huge boulders, but instead the path of his fall was deflected when his body struck a mass of soft vegetation that had grown up in the sheltering embrace of the long narrow crack. What was even more surprising to the man, was that the breach in the cliff wall did not end at the base of the sheer rock face, but continued far down into the mountain. 

His downward descent was slowed a dozen different times by irregularities in the declivity but on none of these occasions could John Carter find a handhold whereby to end his long plunge into the mountain. On all sides the same soft, slippery vegetation grew, clinging to every little knob and cranny of the deep shaft. At last the Earthman's fall slowed to a series of little tumbles and he found himself clinging for dear life to a slippery shelf deep within the Plateau of Eo. He had fallen so far downward that no light penetrated the passage from above. It was only when he had pulled his radium torch from his harness pouch and had shone its beam all about him that Carter finally understood what perilous a position he was in. 

The slippery vegetation of the upper shaft walls had given way to a thin coating of wet slime on three sides of the declivity. The remaining wall was mostly covered with a shallow flow of water which seeped out from numerous fissures and small holes in the rock. The Earthman attempted to stand upon the little rock shelf and explore the sides of the shaft for possible handholds, to see if by any chance he might climb out of the hellish shaft. Then the shelf gave way under his feet. 

Cro-Yat bound the kicking girl in her own harness straps; then he tied the large cape around her immobile body and slung the bundle over his shoulders. Screeching and crowing at the top of his lungs, the savage performed a sort of a dance high on the slopes of the mountain. When his exuberance had worn off a little the bird-man climbed back down the hillside, met his companions and then started off at a fast clip into the trees. The other bird-men followed close behind, whooping and crowing all the way. 

The spent Dejah Thoris was far too exhausted to be afraid. She slipped into the dark arms of merciful sleep and remained oblivious throughout her long ride on the bird-man's back. 

Again the Earthman was sliding downward into the bowels of the great mesa. The coal black shaft, running on two sides now with seeping groundwater, offered no grips for the man's clutching fingers. Once his downward glide was halted by a narrow spot in the passage but the only result that came from his squirming and clutching was that he freed his body sufficiently to continue the uncontrolled descent. At last the shaft opened up into a larger underground chamber and he fell straight down, through inky open space. After many heartbeats, with a resounding splash, he hit a body of cold water, from whence savage eyes and snapping jaws rose up to greet him. 

Nothing Oman had said to her prepared Sola for the sight that met her wide red eyes. In one corner of the dead wizard's tower laboratory, surrounded by all sorts of strange equipment and medical apparatus, were two parallel, horizontal ersite slabs. Each slab formed the top of a sturdy table, almost waist high to the green girl. Upon one table lay the unmoving nude body of John Carter and upon the other the similarly unclad and inanimate form of Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. Not far away, in a rigid steel cage snored a sleeping calot. Otherwise, save for the faint humming of some electrical machinery, the entire great room was silent and lifeless 

"What have you done to them!" cried Sola. "Are they -- are they dead?" 

The green girl's voice reached the sensitive ears of the calot and he awakened with a start. Although he was jumping about in the cage and obviously roaring with pleasure at the familiar sight of Sola, very little sound came from the cage. Then the maiden saw that it was encased in glass and that the clear barrier was blocking out the noise he was making. 

"No, Sola, they are not dead." replied the Odwar of Eo in a soft voice. "They only sleep. It is important that we do not disturb them just yet; so please do not speak too loudly." 

"You say they sleep?" Sola questioned incredulously. "What sort of sleep is this? To lie as if they are dead on hard tombstones? 

"Listen and I shall tell you." Oman answered. 

"When the one you call John Carter first came here with the afflicted princess, Vovo, the Wizard of Eo, laid her out on that very same table. She has not moved so much as a hair since then. Next the wizard put the Jasoomian upon the other slab and there he cured him of the stony paralysis in his hands. The man was put to sleep for that procedure and he too has remained there, unmoving, ever since. Now a night and a day have passed and I wonder how much longer this will go on. Vovo has administered to them strong drugs and bombarded their bodies with unusual forms of radiation. They do not sleep in an ordinary way. They dream constantly and that is the only life they know. Should one of them truly believe destruction was at hand, in that dream, I am altogether certain that neither would survive to reawaken in this life you, I and the rest of the world now calls reality." 

"Nothing you say makes any sense, metal man. I would run to their sides and bid them awaken this very minute if you did not hold my hand so tightly -- that and free Woola too! Is this some prison, the likes of which I have never imagined?" 

"No -- not a prison, but a place of safety. The two humans share a common dream world right now. It helps to have the calot near, for they sense its presence and that unseen recognition helps bind them both more closely to our waking world. But I cannot let the beast go about unrestrained; neither can I allow you to approach the sleepers too closely or even disturb them from a distance. Truly, the two of them must work their own way out of the delusion Vovo created." 

"If any of us who do not share that dream interrupt it at a critical moment or interfere much with the course it runs, your friends will suffer permanent madness or perhaps even death. The layers of hallucination must be pealed back, one at a time, and it is the dreamers who must do that, working together. We who are on the outside of their imaginative world can only observe and assist in the most gentle and harmless ways. If you can understand that, Sola, then perhaps you can help them." 


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