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Volume 2266
From the Danton Burroughs/John Coleman Burroughs Archive Site
Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter®of Mars

Volume 2266


66. "LOST!" -- Mar. 7, '43
(read novelization

P1: For many days Dejah Thoris and her party wandered over the forsaken wastes of the Martian desert vainly searching for the canal that would lead them to her father's kingdom. 

P2: From her high saddle upon the tired thoat Dejah Thoris at last cried out: "Look, John Carter -- in those mountains across the plain. 

P3: Carter peered through Sola's powerful Martian-ray binoculars. "Green desert tribesmen! He muttered. 

P4: Sola took the glasses. "Barsoomian headhunters," she added; "the most ferocious and cruel of the green warriors." 

P5: Sola sent a telepathic order to their thoat to lie down as the others did likewise to escape detection. 

P6: A vanguard scout paused and scanned the landscape. Suddenly, he saw them! 

P7: Shrieking wildly, the warriors raced toward them across the plain. 


1. Compare 

Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

The happiness they shared in escaping the clutches of Vovo the Wizard of Eo was only made brighter now that the princess and the warrior from another planet again traveled in the company of Sola, the winsome daughter of Tars Tarkas of Thark. At first the princess recounted many of her recent mishaps to the attentive green girl, but she soon saw the discomfort that caused the Virginian swordsman and she ceased her amazing stories. In all his years John Carter had never feared an enemy, but he preferred not to do battle with phantoms in the uncharted byways of his own brain. The discovery that he and the woman he secretly loved had shared the same illusions, wrought by the cunning Vovo. was unsettling to the forthright soldier of a thousand campaigns. He seldom spoke of the fantastic episode at Eo; While Dejah Thoris, puzzled by the man's inexplicible silence, guessed she had again mistaken his intentions. She concealed her swelling feelings behind an amicable smile and, like her otherworldly companion, refrained from discussing their dreamworld adventures and intimacies -- even with him. 

The load of provisions bestowed upon them by Oman, the mecho-man of Eo burdened their poor thoat so heavily that only the tender-footed Dejah Thoris rode atop the great beast, much against her will. In their saddlebags were bundles of food, warm capes, excellent weapons, and even a handful of precious jewels, useful as money anywhere on the dying red planet. However, the robot did not give up the secrets of Eo's advanced technology. The scientists of far off Helium would have to discover the principles of anti-gravity and television minus the erudition of the Wizards of Eo. 

John Carter and the green girl walked along beside the naked red princess, following a map Oman provided, as best they could in a barren country that offered few landmarks. They calculated the distance northwestward to Thark, and from there to the outskirts of the Empire of Helium. They knew that the air fleets of Tardos Mors were yet searching the skies for the lost princess. "Hope springs eternal, even on bloody Barsoom," Dejah Thoris sighed, paraphrasing a favorite saying of the Earthman. John Carter nodded in agreement. 

Several times Sola detected signs of her horde's near presence, but they all thought it best to circle around the Thark camps and outposts. When the green maiden guessed they might be close to the barbarians' capital she sent faithful Woola out with a cryptic message attached to his collar -- a message that her father alone would comprehend, if he yet lived. The devoted calot trotted off upon this arduous mission, only glancing back once, over his massive shoulders, as though to say "I'll be back." But days passed and Woola did not return. For reasons they never understood, the markings on their parchment guide resembled less and less their surroundings as the days of travel wore on. Dejah Thoris and her little party wandered over the forsaken wastes of the Martian desert, searching continually for the canal that would lead them to her grandfather's dominions. Several days after the departure of their watchdog, the travelers at last saw in the distance a range of hills that seemed to match the position of some lines on their sketchy map. With luck they might find the waterway to Helium on the other side. Then, from her high saddle upon the travel worn thoat Dejah Thoris suddenly cried out: "Look, John -- at the foot of those mountains across the plain -- a great band of mounted men!" 

Sola and the Earthman gazed across miles of the dead sea bottom, and there, plainly discernible, were a hundred mounted warriors or more. The distant riders seemed to be headed away from the three lost pilgrims, but Carter peered through the powerful binoculars Oman had throughtfully provided them, just to make certain the distant band was no threat to them. The steel gray eyes of the deathless Virginian took in the fantastic, silent panoply for many long moments before at last spoke a few grim words. "After what we've seen -- or thought we'd seen -- at Eo, I hope I can trust my vision now. They're green desert tribesmen -- Tharks, maybe." He fell silent and gazed upon the Princess of Helium's flawless face. If she was afraid she did not show it. 

Sola took the glasses. Her trained gaze caught many interesting things in that strange, distant scene -- small details which had escaped the Earthman's inspection. "No -- not my people -- Warhoons, I believe. Our most ferocious and cruel enemies!" Then she added, "All are young warriors, carrying only weapons and a few woven bags. They are headhunters, no doubt about it And if we can see them, they can see us!" 

John Carter lifted the red girl down from the thoat while Sola sent a telepathic order to their mount to lie down upon the ground. There, in the soft yellow moss, they ducked down behind the beast, presenting as small an object as possible to the eyes of the headhunters. It was hardly the time or the place for a lesson in Barsoomian anthropology, but Dejah Thoris' questions to her female companion did not go unanswered. The young savages were seeking skulls to adorn their unclothed green bodies, and it did not matter to them whether their prey were six limbed giants or slender red Martians -- either sort of victim might offer a suitable sun-bleached cranium for a Warhoon necklace. 

A rear guard scout, wearing the metal of a chieftain, was riding far out from the main body of green men. He halted his lavishly ornamented gray steed and scanned the ochre hued landscape through a set of uniquely designed and powerful field-glasses. Through this bizarre looking apparatus the barbarous chieftain's wide-set organs of vision scrutinized the sea bottom in all directions, practically simultaneously, searching for precious plunder and potential victims -- preferably ones who might furnish nice bloody heads for his empty carry-bag! 

Just when it appeared as though the lone Warhoon had given up his intensive searching, the scout trained his dual scopes in the direction of the downed thoat and then paused for several seemingly endless seconds. The trio held their breaths behind the quiet animal -- and waited. Then the lone rider lowered his remarkable observation instrument and waved his arms frantically at his fellow headhunters. He had spotted them! Shrieking wildly, the chieftain and his warriors raced across the plain, closing the gap between themselves and the travelers' downed thoat almost as rapidly as the princess and her companions could take in this lightning paced change of fortune. 

In a flash Sola pulled the long barreled rifle they carried from its holster at the rear of the saddle. The green girl handed the lethal, loaded weapon to John Carter. No words were necessary. The three had all spent time practicing shooting this splendid product from Eo's arsenal. The Earthman was the best shot among them and the finely balanced firearm fell into his waiting arms like a silvery bird swooping into its empty nest. His first shot glanced off the advance rider's metal helmet and exploded in a bright flash and a cloud of white smoke a foot or two away. The green man wheeled his thoat and John Carter temporarily lost sight of the great barbarian, behind a small rise in the moss covered Martian landscape. 


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