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Volume 2267
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Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter®of Mars

Volume 2267



67. "FAREWELL" -- Mar. 14, '43
(read novelization

P1: As the green men charged toward them, John Carter ordered Dejah Thoris and Sola to mount their only thoat and attempt escape, while he delayed pursuit. 

P2: The girl objected strongly: "Sola may go if she wishes, but I'll stay with you the man I love!" 

P3: Carter lifted the protesting girl to Sola's grasp. The green woman handed Carter the rifle. "Luck be with you," she said. 

P4: "Goodbye, Dejah Thoris," the Earthman called a moment later. "I'd gladly die a thousand deaths for you!" 

P5: Then through the electro-telescopic sights he drew a bead on the foremost warrior. 

P6: The high-explosive atomic cartridges reaped deadly toll of the oncoming savages, while Dejah Thoris and Sola reached safety in the mountains. 

P7: But the Earthman was hopelessly outnumbered as the first of the cruel band reached him. 


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Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

Leaping to his feet the Virginian ordered their thoat to rise. He pulled the red princess to her feet, beside him, and urged Sola to mount the beast at once. "My Princess, you must go with her!" he bid the noble daughter of Helium. "In the ravines between here and the hills you can find temporary hiding places. Sola knows how to elude these bloodthirsty enemies -- if I can just delay their pursuit for a while." 

Before he could finish his sentence, the red girl took him by one arm and gazed up into the anxious bronze face. "Three guns can kill more than one, John. There is yet hope. The royal women of Barsoom do not flee in the face of inescapable danger; you should know that by now." 

"Then think of your duty to Helium, for God's sake! Brave men may be dying in the search for you, even as we speak. If you perish in your flight, it will still be a thousand times better than the fate that awaits you here! Flee, while there is yet time!" The Earthman was no longer beseeching the girl -- he was commanding her. The highborn maid of Mars objected strenuously; it was she who had given the orders all her adult life, not her guards and soldiers. Her resonant arguments had no effect on the determined man and so Dejah Thoris quickly changed her methods of persuasion. Throwing her lithe arms about his neck, she implored him with a calm dignity: "Sola may go if she wishes, but I'll stay to die with you, my Chieftain." 

The sweet meaning of her soft-spoken declaration pierced the Earthman's senses like the radiant sunshine of the cloudless Martian noonday. Pressing his lips to hers for the first time in the real world, the Virginia Captain held her for an all too brief moment. The day he had long hoped for had arrived; but fate can be terribly cruel in granting a man's wishes. There was no time for him to pause and feel the flawless skin of her bosom pressed tightly against him. His indulgence in the luxuriant flow of her long black hair down upon his bronzed forearms was but a transitory boon of the gods. Unless he acted immediately, unmerciful Death would overtake them all! With the exquisite young lady yet embraced under one strong arm, John Carter pulled twin pistols from the saddlebags. One of these he pushed into the waiting hands of each of the two girls. Then, without warning he lifted Dejah Thoris up into Sola's grasp and onto the beast's saddle, behind the mounted Thark female. 

"I'd gladly die a thousand deaths for you -- but we shall meet in Helium yet. I have escaped from worse plights than this," the swordsman shouted. He slapped the great animal upon the rump and the thoat started off at the gallop. "I love..." but they were already out of hearing range, before Captain Carter could finish his emotion choked sentence. 

A moment later the lead rider emerged into sight, a mile in the distance, while his entire wild band rode down into the gulches, a few hundred yards behind. Raising the Martian rifle again to his shoulder, John Carter took aim through the telescopic sights at the lead Warhoon. As he touched the button which controlled the trigger, faint telepathic words floated into his mind, "I did not want to leave you, John Carter -- you are the man I love." Then there was a sharp explosion as the missile reached its goal, and the charging chieftain pitched forward from his slain mount. In a tangle of many legs and arms the rider and the huge thoat rolled over three times in the thick moss. Then all was still. The sniper had a minute's respite and he positioned himself behind a patch of stunted mantalia bushes. He counted out a hundred high-explosive atomic cartridges, fed them into the weapon's magazine and peered through the rifle sights. 

In the distance he beheld the oncoming savages, just then emerging from the gulches, looking for their chieftain. In a moment they saw him lying dead upon the carcass of his mount. This halted their onrush only until one savage had stripped the chieftain of his harness and weapons -- and removed his head. The long sword of the dead green man would be returned to his clan, as a token of honor. But his head would soon augment the necklace of the band's sub-chieftain! 

Ere the scavenger had remounted, John Carter commenced firing upon them. His missiles reaped a deadly toll upon the Warhoons, but they also gave away his position. Breaking into a dozen small groups the remaining barbarian riders came at him again. In the meanwhile Dejah Thoris and Sola ranged far to one side of the excited warriors and appeared to have reached the relative safety of the mountains, undetected. 

Lying flat upon his belly in the moss, John Carter kept up a continuous stream of fire upon the approaching warriors. Many green souls he dispatched to Barsoom's hidden hells that warm afternoon, but many more survived his hail of fire. Before long his ammunition was exhausted and the former Confederate officer cast aside the empty rifle. "My dragoons could have put such a gun to good use -- at Chickamauga!" he laughed. The Earthman's twinge of grim humor ceased when he saw a dozen mounted savages entering the brush to one side of him, just a stone's throw away. He sprang up and started off in the direction exactly opposite to that taken by Sola and her charge, fifteen minutes before. 

John Carter's powerful muscles carried him over yards of the dead sea bottom in every leap, but he could hope to outdistance the swift, unfailing pursuit of the Martian warsteeds. He could only try to distract and delay the terrible riders. On the journey to the Tharkan capital he had heard his green companions speak with respect concerning the Warhoon horde. The younger warriors boasted of how they would slay their neighboring foemen with a single thrust of a long-sword, but the battle-worn veterans were much less boisterous in this subject. They displayed the scars of their old war wounds and muttered sullenly that the fearless and cunning cavalry of Warhoon was a force not easily reckoned with. And, at the rate they were gaining upon him, those depraved thoatmen might soon have him in their clutches. 

The telescopes fashioned by the robots of Eo are technical marvels beyond the imagination of most Martians, to say nothing of the lens makers on Captain Carter's blue planet. From a position of seclusion in the rocky hills Dejah Thoris and Sola gazed anxiously through these devices, upon the frightful scene playing out before them. Additional bands of the Warhoon riders had appeared on the horizon -- one displaying the fluttering colors of a Jed field marshal. The Earthman, whom one girl cherished as a second father, and whom the other one loved as the man of her dreams, was hopelessly outnumbered and encircled by the enemy on every side. Safely hidden at their elevated vantage point, the maids of Barsoom watched with dismay as the living noose of Warhoon warriors tightened upon Captain John Carter of Jasoom. 

His exhibition of jumping skills astonished the giant six-limbed warriors only temporarily, but it served to focus their undivided attention upon the bronze-skinned little man. Even the late arriving royal Jed's party stopped in their tracks to rub their bulging, disbelieving eyes, while the dismounted scavenging headhunters on the fringes of the troop halted their gory butchery of fallen comrades to witness the outlander's antic bouncing. Distracted as they were, none of these wild, unclad sons of the desert had observed the girls' escape and none guessed that two apprehensive Barsoomian females were watching their every movement from afar at that very moment. 


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