The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 54

great
brains that were beyond the possibility of human emotions.

And so she was dragged back to her prison in the tower and Ghek took up
his vigil again, squatting by the doorway, but now he carried a naked
sword in his hand and did not quit his rykor, only to change to another
that he had brought to him when the first gave indications of
weariness. The girl sat looking at him. He had not been unkind to her,
but she felt no sense of gratitude, nor, on the other hand, any sense
of hatred. The brains, incapable themselves of any of the finer
sentiments, awoke none in her. She could not feel gratitude, or
affection, or hatred of them. There was only the same unceasing sense
of horror in their presence. She had heard great scientists discuss the
future of the red race and she recalled that some had maintained that
eventually the brain would entirely dominate the man. There would be no
more instinctive acts or emotions, nothing would be done on impulse;
but on the contrary reason would direct our every act. The propounder
of the theory regretted that he might never enjoy the blessings of such
a state, which, he argued, would result in the ideal life for mankind.

Tara of Helium wished with all her heart that this learned scientist
might be here to experience to the full the practical results of the
fulfillment of his prophecy. Between the purely physical rykor and the
purely mental kaldane there was little choice; but in the happy medium
of normal, and imperfect man, as she knew him, lay the most desirable
state of existence. It would have been a splendid object lesson, she
thought, to all those idealists who seek mass perfection in any phase
of human endeavor, since here they might discover the truth that
absolute perfection is as little to be desired as is its antithesis.

Gloomy were the thoughts that filled the mind of Tara of Helium as she
awaited the summons from Luud--the summons that could mean for her but
one thing; death. She guessed why he had sent for her and she knew that
she must find the means for self-destruction before the night was over;
but still she clung to hope and to life. She would not give up until
there was no other way. She startled Ghek once by exclaiming aloud,
almost fiercely: "I still live!"

"What do you mean?" asked the kaldane.

"I mean just what I say," she replied. "I still live and while I live I
may still find a way. Dead,

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