but before we reached the city gate I was to learn the
purpose of that grim shaft and the meaning of the mighty accumulation
We had come almost to the gate when one of the party called to
his fellows, at the same time pointing toward the distant southern
horizon. Following the direction he indicated, my eyes descried
the hull of a large flier approaching rapidly from above the crest
of the encircling hills.
"Still other fools who would solve the mysteries of the forbidden
north," said the officer, half to himself. "Will they never cease
their fatal curiosity?"
"Let us hope not," answered one of the warriors, "for then what
should we do for slaves and sport?"
"True; but what stupid beasts they are to continue to come to a
region from whence none of them ever has returned."
"Let us tarry and watch the end of this one," suggested one of the
The officer looked toward the city.
"The watch has seen him," he said; "we may remain, for we may be
I looked toward the city and saw several hundred warriors issuing
from the nearest gate. They moved leisurely, as though there were
no need for haste--nor was there, as I was presently to learn.
Then I turned my eyes once more toward the flier. She was moving
rapidly toward the city, and when she had come close enough I was
surprised to see that her propellers were idle.
Straight for that grim shaft she bore. At the last minute I saw
the great blades move to reverse her, yet on she came as though
drawn by some mighty, irresistible power.
Intense excitement prevailed upon her deck, where men were running
hither and thither, manning the guns and preparing to launch the
small, one-man fliers, a fleet of which is part of the equipment
of every Martian war vessel. Closer and closer to the black shaft
the ship sped. In another instant she must strike, and then I saw
the familiar signal flown that sends the lesser boats in a great
flock from the deck of the mother ship.
Instantly a hundred tiny fliers rose from her deck, like a swarm of
huge dragon flies; but scarcely were they clear of the battleship
than the nose of each turned toward the shaft, and they, too, rushed
on at frightful speed toward the same now seemingly inevitable end
that menaced the larger vessel.
A moment later the collision came. Men were hurled in every
direction from the ship's deck, while she, bent and crumpled, took
the last, long plunge
Further, neither she nor Bowen had been mentioned among the list of survivors; nor had the body of either of them been recovered.Page 3
Ten days after they brought Mr.Page 4
These boxes contain the various parts of a hydro-aeroplane.Page 9
For a minute or so I clung there to my battered flyer, now useless beyond redemption, my brain numbed by the frightful catastrophe that had befallen me.Page 15
And remembering that I read in Bowen's manuscript that Galu seemed to indicate a higher type of man, I answered by pointing to myself and repeating the word.Page 19
As the meat roasted above the fire, Ajor and I tried once again to talk; but though copiously filled with incentive, gestures and sounds, the conversation did not flourish notably.Page 21
I had depended most, however, upon our fire, feeling that none of the dangerous nocturnal beasts of prey would venture close to the flames.Page 22
knowledge of the effectiveness of firearms than I, and therefore greater confidence in them, entreated me to shoot the beast; but I knew that the chance that I could stop it with a single shot was most remote, while that I should but infuriate it was real and present; and so I waited for what seemed an eternity, watching those devilish points of fire glaring balefully at us, and listening to the ever-increasing volume of those seismic growls which seemed to rumble upward from the bowels of the earth, shaking the very cliffs beneath which we cowered, until at last I saw that the brute was again approaching the aperture.Page 24
Before they departed with their torches, I saw that I had not been conducted to the farthest extremity of the cavern, for a dark and gloomy corridor led beyond my prison room into the heart of the cliff.Page 38
" We were resting against a rocky wall, and Ajor was leaning against me, her head on my breast.Page 39
This revived her so that she raised her lids, and when she saw me, she smiled.Page 40
We had water now, and warmth, and I was sure that Caspak would soon offer us meat or fruit; but as we came to where we could look about, we saw that we were upon the summit of the cliffs, where there seemed little reason to expect game.Page 44
her with him.Page 45
They told me that had I walked away, the moment that I was out of sight of the warrior we would have become deadly enemies again.Page 52
Later he was joined by others of his kind.Page 53
Ajor told me that the Galus country was still higher and considerably colder, which accounted for the scarcity of reptiles.Page 55
He made no attempt to escape, though his feet were not bound and none of the warriors remained to guard him.Page 85
He was almost upon Ajor now, and with a sense of terror such as I had never before experienced, I saw that he ran with his knife in his hand, and that his intention was to slay rather than capture.Page 87
Each was tall and straight and wonderfully muscled; yet they differed as Ace might differ from a perfect specimen of another species.