Volume 2228

28. "DEATHLESS FOES" -- June 14, '42
(read novelization

P1: "Seize them!" screamed the wizard as John Carter and the princess now fled on foot across the plaza. 

P2: The Earthman spoke words of courage to the girl, urging her to greater speed. 

P3: "Stop, fools!" Vovo called. "You cannot escape my mechanical creations -- they will follow you tirelessly to eternity!" 

P4: "He is right, John Carter." Dejah Thoris cried in despair. "We grow tired -- they never do!" 

P5: Suddenly Carter grasped the girl and wheeled. His earthly muscles sent him in a high leap over the robot's heads. 

P6: Meanwhile, a great beast, approaching the plateau's summit, heard faintly the noise of the chase. 

P7: Then sounded the clanking of steel as Carter and Dejah Thoris were cornered at last by the tireless mechano-men. 

P8: To Oman came orders to dispose of the Earthman and deliver the live princess to Vovo! 


1. The couple's frustrated attempt to escape -- their flying through the air -- the gathering of the unstoppable robots all around them, etc., can all be indicated in the novelization in a illusory, slow-motion sort of way, so as to futher establish the surrealness of these events. 

2. Vovo orders Oman to "dispose of the Earthman," and the robot appears ready to cast a trident into John Carter -- however, that is not what happens next. 


Novelization of the JCB strip by Dale R. Broadhurst

By what can only be described as a miracle, the Virginian managed to elude the many grasping metal hands and roll free of the struggle with Dejah Thoris in his arms. He attempted leaping, but it was not very practical among the tightly packed buildings. However, he managed to get ahead of the robots and, for the moment at least, Carter and the princess were free. Behind them the pair heard the the wizard screaming "Seize them!" but John Carter and the granddaughter of Tardos Mors continued their flight through Eo's unlit alleyways. 

Dejah Thoris was rapidly regaining her senses and she better understood now what was happening around them. The girl knew that she was slowing John Carter, however. Even he could not fight off the robots, pick out an escape route and carry her all at once. 

"Dotar Sojat, put me down; I can move on my own!" she cried. 

"You are falling to the ground!" he replied. "Here, I'll pick you up!" 

"No, I'm right beside you. Lead the way and I shall follow." 

They came shortly to an open space -- a little plaza where both street lights and moonlight combined to provide a much better view of things. Indeed, Dejah Thoris, who could not even stand upon her own feet minutes before, was now running almost as quickly as her companion. The Earthman spoke words of courage to the girl, urging her to greater speed. 

Just behind them the runners heard the voice of Vovo: "Stop, fools! You cannot escape my mechanical creations -- they will follow you tirelessly to eternity!" 

The couple slowed their pace. On every side of the small open square stood at least a hundred of the mechano-men. More were pouring in from all quarters. 

"He is right, John," Dejah Thoris admitted. "We will grow tired -- they never will. Between us we have two swords -- they have five hundred swords and spears. Many are carrying guns!" 

"Where?" demanded the Earthman, incredulously. "I see no guns among them! But look, they have left an empty space behind them, over there!" 

Suddenly Carter grasped the girl and wheeled. His earthly muscles sent the two of them in a high leap over the robot's heads. Once again they were free, but in the dark, unfamiliar maze of buildings and jungle, John Carter could find no escape route. 

Dejah Thoris would point out an alley, but he would not see it. Carter would suggest a hiding place and the girl answer was that it was far too small. They seemed to agree on nothing, other than the night was very cold and the pathways very dark. Both of them wondered if the wine they had taken in Vovo's lab was blurring their perception, almost to the point of hallucination? With thousands of the invulnerable robots at Vovo's command, how could they hope to win? 

"They are right behind us, John -- what shall we do now?" But her companon could give no answer. For the moment their only comfort was in knowing that they faced their fate together. 

If calots can be puzzled, then Woola was puzzled in the extreme. Atop of the flat mountain his sensitive nostrils could detect no trace of human, green man, nor even of any other large animals. Here and there he happened upon a few insects, even a bird or two, but, to the many-toothed beast, the plateau's summit appeared to be virtually deserted. Yet, he could see the footprints of many men on the trail he followed. But which prints to follow? Some pointed one way and some the other. The Martian hound halted and stood in the middle of the path thoroughly perplexed. Then the wind shifted and his twitching ears caught the faint sound of clanking metal. 

"One thing is for certain, I will not leave you, Dejah Thoris. Many days ago, in Korad, we agreed that our only chance of escape was to go together. But there is no time to speak of these matters now. The metal men are again surrounding us. See, they are over on our left now!" 

"No, my chieftain, they are not. But on the right they are coming. And from behind. And I hear their sounds ahead of us as well!" 

The noise of the chase was everywhere. It occurred to the two humans that all of Eo was alerted and from the workshops in the caverns below the city, hundreds more of the metal humanoids would soon emerg into the narrow streets. Carter and Dejah Thoris were cornered by the tireless mechano-men. They knew there was no place left for them to run, or leap, or hide. 

The couple saw Vovo emerge from an alleyway. In his hand he held a brilliant radium torch. For many heartbeats the little green dwarf stood there, moving the light in slow circles across their naked figures. It took no great effort for them to discern the wizard's thoughts. He complimented himself on how well man's hands had healed and how the woman's exquisite body was now supple and free of all blemish. Her curves and clefts spoke the physical language of health, strength and womanly endowment. Vovo thought that the man was a splendid specimen of molded physique and stimulating potency. All of this the last Wizard of Eo had brought back to life. It would be a shame to destroy such good results, but the man was no longer of use. 

At last Vovo spoke. He remarked that it was very cold out and that "Even the hot-blooded young wench must be freezing." The humans heard him order a mechano-man to find the girl a cape and to deliver her to his experiment site in the ruins. The he ordered Vovo to "dispose of the Jasoomian on the rubbish heap" and then to rejoin his master. 

Oman, the Odwar of the Army of Eo, listened intently to his master. He raised his hand to carry out the command. Then he hesitated. In his memory he saw Eo as it had been hundreds of thousands of years before. He recalled the great ocean that lapped the shores of Isle Eo, and the beautiful birds, and the bands of playful, gentle six-limbed creatures who dwelt in the untamed forests. And the coming of the Cosoomians. That had been long ago -- long before Vovo's time. 

To Oman had come the orders to dispose of the Earthman, but to deliver the princess for another of Vovo's experiments. But who was Oman? The mind of the metal man pondered that question. Who was he? Where had he come from? Why could he not picture his own form, in his memories of the timid green creatures, running wild and free through the protective rain-forests? 

The humans noticed Oman's hesitation and looked on in surprize. 

"Vovo's will is my will!" he called out. Then Oman made ready to kill John Carter.

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