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white The Barsoom series
  branch John Carter and the Giant of Mars
Previous page Next page navigation 6/14 branch Chapter 6.   Pew Mogel
       
Next paragraph     "Yes, I am a synthetic man," answered Pew Mogel slowly. "My brain was the greatest achievement of all The Master Mind's creations.
Next paragraph     "For years I was a devoted pupil of Ras Thavas in his laboratories at Morbus. I learned all that the Master could teach me of the secrets of creating living tissue. When I learned from him all that I thought necessary to pursue my plans, I left Morbus. With a hundred synthetic men I escaped over the Great Toonolian Marshes on the backs of malagors, the birds of transport.
Next paragraph     "I brought with me all the intricate equipment that I could steal from his laboratories. The rest, I have fashioned here in this ancient deserted city where we finally landed."
Next paragraph     John Carter was studying Pew Mogel intently.
Next paragraph     "I was tired of being a slave," continued Pew Mogel. "I wanted to rule; and by Issus, I have ruled; and some day I shall rule all Barsoom!"
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel's eyes gleamed.
Next paragraph     "It was not long before red men gathered in our city, escaped and exiled criminals. Since their faces would only lead them to capture and execution in other civilized cities on Barsoom, I persuaded them to allow me to transfer their brains into the bodies of the stupid white apes that overran this city.
Next paragraph     "I promised to later restore their brains into the bodies of other red men, provided they would help me in my conquests."
Next paragraph     Carter recalled the apes with the bandaged heads in the adjoining laboratory, and the red men with their skulls sliced off in the chamber of the rats. He began to understand a little; then he remembered Joog. "But the giant?" asked John Carter. "Whence came he?"
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel was silent for a minute; then he spoke.
Next paragraph     "Joog I have built, piece by piece, during several years, from the bones, tissues and organs of a thousand red men and white apes who came voluntarily to me or whom I captured.
Next paragraph     "Even his brain is the synthesis of the brains of ten thousand red men and white apes. Into Joog's veins I have pumped a serum that makes all tissues self-repairing.
Next paragraph     "My giant is practically indestructible. No bullet or cannon-shot made can stop him!"
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel smiled and stroked his hairless chin. "Think how powerful my ape soldiers will be," he purred, "each one armed with the great strength of an ape. With their four arms they can hold twice as many weapons as ordinary men, and inside their skulls will function the cunning brains of human beings.
Next paragraph     "With Joog and my army of white apes, I can go forth and become master of all Barsoom." Pew Mogel paused and then added, "provided I acquire more iron for even greater weapons than I already have."
Next paragraph     Now Pew Mogel had risen from his throne in his great excitement.
Next paragraph     "I preferred to conquer peacefully by first acquiring the Helium iron works as payment for Dejah Thoris's safe return. But the Jeddak and John Carter force me into other alternatives. However, I'll give you one more chance to settle peacefully," he said.
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel's hand moved toward the right arm of his throne, as he pulled a duplicate lever. A beautiful woman swung into view.
Next paragraph     It was Dejah Thoris!
Next paragraph     At the sight of his princess chained to the other pillar before him John Carter grew very pale. He sprang forward to free her.
Next paragraph     His earthly muscles could have easily covered the distance in one leap; but halfway there in his spring, Dejah Thoris and Tars Tarkas saw the earthman sprawl in mid-air as though he had struck full force against some invisible barrier. Half-stunned, he crumpled to the floor.
Next paragraph     Dejah Thoris gave a little cry. Tars Tarkas strained at his bonds. Slowly, the earthman rose to his feet, shaking his body like some majestic animal. With his sword he reached down and felt the barrier that stood between him and the throne. Pew Mogel laughed harshly.
Next paragraph     "You are trapped, John Carter. The invisible glass partition that you struck is another invention of the great Ras Thavas that I acquired. It is invulnerable.
Next paragraph     "From there, you may watch the torture of your princess, unless she sees fit to sign a note to her father demanding the surrender of Helium to me."
Next paragraph     The earthman looked at his princess not ten feet from him. Dejah Thoris held her head proudly high, which was answer enough to Pew Mogel's demands that she betray her people.
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel saw, and angrily issued a command to the ape. The white brute rose and ambled over to Dejah Thoris. Grabbing her hair with one paw, he forced her head back until he could see her face. His hideous grinning face was not two inches from hers.
Next paragraph     "Demand Helium's surrender," hissed Pew Mogel, "and you shall have your freedom!"
Next paragraph     "Never!" the word shot back at him.
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel flung another command to the ape.
Next paragraph     The creature planted his great, pendulous lips on those of the princess. Dejah Thoris went limp in his embrace, while Tars Tarkas surged vainly at the steel chains. The girl had fainted.
Next paragraph     The earthman again hurled himself futilely against the barrier that he could not see.
Next paragraph     "Fool," yelled Pew Mogel, "I gave you your chance to retain your princess by turning over to me the Helium iron works; but you and the Jeddak thought you could thwart me and regain Dejah Thoris without paying me the price I asked for her safe return. For that mistake, you all die."
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel again reached over to the instrument board beside his throne. He began to turn several dials, and Carter heard a strange, droning noise that increased steadily in volume.
Next paragraph     Suddenly the earthman turned and raced for the door through which he came.
Next paragraph     But before he had covered fifteen feet, another barrier had closed down. Escape through the door was impossible.
Next paragraph     There was a window over on the wall to his right. He leaped for it. He struck another glass barrier.
Next paragraph     There was another window on the left side of the room. He had nearly reached it when he was met by another wall of invisible glass.
Next paragraph     In a flash he became acutely conscious of his predicament. The walls were moving in upon him. He could see now that the glass barriers had moved out from cleverly concealed slits in the adjoining walls.
Next paragraph     The two side barriers, however, were fastened to horizontal pistons in the ceiling. These pistons were moving together, bringing the glass walls toward each other, and would eventually crush the earthman between them. Upon John Carter's finger was a jeweled ring. Set in the center of the ring was a large diamond. Diamonds can cut glass!
Next paragraph     Here was a new type of glass, but the chances were it was not as hard as the diamond on Carter's finger!
Next paragraph     The earthman clenched his fist, pressed the diamond ring against the barrier in front of him and quickly made a large circular scratch in the glass surface.
Next paragraph     Then he crashed his body with all his strength against the area of glass enclosed by the scratch.
Next paragraph     The section broke out neatly at the blow, and the earthman found himself face to face with Pew Mogel.
Next paragraph     Dejah Thoris had regained consciousness, a set, intent expression on her beautiful face. A grim smile had settled over Tars Tarkas's lips when he saw that his friend was no longer impeded by the invisible barriers.
Next paragraph     Pew Mogel shrank back on his throne and gasped in a cracked voice.
Next paragraph     "Seize him, Gore, seize him!" Little beads of sweat stood forth on his brow.
      Gore, the white ape, released his hold on Dejah Thoris and, turning, saw the earthman advancing toward them. Gore snarled viciously, revealing jagged, mighty fangs. He crouched low, so that his four massive fists supported his weight on the floor. His little, beady, blood-shot eyes gleamed hatred, for Gore hated all men save Pew Mogel.
       
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