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Full text of "The Martian"

Interplanetary Stone? 




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PUBLICATION OFFICE: 
404 North Wesley Ave., Mt. Morris, 111. 

Published by 

STELLAR PUBLISHING CORPORATION 

H. GERNSBACK, Pres. 
S. MANHEIMER, Sec'y S. GERNSBACK, Treas 



Contents 

THE ONSLAUGHT FROM RIGEL 

By Fletcher Pratt 150 

In a devastated world, these men of metal labored against the 
monstrosities from outside 

THE MOON DESTROYERS 

By Monroe K. Ruch _ 212 

It was a matter of life or death, should the moon or humanity 
be destroyed . . ? 

THE REVOLT OF THE STAR MEN 



By Raymond Gallun .... 

From afar gathered the space 
but then came revolt . « , . 



222 



men, at the Martian's call 



• m 



THE METAL MOON 

By Everett C. Smith and R. F. StarzL.... 24G 

Based on the Fourth Prize Winning Plot of the Interplanetary 
Plot Contest .... 



SPACEWRECKED 

By Neil R. Jones 



ON VENUS 



260 



Who y?aa guilty for the crash of the space liner upon the 
Venusian swamps . . • ♦ 7 

THE MARTIAN 

By Allen Glasser and A. Rowley Hilliard.'. 270 

Based upon the Third Prize Winning Plot of the Interplanetary 
Plot Contest 



OUR COVER ILLUSTRATION 

from Monroe K. Ruch's "The Moon Destroyers" shows 
the three ships from earth accomplishing slowly the gi- 
gantic task of disintegrating the moon, so that the earth 
might be freed forever of its fearfully destructive effect 
upon the earth's crust. 



WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY — Entered as eecond-claas mat- 
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Patent Office, Trademarks and copyright's by permission of 
Oemaback Publications, Inc., 96 Park Place, New York City, 
owner of all trademark rights. Copyright, 1931, by Gcrnsback 
Publications, Inc. Text and Illustrations of this 
copyrighted and must not be reproduced without 

the owners. „ ,- , 

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York. Publishers are not responsible for lost Mss. Contributions 



Wint 



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magazine are 

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(Illustration by Paul) 



The water was evaporated by the ever-shining sun until there was none left for the 

thirsty plants. Every year more workers died in misery. 



270 



The Martian 



based upon the Third Prize ($15.00) Winning Plot of the Interplanetary Plot Contest 

won by Allen Glasser, 1610 University Ave., New York 



T 




ALLEN GLASSER 

who furnished the plot 



r[E rolling, yellow sand reflected the heat of 
the sun in little, shimmering waves. It re- 
flected the sun's light blindingly throughout 

all its visible expanse, with the exception of one 
spot where lay a 
circular shadow. In 
the great steely- 
blue dome of the 
sky there were no 

clouds. 

The shadow, al- 
though not large, 
was very dark and 
distinct. The curv- 
ed, even line of its 
circumference was 
precisely drawn. 

In the air was a 
persistent rattle of 
sound — a series of 
closely spaced ex- 
plosions, ever ris- 
ing in intensity. 

Suddenly a small, 
uneven shadow de- 
tached itself from 
the circular one; 
and floated swiftly 
across the sand. 
The rattling sound 
increased to a tre- 
mendous booming 
roar, and the large 
shadow began to 

fade. At the same 

time, the smaller 
one grew steadily 
darker. 

above the 

man was 
—much too 

swiftly. 

The surface of 
the sand had been 
shaped into hills 
by the prevailing 
winds. These long, 
ridge-like hills, or 
dunes, were con- 
vex and gradual in 

slope on their 

windward sides, 
but on their lee 
sides they were 
concave, and very steep. 

It was near the top of one of these steep 
slopes that the man landed. His frail legs and 
body crumpled under the weight of his head; he 
pitched forward, and half rolled, half slid to 
the bottom where he came to rest more gently, 
the target of a small avalanche of sand. 

Immediately, he began to struggle; and, fail- 



High 

sand, a 
falling— 




ing in his attempts to rise, stretched his slim 
arms skyward and uttered a sharp, squealing 
cry, . painfully prolonged. Far above him a 
spherical object rapidly diminished in size. Fix- 
edly he watched 
the sunlight glint- 
ing on its polished 
grey sides; watch- 
ed it shrink to a 
tiny ball, a point, 
and then — nothing. 
He was alone. 

The pressure was 
horrible. He buried 
his head in the hot 
sand, and clapped 
his ears in a vain 
attempt to ease the 
throbbing pain. 
They must have 
underestimated the 
weight of the Too- 
nian atmosphere if 
they had expected 
him to live long 
here! It did not 
hurt his body, but 

his head was being 
crushed. He knew 
that he would soon 
die — and was glad. 
This wild, sense- 
1 e s s punishment 
would be at an 
end. 
He 




A. ROWLEY HILLIARD 

who wrote the story 



ANY writers of science fiction, who have not 
given the matter much thought, assume that 
a man of intelligence from one planet would 
meet a cordial and sympathetic welcome on another 
world. „ It is assumed that people are everywhere 
educated, curious about other worlds and other cul- 
tures, and eager to help a visitor from an alien race. 
Unfortunately there is no assurance that such is 
the case. Even were the members of another race, 
on another world possessed of education, there would 
be bound to be among them low and brutish ele- 
ments. And if a stranger from another world, dazed 
by new conditions and unable to make his wants 
known, were to fall into their hands his fate might 
not be happy. 

We have read no story that pictures with such 
clarity and insight the experiences of a man on an- 
other world than his own, than does this present 

story. _ With the basis of a splendid plot Mr. Hilliard 
has worked up a simply marvelous story. 



opened 
eyes again, 
stared in growing 
fascination and 
wonder at the 
great arched blue 
dome above him. 
Gradually the spec- 
tacle of this weird- 
ly beautiful cano- 
py occupied his 
whole attention. It 
was like a soft 
curtain of light 
blue material hid- 
ing the blackness 
of the sky and the 
gleaming stars ; 
yet the sun shone 
through. For a moment he forgot his loneliness, 
his pain, in rapt contemplation of the immense 
perfection above him — but only for a moment. 
Then the explanation came to him. That beau- 
tiful blue was the heavy atmosphere of Toon, 
which was slowly crushing him to death! He 
closed his eyes. 

The heat was terrific, but not as intense as he 



his 
and 



271 



272 



WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY 



had expected* Toon was nearer the Sun than 

was his own world — millions of miles nearer; 
yet he was not badly burnt, and this puzzled 
him. The explanation must again lie in the 
heavy atmosphere — serving as insulation, he fin- 
ally decided . . . He didn't care. 

He felt strangely detached. What signifies 
life — or death — to a tiny being separated by fif- 
ty million miles from any of its kind? Deposited 

on this strange planet, he had no hopes of sur- 
vival; his only emotion was astonishment that 
he had lived a moment. 

He struggled to remove the parachute that had 
been so inadequate in easing his fall. Move- 
ment — even the raising of an arm was serious 
effort. He was glued to the ground by the tre- 
mendous gravitational pull of a planet so much 
greater in size than his own. He relaxed. 

Why struggle? With the passing of hope, all 
incentive to effort passes also. He felt no dis- 
tress at the thought of death. Life, not death, 
would be freakish in this great wasteland. 

And he was past anger now. What they had 
done to him they had done through hate and 
fear. Only hate and fear could conceive of so 
fantastic a torture for a fellow being. There 
was no satisfaction now in the knowledge that 
they had feared him ; nor did he care about their 
hate . . . They had won. They would have their 
way, and all the people of the Loten would suf- 
fer in consequence ... 

Loten! A wave of sick loneliness swept over 
him . • . A point in the sky, obscured by a 
weird curtain of blue — his home! 

CERTAINLY, no man had ever suffered thus ! 
A surge of self-pity welled up within him. 
Certainly no being had ever been forced to long 
for the world — the globe which gave it birth! 
This horror was reserved for him alone . • . 

He clenched his fists. Reason returned to res- 
cue him from emotion. Loten did not exist for 
him. He was outside of the world — a tiny flame 
of consciousness in space. And what did that 
amount to, after all, he asked himself . . • What, 
but Death . . . ? 

For a long time he lay there in the sand, quite 
motionless. 

The sun was sinking. Its blazing heat was 
abating somewhat; its face was large, and red. 
For miles, across the surface of the sand, the 
shadows of the dunes were stretching out . . . 
And out of the sunset a tiny speck of black ap- 
peared. 

Where he lay the man heard the sound of i 
a steady drone, or buzz. At first it did not catch 
his attention, its inception was so gradual; but 
soon it became a roar, and he opened his eyes 
with a start. He had heard no sound since the 
departure of the space ship — had expected none. 
An uneasy excitement gripped him. He strained 
his eyes upward ... 

Suddenly, over the dune against which he lay, 
there shot a something, roaring thunderously. 
He cowered down, stunned by the terrific sound 
of it; but he watched it with wide eyes, as it 
moved across the sky. 

It was T-shaped; with the cross-piece going 




before. Beneath it hung two wheels. It gleamed 
metallically. 

Without attempting to rise, he howled shrilly, 
time after time, catching his breath in gasps — 
while the thing moved steadily away. 

Following an undeviating line, it left him far 
behind, diminished to a speck, and disappeared. 
The sound of it lingered when he could see it no 
longer. 

His breath came quickly, spasmodically, 
through parted lips ; his throat was tight, and: Ins 
heart pounded. The staggering surprise of what 
he had seen and heard left him incapable of 
thought. His mind was a racing turmoil of 
questions. His contentment, his resignation were 
gone— destroyed in a moment; and in their place 
rose a great uneasiness. 

The return of Hope, to a man who has defin- 
itely put it away from him, is a joy closely akin 
to pain in its intensity. His whole body shook 
as he struggled with the sand, attempting to 
rise. 

He had seen a machine, he knew. It coy Id 
not have been an animal. It was not alive, aadi: 
it was made of metal ... A machine meaait 
reasoning beings. There must be reasoning be- 
ings on Toon — where Loten's scientists had ar- 
gued that they could not be ! And machines that 
travelled through space! Perhaps . . . 

As the new possibilities of his situation burst 
iipon him, his homesickness returned a thou- 
sandfold; and he knew that he could rest no 
longer — could not wait in the sand for death. 
He must struggle — he must strive, until th$ end 
came — because there was a chance! '$, ■» 

Immediately, his mind became purposeful, 
and he took stock of his position. He knew 
that the whole of Toon was not like this great 
stretch of sand. Thousands of years of obser- 
vation of the bright planet had convinced the 
scientists of the Loten that it bore vegetation — 
and probably animal life of some sort . . . 

But rational beings! His astonishment re-as- 
serted itself. Five thousand years of systematic 
signalling had brought no response, and the pro- 
ject had lately been abandoned. Yet ... 

He shook his head, and returned to his 
lem. He must not waste time now. 

He had food enough in his stomach to last' 
three days at least, and he would not need water 
for even longer. He suddenly realized, with 

enormous satisfaction, that the pain in his head 
was considerably less than at first. Perhaps his 

system would be able to adjust itself to the at- 
mospheric pressure . . . 

The great question was where — and how — to 
go. He must go somewhere. Only motion would 
satisfy his craving for accomplishment of some 
sort. He would get no help on this great, sterile 
plain. He had no guarantee that another of tfc£ 
flying machines would come near him, and evei 
if it did there was not much hope of attracting 
its attention. No, he must move . . . 

He decided to follow in the direction the ma- 
chine had taken. Its destination might be near- 
by — or it might be thousands of miles away. 
The probability seemed to be in favor of the 
former hypothesis, because the machine bad 




THE MARTIAN 



273 



been moving so very slowly. . . . Anyway, it was 
a chancel 

Pulling his legs up under him, he made an- 
other determined attempt to rise; and finally 
succeeded in standing erect. But it made his 
legs ache terribly; and when he tried a step he 
slipped, falling back with a jarring thud. 

He would have to crawl. 

RIDDING himself of the parachute, and with 
no further hesitation, he set out, crawling 
slowly and laboriously, keeping the sun at his 
back. 

The heat was less oppressive now. The sun 
had sunk to a point where its rays were no hot- 
ter than at midday on his Loten; and he mar- 
velled at the similarity of the two climates. He 
had seen none of the water vapors that astrono- 
mers described as almost constantly enveloping 
Toon, Toon — what he had seen of it — seemed 
to be as dry as the Loten, if not more so. 

He climbed the long, gradual slope of a dune ; 
and, after surveying the endless stretch of sand 
which met his view at the top, slid down the 
'steep side, and crawled doggedly on. 

Night was falling. The blue dome above him 
steadily darkened until it began to take on the 
appearance of his own native sky. 

He was dead tired within an hour. He lay 
still for a time, breathing deeply — marshalling 
his strength. He was in excellent physical con- 
dition, but here his body was so heavy that the 
slightest motion was a strain. Soon, however, 
his eager spirit drove him onward. 

At the end of another hour, happening to 
raise his head, he uttered an involuntary cry. 
Points of light glimmered in the sky ... So he 
was to see the stars after all! — though only at 
night, it seemed. He was relieved. In the back 
of his mind had been the ever-growing certainty 
that he would not be able to keep a direct course. 
He rested again, and picked out certain designs 
that would be helpful as guides. 

He wondered if one of them were Loten. They 
were very dim and they blinked strangely;- and 
their arrangement was meaningless to him. He 
fixed upon one of them — the brightest — and 
imagined that it might be his world — where his 
friends were, and his enemies; where his wives 
grieved for him perhaps; where his children 
laughed and played; where he might one day 
return . . . 

He crawled along through the sand. 

It was not really dark — only twilight. He 
wondered if this were night on Toon. It must 
be. Almost directly ahead of him — just a little 
to the right — was a radiance close to the horizon. 
It puzzled him. Soon it was spreading over the 
sky — a pale, ghostly light. Then a bright point 
appeared — a line; it grew. He stared in abject 
wonder while a great, white disk mounted into 
the sky, illuminating the scene around. 

He rested a while, and watched it. It was 
Toon's satellite. It could be nothing else. But 
beside it the two luminaries of his own world 
were as pygmies. He was still watching it, fascin- 
ated, when he resumed his journey. 



CHAPTER II. 
Signs of Life 

ALL through the night he travelled; and in- 
to the rising sun. The noonday heat forced 
him to take a prolonged rest, but he fought on 
as soon as possible ; and sunset found him crawl- 
ing weakly onward. The cool of night revived 
him somewhat. He knew that the strain under 
which he labored would hasten hi$ time of sleep, 
and that worried him. Even now, he was often in 
a semi-conscious state. Still, he could not stop. 

When the sun rose again, it shone through 
trees; and far across the yellow sand his tired 
eyes saw green hills. The sight invigorated him 
purred him on to stronger efforts. Soon after 
midday he lay panting in the shade of trees. 

The trees astonished him. They towered above 
him, fully five times as high as any he had ever 
seen. Their stems were of enormous girth- 
rough and hard to the touch. There seemed to 
be something moving in their heavy foliage, far 
above him, and he heard faint, sharp whistling 
sounds. He looked around uneasily. 

The size of the trees worried him. If there 
were animal life, it might be proportionately 
large. He shuddered. The desert, although un- 
comfortable, had had one advantage: he had 
been alone there. 

Still, it was not loneliness that he was seek- 
ing, he thought grimly. Obviously, he . . . 

He stiffened. He had been staring abstract- 
edly at the coarse grass which grew thickly 
around him. Now his eyes became f ocussed upon 
a movement there — not three feet away. The 
grass was waving strangely, in a peculiar, un- 
even line; and he caught sight of something 
slim and green, that was not the grass. His 
throat contracted painfully. The thing did not 
seem to move, yet it was coming nearer. When- 
ever he caught sight of a part of its body, it ap- 
peared stationary; yet the waving of the grass 
was closer, and ever closer. It was very close 
now . . . 

Suddenly his power of locomotion returned. 

He rolled over backward, and scrambled along 
the ground to a tree. Grasping the rough trunk, 
he pulled himself erect; and held himself in 
that position, panting. 

He could see the thing more plainly now. It 
was like a long, green whip in the grass. Its 
forepart was raised in the air, and terminated in 
a triangular head, with two bright eyes whose 
steady, unwinking stare made him tremble weak- 
ly. With an effort he took his eyes from the 
creature; and, pushing himself away from the 
tree, ran desperately, as far as his legs would 
carry him. When he fell, he continued to crawl 
— farther, and ever farther into the green woods. 

He wondered if all creatures crawled in this 
world of Toon. Perhaps the great gravitational 
pull made erect postures impossible. 

For a long time he climbed steadily, thread- 
ing his way through the underbrush, skirting 
fallen trees. He felt increasingly drowsy. His 
sleep period would come soon, he knew. He 



274 



WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY 



could not stave it off much longer. And when 
he had slept, he must eat . . • 

He came to level ground. Ahead was an open- 
ing in the trees, where a wide ledge of stone 
was revealed. Out upon this he crawled, and 
gazed at the scene that opened out below. Miles 
of waving tree tops met his view; but what held 
his attention was a strip of silver cutting the 
green. 

He felt a warm glow of satisfaction. Water, 
in his mind, was closely associated with organi- 
zation, transportation facilities, reasoning be- 
ings ... 

Yet he must be wary. He had no idea what 
sort of beings they might be. This might be a 
canal, but it was strangely irregular in its 

course. At least he was making progress . . . 

A peculiar, ringing sound came from the trees 
below. It was utterly unfamiliar to him. Nerv- 
ing himself, he determined to discover what it 
was. He climbed down from the stone, and be- 
gan the journey down the hill. 

As he progressed the sound became louder, 
and others were added. He was puzzled by a 
low, intermittent muttering. It made him vag- 
uely uneasy, and with every moment his agita- 
tion increased. The muttering was now very 
definitely spaced into irregular but continuous 
tones. 

And he knew that he was listening to a con- 
versation. 

He was frightened. Now that he was so 
near to what he had been seeking, his courage 
left him; and he lay trembling, flat on the 
ground, awed by the booming voices of the crea- 
tures. 

They must be very large, he thought, to utter 
such deep tones. 

He had lain there for perhaps five minutes, 
when, suddenly, there came a fending crash; 
and, peering ahead, he saw the green top of a 
tree sway violently, sink, and disappear from 
sight. At the same time there came a louder 
cry, followed by the blending of two thunder- 
ous voices, speaking simultaneously. . . • Then 
a heavy thud, an'd another cry . . . 

HE crawled cautiously forward. He reached 
the fallen tree. Its trunk was suspended 
above the ground by the projection of a number 
of its large braches. He peered beneath it. 

Directly before him, in a small clearing, two 
creatures were struggling together. They stood 
erect upon their huge legs, using their crudely 
bulky arms and hands to strike and tug at each 
other. They were tremendous in size — fully 
three times human stature; yet their heads were 
smaller than men's. Their erect posture gave 
them a weirdly half-human look, which was be- 
lied by the brutal savagery of their aspects. 
Their brows were low; their heads were covered 
with long hair; and in their gaping mouths he 
saw rows of sharp, white fangs. Their skin, in- 
stead of being golden, was a dirty grey in color, 
and was covered with short curling hair or fur. 

But he could see very little of their bodies, 
because — and this sight seemed to him the 
strangest of all — they were almost entirely cov- 



ered with cloth. This woven material was brown J 
in color, and shaped to hang close to their bodies, 1 
even over the arms and legs. He lay very still, 
watching the titanic struggle with ever growing 
wonder. 

They appeared to be evenly matched. Once, 
one of them was hurled heavily to the ground, 
but he leaped effortlessly to his feet. Both of 
them grunted and uttered sharp exclamations 
at intervals. They tramped back and forth, 
tearing up the grass, crushing down the small 
bushes. 

They must greatly hate each other, he thought 
perhaps it was natural for them to fight 
like this. Now one of them was tiring — the 
smaller. Its movements were slower, and it 
stepped almost constantly backward. Suddenly 
from its bulbous nose spurted a red stream. He 
shuddered. The sight of these two strangely 
man-like creatures beating and tearing at one 
another sickened him. 

The larger creature was pressing its advan- 
tage, advancing upon the other with cruel, flail- 
ing blows. Suddenly the smaller one crumpled 
to the ground, and lay still. The other turned 
away. It seemed satisfied. It grasped an object 
which was leaning against a tree — a cutting tool 
apparently, consisting of an edged block of metal 
attached to a long handle of wood; and without 
a backward glance at its fallen" foe, made off 
through the trees. 

The creature on the ground was alive. He 
could see the rise and fall of its breathing under 
the cloth covering of its breast. But the bright, 
red blood was still running out of the nose. It 
had lost an astonishing amount; and he feared 
that, unassisted, it would soon die. He must 
try to help. 

With wildly beating heart, he crawled under 
the tree trunk and out into the clearing. 

As he moved through the grass, he made a 
slight rustling sound, which the creature heard. 
It turned its head, and stared directly at him. 

He stopped fearfully . . . 

The creature uttered a loud cry, and scrambled 
to its feet. He raised one hand, attempting a 
friendly gesture; but the creature, after watch- 
ing him for a moment with wide eyes, bounded 
swiftly away into the woods. He heard the 
thumping and crashing of its passage through 
the underbrush long after it had disappeared 
from sight. 

His first sensation was one of immense relief. 
He had been desperately afraid. 

Evidently the thing had been afraid of him, 
too. And that was surprising . . . Clearly, these 
could not be the reasoning things that had built 
the flying machine he had seen. His relief was 
quickly followed by disappointment. For a mo- 
ment he had imagined that his first objective had 
been reached. Now he realized that he might be 

as far from it as ever. Toon was immense. 
Probably, now, he was in a country inhabited by 
inferior beings — beings that would be constantly 
hostile and dangerous to him. If that were so, 
his quest would end here, he knew. Sleep could 
not be warded off any longer. He could not 



THE MARTIAN 



276 



protect himself. Soon he must eat — and there 
was no food. 

He crawled into the bushes; and lay down, 
lonely and sick. He would stay here. This was 
failure— and the end. But he was not sorry for 
having tried . . ♦ 

Above him the sky was not blue, now; but a 

strange, dead grey. Nowhere could he see the 

sun. The wind sighed mournfully in the trees. 
He slept. 

CHAPTER III. 

In Confinement 

He awakened in shivering terror. His entire 
body was wet Water was falling on him. 
It was falling on the ground all around and on 

the trees — thousands, millions of drops. He 
choked, as he tried to breathe the damp, satur- 
ated air. Desperately he looked around for some 
protection, but there was none. He covered his 
face as best he could with his folded arms, and 

cried out in fear. 

There came a shout; and he heard something 
moving toward him, but he did not care. Horror 
of the falling water crowded all other emotions 

from his mind. 

One of the creatures was standing over him. 
He heard others approaching. They were shout- 
ing loudly back and forth to one another. In 
a moment, there was a circle of them, all around 
him. 

He was too distressed to pay them any atten- 
tion. After a time one of them bent down and 
grasped him under the armpits. He felt himself 
lifted into the air. He did not struggle, even 
when their faces were all around him — very 

close. 
Now they were walking through the trees, one 

of them carrying him in its huge arms, quite 
gently. He was scarcely conscious of his sur- 
roundings. It was becoming more and more 

difficult to breathe. 
Then he felt himself laid down on something 

soft and dry. The water was not falling on him 

now. He opened his eyes. 

They had placed him under a shelter. He 
could hear the water on the black covering above 
him. There was one of them on each side of 
him, where he lay on what seemed to be a cush- 
ioned seat .... 

Suddenly there came a rumble, and the seat 
beneath him quivered and shook. He struggled 
to sit up. One of the creatures aided him, and 
wrapped a dry cloth about his body. He was 

grateful. 

The seat was bumping up and down violently. 
On each side, he could see the trees moving slowly 
backward. He realized that he was in a vehicle. 
It jolted constantly, and he imagined that it 
must run directly on the rough ground. It made 
a continuous and tremendous noise. But it was 
a machine of transportation, however crude ; and 
he quickly forgot his bodily discomfort, as the 

implications of this fact crowded through his 
mind. 
He looked with a new interest at his captors. 



They were talking together excitedly — evidently 
about him, for they never removed their eyes 
from him. In spite of their strangeness and sav- 
agery, they must have reasoning minds. He 
could be pretty sure of that, now 

The vehicle came to rest, and to either side he 
saw structures, made, evidently, of cut trees. 
Then his heart leaped again, as he daw that they 
had glass. So they knew how to make that! 
There were only a few pieces of it let into the 
walls — but it was certainly glass, and his hopes 
rose a bit higher. 

They carried him into one of the houses. It 
was quite dark. They set him down upon a large 
table. They were increasing rapidly in numbers, 
jostling in through the door and crowding around 
the table. 

In the wall near him there was one of the 
pieces of glass. Abashed by the dozens of staring 
eyes, he looked through this, and saw a broad 
field, its soil turned up in long, straight rows— 
evidently for planting. Near the center of the 
field were two creatures, which immediately com- 
manded his attention. 

They were not alike. One was similar to those 
he had already seen, but the other was even 
larger and of a different shape. Four legs car- 
ried the great, bulky body, which rested in a hori- 
zontal position, as did the thick neck and long, 
tapering head. It was dragging the tool which 
turned up the furrows of soil, while the other 
followed behind, governing its directions. 

Clearly, he thought, there were many types of 
creatures on Toon. He would have to try to un- 
derstand their relations to one another .... 

Inside the room there was much noise, and the 
air was hot, damp, and very unpleasant to 
breathe. He was not afraid of the creatures 
now; and instinctively he realized that it was 
curiosity that brought them here, and that they 
meant him no harm. A few were trying to 
speak to him, looking directly into his eyes and 
making monosyllabic sounds. This amused him 
at first. They would not be quite so hopeful if 
they understood from where he had come. 

But in another moment his amusement had 
vanished. One of the creatures, standing near, 
placed a finger close to where he sat, at the 
same time uttering a short disyllabic sound: 

"Table !" 

A thrill shot through him. He had expected 
no such intelligence on the part of his captors. 

A new wave of hope surged up within him . . • 
Carefully, he repeated the gesture and the word. 

HIS action was followed by a burst of excited 
conversation in the room. Several made 
sharp, guttural noises which he guessed meant 
gratification or amusement. 

Immediately a number of them took up the 
game; and he eagerly did his part, repeating 
the sounds they made and identifying them with 
objects. With every possible gesture he tried 

to indicate to them his pleasure and gratifica- 
tion. 

He was sorry when they began to go away. 
It had been getting steadily darker for some 

time, when, suddenly, the room was brilliantly 



\ 



276 



WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY 



illuminated; and, looking quickly around, he saw 
a number of bright globes. This event brought 
him to a high pitch of elation. The character 
of the vehicle in which he had ridden had made 
him fear that they knew nothing of electricity, 
but here was tangible evidence that they did. 
His dream of a return to Loten seemed less like 
a wild imagining at every moment. 

He was beginning to think of these creatures 

as people, almost human beings. 

Now, only two of them remained. Prom their 
glances he knew that they were talking about 
him. Finally, one of them lifted him from the 
table ; and, walking swiftly, carried him through 
the door, across a short stretch of open ground, 
and into a smaller and darker structure, there 
laying him down upon a bed of cloths and cush- 
ions in one corner of the single room. The other 
followed them in, carrying a china dish and cup. 
Setting these beside him, they both pointed with 
their fingers to their open mouths. He under- 
stood immediately, and was glad. He needed 

nourishment badly. 

But when he looked into the dish his pleasure 
abated. It contained an assortment of what ap- 
peared to be parts of plants and — he tried to 
conceal his horror — animal flesh. 

Looking up, he nodded — a gesture that he had 
quickly learned; and to his great relief they 
turned and left the room, closing the door. He 

heard a sharp click. 

The flesh he immediately put aside. He did 
not like to think what its origin might be. He 
studied the plants. They had evidently been sub- 
jected to a heat process, but had not been chemi- 
cally refined in any way. The percentage of 
nourishment in them must be very low, and it 
would be necessary for him to eat great quanti- 
ties to sustain his strength. He wondered how 
long his stomach could stand it. 

These people must eat almost daily to sustain 
themselves on such fare, he reasoned, marvelling. 

With a pronged implement that they had giv- 
en him, he set to work to mash the food into as 
soft a mass as possible. This process they ac- 
complished easily with their fangs, he knew. 

The taste was anything but pleasing, and he 
had great difficulty in swallowing; but he finally 
managed to assuage his hunger, and felt better. 

He drank a little water from the cup, which 
contained enough to supply him for at least five 
days. 

This done, he stretched himself out upon the 
bed, and gave himself over to pleasant reflection. 
A far cry, he thought, from the man lying help- 
less in the desert, devoid of all hope, to the one 
who had established contact with a race of in- 
telligent beings who would doubtless be willing 
to help him return to his own native world. He 
reflected that if the flying ship had hot happened 
to come near him, he would most certainly have 
perished by now — perished in a foreign world, 
far away from those he loved, never knowing 

there was a chance for his salvation. But now 
he had taken the first step .... Anything was 
possible now. 

His attention returned to his surroundings. 
The bare room was lighted by a bulb hanging 



from wires in the center. From it dangled a 
cord, the purpose of which he quickly guessed. 
The walls and floor were bare wood, and rough. 
Along the whole length of one wall extended 
a low, narrow table, or bench, strewn with a mis- 
cellaneous collection of objects which aroused 
his curiosity. 

He crawled to the bench, and pulled himself 
erect by grasping its edge. He was just tall 
enough to see along its surface. Near him rested 
a large roll of what he first thought was cord; 
but on closer examination he decided that it was 
metal wire covered with a fibre insulation. Ob- 
viously it was for the conduction of electricity. 
Scattered around it were a number of cylinders 
of varying sizes,' which he saw were wound 
closely with very fine wires. Clearly, these 
people did more with electricity than make light, 

he thought, encouraged. 

THERE was nothing else in the room except 
a pile of rusty metal in one corner. The 
whole place was depressingly dirty and dreary." 
He thought that he would feel better without the 
light. He made his way to the center of the 
room, and stretched upwards. Finding that he 
could just reach the cord, he jerked it; and re- 
turned in the darkness to his cot. 

He lay there quietly, trying to calm his nerves. 
He wondered what they would do with him .... 

He was still wondering the same thing at the 
end of four days. They did not move him. They 
did nothing except come and look at him — a 
great many of them at first, but less and less 
as time went on. They came in the daytime — 
never at night. They fed him; and a few still 
tried to talk to him. This pleased him, and he 
strove eagerly to understand and imitate; but 
they soon got tired and stopped. 

He learned to distinguish the males and fe- 
males among the people that came, by differences 
in stature, length of hair, and clothing. He ob- 
served, with complete bewilderment, that the 
males often carried in their hands burning cyl- 
inders which they raised regularly to their 
mouths, blowing out smoke into the air. He 
guessed, finally, that this must be some sort of 
sanitary precaution. 

Now, however, he was left alone most of the 
time. They brought him food, and then went 
away. He was uneasy. Physically, he felt far 
from well. The damp air made his throat and 
chest ache; and he feared that the long depriva- 
tion of sunlight was hurting him. He could not 
understand. 

Gathering his courage one day, he attempted 
to open the door. He reached up and turned the 
knob the way he had seen the people do. But it 
would not move when he pushed. He remembered 
the clicking sound he had heard every time after 
they went out. 

He became frightened. He did not understand 
this confinement. Why would they not let him 
out? 

There passed another day, of mental torture. 
Would they let him die in this dark, dreary 
place? Had all his efforts merely led to a 
lonely, purposeless death? 



THE MARTIAN 



277 



He wondered what they would do if he went 
out of his own accord; and finally decided that 
he must do it, even at the risk of offending them. 
Further inactivity he could not bear* 

Within five minutes he had formed a plan of 
action. It was night — the best time to work; 
for he must work undisturbed for a time. 

He made his way to the bench, and collected 
three of the wound wire coils, which he dropped 
to the floor. With a cutting tool that he found 
he managed to get a length of wire from the 
large roll. The tool was very heavy. 

Next, he crawled to the corner, and selected 
a number of small pieces of metal. He rested 
for a while, studying the light bulb which hung 
in the center of the room. From the light it 
gave and the size of the filament, he roughly esti- 
mated the power of the current. 

'then, with a graphite writing instrument that 
he had found, he drew a diagram on the floor. 
He took a very long time doing this, and labeled 
it carefully. When he had finished, the little 
window at the end of the room showed that dawn 
was breaking outside. 

Hurriedly then, he set to work with the metal, 
the coils, and the wire, — twisting, winding, con- 
necting and cross-connecting— constantly glanc- 
ing at his diagram and at the window. Finally, 
when it was broad daylight outside, he gave a 
sigh of satisfaction. 

He had achieved an ugly, jumbled apparatus, 
vaguely cylindrical in shape with a point of metal 
at one end. He laid it on the floor; and making 
his way to the bench, secured two more lengths 
of wire. He crawled under the bench to where 
the power line for the light ran down the wall, 
and there connected them. Then, securing his cup 
of water, he dipped into it the ends of his two 
wires, and observed them for a moment. Satis- 
fied, he carried them to his cylindrical apparatus, 
and connected one of them at the end opposite 
the metal point. The other he did not immedi- 
ately connect. 

CHAPTER IV. 

The Circus 

HE was breathing hard now, and his face was 
flushed. For a long time he sat very still 
and listened, but he heard no sound. At last, 
moving very slowly, he v earried his cylinder to 
the door. He raised it, and placed ihe point 
against the metal lock, under the knob. He 
pressed his lips tightly together, and set his 
jaw With the end of the wire which he 

had not connected he touched a point on the 

cylinder. 

There was no sound. There was no movement 
of the cylinder. Yet the metal lock dissolved, and 
daylight shot through the place where it had 
been. A cloud of light grey dust drifted lazily 
to the floor. 

He disconnected the wires. Carefully he hid 
the thing under the cushions of his bed. Then he 
pushed open the door, and crawled out into the 

sunlight The sun felt warm and pleasant on his 
back. 



He heard a cry, and looked up fearfully. One 
of the men of Toon was running towards him 
carrying a dish. It was the man that brought his 
food. 

His throat was tight, and he was trembling. 
He knew that this was the supreme moment. He 
nodded his head and smiled. He raised one hand, 
palm upward. 

The man stopped directly in front of him, and 
growled — then raised an arm, pointing at the 
door of his prison. 

He made a little murmuring sound to the man ; 
and raising his face to the sun, smiled and 
nodded once more. The man pushed him back- 
wards with one foot, always pointing at the 
door. 

He turned, and crawled back into the shed. 
Dully he watched the man ; who stood for a long 
time staring at the door where the lock had been 
— then strode to the pile of metal and picked up 
a chain. 

■■ ■ i 

He did not move when he felt the chain around 
his tody. He closed his eyes, and did not open 
them until he heard the door shut. He did not 
move all that day. He only watched the little 
window. When, finally, the little window grew 
black, he drew his machine from under the cush- 
ions, and connected it again at the wall. The 
chain was fastened to a leg of the bench, and 
allowed him to do this. He destroyed a portion 
of the chain, and loosened it from his body. He 
crawled to the wall farthest from the house 
where the people lived. Moving the machine in 

a slow arc, he cut a hole in the wall. Disconnect- 
ing the wires, he used them to fasten the ma- 
chine around his waist. Then he went out into 

the night. 

He did not know where he was going — except 
that he was going away from these beings that 
held him prisoner without a reason. At first they 
had seemed kind — but they were kind no longer. 
Something had changed them, he thought; but 
he could not guess what .... 

He had progressed less than a hundred yards 
when a sudden tumult of sound froze him with 
terror. It was coming at him through the dark, 
a hoarse, senseless, animal cry. And bounding 
toward him he saw the dark shadow of a beast. 
He knew instinctively that here was an unreas- 
oning creature — and all the strength went out of 
him. He lay flat and limp on his face. Now he 
heard its panting breath, and felt the heat of it 
on his body .... 

At the same time, but only semi-consciously, he 
heard the loud shouts of men. As in a dream, he 
felt himself grasped roughly and lifted from the 
ground. Soon he knew that he was back in the 
shed again. He saw a man standing above him 
holding his machine. 

He felt strangely detached — as if he were 
not there at all. He saw the man look at the 
machine; look at the door; look at the chain; 
look at the hole in the wall; look at the light 
cord. He saw the man connecting his machine to 
the light cord ; he felt powerless to warn the man 
that he might be connecting it wrong — that there 
were two ways: one right, one wrong .... 

An explosion threw the man heavily against 



278 



WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY 



the wall. He could see the man struggling slowly 
up — coming towards him — kicking him. But he 
could hardly feel the kick at all — and everything 
got dark .... 

When light came back it was just a small 
square above him. That puzzled him, until he 
reached out and found wooden walls all around 
him — very close. He was in a box. He became 
suddenly fully conscious of the fact. Looking 
down at him from above he saw the faces of two 
of the men of Toon. 

He cried out involuntarily, struggling to es- 
cape. One of the creatures shook a heavy piece 
of metal threateningly over his head. He cowered 
down, shuddering, at sight of the merciless gleam 

in its eyes. The light was blotted out, as they 
placed a cover over him; and he was deafened 
by a long and thunderous pounding. 

Then began a time of horror in the darkness. 
His active mind had nothing to feed upon but 
fear. Only too clearly was it brought to him that 
he did not know the ways of these creatures of 
Toon. What was deadly fear to him m,ight be 
commonplace to them. He had hoped to find them 
friendly, merciful — yet friendship and mercy 
were qualities of his own experience in a world 
different from theirs. Why had he thought to 
find them here? 

HE had no measure of time. For endless hours 
he lay there in the dark, bracing himself 
against the sides to protect his head and body 
as much as possible; for the box seemed almost 
constantly in motion — jolting, tilting, and bump- 
ing until he was weak and breathless from the 

strain. 

His mind, worn out by its relentless self-tor- 
ture, sank at last to semi-consciousness. 

Suddenly light returned, and he was dragged 

roughly from his prison. He was in a large room 

where the combination of odor, heat, and noise 

was overpowering. Great numbers of the men 

of Toon were there, hurrying in all directions, 

seemingly very busy. He noted immediately that 

their clothing was different from "that which he 

had seen, and wondered what the significance of 

that might be. .... He felt strangely calm, 

now. 

Before him was an immense, bulky man, who 

stood with legs apart and arms folded, staring 
at him with wide, unwinking eyes. This man had 
a face that was light red in color and rounded, 
almost swollen-looking in shape. He nodded, and 
his cheeks shook loosely. He nodded several 
times, and seemed very pleased. He spoke sharp- 
ly; and others, standing around, sprang into 
action. 

They brought a red cloth, and tied it around 
the captive's loins. They forced him to crawl back 
and forth on the floor, while the big man looked 
on, nodding and chuckling. Then the big man 
ran hot, cushion-like hands over his head and 
body; pried open his mouth; grasped his hand 
and shook it vigorously up and down ; and, with 
a final nod, turned and walked away. 

He understood none of this, and was very 

unhappy. 

They placed him upon a high, draped plat- 



form, where there was a small 
else. There were a number of 
in the room. 



chair and nothing 
similar platforms 




It was impossible for him to maintain his pre- 
vious indifference to his surroundings. Around 
the walls of the room were long rows of barred 
enclosures, containing creatures of every con- 
ceivable size, shape, and color. Some were hid- 
eous ; some were strangely beautiful ; all were ab- 
sorbingly interesting. For a time, he forgot 
everything else while he watched them and lis- 
tened to the sounds that they made. Certainly, 
he thought, a scientist of the Loten would give 
twenty years of his life for the opportunity to 
see these creatures! Some of them were amaz- 
ingly like reconstructions that had been made 
from fossilized bones found on the Loten. 

They brought him food, which he judged must 
the cooked seeds of grain. It was soft, and 

he forced himself to eat a little, although he 
was not hungry. He feared that he would have 
to learn to eat daily, for food concentrates 
seemed to be unknown here. 

His mind was occupied trying to understand 

the meaning of this place. Great numbers of 
people were crowding into the room, now. Rows 
of them stood around his platform. 

The other platforms were now occupied also. 
On them were beings resembling the people 
around them, but each one differing in some 
strange way from the normal. Some were enor- 
mously large, some small. And he saw one which 
was shaped like the men of Toon, yet was no 
taller than himself. 

An endless stream of people surged through 
the room, circulating around the platforms and 
cages — gazing fixedly at their occupants. 

He began to understand. These were exhibits 
— creatures strange to the crowds who came to 
look at them. Toon was very large; and trans- 
portation methods were poorly developed. Per- 
haps, therefore, these people had never seen 
many of the parts of their own globe. 

Their staring eyes made him uncomfortable. 
Wherever he looked they were — staring eyes and 
gaping mouths. He felt suddenly ashamed. He 
wanted to hide himself — but they would not let 
him do that, he knew. How long would they 
keep him here, he wondered? There seemed to 
be no limit to the crowds. This must be a great 
center of population . . . 

And in a flash he had forgotten the people, 
with their staring eyes, forgotten his shame, for- 
gotten his bodily discomfort ... A center of 
population! Those words blazed in his mind. 
Once more, he knew the joy of hope. 

With a sudden clear perception he realized 
that they could not have helped him more if they 
had done it consciously. He had arrived at a 
goal, which, a few days ago, had seemed impossi- 
ble of attainment. Here, if anywhere, he would 
find help . . . 

He must learn the language. That was im- 
perative . . . And again his good fortune 
amazed him. These people were constantly talk- 
ing. His position was ideal for studying their 
speech. From what he already knew, it was 



THE MARTIAN 



279 



quite simple; and it should not take long to learn 
enough to serve his purpose. 

IT took longer than he had expected, mainly 
because the people were not there all of the 
time. They came only at certain periods of the 
day; and he soon made a surprising discovery 
that they slept during a great part of every 
night In fact, almost one third of their time 
seemed to be spent in an unconscious state. The 
creatures in the cages slept even more. He could 
see no signs of intelligence in these caged crea- 
tures. They were dumb, and were completely 
dominated by the men. 

He missed the sun badly. These people, in 
their dark houses and their draped bodies, did 
not seem to need it. Often he felt quite ill, but 
tried not to worry about his health. 

At night, when alone, he practiced the sounds 
he had learned ; and rehearsed the things he was 
going to say when his chance came. 

He passed through a sleep period; and then, 
on the ninth day, decided that he was ready. To 
the attendant who brought his food he said: 

"I talk." 

The man started violently, and gaped at him. 

"Talk?" he repeated blankly. 

"Yes!" 

The attendant looked at him uncertainly for a 
long time, and then walked slowly away. 

He was disappointed. But he was not kept 
waiting long. Soon the man returned, accom- 
panied by another. ^ ! 

"Blumberg wants to see you," they said. He 
did not understand that, and shook his head. 
However, they lifted him from his platform, and 
carried him out of the room. They took him up 
a long series of steps and through dark corri- 
dors, into a small room. 

Here it was cool and light. In the center was 
a desk, and behind it sat the large man he had 

seen once before. 

"Set him on the desk here," ordered the large 
man. "Now, little feller — they tell me you're 
talking!" 

"I talk." 

"Well, well, well!" said the large man jovial- 
ly. "What'll we talk about? ... I'm Blumberg, 
and I run this circus . . . Who are you?" 

He understood only the last words, but they 
were what he was waiting for. 

"I am man of Loten," he said carefully, 
ten is world more far from heat star." 



"Lo- 



"What? Say that again 
"I not live in your world 
"The hell you don't." 



in this world 



t7 



large 
Then 



Again he did not understand what the 
man meant, and looked around helplessly, 
he saw a writing instrument on the desk, and 
picked it up. Blumberg pushed forward a piece 
of white paper. Quickly he drew, in its center, a 
large circle with lines extending from its cir- 
cumference to indicate radiation. Outside it he 
drew four small circles at varying distances from 
the central one. 

"Hey, Edgar — come here!" called Blumberg. 

A pale young man who had been sitting in a 
corner approached the desk, saying, "Yes?" 



He looked pleadingly at the pale young man. 

He placed his fingertip on the large circle, and 
said, "Heat star!" 

"Sun," said the young man quickly, 
"Sun!" he repeated gratefully. Next he indi- 
cated the third little circle from the center. 
"This world?" he said, 

"Earth," said the young man. 

"Earth? This world is Earth?" 
"Yes." 

Blumberg grumbled: "What is this — a joke?" 
He could not understand Blumberg. Eagerly 
he looked into the face of the pale young man, 
and indicated the fourth little circle. 
"Mars," said Edgar. 

"Mars!" he cried jubilantly. He pointed his 
finger at himself. "I am man of Mars," he said. 
There was silence in the room, while they both 
stared at him. Then the big man began to 
laugh. His body shook, and his red cheeks 
jumped up and down. 

So you are a Martian — eh?" 

Martian." 



4i 



a 




^ •« 






it 



:.^ 



M 



..* 



Blumberg was still laughing. "That oughta 
go big in the show— huh, Edgar?" he said. 
"Yes, sir," said the young man. 
"If you live on Mars, what're you doing here?" 
The Martian had been expecting this question, 
"They send me away to Earth." 
Why did they send you away to Earth? 

CHAPTER V. 



Blumberg Promises 

THE Martian began to speak slowly, careful- 
ly. Through long days and nights he had 
rehearsed his story, knowing he would have to 
tell it. The pale young man helped him often, 
at points where he lacked words . . . 

He told of the scarcity of water on Mars — of 
how there was only a little, that had to be pre- 
served carefully. 

Here Blumberg interrupted. "How much wa- 
ter has this chap been drinking?" 

"Less than a cup, sir — in almost ten days," 
said Edgar. "The attendant was telling me . . " 

Blumberg grunted. "Go on!" he said. 

He told of the social order of Mars — of the 
three great classes: the Aristocrats, the Scien- 
tists, and the Workers. The Aristocrats, he ex- 
plained, were the rulers, who utilized the knowl- 
edge of the Scientists and the energy of the 
Workers to build up a State for themselves. 

He told how, once a year, the water rushed 
down the canals from the melting polar ice caps, 
spreading vegetation over the face of the planet, 
and of how quickly this precious water disap- 
peared, evaporated by the ever-shining sun, un- 
til there was none left for the thirsty plants, and 
they died. Thus, every year the famine was 
worse on Mars, and more Workers died. 

He told how he, and other Scientists, had 
wanted to spread oil on the canals to stop evap- 
oration, and of how the Aristocrats had forbid- 
den them to do it. 

He told of the plan he had conceived to con- 
trol the waters at the head of the canals when 



280 



WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY 



the ice melted in the spring, so as to force the 

Aristocrats to come to terms. 

And finally, he told of their premature dis- 
covery of his plan; of their great anger and fear; 
of their determination to punish him as no man 
had ever been punished before; of his banish- 
ment from the very world in which he lived. 

There was a long silence when he had finished. 

At last Blumberg coughed, and shook himself. 

"That's a fine story," he grumbled, "but you 

left somethin' out . . . What I wanta know is: 



said the Martian. 



how did you get here!" 

"In a space traveller," 

"What's that?" 

Carefully, laboriously, he described the space 
ship. With the pencil he sketched diagram after 
diagram, while the pale young man 
and labeled them as he directed, 
man was becoming visibly excited. 
Martian had finished, he burst out : 

"By god, it would — it tvould do it ! . 



helped him 

The young 

When the 



Look 



n 



"Shut up I" said Blumberg. The perspiration 
was standing out in large beads on his forehead. 

"Fellow," he said heavily, "if you're lying, 
you've got one hell of an imagination!" 

"You not have space travellers?" asked the 
Martian tensely. 

"No . . Just ships that travel in air," an- 
swered the pale young man. He heard the other's 
painful catch of breath, and continued quickly: 
"But with these diagrams it would be easy t 

"Shut up, Edgar . . . Shut up — an' get outta 
here!" barked the big man. The other turned, 
and left the room without a word. 

"Now, look here, fellow," said Blumberg, "I'm 
goin' to take your word for it. I'm probably 
crazy to believe you; but I've seen most of the 
funny critters of this world in my time, an' I 
ain't ever seen one like you. So you may come 
from Mars, for all I know." 

The other looked at him eagerly, trying to un- 
derstand his words. "You think I am man of 

of Mars?" 




4t 



Ygs — that's right. 



>* 



He 



The Martian quivered with excitement, 
held out his arms in a gesture of appeal. 

"You help me . . .?" 

"Yes." 

"You help me go to Mars?" 

Blumberg looked down at the desktop, and was 
silent. 

"Yes. I'll help you," said Blumberg suddenly. 
He stood up, and patted the other softly on the 
head . . . "Sure . . . you bet!" 

THE Martian lay upon his back on a leather 
couch in a small room where they had 
taken him. His eyes were wide and shining. His 
hands clenched and opened convulsively. It 
seemed to him that he had been waiting for days. 

The door opened, and Blumberg entered, fol- 
lowed by a smaller man. As the Martian strug- 
gled to his knees to greet him, he spoke heartily. 

"Hello there! Think I wasn't comin'? No use 
being in too much of a Hurry, y'know . . . Meet 
Dr. Smith. He's a scientist like you ..." 

The Martian nodded and smiled at them hap- 
pily. Dr. Smith looked at him long and curious- 



ly, meanwhile automatically seating himself in a 
chair close to the couch. Blumberg, who was 
pacing the room, cleared his throat. 

"Now, look here," he said, "I'm willing to 
help you, but you've got to help me do it . . . 

The Martian understood him immediately. 

"Yes!" he replied quickly. "Yes." 

"Good! . . . Now, Dr. Smith is going to ask 
you questions about things we need to know. 
You tell him all you can." 

"Yes ... I tell him!" 

Dr. Smith had many questions to ask, on many 
and diverse subjects. At first, communication 
between the two was very difficult; but both 
were highly intelligent and understanding men, 
and before long they became fairly successful in 
exchanging ideas. Blumberg paced constantly 
about the room. Occasionally he went out, but 
always returned quickly. 

The catechism went on for hours; and ended 
only to be resumed early the next day. 

And so it continued on the following day, and 
on the day after. The Martian was puzzled. 
They seemed to want to know so many things! 
Dr. Smith had questioned him on every subject- 
mechanics, electricity, magnetism, chemistry, col- 
loids, catalysts, transmutation of metals — every- 
thing. He feared that they were wasting time, 
but did not think it proper to object when they 
were going to so much trouble on his account 
Nevertheless, he could not help worrying; and 
that night, when the pale young man brought him 
his food, he asked timidly : 

"Do they make the ship . . . ?" 

The pale young man looked at the floor, bit- 
ing his lips. Then he went to the door, opened 
it, and looked out into the hall. He closed the 
door softly, and came near the couch. He looked 
straight into the Martian's eyes. 

"There is no ship!" 

"No ship?" 

"No." The young man was flushed and angry. 
He spoke very fast: "That fat crook is not help- 
ing *you . . . But you are helping him — you 
bet. . .!" 

"Does — does he not think — think I am the 

Martian . . . ?" 

"Oh, he thinks you're a Martian, all right! He 

knows you are. He's taking out patents al- 
ready." 

The other shook his head uncomprehendingly. 

"Don't you see it? Where you come from they 
know things that they never even imagined here. 
You got knowledge in your head worth millions' 
of dollars; I mean, you have facts which are of 
great value to Blumberg. Why, already you've 
told him to make gold out of lead — something 
very precious from something worthless. And a 
hundred other things besides. 

"He does not care about you; he cares about 
your knowledge ... Do you see?" 

"Yes." 

The young man's anger suddenly abated, andj 
he glanced fearfully at the door. j 

"I'm sorry," he said gruffly, "but somebody 
had to tell you. You won't get any help here! 

He turned, and almost ran from the room. 



THE MARTIAN 



281 



Footsteps pound- 
there were many 



THE Martian sat perfectly still for a long 
time. Then he climbed down from the couch, 
and crawled to the door. He reached up and 
grasped the knob. The young man had left it 
unlocked, and in a moment he was in the dim 
hallway. He crawled along, keeping close to the 
wall, until he came to the top of a stairway. 
He felt the cool night air on his face. Very 

slowly he lowered himself down the steps. He 
came to a wide door leading out into the open. 

Seated in a chair by this doorway was a man, 
whistling. The Martian waited patiently in the 
shadows until the man stood up, yawned, and 
strolled away. 

Outside, there were high, dark buildings all 
around him. He found himself in a narrow can- 
yon running between them. He crawled down 
this canyon to the right, close against the build- 
ings. The paving beneath him was hard, and 
hurt his knees. But he did not stop. 

Someone was walking towards him. He could 
not escape being seen. He was near a large light 
on a pole. He raised his hand in a gesture of 
greeting . . . 

It was a woman. Suddenly she saw him, and 
gasped. Then she screamed — piercingly. The 
sound echoed and re-echoed between the high 
walls of the buildings. 

Windows and doors banged, 
ed on the pavement. Soon 
people around him. Some of them were holding 
the woman. She hung limply in their arms. 

A man strode into the group, swinging a club, 
and speaking authoritatively: 

"Here! What's the trouble? Move on there!" 
He glanced at the woman. "Fainted? Take her 
to a drug store, somebody. She'll be all right . . .- 
What's this?" He grasped the Martian by the 
arm, and raised him to the light • . . "Well, 
I'm damned!" 

Followed by the curious crowd, he half car- 
ried, half dragged his captive along the street, 
around a corner, and through a lighted door- 
way. He slammed the door shut. 

"Found a freak, Yer Honor . . . Scared a wo- 
man half to death!" It musta got outa the 'Gar- 
den'; I found it on Forty-ninth Street ..." 

The man seated behind the high desk nodded, 
and picked up a telephone. Into this he spoke 
in a low voice, waited, and then spoke again. 
Finally he laid it down, and said, "He is coming 
over. Hold on to it." He resumed his writing. 

The Martian watched the man writing on the 
high desk. He thought that this man must be 
some person of authority — some ruler of the 
people, perhaps. After long and painful uncer- 
tainty, he nerved himself to speak: 

"Please help me ... " 

The man behind the desk looked up and 
smiled. "Yes. That is what we are here for . . . 
Only be patient," he said, and returned to his 
writing. 

The Martian remained quiet. He would not 
dare disturb the man again, but he kept watch- 
ing him . . . 

■ "Good morning, Your Honor!" 

■ At the sound of the voice, he gave a start of 
-■ THE 



surprise and fear. Blumberg walked towards 
him, smiling. He struggled, and averted his 
eyes. But his captor held him tightly. Blum- 
berg patted him on the head with his large, soft 
hand. He trembled. 

"One of yours?" said the man behind the high 
desk. "What is the trouble with him? He 

distressed." 



a 



a 



a 



» 



a 



u 



» 



Blumberg smiled at the other, and tapped his 

own head three times with his fingertip. The 
other raised his eyebrows. 

Tell the Judge about yourself," said Blum- 
berg softly. "He is a great man, and he can 
help you," 

The Martian was surprised that Blumberg 
would allow him to speak. He made a desperate 
effort : 

I am a native of Mars. Please, I must return 

home. Please help me , , . I — " 

See!" said Blumberg. He was laughing. 

The Judge nodded. "Can you handle him?" 
he asked. 

"Sure! They get along better with me than 
in — other places. I know how to treat 'em; and 
they make a good living. 

"All right," said the Judge. "Take him along. 

But don't let me catch him running around the 

streets again, or you might rate a fine." 

Don't worry! We're going on the road in a 

couple of days now. You won't see him again 
. . . Well, good morning to you!" 

"Good morning!" said the Judge. 

The Martian lay, face down, on the leather 

couch, Over him stood Blumberg, breathing 

hard. With a light cane that he carried he 
struck the Martian sharply on his frail back. 

Don't try it again, or you'll get more of that! 
he said softly. 

^ The Martian did not move or utter a sound un- 
til he heard the door slam. Then he made his 
way to the table; and, grasping the edge, pulled 
himself erect. There was something on the table 
that he wanted , . . 

The door opened softly, and the pale young 
man came in. 

"You should not have tried it," he whispered. 

The Martian pointed to the window. Over the 
top of a building lower than its neighbors a 
small, square patch of sky was visible, and in 
this patch a few stars twinkled faintly. 

"Is Mars there?" he asked. 

The young man was silent for a moment, look- 
ing at the floor and biting his lips. Then: 

Yes," he said. "As it happens, it is. Mars 
is the brightest of those stars, and the topmost." 
Thank you," said the Martian. "You have 
been very kind to me!" 

The pale young man looked at him, and at the 
table. Then he turned, without a word, and 
left the room. 

The Martian did not take his eyes from the lit- 
tle point of light. But one of his hands reached 
over the table, and grasped a knife which lay 
there. His eyes still on Loten — his home, he 
plunged the knife into his heart. And the little 
point of light, while he fixedly watched it, flick- 
ered — and died, 
END. 



44 



U