The Outlaws of Mars - Otis Adelbert Kline - ebook

The Outlaws of Mars ebook

Otis Adelbert Kline

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The Outlaws of Mars” introduces you to Captain Jerry Morgan and his travel to Mars in the early 20th century. When Jerry, expert swordsman, left the American Army, his scientist uncle, Dr. Richard Morgan, had no difficulty in persuading the adventurous young man to take a trip to Raliad, largest city on Mars in a space ship, directed by mental telepathy. For Jerry’s first moment there involved him in a costly mistake which was to throw him into conflict not only with the forces of evil and Mars’ many monsters but also against the trained weapons of a haughty empire! Solid planetary adventure romance in the vein of Edgar Rice Burroughs – this has all the clichés, Mars setting, Earth hero, princess in distress, political strife, sword fights, villains etc.... A true pulp fiction classic from the master of the sword and planet genre Otis Adelbert Kline.

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Liczba stron: 248

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Contents

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

CHAPTER 28

CHAPTER 1

As the powerful car plunged up the mountain road Jerry Morgan wondered what sort of reception awaited him at the end of this drive. Would the mysterious, eccentric man who was his uncle, and who lived in this mountain retreat which his nephew had never been permitted to visit, turn him away now?

It was not until he had reached the highest limit of timber growth that he came upon a log habitation built against the mountainside which rose steeply behind it, rugged and bare of vegetation. He stopped the car in front of the log porch, off the road enough to avoid blocking it. No one was around; no one appeared as he slammed the car door shut, climbed the steps and crossed the veranda. No one answered his knock; the door swung open at the impact and Jerry entered.

He found himself in a large living room, finished and furnished in pioneer style, the walls decorated with trophies. Despite the chill at this altitude, there was only cold, gray ashes mingled with bits of charcoal in the fireplace. Jerry had the feeling that the place had not been lived in for some time.

Exploration confirmed his initial impression. Shelves in the kitchen were empty save for a few dishes and utensils. There was no sign of food, and a thin film of dust had settled over everything, even the sink.

Puzzled, he returned to the living room and seated himself on a birch settee before the cold fireplace. Obviously, though this was the nominal residence of his uncle, Doctor Richard Morgan did not really live here. Where, then, did he live? As far as Jerry had been able to see in every direction there had been no sign of a building of any kind, save this one.

As he sat there, reflecting on these mysteries, he suddenly heard the door open, and turning, saw his uncle.

Like his nephew, Richard Morgan was tall and powerfully built. The remaining black among the silver hair and beard was as jet as Jerry’s, and though he did not look like a military man, his presence radiated authority. His forehead was high and bulged outward over shaggy eyebrows that met above his aquiline nose; and he wore a pointed, closely cropped vandyke.

“Glad to see you, Jerry,” boomed the doctor in his resonant bass voice. “I’ve been expecting you.”

Jerry Morgan stared in amazement as he took his uncle’s proffered hand. “Expecting me? Why, I told no one–intended to surprise you. It sounds almost like thought-transference.”

“Perhaps you are nearer the truth than you imagine,” replied the doctor, seating himself.

Jerry brushed this aside, mentally, as he groped for the proper words with which to frame his next speech. “I’m afraid you’re not going to like what I have to tell you, Uncle Richard,” he began. “The fact is, I’ve disgraced ...

“I, know all about it, Jerry,” said the doctor gently, and then proceeded to give a detailed account of the episode the young man had been about to tell. He ended with: “You knew the colonel would never believe a story about your being framed in a manner reminiscent of nineteenth century melodrama, so you had no choice but to resign. What you didn’t know was that it was not Lieutenant Tracy, your rival, who arranged the affair but Elaine herself.”

“Impossible, uncle ...

“Think, Jerry. Had you told anyone–anyone but Elaine–that you were not going directly back to your quarters as usual, but were stopping at the drugstore in town first? Someone had to know you would be in town at a certain time that night in order for the plan to succeed. It couldn’t have worked in any other place, although it could have happened at a later time. And Lieutenant Tracy was in the field that night, and could not have been privy to it. In fact, he knew nothing of it at all.”

“Then I misjudged them both–Tracy and Elaine.”

“Not too badly in Tracy’s case, I should say. He just wouldn’t have done it that way though. He couldn’t have been as sure of the colonel’s reaction as the colonel’s daughter was, you see. Well, don’t fret about them my lad. They’re two of a kind and they richly deserve each other ... And now will you believe me if I tell you I know everything you’ve done since? Good.” He stood up. “You have guessed that I don’t live here–that this place is only a dummy habitation to keep the folk who live hereabout from prying into my affairs. Follow me.”

He led the way through the kitchen, and thence down a stairway into the garage. At the back was a tier of shelving. The doctor reached behind a shelf and pulled. Instantly, the whole tier swung back from the wall, revealing a dark passageway, hewn from the rock, leading into the mountainside.

“Enter,” said the doctor.

At the end of the tunnel they came to a sliding door, which the doctor pushed back. Behind it was an automatic elevator. They entered; Morgan touched a button and they rose noiselessly. At the end of the ascent, they stepped out into a large, airy hallway, into which filtered sunlight streamed through irregularly shaped skylights of frosted glass.

“Seen from the outside, those skylights simulate the drifts and ridges of snow which surround us,” said Morgan. “We are now at the peak of the mountain, and this building is so constructed that, viewed from near or far, it appears to be a part of it.”

“Amazing!” exclaimed Jerry. “I pictured you in a little cabin, perhaps with a small laboratory.”

“I have other surprises for you,” said the doctor. “In the meantime, Boyd will show you to your room. He has already installed your luggage and drawn your bath. I’m sure you will want to freshen up’ after your journey. See you at breakfast.”

“Before I tell you of my life’s work,” said Morgan, as they attacked the viands before them, “let’s talk about you. I know precisely how you feel. You have lost your career and the woman you wanted, and you have come to me for the rest of your patrimony, with which you expect to embark on a certain desperate adventure. The odds are a thousand to one against your coming out alive, but this means little to you the way you feel now.”

He proceeded to relate full details of Jerry Morgan’s plans.

“You seem to read my innermost thoughts, uncle, as if they were a printed page spread before you. I can’t imagine how you know all this, but you are right.”

Morgan sighed. “If you are determined to go on with this, I’ll do all in my power to help you. Yet it is my hope that I may be able to offer you a new interest in life–new adventures that will serve a most excellent purpose, and beside which the one you have planned will pale to insignificance.

“You have said, half in jest, that I appear to read your mind. I do; I have always read your mind, since the death of, your parents put you under my guardianship–which took place after I had perfected my experiments with telepathy. Telepathy, one of the most remarkable powers of the objective mind, is not affected by time or distance. It acts instantly, once contact has been established.

“I started out trying to build a device which would pick up and amplify thought waves. This led to contact with a man on Mars who was experimenting in transmitting thought-waves–but not the Mars of today,” he added, seeing the expression on Jerry’s face. “Lal Vak, the Martian, spoke and still speaks to me from the Mars some millions of years ago, when a human civilization did exist there. We found that personalities could be exchanged between certain Martians and Earthmen who were nearly doubles physically, and whose brain- patterns were similar. Since that time, we established contact with a Venusian, Vorn Vangal who is contemporary with Lal Vak. I am presently in contact with both of these men who, to our niche in space-time have been dead for millions of years. I was able to send two Earthmen to Mars and two to Venus, through personality exchange. The two men on Venus are still alive, and in communication with me. Of the two I sent to Mars, only one remains; the other, who was a criminal, was slain by his fellow-Earthman. This leaves me with only one representative on Mars.”

Had it not been for the demonstration he had already received in relation to Morgan’s intimate knowledge of his own affairs, Jerry Morgan would have been far from credulous. Under the shock of what he had learned, it seemed somehow believable. “It sounds interesting,” he said, trying not to be carried away. “How about sending my personality to Mars.”

“Lal Vak, Vorn Vangal and I have worked out improvements,” Morgan said. “I am now prepared to send you on a journey through time and space in the flesh.”

“Then you must have some sort of space-time vehicle.”

“Follow me, and I will show you,” replied the doctor, rising.

CHAPTER 2

In the center of the high, dome-roofed shed stood a huge globe, more than fifty feet in diameter. It was covered with thick asbestos, held in place by a meshwork of steel cables. A circular metal plate, studded with bolts, and apparently the lid of a doorway or manhole, was on the side facing them.

“I am indebted to the people of Olba, a nation on Venus, for the mechanism which makes this space-time vehicle possible,” said the doctor. “I do not pretend to understand it myself, and can only tell you that it has made several trips successfully–though without any human cargo. The power which propels it either comes from or is tapped by the human brain, and what you may have heard of as telekinesis is as good an explanation as any. I already have contact with the mechanism. Now watch the metal plate and see what happens.”

Jerry watched, then uttered an exclamation as it began to turn swiftly, projecting farther and farther from the surface of the sphere with each turn. It was threaded, and when it unscrewed itself for a distance of about five feet, it suddenly fell forward with a loud click, and hung suspended by a heavy metal hinge, revealing a dark hole in the sphere. Then a ladder of flexible steel cable uncoiled itself from the dark depths, and dropped to the ground.

Jerry sprang up the ladder and crawled into the hole. After following a narrow passageway for about twenty feet he came to a small circular room about ten feet in diameter. The walls, floor, and ceiling of the room were thickly padded and suffused with soft light. He turned as a shadow blocked the ‘light from the tube.

“How do you like it?” asked Morgan.

“Fine,” replied Jerry. “Why not let me start now?”

“I had that thought in mind when I brought you here. However, landing on Mars will have difficulties because of the rarer atmosphere–not as rare as the Mars of today, but noticeably more so than what you’re accustomed to. Because of this, and the lesser gravity, your heart and lungs will have to make readjustments, and it will take time to become acclimated. Go slowly, when you leave the sphere.”

“How long will it take to get there?”

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