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´╗┐Title: The Frightened Planet
Author: Austen, Sidney
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Frightened Planet" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: With a tremendous heave, Karn hurled the giant idol to
the floor]



                     The Frightened Planet

                       By Sidney Austen

       Karn was only a savage, but he knew a thing or two
    about the way justice should be meted out--and he did it


Against the blackness of the early morning sky the huge ball traced an
arc of flame. Had Karn been watching the sky he would have seen the ball
slow in its descent and then come to a landing some distance ahead of
him. But he was too busy for that.

On the back of his neck the short hairs told him that pursuit was still
close behind. He put on a fresh burst of speed, his bare feet making no
sound on the trail he followed. Soon the early breeze would shift and
they would lose his scent.

Until then he was in danger from the males of Tur's tribe. Tur the
coward, Karn thought. Tur the bully. Tur the leader of the tribe. Tur
had never liked Karn. He had liked him even less as he grew into
magnificent Cro-Magnon manhood. Karn represented the challenge that must
come to every leader sooner or later.

Then the wind shifted and Karn slowed. They'd give him up now. He was
certain of that. But what to do next? He was all alone, an outcast from
his tribe. For a full-grown man to find another tribe was impossible.

Still, he wasn't sorry about the fight. It had been a good one. Tur was
still in his prime. He'd used his teeth and his feet and every trick he
knew. He wasn't quite as strong as Karn, nor as fast, but he'd had the
advantage of experience.

Only one thing Tur lacked, in common with the other members of the
tribe, and it was that which had lost him the fight. He had almost no
inventiveness. For Karn's questing mind Tur hated him. He could not
understand a man who found interest in new situations. And what Tur
could not understand he hated.

So they had fought. For a while Tur held the upper hand. He had met
every rush of Karn's and repulsed it. But Karn had noticed that every
attack from Tur's left was met by a singular twist of the chief's body.

Once Tur twisted. Twice; a third time; and a fourth time he swung
around. The fifth time Karn was not there. He'd stopped himself in
mid-stride, reversed himself and caught Tur off balance. Then steel
fingers had fastened on Tur's throat in unshakable tenacity.

That was when the other males had charged to his rescue. Tur, they
hated. But Karn they hated more. Karn made up his mind quickly. Glat
alone he could have torn limb from limb. Waan alone would have fared no
better. But they and the others together represented for him a quick and
certain death.

       *       *       *       *       *

Then it had been run, run, run. Run with all of them after him. Run into
the forest in the night. Only the giant wolf and the saber-tooth there.
But they were not half so deadly as his own blood relatives.

Now the chase was over. Karn paused, his chest heaving. In a few minutes
his breathing was back to normal. It didn't take this man long to
recover. Karn grinned into the darkness. It would take Tur longer. He'd
wear those welts on his throat for a while.

Karn shrugged and sniffed the night air. Better move ahead. No smell of
the big cats. But there was a nest of wolves off to his right. They
slept now, but soon they'd be awake. Up ahead there was a strange scent,
one he didn't recognize.

Should he go on or turn aside? Ahead there was a glade where a spring
bubbled. Small animals came to drink there in the morning. That meant
food and water to a man who needed both. Karn moved ahead, but warily.

The rising sun found him only a short distance from his objective. Now
there were mingled sounds as the forest came awake. Early-opening
flowers filled the air with fresh sweetness. It was good to be alive.

Then, through a thin screen of trees, Karn saw the great ball. It almost
filled the glade, reached nearly to the height of the trees. Gleaming
gray-green it was, like the eyes of the wolf. The association made Karn
pause. He drifted off to one side, picked a likely tree and hauled
himself up into its lower branches.

Patience Karn had. He sat immobile, watchful. From inside this strange
orb came sounds that were not too faint for Karn's keen hearing. An
hour passed; two hours. Nothing happened. Still he crouched, waiting.

His patience was rewarded. An opening appeared in the ball. There was a
puff of air being released from pressure. A figure stepped through the
opening and onto the earth. Another figure followed. What were they?

They were men! Clad in strange garments that covered them tightly, they
walked upright on two legs. But what puny men!

Half Karn's size they were, and hairless. Through their skin-tight
garments the bones of their narrow chests were visible. Their delicate
fingers hovered at their waists over small sticks. The scent of fear was
on them.

Karn's nose wrinkled in disgust. No danger here. Then a third figure
stepped out into the light and Karn's flagging interest reawakened. This
scent he recognized. This was a woman!

       *       *       *       *       *

She was taller than the men and her garment clung tight to a rounded
figure that brought a gleam to Karn's eyes. This one had hair, thicker
than Karn's own. Her features were more delicate than those of the women
he had known, but somehow more pleasing.

He realized that the three were speaking. Their mouths did not move,
there was no sound. Yet they spoke. Karn could hear the voices inside
his head. Somehow he understood.

"What a place to land," the woman said.

"Couldn't be helped," one of the men replied. "At least it has air. Once
the tanks are full we'll be on our way again. In a minute or two I'll
test that liquid to see if we can drink it."

"Must you test everything? It looks all right. And why must we stand so
close to the ship?"

"Because we don't know what sort of place we've landed in," the second
man said.

"There's only one way to find out," she told him. "By moving around."

Her tone was openly contemptuous. Karn found himself agreeing with her.
These men were spineless. They must be so to let a woman talk to them
like this. Listen to the way they bickered. Like three women over a
piece of meat that had fallen from the cave fire.

Karn's nose twitched. What was wrong with these people? While they
argued senselessly among themselves their lives hung in the balance.
Couldn't they smell the gray wolf that was creeping toward them?

The three stood almost below Karn and jabbered back and forth. And not
twenty feet away gray-green eyes watched them intently. Karn saw the
wolf's haunches lower. In a moment three hundred and fifty pounds of
carnivore would launch itself upon them.

Claws would rip their flesh, flashing fangs rend and tear them. Karn was
quite objective as he thought about it. They didn't have a chance.

A roar split the air. Karn had known it was coming. But the three below
were taken completely by surprise. Fear rooted them and froze them into
immobility. Crouching, Karn watched death come hurtling toward them.

But after all, they _were_ his own kind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Karn met the wolf in mid-leap. No tiger could have made the leap more
surely than he. His plummeting weight landed squarely athwart the
beast's back, breaking short the trajectory of its bound.

Together they crashed to earth. Karn's legs encircled the wolf's middle
with the strength of a python. Steel fingers found its throat.

Claws raked at Karn's thighs, slavering fangs sought his hands. He
retaliated in kind. His own teeth were at the wolf's jugular. The animal
rolled, taking Karn along with him, but the man would not loose his
grip.

Bestial growls rumbled from two chests. Dust-covered and splattered with
gore, they fought across the glade. Karn's legs tightened inexorably and
the wolf's growl became an anguished squeal.

It could not shake the thing that clung to its back. Slowly, surely its
ribs were forced inward until they cracked. Then jagged ends dug at its
lungs, its heart. There was a gush of blood from its nostrils. It lay
still.

Karn spat out the salt sweat that ran into his mouth and wiped it from
his eyes. Slowly he rose and shook the tension from his leg muscles.
Blood dripped from a shallow gash in his thigh but that concerned him
little. He had suffered worse in the past.

For the duration of the fight he had forgotten completely the two men
and the woman. Now, turning, he saw them watching him. Fear clouded the
eyes of the men, but in the woman's gaze he read awed admiration.

Karn gestured, a motion meant to show peaceful intentions. His move was
misinterpreted, and as he came toward the three the men reached for the
little sticks that hung at their waists. Frantically they waved them at
him.

Were they trying to frighten him with those things? Anger flushed Karn's
face and a low growl issued from his throat. One blow from each of his
hands and these puny men would be dead. The woman he liked.

But the sticks had stopped waving. They were pointing directly at him.
He was caught suddenly in the grip of a force that held him helpless.
Muscles stood out on his neck like tree roots but he could not move.

Inside his head Karn heard the woman arguing again with her two
companions.

"A fine way to treat someone who's just saved our lives!"

"But he might be dangerous. You saw what he did to that beast. Look at
the size of him. One twist of those hands and he'd tear our heads off
our shoulders."

"He _is_ a powerful brute, isn't he?" But there was no fear in her
voice. Only admiration.

"Worse than a Green One," agreed the second of the hairless ones. "We'd
better get back into the ship."

They were a little slow about that, Karn thought. In the underbrush
close by he had heard the movements of a heavy body. A saber-tooth had
no need for stealth. And it was coming their way.

"He's trying to tell us something," the woman was saying. "He may be
trying to warn us. Turn off those rays."

The men hesitated. Then their fingers moved slightly and Karn was free
to move.

       *       *       *       *       *

But now there was no time for warnings. Karn gestured over his shoulder
and started for the opening in the huge ball. He sensed that safety lay
inside. Behind him a huge cat snarled.

The hairless ones hesitated no longer. Leaving the woman to her own
devices they dashed for the ship. She turned to run, tripped and fell.
Karn scooped her up as he ran.

Almost together, the four reached the ship. The smell of the saber-tooth
was strong in Karn's nostrils; he could almost feel its breath on his
neck as he dashed up a ramp.

One of the men was fumbling with a lever. The ramp swung up; the opening
in the ship's side vanished. Against the gray-green wall the tiger's
body thudded.

That danger now behind them, the two men were pointing their sticks at
Karn again. But this time the woman halted them before they could
paralyze him.

"That's twice he's saved our lives. How much more proof do we need that
he's friendly?" She smiled at Karn. "Who are you?"

"Karn, of the tribe of Tur."

"I am Andra, and these men are Harus and Ven. We are of Mahlo. We thank
you for saving our lives."

Harus was the smaller of the two men. His face was thin, pinched with
perpetual fear. Ven too seemed always frightened. They stared at Karn
doubtfully.

"What are we going to do with him?" Harus asked.

"Maybe we could take him back to his tribe," Andra suggested. "If it's
very far we could save him a long trip."

Her eyes questioned Karn. He shook his head.

"No. They would kill me."

"Somewhere else, then?"

Karn shrugged. A full-grown male was no welcome guest in any tribe.
Andra read his thoughts and was sympathetic.

"You're really up against it, aren't you? From what we've seen of your
world so far I would guess it was no place for a man without friends."

"I will go with you to your people; to Mahlo, wherever that is."

"What a notion," Harus snorted. "Picture this uncouth thing in his wolf
skin on Mahlo! Besides" and the disdain went out of his voice, "we'd be
doing him no favor."

Karn grunted. They didn't think much of him. But there was more of it
than that. The three of them had fallen to arguing again. There was talk
of Mahlo and the Green Ones, whoever _they_ were. The argument droned on
endlessly.

"Too much talk," Karn said abruptly.

The talk stopped. Andra was looking at Karn, a slow smile spreading
across her face. Her breasts rose and fell with a change in her
breathing and Karn felt a warm flush rise within him.

"I think Karn is right," she said. "Too much talk."

       *       *       *       *       *

Somewhere in the bowels of the ship a great beast purred. I should not
have let them strap me down, Karn thought. The purring grew louder, the
ship lifted.

His back pressed against the seat and there was a crushing weight on his
chest. His insides tied themselves in knots. What was happening to him.
What invisible monster held him in its clutch?

"Afraid?" Andra asked.

Karn was aware that the weight was off his chest. The purring was
muffled. They had the beast penned. Then Andra unfastened the thongs
that bound Karn.

"Why should Karn be afraid?" he smiled scornfully.

"Perhaps now you would rather remain in your own world. There may be
danger on Mahlo."

This woman was a fool. Naturally; she was a woman. What was danger to
Karn? What was danger to a man who had lived his life with Tur and the
bull males of the tribe, who roamed the same jungle with the saber-tooth
and the great wolf?

Yet she was a woman, and one who attracted him. Karn reached out and
drew her to him. Let her feel the might of his arms. She was doing
something strange with her lips, pressing them against his.

"Now let me go," she said. Then, sharply, "Let me go!"

Bewildered, Karn released his grip. He was confused by this creature of
moods. One moment she smiled and the next moment she seemed angry. He
wanted to please her. But how?

"Well, we're all right," Ven said. He came from some other chamber in
the great ship. "We're running free now. At the next force field we'll
cut into Mahlo's orbit."

There was more strange talk which Karn did not understand. More debate,
too. It seemed that these men spent half their time arguing with the
woman.

Apparently the men held the supremacy, but a very shaky one. The woman
seemed not to know too much about this ship. But she had a good deal to
say nevertheless.

Then Harus' voice came out of nowhere. "Better strap in again. We've hit
Mahlo's orbit."

Again there was the awful pressure, the crushing weight. Violent forces
shook the ship. Andra moaned softly. Strange words issued from her lips.
Then they were out of the clutch of the awful force.

"Landing at Nobla," Ven said. Panels slid away and Karn could see
through the walls of the ship.

Below them was a city. They dropped toward it and its gargoyle-topped
towers reached up to meet them. Strange birds winged across an azure
sky. They came down over the city and landed gently in a meadow next to
the mouth of a great cavern.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Nobody around," Ven said. "I don't understand it."

"They weren't expecting us to land at Nobla," Andra said. "You're always
worrying about something. Come on, let's get out."

The ramp came down and the four descended, Harus leading the way. Karn
wondered why they moved so warily. This was their own land. What were
they afraid of?

To one side the mouth of the cavern yawned dark and forbidding as they
went toward it. Andra explained to Karn that it was the mouth of a
tunnel which led to the city proper. There were walls about the city
which were never opened.

They were almost to the tunnel when the green things came at them. Slimy
beings, as tall as Harus and Ven, covered with green scales and
four-armed, more lizards than men, they poured from the tunnel.

Emitting bird-like cries they swarmed forward, long spears pointing
ahead at waist level. With a scream of fear, Ven spun around and ran.
Andra and Harus stood petrified.

Their reactions were typical, apparently, for the Green Ones came on as
though used to encountering little resistance. Even the sight of Karn,
huge of frame and heavy-thewed, draped in his wolfskin, failed to
register. It was a fatal mistake.

As the first of the Green Ones reached him Karn side-stepped nimbly,
sweeping the spear aside and tearing it from its bearer's grasp. Karn's
other hand shot out and connected with a snout. The man-lizard dropped,
its face turned to green and oozing pulp.

In Karn's hands the spear became a club. The Green Ones turned toward
him in a body, trying to fend off this unexpected attack. They were met
by a whirling staff that crushed whatever it hit. Karn's power was
overwhelming. His rush cut a swath of death through the green ranks,
forcing them back.

He heard Andra calling and looked back over his shoulder. She was
standing at the opening in the ship, screaming to him. In their blind
fear, Harus and Ven were prepared to take off and leave him behind.

No saber-tooth could have altered the direction of his charge more
quickly than Karn. Before the Green Ones could even attempt to block his
retreat, Karn was through them and past them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Harus and Ven sprawled in their flight chairs, panting as though it were
they who had done the fighting. Only Karn seemed relaxed as the ship
rose and hovered above the Green Ones.

"Well," Andra said bitterly, "Nobla is gone. There's only Luma now. And
soon the Green Ones will have that."

"Nobla was yours?" Karn asked.

"All of Mahlo was ours," Andra told him. "But that was only until the
Green Ones got started. Now we have only one city left, and not many
Mahloans to defend that."

Scorn flashed from her eyes at Harus and Ven. "And you saw how brave
they are," she said to Karn.

"Where is this Luma?" Karn asked, disregarding her thrust at the two
Mahloans.

"Not far. After we have a look at what the Green Ones have done to Nobla
we'll go there."

The great ball skimmed over the meadow, lifted above the walls of Nobla
and rose to the height of the tallest towers of the city. For a while it
hovered alongside a great stone gargoyle that peered down into the
street below. Bodies were strewn along the streets, Karn saw. They were
all male.

"The women escaped," he observed. He heard Andra suck in a sharp breath
and turned to her.

She was pointing to a nearby roof. From a doorway there a woman of her
kind had emerged and was running across the roof toward the parapet.
Behind her came three of the Green Ones.

Only shreds of the woman's clothes remained. Her face was clearly
visible to Karn. It was the face of a woman crazed by fear and shock.
She reached the parapet, paused, and saw that the Green Ones were almost
on her. Without hesitation she jumped. Karn watched her fall until she
hit the street.

"This would happen to you too?" he asked Andra.

"If the Green Ones caught me. And eventually they will."

       *       *       *       *       *

Rage welled up within Karn. The thought of Andra in the clutches of
these slimy things sent the blood roaring through him.

"They will not get you," he said.

"No? After Luma there won't be any place to retreat. The voyage that
Harus and Ven and I have just made was in search of another world where
we might be safe. But the others are as dangerous as Mahlo."

Karn reflected that a people who could not fight these Green Ones had
little hope of survival among the Turs and the beasts of his own world.
Compared to the great wolves and the saber-tooths the Green Ones were
nothing.

"We will kill the Green Ones," he decided aloud. "We will fight them and
destroy them."

"Don't make me laugh," Andra said. "You've seen our men when they were
in danger."

The ship had lifted and was leaving Nobla behind. Watching the horizon
ahead, Karn saw another city come into view within a short time. It
looked exactly like Nobla. They must be a great people who could build
cities like these, who could make ships that flew through the air.

But they could hardly be called men. What sort of man was it who did not
have even the instinct for self preservation? What sort was it who would
not defend his woman? Andra read Karn's thoughts.

"What kind of men?" she said. "I'll tell you. They never built the
cities of Mahlo. Those have stood for thousands of generations, erected
by some forgotten ancestors.

"The men of Mahlo have never had to fight. There was no danger here. So
they spent their time in idle chatter, in philosophy, in the invention
of luxuries. But they retained control of the government. When the Green
Ones came out of the forests of the south and began their conquering
march, our men decreed that we must retreat before them.

"When only Nobla and Luma remained to us, the men decreed that we must
retreat from Mahlo to a world without dangers. Unfortunately there is
no such place."

Karn thought for a moment. "What about the Green Ones?"

"They are more reptile than human, as you saw. But they do have a
rudimentary intelligence. Added to their instinct for aggression it is
sufficient to destroy us. Wait until you see our Council in session. You
won't wonder then."

       *       *       *       *       *

Luma had turned out en masse to welcome Andra and her two companions.
Karn had been the center of attraction and interest for a few minutes.
But it was the report of the three Mahloans which mattered most.

Andra gave it to them straight. There was no hope elsewhere. The Green
Ones were only minor terrors among the blood-lusting creatures the
Universe had spawned. Unless the men of Mahlo fought back they were
doomed.

Yet Karn saw no sign that a fight was even imaginable. Shoulders sagged,
heads dropped in resignation, but that was all. As he and his three
companions walked with the throng to the Council forum, Karn saw brows
knit in contemplation, none in anger.

There were as many women as men in the great hall of assembly. They cast
no votes, but they had plenty to say.

"We might consider retreating to the northern deserts," Ven said after
he had called the meeting to order.

The women shouted him down. What it was that the women wanted, Karn
could not guess. But the men quailed before them and became confused.
The most important assembly in Mahlo's history was going to break up
with nothing done.

"We can only wait, then," Ven said regretfully. A chorus of assent rose
like a dirge.

It was all Karn could take. For himself death was nothing. All his life
had been lived in its shadow. But that Andra should fall into the hands
of the Green Ones was another thing. And that these men should allow
their women to meet similar fates filled him with contempt.

"You can do something!" he shouted, coming to his feet. "You can fight!"

Beside him Andra pulled at his arm.

"But we don't know how. No Mahloan has ever lifted his hand in anger.
Don't you see?"

The rest of the women were shrilling the same sentiments, drowning out
the men. Listening to them, Karn began to understand a great deal. But
it was not time for that now.

"Be silent!" he roared. "I see only that you are all going to die. At
least die like men!"

The women's voices shrilled in his ears but he shouted them down. By
sheer lung power he silenced them, and the sight of his giant figure
awed them and kept them silent.

"I am going to pick one hundred of the men," Karn told them. "With
nothing but pointed sticks and clubs they are going to follow me. And
they are going to fight! Do you hear? They are going to fight!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Darkness held no terrors for Karn. His eyes were sharp, his hearing as
acute as a bird's, his sense of smell infallible. Beyond Nobla's wall he
caught the scent of the Green Ones, foul and slightly acrid.

He had to move fast. The men of Mahlo were not as well equipped as he.
They had to have light to find their way around. And in an hour the sun
would be up.

Karn moved away from the gates, edged along the high wall until he found
a rough section. His fingers sought crevices. Then, with the agility of
a monkey, he made his way upward. At the top of the wall he waited,
listening to the sounds of deep breathing on his right and below.

The Green Ones slept. Their guards were at the gate as a matter of
course. But they slept secure in the belief that there could be no
attack. Karn grinned into the darkness as he dropped.

Peering ahead, he saw vague figures and moved toward them on soundless
feet. Only three or four of them here. It would not take long. His hands
reached out and closed on a throat.

It was ridiculous that the Mahloans should be afraid of these creatures.
But they were afraid of their own women, so it might have been expected.
Yet they were more afraid of Karn than of either.

He had bunched his muscles and scowled at them. And they had quailed.
They were afraid to follow him. But they were more afraid not to follow.
Karn thought that when the sun rose he would find his men waiting
outside the gates of Nobla.

Four of the Green Ones lay dead at his feet as he sought for the bolts
that held the gate shut. Very slowly he drew those bolts. All it would
take to open the gates would be the slightest push.

But it was taking him longer than he had expected. Already the sky was
purpling. Running now, Karn sped down the broad avenue toward a tall,
gargoyle-topped building.

He found ledges, plenty of hand-holds, but it was a long climb. The
rising sun caught him still twenty feet from the roof. Below, the city
stirred and came awake.

Green Ones were in the street. Karn prayed that they would not look up.
His prayer proved futile. He moved faster as bird-like cries came up to
him. He had been discovered.

       *       *       *       *       *

Climbing desperately now, he got a hand over the parapet just as a green
snout poked its way over. Karn struck out and the snout vanished. Then
he was over.

More of the Green Ones came at him as he gained the roof. Snatching up a
fallen spear, Karn drove them back. By sheer ferocity of his attack he
forced them back through the doorway from which they had emerged. The
door slammed between them.

They thought he was going to follow. He could hear them chattering among
themselves on the other side of the door. They were trying to decide
what to do. Their discussion gave Karn exactly the time he needed.

His eyes roved the roof, trying to find something that would be heavy
enough to hold the door against those on the other side. He had to
protect his back. But the roof seemed blank.

But there was something Karn could use. The gargoyles. Great
architectural excrescenses, they had never served any purpose. They
could serve a purpose now.

Each was the size of a small boulder, weighing close to six hundred
pounds. Karn lifted one easily, carried it to the door, and set it down.
One more trip and he was safe.

From the edge of the roof he could see beyond the wall. His hundred were
there, puny indeed from this height. His yell brought them around.

They could see him, but they were still afraid. Indecision held them
motionless for an instant. Then they began to move. And they moved
forward.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Green Ones had not seen them yet. Their own eyes were turned up at
this shouting giant on the roof. Then the gates of the city swung open
and Karn's men were in the broad street.

Swarms of the Green Ones poured from the buildings. They paused to form
a line of attack, their spears poised in readiness. That was when Karn
went into action.

He ripped a gargoyle loose from the mortar that held it and dropped it
over the parapet. Before it landed he had started another on its way
down.

On the Green Ones they fell with devastating suddenness, each one
crushing dozens. Another of the great missiles fell, and another. A half
dozen of them there had been in all, and when the last one landed the
street was a shambles.

Karn's men fell on the disorganized remnants of the Green Ones. Hairless
the Mahloans were, and puny. But there was a trace of manhood still in
them. Spears darted and clubs flailed, and the Green Ones fell.

Karn had known that only the taste of blood was needed. And he had been
right. Now his men knew that they too could fight, and that the Green
Ones were not irresistible.

By the time Karn reached the ground again the Green Ones were in full
flight. As long as they had held the upper hand they had been brave
enough. In the face of resistance they were cowardly.

Like Tur, Kara thought. Or like any other bully.

Then he looked up. A shadow crossed his path and he saw the great ball
skim over the city. Tur was forgotten now. As he went toward the landing
field with his men, Karn knew that he would never return to Earth. As
long as Andra was on Mahlo he wanted to be there too.

"You beat them!" she cried as she came from the ship.

"Yes. And we will drive them from every city on Mahlo and back to the
forests from which they came."

"But that won't be necessary. There's no reason for you to risk your
life. That's the trouble with--"

"There is only one trouble," Karn interrupted. "The women of Mahlo have
turned their men into women too."

"You can't talk to me like that!" Andra flared.

Karn found his men watching him. He had led them to victory over the
Green Ones. But with women it was another story. Could he stand up to
Andra? They were watching Karn, ready to follow him again. But which way
would he go?

"Woman," Karn said, "hold your tongue!"

Her face reddened with anger, then turned white as Karn took a
threatening step forward. Her head dropped in submission.

It was victory, complete and final. Before Karn's eyes the men of Mahlo
seemed to grow inches taller. Their shoulders straightened. For the
first time they were out of bondage. They were men. And it was this man
from another world, Karn, who made them so.


THE END

       *       *       *       *       *

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE

This etext was produced from Amazing Stories October 1948. Extensive
research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this
publication was renewed.





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