Mars - the red planet
Chris is on Barsoom. . .
as Mars Bardot he's recruited a gallant crew to sail The Lost Sea of Korus,
a rare visit with John Carter to exchange chronicles.
They sailed today on the fine ship "MerryWind".
(Mars Bardot February 28th 2018)
The MerryWind . . waiting . .
The crew were late... fortifying themselves I'm sure ! But all turned up and they were in a fine mood . .
a few giggles started us all off and we broke out some bottles and soon got into the serious stuff . .
The ship is loaded and armed to the teeth . .
"The MerryWind" waits patiently . . .
Red Planet . . . The Chronicles Mission.
Day one and the sea is black . . deep black now, but the Moons of Barsoom shine brightly . . bright enough for Kim in the Crow to spot two small frigates in our wake. We had company ! Damn Zodangan Pirates getting ready to close with us ! We turned about . . I ordered "Sharpen pencils lads . . you may unsheath your steel !" Anyhow the day went well and we press on . . . the sea is now deep purple and I'm ever excited to see my friend on this strange world . . .
A group of Islands has been spotted and we are investigating . . carefully. This is the Lost Sea of Korus after all ! I leave you with a smile . . but the day was grim . . . ~ Mars.
As dawn breaks I am summoned to the bow . . the sea is now a wonderful turquoise and we see a gap through a reef we couldn't resist . . . we go for it . . MerryWind doing her thing and riding nicely into a perfect anchorage. A bay too perfect . . pristine sandy beach and dunes, behind which hid a hopelessly disguised Green Horde . . Warhoons . . an ambush of no concern . . dealt with quickly.
I spotted two or three one man flyers in the skies soon after this encounter . . wearing the colours of Helium !
We are close . . . there is a cave at the head of the beach . . we will camp there tonight with sentries . . . I saw a Thern on the cliff top . . not great . . I'll send young Jenny Silent to investigate . . she's a Red Lady, high born and handy with her Fathers blade . . essential on Barsoom ! Her real name I must keep silent !
The crew are on form but wary ! This is a strange land with shadows in the hills . . Warhoons? They know that soon I will spend some time with Carter of Mars . .
And Kantos Kan . . . and Tars . . . folk important to me.
John Carter . . Warlord of Mars . . all going well my ancestor and I will swap chronicles . . sip some Helium Red maybe . . . He can tell me about him and I'll tell him about me . . .
OK . . enough of that . . . the last embers of our campfire, flickering on the cave wall revealed the shadow of a White Ape . . . friend of the Thern I believe. .
Time to unsheath our steel again. . . sharpen our pencils . . just hours from our destination and you were right lads !
All sorted . . . Jenny Silent is safe . . when the campfire is low I leave them behind to treck another day into the Low Mountains . . . with my friend Kantos . . his sword and a map !
~ ~ ~
The morning greets us . . a fine Barsoom morning for most of us!
The MerryWind crew, even young Kim, let down their hair last night and are not in good repair! Never mind . . they stay behind anyway . . guarding the MerryWind as we set off through some strange terrain . . ambush canyons!
"Half a day away and we'll be in jungles eh lads," says I . . keep your pencils sharpened.
Behind me,in full metal,rode a cousin of Tars Tarkas who had joined our party during the night . . his name . . Kan Tik . . I'm feeling safer by the minute!
Into the canyons we go . . on Banths . . Six strong . . bristling with steel and the company of Kan Tik and his two friends . .
No incidents . . nothing . . . but I felt we were being watched!
We ride on . . . four hours now . . thirsty but we must be close . .
I see smoke in a valley . . a dip in the red sand really! I hear the low hum of a flyer and looking up see we're being checked out . . but the small vessel wore the colours of Helium and guided us . . with some respect I thought . . to the camp of John Carter, he was waiting for me!
(Dear reader . . these are just notes in the heat of adventure . . on Earth. as Chris Bradford, songwriter, I am the master of précis . . handy talent on Mars when you really have to look around before doing your diary! The full stories get padded out by my distant cousin Edgar . . . Publisher . . . he has an apartment overlooking the Hudson River, New York, USA . . . my scribble will be a book! Anyhow . . he's good at that, but I sometimes wonder where he thinks I get the material from! )
So . . where was I? Rambling? That thin air sure helps you to jump miles . . and my swordplay is respected on Mars . . it takes a little getting used to though! I am tired.
Next . . ah yes . . . the important bit . . . . .
We found a stream . . . a camp ready set . . campfire and water boiling . . and there, with the most beautiful woman in Two Worlds on his arm . . John Carter !
He and Kantos embraced and admired each other's new scars for a moment ( a Mars thing )
Enough now . . . a long day on Barsoom involves a lot of fighting and stuff . . sharp steel and being spied on !
Someone's got to do it . .
~ Mars . .
Tomorrow ~ Chronicles Exchanged . . . a desperate duel to save the Honour of Deja Thoris . . and Supper in Helium with Jewels and Jeddacks . . .
~ ~ ~
A change in plans . . I meet - Nik Ar Las Bong . .
He is a Captain in Carters Free Rangers . . The flyers I'd noticed earlier were under his command, and had been keeping an eye on us since we'd braved the reef .
I'd only just untangled myself from Dejas embrace when he came to me, knelt and said his sword was mine! He was a hard looking Red Man of Helium with all the trimmings . . a handy chap . . but why here?.I was expecting a simple exchange of Chronicles . . involving some swordplay granted, but normally quite a social thing . .
John Carter intervened, introduced us properly and directed my gaze to a clearing, artfully hidden and there hiding . . four one man flyers!
"Before you return to Earth and your distant cousin Edgar ( keep an eye on him by the way! ) with the latest Chronicles . . an unexpected task please . . a small matter . . choose your three companions and you leave in the morning!
Til then . . we have tents and silks . . and some fine Helium Red . . "
The night was warm . . but the campfire was a comfort in this strange land with stranger skies . .
So my small gang settled in . . . tired but fascinated by the company we were in!
More tomorrow . . I will have chosen my companions, hopefully got the hang of these one man flyers and know what the heck this task is!
A small matter?
I mentioned Nik Ar Las Bong earlier . . the reason being, he has a certain reputation for getting things done over here . . I feel safer in his company . . he will play a big part in this "small matter!!"
More later . . hopefully I will have my orders and have chosen my three companions . .
I wonder how the MerryWind fairs?
~ Mars . . .
~ ~ ~
After meeting Nik Bong!
After some hours of good company I retired to my tent. I was soon restless in my silks so I took a stroll from the camp. . exchanged good banter with the guards and made my way to a cliff edge. . half a mile away at most.
It was the night before our mission. . up in the two moon skies I witnessed a grim battle between some Rangers and. . dammit. . Zodangans. . a silent fight that ended in our enemies fiery plummet to the red sands. . a wonderful sight, but I shivered. . knowing my visit wasn't a secret anymore!
A guard was asleep on my return. . I gently woke him. . he won't do that again!
I have decided on my team. .
~ Mars. .
Four one man flyers . . Five heroes and One is a lady!
Very early . . no ceremony as we gathered our kit and made our farewells.
No sign of John and Deja . . they'd cleared off in the Royal Flyer to their Palace in Helium . . . their gifted skipper Sok Chyn had warned about pirates that the Rangers had encountered in the early hours ( the encounter I'd witnessed). They had no reason to doubt Chyns advice . .
It must have been hard for my dear relation to leave me to deal with this task,but he is the husband of the Princess of Mars . . Warlord . . Jeddak and has some trust in me! The Chronicles can wait obviously!
But my instructions were clear and easy to relate to my chosen band . .
I had informed Kan Tik and Nik Bong of their obvious places . . me and them . . that's three flyers ,so who gets the final berth and on the last one man flyer?
Jenny Silent and Kim the Crow will share it . . . between them they weigh no more than I or Kan Tik or even Bong! They are both light and lethal .
So, my four is five and I give the order to leave without fanfare . . . we soar through the wild skies of Barsoom . . on a matter of some delicacy and urgency . . these night skies and red desert below . . a green horde in migration . . hardly noticed as we press on.
Our eyes sparkled as we flew side by side . . glancing at each other . . even Nik Bong looked excited . . .
. . . through the thin air I mouthed the words . . . Thuvia!
We press on . . .
~ Mars . . .
Ruby Mountain. .
For several hours we sped through the silent skies. And with the dawn rising young Kim was the first to spot the Ruby Mountain, a mist dispersing as we approached.
Strange mosaics glinted in the weak, pale watery morning light. . worth exploring another time, but the trail leading into the belly of the mountain was before us and we were eager to follow it!
Our flyers safely hidden we took care in loading our packs and checking our weapons! At the entrance to the underground canyon a tall figure in robes beckoned us. . he was to be our guide the Priest. . Kul . . .
The wonderful soft ruby light bathed us as we went to greet him. . we will put some miles in today
and sleep well tonight. . with a sentry of course . . .
A thought occurred to me. . the mosaic display on the mountain. . the canyon entrance. . it looked a bit familiar!
Mars . . .
~ ~ ~
Ruby glow . . .
A short distance down the red dust trail the Priest Kul took me aside, and from his robes produced a mirror wrought from strange metal. I took a look. . my companions and I had developed a Ruby glow. . even Nik Bong the famed red warrior was redder!
The Priest Kul assured us "It will pass as we get closer to your destination. . enjoy it. . you look nice! "
He was quite the charmer was Kul. . other talents as well as it turned out!
"Come now. . my Mistress awaits. . he continued. . Thuvia. . Maid of Mars. ! "
Smiling now we set off again. . with a rosy glow . . .
Through the Ruby Mountain.. and my departure..
This strange, narrow canyon, at times quite cavelike had light enough for me to observe Jenny Silent and Kim the Crow lingering behind, deep in conversation and smiling a lot! At times they disappeared into the shadows for a moment then caught us up breathless and blushing ..
Prince Torqal Tai.. also known as "Kim the Crow"
Nothing of significance to report during the three hour track until our guide happily pointed to a small group of warriors , there to escort us through a lush jungle scenario at the gaping exit on the other side of Ruby Mountain. Fresh air !
Introductions and handshakes over we soon mounted and fell in line with these fine specimens of Barsoom.. our destination.. the Palace of Thuvia.. who was preparing for war !
The welcome we received was quiet and somber.. and strangely, Jenny and Kim were whisked off immediately with much fussing from the Priest, Kul.
The next time I saw them they were resplendent in their war garb.. being hailed as members of the Royal House..
The full story must wait until my distant cousin Edgar sees these notes and photos and makes a book from them, and some dollars for his Publishing Company in his apartment overlooking the Hudson River, New York. My task is complete and I've left my companions to it.. all will be well..
Princess Ree Nee La... Jenny Silent!
I will return to Earth, give the Chronicles to Edgar and be Chris Bradford again who is recording on the 24th of March .. new exciting songs..
I wonder how the MerryWind fares?
~ Mars Bardot/ Chris Bradford..
I spent the afternoon with distant cousin Edgar.. we don't really get on but seem to put up with each other, more for the sake of our dear ancestor really!
Anyhow, between the awkward silences he gave me a letter he'd received recently.. addressed to me care of him!
It was a request and a suggested appointment.. a hint of mystery intrigued me.
The flamboyant signature read "Dr John B Winterface.. Ghosthunter (famous in the USA)
I won't be able to resist this one.. let you know what happens!
~ Chris Bradford/ Mars Bardot.
The north pole of Mars, the red planet, has these psychedelic looking spirals. Somewhat like the planet's namesake chocolate treat - the Mars Bar, if you were to melt it down and swirl it around a little bit. Coincidence? I'll let you decide.
Thanks for this photo to the European Space Agency