The Gods of Mars HTML version

Chapter 11. When Hell Broke Loose
Early the next morning Xodar and I commenced work upon our plans for escape. First I
had him sketch upon the stone floor of our cell as accurate a map of the south polar
regions as was possible with the crude instruments at our disposal--a buckle from my
harness, and the sharp edge of the wondrous gem I had taken from Sator Throg.
From this I computed the general direction of Helium and the distance at which it lay
from the opening which led to Omean.
Then I had him draw a map of Omean, indicating plainly the position of Shador and of
the opening in the dome which led to the outer world.
These I studied until they were indelibly imprinted in my memory. From Xodar I learned
the duties and customs of the guards who patrolled Shador. It seemed that during the
hours set aside for sleep only one man was on duty at a time. He paced a beat that passed
around the prison, at a distance of about a hundred feet from the building.
The pace of the sentries, Xodar said, was very slow, requiring nearly ten minutes to make
a single round. This meant that for practically five minutes at a time each side of the
prison was unguarded as the sentry pursued his snail like pace upon the opposite side.
"This information you ask," said Xodar, "will be all very valuable AFTER we get out, but
nothing that you have asked has any bearing on that first and most important
"We will get out all right," I replied, laughing. "Leave that to me."
"When shall we make the attempt?" he asked.
"The first night that finds a small craft moored near the shore of Shador," I replied.
"But how will you know that any craft is moored near Shador? The windows are far
beyond our reach."
"Not so, friend Xodar; look!"
With a bound I sprang to the bars of the window opposite us, and took a quick survey of
the scene without.
Several small craft and two large battleships lay within a hundred yards of Shador.
"To-night," I thought, and was just about to voice my decision to Xodar, when, without
warning, the door of our prison opened and a guard stepped in.