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*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK GIANTS ON THE EARTH *** Produced by Greg Weeks, Jana Srna and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net [366]
Giants on the Earth

By Capt. S. P. Meek

The yoke of Jovian oppression
rests heavily on the dwellers of
Earth—until Damis, the Nepthalim,
comes forward to lead them in
spirited revolt.

CHAPTER I
The Jovian Tyrant

Glavour, Jovian Viceroy of the Earth, looked arrogantly about as he lay at ease on the cushions of the ornate chariot which bore him through the streets of his capital city. Like all the Jovians, he was cast in a heroic mold compared to his Earth-born subjects. Even for a Jovian, Glavour was large. He measured a good eight feet from the soles of his huge splayed feet to the crown of his enormous head, crested with stiff black hair which even the best efforts of Tonsome, the court barber, failed to make lie in order. His keen black eyes glittered as they swept over the scene before him. Where only a few years before had been only tangled tropical jungle on the narrow neck of land separating the two great oceans, now rose row after row of stately buildings. Suddenly Glavour's attention was attracted by a girlish form in a passing chariot.

"Stop!" he cried.

Before them were figures
out of a nightmare.

[367] Obedient to the driver's touch on a lever, the tiny radium motor of the chariot ceased to revolve and the equipage stopped its forward motion. Glavour turned to an equerry at his side.

"Havenner," he exclaimed, "did you note that maiden who passed us?"

"I did, Your Excellency."

"Bring her before me."

The equerry sprang lightly to the ground and called out in a stentorian voice. At the sound every vehicle on the street ceased its movement until the will of the Viceroy, the ruler of the Sons of God, should be made known. In a few steps, his powerful Jovian muscles carrying his huge body forward at a rate impossible to persons born of Earthly parentage who had not inherited the power needed to overcome the enormous gravity of Jupiter, Havenner reached the equipage containing the girl. He gave a curt order and the girl's driver turned his vehicle and brought it alongside the Viceroy's.

[368] Glavour's eyes rested on the slim lithesome figure of the Earth-girl. She was just emerging from the grace of girlhood into the full dignity of young womanhood and the soft clinging garb she wore accentuated rather than concealed the curves of her body. As Glavour's gaze fell on her, she cast down her eyes and a flush crept slowly over her pretty face to the mass of coppery gold hair which crowned her head. An expression of brutal lust came into the Viceroy's eyes.

"Daughter of Man," he said slowly, "how are you named and what is your family?"

"My name is Lura, Your Excellency," she faltered, "and I am the daughter of Turgan, the Kildare of this province."

"You please me, girl," said the Viceroy. "Dismiss your chariot and join me in mine. There is room in my seraglio for you."

Lura stared with horror at the huge Jovian and shrank back from his sensual gaze. Glavour gazed at her in astonishment and a deep scowl spread over his face.

"The prospect does not seem to please you, Daughter of Man," he said slowly. "Perhaps the company of the Viceroy of Tubain, Ruler of the Universe, is too lowly to please you and you desire more exalted company. Be careful that I do not have you stripped and given to the palace guards for their sport. Join me in my chariot."

He half rose and leaned forward to clasp her. Lura gave a cry of horror and sprang from her chariot to the ground on the side farthest from the vehicle of the Viceroy. Glavour leaped to his feet with a roar of rage and lunged after her. Before he had left his chariot, the hand of his equerry fell restrainingly on his shoulder. The Viceroy turned a rage-maddened face toward his minion.

"Seize that maiden, Havenner!" he cried. "As I live, she shall be sacrificed at the next games."

The equerry made no move to obey his superior's orders and Glavour's face grew purple with rage.

"Obey my orders or you shall join her as a sacrifice!" he roared.

The equerry's face paled slightly and grew grim at the Viceroy's words but no trace of fear appeared on his heavy countenance.

"Save your breath, Glavour," he said shortly, but in so quiet a voice that no one but the Viceroy heard him. "You may be head of the Sons of God on this planet but your power does not extend to life and death over me, who am of the same blood that you are. I have the right to appeal to Tubain from such a sentence. Before you strive to haul that girl away to your already crowded seraglio against her will, listen to me. Do you realize who she is?"

The Viceroy's face was a study. For a moment rage predominated and he raised a mighty fist to strike Havenner down, but the equerry looked him fearlessly in the eye. Slowly the hot rage faded and a deadly ferocity took its place.

"You try me far, Havenner," he said in a quiet voice, yet with a hint of steel in his tones, "yet your loyalty is above suspicion. Heard you not the girl say she was the daughter of the Kildare of this province?"

"I heard, Your Excellency," replied the equerry, "but beyond that, she is someone else. She is the affianced bride of Damis, the son of Hortan, who was Viceroy before you."

"A Nepthalim!" exclaimed the Viceroy scornfully. "What matters that? Are the desires of a half-breed bastard to stand above the [369] wishes of the ruler of the planet?"

"It is true that the mother of Damis was a Daughter of Man," said the equerry quietly, "yet Hortan married her in honor. Damis is a man of great influence and it would be well to reflect before you rob him of his chosen bride. There is wide discontent with our rule which needs only a leader to flare up. Remember that we are few and Jupiter is far away."

"Havenner, you talk like a frightened woman," sneered the Viceroy. "Let him join the ranks of the malcontents. For my part, I hope they revolt. They need to be taught a lesson. Stand aside while I seize the maiden."

The equerry stood aside with a shrug of his shoulders and the Viceroy sprang to the ground. The girl had run as rapidly as her clinging robes would allow toward one of the beautiful buildings which lined the thoroughfare. She had almost reached the doorway before Glavour reached the ground and raced after her. His Jovian muscles carried his body forward at a pace which no Terrestrial could equal. It was evident to the watchers that he would seize Lura before she could reach the sanctuary she sought.

A mingled chorus of cries of rage and hisses came from the Earthmen who witnessed the scene. The Jovian guards strove to suppress the outcries until a word from Havenner made them cease their efforts and close in around the Viceregal chariot. The cries rose to a tumult but as yet none of the Earthmen dared to raise a hand against the person of the representative of Tubain, the far-off Jovian whom they had been forced to acknowledge as God, and whom many of the ignorant believed was God.

The Viceroy rapidly overtook his victim and his hand was outstretched to grasp her when there came an interruption. From the doorway which the girl had been striving to reach, a man burst forth and leaped between her and her pursuer. Glavour stopped and glowered at the new obstacle in the path of his sensuality.

The newcomer stood five inches over six feet in his flat sandals but it was only in his unusual height and his enormous strength that he showed the blood of his Jovian father. His feet were small and shapely with a high-arched instep and his whole form was graceful and symmetrical. Crisply curling yellow hair surmounted a head which Praxiteles would have reveled in as a model for his youthful Hermes. As he faced the Viceroy, his usual pleasant smile was gone and his face was set in grim lines, his clear blue eyes as cold as the ice brought from the polar regions to cool the Viceroy's drink.

The two stood and stared at one another, the black eyes of the Jovian burning like fire in strange contrast to the cold glare of the blue ones. Then tension in the street grew taut. The Earthmen gradually closed in about them. At a word from Havenner, the Jovian guards closed up and drew from their garments long black tubes. Presently Glavour broke the silence.

"Make way, son of Hortan, for the Viceroy of God," he rumbled in his deep-toned voice.

Damis made no reply, nor did he move a muscle. The rage deepened on the Viceroy's face and he strode forward, his hand raised to strike down this puny assailant who had interposed his slight form between the massive limbs of the Jovian and the object of his desires. With a cry of rage he brought down his huge hand and [370] then Damis moved. So swiftly that the eye could hardly follow his movements, he leaped to one side and his own hand shot up. Fingers of steel circled the hairy wrist of the Viceroy and stopped his hand in mid-air. For a moment Glavour was too astonished at the idea of physical resistance to move. Damis, with an almost contemptuous air, tossed aside the hand he held and made as if to turn his back. With an inarticulate roar of rage, the Jovian charged.

Again Damis sprang to one side and his hand moved. In a long arc his clenched fist shot up and caught Glavour on the chin and rocked the four hundred pounds of bone and muscle that made up the Viceroy. For a moment Glavour staggered and then his hand fell on Damis' shoulder. Exerting all of his huge strength, he pulled his opponent toward him and threw his massive arms about him. Damis made no attempt to wriggle out of the bone-crushing grip, but, instead, threw his arms about the Jovian and matched muscle against muscle. The Jovian guards, who had witnessed the feats of strength which were the Viceroy's boast, expected only one outcome, but to Havenner, who recalled that Hortan, the father of Damis, had been one of the mightiest men of Jupiter, the issue was not a foregone conclusion. Stealthily as a cat he crept forward, a long black tube clenched in his hand.

Mightily the two strove. The face of the Jovian grew dark red and then almost purple as he put forth his last ounce of strength to crush the opponent whom he topped a good eighteen inches. For all of his effort, not an inch did Damis yield. His face grew as pale as the Jovian's grew red and his breath came whistling through his lips, but the strength he had inherited from his mighty sire stood him in good stead. Inch by inch he bent the huge form of his opponent backward. With a sudden effort, the Jovian raised one of his huge misshapen feet and strove to bring his mighty thighs to aid him in thrusting away his enemy. Damis' knee came up and the Jovian dropped his foot with a howl of pain. His breath came in gasps and he stared into the implacable blue eyes before him with a sudden spasm of fear. At last Glavour had met his match.

He opened his lips to call to his guards for help but shame held back the cry. Once he admitted defeat, the fear in which the Earthmen held him would be shaken. With an effort he bent forward his head and buried his huge fangs in Damis' shoulder. There was a cry from the watching Earthmen as they surged forward. The Jovian guards ran to their ruler's assistance but they were too far away. Havenner was close and he sprang forward, thrusting the black tube which he carried, toward Damis.

A cry advised Damis of his danger. With a herculean effort he lifted the huge Jovian from his feet and swung him around until the massive body was between him and the threatening weapon of the equerry. As swiftly as striking snakes his arms uncoiled from around Glavour's body and grasped him by the shoulders. With one mighty heave he tore the Jovian's mouth from his shoulder although the flesh was torn and lacerated by the action. One arm went under Glavour's arm and back around until the hand rested on the back of his neck. The other arm caught the Viceroy's arm and twisted it behind his back. Glavour gave a cry of pain as the punishing hold was applied. Holding his [371] captive before him, Damis turned to the equerry.

"Put up your tube," he said. "One hostile move and your ruler dies."

"Disintegrate him, Havenner!" gasped the Viceroy.

The equerry hesitated a moment but aid was at hand. The Jovian guards had come up to the scene of the struggle and surrounded the pair, black tubes in their hands. The sight of reinforcements roused the Viceroy's lagging courage.

"Capture him alive!" he gasped. "He will be sacrificed at the next games!"

With a roar the guards closed in on the struggling pair. As hairy hands grasped his shoulders, Damis lunged back with all his strength. There was the crack of a breaking bone and the Viceroy's arm hung dangling and useless. Damis whirled on the guards, shaking himself loose for a moment from their grasp, and his fists flew out. Two of the giants went down before well-aimed blows but no one man, no matter what his might, could fight against a score

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