Zeila Taen

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Martian musician and daughter of Martian scientist Dr. Elath Taen, from the science fiction short story "Pied Piper of Mars" by Frederic Arnold Kummer, Jr. Printed in Planet Stories vol. 1 no. 10, Spring 1942.

She plays a sonovox built by her father, an electronic music instrument with added "supersonics" that induce powerful emotions mirroring the music played. She and her father are involved in a plot to gain access to the Martian Broadcasting Company by killing off its human executives. Then they are replaced with Martian executives sympathetic to their "kill all humans" agenda. Then they can play their sonovox on the air, and induce a planet-wide revolt against the humans.

THERE was, there had never been, Ranson knew, any music like this. It was the pipes of Pan, the chant of robots, the crying of souls in torment. It was a cloudy purple haze that engulfed the mind, it was a silver knife plucking a cruel obli­gato on taut nerves, it was a thin dark snake writhing its endless coils into the room.

Neither man moved. Ranson knew all the tricks of visual hypnotism, the whirl­ing mirror, the waving hands, the pool of ink ... but this was the hypnotism of sound. Louder and clearer the music sounded, in eerie overtones, quavering sobbing minors, fierce reverberating bass. Sharp shards of sound pierced their ears, deep throbbing underrhythm shook them as a cat shakes a mouse.


Through half-shut eyes he saw a door at the rear of the laboratory open, saw a slim, dark, exotic girl step through into the room. Slung about her neck in the manner of an accordian, was a square box, with keys studding its top. For a long moment Ranson stared at the dark, enigmatic girl, watched her hands dance over the keys to produce the soft lulling music. About her head, he noticed, was a queer copper helmet, of a type he had never before seen. And then the girl, Elath Taen, the laboratory, all faded into a kaleidoscopic whirl. Ranson felt himself falling down into the gray mists, and consciousness disappeared.

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