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Sarah Bernhardt, from Martian Dreams
As a stage actress with side interests in sculpture and painting, Miss Bernhardt's skill set seemed of dubious worth to the expedition. When the Avatar met her in Martian Dreams, she told how she admired the Martian works of art she had seen, and had spent time gathering and crushing berries from Argyre to use as pigment for her paintings, before Rasputin (Raxachk) closed the city off.
It was later discovered that the Martians inhabiting the bodies of people in Elysium had done so in order to find new bodies for themselves. When one among them, Chsheket, was successfully transferred into a robotic body, it was clear that, if it was necessary for the Martians to leave Mars for Earth, they would need to appear human. At the suggestion of both Nellie Bly and T.R. Roosevelt, the Avatar returned to Bernhardt for ideas regarding disguise and makeup. Her thought was using rouge-tinted berries to make a flesh-colored pigment, but this would not alter the shape of the robotic bodies. Chsheket suggested looking into the water-repellent coating used on the mechanical men at the Pumping Station.
After using a canal barge (armed with cannons using steel cannonballs supplied by Andrew Carnegie) to break into Argyre for the rouge berries, the Avatar confronted Rasputin, who revealed himself as Raxachk -- creator of the ancient plague that killed off the Martians. With the tyrant confident that nothing could alter his plans of domination, the Avatar returned to Bernhardt with the berries, who ground them into a flesh-colored pigment. At the Pumping Station, the pigment was used in the rubber sprayer machine to coat Chsheket's metal body with the substance, making "her" appear as a human woman to the eye.
Upon Raxachk's eventual defeat by the Avatar, this process was used on the remanining Martians in order to help them blend in back on Earth, thus saving their race from total destruction... all thanks to a simple actress.
This French actress was the most renowned performer of her day. Her international tours sold out on every continent on the globe. Her appearance in Queen Elizabeth (1912), one of the earliest feature-length motion pictures, lent credibility to the fledgling art form. Her theatre background proved surprisingly useful in our adventure on Mars.
See Also Edit
- Sarah Bernhardt on Wikipedia.