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Phor Tak is a male Red Martian inventor and scientist who is a secondary antagonist in the story A Fighting Man of Mars.



A Fighting Man of Mars[]

Phor Tak used to work for the power hungry Jeddak Tul Axtar, for whom he invented many weapons including the fearsome desintegration rays (that can desintegrate wood, metal or even human flesh, depending on which type of ray is used), and a blue paint that can protect fliers against this ray. Tul Axtar however always wanted more and treated Phor Tak very poorly, which caused the inventor to eventually flee from Jahar. He then set up a lab in the dead city of Jhama, where he continued his research, planning to extract revenge on his former master and on Barsoom as a whole.

Tan Hadron and Nur An meet Phor Tak after the hot air balloon with which they escape from Ghasta crashes in Jhama. Nur An recoginzes Phor Tak from a previous meeting. Because all three men are enemies of Tul Axtar, they quickly form an alliance. Phor Tak demonstrates some of his latest inventions to them:  the paint of invisibility and the fearsome Flying Death. He also helps Tan Hadron to build an invisible ship with which he can enter Jahar. Tan Hadron soon realizes however Phor Tak is mad, and wants to conquer all of Barsoom, starting with Helium. Phor Tak knows Tan Hadron doesn't trust him, and only allows him to take the invisible ship if Nur An agrees to stay in Jhama as a hostage. He also threatens to use his flying death against the ship if Tan Hadron tries to double cross him.

Near the end of the story, Tan Hadron confronts Tul Axtar and Phor Tak in Jhama. Phor Tak wants to kill Tul Axtar, but Tan Hadron needs him alive to find out what the Jeddak did to Tavia. Tan Hadron kills Phor Tak. After he finds Tavia and disposes of Tul Axtar, he returns once more to Jhama and destroys all of Phor Tak's inventions.