The Giant Plant (continued . . .)




Tax Toru made good his escape from the Lokan stronghold with projectiles screaming about his bent head. I am riding from one certain death to another—but it must be done ! In the early hours of the morning, he reached Trigan City and gained admission to the Imperial Palace. This unkempt wretch demands to speak with you, Imperial Majesty ! Who are you— what do you want ? Tax Toru tensed himself. He knew that the fate of an escaped convict was to be slain on sight. I am Tax Toru—formerly commander of your Imperial Majesty's guard ! That traitor ! Cut him down ! Leave him ! Why have you risked your life to come here ? I know the secret of the rallus, and I wish to save the city ! He told all. By all the stars ! The ibis plant —the one I treated with my special compound—must have scattered its seeds on the wind ! Yes ! There is a peasant's son who grew to the size of a man in the space of a few lunar months. And it was from the child's father that the Lokans learned the weakness of all who eat the ibis seeds . . . . . . They have a mad craving for water ! Of course ! The swiftly- multiplying body-cells would require vast quantities of liquid. This gives us a weapon to destroy the rallus ! The rallu horde had retired underground. In the hours before dawn, guards set to work in the silent city. Every drop of water in the city must be poured away or made undrinkable !
Glutinous black oil was poured on to the palace lake. By dawn, they will have only one place to drink . . . The river ! As the twin suns of Elekton rose above the horizon, the rallus came out and sniffed the air for water. They scoured the city in vain. When the suns were high in the sky, the thirst-crazed horde streamed out of the great gates. They are heading for the river ! Nothing on Elekton could stop them now ! The river Trigan flowed deep and fast. The tumbling mass swept towards it. Trigo and his companions watched from the ramparts. It was soon over. Every last one . . . Drowned by their unquenchable craving. Suddenly . . . By all the demons of Daveli ! We have overcome the plague—and here come the rebels ! They came across the plain. Rebels from all over the crumbling Empire—come to feast like birds of prey upon the prostrate city !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 479 on 20 March 1971.

 

The Thing from the Sea (continued . . .)




As Sorra raised her hands to strike—Janno entered. Uncle ! We've returned— and all's well ! Nephew ! Sorra switched her aim to Janno ! You shall be the first to perish ! The three Trigans threw themselves aside as the searing green flame tore past. It struck the prisoner—Ura Zircon, Lord of the Planet Thalla ! Uuuuuh . . . Father ! Father and daughter ? I don't understand . . . She's a Thallan— and was infiltrated into the palace to kill you. Janno told his uncle about the Thallans' search for a new planet. What's this strange power she has ? It's some kind of electro-magnetic force they can aim from the fingertips—they all have it, which is why we tied Ura Zircon's hands behind him. And then—Ura Zircon opened his eyes. Oh, Father . . . It is fortunate that the force which would have killed a Trigan was only sufficient to stun me. There was no fight left in the Lord of Thalla. I have failed. My people are at your mercy—what are you going to do with us ? That is for the Imperial Council to decide.
That same day, the council of the Empire met to decide the fate of the Thallans. Trigo listened to their views. These monsters should be destroyed ! No—send them back where they came from ! Kill them, I say ! And then . . . I say NO ! There will be no more killing. The Trigan Empire has absorbed many peoples within its boundaries—why not the Thallans ? So it was that the Thallan survivors were brought before the Emperor. You will be given a vast area on the bed of the Great Ocean. Develop it —build your cities— raise your crops—and live in peace. Thank you, Imperial Majesty ! Later, Trigo spoke with Ura Zircon. Tell me—why did you choose Elekton for conquest ? It was the most suitable for our needs. We made many exploratory journeys to other planets . . . Ura continued . . . “including Earth. No doubt we alarmed them . . .” I wonder if the people of that planet could have defeated you —as we did !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 473 on 6 February 1971.

 

The Thing from the Sea (continued . . .)




Janno and the others flattened themselves against the rocky ground as the thing from the sea reared high above them. And then . . . Janno ! It's going out to sea again ! Right—we're going after it ! Quickly ! Propelled by the special high-speed machines on their backs, they followed it. After what seemed an eternity, Janno signalled his companions to halt. Before their eyes lay the secret thing that menaced Elekton. Janno had seen all he needed to know. He made the pre- arranged signal for their return.
And then, Zatti raised his hands— krakkk -krakk !— a strange, stunning force sparked out from his fingertips ! Presently, alien forms emerged from the massive shape on the sea-bed. The three unconscious Trigans were carried away. After three days had passed, the Emperor summoned his brother Brag, who was Janno's father. They have not returned from their mission. I fear we must accept that Janno and his comrades have perished in the course of duty. Later, he called for one of the palace secretaries. I will dictate further plans for the location and destruction of the menace. You will send copies to the captains of my armed forces. That night, the girl called Sorra slept submerged in the water of the palace baths ! She belonged to the same alien race as Zatti ! Yes, Imperial Majesty. By the way, you are new here, are you not ? Yes, Imperial Majesty— my name is Sorra.

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 468 on 2 January 1971.