The Giant Plant

The Giant Plant

The Trigan Imperial Guard was on parade, marching with the impeccable precision for which the crack regiment was famous throughout Elekton. Leading the guardsmen was their commanding officer, Tax Toru—a haughty Trigan aristocrat. But after the parade . . . Colonel ! You are under arrest ! Aaaah ! Because of his high rank, the accused man was tried by the emperor himself. The evidence against him was brief—but damning. Letters have been found showing that he has been selling military secrets to the Empire's enemies. Trigo passed sentence. Tax Toru ! You have betrayed the Empire and shamed your family name. You will be stripped of your rank and condemned to labour in the mines for the rest of your natural life ! Tax Toru was publicly disgraced. Then, chained, he became a slave in the dreaded mines. Curse Trigo ! Curse him ! If I ever escape from this living death, I'll bring his wretched Empire down about his ears !
Meanwhile, the great scientist Peric was at work in his laboratory, watched by his young friend Janno. You see, the seeds of the ibis plant are a staple diet of our poorer people. I am trying to increase the size of the plant to provide more food for them —not with any success, for this compound is my last hope. Later that day, Peric returned to the plant—and— By all the stars ! I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams ! The ibis has doubled its size ! He raced out to spread the news. It was then that the plant's swollen seed pods burst —and scattered their contents to the winds. Most of the seeds fell on infertile ground, but a few landed in the small garden of a poor peasant. Within a few days, the peasant couple were staring in delighted amazement at the towering plants. I never saw such ibises ! The seeds of these fine plants will make nourishing soup for the little one. Before the end of the lunar month, the once-sickly child was a sturdy stripling ! It is like a miracle ! We never thought we'd rear him —and now he's bigger and stronger than lads twice his age !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 474 on 13 February 1971.


The Thing from the Sea (continued . . .)

By the time rescue craft arrived, the Daveli was nearly gone ! The Emperor Trigo himself watched the vast hull go to its grave at the bottom of the Tibor Ocean. Why ? — How could it happen ? An Imperial Court of Enquiry was summoned a few days later. Tell us in your own words, Captain — What happened ? Imperial Majesty, it happened at the fifteenth hour — a shudder ran through the ship, as if she had struck a projecting rock . . . No, Sir ! It was more like an underwater explosion ! Not an explosion ! It felt like a mighty blow ! You were off-watch and asleep, while I was on the bridge ! Silence !— Silence, I tell you !
Since your evidences do not tally, this Imperial Court has no other course but to order an inspection of the sunken hull of the Daveli ! The Emperor's nephew Janno and his two comrades volunteered for the hazardous task of diving to the wreck. They were given special instruction. Your gear will protect you from the massive pressures you will encounter. But at that profound depth, there are many hazards ! unknown In due course, their submarine craft was lowered at the fateful spot in the Tibor Ocean. Down—Down—into the unfathomable deep they went . . . Testing communications . . . Receiving you. Receiving you. The nightmare landscape of the ocean bed was laid out below them— and they saw the Daveli. And then . . . By all the stars ! — LOOK ! Along the vast hull of the sunken liner was a clean rent that might have been sliced by a giant's sword ! What on Elekton could have done that ?

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 462 on 21 November 1970.


Mazaratto’s Universal Elixir (continued . . .)

The collapse of the bridge and the ensuing train disaster were recorded in the annals of the Empire as one of the worst ever. The captain of the patrol craft faced the fury of his first officer. Look what you've done, you murderous animal ! There can't be a single survivor from that train ! What—what are you saying ? The captain seemed puzzled—confused . . . What are you saying ? I have done nothing. I don't understand . . . The perpetrator of the disaster was, naturally, put under arrest. Investigators of the feared Special Branch searched his Trigan City apartment. If he's in the pay of a foreign power, he's certainly covered his tracks pretty well. Don't they all ? Isn't that the way with traitors ? They found one item that caused them a brief moment of puzzlement . . . 'Dr. Mazaratto's Universal Elixir'. What did you say ? That's what it says on this bottle ! Why don't you get on with your search and stop messing about with trivia ?
In due course, the captain of the patrol craft was arraigned before a Trigan Navy court martial. The charge was: criminal negligence. There was no other crime in the book that fitted the case. The verdict is 'Guilty'. And you are sentenced to life imprisonment in the mines. The dreaded mines spelt an early death. The wretched creature was dragged away screaming his innocence. I didn't do it ! I didn't, do you hear ? It was the others ! . . The others ! A lunar month went by. Janno was walking along one of the broad boulevards of the city . . . And then—it happened ! By all the stars ! . . Janno dived for the pavement, shouting a warning to an approaching pedestrian. Fall flat on your face, or you're dead ! Huh ? Another projectile screamed close by the new- comer. And Janno saw from whence it came . . . There he is ! On that roof- top opposite ! A breakneck dash across the street, and the young Air Fleet pilot was swarming up a fire escape . . . An insane would- be killer . . . got to get him before he does any real harm . . . Out on the flat roof, the mystery sniper turned at the sound of a footfall. And Janno leapt . . .

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 802 on 28 May 1977.