The Duplication Machine (continued . . .)

It happened in a dark alleyway in a rough quarter of Trigan City. A figure leapt out at a passer-by, and a heavy cudgel was raised for a merciless blow. But the blow never fell ! Uuuuuh . . . Hmmmm ! What have I caught ?—a sneak-thief of the worst and most contemptible type. But he will serve my purpose. Later, the footpad recovered consciousness. Aaaaah ! Where am I ? Don't hurt me, master. I—I meant no harm, I swear it ! You meant the worst possible harm, you rascal—but I am willing to overlook it. Robi sneered. In fact, I will do better than that—I will make you the richest rogue in Trigan City— If you obey me without question ! The following morning, Robi went to Air Fleet Headquarters. As assistant to Elekton's top scientist, he carried a pass that admitted him to the air strip. Here comes Janno now. I'll speak to him when he gets out of his craft. It's a good idea to be on good terms with a member of the Imperial family.
Janno recognised the young scientist. Hello ! Robi, isn't it ? As you see, my leg is mended, and I'm back on flying duty. Very glad to see you recovered, Lord Janno. I've brought something for you. Something you probably thought you'd lost for ever . . . My signet ring ! You dropped it the day you visited the laboratory, Lord Janno. I found it when I was sweeping up this morning. Janno was profuse in his thanks. He would have been surprised to have seen what Robi held in his hand as he walked away. Everybody's happy ! The stuck-up Lord Janno has his ring back —and I have an exact duplicate of it ! That night, Trigan City suffered the first of many inexplicable thefts. Robi's henchman stole a collection of gems from the home of a millionaire. Cry out—and it will be the last sound you ever make ! AAAAH ! Take the jewels ! Take anything—but don't hurt me ! He delivered them to the darkened laboratory where Robi waited. Good ! Now wait outside till I call you. You have one more task to perform before dawn. With the aid of the strange device he had secretly perfected, the ruthless young scientist duplicated the priceless gems. Ha ! Ha !—Nothing can stop me now—nothing ! By the end of the lunar year, I shall be able to buy and sell the Trigan Empire ! There was a surprise in store for his henchman, later. You ask me to return this loot to where I stole it from !— Master, have you gone mad ? No, my friend. I have not gone mad. I have simply discovered the perfect crime !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 498 on 31 July 1971.


The Giant Plant (continued . . .)

In the great square of Trigan City, the cavalry of the Imperial Guard formed up behind their Emperor for what promised to be their last battle. Tax Toru, the disgraced guard commander, came forward. Imperial Majesty ! I claim the honour of dying with you ! Granted ! When the leaders of the rebel force saw the thin line of cavalry barring their way into the city, some of their confidence left them. Trigo ! Your city is being devastated by the giant rallus and your empire is crumbling about your ears —we call upon you to surrender ! Trigo replied coolly to the blustering demand. You are misinformed ! The rallus have been destroyed. There will be no surrender—we will fight to the end, and a new empire will arise from the ashes of the old ! Uneasy murmurings broke out in the rebel ranks. You hear that ? Trigo's beaten the rallus ! What a man ! There's no one like him on Elekton ! Are we going to replace him with the likes of them ? I'm not, for one ! It was like a miracle. Before the defenders' astonished eyes, the rebel army faded away into the dust of the plain. They've given up ! It is all over !—the Empire stands !
Within days, the population streamed back into the city, and the work of rebuilding commenced. The great scientist Peric made a full enquiry of the phenomenon of the ibis plants which had caused the disaster. He is now the only living subject who ate the ibis seeds. He is a normal adult with a child's mind. Happily, he will become mentally adult in the normal span of time. All he has lost is his childhood. The effect on the rallus was much more sinister ! Peric, it must never happen again ! Nor will it, Imperial Majesty ! The giant ibises will be destroyed, and the formula of the compound will remain locked in my mind ! As for Tax Toru—there was a happy outcome to his personal tragedy. You are a proud man who never deigned to answer the charges made against you. We now have a confession from another officer who was the real traitor. Your name is cleared, Tax Toru ! And so, at the parade in celebration of the saving of the Empire, Tax Toru took his place at the head of the Imperial Guard.

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 480 on 27 March 1971.