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 . . .)

A dishevelled figure on a stolen kreed was riding through a lonely valley. Suddenly—the hiss of an arrow ! Aaaaagh ! He was instantly surrounded by Lokans. This time I shall not miss ! No ! Save him for the leader— he takes a special delight in dispatching Trigan curs ! The prisoner was dragged before the leader of the renegade band. Trigan ! I regret that you will not live a little longer, to see your capital city in ruins and your empire collapse in confusion ! No ! Wait ! I have a request. What's this ? Let me live to see the accursed Emperor Trigo slain before my eyes. Then I will die happy ! Who are you, Trigan ? You look like a slave, yet you speak like a warrior ! I am Tax Toru— formerly commander of the Trigan Imperial Guard, until I was disgraced by the judgment of Trigo and sent to slave in the mines. I escaped this morning, and I only live for vengeance ! You please me, Tax Toru. A man driven on by hatred is a good ally. Your wish will be granted, and you shall help us in our plan— tonight !
That night, disguised as desert traders, Tax Toru and two Lokans entered the city gates with a wagon. Looking and speaking like a Trigan subject, the escaped convict aroused no suspicions. We bring a load of vegetables for the market. Pass through ! They came to a dark street. Release the rallus ! A tumbling host of squealing rallus emerged from a cage within the wagon, and scuttled into the dark entrance. Tax Toru was puzzled. How can they destroy Trigan City ? Parts of the city are already infested with them. Ah !—But those are special rallus ! Quiet, fool ! He is not to be told the secret ! Two days later, a market was held in the great square of the city. When the twin suns of Elekton were high in the sky— it happened ! There was a thunder of countless flying feet. Market stalls were overturned in confusion. And a host of giant rallus hurled themselves at the panic-stricken crowd. Eeeeeeeh ! —look ! By all the stars ! Aaaaaah !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 476 on 27 February 1971.


Mazaratto’s Universal Elixir (continued . . .)

The erstwhile cripple embraced the astonished medicine pedlar. He's cured me ! One swallow of that elixir, and I can walk— I, who have been crippled since birth ! Those who had scoffed were now crowding round to buy. Give me two bottles ! Does it cure falling hair, did you say ? My friend, Mazaratto's Universal Elixir cures every known ailment ! Janno, Keren and Roffa watched and wondered. Strange thing, that. Genuine or fake ? I wonder ? . . . Evening came, and Doctor Mazaratto packed up his belongings on a cart and left the city for another fair. Some distance from the city, he came upon a figure waiting by the roadside. Hello, old friend. We did well in Trigan City. It never fails, Rolli. There is no limit to the gullibility of your average Trigan. The two rogues had been working the fake medicine trick for many lunar years. They made camp by the roadside. Better mix up some more of the elixir. A little colouring, a drop of something to make it taste unpleasant, then fill up with water. The rest is simple faith and gullibility !
Two lunar months after the events just recorded, a fast patrol craft of the Trigan fleet was on a practice run in the bay. Prepare for a simulated attack on the bridge ! Very good, sir ! The speedy little craft packed a mighty punch. On course, sir ! Ready to fire ! There the simulated attack should have ended—but the captain's finger descended upon the firing button ! BLAM ! Have you gone insane ? That projectile's going to hit the support of the bridge ! Hardly were the horrified words out of the second officer's mouth, than—WHO-O-O-OMPH ! We're done for ! —Aaaaaah !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 801 on 21 May 1977.