The Lost Years (continued . . .)

After what seemed like an eternity, Janno and Roffa were summoned from their infernal dungeon. Out of it, you two ! Today you face trial ! Their trial was held in the great court of the Imperial Palace, and the Emperor himself was Presiding Judge. You are both accused of foully conspiring to sabotage three bombing craft of the Imperial Trigan Air Fleet. Denial is useless—your action was recorded on the security device . . . Projected on a giant screen, they saw and heard themselves as they had been on the fateful night—captured by a hidden camera. . . . I’m fixing the electronics . . . Most damning of all—there was a newsreel shot of the disaster they had caused. And then . . . Have you anything to say ? We acted in good faith ! We believed that Marshal Ossan was conspiring to assassinate the Emperor and . . . Marshal Ossan ? What next ? Narri was called as a defence witness. The poor wretch was cut to pieces by the astute prosecutor. So you went into the future, did you ? And you saw Marshal Ossan riding around in a big car as the Dictator of Trigan ? Yes, I did . . . at least, I think I did . . . The fellow’s mad ! He should be locked up.

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 577 on 3 February 1973.


The Fiendish Experiment (continued . . .)

The water ebbed towards Janno. Then—krakkk !—He was flung into the air by a stunning electrical charge ! Eeeeeeaaaghh ! Vella materialised from his own volume of water. I had an idea that his Imperial Majesty would try to trick me. Too bad you got yourself landed with the job, Janno ! He was picked up—together with the money—by his accomplice. By the stars ! That two million zersts was easily earned ! This is only the beginning, Zerros my friend. We shall soon be the richest fellows on Elekton ! It was some days before Janno recovered consciousness in a Trigan City clinic. Tell us anything you can remember, Janno. Any clue—however seemingly unimportant —could be vital. Water . . . the water came towards me . . . It seemed to have . . . a life of its own ! Something clicked in Peric’s brilliant mind. Water, and alive ? My invention ! That diabolical experiment I stumbled upon ! The great scientist hurried round to his laboratory. Gone ! The red folder containing my notes and diagrams ! Meanwhile, in Vella’s apartment . . . Your method is almost foolproof, Vella. Provided you don’t fall into the trap of over-confidence, you will never be caught ! My method, as you call it, is completely foolproof ! And there is no limit to what I can accomplish ! For instance, take the King of Daveli —that unfortunate monarch whose crown jewels I have already purloined —who is flying home tomorrow after his disastrous state visit . . . . . . I intend to kidnap him and hold him for ransom !
The following morning, the Emperor bade farewell to his guest, the King of Daveli. Your Majesty, it grieves me that your visit has been marred by the loss of your jewels. But be assured that no effort will be spared to recover them. I thank you, Imperial Majesty. The royal air liner soared skywards. It was some time later that the King noticed water seeping into his compartment. Strange . . . Then, before his astonished eyes, a figure materialised from the water . . . Fasten your seat belt, you royal barbarian ! You are going for a ride ! Aaaaah ! Who are . . . you ? An instant later, the terrified monarch was ejected from his air liner ! Eeeeaaaaaaghhh !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 557 on 16 September 1972.


The Fiendish Experiment (continued . . .)

A few days later, all Trigan City crowded the streets for the ceremonial visit of the King of Daveli. Later, the King visited the Air Fleet Headquarters, where he was introduced to the crewmen by his son—Keren—himself a pilot of the Trigan fleet. Janno you already know well, my father. Greetings, Lord Janno. Your Majesty ! Vella watched—and pondered. I’d like to get my hands on that jewelled helmet of the old fellow’s. And it shouldn’t be too difficult—though I might have to eliminate him first. My father has expressed regret that he missed the marvellous feat you two performed on Empire Day. Well . . . we swore never to attempt it again. But what do you think, Vella ? If it would amuse his Majesty . . . Accordingly, the two young pilots climbed into their speedy fighter-craft, which were then chained together. Take no risks, Vella—as you once said, eventual disaster is a mathematical certainty ! And this will be the last time we ever do it, I hope ! The display began . . . Ready for next evolution ? . . . Ready . . .
The death-defying close aerobatics were controlled by Janno. Commence right- hand climbing turn . . . now ! Commencing ! And then—Janno gave an uncontrollable sneeze ! Aaaaa-shoooooo ! Disaster was immediate and fatal ! His wingtip sliced into Vella’s craft ! Aaaaaaaagh ! Then he was watching in horror as his comrade spun down to his certain doom ! Eject, Vella ! Get out, man, before it’s too late ! But there was no escape, it seemed, for Vella ! The ejector gear’s damaged ! I’m trapped in here ! What does it matter if I am ? —Ha, ha ! Moments later, the craft ploughed into a hillside !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 553 on 19 August 1972.