Mazaratto’s Universal Elixir (continued . . .)

Over and over again that night, Peric played telerecords of the victims giving evidence . . . It was essential to destroy the bridge ! The enemy was advancing across it to take the city ! Everyone's trying to destroy me. I have to protect myself ! The fighter craft attacked me first ! Shot my cockpit to pieces ! The great scientist made his assessment of the evidence. They all tell the same story ! Every one of those poor wretches suffered from temporary delusions of persecution. What they did was in retaliation to imaginary aggression ! Roffa, now recovered from his own delusions, was one of Peric's listeners. Roffa, here, thought that you —his best friend—was planning to murder him. That's absolutely correct ! I don't know what came over me—but I distinctly saw Janno leap out of the car and send it hurtling to destruction ! I suspect some outside agency. A poison, perhaps. Some substance that can temporarily poison the mind . . . Meanwhile, special investigators who were working on the case made a routine search of Roffa's apartment. Not again ! 'Dr. Mazaratto's Universal Elixir' ! This really is getting to be more than a coincidence !
Acting on an impulse, the investigator got into his auto and drove through the night—to Peric's new laboratory. Peric will probably have me dismissed from the service for incompetence. Or throw this bottle of fake medicine at me . . . But I'm convinced there's a connection ! Despite his misgivings, the investigator had a good reception from the great scientist . . . Mmmm !—And the connection ? . . Sir, in every case, I have found a bottle of this stuff among the victim's effects. One of them used it for toothache, another for headaches . . . All eyes turned to Roffa, who looked embarrassed. And what did you use it for ? Well, I've had the impression that I'm losing my hair. Knowing you'd laugh at me, I slipped back, that day at the fair, and bought a bottle . . . Peric called to his assistants. Test that liquid by every known means ! Rip it apart ! I want to know what's in it—and I want the answer quickly ! Before the awestruck eyes of the onlookers, the sample of elixir was subjected to devastating scientific testing of the most spectacular kind. And the result . . . Well ? Sir, this liquid contains radioactive material of a most potent and complex type. Taken internally, or rubbed into the skin, it would profoundly affect the brain cells, causing temporary insanity that could bring the victim, and all within his range, to destruction. Within a short space of time, the word went out from every law enforcement agency, every military unit on the planet Elekton . . . Aged about sixty lunar years —height, seven rubits—weight, thirty zens—bald-headed on top, grey at the sides—last seen wearing black coat and gown. Goes by the alias of Doctor Mazaratto, Professor of Science . . . The subject must be found at all costs ! Immediately !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 806 on 25 June 1977.