The Fiendish Experiment (continued . . .)

In a very short time, the unconscious assistant was discovered, and the guards were alerted about the Imperial Archives building . . . Alarm ! Alarm ! Intruders in the precincts ! Shoot on sight ! . . . But it was already too late ! Some distance away, a trickle of water . . . Became . . . Vella ! Crime made easy ! Ha, ha ! Back at his apartment, Vella was greeted by his accomplice. Well, I see from your expression that the operation was successful. What did you find ? A diplomatic secret, my friend—a secret so hot that our esteemed Emperor will give his private fortune to keep me from shouting it from the rooftops ! It concerns Daveli, the country with which our empire has a long- standing pact of friendship. What would the King of Daveli say if he knew that we have a secret long- range missile battery aimed at his country—all ready to fire if his people showed any signs of unfriendliness towards the precious Trigan Empire ? That same day, a message found its way to the Emperor. By all the stars ! Oh no—not this ! What . . . what is it, Imperial Majesty ? An emergency meeting of the Imperial Council was called. Gentlemen, there is no need to go into our reasons for the secret missile battery. Sufficient to say that, if Daveli hears about it, our valuable friendship is at an end. Then what does your Imperial Majesty propose to do ? My mysterious correspondent advises me to get together two million zersts in small currency, and be ready to deliver it to him, to buy his silence . . . . . . I intend to accept his advice ! A few days later, Janno was urgently summoned to the palace. You require me for a dangerous operation, Uncle ? I am only too ready. I knew I could rely on you, Janno. For reasons I cannot reveal to you, I must fly to the heart of the Vorg wilderness and deposit a large sum of money. I am supposed to travel alone —but you will be a secret passenger !
Later that day, they were hovering over the deserted wilderness. Are we there, Uncle ? Yes, Janno, we’re right above the spot now. As soon as I land, you take cover behind the rocks. No one in sight. You know what you have to do. Good luck. Soon, his uncle’s craft was vanishing towards the horizon, and Janno settled down for a vigil over the sack of money. Whoever comes to pick up that money is going to get a nasty shock. Suddenly, to his astonishment, the water hole overflowed—and began to trickle towards him ! By all the stars—how very strange !

This installment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 556 on 9 September 1972.