by Brian K. Asbury
It was over a week later when, after lengthy interrogation of Dazakri by senior Science Police officials and representatives of the United Planets, and much communication between Earth and Dazakri’s world (aided by Saturn Girl’s telepathy), that the two glass statues were handed over by the Legion of Super-Heroes to the police, with the intention of allowing the alien cyborg to complete his mission. Invisible Kid was extremely unhappy with this situation and expressed his discontent vociferously to all the relevant powers, but it was bureaucracy and diplomacy that triumphed in the end.
A comprehensive search of the spaceport and a large part of the city of New Hong Kong produced no trace of Dazakri’s weapon, nor the person or persons who had stolen it. And while Dazakri’s government offered generous reparation to make good the damage he had done, Lyle Norg still thought that he had gotten off lightly, considering the trouble his heavy-handed approach had caused.
All in all, a most unsatisfactory case, he thought as he finished up his report. Individually all of the Legionnaires had performed well, but they had still managed to thwart Dazakri only once — and it had been one of the least experienced members of the team who had achieved that. He also needed to speak to Brainiac 5 about the failure of Ferro Lad’s flight ring and Projectra’s communicator. Unreliable equipment was something they could not afford.
The view-screen on his desk buzzed. “On!” he said.
Gigi Cusimano’s face appeared. “It’s done, Lyle,” she said. “Dazakri broke up the statues five minutes ago under U.P. supervision. Kaven Salkind and Lianne Raebuld are back in their own bodies in their own dimension and in police custody.”
“So he says.”
Gigi shrugged. “Saturn Girl was pretty satisfied he was telling the truth, and so were the U.P. examiners. Anyway, they’ve allowed Dazakri to go home, too, but with the proviso that he never comes back and that his homeworld establishes an official liaison with the U.P. to make sure misunderstandings like this never occur again.”
“‘Misunderstandings.’ Ha.” Lyle sighed. “I don’t suppose the S.P. has turned up any trace of the missing weapon?”
“No. And neither have you, I gather from that?”
“That’s one of the most puzzling aspects of this case,” said Gigi. “Who could have taken it, and why? Whoever it was had to have super-strength of some sort to crack open that iron ball that way!”
“I agree,” said Invisible Kid. “Which is what leads me to believe that this affair isn’t quite over yet. I’ve a feeling that that gun will turn up again — and this time not in the hands of a cop!”
Gigi shuddered. “I only hope you’re wrong, Lyle. I only hope you’re wrong.”
A young man stood before an older man and an android, holding out his hands for them to examine the broken object he held. “As you can see, I got it — just as I promised.”
The man scrutinized the object for several seconds, but oddly it was the android that spoke. “It looks damaged.”
The youth smiled. “You’re lucky there’s anything left of it at all. Even protected by that lump of iron Element Lad created around it, it still took quite an impact.”
“But will it still work?” said the android.
“I think so. I’ve checked out all the circuitry, and it looks intact. You’ll need to mount it in a new case and fit a new power supply, but it should work good as new once you’ve done so.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Colossal Failure,” Adventure Comics #371 (August, 1968).]
The man beamed. “Excellent,” said the android. “And the Legion?”
The youth smirked. “They haven’t a clue who took it. I didn’t even have to fight any of them; they were all too preoccupied with the alien cop. I did feel Saturn Girl searching for me as I made my escape, but foiling her scan was easy. She didn’t detect any trace of me.”
“So — am I in?”
“Yes,” said the android as the man took the remains of the weapon. “I think you will make an excellent addition to our ranks.”
The man put the weapon into a case and locked it. He held out his hand, and the youth grasped it. “Welcome to the Legion of Super-Villains, Nemesis Kid,” said the android that spoke for Tarik the Mute.