Chapter 2

The rogue planetoid Mongor was an ugly world. Dark, half covered by jagged mountains and the rest pockmarked by craters, it was little wonder that its people were sour and unhappy. But they had not been a threat to the other worlds of the Solar League until Dr. Sinister had seized control of the planetoid with his army of killer robots.

The Antares landed at the spacefield outside Sinister's stronghold, escorted from out in space by two black, robot warships. The Patrolmen were escorted into the fortress by a phalanx of robots. The massive, cylindrical bodies and heavy metal limbs of the automatons looked clumsy, but that was an illusion. The robots were surprisingly quick and agile. Dr. Sinister received them in his throne room, a vast chamber whose lofty ceiling was supported by huge stone columns. Sinister, dressed in his usual black robes and skullcap, sat on an ornate throne on a raised dais at the far end of the room. Princess Liana stood on his right hand, flanked by two human guards.

“So, Commander Comet, we meet again,” Sinister gloated. “I have been looking forward to this moment. I shall have revenge at last for your interference with my Martian maneuver. Seize them,” he ordered” and bring the Crystal to me.”

At that moment, Sparks stepped forward and shouted, “Wait a minute, Your Excellency, I thought we were here under a truce. You can't hold us!”

“Of course I can,” Sinister answered, “this is my world and I can do whatever I please. I am not bound by the conventions of ordinary men. If I decide you are to be prisoners, then prisoners you shall be!”

“Not me,” Sparks said with considerable agitation. “Look, Your Awfulness, I know you got a gripe with the Skipper, but there's no reason to involve me. I'm just an electron jockey. Keep them and let me go.”

“Why you traitorous bum,” Rusty shouted, “what do you mean trying to skate out and leave us holding the bag? I'll fix your wagon!”

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Rusty charged Sparks and the two flailed round the floor, bouncing off robots and making a huge amount of noise. While everyone's attention was on the two battling Patrolmen, the Commander slipped up to the robot holding their weapons and snatched away a ray-gun. He blasted the robot, but the ray beam deflected with no effect. The alloy of the robots' casing was impervious to a standard ray-gun. Comet changed his aim point, ray blasting the base of the stone pillar next to which the robot stood. The stone disintegrated and the huge cylinders that made up the column came crashing down, smashing the robot into junk metal. Comet quickly blasted other columns, bringing down the pillars and some of the roof they supported.

While he took out the more serious threat of the robots, Spark and Rusty charged the Princess' guards. A flurry of fists knocked Sinister's human henchmen out of the game. The coward that he was, Dr. Sinister had escaped through a hidden door behind his throne when the fighting started. Rusty turned to Princess Liana, “Come on, Your Highness, we have to get out of here!”

On the floor below the dais, Commander Comet stood with the ray-gun raised in his right hand. Around him the robot soldiers lay smashed by piles of stone rubble. White stone dust had coated him so he looked like a statue carved in the heroic style. His leather jacket and helmet showed scrapes and nicks where he'd been struck by flying stone fragments, but he seemed unharmed. He dropped the exhausted ray-gun as they approached and bowed to the Princess. “Your Highness, I apologize for not arranging a more graceful rescue, but this was the best we could come up with.”

Princess Liana smiled up at the begrimed Patrolman. “No need to apologize, Commander. It is as magnificent a rescue as I could have wished. Please believe that I am very grateful.”

The two stood looking into each other's eyes until Rusty exclaimed, “Galloping galaxies, can we cut the chatter and get moving. Sinister will be back here with more troops any second.”

“Right you are, Rusty,” Comet said. “Let's go.” They all headed out through the same corridor that had brought them in. They were nearly at the main entrance when a steel barrier dropped in front of them. Before they could turn around, another barrier had fallen into place behind them, trapping them in a section of the corridor.

Sinister's voice sounded from hidden speakers. “I made the mistake before of not killing you before retrieving the Crystal. This time I'll take it off your dead body.” With his last words, powerful streams of water jetted from grills around the bottom of the walls. Within minutes, it had half filled the chamber and they were treading water to keep their heads in the shrinking volume of air.

“What now, Skipper?” Sparks said, spitting water.

“I don't know,” Commander Comet said. “I can't see any way out.”

Chapter 3

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All text, illustrations, photographs and design are © 2001-2002 Dan Thompson, except where otherwise noted.