Planet Zootha (continued . . .)

Behold—the Great Ones ! Trigo was deeply impressed. They look like Gods ! Do such creatures live ? They live ! And they demand the sacrifice of the best things we have—our best flocks, finest foodstuffs, and our first-born sons. In return, they allow us to live and prosper ! Garron pointed to Janno. That one will be sacrificed to the Great Ones this day ! Oppose this at your peril, mighty Emperor ! Janno was brought to a great cavemouth . . . He was tied there . . . Soon, noble youth, you will have the honour of perishing at the hands of the Great Ones ! Aaaaah . . .
Trigo, on the pretext of saying farewell to his nephew, whispered an assurance in his ear. I will save you, Janno ! Never fear—you will not be abandoned ! Do you understand ? Yes, Uncle. A mighty horn was sounded. Its mournful note echoed and re-echoed in the deep fastnesses of the great cavern. Then Janno was left standing alone, in the growing darkness. How . . . how long do I have to wait ? He was not alone for long ! Aaaaaaaaaah ! Out of the darkness of the great cavern . . . THEY came ! Some distance away, in the Vorg camp, when all was silent, Trigo rose to his feet. First—to deal with that sentry ! The Trigan Emperor set off to keep his promise. I hope I am not too late !

This instalment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 632 on 23 February 1974.


Planet Zootha (continued . . .)

Janno brought the Trigan craft low. And they flew over a vast tented encampment. A multitude of faces were turned to look up at them. The Emperor and his companions looked down. Are my eyes deceiving me, or ? . . . It’s a Vorg encampment ! One of the primitive kind you used to see on Elekton ! Trigo ordered Janno to land. They climbed down from their craft. Are they peaceful, Uncle—or shall we have trouble ? Be prepared to start shooting ! Then, to the five Trigans’ utter astonishment, they were addressed in the common language of their own planet ! I am Garron, chieftain of the Zootha Vorgs ! I welcome you to the planet Zootha ! You are one of us . . . from Elekton ? That is so ! In a time long past, when Zootha last came close to Elekton, some of our people ventured across the wilderness of space to this planet, as you have done ! Garron showed them the crumbling ruins of an ancient flying craft. This is the craft in which our ancestors came. It is a treasured relic of our people !
Of course ! Fool that I am— the legend of the Vorgs who went up into a new world in the sky—surely you were told that as a child, Imperial Majesty ! Yes—but—it was always thought to be a fairy tale ! But . . . it really happened in the distant past ! Trigo then explained to Garron how the Trigans were descended from the Vorgs. He introduced himself and his companions. . . . and this is Janno, son of my brother Brag. Ah ! And would you be your father’s eldest son, Janno ? Janno answered in puzzlement—and saw a strange light in the chieftain’s eyes. Indeed I am, Garron—I am the only son ! Aaaaah ! That is interesting . . . very interesting ! The incident slipped from Janno’s mind during the feasting that followed. Is everything to your liking, Emperor ? Indeed it is, Garron ! Not since I was a boy in my father’s encampment have I enjoyed such fine Vorg fare ! As soon as the feast was over . . . IT HAPPENED ! Now . . . seize the victim ! Aaaah . . . Janno was dragged roughly to his feet. Let me go ! Let me go, you demons ! What does it mean ? Do you call this Vorg hospitality ? The chieftain replied . . . As a first-born son, he will be sacrificed to our Great Ones ! It is a custom that is never broken—my own son perished in a like manner ! Take him away !

This instalment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 631 on 16 February 1974.


Planet Zootha

It happened suddenly and without warning. All Elekton was smitten by a surface tremor. Buildings fell in the broad streets of Trigan City. Aaaaaagh ! Everything is coming to an end ! We are doomed ! The Emperor Trigo barely managed to leap from his bed for the safety of the balcony, before the ceiling of his bedchamber fell in ! Is this an eruption of the planet ? The Emperor reached the palace gardens, where he was joined by members of his household, including the great scientist Peric. What is it, Peric ? What’s going on ? It is some sort of disturbance in the upper atmosphere, Imperial Majesty ! Something entirely new and unique in my experience ! Dawn brought the solution to the mystery. Countless millions looked up—to see that the sky above their planet was dominated by a strange new shape ! It is a new world ! It came in the night ! It is a miracle ! That same day, Peric addressed the Imperial Council in their ruined chamber. This strange planet is volcanic and highly unstable, which accounts for its unpredictability. It may stay with us for ever—or it may be gone tomorrow. My observations lead me to suppose that it may be inhabited ! The Emperor asked the question that was in every mind . . . Can this planet be reached by any means in our technology ? Undoubtedly, Imperial Majesty ! Our present atmosphere craft, suitably modified, could cross the void.
Then we shall visit our new neighbour ! Within a month, a large transporter craft was fitted with booster rockets for the journey through space. The rockets will carry the craft out of our atmosphere and across the void. On arrival at the new planet, it will decelerate . . . The Emperor himself was captain of the great adventure. He left his brother Brag in charge of the empire. Be careful ! We don’t want to lose you for ever ! Have no fear, Brag. Peric will give us warning if the new planet shows signs of departing into the wilderness of space ! The great adventure began ! May you come back to us, Brother ! For my shoulders are not broad enough to bear your empire ! It was a comparatively short journey. They crossed the void that separated the two planets. Stand by to decelerate . . . And soon they were flying over an alien landscape. Look out for any signs of habitation ! And then, Trigo and his companions saw . . . IT ! By all the stars ! Do you see that ?

This instalment was originally published in Look and Learn issue no. 630 on 9 February 1974.