by Tony Noland
With all the titanic power of an atomic furnace, Megalo-Man tore the enormous uranium power cell from from the TransformoTron Projector and heaved it right at the slavering jaws of the gigantic RoboViper. Exactly as he'd planned, the positive and negative terminals of the power cell each hit one of the deadly robot's titanium fangs, creating what scientists call a short circuit.
An enormous explosion blew the RoboViper to a hundred million pieces!
"So much for Dr. Tarantula's plan to terrorize Bastion City!"
"Megalo-Man!" cried Nick Richards, "Dr. Tarantula is getting away!" The ace reporter pointed at a hidden door, where the shadowy form of the dastardly Dr. Tarantula was fast disappearing.
"But Laura! Is she...?" said Megalo-Man, torn between his concern for Laura Williams, the one true love of his life, and his sworn duty to uphold the law, protect the innocent and pursue evil in all its forms.
"She's only knocked out, Megalo-Man! She threw herself in front of me to protect me from Dr. Tarantula's Sleep Ray!"
Megalo-Man breathed a sigh of deepest relief, though he hid it from his best friend. No one must ever know of his love for the pretty nurse, for if his enemies ever discovered... no, it was too horrible to contemplate!
"Take good care of her, Ace," said the Azure Adventurer, "I wouldn't want her to have to get her hair done all over again!"
Ace grinned. He knew his super-powered friend's feelings better than that!
"Go get him, Megalo-Man!"
The hero winked and as he flew away after the scurrying Dr. Tarantuala, he cried out his clarion call of justice: "Evildoers... BEWARE!"
Violins swelled and a rich baritone voice said, "Will Megalo-Man catch Dr. Tarantula before he reaches his Flying Super Fortress? Can our hero recover the three remaining Diamonds of Doom before time runs out? Tune in tomorrow for another thrilling episode of... MEGALO-MAN! Brought to you by Kellogg's Super Atomic Crunch cereal, the nutritious, delicious breakfast favorite of kids and moms all across America! It's Super ATOMIC!"
* * * * *
Eighty four thousand, six hundred and eleven light years from Earth, the radio astronomer stopped the playback. The room was silent for a long time. The astronomer had heard the recording hundreds of times, but the sheer alienness of it always made her middle hands clench with amazement. Her department head, the president of the university, the representatives from the royal acadamy of sciences, the High Council of Warriors... everyone was waiting for the Empress to speak. All of Her Majesty's hands were unflexed, but the astronomer wondered what emotions she was hiding behind that stillness.
"Professor," the Empress said at last, "why have We had no evidence of this race before now? A radio-capable civilization sufficiently advanced to create nuclear powered cybernetic weaponry is of great interest to Us."
The astronomer swivled her eyestalks nervously. "These transmissions would ordinarily be too faint and degraded for us to reconstruct, Your Majesty. It was only a fluke, a fast moving black hole that I was studying. It moved between us and their star and caused a gravitational lensing effect. Um... gravitational lensing is when -"
"We are well aware of what gravitational lensing is, Professor, do not presume to lecture Us."
All of the mortified scientist's eyes twisted shut at once, and she started to apologize. The Empress cut her off.
"We are not angry with you, Professor. In fact, We are well pleased with you." She turned to the High Council of Warriors. "Admiral, begin preparations for an envoy mission to this system. We recommend a carrier plus fourteen light cruisers, but We leave the details to you. We expect you to be ready to depart before the end of the year. You will be Our Ambassador to these beings. Professor, We request and require you to accompany this mission as chief scientist and Vice-Ambassador. The academy of sciences will select six members of your science team, you may select the other three. You will be gone for at least six years, so wrap up your personal affairs."
The Empress wriggled her top forefingers and bared her front row of teeth, all nine of which trembled with excitement.
"We are eager to meet these Kelloggs. Very eager indeed!"
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