Captain Comet, Superboy, and Flying Fox soon found themselves in Africa. They had reached the so-called Dark Continent immediately after Congo Bill had contacted their special hotline.
“I think the hotline is a great idea, even with all the crank calls,” said Superboy.
Flying Fox nodded. “True; it gets us where we’re needed. Still, I can’t believe some of the weird calls we get. One guy claimed a Martian had beamed down to Earth and lived next door to him!”
Superboy grinned. “I like the one where the ship captain said beautiful warrior women carried him back to his ship after the storm in the Bermuda Triangle washed him overboard.”
Captain Comet returned from the camp with Congo Bill. “Fellows, this is Bill himself. The movie serials don’t do him justice,” said Adam Blake.
Congo Bill grinned. “I’m just a guy doing his part. I love nature and wildlife and just happen to occasionally stumble onto strange events. That’s why I called you here. Criminals excavating the area has to mean something bizarre. I know of no resources in that valley worth the cost of a crew and machinery like I saw.”
“I know a bit about the area, and that’s why I wanted us to investigate,” said Captain Comet. “There are certain things in the area better left alone.”
“A lost city of gold?” said Flying Fox. “Like in the Tarzan books?”
Superboy grinned at the joke. “I’ve learned to take Comet’s hunches seriously. His futuristic talents make him right every time.”
They headed down toward the site where the comet had landed long before. Workmen were packing as the heroes approached.
“A super-vision scan shows they took something from here–” said Superboy, “–a meteor or comet. It’s on that van!” He pointed to a covered vehicle.
“You children can leave,” said one burly guard. “This is no place for kids!”
“Red West!” said the Flying Fox. “You’re wanted for crimes ranging from theft to smuggling.”
The thug frowned. “How’d ya know me?”
Flying Fox said, “I make it a point to keep up with these things.”
Red swung at the lad, who ducked and connected with three swift kicks that dropped the bigger man.
“Nice work!” said Superboy.
“I’ve had good teachers,” said Fox. “Comet’s hooked me up with some very talented men and women since we met him months ago.” Captain Comet had indeed helped young Wayne’s training along by bringing him in contact with a few people he knew of from his own time who could teach him special skills that would serve him well in adulthood.
Nearby, Captain Comet flew over the camp. He knew very well how some celestial objects such as meteors and comets could give odd and wonderful powers to those who came near them. One such comet had soared through the heavens on the night he was born.
The comet is not just a theft, he thought as he tore free a tarp. It’s needed for something more. I don’t like the possibilities.
Gunmen fired, only to gasp as he casually robbed their bullets of all motion. They froze in midair and dropped to earth harmlessly.
Superboy stomped and sent them reeling. “You boys are all shook up!” he joked.
“The equipment used to uncover this is advanced for this time,” said Captain Comet. “Someone wants this very badly regardless of cost or time. I’d say we need to see the leader of this crew.”
He turned to face the swarthy man who was called the Brain. “What is your purpose here?” he asked.
The Brain smiled coldly. “My most immediate concern is to eliminate you.” He pushed a small device, and energy surged toward them.
Captain Comet and Superboy blocked the burning energy’s path as Flying Fox tossed a small projectile and disarmed the wily genius.
Lessons with that Australian paid off, mused Bruce Wayne.
The Brain cursed as Captain Comet shook him. “Now, Monsieur, let’s start again. Who are you?” Comet asked.
The Brain frowned. “I was hired by one named Immortus to retrieve that comet. I know and can say no more!”
Comet released him and said, “He certainly has technology at his disposal. I think I can even determine why he wants it, if he is like the one I’ve heard about.”
“Immortus!” said Superboy. “Isn’t he also called the Baron? I’ve been itching to tangle with him for a while. He’s some underlord czar with amazing resources and secret lairs even beyond my ability to detect.”
Flying Fox nodded grimly. “That colorful nom du crime is more than a title. He claims to be immortal.”
Captain Comet nodded. “Exactly. He must want to use the possible energies of the comet. He’ll want more, and that means calculating possible trajectories for the other fragments.”
The wagon vanished in a blinding flash.
“Superboy, any energy traces you can detect?” called Comet.
“None! Teleportation on a scale I’ve never witnessed on Earth!” said the Boy of Steel.
“Don’t worry. I can anticipate where the other crews must be,” said Captain Comet. “The comet’s path is within my ability to calculate.”
“The Brain made his escape, too!” said Flying Fox. “Or did he?” he grinned.
The man called the Brain muttered as strong, hairy arms held him tightly. Congo Bill, as Congorilla, had snatched the fleeing fugitive.
Bah! This makes me more certain than ever that an evolved ape would be the perfect lackey, mused the future member of the Brotherhood of Evil.
“It’s too bad Bill could not join us,” said Flying Fox. “He’d make a valuable ally, but I understand his desire to remain and protect the home he loves.”
“With door-to-door delivery, you can enjoy the best of Gotham City and the world,” said Superboy.
Flying Fox replied, “Thanks to you two.” He poured certain chemicals over the fragment of metal that had been left behind when the comet fragment teleported away.
“That weird energy beam of his would require specific parts,” continued Flying Fox. “The parts would come from certain dealers, and they in turn have only sold the required materials to one man: Arthur Light. He’s a gifted scientist in the field of light generation. He checks out clean, though. He never knew what his creation’s purpose was when he made it for the Brain. I’m sure we’ll never hear from him again.”
Superboy nodded. “Some guys are just happy in a lab. I’m that way at times, too.”
“The pieces of that comet hit here and here and here,” said Captain Comet, pointing out coordinates on a map. “We can split up to retrieve them, but be careful.” They took the coordinates and went their separate ways.
I’ve gotten so used to having partners that it’s hard to adjust to being alone, mused Bruce Wayne as he left.
Captain Comet had been wondering what other allies this world could offer. He wondered if he should go to Paradise Island and offer membership to the young Princess Diana. Maybe later. He did not know just how he could safely alter events as he recalled them from his own world. Would doing so mean death years later for Steve Trevor? Did a Stephen Trevor even exist? He hurried toward the Midwest and a piece of the comet.
The Flying Fox steered a speedboat out to sea as he spotted the salvage team’s ship. Good thing Superboy gave me a lift, or I’d have missed the raiders, he mused. They’ve lifted the comet already. He reached down toward the belt he wore with the dark suit. This utility belt Comet suggested I add is a real help, he thought.
Cruising along, he scanned the deck. Time for a good, old-fashioned boarding, Errol Flynn style! he mused. Anchoring his craft, he fired a grappling device toward the hull of the larger ship. It locked on with magnetic attraction, and he climbed aboard swiftly and silently.
Jumping over the rail, the Flying Fox slipped into the shadows, moving with calm assurance toward the main cabin where he heard shouting. He slipped a device in one ear and amplified the conversation via a listening device.
“Look, this freak is my half-brother,” said Orm Marius. “He came here to find me, not to mess with our plans. Let me dump him back where he belongs.”
Aquaboy was tied to a chair. He was weak and in need of water, but none was in reach.
“I don’t care for sentimental reunions,” said a leering older man. “Kill him and be certain.”
“Look, Stingaree, he’s not going to hurt us,” said Marius in anger.
Aquaboy glanced between his criminal sibling and the hired pirate, a man calling himself Captain Stingaree. He had boarded the ship as well after they had acquired the comet. He tried to reason with Orm, who had chosen instead to turn him in to his ally. A fight had broken out, but the inexperience of Aquaboy had shown as his time limit to be out of the water drew near and lessened his effectiveness.
“Orm, this maniac thinks he can gain super-powers or worse for your boss. He’s nuts. Free me, and we’ll turn them in. It’s not too late for you to make good!” he pleaded. His mind reached out as he spoke and stalled for time while still sincerely meaning all he said.
Stingaree sneered, “Pious words from a fish outta water, eh?”
Flying Fox gasped as a shadow passed overhead, and a true flying fish shattered the cabin porthole. Water splashed over the boy in orange. Given energy by the water, Aquaboy burst his bonds and decked Stingaree with a left hook.
As gunmen rushed in and Orm hesitated uncertain what to do, Flying Fox rushed inside and dropped a pellet from his belt. A bright light exploded, leaving the crew dazed. He led Aquaboy out and said, “Follow me. I’m on your side. I’ve never seen someone control aquatic life before. That’s what you were doing, wasn’t it?”
Aquaboy nodded. “My brother is with them. Let me get him!” He whirled as a large metal man lumbered across the deck. “Suffering Shad! A robot, like on TV!” cried Aquaboy.
Flying Fox nodded and said, “Move it! It has a glow about its eyes that I don’t like!” He shoved the other boy aside as a laser tore toward them. It’s programmed to protect that motley crew, he mused.
Aquaboy charged forward and slugged the machine with a hard right. It staggered but did not fall. Instead, it spat a substance on the youth, and he gasped in pain. “Something toxic — weakening me!” he explained.
Flying Fox fired his rope high and swung over to kick the robot. As he did so, he received a spinning blow from a suddenly extending limb, and he fell down hard.
“Scramble him!” shouted Aquaboy, and several eels swarmed across the deck to the robot, and sparks flew out as its delicate circuits fused under the sudden electrical discharge. Aquaboy grinned. “That shut down that walking fusebox!”
Flying Fox frowned. “True, but the cargo is gone with Orm. Your sibling made good on the comet retrieval. That’s what his boss wants — instant teleportation. It’s beaten us once before.”
“Look, I need to find Orm,” said Aquaboy. “Can you take me along? I assume you had some means to find these boys. Let me join you.”
Flying Fox grinned and shook hands. “Welcome aboard, Aquaboy!”
Superboy soared over Egypt. Imagine the grand civilization that once thrived here, he mused. All that remains are a few relics and pyramids. I guess the same can be said for Krypton. Krypto and I and some of father’s creations are all that survived — along with that ape I once tangled with!
Then he spotted below what he had journeyed to Egypt for. The comet fragment is not there, he thought. But I see the gang arriving as I speak. I’m ahead of them, but someone beat us all to where it originally landed. I wonder when and where it was found and taken?
The Boy of Steel dropped down to wait as the caravan approached. Great Scott! he mused. I can’t believe it. That’s Professor Lang and Lana tied up in that vehicle. The thugs must have assumed his archeological knowhow could lead them to where the comet fragment ended up eons ago!
Indeed, the pretty redhead and her father were bound in the back of the odd vehicle, which rode like a Jeep but contained weird weaponry as well.
“This looks like a job for Superboy!” he said, rushing down. He gasped as a hulking robotic form assaulted him from above. He fell and crashed deep into the sand. “What a punch! It’s like none I’ve felt in a long while!” he said, shaking his head.
“I am Uranium!” said the evil-looking robot.
Superboy rose to his feet. “That explains it. An atomic-powered automaton!” He ducked a lethal blast and punched away at the creation of the evil Lex Luthor and his pawns.
Back in General Immortus’ secret lair, Lex Luthor examined a strange system of wires and circuits.
Magnus may be a flake, but he’s very good, thought the youthful bald genius. With the robotics skills we forced him to employ for us in creating Uranium, we can keep Superboy at bay until my little creation here delivers the killing stroke.
He referred to Will Magnus, the pipe-chewing, checkered-coat-wearing master of robotics whose papers had received respect from even a mind like Luthor’s. He had ordered the abduction of the scientist from his lab in order to make use of his skills.
“This team Superboy has formed since I freed you worries me,” said Immortus.
“Bah! Captain Comet’s moral code makes him weak, and I will handle Superboy,” scoffed Luthor. “Surely you don’t fear a mere athlete like Flying Fox?”
“I do not fear anyone,” said General Immortus coldly. “I merely feel concern that one such team of misfits may inspire others until we are faced with a legion of do-gooders with odd powers.”
Back in Egypt, Lana Lang cooed, “Superboy! He’ll save us!” Her father, Professor Lewis Lang, nodded hopefully.
Superboy dug in his heels and fought his way forward through the robot’s deadly energy blasts. Got to shut him down once and for all! he mused.
He gripped the robot’s palms and crushed them to pulp. Then he flew skyward with the deadly machine. As he reached orbit, the robot exploded because of the stress from the built-up internal energies that could no longer be released via his palms.
Superboy scanned the robot and flew back, leaving the debris in space. Magnus! he thought. That robot actually had an encoded name and plea for help! General Immortus is not alone. Lex Luthor is helping him. Clever of this Doc Magnus to put a plea for help in the very circuit-weave of the creation Luthor forced him to make.
He flew down to Lana, and she kissed him eagerly. “Oh, Superboy!” she said. “They snatched us and tried to make Daddy lead them to where an old comet fell. They figured he would know possible places and times it could have been removed in old Egypt.”
Superboy nodded and returned her to the ground gently. “Easy, Lana,” he said. “You’re safe now. So, Professor, it looks like the comet was discovered eons ago and moved. Any ideas where? At least we thwarted them from getting to it, too!”
Professor Lewis Lang shook his head. “When I last taught at university, one of my pupils was certain he knew of such a comet. He speculated that it was carved into something the ancients called the Eye of Ra. Where it is now, no one knows.” He referred to a young man who would one day work for Simon Stagg and would, in turn, send others after the fabled stone. One of those sent would perhaps become the element man Metamorpho one day.
Superboy returned the Langs to Smallville, and Lana surprised him by rushing in and back out of the home.
“I want to help!” she said, posing with hands on each hip, wearing a short yellow costume with high heels and a mask. “Dad won’t be safe until the men who tried to get him are captured. I’ve worked with the Legion, and with my ring I also have super-powers as Insect Queen!”
“OK, OK, OK,” sighed Superboy. “I know when you get that look on your face, there’s no arguing with you!”
“Fine,” smirked Lana.
Captain Comet had gained another ally.