“Ah, you’re awake, Mr. Londo,” said a cheerful voice from far above him.
Brin Londo slowly opened hie eyes. He was at the bottom of a cliff. It was night. The three moons above told him he had been taken from Earth. He wasn’t restrained in any way as far as he could feel.
A lone figure stood at the top of the cliff. “I guess this would be the time to tell you why you are here.”
“That’d be nice,” said Londo. “Why was I brought here?”
“It is the monthly meeting of the Huntsman Society,” said the stranger. “You are the guest of honor this month.”
“Joy,” said Londo. “What do I get besides the headache I have?”
“The honor of being the first Legionnaire on our trophy wall. We have never been able to hunt a unique individual such as yourself before. Everyone is anticipating the pleasure they’ll get from being the one who killed Timber Wolf.”
“Far be it from me to be a killjoy, but I don’t see it happening,” said Brin Londo, tensing his leg muscles and leaping up at the man. He passed through the Huntsman without resistance.
“I’m not really here, Mr. Londo,” said the speaker. “I’m back at the lodge loading my weapons.”
“When do I get to meet you?” asked Londo.
“Soon, Timber Wolf… soon,” said the speaker pleasantly.
Brin Londo took stock. His flight ring and protective costume were gone. He was alert and able to fight, as his system rapidly dumped out from his system whatever drug that had been used on him.
Timber Wolf picked a direction at random and began to run through the forest that surrounded him. His keen eyes allowed him to see in the triple moonlight as well as if it were daytime. His strength, speed, and endurance would carry him along until he could find out where he was. He had already decided to fight this out. He knew he was going up against unknown odds, but he couldn’t run forever. He just had to find a place that would suit an ambush, and hit and run these so-called Huntsmen until he had a way off the planet.
This whole situation reminded him of the early days of his career when bounty hunters chased after him across his home planet. He had thought of himself as a Lone Wolf until he’d met Ayla Ranzz. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Lone Wolf Legionnaire,” Adventure Comics #327 (December, 1964).]
Brin Londo found an area where blasters had been used extensively. Someone had went down fighting here, he realized. Broken trees gave him a place to hide. He settled in to wait under a set of snapped trunks, pulling a bunch of leaves in around him to form a blanket. Let’s see what happens when I can get my hands on them, he thought with a grin.
Londo waited in his lair for an hour before he heard the hum of a hovercraft approaching. He readied himself under the broken wood. He would go down fighting like the other one they cornered here.
He waited until the hovercraft was right above him. He leaped out, flipped off a tree, and landed on top of the floating platform.
“No running for you, eh?” said the owner of the craft.
Brin recognized the massive body type immediately. He hooked his forearm in the cyborg Khund’s face as hard as he could. The blow seemed to barely faze the heavier humanoid.
“My turn,” rumbled the Khund. He raised his left hand. Londo fell loose as he saw the energy cannon attached to the wrist. The barrel glowed white hot from the lance the Khund shot at the Legionnaire.
Londo leaped straight up over the energy beam, landing behind the Khund. The cyborg turned, raising his right arm. The Legionnaire ducked the arm and dropkicked his enemy in the head as hard as he could. The massive Khund tipped over the side of the hovercraft rails and dropped headfirst into the ground below. He was down, but not out.
Timber Wolf leaped from the craft as the Khund blasted the fans underneath with his arm cannon. Londo used a tree as a springboard as the hovercraft crashed into a line of trees. He looked over at the Khund. The big humanoid was trying to take aim at his hurtling form.
The Legionnaire used the surrounding forest as a series of handholds to maneuver around the hunter. The heavier man couldn’t spin around fast enough as the hero dropped down on top of him, sending him into a tree.
Londo grabbed the arm cannon and beat it against the ground with his own phenomenal strength. The Khund backhanded him away with his free arm.
“Now you are my kill,” the cyborg gritted out, raising his cannon.
The Khund fired his weapon. It exploded in his face, his arm flying away in one direction while his body went the other way.
Londo lunged forward, grasping his enemy’s head in both hands and began to smash it against the hard wood of a tree. He didn’t stop until he was sure the man was out.
Timber Wolf hoped the man’s friends could help him, because the Legionnaire wasn’t sticking around. He had places to be. And the idiot had given him a direction. Time to get away from here. He used the trees as a highway to cover the ground necessary, and he wondered how many hunters were chasing him through the woods.
Brin Londo paused when he saw the hunter’s base camp. It appeared to be a converted ship placed in the ground. He spotted a man getting ready to depart on another hover platform. Maybe this one would talk more than the Khund.
The Legionnaire circled to get ahead of the lone hunter. He waited for the man to fly straight into his ambush. The man obliged him quickly and suffered a foot to the face that knocked him out.
Londo quickly landed the hovercraft, hiding it from casual passersby with limbs that had fallen from the nearby trees. That would have to until he could get some answers from his victim — if he could get some answers.
He grabbed his victim’s jaw and slapped him awake. He had to get a reading on his enemies before they realized what was going on.
“Wha–?” said the prisoner.
“I’d like some answers, please,” Londo said.
“I don’t think so,” said the prisoner. His body caught fire, burning away his bonds. “Time to die, Legionnaire.” Tendrils of flame struck at the Legionnaire.
Timber Wolf somersaulted out of the way of the fiery blast. He should have just dumped the guy somewhere instead of trying to question him. The hunter let loose another explosive fire-burst at the agile Legionnaire.
Londo leaped on top of the hovercraft. He set the fans to full blast and lifted the nose so that the mini-hurricane blew directly on his enemy. The man slammed into a tree, his flaming aura almost snuffed out. Londo lunged, his fist leading the way. The hard blow knocked the fire-thrower out.
Timber Wolf piloted the hovercraft back to the lodge. There were no other hunters in sight. The Legionnaire landed the platform as close as he could to the building. He ran to the entrance of the lodge and threw the door open. No one shot at him. There was no noise at all. That was good.
Londo didn’t like what did greet him. Numerous bodies were frozen in transparent cases. An empty case stood at the end of a long row. His name was on it.
Examing the lodge carefully, he didn’t see any type of communications equipment, nor were there any weapons. He was on his own, a lone wolf again.
Brin Londo looked around outside the lodge. A narrow trail led off to one side into the treeline. He jogged down the trail quietly. Something must have been down there, since pains were taken to hide the trail from casual inspection. Maybe a radio, or if he was really lucky, a spaceship to get him out of here. It would have helped if he knew how many of the hunters he was up against.
Timber Wolf slowed to a walk as he inspected the trail. Something wasn’t quite right about it. An instant later, he was starting to fall into a pit. He grabbed the edge of the hole with a twist of his body. Spikes were at the bottom of the pit, waiting for him.
He yanked himself up with a single pull of his arms, and a whirring sound whipped at him. He bent forward into a shoulder roll as two logs swung together overhead.
Londo realized he had stumbled into an automated trap zone. He remained still as he listened and watched for anything else to go off.