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|Chapter 204: Ancient Enemies||Chapter 206: Tree-men of Mars|
Dale and Happy, both unharmed, are dragged back inside the Valley of Desolation. Flash and Zarkov sneak into the caves after them. Finding a window overlooking the throne room, they overhear the Clay King telling Dale and Happy that they are still being held hostages. The King adds that Flash's time is running out: if the pair remain in the caves for one more day, they will be turned to clay. Horrified, the listening Dr Zarkov tells Flash that it must be an effect of prolonged exposure to the atmosphere within the caves.
It is now crucial that Dale and Happy are freed. Flash supposes that if he and Zarkov can find some nitron in Queen Azura's laboratory, then they may be able to use its power as a means to force the Clay People to release their prisoners. They find an underground subway which transports them at high speed right to Azura's kingdom. They exit the tunnels via a secret hatch which opens up into the Power House. There, Flash and Zarkov overpower the personnel. They get Tarnak to show them where the nitron is, there is very little left, most of it having been lost when the bomber exploded.
Zarkov explains that after being transported through millions of miles of space, the nitron has now become radioactive. If he can convert it into a radioactive light ray, it will be the most powerful weapon ever known.
Ming the Merciless and Azura overhear this on the Televisor. Azura believes such a weapon would aid her in her war against the Clay People and wants it taken. Ming sends guards to surround the Power House.
Flash tricks the guards and locks them in a room, giving Zarkov sufficient time to complete his weapon, the Paralyzer Gun. The pair are nearly captured but are able to escape by using the gun on Ming and his soldiers. However, Azura has filled the subway tunnel with a deadly poison gas, meaning Flash and Zarkov cannot escape by the same route they entered from. They instead flee across the land on foot.
Wary of the weapon the Earthmen possess, Azura orders that her men strike from the air. A stratosled pursues the 2 Earthmen. Zarkov is stunned when it shoots an electrobolt. As Flash dashes to his assistance, he is caught in the beam of the paralyzer gun when it accidentally activates. Flash is helpless as the stratosled swoops down for its next attack.
Determined to rescue Dale and Happy / from the Clay People, Flash and Zarkov / start for the Power House.
While Flash decoys the / guards, Zarkov perfects a / Paralyzer Gun.
Azura and Ming see this on / the Televisor and try to cap- / ture this valuable weapon.
Flash and Zarkov escape with the / Paralyzer Gun, but Azura orders / one of her bombers to pursue them.
- The resolution of the cliffhanger at the start of this chapter is a genuine cheat. The previous chapter ended with Flash clearly still trapped inside the stratosled at the moment of impact, which makes him tumble to the floor. Yet this chapter opens with him escaping the stratosled before impact.
- What is "The Boomerang" stated in the title?
- When Flash is trapped in the stratosled, he shoots the door open but then discards the gun before leaping from the craft. Why does he do this when this will leave him unarmed?
- Flash addresses Tarnak by name, even though he has never heard it spoken before.
- Zarkov notes that you "cannot fight a Clay Person", but they have never actually tried engaging one in physical combat.
- He may have heard stories from the Martians.
- Dr. Zarkov: "There must be something about the atmosphere in these caves that changes people into clay!"