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Chapter 305: The Palace of Horror

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Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe


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Chapter 304: The Destroying Ray Chapter 306: Flaming Death



Synopsis

Setting about trying to free the helpless Doctor Zarkov from his restraints, Flash is himself caught in Ming's Destroying Ray. Dale pleads with Ming to spare their lives.

Meanwhile Roka has still been battling with a guard just outside the arena. Finally triumphing, he races up the stairs after Flash and reaches the window overlooking the arena. He sees the two Earthmen caught in the devasting beam. On Zarkov's direction, Roka uses his ray gun to destroy the clock on the wall, which shuts off the Destroying Ray. Ming tells his guards to shoot the rebels but Dale intervenes and wrestles with the guard, preventing him from taking a clear aim. The delay is enough for Zarkov to warn Flash and Roka to hurry away quickly to the underground caverns, saying he will try and bargain with Ming in the meantime.

The spectators in the gallery overlooking the arena begin to file away and Ming demands that Zarkov, still manacled to the pillars, is brought to him at once.

Dale meanwhile is taken to a cell, being roughly handled by a female guard (Olga) whom she slaps. Before her opponent can retaliate, the male guard breaks up the fight. Dale is locked in, finding herself in the company of another woman, Verna. Verna reveals she too is a prisoner, and is from Arboria. The pair agree to be friends and Verna lets Dale change into the Arborian clothes she had with her when she was first captured.

Ming once again gives Zarkov a choice between execution and devoting his scientific skill to aid Ming's conquest of the universe. Zarkov agrees to serve Ming if it means his work will benefit humanity. Ming tells Zarkov he will be taken to labs to work alongside other great scientists from other planets.

Locating the palace's entrance to the underground caverns, Flash and Roka jump a couple of Ming guards to seize their uniforms.

In the laboratory, Zarkov befriends Karm, another captive scientist, and asks for his help in working to break Ming's power. Karm readily agrees and confirms that he knows many of the secrets of Ming's stronghold.

Flash and Roka are now dressed as Ming soldiers. With the uniforms also came a radiophone which Flash notes may come in handy. They re-enter the palace and ask a Captain where Dale is being held, pretending that they've been sent to question her. As it happens the Captain was on his way to transfer Dale to other quarters and lets the 2 men accompany him. Once in the cell they knock the Captain out and hide him in the wardrobe. They lock Verna in there also so that she won't be seen to have been an accomplice.

Using the transfer order which the Captain had been carrying, Flash, Dale and Roka are easily able to bluff their way into the laboratory where Zarkov is being held. Flash is surprised when Zarkov refuses to leave with him. Zarkov explains that all he'd be able to do is run and hide, whereas here he can accomplish much more. With Karm's help he hopes to counteract Ming's defenses which will aid their cause. Flash says they can keep in touch by radiophone. Zarkov adjusts Flash's set so that it will operate on a very low frequency, reducing the likelihood of their transmissions being intercepted.

Suddenly Lieutenant Thong enters the lab and questions what Dale is doing there. Flash tries to bluff his way out but Thong is not so easily fooled. Luckily when he goes to fetch Captain Torch, he leaves them under the watch of the other guard, who unbeknown to him is, of course, Roka, also in disguise. Flash, Dale and Roka quickly leave the lab via another door.

Torch reaches the lab to find no sign of Flash or Dale, and Zarkov feigns ignorance of how they escaped. Torch reports back to Ming, who is furious that Flash and Dale have escaped him once again. He orders Dale to be taken alive. Flash Gordon is to be taken also, but not necessarily alive.

Flash and his companions aim to find the Ming ship that they arrived in, but when they speak of this plan to Zarkov via the radiophone, Karm warns them against it as the space court will be too heavily guarded.

Prince Barin, now recovered following being hurt during the avalanche in Frigia, is leading a squadron of ships in an assault on Ming's palace. An alarm sounds throughout the palace when the ships are sighted. Karm tells Zarkov to tell Flash that this will be their best opportunity to escape while the guards on the space court are momentarily distracted. Flash is still insistent that Zarkov should come with them. Karm eventually persuades Zarkov to go, saying that there's no point in two of them remaining as prisoners. Zarkov questions how he can possibly escape the guarded laboratory but Karm explains that long ago he prepared a disguise in readiness for his own eventual escape. He says Zarkov can use it. Zarkov tells Flash over the radiophone that he will meet them on the space court shortly.

Captain Torch has cleverly anticipated that Flash Gordon will most likely try to escape by using the same rocket ship which he arrived in, so he and Thong booby trap that ship with an explosive fire chemical. The 2 sneak away, but have not told anyone else of their scheme. Consequently, when Flash and his friends try to board the craft they are challenged by other Ming guards. A fight breaks out, which leads to Roka being knocked unconscious inside the rocketship as it is accidentally activated. As it takes off with Roka still aboard, Torch's fire chemical ignites.

The watching Dale alerts Flash and Zarkov as to Roka's plight. They take another rocket ship from the space court and fly after the stricken vessel. In a daring effort, Flash lowers himself to the burning ship by rope and rescues Roka just in time before the ship explodes completely.

By now Barin's ships are in in pursuit of them. As Flash and his companions are in a Ming ship, Barin naturally assumes them to be the enemy. As their radio is dead, they have no means to alert him to the fact that it is they who are aboard the Ming ship.

Barin's ships open fire with their destructo-rays. Flash's ship takes a direct hit and falls.

Recap card

FLASH and Roka, after escaping from the arena, and while frantic search was being made for them, ambush two guards and, disguised in their uniforms, return to Ming's palace and rescue Dale and Zarkov.

AFTER a further encounter with guards, and a hazardous mid-air rescue of Roka from a burning ship, Flash and his party are congratulating themselves on escaping in one of Ming's ships, when suddenly an approaching Barin ship opens fire on them.

FLASH, realizing Barin is mistaking them for his enemy Ming, tries desperately to signal Barin's ship but........

Trivia

  • Verna's costume appears to be a modified (and more modest) version of the one Dale wore in the first Flash Gordon serial.
  • Roka suggests to Flash that they could get the guard's uniforms. Shortly afterwards, when the action cuts to Flash and Roka donning the uniforms, Roka comments, "This'll make a good disguise." Flash replies, "Yes, I was counting on that," as though it had been his idea.
    • Flash could have meant that he agreed with the idea and getting the uniforms required an element of risk.
  • Barin's pilot asks him why they have not yet sighted Ming's palace, to which Barin replies that they have taken an indirect course to avoid observation. Surely the rocket ship pilot of all people ought to know their course?
  • Zarkov's escape from the laboratory is ridiculous. The only people in the lab are Karm and himself, yet by donning a cloak he is allowed to walk out completely unchallenged by the guard on the door, and presumably also traverse the palace's corridors unchallenged also.
  • On the slide at the very end inviting audiences back for the following chapter "Flaming Death", the word "Death" is written in bone-like lettering.

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