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|Chapter 309: The Pool of Peril||Chapter 311: Stark Treachery|
Ming instructs Captain Sudan to flood the caverns. He watches on a screen as a vast torrent of water engulfs the helpless men. Believing his enemies doomed, Ming goes off in search of Princess Aura to gloat to her. This leaves Captain Sudan able to open another barrier which will divert the water away from the bottomless pit. Flash and his friends are swept into a side tunnel and safety. They wearily hurry back to the rocket ship and rejoin Dale and Ronal, their plan having failed.
Aura and Karm are brought before Ming. Ming gleefully tells Karm that his radio will no longer serve any use since Flash Gordon, Doctor Zarkov and Prince Barin have all now been killed following a failed attack on his castle. The news upsets Aura, which prompts an angry outburst from Karm. In his rage, Karm tries to throttle Ming but the wily dictator is prepared for such a move and stabs Karm, killing him.
As a message comes through on Karm's radio, Ming orders the distressed Aura to be banished to the women's quarters and then has one of his guards mimic Karm's voice. From the resultant communication Ming learns that Zarkov and the others have survived, and wrongly assumes their escape to have been aided in some way by Aura. Zarkov is led to believe that Ming is still unaware of their survival and so is therefore not planning any immediate attack on Arboria.
Zarkov tells Barin this will give him ample time to recall his patrol ships to have them ready to use as defense against any Ming attack. But Barin plans to use them for offense, and wants to try again to rescue his wife.
Flash and Dale visit the cells to interview their prisoners. Flash asks Captain Torch how many ships Ming has operational, but Torch refuses to cooperate, even after Dale tells him that Barin would show gratitude for any information which could help free his wife. Flash tells Dale that Thong escaped earlier, having tricked his guards by pretending to be more badly injured from his fall in the Land of the Dead than he actually was. Next they try quizzing Sonja, but she refuses to speak in Dale's presence. When Dale reluctantly leaves, Sonja then tries to charm Flash, saying she knows a way he could overthrow both Ming and Barin and that he and she could then rule the universe together. Flash is uninterested in her plans.
Roka arrives to tell Flash about the news from Ming's palace. The pair leave the prison wing, with Flash warning the guard not to fall for any of Sonja's tricks. But the guard is lured into Sonja's cell when she pretends to hang herself. She steals his ray gun and kills him with it, then releases Captain Torch from the adjoining cell.
Meanwhile, Flash deduces that they have been tricked, since Karm's message did not apparently begin with the agreed code phrase of "Listen carefully". Flash tells Barin's radio operator to send a warning out to all the patrol ships that Ming will be launching an attack, but before the order is transmitted, Torch and Sonja enter the radio room and knock out the operator. Torch uses the radio equipment to contact Ming. Ming says that he is sending a squadron to drop gas bombs on Barin's castle. He tells Torch to call in all of Barin's patrol ships so that there will be no warning of his squadron's approach.
Dale and Roka check on the prisoners only to find the guard dead and the cells empty. Roka goes to tell Flash while Dale rushes to the radio room to sound an alarm. She arrives to find Torch and Sonja there, destroying the equipment. Though Dale valiantly tries to stop them, by the time Flash and Roka arrive on the scene Torch is holding her at gunpoint and keeps her hostage as he and Sonja try to escape the palace. When their way out is blocked off by a descending portcullis, they instead try to reach the roof of the tower.
As Flash and the others pursue the escaped prisoners, Ming's bombers begin their raid, dropping gas bombs. Torch's party head out onto the roof in the hope of signalling their ships.
Having climbed up the tower by a different route, Flash takes Torch by surprise. He wrestles with Torch and Dale scraps with Sonja as gas bombs fall around them. The women succumb to the fumes and fall unconscious but the 2 men continue battling one another. Still locked in combat, the pair topple over the edge of the roof and fall from a great height.
TORCH and Sonja, Ming's agents, confined in cells in Barin's palace, escape to the radio room, overpower the operator and communicate with Ming.
MING instructs Torch to send out a false order grounding Barin's space ships, in order to clear the way for Ming bombers, and to destroy the radio to prevent Barin countermanding the order.
DALE overhears the order and is captured by Torch and Sonja, who flee with her to the roof of the palace.
FLASH pursues and corners them, and is battling with Torch when Ming's bombers....
- While his friends are potentially drowning and with every second vital, Captain Sudan stops to tell his colleague what he is doing before opening the gate that will save Flash and the others.
- Why does Ming describe Karm's radio as "a very clever device"? Although adjusted to operate on a very low waveband, it's still a normal radiophone which his own soldiers routinely carry. Also, if the device is of such interest to Ming, why didn't he seize it as soon as he first discovered Karm's betrayal? Instead it was left in the laboratory until Aura was later able to take it to Karm's cell.
- What is Sonja tapping out in code to Captain Torch while they are in their cells? Given that Torch plays no part in her subsequent escape trick, does she even need to pass a message to him?
- Despite Flash's warning, the guard still falls for one of Sonja's tricks. However, as such ruses go, Sonja's apparent hanging is surprisingly plausible and, for the time, quite a daring action to depict on screen, especially in a serial intended for family viewing.
- Unusually for a leading lady, Dale is shown to have a character flaw, namely a clear jealous streak. There were traces of this in Chapters 1 and 2 when she was unsettled by Queen Fria's interest in Flash, but it is even more evident in this chapter. Although Dale rightly takes exception to Sonja wanting to talk to Flash alone, when Flash subsequently returns from interviewing Sonja Dale's behavior does her no favours. She flippantly asks Flash why he took so long and if he found Sonja interesting. When Flash completely ignores the question, Dale is visibly ruffled. This negative trait of Dale's is taken from the Flash Gordon comic strip, where Dale Arden frequently displays jealousy whenever Flash has interaction with another female character such as Queen Fria, Sonja, or Desira.