Mystery in Space 55

The Beast from the Runaway World



Adam waits and waits but the Zeta-beam doesn’t come.

He finally gives up and flies from Africa to the middle of the South Atlantic to catch the next scheduled Zeta-beam strike, eight days later.

When he finally arrives on Rann shows him Zaradak, a big dumb blue alien monster that’s tearing up Ranagar.

The Zeta-beam is found to have hit the Zaradak’s planet on it way to earth; explaining Adam’s absent beam. Being so huge, the beast just eats and eats whatever is in its path. That’s why it’s been chewing on buildings.

They try firing ray-guns at the thing, with no effect. It appears to absorb the energy. Undeterred, Zaradak just keeps chomping on the city.

Adam suggests forests be uprooted and delivered to the monster to satiate its hunger.

That problem temporarily solved, a warlike alien race has decided to attack Rann. Adam refuses to surrender. He puts the Zaradak in the bombs way, knowing that the monster can absorb the next volley of bombs launched by the warmongering aliens. The Zaradak does his thing and Rann is safe. But…

Remember it was the Zeta-beam that brought Zaradak to Rann and, just like Adam, the radiation wears off, sending whoever it sent back to where they came from.

Their defense is now gone, but Adam can’t let the aliens know. So he plans to take a spaceship up to space himself to intercept the next bomb. If he can stop it, he’ll not only protect Ranagar from this next attack, he’ll also convince the aliens that the Rannian defense is quite operational.

So he hits the bomb and gets the heck outta there before the shockwaves catch his ship!

This is a pretty standard adventure story, in which a lot happens. In eight and a half pages, Adam tries to catch two Zeta-beams, fight off a mysterious monster, learns of and fights off an alien invasion, and still somehow manages to hug Alanna four times.

Adam uses something horrible to save his city. The beast shouldn’t be there, but it is. And Adam uses it to his advantage.

Joseph

Joseph, son of Jacob and great-grandson of Abraham, was beloved by his parents. This meant he was naturally hated by his jealous brothers. They sold him into slavery. Decades had passed and Joseph’s time as a slave led to him being falsely imprisoned and eventually to his unique service to Pharaoh, which allowed him to become vizier. A famine had been ravaging his homeland and his brothers, not expecting to see Joseph anywhere in Egpyt, traveled there to find support during the famine. Joseph eventually revealed his identity to his traitorous brothers and the family was reconciled.

This is an excellent example of God’s use of bad things to bring about His purpose. Adam used the Zaradak; God used the wicked jealousy of Joseph’s brothers. Adam was looking to the higher purpose of defeating the aliens, knowing the threat of the Zaradak was painful but temporary, and the threat of the aliens was much more severe. God used the wickedness of the brothers to facilitate the rescue of Joseph’s family. The higher purpose for God was saving the family, suffering the treachery and cruelty shown to Joseph.

God does this again and again. Humans continually choose evil and God continually forces the effects of that bad human choice into His perfect, correcting, redeeming will. God wanted Joseph’s family to survive. They chose to turn on each other and literally sell their little brother out. God said, “Fine. But this will still turn out the way that I want it to.” And so he arranged for Joseph to become a high-ranking officer in Pharaoh’s court. The brothers didn’t only survive then, but were reconciled and brought closer than they ever would have been.

We notice this all the time in our own lives, usually forgetting to acknowledge God. “I shouldn’t have [dated so-and-so] or [stolen this-and-that] or [reacted that way] but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” OR “If I hadn’t done this or that, I never would have fixed this or that problem in my life.” Maybe you hit rock bottom with the bottle. You hate that it happened, but if it hadn’t, you may never have gotten your life together.

Right?

So. I always go on and on about how every story points back to the story of Christ. I compared Adam Strange’s redemption of a bad situation into a good thing with God’s action in the Joseph story. But what about Jesus? Did he ever do anything like this? Did he ever turn something terrible into something good?

What’s the worst crime ever? The murdering of the innocent Jesus! He was betrayed by his friend and brutally tortured before finally being pinned to the cross, where he died. This is the darkest moment in history and yet we commemorate it as Good Friday. Why? Because God turned it around – He used that evil act to bring about the rescue of His people.

George Carlin used to joke that, had Christ lived in the 20th century, Christian would wear little electric chairs around their necks.

That’s the point, isn’t it? The bad thing is what we remember. Because it was through the bad thing that the greatest thing ever happened.

The Day the Earth Surrendered

A handful of space scientists have been living on a colony outpost for  a few years to study the XX element. This scrambles any radio waves, so they receive infrequent news bundles by spaceship, with personal mail and current events. Due to the distance, the news they receive is actually six years old. They learn that earth had surrendered to the Vegans, who are on their way to the colony!

The Vegans beat earth so easily because of their will-killing technology. Landing at the colony, the Vegans found strong resistance though. The scientists of the colony easily defeat the aliens. As the aliens depart, the colonists rest confidently, knowing that the XX element naturally infected the Vegan ship, which will carry it to earth. Once the Vegan ship lands on earth, the XX element will disrupt all radio wave communication on earth, but it will also free the earthmen from the mind control inflicted on them by the Vegans.

This is a little morality play about the dangers of listening to the radio and watching the TV in excess. The colonists were barred from radio and TV because of the XX. And their freedom from media was the source of their freedom of thought. Saturation in media twists our brains around. We think like the TV thinks.

Pick a controversial topic. Abortion, religion, politics. Whatever, just pick one. What are your views on it? Now try to discover the source of that view. Why do you think that way? It’s okay that you do think that way – but where did that viewpoint come from? Chances are, you’re just borrowing it from somewhere else. You’re borrowing it from your favorite comedy news show, or from text pasted over a photo that’s being shared on Facebook.

Now remove Facebook. Forget TV. Go silent.

Think about abortion or homosexuality or religion – whatever controversial topic you picked – and try to find its place in the natural universe. If you come up the same viewpoint you had before, great. You have integrity and are worthy of a debate. If you find that your strongly held beliefs don’t make sense when you can’t quite remember Jon Stewart’s quote from the other night, it is time to reevaluate your beliefs. Are you just borrowing the philosophies of TV, or comedians, or politicians? If you are, you will be open to attacks less fantastical than that of the Vegans, but more deadly.

Behind the Space Curtain

A futuristic showbiz promoter needs a new act and sets his sights on a famous musician who lives on a planet that’s behind the iron curtain of the solar system. He finds a ship that looks like a meteor and uses this to secretly land on the forbidden world. He tracks down the musician and convinces him to escape with him. When they arrive in safe space again, they play concerts all over the free solar system. Their escape has even inspired reform behind the space curtain.

A stranger breaks through oppression to introduce freedom.

***

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