8TH MAN #2

I was almost destroyed when I met my big sister ...


Story by Kazumasa Hirai (1964) / Screenplay by Reuben Guberman (1965) / Transcription by Kirk Hastings (2010)

Adapted from the television series episode

In my career I have met many fantastic adversaries. I have defeated them all. But on this pleasant morning in Metropolitan City, an opponent more dangerous than any I had ever faced was about to arrive. At this very moment, in the heart of the city, at Centre Station, where freight trains from all over the nation bring their cargoes from all over the world, a strange packing case has been left on the platform. Four uniformed police officers examine it, never suspecting that it contains a new menace for 8th Man and the city! ...

The strange wooden box had no markings or address on it, except "H-007" printed on one side. Some slight rattling noises could be heard coming from within the crate.

"I'm telling you, I hear something kicking inside that case, and I don't like it!" one of the officers commented. "It could be some sort of time bomb!"

"Well, we certainly don't want to fool around with something like a time bomb!" a second officer replied.

"I think we should call Chief Tanaka!" the third officer added.

# # #

A short time later, Chief Tanaka arrived at the station.

"There it is, Chief! The packing case we called you about!" the first uniformed officer told him. "We found it on the platform with no labels!"

Tanaka looked at the case. "All right, let's open it up!" he said.

One of the officers knelt next to the wooden box. With some effort he was able to force open the lid.

"Holy mackerel!" the officer said, after he had pulled out some packing material. He lifted an object out of the box. "It looks like ... like someone's arm!"

Sure enough, the object looked like a man's arm – only it was almost twice the size of a normal man's appendage.

The officer who had lifted the object out of the box started at the strange discovery, and dropped it on the platform. Tanaka picked it up.

"Relax, all of you – this thing isn't human!" he said. "It's an artificial arm! And I know just where to get an expert opinion on it!"

# # #

Later that day, 8th Man hefted the arm in Chief Tanaka's office. Tanaka was sitting at his desk.

"Well, what do you think, 8th Man?" Tanaka asked him. "Can you figure it out?"

"I'm a little amazed – this arm is the arm of a robot!" he announced. "And the remarkable thing is that its construction is very similar to my own!"

He held the arm up next to his own arm. "Strange – notice, it's bigger than my arm. But I'd say it isn't quite as perfected as mine! Terribly powerful, though! This means that somewhere there exists a robot bigger than me ... I'd certainly like to meet the owner of this arm!"

Just then, the intercom on Tanaka's desk buzzed.

"A couple of reporters from the Republic of Armaco to see you, sir," the voice on the other end said.

"All right – send them in!" Tanaka instructed. He turned off the intercom and looked at 8th Man. "You'd better change your appearance, 8th Man," he told him.

Using his uncanny ability to make himself look like anyone he chose, 8th Man instantly changed his appearance to that of Tobor, the detective.

"That's fine, Detective Tobor!" Tanaka said. "Now, I wonder what a reporter from the Republic of Armaco would want to find out here?"

There was a knock at his office door.

"There're here!" Tanaka told Tobor. "Walk right in!" he yelled.

Two people walked in.

"I'm Chief Tanaka," the Chief said. "What can I do for you?"

The two were an odd pair. One was a relatively normal-looking man dressed in a business suit. But his companion, a woman, was anything but ordinary. She wore her hair up in a tight bun, and sunglasses that completely hid her eyes. A large overcoat was draped over her shoulders. For a woman she was extraordinarily big. She was massive, bulky, and at least a head taller than her companion.

"How do you do?" the business-suited man said. "I'm Harry Status. And this is my fellow reporter – Samantha Seven." He indicated the woman, who said nothing. She had a strange smile that seemed to be frozen on her face.

Tanaka walked over and shook Status's hand. "I want you to feel entirely welcome!" Tanaka said. "I'm a little at a loss to understand just what interest you would have here in my office. What did make you come?"

Tobor looked at the woman named Samantha Seven. She had not moved since coming into the office. Her arms were hidden underneath her overcoat, and her odd expression did not change.

"We heard about an unidentified packing case that was found at Centre Station," Status replied. "We understand it's in your possession now."

"We'd rather keep it quiet at this time," Tanaka told him.

"So would we," said Status. "Let me be perfectly frank – I'm not a reporter. My name is Dr. Status. And it's mine."

"All right – you're a doctor," Tanaka responded. "Fine. Now, will you tell me what proof you have that the thing we found is yours, as you say, doctor?"

"You just go ahead and bring that thing out here, and we'll prove to you that we own it."

"Well, Dr. Status, I don't think you have to pose as a reporter just to see me," Tanaka said. "But I suppose there's no harm in letting you see what we found. I'll get it from the safe."

Tanaka walked over to a large safe recessed into one wall of his office. He dialed a combination, and then opened the doors.

"Here it is," he said, once he had removed a box from the safe. "Now, you should know what's in it, if it's yours," he said to Status. Tanaka put the box on his desk.

Status looked at the box and grinned. "The arm of a robot is in this box," he said.

Tanaka opened the box's lid. "You're absolutely right."

Suddenly, Status grabbed the arm from the box.

"Hey – what do you think you're doing?" Tanaka exclaimed. "I gave you no permission to take that arm!"

"We looked everywhere!" Status replied, holding the arm. "I really was afraid we might not ever find it again. This was our last hope!"

"Look here, I still don't have proof!" Tanaka insisted.

In answer, Status tossed the arm to his companion. "There it is, Samantha!" he told her.

"You return that arm!" Tanaka told her. "I don't care who you are – you can't just go ahead and grab that. Now give it back!"

He tried to take the arm from the woman, but she responded by forcefully knocking Tanaka backwards onto the floor with her left arm, which shot out from under her overcoat.

At this development Tobor leaped forward at her.

"Tobor! Look out!" Tanaka warned, as he got back on his feet. But Tobor had already been thrust backwards also, and he crashed through Tanaka's office door, shattering it into pieces as he went!

Status grinned again. "Are you satisfied?" he told Tanaka. "You can't stop us!"

"No – I am not satisfied!" Tanaka replied defiantly. He reached toward the intercom on his desk. But Status grabbed it first.

"The intercom!" Tanaka yelled. "Let that go!"

"Fix it up for him, Samantha!" Status said, handing the intercom to her. "Like a cookie!"

Samantha took the device, again in her left hand, and crushed it into a pile of junk.

"Oh no! She just crushed it!" Tanaka declared in amazement. "What a woman!"

Then Samantha reached for Tanaka, and at the same time her sunglasses fell off – revealing a hideous, menacing face with staring, wicked-looking eyes!

Just then, 8th Man appeared in the broken doorway. "You keep your hands off of Tanaka!" he ordered.

"Oh, thank goodness!" Tanaka declared.

Samantha paused, turning to look at the source of that deep, commanding voice.

"The eighth robot!" Status pronounced. "I've traveled all this way especially to find you again! You're 8th Man!"

"You say you came to find me?"

"That's right – I've been all over the world searching since you vanished, and I'm going to finish my job! I'm going to take you to my country Armaco, and right away! Do you understand me?"

"Better explain yourself!"

"I don't need to explain; I'll just take you back there, that's all!"

"You'll find yourself in jail if you go on with this kind of talk!" Tanaka interrupted. "You can't get rough with me or 8th Man, Dr. Status!"

"I think I'll be able to do just as I please!" Status replied. "I'd like to introduce a sort of relative of yours, 8th Man!"

"A relative?" 8th Man questioned.

"I'd like to introduce my own robot – Project Number 7!" Status explained. "You know her as ... Samantha 7!"

Before their astonished eyes, the hulking, strange-looking woman transformed herself into a huge, menacing-looking robot!

"She is a robot!" 8th Man exclaimed.

"All right, Samantha – NOW! Get 8th Man for me!" Status commanded.

Samantha immediately attacked 8th Man, knocking him backwards with her right fist. She had somehow managed to reattach her missing right arm.

"Oh no!" Tanaka yelled.

"It's just too bad you won't be able to watch this fight!" Status told Tanaka. "They'll be moving too fast for either your eyes or mine to follow!"

I dashed out into the open to get more fighting room and to protect Tanaka. The giant robot Samantha was right behind me.

8th Man had jumped out the window to the ground outside Metro Police Headquarters, where there was an open park area. He stopped and turned.

"All right, you can come and get me, Samantha!" he taunted.

The giant robot accepted 8th Man's challenge. She landed also, and knocked 8th Man into a tree, smashing it to bits. Then she knocked him into another one, and another.

But 8th Man took the punishment, and then launched himself back at the bigger robot. The two came together like two thunderclouds, grappling back and forth.

Then Samantha managed to tear 8th Man's left arm off! It flew through the air, and 8th Man was forced to retreat from the battle. He leaped backwards, launching himself upward until he landed on the edge of a nearby rooftop some stories above the ground.

Samantha tried to leap up after him, but found that she couldn't do it. Her massive bulk was too much to launch into the air more than a few yards, and she fell back to earth again.

"Wow! That was close!" 8th Man thought to himself. "That robot is actually stronger than I am! It's a good thing she's too heavy to jump like I do!"

Status was now standing nearby, and he held 8th Man's detached arm in his hand.

"You're a good robot, 8th Man!" he said. "Too bad you have to be so stubborn! I really don't want to see you hurt!" He turned to Samantha. "Heh-heh! Here, Samantha!" he chuckled. "Throw back his arm! We want him in one piece when we take him back!"

He threw 8th Man's arm to Samantha, and she caught it. Then she obediently tossed it up to 8th Man.

"Goodbye for now!" Status called. "Put yourself back together again! We'll come to take you back to Armaco when we're ready, 8th Man!" He laughed again.

"Take me back to Armaco?" 8th Man thought, as he reattached his arm. "I wonder what he means? And where did that powerful Samantha come from? I was lucky this time, but will I be as lucky the next time we meet?"

# # #

After the fight I returned to my office as Tobor ...

"Oh dear, what happened to you?" Jenny said when Tobor came in. She immediately noticed that he was rubbing his left arm as if he was in pain.

"Nothing, Jenny," Tobor replied. He sat down on the couch, still holding his arm.

"Oh, what happened to your arm? It's hurt!" she insisted. She came over to him and touched his arm. "You should have medical attention!"

"I'll be all right – you don't have to worry about me!" Tobor protested.

"But anyone can see that you hurt your arm!"

Skip Pepper, a 12-year-old friend of Jenny's who liked to hang around the office and help her and Tobor out on occasion, noticed Tobor's condition also. "Shall I get a doctor for you?" Skip asked.

"I said not to worry," Tobor grumbled.

"But you're hurt!" Jenny repeated.

"Will you please get away from me?" Tobor suddenly snapped. He pushed Jenny away.

Jenny looked shocked at this treatment. She just stood there, staring at Tobor as if she didn't know what else to say. It wasn't like him to act like this; he was usually so polite and self-controlled.

Tobor got up and walked over to the door.

"I'm sorry, Jenny," he said over his shoulder as he opened the door. "I just want to be left alone." He went out, closing the door after him.

Jenny couldn't take any more. She was a sensitive soul, and she loved Tobor, realizing that soon after she had begun to work for him as his secretary. Being treated this way had hurt her feelings greatly. She went over to the couch and collapsed on it, crying on her arm against the armrest.

"Oh, that mean, cruel man!" she sobbed. "I was just worried about him! I just tried to help!"

Skip came over and tried to comfort her. "He's so mean and cruel! You shouldn't even bother worrying about him at all, Jenny!" he told her.

Suddenly Jenny jumped up from the couch. "Don't you dare talk about Mr. Tobor that way!" she yelled at him. "Now go away and let me cry my heart out!"

She slumped onto the couch again and buried her face in her arm.

"What did I say?" Skip said to no one in particular, completely puzzled. "What's the matter with females, anyway? I'm confused!"

Meanwhile, Tobor was aimlessly walking the darkened streets outside. "I shouldn't have bee so rough with poor Jenny," he thought to himself. "Loyal, gentle Jenny! But I'm so confused and upset myself! That robot – Samantha Seven, Project Number 7 – certainly was the winner in that fight we had! I lost an arm, and she wasn't hurt at all!" He looked up at the full moon above. "But who is Dr. Status? He comes from Armaco, and he seemed to know about me. I must go and talk to the scientist who created me – Professor Tani! He might know more!"

# # #

Soon, 8th Man found himself lying on an operating table in Professor Tani's laboratory.

"There, your arm's as good as new!" Tani was saying. "Now, a dose of my Electronic Rejuvenator!" Tani manipulated some switches on the equipment lining the walls, and a globe-shaped device swung out from the ceiling and positioned itself above 8th Man. A bright beam of jagged light shot out from it and bathed 8th Man in its warm glow.

"Into position ... there now," Tani said. "That will bring your nuclear energy pack back to full power, and clear your brain of electronic cobwebs!"

8th Man opened his eyes.

"Ah – you're fully alert again!" Tani announced.

"Thank you," 8th Man said. "I'm okay now."

"Now, I want you to show me exactly how you were injured!" Tani told him. "Use your memory tape bank, and eye projector."

"All right then. Now, watch!"

8th Man raised his hands to his forehead and activated his memory projector. A beam of light came out of his eye sockets, and projected a picture of Dr. Status and Samantha 7 onto the wall.

"Why, that's Dr. Status, and his completed Project Number 7!" Tani exclaimed.

"He said that was his name," 8th Man replied. "But what's it all about? And how come you recognize them?"

"I think I had better tell you the whole story from the beginning, 8th Man! You are very much involved! ... I worked for the Republic of Armaco years ago. They gave me the finest facilities, asking that I create a robot a thousand times stronger and more durable than a human. Dr. Status worked in the same laboratory. His project was Project Number 7. It wasn't as advanced as Number 8, which I had developed. When I found out that they planned to use our robots as soldiers I was furious. I escaped from Armaco, taking along Number 8, which I later perfected. It became 8th Man – you. Obviously Dr. Status has completed his Project Number 7, and has been sent by the government of Armaco to find you. In a peculiar way, Samantha 7 – that's what Dr. Status called Project Number 7 – is rather like a big sister to you. You come from the same laboratory."

"How ironic," 8th Man thought. "My sister. And we will probably fight until one of us is destroyed!"

# # #

Meanwhile, in a rented house somewhere in Metropolitan City, Dr. Status addressed his robot creation, even though he knew it did not have the ability to completely understand him. "I know for sure we found 8th Man – the robot Professor Tani stole from our country," he said. "And we will have to take him back there! Let's have a look at him again, Samantha!"

Samantha activated her own memory projector. Her eyes projected an image of Chief Tanaka and Tobor on the wall.

"There's Chief Tanaka!" Status commented. "But who's that with him?"

He thought a moment. Then realization dawned.

"Ah! I understand! Detective Tobor is really 8th Man in disguise! Of course! I should have guessed he wouldn't wander around looking like a robot. He can change his appearance just like you can."

He turned to his robot. "Okay then, let's go Samantha, and get him!" he ordered. "You just obey my orders. You're stronger than he is, but not as smart. Now let's get moving! We know just where to go!"

# # #

It was getting late, and Skip and Jenny were still at Tobor's office.

"We might as well go on home!" Skip said. "It looks like the boss won't be back tonight at all, Jenny!"

"Let's wait just a little longer – please!" Jenny replied. "He might be back."

"Where could Mr. Tobor be at this hour, with that injured arm of his?"

Jenny sat down in a chair.

"Gee, Jenny, you don't look very happy at all. What's the matter –"

Suddenly, Jenny screamed! "It's a monster!" she cried.

Samantha 7, in all her massive robotic glory, was standing in the doorway!

Momentarily, Dr. Status came out from behind her. "Now you tell me where Mr. Tobor is, or I'll have Samantha here take care of the two of you!" he threatened.

Samantha reached her monstrous arms out toward Jenny and Skip, and made a strange, electronic roaring sound.

"But we don't know where he is!" Jenny told him.

"Honest to Pete, mister!" Skip agreed.

Samantha reached over Skip's head and grabbed Jenny by her shoulder.

"Let her alone, Samantha!" suddenly intoned a commanding voice.

Status and his robot both turned to see 8th Man now standing in the doorway.

"8th Man! Oh help me!" Jenny cried.

"You can release the girl now!" 8th Man replied. "You wanted 8th Man – well, here I am!"

"You're the one I wanted, and Samantha's been looking for you too!" Status exclaimed, laughing.

"All right, you found me!" 8th Man told them. "Now come on, big sister!"

"You're as courageous as a human, 8th Man!" Status admitted. "But this time it won't be just an arm!" He turned to his robot. "Get him, Samantha!" he ordered.

8th Man jumped out of the office window, moving so fast he was little more than a blur. Status's robot followed him, and they both disappeared from view.

"Good luck 8th Man!" Jenny called.

"You can lick that monster!" Skip yelled out the window.

Both robots landed on the pavement below. 8th Man got in the first blow, knocking Samantha back against the wall of the building. But she immediately recovered, and dodged away. 8th Man tried to body block her again, but this time she was able to brace herself, and the blow did not affect her at all. She responded by knocking 8th Man back into another wall with a powerful right cross from her giant metal fist.

Again we met in mortal combat. My speed and intelligence against the seemingly invincible power of Samantha 7!

8th Man came back and pounded Samantha with his own fist. It only barely moved her. She came back with a vengeance. Soon the two robots were indistinguishable blurs zig-zagging through the streets, occasionally smashing into one another, then speeding away again.

At one point Samantha knocked 8th Man into a huge neon advertising sign, smashing it to bits. But he was unhurt, and then they both raced off again.

Suddenly 8th Man stopped. "That transformer tower!" he thought, spying a tall wire-frame structure thrusting upward into the sky not far away. Instantly he came up with a mental plan. "I'll try it!" he thought.

He sped toward the tower, and Samantha followed.

"If I can only get Samantha to make contact with the tower," he thought to himself, "the electricity will finish her!"

8th Man reached the tower and raced up its steel latticework. He stopped at a few yards above the ground.

"Come on, Samantha – follow me if you can!" he called back to his giant opponent.

Instead of climbing the tower, Samantha pulled one of the huge girders loose from it, and hurled it at 8th Man. It flew by his head, barely missing him as he ducked out of its way.

Then he began racing up the tower's steel girders again. Samantha followed him as best as she could, even though her great weight was somewhat of a hindrance.

8th Man reached the huge electrical coils near the top of the tower, and accidentally touched one of them. Suddenly millions of volts of naked electricity shot through his robot body, lighting him up like a Christmas tree.

"Ohhh! The electrical power is draining my strength!" 8th Man groaned. "But I've got to hold on long enough to make her follow me! Got to!"

He held his ground as the tremendous electrical power from the coils continued to surge through his body. But finally he couldn't hold on any more, and he was forced to let go his hold. He fell downward, but was able to catch hold of a girder and stop his descent.

"I'm weak ... I need an energy booster!" he moaned, as he hung precariously by both hands from the girder. Then he noticed that Samantha was standing nearby on the same level, staring at him.

"Why is she waiting?" he thought. Then Samantha moved toward him. "She's attacking! I'll have to try to throw her toward the tower!"

As Samantha lunged toward him, 8th Man grabbed her by one of her huge arms. Using her weight as a counterbalance, he locked his legs around the girder he had been holding onto and swung Samantha around in a wide arc. Then he let her go, and she flew upward toward the electrical coils.

As she flew by them she grabbed one of the coils and held onto it. But there was no electrical charge.

"The electricity! It doesn't seem to affect her!" 8th Man observed. Apparently he had momentarily drained the coil of its power.

8th Man hung onto the girder with his arms for dear life, getting weaker by the moment.

"Something had better happen soon, or I'm finished!" he thought. "Hang in there, you brute!" he said, directed at Samantha.

Suddenly the coil came to life again, and Samantha glowed with radiant electrical power.

"There it goes!" 8th Man cried. Samantha took the full brunt of the electrical force. Then she let go of the coil. She dropped like a stone to the street below.

"There she goes!" 8th Man declared as she went by. Momentarily there was a loud boom as Samantha hit the ground far below.

"Wow, that was close!" 8th Man thought. Still hanging onto the girder with one arm, he managed to get one of the super energy booster capsules out of his belt buckle that Professor Tani had given him. "Well, now I can take time for one of my energy booster tubes!" he thought, as he absorbed the extra energy from it. "Another minute and I'd be down there on the ground, smashed up like she must be!"

When he began to feel better, he let go of the girder and used the recharged anti-gravity unit in his body to lower himself down to the ground.

Once he got there, he discovered a huge crater in the pavement. But there was nothing in it.

"Well, this is where she must have landed!" he surmised. "But she isn't here! I wonder if she still had enough strength to get away! It's impossible! She fell 300 feet! Look at the depth of the crater she made when she hit – and yet, I can't be sure until I see the actual broken robot! Could Dr. Status have been here? ... I must see Professor Tani, and tell him of my fight with Samantha!"

# # #

Little did 8th Man know that his deduction was correct - for at that very moment, Dr. Status was speeding through the city in his convertible car, with the broken remains of Samantha heaped in the back seat.

"That metal monster 8th Man!" Status was thinking, as he drove along the highway on the way out of the city. "He smashed my beautiful Samantha! But he won't get away with it! I'll build new equipment into Samantha that will make her invincible – and I'll get 8th Man!"

# # #

"I remember that robot brains, which are really electric computer units, are susceptible to electric shock, Professor Tani!" 8th Man was telling Tani. They were both in Tani's laboratory on the top floor of his secluded country house. "I simply took a chance that I could take more shock than Samantha – and I was right!"

"That makes sense," Tani replied. "You see, you are a later project than Number 7 – Samantha, as she is called – and your brain has better electronic recovery factors. Did you see her, well, body?"

"No, sir. When I got there there was only a deep hole where the robot hit!"

"In that case I would beware! Dr. Status might have recovered the robot, and could, at this very moment, be reassembling her!"

# # #

Meanwhile, downtown, Chief Tanaka was trying to place a call through to Tobor's office, but the line went unanswered.

"There's something wrong!" he thought to himself. "Skip Pepper and Jenny Heartsweet wouldn't leave Tobor's office unattended! ... I'll get right over there!"

# # #

Tobor walked down the hallway to where his office was located.

"It'll be good to get back to the office," he thought. "I'll bet Skip and Jenny are waiting for me impatiently!"

He gained his office and opened the door. Chief Tanaka was standing inside.

"Waiting for me, Chief?" Tobor said.

Tanaka spun around. "Oh, good thing you came in right now!" he replied.

Tobor looked around. No one else was in the office but Tanaka.

"It's strange that Skip and Jenny aren't here!" Tobor said.

"Well, see if you can read this thing, Tobor!" Tanaka told him, as he handed him a sheet of paper.

The paper had a map and a series of strange symbols on it.

"8th Man can read all languages!" Tobor reassured Tanaka as he looked at it. "It's from Dr. Status in his native language, Armaconian." Tobor noticed a small arrow and a mark on the map. "His map here says Skip and Jenny are captive in a spot shown on it!"

"I knew there was something wrong when they didn't answer the phone - so I rushed over, and they were gone!"

"That's really a mean trick, involving Skip and Jenny in his dirty scheme!" Tobor declared.

"Get going, 8th Man! Find those two kids and get Status!"

"I just hope I'm in time to save Skip and Jenny from Status!" Tobor said, as he changed from Tobor into 8th Man.

He rushed out of the office at supersonic speed.

"I must get to Skip and Jenny!" he thought, as he raced toward the location indicated on the map.

# # #

Before long 8th Man approached the tip of the small, desolate peninsula some miles away from Metro City that Status had drawn on his note.

"This is the area that Dr. Status indicated in his note!" 8th Man thought. He scanned the hills and craggy cliffs located along the peninsula's shore.

"There – on top of that high rock!" he said to himself. He could see three small figures on top of a rocky promontory. "Skip and Jenny – and Status!"

On top of the cliff, Status was holding an ultra-modern-looking assault gun on Skip and Jenny, who were backed up against the sheer edge of the promontory. "Well, 8th Man might just be too scared to show up!" he boasted.

"Don't you worry – he'll be here!" Jenny answered defiantly. "And you'll be sorry! You can bet on it!"

"You'll soon see if 8th Man is gonna show up!" Skippy yelled too. "He'll take care of you real good!"

"Well I sure do hope he does, because I'll handle him easily this time!" Status continued. "I'm more than ready for 8th Man!"

"If you think you can defeat 8th Man, you just wait until –" Skippy began. He stopped his tirade when Status shoved the barrel of his gun into Skippy's face.

Suddenly, there was a whooshing sound nearby. They all turned.

"It's 8th Man!" Jenny cried.

"There he is!" Status exclaimed.

"Status!" 8th Man yelled to him.

"One more chance to surrender, 8th Man!" Status replied.

"Don't talk like a fool, Dr. Status!" 8th Man warned. "Drop that gun!"

"I'll let this gun talk for me, 8th Man!" Status shouted. "I'll riddle you!"

"You should know your gun is useless against 8th Man! Go ahead and try!"

Status fired the gun. He fired round after round, but 8th Man didn't even seem to move.

"Here are the bullets you fired!" 8th Man told him. He held up his left hand, and dropped a number of spent bullets into his right hand.

"The bullets!" Status cried in disbelief. "You caught each and every one of them!"

After a moment Status recovered himself. "Okay, if that's the game!" he said. He turned toward the rocks nearby. "All right, it's your turn, Samantha!" he yelled.

A giant hand came out from behind one of the rocks, and Samantha 7 hoisted herself up from behind the outcrop, making the strange electronic roaring noise she did when she was angry.

"There she is, 8th Man!" Status shouted. "The new model of Samantha 7! Watch!"

As Samantha stood there, a number of slots began to appear in her forearms, chest and shoulders. From those slots emerged pointed metal spikes that made Samantha look like an armored tank. 8th Man watched this development with amazement on his face.

"Oh no, look at those spikes!" Skippy yelled.

"Now, get him, Samantha!" Status ordered. "Teach him some manners - he won't cooperate! Go!"

Samantha came rushing at 8th Man, roaring that weird electronic howl of hers. 8th Man ducked aside, causing Samantha to crash into the rock wall behind him. This caused a rockslide, but the falling rocks didn't harm Samantha at all.

"8th Man will be smashed to bits by that thing!" Skippy continued.

"Oh no!" Jenny cried in dismay.

"I haven't got a chance in a wrestling match – but she can't jump like I can!" 8th Man thought. "I'll use a jump for leverage!"

8th Man leaped up into the air. After he had achieved an impressive height he twisted his body around and came flying back down, his left foot extended outward.

He crashed into Samantha, his kick sending her reeling backwards into the rocks again. She smashed into the rocky hillside head first, burying half of her body up to the waist in the cliff face.

"Samantha! Samantha! Are you hurt?" Status cried. "You can't let that 8th Man lick you!"

Skip and Jenny stared, hoping against hope that maybe the battle was over.

"Come on! Get out of there and really show him how to fight!" Status shouted. "Go on – get 8th Man, Samantha!"

Samantha began to move again, pulling herself out of the cliff face.

"That's the way, Samantha! Don't just lie there!" By now Status seemed to be teetering on the verge of madness. "You can get up! That's it! There you go!" he insisted.

Samantha got back up to her feet, and roared that electronic howl of hers again.

"Now, go get 8th Man!" Status yelled at her. "That's it, Samantha! Attack!"

But instead of heading back toward 8th Man, Samantha lumbered forward and began to threaten Status!

"No – no, Samantha!" Status screamed. "Not me! Go get 8th Man! Not me!"

"She's gone wild! Samantha's going after Dr. Status instead of me!" 8th Man observed.

"Ahhh – she's out of control!" Status shouted. He turned and ran back toward his car, which was parked nearby, and jumped into the driver's seat.

He tried to start the ignition. "I've got to get out of here!" he yelled frantically.

But Samantha had reached the car too. By now she was roaring repeatedly. Apparently she had taken enough punishment from 8th Man, and she was now determined to make her master pay for ordering her to fight him.

"Stay away!" Status screamed, as Samantha's immense shadow loomed over him.

"I must help him!" 8th Man exclaimed. He raced toward the giant robot.

But Samantha was already hoisting Status and his car up over her head. With a mighty heave she threw the car down into a deep gully, where it impacted and exploded into a huge fireball!

But just before the car hit bottom 8th Man reached it and plucked Status out of it. Moving so fast he was no more than a blur, he leaped back out of the gully with Status, and deposited him back safely upon the ground near Skip and Jenny.

But Samantha had had enough. Now she turned toward 8th Man, roaring her defiance of him.

"Run for it, all of you!" 8th Man ordered, as the giant robot thundered toward him. "Her electronic brain has shorted out, and she's insane!"

Samantha leaped toward him. But just as she did 8th Man leaped up into the air.

"Follow me if you can!" he shouted back, encouraging Samantha to come after him and leave the others alone.

Samantha leaped, and struck the ground where 8th Man had just been. But now he was on the top of a hill above her.

"Here I am, Samantha! Come and get me!" 8th Man taunted. "Come and get me if you can!"

With a sudden burst of speed Samantha sped toward 8th Man. Before he could dodge away she reached him, and grabbed him with her huge hands.

"I've got to get out of this terrible grip!" 8th Man thought to himself. "If I can't get loose she'll crush me for sure!"

The two robots struggled. "Ohhh!" 8th Man groaned. "Her brain may be damaged, but her power unit is fantastic! ... I can't fight her much longer!" 8th Man's knees began to buckle as Samantha slowly pushed him backwards toward a precipice that was right behind him. The cliff went straight down to the rushing sea far below.

"Got to try!" 8th Man told himself, as he again tried to get loose.

"8th Man is weakening!" Jenny cried. She and Skippy were not far away, watching the uneven battle. Status was a few steps behind them.

"Come on, 8th Man!" Skip yelled.

"8th Man! Hear me!" came Status's voice. "You saved my life, and I'll try to save yours! I know exactly where to hit Samantha with a bullet to stop her! Hang on 'til I reload the gun!"

Status readied the machine gun that he had reclaimed. "I have no choice! I have to shoot Samantha, the robot I created myself!" he said, trying to justify his decision to himself.

He fired the gun, aiming at a spot on the back of Samantha's neck. Samantha roared again at this physical insult, and then she and 8th Man both toppled over the edge of the cliff.

"I had to do it Samantha!" Status cried, as he rushed over to the edge of the precipice. "You would have killed us all!"

When he reached the cliff edge he looked down, just in time to see the two robots splash into the water and disappear below the surface.

"Well, that's the end of Samantha! And 8th Man, I'm afraid!" he said regretfully. "They've gone under!"

"Oh no – poor brave 8th Man!" Jenny sobbed. She and Skippy had come over to the cliff's edge also. They stared down at the water below.

Suddenly a series of huge waves began to rush toward the hill where they stood. The three spectators had to back up as the tsunami-like waves crashed against the cliff side. They came up so high that they almost reached over the edge of the high promontory.

Then a giant mushroom cloud billowed up over the surface of the ocean, far out on the horizon. It quickly gathered size and immensity, and expanded upwards into the sky. Seconds later a loud thundering sound reached their ears, like the sound of a gigantic bomb going off.

"A mushroom cloud!" Status exclaimed. "My bullet must have triggered the tiny atomic power pack in Samantha's head! ... They're both finished now for sure!"

Status stared sadly at the roiling, angry sky. "And so it all ends," he thought to himself. "Samantha's gone, and so is 8th Man! All the years of work and studying and experimenting – gone. And it's all my fault! I wasn't satisfied with having one magnificent robot – I had to capture 8th Man too! I should have known better. I know this now. I'll never, never forget ... and I'll never forgive myself for the evil thing I did."

He slowly walked away from the cliff edge. But Skip and Jenny continued to stare at the gigantic cloud expanding slowly up over the ocean.

"I can't believe he's gone!" Jenny wept. "Poor 8th Man!"

"He can't – he just can't be gone forever – he just can't!" Skippy cried too.

Suddenly Jenny stopped crying and stared. "Wait – what's that?" she said.

Skip stopped crying and stared as well. "I see something moving in the water!" he said.

A disturbance in the water headed toward the shore. Suddenly 8th Man came bounding up out of the ocean, and landed on the promontory!

"It's 8th Man!" Jenny exclaimed. "He's alive! He's alive!"

8th Man walked over to them. "Just before the explosion I dove down to a terrific depth," he explained. "Then I dug into the ground at the bottom, and that saved me!"

He turned and looked out over the ocean. "I couldn't save Samantha, of course," he continued. "Too bad. We might have been able to repair her brain and – well, it would have been nice to have a big sister robot to help me in my future adventures!"