(I apologize in advance for the lousy image quality in this one. I haven’t yet found a decent scan — or an original issue — of this particular issue.)
We’ve seen how Space Cabby has the wits and know-how to make it as a big-game hunter, hitchhiker, crime-buster, and hermit, yet he continues on in his eponymous job. Why? Well, because “Space Chef Space Cabby” is a confusing mouthful but also because he loves it. Let’s see what happens when he can’t do it anymore!
We open with Space Cabby explaining that despite us previously seeing him jet from planet to planet without any holdups, there actually is an elaborate customs system…
…that uses only the most high and most solid of all high-tech solid science to perform security checks!
In addition to making sure the auras of the medallion and the driver match, they then scan the rest of the cab to make sure there are no “suspicious auras” so that he can’t smuggle in any hidden jewels or contraband. And of course, they also test the auras of his shoes, since this one time some crazy guy had a poorly-thought-out shoe smuggling plan.
Space Cabby finally gets through all this rigamarole, but his day isn’t over! It’s time for him to renew his space-driver’s license!
He gets in the simulator, which they whirl up to a speed of fifty miles a second because they can’t test his reactions to the images on the screen inside unless he’s flying around the room at dangerous speeds.
The first artificial hazard is a meteor, which he easily steers out of the way of…or does he?
Wh-aat? Well, clearly that was just a fluke. Except he fails the next two tests as well! And to top it all off:
As a result of these tragic failures, Space Cabby is stripped of his title and, I assume, name! He protests, but is assured that the electronic test machine is never wrong! They even take his medallion away and hand it over to the next guy in line for a cabby job. SC shoves his hands in his pockets, kicks the ground, and shuffles out of wherever he is.
He’s so dejected by all this that when Pete Duff, the guy who got his medallion, asks if he can buy our hero’s space cab, The Character Formerly Known As Space Cabby sells it to the guy! After all, it’s now just a painful reminder of the life that is no longer his to enjoy.
To add insult to injury, TCFKASC has to then ride in a cab! He’s only the lowly fare now! However, that soon changes. The cab’s jets ignite a cloud of invisible gas, blinding the driver!
While piloting the cab in this strictly emergency capacity he encounters the exact same hazards that were simulated before and navigates them flawlessly. So what went wrong? Obviously the answer lies with one Pete Duff, and TCFKASC has a plan for tracking him down.
Since his cab is the only source of radiation in the universe, the Geiger counter leads him straight to it. Sure enough, when Pete Duff sees our hero charging towards him, he tries to make a getaway, but he’s not fast enough to escape the best driver this side of Orion!
Pete explains his plan. He stole this diamond, see? And he wants to sell it on Sirius. But he couldn’t get it past the Space Customs which until now hasn’t stopped any crook in this strip from stealing anything. So since he was already the next in line to get a space cab medallion, he sabotaged the testing machine, got a medallion, and then, when they were matching the medallion’s aura to his, he held the diamond behind it so it would also get…be-auraed. That way the sensitive aura detection equipment wouldn’t pick it up! A cunning and not at all absurdly convoluted plan, Pete Duff!
The Character Formerly Known As Space Cabby turns Pete over to Ippy and is allowed to re-take his flying tests, which he of course passes, becoming once again the Space Cabby we all love!
Next week: The Expanding Space Taxi!
“Secret of the Cabby’s Medallion!”
Mystery in Space #35 (December-January 1957)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Joe Giella
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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