Space Cabby’s adventures take place in the far-flung year of 2157, two hundred years beyond their date of publication. But check out that title! What will happen when the cab driver of the future is transported…
…uhh…slightly further into the future? Otto Binder, folks, creator of the closed Space-Fort Knox.
But I don’t want to grouse more than our lead character here, so let’s move on. Okay, to recap, this fellow wants Space Cabby to take him to Marsopolis, but the Marsopolis of 2233. The fare identifies himself as Professor
Charles John Xavier, who has an urgent mission in the future! As Space Cabby heads to Mars, Professor X sprays out rays in the back seat.
They reach Marsopolis — of the future, declares Professor X, but Space Cabby thinks this guy is nuts. The Professor takes off in a hurry on his urgent mission, leaving his contraption behind, which Space Cabby sets aside to put in the “Lost and Found” box later.
But as Space Cabby drives around Marsopolis, he starts to realize the other vehicles are much more futuristic than his own. And when he sees a sign advertising the new spaceship models of 2233, that clinches it. He really IS in the future!
So why did Professor X need to get to the future? Space Cabby is no dummy. He knows that most of the people around him are criminals, so he assumes the Professor is here to commit temporal space-crimes. He’s got to catch this ne’er-do-well!
He attempts to get the attention of a policeman, but his arm goes right through the cop! Travelling through time has made him a ghost to the people of the future, unable to be seen or heard! In theory, this means the Professor can’t steal anything, since he’s intangible, but SC worries that maybe the guy has a gizmo that negates this effect as well. He goes around looking for likely theft targets and is tipped off to one right away.
But the “treasures” turn out to be artifacts of the 22nd century, which would be worthless to the Professor. Other possible items to steal are similarly impractical. The super-heavy gold from Jupiter would be impossible for him to lift, radioactive gems are radioactive, and the Marsopolis bank carries its cash around in an armored robot, which ensures its safety. A space-telecast of a “helium bomb” test makes SC wonder if the Prof is after futuristic weapons! He high-tails it to “the local arsenal” and gets there just in time to
Wait a second! How can Space Cabby trip on something if he’s a time-phantom? He concludes that this bomb must somehow be from 2157 and grabs it. He then continues his search for the Professor.
Professor Xavier explains the situation. He invented this super-hydrogen bomb in 2157 but accidentally started its internal fuse. In one minute (his words, not mine) it would have destroyed the world! In desperation, he shot it with his teleport ray, overloading the device to get the bomb as far away as possible. But the power surge sent the bomb through time as well, delivering it to Marsopolis on May 12, 2233. He had to go recover it!
Now it’s time for Space Cabby to reveal his mistake. “I tossed your fantastic invention into a garbage can because I thought you were a pathetic lunatic,” he says in not so many words. But are they stranded in the future? Ha, clearly you know nothing about the science of rays. As soon as the space-time rays wear off, they’ll go back…to the future!
They drop the bomb off in space where it “explodes harmlessly”! That’s right, all of the action up to this point has taken place in less than one minute!
Naturally, Space Cabby has to belittle this egghead. He points out that Marsopolis was never in danger, because the explosion would have been non-solid! Professor Xavier, your rebuttal? Ah, you’re forgetting that the rays may have worn off and sent it back to 2157!
The Earth is saved, folks! At least, until this guy decides to build another un-defusable bomb in his basement.
Next week: Interplanetary Speedway!
“Through the Time Barrier!”
Mystery in Space #39 (August-September 1957)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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