In this issue of Adventures Of The Century! a peaceful science symposium is threatened with the death of the world’s greatest minds in exotic science. With one of their own a possible target of a shadowy death, can the Centurions solve the mystery of The Nether Menace.
Appearing in this issue: Maurice Magnatron Richard Whitecomb II Micheal “Ace” McCutcheon
The symposium for the Ziggenheim Science Prize, awarded to the most exotic discovery in the field of science, is held in Switzerland at the isolated Himmelhütte Lodge. This year a Centurion, Maurice Magnatron, has an entered his patented Magnatron Ray. Accompanying him is pilot Ace Mc and the wealthy researcher, Richard Whitecomb II. After the cocktail mixer, where the scientists, their guests and the judges mingled and discussed their projects, everyone returned to their rooms to change for dinner.
The three Centurions find a servant in need of help. One scientist is not responding to numerous knocks of the door. Ace, leaping to action, smashes in the door to aid the possibly stricken man. Everything appears normal except for a missing scientist, Doctor Knichte. Clues indicate that the man drank all the liquor in the room, straightened up, putting everything away, called for a servant, locked the door and threw himself out the window overlooking a near bottomless chasm. Maurice and Richard find this highly doubtful and insist contact is made with the village on the other side of the bridge. Unfortunately, the phones are out as happens occasionally, and staff member is sent to the village.
The lodge manager and Centurions learn that the bridge is out when the waiter returns; reporting it had been destroyed. Suspecting sabotage Ace asks about a wireless. Acting on the report of no wireless communication, Ace hurries to the radio room. There he is able to determine it is working fine, except it isn’t actually transmitting or receiving. Retesting the wireless tubes, Ace spots a shadowy figure in the manager’s office. He chases after the culprit, finally cornering him in a utility room. Forcing the closing door back open Ace readies for a fight. He is alone in the room. Janitorial equipment and a pile of dust is all that is in the room. The shadowy figure escaped into thin air.
Maurice and Richard, working together, realized that the dust is crystal. Strangely similar to trace amounts found in Doctor Knichte room. One scientist, Roger Rox, is an expert in rocks. When the three Centurions go to question him, they hear sounds of struggle in his room. Rushing in they find Professor Rox near death as a shadowy grey man chokes him. One blow from Maurice’s cane turns the grey man into a rain of dust.
Having been saved, Roger Rox is more than happy to help. With information Maurice, Richard, and Ace seek out the young scientist Abram Brown. He cracks under pressure of questioning and admits that the patron of the science and lodge guest, Garrison Grayson, has been acting oddly. Abram goes on to admit that his entry is not even his. It is actually the work of Grayson. He fears that his patron is here for some nefarious plot.
Armed with that knowledge, the three Centurions hurry to find the villain. Cornered in his room, they confront Garrison Grayson. Pressuring Garrison for answers he finally cracks. Taking netherite chess pieces from Maurice, Garrison knocks the set to the ground, where several pieces come to life, and become human sized grey men.
In the fight, Richard uses a medieval fighting dagger to knock apart several grey men. Maurice used his cane to affect to strike down the grey men attacking him. From one side of the room Ace shot several of the grey men, keeping them from overwhelming his friends. Finally, only Garrison and four grey men were left. Maurice Blasted two with the heat ray built in his cane. Richard and Ace took care of the rest. As the last grey man turned to dust, Garrison collapsed in crazed insanity.
The wireless returned to normal operation and a rescue party from the village reached the Lodge. Garrison Grayson was arrested by the Swiss constables; eventually being committed to an insane asylum. Abram Brown withdrew, in disgrace, from the scientific community. Doctor Knichte’s shattered body will be found in the spring, at the bottom of the cliff. Friedrich Zeram won the Ziggenheim Science Prize.