You are in:
This issue departs from the current storyline and depicts an untold tale of Wonder Woman's days at NASA. It has been suggested that this story was originally intended to appear in "Adventure Comics". Incidentally, this is the tale which is wrongly referred to in issue 263
This issue also features a back-up story starring Wonder Girl.
High up in the crisp morning air over Cape Canaveral, Wonder Woman leaps from her invisible plane and floats earthwards by riding the air currents. She holds her NASA space suit in her hands as she descends and tells herself off for having made a detour to visit her mother back on Paradise Island. Now she is late for an important shuttle launch which she is due to pilot!
She decides she should be able to reach the craft without being noticed and will have to play it by ear as far as explaining herself is concerned! Meanwhile a poor radar technician thinks he is going mad when he momentarily glimpses a signal on his radar, which appears to be a human being 700 feet off the ground! He decides that as soon as the launch is over he will go and see the base doctor!
Meanwhile on the pad the NASA launch commander explains to the shuttlenaut named Jansen that if his pilot, Diana Prince, does not arrive in two minutes the mission will be scrubbed. Jansen curses, saying that this is the first real space shuttle flight and that surely he can pilot the craft instead and summon the back-up navigator. But Diana pops her head out of the shuttle cabin fully suited up and asks why Jansen needs to bother when she is already here?
The two men are both startled and the NASA launch commander asks what she is doing in there? She calmly replies that surely that is where she is supposed to be? He tells her that they have been looking for her everywhere because it had looked liked she had disappeared. She apologises, explaining that she got to work early to check out the craft before the safety crews arrived.
The two shuttlenauts are then told that the mission is a go and around twenty minutes later the shuttle roars off the pad and into the sky. As they reach orbit, Jansen asks her candidly what really happened to her that morning and she coyly replies that a woman has to have her secrets and that maybe she was just visiting her mother! He does not believe her, saying that ever since she joined the programme there has been something strange about her - not suspicious mind you - just strange. And smiling he tells her that he thinks he likes it!
She muses to herself that having to slip into the shuttle at super speed while Jansen was talking to the Launch Commander is certainly strange all right! She wonders whether she can keep mixing up her interest in becoming an astronaut with her life as Wonder Woman.
Just then a weird blue radiance surrounds the shuttle and knocks the craft off course and out of control. As the orbiter goes into a dive, Jansen is knocked out which allows Diana to remove her suit and change into Wonder Woman. All the craft's electrical systems are dead and there is no way to pull out of the dive. Quickly, she climbs outside onto the hull carrying Jansen with her as they enter the atmosphere once more. She can now see that the blue radiance is actually some kind of laser beam drawing them towards the Rocky Mountains below.
It is obviously not some freak of nature but a deliberate attack and she pinpoints its origin as emanating from a mist shrouded valley beneath them. She leaps clear of the plummeting craft, still carrying Jansen on her shoulders, and proceeds to free-fall down into the mist using the air currents.
As she descends, she sees that the fog bank covers an enormous cavern entrance which she assumes the shuttle has disappeared into. She makes her way on foot into the foreboding cavern and spies a greenish glow in the far distance. She wonders if this is where the shuttle has come to rest but her thoughts are shattered by a terrifying roar. She turns to see a huge dinosaur thunder towards her and she only just manages to dive out of the way of its thrashing tail.
While she still tries to fathom how such a creature could exist here in the Rocky Mountains, she swiftly uses her lasso to loop around the deadly tail and pulls with all her might. She topples the dinosaur, whose head smashes into the cavern wall and knocks itself out. As she picks up Jansen again, she ponders that the creature is no illusion judging by the smell of its foul breath.
She continues down the cavern towards the greenish glow until she exits into an amazing sight. Before her is a lost land of dinosaurs existing under the Rockies for millions of years. As she tries to understand how this can be, she sees a man in ragged clothes walk towards her, who remarks how he too had been impressed when he had first come across the lost land over a year ago. He introduces himself as Donald Gregory Lute, Professor of Paleontology at the University of Southern California. He guesses that from her attire she must be Wonder Woman.
She confirms his assumption and asks what he is doing here and, for that matter, what is here? He quickly replies that he will have to postpone his answer and points to a large flying lizard that is swooping down towards them. As he dives for cover, Wonder Woman stands her ground and he warns her that the creature has a wing span of 27 feet with very sharp teeth. She leaps up and grabs its neck, holding its head away from her to ensure the deadly teeth cannot find her skin as she pulls herself up.
As she rides the reptile, she realises that it has as much intelligence as a frightened stallion and that all it can think to do is try to buck her from its back. She decides she cannot allow the beast to fly around freely to attack them again while Jansen remains unconscious and steers it up towards the cavern roof. Throwing herself clear at the very last minute she causes the reptile to crash into the rock wall. The stunned creature plummets to the ground as she glides back down to safety.
Moments later she lands back where Lute is examining Jansen's head wound. He tells her that although he is no doctor her friend appears to be gravely injured and may be suffering from a concussion. She replies that she had better get him to a hospital - and she is taking Lute with her too.
But he responds by telling her that it is impossible to escape or else he would have done so already. He goes on to explain that he had come here a year ago to film a documentary on a strange Indian legend relating to Paleontology. Film making was his first love before he discovered his interest in dinosaur remains and when he learnt of the thunder lizard legend of a local Indian tribe, he realised he could combine both interests to hopefully make a fascinating film. He was told by the oldest man in the tribe that this particular range of mountains is called the 'Hill of the Scaled Gods'. Apparently, two hundred years ago a tribe of hunters ventured far up into the mountains, to a place of low clouds. There, they encountered a creature resembling a Brontosaurus and they fled terrified.
For all these years no one had visited that mountain and not even passing planes had penetrated or photographed through its eternal cloud cover. Despite the old man's warning, Lute and his crew decided to climb the mountain and were astonished to find this cavern - a huge grotto fifteen miles long by five miles wide, containing dinosaurs from every epoch of prehistory, incredibly preserved out of sight of Man.
This place is the find of the century and he would never have hesitated racing back to the outside world to reveal its existence and receive all the plaudits that would surely follow. Wonder Woman therefore asks him what on earth stopped him leaving and what happened to the rest of his film crew? He calmly replies that the others are all dead and then points over her shoulder to the reason for his enforced stay.
She turns to see a group of large, humanoid reptiles training guns on them and Lute reveals them to be the Masters of the hidden land - the Scaled Gods themselves!
|Back Up Story Synopsis:|
Donna Troy is visited by a representative of a legal firm. He tells her that Mr. Loren Jupiter, the richest man in the world, is dead and has left all his worldly goods to her. But when she is shown the note Jupiter wrote in his last dying moments, she spies a hidden code in the text, which alludes to the fact that he is not dead at all but is in fact being held captive and that he is asking for Wonder Girl's help.
When the lawyer has left, she ponders the fact that Mr. Jupiter was once the mentor of the Teen Titans and that he is one of the few people who knows she is really Wonder Girl.
So the next day she arrives as Wonder Girl at the funeral parlour where she sees Jupiter's body lying in a casket. She asks who prepared the body and a man steps forward. She quickly ensnares him in her lasso and tells him that she can see it is really only a wax dummy! She demands to know where Jupiter is being held captive and the man is forced to reveal that he is imprisoned in an old Spanish fortress on San Migeul Island. He explains that his boss, who calls herself Perfection, wants to use Jupiter's brain to help in her schemes.
Mr. Jupiter's secretary overhears the conversation and asks if it is really true that Mr. Jupiter is alive. Wonder Girl confirms it and asks for her help in getting to the island.
Once the man has been dropped off with the police, the two women take a boat across to the island. A few hundred yards off shore Wonder Girl dives into the water and tells the secretary that if she is not back soon, to call the authorities. She then swims to the shore and spies two guards wearing roman soldier costumes but packing modern weapons. She uses her lasso to ensnare the two centurions and clouts their heads together, knocking them out.
She races into the castle and makes her way to the dungeons where she sees Mr. Jupiter locked in a cell. He warns her to stay back because it is a trap but too late she finds herself plummeting through a trap doorway...