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DAN DUNN Secret Operative 48
and the Zeppelin of Doom


Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48, was on the trail of the Crime Master, Eviloff. This outlaw made use of all the facilities of modern science to accomplish his wicked designs.

The Crime Master's headquarters were on a secret island of which Dan Dunn knew the location. The detective was approach this island in a small sailboat.

Dan planned to land on the island about midnight, for if he came too close in daylight he would surely be spotted by Eviloff's lookouts.

Preparatory to landing, Dan carefully inspected his submachine gun. He had no wish to repeat the experience which had already earned him a severe head wound in an encounter with the Crime Master. Indeed, Dan still wore the bandages instead of a hat.

The gun was checked, and then Dan saw to it that his dynamite bombs were ready for use.

At that moment, he sighted an airplane approaching.

"Ah," he thought with satisfaction, "a navy plane flying out to check my position."

It was comforting to have the navy keeping an eye on him, for no one knew better than Dan Dunn that his lone mission was fraught with dire peril.

Steadily, bending under the stiff breeze, Dan's little boat neared the island headquarters of Eviloff, the Crime Master.

Meanwhile, to meet any eventuality, a mighty battleship was steaming toward the island. The captain was under orders to attempt the rescue of Secret Operative 48, who was almost certain to be at the mercy of Eviloff if his mission succeeded.

As the sun sank in the western sky, a faint blur on the horizon warned Dan that he was near Eviloff's island. Not long after that he could hear the waves breaking over threatening reefs. He would have to take it carefully, but with luck he ought to get through.

Dismissing all other thoughts, Dan Dunn guided his boat, steadily to the shore. High above the water, black in the night, rose the plateau of the island like the forbidding walls of a fortress.

Once the boat scraped against a rock, but no damage was done. In the next instant, Dan felt the craft slip into quiet water and he knew that he was safe—from drowning, at least.

On the narrow strand of shore below the rising wall of land, Dan beached his boat. Listening, he heard no sound. But he knew he must not be misled by that—the island was deadly, filled with any number of unknown dangers.

Putting a hand grenade in each pocket, slinging over his shoulder the bag containing the dynamite bombs, and carrying the submachine gun, Dan was prepared.

Feeling his way, he at last came upon a narrow path winding up the cliff. Climbing slowly, stealthily, Dan reached the top, and still he had heard no sound.

Crouching behind a low shrub, Dan looked around him cautiously. Against a tree he saw the din1 figure of a man.

"I must dispose of that guy without arousing anyone else " Dan told himself determinedly.

Softly taking off and laying down the bag of bombs, Dan approached the sentinel.

Before the man could cry a warning or give any alarm, Dan had acted. His right fist shot out and one small sound broke the stillness the dull thud of a clenched fist hitting solidly against a human jaw.

The man staggered backward to the edge of the plateau. On the edge he recovered sufficiently to strike back—but once more Han's fist shot out, and Dan's adversary toppled over the cliff to his doom!

Chapter II

The sentry out of the way, Dan Dunn advanced cautiously in the darkness, with submachine gun leveled.

He hoped to locate the power plant which made and supplied the electric current necessary to operate Eviloff's various devices for protection and defense. If he could destroy the powerhouse and the means of transportation, the Crime Master would be seriously handicapped if not actually put out of business.

Suddenly Dan heard voices approaching. He hid quickly. Two men passed, one of them Ivan Eviloff himself, wearing his official black hood.

But I tell you, Master, it was nothing," said his companion.

"Skarge," Eviloff replied, and Dan knew that the first speaker had been the Crime Master's lieutenant, "don't be so modest. You have assembled this great plant. When we have brought the world to our feet, you shall be properly rewarded!"

The two men passed on.

Dan Dunn thought that Eviloff must have been referring to the powerhouse, which apparently the two had just left. Sneaking closer, Dan found the building- was indeed the generating plant.

He must find a way in and place a couple of bombs where they would do the most damage.

Inside, Dan found that apparently no one was on duty. He found a spot underneath a giant generator to place his first bomb. The second one Dan placed effectively I under a huge dynamo.

Just as the fuse sputtered into hissing activity, a shadowy figure came from behind a great mass of machinery.

Lighted match in his hand, Dan heard the hurried footfalls behind him. He turned just as the man sprang at him. The two men were instantly locked in a desperate struggle for mastery.

But what concerned Dan fact that he must get his antagonist quickly out of the way or they would both be blown to bits.

The scuffle of their feet, the heavy breathing of battling men, were ominous sounds.

There was but one other sound. A few feet away was the lighted fuse leading to the dynamite bomb —hissing and sputtering its way steadily toward a source of destruction that would blot out the two struggling men like two helpless flies.

At last Dan managed a short punch to the stomach, another to the jaw, and the minion of Eviloff dropped to the floor in a helpless heap.

Dan hoisted the unconscious man over his shoulder and carried him out of the building. He could not leave even a deadly enemy to be blown to bits in the doomed structure.

At a safe distance, Dan dropped his human burden in the bushes and trussed him up securely.

His next task was to hunt for the flying equipment.


Soon Dan Dunn sighted another big building. This one was half buried in the ground.

It proved to be the hangar for Eviloff's giant dirigible.

Just as Dan reached the structure, a mighty explosion rocked the island. The force of it almost knocked the detective flat.

The powerhouse had gone up in smoke and flames.

Consternation reigned in the quarters of Eviloff and his lieutenants.

Skarge burst in with the news.

"The power plant has been blown to bits!" he cried.

"It is impossible that the powerhouse could blow up by itself," Eviloff objected. "Our enemies must have invaded the island."

Quickly he acted.

"Order the men out under arms," he commanded. "Send a guard out to the zeppelin immediately. Nothing must happen to that ship, do you understand?"

In a few seconds a horde of men, the minions of Ivan Eviloff, rushed down upon the hangar which housed the great airship.

At that moment, Secret Operative 48 had just entered the hangar. He heard the shouts of the men as they came running to the spot.

"Too late to place bombs under the dirigible," Dan realized, id better hide in the ship until they leave, and then blow it up."

Suiting the action to the word, Dan darted through a door which opened into the interior of the ship's great metal hull.

Looking quickly about in the dim light inside the hull, Dan chose his hiding place. He climb ed girders to get into a position behind one of the gas cells.

Like ants in comparison with the size of the huge ship, Eviloff's men swarmed through the hangar, searching every nook and cranny for the enemy they suspected might be there. If they found him, his life would be worthless.

Their search was fruitless. No trace of any stranger did they uncover.

As Eviloff and Skarge reached the hangar, a man ran up, calling: "Master, Master! I have news. We have just found the guard of the power plant. They are bringing him now."

Hanging limply from the arms of the two men supporting him, the guard had little to report.

"What is the trouble with you?" Eviloff demanded. "Come, numbskull, speak quickly!"

"Ooooooh," the guard moaned. "I have been slugged!"

"How could you have been so careless?" Eviloff inquired with deadly accusation in his tone.

"One who was lighting a fuse in the powerhouse," the man replied. "He slugged me—and the powerhouse blew up."

"Then there IS an enemy among us!" Eviloff shouted. "Have the island searched—combed—from shore to shore."

Meanwhile, another member of Eviloff's band, searching along the beach, had come upon the small sailboat in which Secret Operative 48 had come to the island.

He lost no time in reporting his discovery to his chief.

"Master," he reported, "our enemy reached our shores by a small sail boat which I have destroyed."

"That is well," the Crime Master commended. "When the enemy is found, his death will indeed be painful!"


As the first pink of dawn flushed the eastern sky, a great battleship was revealed lying on the surface of the ocean but a scant seventy miles from Ivan Eviloff's secret island headquarters—no secret, however, to the navy officials.

No word had been received from Secret Operative 48. The time was up in which he should have sent some message.

The battleship was launched forward with the command, "Full speed ahead!"

At all costs, Dan Dunn must be rescued. From aloft eager eyes scanned the horizon for sight of land.

Dan Dunn meanwhile spent the night inside the great dirigible. Because a guard had been placed around the airship, the detective was unable to escape from it without being caught. What was worse, to his mind, he had no opportunity to place the explosives to blow it up.

Not knowing whether the dirigible was filled with inflammable hydrogen, he did not dare throw a hand grenade to frighten the guards away. His only course was to await developments.

Outside, that morning, Skarge came to his master for orders.

"Send someone to the observation tower with our most powerful telescope. Have him keep a careful watch for more enemies, in all directions," Eviloff ordered.

"Yes, Master," Skarge replied.

"Wait! Also have the auxiliary motors of the dirigible tuned up and the gasoline tanks filled," the Crime Master went on. "If a ship should approach we would be defenseless against it if we had no means of getting away."

"Yes, and we might have to flee in a hurry," Skarge seconded.

At his post in the observation tower, the lookout kept a sharp eye glued to the telescope. Already the battleship was steaming over the distant horizon, and he caught sight of it at once.

"Ahoy!" he shouted to those below. "A ship on the skyline— dense clouds of smoke come from it—and it is headed this way!"

Skarge ran to the Crime Master with the news.

"Master! A ship—full steam toward us!"

"Order out the dirigible," came the command. "We must get into the air. We cannot stay here and risk being annihilated or captured."

"Yes, Master."

But Eviloff had not finished.

"Have everyone ready to board the zeppelin," he added. "I'll gather up all our plans and precious records. If this ship is an enemy, we can yet build somewhere else even if everything left on this island is destroyed. We shall find another uncharted island or unexplored spot and build a powerplant that will continue our conquest of the world!"

Even in this moment of danger, the Crime Master could not forget his wild dreams of wicked conquest.

"How they managed to track us down is beyond me," he mused, when Skarge had gone to carry out his orders. "But next time we will use greater zeal in keeping our whereabouts a secret. Next time they will not find me."

Skarge returned soon.

"Everything is in readiness, Master," he reported.

"Have bombs placed under all the buildings so that we may destroy them if it really be an enemy ship heading toward us."

Hardly had the Crime Master spoken when the lookout came down from the dizzy height of the observation tower.

"Master, it is a ship of the enemy," he reported.

"Are you sure?" Eviloff demanded.

"I am positive, Master."

"Very well. Order everyone aboard the dirigible, and then touch a match to the fuses of the bombs which Skarge is placing under every building on this island. If we must run from our enemy, we shall leave nothing but ruins behind us for them to find."

Hurriedly everyone scampered aboard the giant airship. The fuses had been lighted. Keeping the island between his aircraft and the approaching ocean vessel, Eviloff sped off through the sky.

The navy battleship came nearer and nearer. Landing parties stood by ready to row ashore at a word.

Just as the first boat was lowered from the davits, a terrific boom rent the air.

The whole island seemed to burst into bits, flying high into the air.

"What on earth—?" the vessel's commanding officer cried. "Dan Dunn carried no explosives powerful enough to work such complete destruction. What does this mean?"

No one could answer him.

But as soon as the sound of the last detonation had died away, and the island seemed quiet once more, the landing parties were ordered ashore to search for any trace of Dan Dunn or other human beings who might be lying injured among the debris.


The first of the rescue boats was lowered from the davits with its load of armed sailors.

"All right, men," the officer in charge spoke, "all ashore with guns ready. Don't forget that we are dealing with desperate criminals, and they may have laid a trap for us. We must make every effort to find Dunn, if he is still alive anywhere on that island."

One after another, the small boats discharged their armed men. Soon the shore of the island was dotted with the darting figures of sailors, scurrying here and there, looking for the way to get to the top of the plateau.

"How can we reach the top of this wall? It's too steep to climb," a sailor yelled.

Soon the ascending path was located.

At the foot of the path, an officer issued orders.

"Five men go up the path. The rest of us will watch from below to see that you aren't ambushed!"

The first five men went up.

"Tell 'em to come on up. Don't seem to be anyone around," the sergeant instructed.

"Okay," one called back. The sailors quickly came upon the ruins of buildings and other structures which had been blown to smithereens.

"What do you make of it, lieutenant?" the commanding officer asked one of his subordinates. "No trace of this Eviloff or his men can be found. Dan Dunn seems also to have disappeared."

"I can't imagine, captain!" the lieutenant answered.

"They couldn't have disappeared into thin air!"

The men combed the island across and around, not once but several times. Hours later, the sergeants reported, one by one, that they had found no human being, dead or alive.

"That means that not only Eviloff, but Dan Dunn has vanished without a trace!" the captain summed up.

Ivan Eviloff, as a matter of fact, had actually done just what the captain had believed impossible. He had vanished into thin air. Out of sight of the island and speeding swiftly away, the dirigible at that moment was floating toward some secret destination.

But where was Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48?


When Dan Dunn, perched among the interior girders of the mammoth zeppelin, felt the ship getting under way, there was nothing he could do.

"This may be a lucky break," he thought. "Eviloff has all his island crew with him, but he also has an organization on the mainland. Maybe he has a roster of helpers —if I get an opportunity, I'll scout around and see if I can locate it before we land. Then if I can manage to capture this outfit, it will be but a small matter to round up the rest of his gang."

Meanwhile, on the control bridge of the airship, the black-hooded Crime Master was giving instructions to his hirelings.

"We will head for the headquarters of our comrades in the desert," he said. "From there we can make plans for locating a new base and continuing our activities."

High up among the interior girders, Dan Dunn resolved on a desperate plan. If he should be discovered, he would send the ship to destruction with the dynamite remaining in his bag. If he escaped, and the dirigible landed anywhere near civilization, he would endeavor to secure the capture of Eviloff's whole gang.

At nightfall, when most of the crew would be sleeping, Dan decided to try to make his way to the control cabin. He hoped that he might be able to find a uniform, and if he could don it he might pass for one of the crew.

As soon as everything was quiet, Dan climbed down from his high perch among the girders. He proceeded cautiously, for if he were captured the best fate he could hope for would be to be pitched out of the ship to plunge to his death far below.

Reaching the catwalk, he found that some of die crew were sleeping along it. Evidently the ship was carrying more than its normal capacity.

Finding a coat and cap, Dan appropriated them and put them on. They were a fair disguise.

Advancing along the catwalk, Dan accidentally stepped on a sprawled out sleeping form.

"Be careful when you travel, comrade," said a sleepy voice.

"I'm sorry," Dan mumbled in reply.

But he thought exultantly that the coat and cap had got him past the fellow.

Ahead was the door to the control room. Stealthily, Secret Operative 48 opened it and, standing just outside the door, listened to an important conversation between Skarge and Eviloff.

"As I was saying," the voice of Eviloff droned on, "we pass over Norton just before daybreak. Forty miles farther on we will land among the deserted canyons and wait for our friends to join us."

"Yes, Master," Skarge acknowledged.

"Also," the Crime Master continued, "I have placed our secret records in this drawer—" he indicated a cabinet close by, "so let us all turn in now that we may be ready for a day's work tomorrow."

Dan Dunn withdrew to hide in a cul-de-sac until Eviloff and Skarge left the control cabin on their way to their sleeping quarters.

Two men were left on the bridge. Putting a gun up the sleeve of his coat, Dan entered, going at once to the cabinet where the records were placed.

"The Master sent me for some papers in this drawer," Dan murmured for the benefit of the man at the wheel, being careful not to let the helmsman see his face. "Ah, he will be pleased that I have found them."

"Okay," mumbled the man, with hardly a glance.

Taking the secret records, Dan started away.

"Also," he added, "Skarge is nervous. He would like me to bring him a parachute."

"Nervous, eh?" the man at the wheel chuckled. "I always thought he was a coward. You'll find the 'chutes just inside the passageway door, in the rack, comrade."

Dan found and selected a parachute.

"Thank you, comrade, and good night," he said.

Quickly Dan made his way along the catwalk, the secret records under one arm and the parachute under the other. He must get back through the whole length of the dirigible to the tail, where he hoped to find a port through the hull from which he could make his leap.

He had overheard Eviloff say that they would pass over Norton just before daybreak.

That would be the time.


Secret Operative 48 made his way to the tail of the zeppelin without mishap. No one noticed him because in his uniform he looked almost exactly like any other member of the crew. The uniform had been designed to make numbers of automatons out of men, and it succeeded admirably —for Dan Dunn's purpose—in wiping out all appearance of individuality.

He found the port he was looking for—a doorway in the side of the ship. Opening it, Dan could see nothing but clouds and darkness. He did not even know at what altitude they were flying, except that it must be several thousand feet.

It was nearly daybreak. The time for his jump had come.

"Gee, it's chilly 'way up here in the sky," Dan told himself, shivering slightly.

As he watched through the open port, the sky began to turn gray.

Then Dan Dunn thought he glimpsed the blink of a light far below. Yes, it was a light—and another and another. He could just make out a row of them—probably street lights gleaming in the early dawn.

He put on the parachute, adjusting the straps carefully over his shoulders, with quiet calm.

"That must be Norton down there," he decided. "I sure hope this 'chute is properly packed. If it's not, it will be just too bad for Yours Truly."

As soon as Dan judged that they had passed over the town of Norton, he jumped out into space, a murmured prayer on his lips.

Down he plunged, headlong. Faster and faster he fell. He must count—one, two, three, four, five.

His fingers reached for the rip cord and yanked it.

A puff of white suddenly showed, like the burst of smoke from a gun, behind the tiny falling figure. The parachute had opened.

With a jerk Dan felt himself brought upright, supported by the straps tugging sturdily at his shoulders.

"I hope I don't land in a lake or on some church steeple," he thought, trying to see what the terrain looked like beneath him.

After all, a broken bone or some inaccessible landing spot might delay his giving the alarm to the proper authorities.

Just then the rim of the sun peeked over the eastern horizon and he saw a broad field expanding before him. That would make a safe enough landing—all anybody could ask.

Down he came—and bumped hard into solid earth. The breath was partly knocked out of him, but he was unhurt. He quickly got to his feet and unstrapped the now useless parachute.

"I must get out of this harness and into town right away," he told himself.

Tucking the book of secret records under his arm, Dan set out at a brisk walk toward the town. It was a good thing, under the circumstances, that Norton was not a large city, which would make it easier to find the Police Station without arousing the curiosity of local citizens by asking someone for directions.

An hour later, feeling fine after his walk, Dan stepped into police headquarters.

"Good morning, sergeant," he greeted cheerily the man at the desk. "I'm Dan Dunn, Secret Operative Forty-Eight. Maybe you know about—"

"Dan Dunn?" the officer repeated incredulously. "Why, according to confidential reports, you're dead!"

"Dead or alive," Dan retorted, "I've got to use your telephone right away. I must get in touch with the chief of secret operatives without further delay. This may cost you your—"

The desk sergeant gulped to regain his breath and pushed the telephone instrument toward Dan.

"Here," he said, "call anyone you've a mind to. At your service, sir."

Dan picked up the telephone and got the long-distance operator.

"This is a very important call, operator," he told her. "You must get it through as quickly as you can—give it the right of way."

Dan gave her the number.

"Yes, sir, right away!" said the operator efficiently.


The sergeant busied himself in ordering some sandwiches and coffee while Secret Operative 48 was occupied with his telephoning. He also saw to it that the local Chief of Police was advised of Dan Dunn's presence. The chief rushed to headquarters.

"Ah, Dan Dunn," he murmured cheerfully, shaking hands. "We've heard a lot about you. What brought you here?"

"Why, Chief, to tell the truth, the Zeppelin of Doom brought me here," Dan replied with a chuckle.

Zeppelin of Doom?" the chief repeated. What on earth are you raving about?"

I guess you think the bandages around my head mean serious damage to my thinking cap," Dan agreed. "But it's the straight goods. I've been working on the case of Ivan Eviloff, and I came to your neighborhood in a dirigible which he owns and operates. Without his knowledge, of course—I was a stowaway."

The police chief grinned.

The coffee and sandwiches were brought in, and the chief sat down to drink a cup of coffee while Dan told him the facts to date. Dan explained what he had overheard on the zeppelin, and that he believed the new hideout to be some forty miles west of Norton. He had sighted the course of the dirigible from the North Star, and judged its direction to be due west.

"I had no idea we had such neighbors," the chief said grimly.

That district out there is one of the most desolate in the world—nothing but sand dunes and canyons. No one ever goes there."

"Well, bad lands for bad men," Dan suggested with a smile. "Anyway, we've got to go in there—and bring out Eviloff and his men."

The chief nodded his approval and outlined some possible plans of action.

I'll send horses as far as I can by truck," he offered. "Tonight we'll see if we can locate this bird, Eviloff."

"Yes, the sooner the better," Dan agreed; "But better not tell anyone what we're going after. Eviloff may have spies even in this town. As soon as the operator gets my call through to the chief, I'll be ready. Meanwhile, I want to study some of these secret records."

Dan quickly inspected the black book he had taken with him in his leap from the zeppelin.. It told him a great deal about the extent of Eviloff's operations and the far reaching scope of his wicked organization.

"Your chief is on the wire, Dan," the sergeant reported.

Dan went to the telephone at once.

"Yes, chief, I'm in Norton. Eviloff is located forty miles west of here, and tonight, with the help of the local police, we are going to arrest him!"

Dan listened for a moment.

"That's right, chief. We should be here by morning with all of them under arrest. I have Eviloff's complete roster of helpers. He has a big organization, all right. They call themselves the 'Conquerors.' And I'm sure we'll be able to collar every one of them."

"That's certainly great, Dan," the chief praised. "I'll have a flock of secret operatives in Norton by morning. It's certainly good to hear your voice, Dan. We'd all given you up—we thought Eviloff had disposed of you once and for all."

"Not me, Chief," Dan replied. "I'm one of those bad pennies that always turn up."

Meanwhile, in a desolate region of burning sand and barren hills lay the new headquarters of Ivan Eviloff, the Crime Master, and his horde of self-named Conquerors.


Back in Norton, Dan Dunn was busy. The police chief had met the corps of secret operatives, who had been sent out armed and ready for duty. His own men had joined them.

"I've sent five men and horses to the edge of the desert, Dan," he explained. "Everything you wanted has been done. We'd better get into my car and join the others. It will soon be sunset."

"Fine, Chief," Dan seconded. "We should be able to arrest Eviloff without fail this time."

"You mean if we go directly to his hideout without wasting too much time," the chief emphasized.

"I'm ready—let's go!" Dan urged impatiently.

They went out and got into the chief's waiting car. The chief drove swiftly and surely to the edge of the desert.

"There are the men and horses waiting for us, Dan," he said, pointing ahead.

"Let's not waste a minute," Dan suggested. "The sun has set and we certainly want to get our hands on Eviloff before it rises again."

They left the car and were given horses to ride.

"This is old Bill, Dan," the Chief said, pausing to introduce Secret Operative 48 to a man of advanced years, who sat in his saddle hunched forward as though excessively weary already.

"Howdy, Bill," said Dan.

"Howdy," old Bill replied shortly.

"Old Bill knows this country like a book, Dan, and will guide us to where Eviloff's camp is likely to be," the chief explained.

"Fine," Dan praised. "Do you think you know where he's located, Bill?"

Bill blinked twice and answered in a slow drawl.

"Yeh. There be a canyon out there about twenty mile. Canyon has a smooth floor where airplane could land like a bird. No other spot round these parts would be the same—not for airplane."

"Hmmm," Dan mused. "That certainly sounds like a place that Eviloff's agents would spot and make a note of. Let's get going!"

Sharing the rider's eagerness, Dan's horse shot forward at the word. Dan reined him in long enough to make sure that the others were starting with him. On this assignment he would have to play more than a lone hand if he hoped to bring in Eviloff and his henchmen under arrest, alive.

Under the moon that slowly rose that night, a line of determined officers of the law might have been dimly seen winding through the desolate canyons of the bad lands beyond the town of Norton.

Old Bill jogged along without a word for some time. Then he spurred his mount to a faster pace long enough to bring him abreast of Dan Dunn, who was in the lead.

Dan saw the old man looking at him quizzically.

Thet canyon is on up here about two mile," ole Bill announced. "Thet canyon whar yore man is likely to be. It would be wise for a couple of us to go and look the situation over, son. Those bad men o' yourn may have sentries posted."

Dan nodded in agreement.

Dan spoke to the chief of police.

Bill thinks he and I should go on and size up the layout. Well then ride back and let you know what we have found out. Okay?"

"Sure thing, Dan. We'll wait for you here."

Old Bill and Dan rode off.

After a brisk ride of some little distance, Old Bill reined in his horse and dismounted.

"We're purty close now, Dan," he said. "We better go the rest of the way on shanks' mare."

"All right, we'll leave the horses here and go ahead on foot," Dan agreed.


Old Bill and Dan Dunn went steadily forward, proceeding with the utmost caution. As they neared the canyon itself, Old Bill pointed out a spot where they could peer over the rim.

Flat on their stomachs, the men lifted their heads in the darkness.

"Them are sheds," Old Bill muttered, "but what's that big round thing, Dan?"

"Shhh," Dan warned. "That's the Zeppelin of Doom—Eviloff's own private dirigible balloon. Lie perfectly still, Bill, so we can see if there's a sentry."

After listening for some time, they had heard nothing.

"Don't seem to be none," Old Bill concluded.

"No, but we mustn't take chances," Dan replied. "You go back and bring up the chief and his men. I'll remain here and keep my eyes open."

"We better set a signal," old Bill suggested.

"Right. When I hear you returning I'll flash my flashlight twice if everything is all right. If I don t, you'll know something's happened."

"Be back in a jiffy," said old Bill, and was gone.

Dan, proceeding stealthily along the canyon rim, darting from rock to rock, scrutinized every place of hiding for a sentry or guard.

Suddenly, a few yards away, a shadow moved. Dan crouched, waiting tensely for it to move again.

Yes, it was a sentry! He was marching back and forth on his beat, armed with a rifle.

Dan planned his next move.

"I'll have to get him out of the way before the chief and his small army get here," Dan realized, "or that sentry will get wind of what's up and warn Eviloff in time for that scoundrel to save his own hide, at least."

At whatever cost, Ivan Eviloff must not be warned!

Dan crept closer—foot by foot, inch by inch, determined to nab the guard before he knew what it was all about.

Then Dan's foot caught and slipped on a small round pebble. The little stone bounced lightly a short distance. It scarcely made a sound, but the little whisper that it did make was enough.

The sentry paused in his pacing and listened.

"Fool that I am," he said aloud. "I start at every sound, when it is as plain as the sun in sunshine that no one can know of the presence of the Conquerors in this wilderness of emptiness."

Dan, creeping up behind the guard, was ready to spring the moment the man turned. Closer and closer he crept, until he was almost on top of the sentry.

The man turned, idly, suddenly spying the Secret Operative.

"Stop!" he cried, seeing Dan a moment too late. "Stop—or I shoot!"

Dan had leaped at the first word. Before the sentry could raise his gun to his shoulder, Dan was upon him. The two rolled over and over on the smooth hard rock.

A slight metallic click broke the stillness as they both stopped for a moment, breathing hard. Dan had slipped a pair of handcuffs over the man's wrists.

Instantly the secret agent gagged the man to prevent any outcry.

"We get first blood," Dan thought exultantly.

The secret operatives arrived, accompanied by members of the Norton police force.

"Give them their instructions, Dan," the police chief said. "This is your show."

Secret Operative 48 gave the men their orders.

"Now ten of you men head for the zeppelin, first off," Dan told them. "If anyone opens fire, or attacks you in any way—shoot to kill!"

The men nodded grimly.

"What about the rest of us, Dan?" the chief asked.

"Well head for that group of shacks," Dan explained. "I'm sure Eviloff himself will be in one of them, and the rest of his men in the others. If I know Ivan Eviloff, he will have his headquarters in the biggest shack of the lot."

"All right," the chief conceded. "We are ready."

Dan Dunn led the way. The long awaited moment to strike had come!


Advancing toward the group of buildings, Dan placed man after man at strategic points along their steady march toward Eviloff's headquarters.

Dan and the chief took upon themselves the capture of the Crime Master. They reached the the man's vanity was uppermost.

Quickly the men rounded up the rest of the so-called Conquerors, who were now caught in defeat. They were disarmed and handcuffed, one by one.

Dawn broke as Dan and the chief were riding back to Norton, with an army of prisoners marching behind them.

"We left five of the boys to guard Eviloff's camp and pick up any strays overlooked in the dark," the chief said.

"This will be' a lot of honor and credit to you, Dan. Why man, you have put an end to one of the most powerful gangs ever assembled for purposes of crime."

"I guess it just worked out lucky for us, Chief," Dan said modestly.

Secret Operative 48 had brought another baffling case to a successful conclusion. It was another victory for the Lone Wolf of the Law.