Kelly performs repairs on the Dove Cycle.
X20 Panic at the North Pole
[G-II #23: The Love that Vanished
at the North Pole]
The Eagle Riders are repairing their individual vehicles at Gateway City, but someone is missing. I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. Bingo! Joe is at Professor Andro’s lab, where he has just had a checkup of his cybernetics.
Professor Andro tells Joe that he needs to have a part replaced, because his response time to hot and cold stimuli is poor. Joe scoffs, saying that he is indestructible, being a cyborg. Um, Joe, perhaps you want to listen to the guy who actually made you a cyborg, huh? Professor Andro reminds Joe that he is only part cyborg, and he needs to be careful, because he is not indestructible. I’m glad to see that someone has some common sense! Although, this raises a new dilemma. By definition, cyborgs are part-human, part-machine. How can you be part cyborg? That’s just not possible….
The two are interrupted by a summons from Hunter on Joe’s wristlink. It is clear that Hunter is annoyed that Joe is not at Gateway City at this moment. Get off your high horse, Hunter. Isn’t Joe allowed to have a life? (even a part-cyborg life)
Joe arrives at a briefing with Dr. Keane, to a cry of ‘It’s Elvis!’ from Ollie. Joe laughs off the joke, but he isn’t laughing when Hunter decks him for being late. Wow, Hunter, get a grip! I think you’re overreacting a bit! Kelly reprimands Hunter for dealing with the situation this way, and Dr. Keane tells Hunter to apologize, stating that the Eagle Riders are supposed to be the example for Global Peace. Wow, way to hit Hunter where it hurts, Dr. Keane!
Dr. Keane finally gets down to the briefing. Unexplained large earthquakes at the North Pole are breaking up the polar ice caps. This could cause a global catastrophe, so renowned scientist Dr. Manheim is going up to the polar ice caps to investigate. Dr. Keane wants to stop him, because he is a valuable scientific mind, and Dr. Keane is convinced that this is the work of the Vorak. It would be terrible if Dr. Manheim were captured by the Vorak. Coincidentally, it seems that Dr. Manheim was Hunter’s high school science teacher, so Hunter is sent to talk him out of the expedition. Wait a minute… if this guy is a world-renowned scientist, what the heck was he doing teaching in high school?
It seems that Dr. Manheim and Hunter were very close, as when they arrive Manheim immediately recognizes Hunter as being his former student, despite the fact that Hunter is in Eagle Mode and no longer a child. That’s quite the facial recognition!
Manheim listens to Hunter’s concerns about the Vorak, but says that for the Global Good he must investigate anyway, and that he and his dog Barney will be safe. Hunter is doubtful, but regretfully lets them go. Um, Hunter, wasn’t your mission to stop this guy? I think you’ve just blown it, and you’re standing there, not doing anything about it. And yet, you felt it necessary to deck Joe for being late to the briefing… weird priorities for the Eagle Rider Leader.
Hunter’s worst fears are confirmed when Dr. Keane informs the team that Dr. Manheim has disappeared. The team flies the Ultra Eagle back to the North Pole, but have to stop short of their destination due to strong magnetic flux. They land the ship, and come across Barney, Dr. Manheim’s dog. Being a dog, Barney can’t tell them anything, but Hunter realizes that Barney can lead them to Dr. Manheim. Wait a minute… if Barney could go to Dr. Manheim, why hasn’t he done that already? Something doesn’t seem right here…
Hunter insists on taking a sled by himself, led by Barney, to find Manheim. Joe says that it is a bad idea because it is too dangerous, and Hunter bets Joe a new helmet that he’ll be just fine. Okay, this is a new one on me. Since when do they use Eagle Mode uniform as currency?
Joe responds that his helmet size is ‘large’(Oh, Joe, are there any other parts of you that are ‘large’?) but Hunter ignores the sarcasm and goes anyway. As soon as Hunter leaves, Joe states that the rest of the team will follow Hunter on the remaining dog sleds. The others agree that this is a great idea. I’m glad to see that Joe is a capable second, picking up when Hunter has fallen short.
Enroute to their destination, the temperatures drop, and Hunter nearly freezes to death. But he wakes up, buried in snow! It seems that Hunter would have died, except that Barney dug him a hole and covered him with snow, which kept Hunter warmer than being in the open air. Hunter awakens in the morning, thanking the dog and refusing to learn his lesson from this turn of events. Yep, he sets off to find Dr. Manheim (by himself) again.
Mallanox is in a secret Vorak base at the North Pole. He sees Hunter approaching the base on a dog sled, declaring that Hunter has the ‘unmitigated gall to bring his drippy dog Toto’ with him. Cybercon tells Mallanox that he had better not let this interfere with their plans to cause more quakes.
When Mallanox leaves, Cybercon sighs to himself, saying, “Why don’t I just liquidate him? Well, it’s not easy for a free-floating evil entity to get good help these days. Nobody wants to get stuck on Earth when you could retire early by conquering a few planets in the Grand Nebula!” Did I mention that I love Cybercon’s sense of humor?
Hunter manages to infiltrate the base, and he and Barney take out a number of androids, only to come face to face with Mallanox. But not soon enough! The Vorak Leader pulls the switch to set off another session of deadly earthquakes. The countdown starts at 10, but when it gets to 0 nothing happens. Whatever could have happened?
The other four Eagle Riders appear from the shadows, led by Joe, and it is clear that they were responsible for disabling the earthquake system. They quickly defeat Mallanox’s androids, but Mallanox escapes before the base is destroyed. Why do I get the feeling that I’ve seen this part of the story before?
Outside the smoking remains of the base, Barney finds Dr. Manheim and his team frozen in the ice, but alive. Joe states that it’s too bad most people don’t have the loyalty and friendship for each other than Dr. Manheim’s dog had for him. Hunter states that he feels that he and Joe have that kind of friendship, and Joe agrees. The argument between them is resolved. Strangely enough, there is no mention of the helmet. Seems Hunter wiggled out on that deal too. I guess that’s not part of defending the Global Good.
Joe's conversation with Andro is interrupted by a communication from Hunter.