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Shep Rankin

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Shep Rankin
Shep

Real Name

Shepherd Rankin

First Appearance

Weird Thrillers #2 (Winter 1951)

Original Publisher

Ziff-Davis

Created by

Henry Sharp

Origin

June 10, 2994. Marine explorer Dan Vickerson completes his week-long deep sea mission in his strange, tracked exploration vehicle. As he prepares to surface, his vehicle is attacked by a large and powerful sea serpent. Dan uses his "electo bolt" to get the creature to release the ship. He calls the surface contact, but gets no reply.

Dan surfaces, but finds everyone is dead in the city with a banner welcoming him home. He reads a newspaper article about a gas attack. He finds a rocket ship, and finds people are dead all over the planet. Calling for contact from a radio station, he despairs of receiving any reply from a woman named Betty Wriston. To his astonishment, he eventually hears a response. He uses the rocket ship to travel to the terrain city where Betty is.

He meets Betty, who explains she was doing preservation work for preserving ancient manuscripts found in a time capsule. She was using a gas mask to work. When the gas came, she survived the attack. Betty reads the manuscript, which mentions a "Reservoir of the Future". The document states the reservoir holds the "greatest treasure on Earth".

Shep Rankin overhears the statement of treasure. He reveals himself and his crew, which identify as the Inter-Space Crime Syndicate. Shep says they want the treasure, explaining it was the Syndicate that perpetrated the gas attack, which was far more successful than intended and killed practically everybody. The Syndicate prepared for the gas and survived. Shep forces Betty and Dan to lead the way, but take off when they discover a steel door.

Dan and Betty take the opportunity to escape. Shep Rankin and the Syndicate open the door, only to be killed when an explosive booby-trap goes off.

Dan and Betty kiss, realizing they may truly be the last people alive. They continue their search, eventually running across a very cold room with mummified bodies. They speculate on the reason why, when one of the bodies sits up and introduces itself as a boy named Johnny. The mummies are all children in suspended animation. Johnny explains about the terrible war, and the wise old man who led them into the darkened chambe. Dan and Betty awaken the children, realizing they are the 'great treasure' the wise old man preserved. The children are the new future for the world. An idea that had not crossed the minds of the Inter-Space Crime Syndicate and their leader, Shep Rankin.

Public Domain Appearances

  • Weird Thrillers #2

See Also

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