A striking cover by Brian Bolland depicting a bound and beaten Wonder Woman. The issue features a Khund, who were an alien race that Diana first encountered during the Perez run in issue 25, which formed part of the “Invasion” cross over event.
As the two women continue to drift aimlessly through space they find ways to wile away the long hours. Natasha shows Diana her extensive range of card tricks and the cosmonaut tells the Amazon Princess that she had brought all her magic tricks as she had assumed she would have a lot of time to practice while on her mission.
Diana asks Natasha to check that the ship’s radio is still transmitting across all frequencies and she confirms that it is still working as well as it was two weeks ago when they started transmitting, and because it is hooked up to the solar cells will continue to transmit long after they are dead. Diana jokingly says that the cosmonaut has still not got the hang of “the survival spirit”. Natasha calmly replies though that it is a fact and they will not survive. They only have at best another week of oxygen and barely enough food to last that long. Diana replies “Perhaps. And then we will die. But there’s no point in looking forward to it.” She continues to add that the universe is a vast place but is more populated than they used to think. They had also gotten up to a decent acceleration rate before the engines packed up so their broadcasts are being scattered across a wide area. “So our chances of being discovered are slim, rather than none.”
Diana then dons her space suit and goes outside. She explains that they more electromagnetic noise they can create the better. She then hefts the empty fuel tank and attaches a detonator that they have rigged up. She hurls it away from the ship and as it detonates the last of the fuel vapour ignites creating a huge fireball. As Diana boards the vessel again she tells Natasha that the explosion should cause some interference on radio monitors for miles around. But Natasha is still doubtful that anyone is going to hear them so Diana decides another tact to keep the cosmonauts spirits up and asks her to recount stories of her daughter again.
Natasha tells Diana of how graceful a ballerina her daughter will become and that she regrets that she will never see her dance at the Bolshoi. She then asks Diana what she most regrets and the Amazon Princess replies that her friends and her mother will never know what happened to her – or even if she has died. “Randolph has taken that from me and I curse his bones for it!” She then adds that that is enough brooding for today and suggests they do an exercise workout, which she knows Natasha enjoys.
As Diana goes first though and racks up an astonishing number of crunches they are unaware that their tiny ship is being swallowed up by a vast Alien vessel. It is only when the ship suddenly violently shudders and they hear a loud clang do they realise something is wrong. Unknown to them, the aliens attach gas pipes to the ship’s ventilation system. As the vapours start to flood their ship Diana desperately tells Natasha to shut it down but is told there is no way to do so. In a few more moments both women have collapsed unconscious onto the floor as the aliens burn their way through the hull and enter.
Their lifeless forms are picked up like sacks of potatoes and they are unceremoniously carried out into the alien vessel’s corridor. Diana manages to at last fight off the effects of the gas and opens her eyes to see that one of the aliens is in the process of taking off the still unconscious Natasha’s clothes. She cries out but is clouted unconscious with the butt of a blaster weapon. The aliens continue to rifle through their belongings on the ship and find Diana’s tiara, bracelets, lasso and costume…
Sometime later Diana finally comes to and finds herself face down on muddy ground. Natasha kneels by her side and asks if she is all right. Sporting a black eye, Diana replies that she had been hit in the face and that someone had been trying to remove their clothing. She looks down to see that both she and Natasha are now sporting ragged shorts and vests. Natasha hands her a bowl and says it is alright and that she has saved Diana some drink. As the Amazon Princess drinks the unappealing looking green fluid she finds it tastes unappealing too and is aware of how hot the air is. As she looks around her at the barren landscape she asks Natasha if she knows where they are? The cosmonaut replies “In Hell”.
As Diana surveys the scene around them, where large aliens dressed in armour and armed with weapons are supervising vast numbers of alien from different races, Natasha continues to surmise that this is a prison planet and that when she had first come to and climbed up onto this hill she had seen millions of prisoners stretched out across the landscape – and all female. Diana guesses that this is a mining planet and that the women are being used to extract a substance – but what?
Suddenly their conversation is cut short as they both feel a surge of painful energy pass through their bodies. As they struggle upright onto their knees again they find a huge alien guard towering over them, holding his weapon. He growls at them in a language they cannot understand but it is clear he is ordering them to get to work. Natasha helps the still weak Diana to her feet and helps her over to the mining area where the other prisoners are toiling away. Diana tells Natasha that this is not the time to fight and that they both need to rest and get something to eat. And the only way they will be allowed to do that is to work.
For many hours the the two women carry boulders to and from the pit in the incredible scorching heat. As Diana carries another large rock she finds another prisoner is in her way and politely asks if she can get by. But the alien woman reacts by swinging her bag of rocks and uses it to floor an unsuspecting Diana. Before Diana can even get to her feet the alien woman, whose name we later learn is Ectreba, moves like lightning and kicks her so hard she crashes down onto the floor again barely conscious!
Diana struggles to her feet as Ectreba walks away and dusting herself down continues with her task of carrying the rocks. She notices a nearby pit filled with the bones of former prisoners – all from dozens of different species. She recognised that Ectreba was a Khund. But even such a formidable race as they had apparently been brought low in this place. All of the females here…lost and hopeless. There were too many guards to try and escape and Diana surmises that the surrounding fencing probably delivers escapees a jolt. There were also ships constantly patrolling overhead every ten minutes. She resolves that before she makes a move she needs to know more about the dangers of this place.
Just then Natasha calls Diana over to join the queue for meals. But as Diana walks over she finds her way being blocked again by Ectreba. She tells the Khund that she does not want a fight but Ectreba once again attacks her. Diana knows she could easily avoid the confrontation by flying away but she does not want the guards to know of her abilities. Instead she resolves to stand her ground. Ectreba again delivers a powerful blow that sends Diana reeling, but the Amazon Princess needs to eat and cannot afford to let her opponent win this time.
A brutal brawl ensues and each opponent lands blows upon the other. They end up entangled together, rolling down a slope and Diana manages to kick the Khund squarely in the face but undeterred, Ectreba picks up a rock and holding it above her head, prepares to crush Diana’s head. But the Amazon Princess smashes the rock into pieces with her fist. Suddenly though they both squirm in agony as a guard breaks up the fight with his energy weapon.
He gestures to them to get back on their feet and as the Khund skulks away Natasha helps a woozy Diana over to the feeding station where she gratefully eats the disgusting green slop on offer! Once they have fed Diana says they should get some rest and as the night chill is drawing in, she suggests they sleep near the others to share body heat.
Natasha wonders how they can take any more as they continue their spiral down into misery. Even the ship was better than this! But Diana replies that they would have starved or run out of air by now. At least here they can eat, drink and breathe. They can also rest and plan too. She tells Natasha that when the time comes they are surrounded by the raw stuff of revolution. And these slave masters have already made one mistake. When Natasha asks what that is Diana simply smiles and replies…
“They let me live.”