ALL THE TIME IN THE UNIVERSE


“It’s no use, Dr. Rumanos,” snarled the wicked Von Wingo as we stood on the command bridge of his spaceship, The Flamingo Terrace, “You are alone, and will not succeed in your attempt to frustrate my plans!”

“Really, you sickening old slaver?” I rejoined facetiously. “I have fought my way through your entire system of guards and defences. Do you expect me to now just give up?”

“No, Dr. Rumanos,” he said as his cold blue eyes narrowed hatefully. “I expect you to die!”

“Good God, Wingo!” I swore. “How many times I’ve heard that one!”

At this, Von Wingo raised his semiautomatic ray-gun and aimed it directly at my midsection.

“All right, then,” said I as I prepared to defend myself. “But can we go ahead and just get this confrontation over with? I have a date with a fiery redhead.”

My name is DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Literary Illusionist and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the appearance of a strikingly handsome human gentleman with aristocratic Anglo-Semitic features, I am in reality not a mere mortal at all. I am actually many thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the superior genes of the mysterious Aeturnusians or “Watchers” of the Daemon-Star ALGOL -- Masters of all Space and Time; this heritage granting me numerous powers and abilities that appear “supernatural” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites keep to themselves, content to merely observe the goings-on of the Universe around them, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, I am myself a member of a secret organisation existing amongst our elite class, known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. I thus have, for so many years now, made it my particular mission to use my extraterrestrial gifts to defend the innocent from attack, invasion, and assorted similar threats -- both upon Earth and across the vast reaches of the Universe!

Such was my confrontation -- as I stood there clad in my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat, panama hat, and jungle boots -- with the execrable Galactic slave-dealer and habitual criminal extraordinaire known as Von Wingo.

And so Wingo, his all-black suit and flowing cape darker than the deep space outside the porthole windows, pulled the trigger of his ray-gun, causing it to emit its searing beam of deadly yellow-hued energy.

I deftly generated a charge of my own Algolitish energies, using it as a sparkling bright orange and blue shield to deflect the death ray. Before the evil slaver could again fire, I cast a bolt of my powers towards him. To my surprise, it only caused him to slightly step backwards. The material of his clothing had been impregnated with its own form of shield against energy weaponry of all kinds.

“Stalemate!” shouted Von Wingo. “But not for long, Rumanos… Not for long!”

Then, Wingo pressed a button on the wall behind him and a sliding doorway opened to his right. Nothing was yet visible in the dark of the passage thus revealed, but I immediately perceived a sound; a low growling and grunting noise as of some hideous beast.

“Now, Dr. Rumanos, you meddling Kosmikos office-boy,” he announced insultingly, “say hello to my little friend!”

At that moment, crawling forth from the doorway was a creature of insane nightmare, a monster that Von Wingo had found on one of the primitive outer-rim planets from which he also imported slaves. It looked like an huge, corpulent, alien crocodilian, with six clawed legs, three hideous reptilian eyes, and several rows of large, razor-sharp teeth within its gigantically-gaping jaws.

I recognised this monstrosity immediately as a droobee, and knew of the reputation of its species as being among the deadliest carnivores of the entire Galaxy.

“Her name is Lexi,” taunted Wingo, “and it’s way past her feeding time!”

Then, with a tremendous, ear-splitting roar, the giant reptile lashed its armour-plated tail and charged directly towards me!!

It has often been said, probably even by some who should actually know better, that when one is in a supposedly life-threatening situation, one’s life flashes before one’s eyes. This was not my experience as the hideous reptilian droobee sped towards me. Instead, my mind flashed back briefly to the facts uncovered during the investigation that had led to my face-to-face confrontation with the execrable Galactic criminal Von Wingo, and also to his exceedingly strange antecedents.

This Von Wingo, so it had been ascertained, was a direct descendent of an individual named Donna May Wingo, who had flourished in the early Twenty-First Century in the horridly-debased small town of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania -- an area known to be especially filled with grotesquely hidden crimes and secrets sins beyond the imaginings of decent persons. This Donna Wingo had termed herself “Queen of the Vikings” due to the family story that her grandmother had been the illegitimate child of a servant girl in the household of Princess Marie of Denmark. That the princess had been kind enough to stand godmother to the poor little bastard was enough for Donna Wingo to consider herself the scion of northern European royalty, and the “Viking” pretensions were the natural result of her own white-supremacist beliefs.

Despite her beliefs to the end that she was going to appear as a cast member on some idiotic “paranormal” cable television show, Donna May Wingo died in obscurity, living alone with her pet pig, “Kevin” (what with Donna Wingo being one among so many ignoramuses at the time who thought that it was both unique and perhaps even clever to name a pet swine after the film actor Kevin Bacon), and swearing all along that her double-wide trailer in the hills was a “Citadel in the Endless Mountains” and that one of her descendents would someday subjugate all of Creation. Shortly after her death, it was briefly a scandal in the area that she had indeed given birth to a child, a boy of decidedly porcine aspect that she had named “Donald Jay”, after herself. He had quietly been taken into protected custody by child welfare services as the result of his mother’s opioid addiction.

It was three thousand years of family degradation later that brought about the result of Von Wingo becoming the terror of the Galactic quadrant in which the obscure human colony where he was born was situated. Evidencing a predilection for crime from his youth, Von Wingo had in turn been a narcotics dealer, a pirate, a murderer-for-hire, a prohibited weapons smuggler, a dealer in horrendous pornography and prostitutes (including his own preadolescent daughter, Stacey “Woogi” Wingo, whom he had sold into the harem of one of the loathsome Black Sultans of Trappist-1), and finally, a slave-trader -- selling humanoid indentured labour to the illegal produce plantations along the outer rim of the Milky Way.

In this, Von Wingo had become Public Enemy Number One of the Fifty-First Century, and his description was well-known to police and other authorities throughout the Galaxy -- Born: 28 March, 4968 (now age forty-nine); height: 5’10”; weight: 180 lbs. (although he had gained quite a bit of weight since this description had first circulated); with long, lanky, dung-brown hair (now greying and with a scraggly beard added) and those unfeeling, soulless, icy blue eyes.

And so now, as I stood upon the bridge of his spaceship, the notorious slave-scow with the incongruous name of Flamingo Terrace (it being a former Galactic cruise vessel that he had appropriated during his days of piracy), his pet reptile, Lexi the monstrous crocodilian droobee, barrelled towards me with its hideous jaws agape!

Can you comprehend the absolute terror of this situation, my friends? 

Using my abilities, I jumped upwards over the beast and landed behind it in order to gain time. I knew my Algolitish energies would not have enough immediate effect on the creature’s plated hide, and had to think of another form of defence. By the time the monster had turned around to again face me, I had readied my attempt.

I stood firm and stared hard at the beast, asserting my superior will over its low animal mind. I looked deeply into its sickening yellow eyes and mentally projected my dominance into its puny brain.

The grotesque monster relaxed and then proceeded to lay down upon the floor, now (for the moment at least) totally docile.

The menace for a while abated, I quickly looked around the deck and perceived that the evil slaver and pirate known as Von Wingo had disappeared. He had fled the chamber whilst I was contending with the monstrous droobee.

I hurried out the still-open doorway and down the hallway of the ship. I knew that there was only one way towards which the fleeing villain could have gone: to the craft’s one-and-only airlock!

As I entered the room in which the airlock was found my heart sank a bit. The criminal filth Von Wingo was nowhere to be seen. However, I quickly ran over to the port window and peered out of it. The sight that met my eyes filled me with cold, creeping dread.

I saw a rocket-cycle speeding away from the ship. The notorious and disgusting felon Von Wingo was escaping!!

I knew that, no matter what the cost might be, I could not allow this tragedy to happen. I knew that I must at all odds succeed in the completion of my mission. The wicked blackbirder known as Von Wingo had to be stopped, lest he manage to escape justice and then to establish himself elsewhere -- and thence continue to build his horrid criminal empire across the Galaxy!

I hurriedly glanced around the room. It was a small hanger in which was another rocket-cycle, matching the one Wingo was riding. I ran over and jumped upon it but then realised I did not have the proper ignition key.

I reached into one of the pockets of my voluminous coat and retrieved a small cylindrical object. It was about four inches in length and looked somewhat like a metallic writing instrument. In fact it was a device known as a sonar wrench, and I then proceeded to quickly program the appropriate settings into it.

I held the sonar wrench over the control dashboard of the rocket-cycle and felt the ignition fire up. Pocketing the device, I then drove the vehicle, with its domelike cover closing around me, to the airlock. The hatchway opened and, with a blast of rocket power, I shot forth on the cycle into open Space.

I saw Von Wingo from afar and put the rocket engines into overdrive. He detected my efforts, and immediately started to zigzag about in an attempt to disorient me.

“I will completely destroy your life, Rumanos,” his voice crackled over the rocket-cycle’s radio communications device. “Even if you live, you will now have no reputation!”

“It won’t work, Wingnut,” I replied calmly. “Give yourself up now and I shall turn you over to the custody of the Galactic Police for a fair trial. At worst, you will then spend your remaining days in a high-security space-station prison playing the bloody guitar or something. Otherwise, if you in stead choose to not cease your current course of action, I am indeed fully authorised and licensed to kill you.”

“No, you meddling Algolite anti-fascist snowflake!” he rejoined bizarrely. “It is you -- YOU, frigging Daemon-Star -- who will regret your actions, or else not live to do so!!”

It was then that I noticed something that was indeed quite odd. Von Wingo had circled about and was keeping in the immediate area of the spaceship. I had at first assumed he would attempt to find an asteroid or something with a cratered surface where he could, perhaps, hide until I had given up the search. But no, he was instead staying near by. Why?

I quickly glanced at the dashboard of the rocket-cycle. The fuel gauge showed that it was perilously low. Did the wicked Von Wingo know that this cycle had not been properly refuelled? Also, was his in the same condition, or had he tricked me into following him with the intention of leaving me stranded in the darksome and airless depths of interstellar Space?

“It’s over now, Daniel frigging Rumanos!” he shouted over the communicator. “You are now finished! Finished! Do you hear me?! You are finished!!”

Not seeing any use in continuing the listen to his absurdly hateful and stereotypically villainous rhetoric, I switched off the communicator and continued to concentrate on keeping apace with Von Wingo’s speeding rocket-cycle.

What next occurred actually happened far more quickly than I can relate it here. Wingo suddenly turned the path of his cycle back directly towards his ship. The airlock hatchway opened and his vehicle slipped inside it, the hatch then quickly closing behind him.

Still immediately behind Von Wingo, I then found myself hurtling towards the outer hull of the spaceship -- and the rocket-cycle would no longer respond to my attempts at controlling it. To my horror I realised why, and also that this horrible criminal, the sickening miscreant scum known to Galactic infamy as the ungodly and immoral slave-trader Von Wingo, had -- as incredible as it may indeed sound! -- succeeded in hoodwinking me.

My borrowed rocket-cycle was now completely out of fuel and totally out of control, and I was within a scant few seconds of being smashed to a pulp upon the unyielding metal hull of the ship!!

I hurriedly took the sonar wrench from my coat pocket and, holding it outwards before me, waited until they very last possible moment  before activating it, hoping and praying that I would be in range of the opening mechanism of the hatchway.

Then, just before the rocket-cycle would have smashed against the ship’s hull -- and myself with it --, the hatch opened and I flew through the opening into the hanger.

Upon contact with the artificial atmosphere of the spaceship, the cycle skidded to a stop and I alighted from it whilst the airlock closed safely behind me.

I saw Von Wingo’s rocket-cycle abandoned beside the one I had appropriated, but he himself was nowhere in sight. I accordingly turned towards the passageway to go after him when he suddenly stepped from where he had been hiding at the turn of the near by hall. He then pulled the trigger on his ray-gun and blasted me directly in the chest area!

The pain was searing and immense, and I hit the floor hard, knowing that only my superior Algolitish physique had saved me from death or permanent injury. The unspeakably evil Von Wingo then chuckled as he moved towards me, his gun held cocked before him.

“Now, Daniel Rumanos, you dashing hero of hebephilia,” he mocked, “you have reached your end!”

“Wingo!” I shouted, looking up. “Look out! Behind you!”

“Really, you fool?” he retorted, “Do you think I could fall for that old… Aaaaugh!!”

Von Wingo’s scream of shock and pain was then cut short as the huge, hungry jaws of Lexi the horrid droobee closed upon him. The scaly crocodilian monstrosity, now having recovered from the effects of my hypnotic spell, had lurched silently down the hallway behind Wingo whilst he was preoccupied with me. Nevertheless, just as Von Wingo -- slave-trader, pimp, and pirate -- died, he discharged a blast of his ray-gun directly down the horrid creature’s throat, hitting some vital organ. The droobee shuddered and expired with the crushed and bloody carcass of the villain still in its reptilian maw.

“Droobee droobee droo,” I crooned, shaking off the effects of the ray-gun blast only by utilising my extraterrestrial self-healing powers.

I went to the command bridge of the ship, that notorious Flamingo Terrace of the now-late slaver Von Wingo, and programmed it to self-destruct, setting the timer at just enough for me to make my escape.

I then hurried down to the cargo hold of the ship and approached what appeared to be an old “Roman column”. It was, of course, in actuality my own fantastic Space/Time ship, the DiTraS (Dimensional Transport Sphere). A round doorway opened in the column and I entered.

Soon after, a strange gasping, moaning noise was heard -- the sound of the engines as my DiTraS and I disappeared into the void of the inter-dimensional Current.

From within the café-like control room of my ship, I watched on the view-screen as The Flamingo Terrace was blown to countless atoms, taking with it the last mortal remains of the disgusting criminal known to eternal shame as Von Wingo.

I had soon tuned the controls of the DiTraS to take me to my next destination, the far-off vacation planet on which someone waited for me; someone wonderful and perfect; someone who has my love for all eternity.

The ship re-materialised upon the balcony of our holiday home upon the resort known as Planet Caledonia, overlooking the immense pleasure-forest of that world, its trees green and blue and purple and also many other colours -- including some hues unknown to mankind.

I ran across the balcony and entered the upper sitting room of the house. I noticed that it was filled with cats -- cats of all kinds, forsooth several dozen of them. Black cats and white cats and calico cats and orange tabbies and Persians and Siamese and many more.

“Kitty cats!” I exclaimed joyously.

It was then that my stunningly beautiful wife, LADY KATRINA RUMANOS, flew into my arms, her long hair trailing behind her like red gold, her flashing azure eyes filled with happiness. Her tall, slender figure was clad in only a diaphanous silvery nightdress, and her pure alabaster skin shone gloriously in the light of the planet’s four moons filtering in from the glass doorways.

“Oh, my love!” she sighed, “I’m so glad that you’re here! I have missed you so very much!”

“I’ve missed you too, my beautiful one,” said I. “Sorry I was away for so long. I had to work late.”

“I understand, babe,” she replied sweetly. “I spent the time waiting for you by, well, collecting cats!”

“Quite right!” I approved. “I must say they are quite better pets than Pennsylvania porkers or obese alien alligators.”

“Awww! I love you so much, Daniel,” said my lovely and eternally-youthful wife. “Forever and for always!”

“I love you too, Katrina,” I replied as I pulled her closer for a kiss, whilst the numerous felines meowed and mewed and purred around us. “I shall love you always and forever. After all, we have All the Time in the Universe!!”

***** HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT THE ADVENTURES OF DAEMON-STAR!!! *****

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN

IMMORTAL SINS


Never forget that you are better than they are.” 
(Saint Jerome the Hermit)

Jonnella “Jonni“ Morrissey, age 23, liked to refer to herself as “The Bitchy-Witchy”. Petite, slender, with dyed-black hair and pale skin, having multiple tattoos and body-piercings, she was borderline attractive in a rather trashy way. Originally a Cockney from the Stepney district of London’s East End, she had had come to America in her teens hoping for big-time stardom, the girl was now lead singer in a Los Angeles-based rock group (their music was self-described as “Goth-Punk-Grunge“) known as Dirty Goat, which had become the house band at an LA nightclub located on the Sunset Strip and called, appropriately enough, Lucifer’s.

What brought me to California that particular evening to see a performance of this Dirty Goat were reports that Miss Morrissey had, on several occasions, enthralled her audiences with displays of “magical” powers, and had begun to build what could ominously be referred to as a cult following.

My name is DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Literary Illusionist and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Though I have the appearance of a strikingly handsome human gentleman with aristocratic Anglo-Semitic features and dark hair (which I have intentionally let go a bit grey of late in order to look even more respectable), I am, in reality, not a mere mortal at all. I am actually many thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the superior genes of the mysterious Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL; this heritage granting me numerous powers and abilities that appear “supernatural” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites keep to themselves, content to merely observe the goings-on of the Universe around them, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, I am a member of a secret organisation amongst the elite class of our people, known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. I thus have, for so many years now, made it my particular mission to use these gifts to defend the people of Earth from attack and invasion from unfriendly extraterrestrial races, mad scientists, and assorted similar threats.

However, I had some time prior to these specific events left Earth in order to explore the Universe in my Space/Time ship, the DiTraS. Only the summons that informed me of the breeching of the very Temporal Parameters I had left to protect that planet had forced me to return and, as I was to soon find out -- not a moment too soon!!

You see, it appeared, according to the report I had received from the Kosmikos, that the sudden and bizarre empowerment of Miss Morrissey had occurred exactly after this unexplained breaking down of the Temporal Parameters.

As I stood in the audience at Lucifer’s -- clad in my usual silk suit, greatcoat, panama hat, dark spectacles, and jungle boots -- I wondered about the secrets of this bloody Jonnella Morrissey person. Her appearance was not personally known to me, and yet there was something, something indeed, quite hauntingly familiar about her. It was something elusive, enigmatic, and actually rather grotesque. The “music” of Dirty Goat only succeeded in boring me immensely. It was nothing but mindless noise with lyrics based upon common semi-Satanic drivel. For something that was said to be at once Goth and Punk and Grunge, it just sounded a bleeding awful lot like Death Metal to me.

But then, whilst her guitarist played a solo turn, the young woman known as Jonni Morrissey strutted to the front and centre of the stage in her tight, black leathern cat-suit, and, to the absolute awe of her admiring audience, suddenly levitated directly upwards into the air!

At this juncture, I decided the moment had indeed come for direct confrontation. Unpunished displays of such power before groups of impressionable human beings are unspeakably dangerous in so many regards. I therefore immediately leapt up onto the stage and spoke into the public announcement system:

“Attention, Jonnella Morrissey. I am RUMANOS and you must now make an account of your actions!”

At a signal from Jonni, the band stopped playing and the audience continued to stand by in astonishment at what they had just seen. The girl descended to the stage before me and grinned wickedly, her intent green eyes fixed upon me with a bizarre mixture of amusement and disdain.

“Lord Rumanos of Daemonia,” she said, surprisingly using my Algolitish title, “you have been expected. It is quite interesting to see you again.”

“What do you blooming mean, ‘again’?” replied I. “We have most certainly never met before.”

“Oh, haven’t we? Surely I have not been forgotten, hmmmm?”

“I can assure you, I have no idea who you are, young woman. But I cannot allow you to enchant innocent people with whatever ‘paranormal’ abilities you possess.”

“Oh, you know who I am,” she continued. “I have waited long since our last confrontation. Waited for my moment. Waited… for this!”

And then Jonni Morrissey raised her hand and cast a bolt of hideously powerful orange and blue-black energy directly at me. It hit me painfully, but not as excruciatingly as the shock of the devastating knowledge that this amazing exhibit of alien force brought to me.

So then, the mysterious girl who called herself by the name of Jonnella “Jonni“ Morrissey, the Bitchy-Witchy, was not human. She was actually one of my own people, one of our immensely-powerful race of Space/Time Masters -- an Algolite!!

Do you realise the absolute screaming insane horror of this, my dear readers? The strange woman known as Miss Jonni Morrissey, the self-proclaimed “Bitchy Witchy” and “Gothic Punk Grunger” was actually an Algolite! Nevertheless, I still had to wonder: Which one?

In any event, I perceived that I had to move the ensuing confrontation between us away from this crowd of innocent onlookers. I accordingly sent an incredibly-powerful bolt of my own Algolitish energy directly at Miss Morrissey -- the impact of it causing her to be hurtled through the air and to crash through the roof of the nightclub.

I followed her immediately, levitating smoothly upwards into the night far over the city of Los Angeles. The lights of the city shone from below us, even as the myriad stars twinkled above in that clear California sky.

“Ah, Rumanos,” said Jonnella Morrissey when I had reached her. “This is just like old times, is it not? Remember?”

I looked into the girl’s face. I could still swear that I had never encountered her before, and yet… there was indeed something bizarrely familiar in her expression -- in that look of extreme hatred and total, unmitigated evil.

“You have shown me that you are one of our race; one of the Watchers of the Daemon-Star,” I stated. “Nevertheless, I am certain that I have never met you before. Your form is not known to me. Again, one who calls herself Jonnella Morrissey, I enquire: Who are you?!”

“You know who I am,” she again replied with excruciating offhandedness. “You certainly remember our battles, our fights on this world and others.”

“When?”

“Long ago. Yes, I was indeed in a different form then -- albeit a human one, like this one is. It was then that I endeavoured to continue my lives-long programme to force our people, our high and mighty Algolite civilisation, on to even greater glories; to bring about our evolution into beings of pure ecstatic light! And then, THEN, I would lead them as the supreme and eternal ruler, and we would issue forth to work our will upon all of Time and Space!!”

I felt a cold chill of utter horror as her words brought back memories of the past, of my hazardous and supremely-terrifying confrontations with a most dangerous enemy -- one who was indeed the most notorious and infamous political criminal in all the vast annals of the aeons-long history of the Daemon-Star.

“It was in those days,” she continued, “before our now-legendary battles, that I poured so very much of my superior Algolitish sperm into this luscious young body. For in those days little Jonni Morrissey was just a juvenile ‘paranormal’ groupie and want-to-be rock singer; and I was, after all, perfectly possessing the body of the host of television’s Ghost Escapades, the now-late Zef Bazans. Ah, yes, the body of this girl absorbed so much of my DNA that I was able, after the destruction of my previous form, to draw my essence to it, and to totally possess young Miss Morrissey in order to continue my plans -- to prepare for my ascension to become the supreme rule of the Watchers of Algol!”

“The telegony,” I said, still in utter astonishment. “You really did use it to save your consciousness from destruction, you Time Molester! So you are, in actuality…”

“Yes! I am the one! The one who is the greatest of all in the history of the Watchers! The one who is hated only out of jealousy by our kind! I am the one! I am the one!”

“Yet you cannot be him! Gender-change is expressly forbidden by the laws of the Algolites! It is an hideously sinful abomination!”

This is indeed the case, though not for any homophobic or gender-biased reason. It is because of the horrid possibilities of what could occur with any being capable of both Time Travel and sexual reproduction. So horrible is the potential of this, that it is this very act that had resulted in the breaking up of that protective field of the Temporal Parameters.

“Such laws do not apply to me!” she then shrieked in answer to my accusation. “I am above all! The one -- the greatest one who shall soon rule all! I AM NEPHAL!!!”

Nephal. Well, blimming blooming bleeding Hell.

“Yes, Rumanos, yes!” continued the being now speaking through the form of Jonnella “Jonni” Morrissey with maniacal merriment. “I am the one! The one great, supreme, and immortal ruler of our Algolite Race! I am NEPHAL!”

As much as I wished it were at all possible to deny it, I knew that what she was saying was the truth. I could sense the presence of my old enemy. Nephal, forsooth the greatest political criminal in the vastly long history of the Watchers of Algol, had indeed at one time delivered himself from his punishment of perpetual imprisonment in solid rock by possessing the body of television “ghost hunter” Zef Bazans. Easily destroying the human soul of Bazans, Nephal had made the body his own and used it to continue his dark plans to force the evolution of our people into beings of pure energy, in its way returning us to the form of our Aeternusian progenitors whilst dangerously maintaining our physically-based sensations. To Algolites, whose own system of ethics forbids meddling with the natural cycles of the Universe, even to hint at the possibility of attempting such things is indeed a crime beyond any possible forgiveness.

In cooperation with the Absolute Convention of Daemonia, that highest ruling council of the Watchers, the Kosmikos and I had succeeding in defeating Nephal and his mad, utterly insane and diabolical schemes[*]. It was hoped that the evil consciousness of Nephal had been successfully scattered throughout the thirteen corners of the Cosmos, indeed dispersed among the immense reaches of Space and Time far beyond any possible repair.

[* The full chronicles of this are given in the accounts found in The Rumanos Files under the titles “Starfall” and “Fallen”.]

However, Nephal had now returned, having this time perfectly possessed the body of Miss Jonni Morrissey, a onetime fan and lover of Ghost Escapades TV host Zef Bazans. Yes, to my utter horror and disgust I had to admit that Nephal had returned and now he/she(!) was preparing to attempt a recommencement of the barmy scheme of creating completely non-physical Algolites and using them to rule over all other species of the Universe.

Do you understand the utter terror and disgusting depravity of this unspeakable, unnameable, and unnatural situation?!

“My secret following, the most blessed Cult of Nephal, await me on the home-world,” she proclaimed, “and now they shall assist the final transfiguration as I shall become supreme ruler of our people forevermore!!”

“You will not do it, Nephal!” I proclaimed to her. “I shall not allow you to return to Daemonia! You will not be permitted to change our people to suit your idea of ‘perfection‘! You will not be allowed to impose your iniquitous commands upon others!”

With this, I hit her with a profoundly powerful blast of my own bright-orange and blue Algolitish energies.

Nephal/Jonni Morrissey was forced backwards across the sky, but recovered all too quickly, throwing another bolt of her own energies at me. I was prepared for this, however, and managed to dodge it.

“You shall not stop me this time, Rumanos!” said she. “I have already prepared for my triumphant return to Daemonia! My will, bolstered by the psychic force of the adoration of the fans of Dirty Goat, has allowed me to do this…!!”

Suddenly, at Nephal’s summons appeared above us a large spherical vehicle glistening silver in the starlight. I recognised it immediately as a STraDi -- a primitive form of a DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress”) or Dimensional Transport Sphere, the Time/Space ship used by the Watchers. This, then, is what she had psychically built during her time as Jonnella “The Bitchy Witchy“ Morrissey, would-be rock star. Buggers.

Then, an even more hideous thing happened. Before I could even begin to protest, Nephal, there in the form of Miss Jonni Morrissey, took my face between her hands and kissed me full on the lips. Whilst I attempted to recover from the utter and complete disgust that I felt at this appalling and revoltingly unnatural abomination, Nephal flew upwards and entered the STraDi, activating its engines and dematerialising the craft into the Space/Time Current.

Therefore, I was left hanging in the skies above Los Angeles, California, as the wicked and evil Nephal travelled onwards to attempt her demoniacal plans in the home star system of our people: Algol.

“Sodding Nephal,” shouted I as the odd gasping and moaning sounds of the dematerialised STraDi engines faded from my hearing. “I would tell you what to go do with yourself, but you obviously already did that years ago!”

However, I knew that I had no time for such bizarre mental ruminations. There was still one slim chance left of my preventing the unmentionable Nephal from reaching Algol, and of stopping her from beginning what could very well amount to a reign of chaos among our illustrious people.

I flew quickly down to the corner of Hollywood and Vine, where I had left my own DiTraS travel machine, which is disguised in the form of a “Roman column”. Shooing away the inebriated prostitute that was leaning against it (and ignoring her offer to melt my popsicle, whatever the blazes that means), I entered the ship and dematerialised it.

Soon, in the café-like control room of my DiTraS, I had appropriately set the controls and was hurtling through the eldritch grey mists of the Space/Time Current -- in pursuit of the execrable Nephal. I saw her STraDi on the view-screen and prepared the only way now possible to stop her: temporal collision!!

If I could manoeuvre my DiTraS to occupy the same exact point of the Current as her STraDi even for one infinitesimal moment, she would then be stopped, her human body and travel machine destroyed. Nevertheless, it was also very probable, in fact quite all but certain, that this action would destroy my machine and me as well.

“Goodbye Katrina, my love, my darling wife,” I whispered as I prepared to ram my DiTraS into the rear of the evil Nephal’s STraDi. “Goodbye, Ehrich, my noble son, and my dear little daughter, Karen. I am so very proud of you. I know you will all understand why I had to do this. If I did not, the Universe would not be safe for you or for anyone else ever again.”

And then, contact happened between the two ships, and immediately all was darkness…

To my surprise, I woke up a short time later, on the floor of the DiTraS control room. I had an headache you would not blooming well believe, but I was unharmed. The circuitry of my ship had switched to minimal autopilot mode, and I soon enough set things aright. My own craft, of a much more advanced and sturdy type than Nephal’s, had survived the impact. As for me

“Right,” said I. “I do sometimes forget that I am immortal.”

The other ship had been completely obliterated, and there was no sign of Nephal’s Algolitish consciousness within the Current. I hoped and prayed that it had this time been scattered beyond reconstruction to the farthest reaches of Cosmic Space and Time.

I prepared a psychic message, by my authority as an Operative of the Kosmikos, concerning the details of my encounter with Nephal and sent it through the Current addressed to the Universal Overseer of the Absolute Convention of the Watchers, and then returned to my headquarters on Earth for a much-needed rest. …

In the capital city of the planet Daemonia, central world of the amazing civilisation of the Watchers of Algol, the Universal Overseer, eminently respectable and venerable in his robes of office, delivered the psychic record that I had sent him to its intended place in the Secret Archives. The recording took the form of a tiny point of blue light, which could be held in the hand.

In the dimly-lit room of the library antechamber, the Overseer handed the recording to the Keeper of the Secret Archives.

“Be certain this psychic recording is properly preserved, Master Keeper,” said the Overseer. “It is of invaluable importance to the future of our Republic.”

“Yes, Master Overseer,” replied the Keeper.

The Universal Overseer then turned and left the Archives to return to his duties in the capital. He did not see the utterly wicked sneer that crossed the face of the Keeper as the latter slipped the recording into the pocket of his black coverall garment. It was in no event going to be added to the archival library for preservation.

The Keeper’s visage was one not recognised on Daemonia, but it was one that would be known to Earthlings who happen to be fans of old “paranormal reality television” shows. It was the face of ZEF BAZANS!!!

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN

YOU KNOW MY NAME


***** A NEW TRUE WEIRD ADVENTURES IN SPACE AND TIME ESPIONAGE THRILLER!!! *****

[As the mentalist communications continue to be received from Lord Doctor Daniel Rumanos concerning the incredible adventures that he and Lady Katrina Rumanos continue to have in their myriad travels throughout the unspeakably and unknowably vast reaches of Time and Space, he has made it clear that there still numerous stories remaining from those many other eras of his long career that shall even now be instructive to the members of that august and elite student body which has become known to us upon this world as the League of the Daemon-Star. Seeing as the only occurrence that could possibly summon the Doctor and Lady Rumanos back to Earth -- due to their current and ongoing assignment with the Kosmikos or Cosmic Intervention Department of Algol -- would concern the total breaking down of certain extremely-necessary celestial and temporal barriers (a breach which indeed could only happen as the results of  specific and unnameable actions that are undeniably far too unmentionably terrible and heinously criminal for any sane contemplation), it certainly behoves us to proceed with making the full and complete truth of these extraordinary accounts available now. With this, Dr. Rumanos accordingly sends along his most puissant blessing, along with a timely reminder of the fine motto of his own most noble and exclusive alma mater, Daemonia Academy: FAITH NEVER FEARS. - The Analogue]

DANIEL RUMANOS, Scientific Investigator read the sign outside of the large, Gothic-styled building, located as it is atop a lofty escarpment in the very centre of the posh Roland Park area north of the bizarre and mysterious city of Baltimore, Maryland. A beautiful young woman with blonde hair and sapphire-blue eyes, wearing a modest turquoise-coloured dress, stood before it, her slender figure trembling slightly. She took a deep breath before pulling the rope to ring the bell at the massive, ornate door before her. The chime sounded a deep and sonorous toll, indeed quite like the type of tone that might be heard in a mediaeval cloister. The door then immediately opened with a low creaking sound, but no one was visible on the other side of it.

A long and high-ceiled yet rather gloomy hallway opening before her, the girl tentatively stepped inside. There were several large doorways leading off the immense main hall, but only one was open, and she was pleased to see a light burning inside the room to which it led.

In the room, a tall, lean-muscled, outstandingly-handsome gentleman with dark hair, striking Anglo-Semitic features, and a strangely-pale complexion stood behind an antique desk. He was dressed in an dark, silk suit and jungle boots. The man was me.

“Good afternoon,” I said. “I am Doctor Rumanos. You must be Mindy Doyle, then? Please have a seat and tell me all the details you can concerning the case that you telephoned me about.”

“OK,” said the young lady. “I’ve heard so much about you, and thought maybe you could help since it looks like this has to do with, well… Magic.”

I am indeed the world’s foremost expert on what is often referred to as the Magical Arts, and am perfectly adept at both the so-called “supernatural” and entertainment varieties of the same. Therefore, you could certainly indeed say the young damsel had come to the right place. Notwithstanding this, do please allow me to explain in further detail…

You know my name. It is indeed Doctor Daniel Rumanos, Literary Illusionist and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the appearance of an human being, I am in reality far more than this. For I am actually many thousands of years old, and do carrying within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me those various powers and abilities that forsooth appear as “magic” to the people of Earth.

Although most Algolites keep to themselves, content to merely observe the goings-on of the rest of the Universe, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, I am one of a deeply secret organisation (plausible deniability, and all that) among our people known as the KOSMIKOS, and am by this dedicated to helping the innocent and to protecting them from any and all who would harass, harm, or exploit them. This, in conjunction with my related work as a private investigator, is what has led to my numerous weird and wondrous adventures!

The girl then proceeded to tell me about the experience which she had recently had. It concerned an old book written in an obscure, archaic dialect of Arabic, which her late father, a world-traveller and collector of unusual artefacts, had acquired at a bazaar in Baghdad, Iraq many years before. Upon her father’s death, Mindy had inherited the unusual volume -- her mother having no interest in the late gentleman’s “weird baubles”, as she called them.

All had been well until a night one week previously, when Mindy Doyle had been wakened by a strange flash of light in her bedroom. She immediately saw a figure enshrouded in a black, hooded ceremonial robe standing before her bed, its back to her. To her horror, the lass found she was paralyzed -- unable to move or speak!

The darksome figure immediately began rifling through the volumes in Mindy’s bookcase, and soon removed the odd Arabic volume which it them tucked carefully under its arm and quickly walked to the other side of the room. As it moved, the figure briefly turned its face toward Mindy as she lay helpless upon the bed. It was a man with a wide, heavy face, intense eyes, and a full, wickedly sensuous mouth -- a face of indulgence and unspeakable debauchery.

The man continued to cross to the other side of the room and, with another flash of eldritch light, disappeared directly through the wall!! With his disappearance, Mindy Doyle immediately felt herself released from the preternatural thrall and could move and speak normally, though she was understandably still exceedingly frightened.

Do you understand, dear readers, the unnameable demoniacal horror that this innocent and helpless young lady must have experienced in this terrifying and ungodly situation? I in sooth do most fervently pray that you may never be subject to any similarly satanic occurrence!

After she had related this account, I asked her to try to describe the book’s contents to me as well as she could. Unfortunately, she could not read its language, and her father had never spoken of it due to her mother’s dislike of hearing tales of the strangely-exotic and out-of-the-ordinary voyages of his past.

However, Mindy did remember one especial thing about the creepy volume. A rather elaborate woodcut-drawing within it. An illustration of an huge, hideous peacock-like creature standing over what appeared to be a sacrificial ceremony in which a little child, its gender indiscernible, had been sliced fully open, its blood gushing out upon a stone slab which served as an altar.

As the young girl described this, the truth dawned upon me with horrid fullness. The book was likely the long-lost satanic bible of the terrible sect of the Yezidis, those obscene Devil-Worshippers of ancient Persia. It was book that could be used to call forth into full and grotesquely phantasmal manifestation nameless hoards of what humans call evil spirits and demonic abominations. It was in sooth one of the most horrifyingly dangerous volumes ever to exist. A book known to ungodly infamy as The Statement of the Shaitans!!

Some years before this, I had destroyed an especially noxious demonic cult in the Baltimore area known as “The Order of the Shaitans“. The group’s leader, a certain Reginald Lorimar “Ron” Mershon II (also known as “Mephisto the Hypnotist“, amongst other aliases), was killed after a long, perilous occult fire-fight with me [*]. After the sect’s ending, I accordingly purified various belongings that I had gotten from them, ranging from several “paranormal” relics to their old internet website domain, by properly using them for holy and sacred purposes. An unfortunate, but indeed necessary side-effect of all this shite and smegma is that I have since been confused at times with the late Mr. Mershon by the tabloid news media, who have often even claimed that he and I are actually the same person, that I am therefore secretly a Satanist, a pervert, and so on and on ad nauseam. This has indeed been a minor annoyance to me over the years, but such is life. I have certainly never let it stand in the way of my work as a wondrously fantastic Interplanetary Super-Spy and Scientific Detective, now have I?

[* The full account of this is given, in all of its horrible veracity, in the memoir entitled “I Was a Teenage Gargoyle”]

Of far more serious consequence is that this Reginald Mershon’s younger brother, Matthew, survived and went into hiding. The description young Mindy had given of the strange occultic burglar matched him exactly, and this, combined with the fact that the notorious volume known as The Statement of the Shaitans was involved, convinced me that the culprit was indeed Matthew Mershon, intent upon reviving the unsanctified worship of the Shaitans -- those “evil spirits“ of arcane Middle Eastern lore that are in actuality the life-essences of the unspeakable rulers of the ancient, now-destroyed planet Eblis -- and hence reclaiming his late sibling’s devil-worshipping legacy. Do you understand?

Nevertheless, how should I now track down this person and prevent him from bringing obscene spiritual chaos upon an unsuspecting world? A possible solution presented itself, albeit an hideously dangerous one.

Mindy Doyle had inherited the book from her father and had had it in her possession for several years since his death from an heart-attack. The book, especially due to it being a volume of powerful “sorcery“ (actually a manifestation of the advanced extraterrestrial science of the Shaitans of Eblis), would have then been imbued with a portion of the girl’s psychic essence, therefore forming a link which I could properly exploit in order to find the missing tome.

Fortunately, Mindy immediately agreed to allow me to do this, though I was of course careful to warn the dear little damsel of the many horrible hazards to which this would most certainly expose her.

Night was falling by the time I had finished preparations for the séance-like experiment that we would need to perform. This was perhaps fortuitous, as all psychical energy, whether utilised for good or for evil, is said to be far more powerful during the hours of darkness, but we had absolutely no time to waste in waiting to begin.

After lighting three white candles, I proceeded to make several “Magical passes” over Mindy whilst saying certain obscure Cabbalistic formulae (this ancient and holy mystical system being itself an echo of the science of my own incredibly-advanced race, the Watchers of Algol) in a whispered chant. I soon received the impression that the book, and the depraved individual who had stolen it, were currently ensconced somewhere in the Canton neighbourhood of southeast Baltimore City. However, I just could not get it any more precise. Apparently, this execrable villain, aided by the “magical” science of Eblis, had managed to erect a mental barrier in his attempt to prevent any prying into his wicked plans.

I knew that there was only one way to overcome this: Direct and immediate confrontation! I accordingly donned my leathern greatcoat and safari hat, then taking the girl in my arms and concentrated deeply on the location of the book and its purloiner via her telepathic link, and called forth the necessary Algolitish power to teleport us together to their location.

We vanished anon from my office site and re-appeared in a dark, dank cellar in the Canton area. At the opposite end of the room was a makeshift altar with the figure of a distorted peacock --the unholy symbol of supreme satanic pride -- painted upon the wall above it. Before the altar stood a tall figure in the black, hooded vestment as I had expected. I perceived that he had forgone the use of human sacrifice in favour of the far more dangerous sexual substitute -- an horrid and ungodly occult method of masturbation, spilling the seed upon the altar as a “child sacrifice” to the terrible, demoniacal gods!

The repulsive Satanist had just completed this unholy act when we arrived, and indeed the chamber absolutely reeked of the unholy odour of his sweat and semen. He then slowly turned to face us and, as I looked into his cruel dark eyes and saw his thick, sickeningly indulgent lips I knew that I was correct: This was indeed the aforementioned brother of my former obscenely evil, foul, and monstrously immoral foe. This was indeed Mr. Matthew Mershon.

“Professor Rumanos, this is a surprise,” he said with a chuckle revealing that his words were not quite in earnest. The dark forms of myriads and myriads of horrendously puissant evil essences were already swirling around him as his greasy skin, dripping with perspiration, glistened obscenely in the dimly-lit cellar. “And accompanied by some cute little schoolgirl, of course. Well, I guess some things never change, do they, you old hebephilic hero and alien private dick? As you can clearly see, I have already completed the Yezidi Invocations. Brother Reginald is now avenged! The power of the Shaitans is mine, and soon the world, and indeed the very universe, will kneel before me! Rumanos, YOU ARE TOO LATE!!”

Can you even begin to comprehend the unspeakable terror, the hideous shock of this situation? I truly hope that you do not, because to understand this fully could send you into uncontrollable paroxysms of fear, and perhaps into total screaming madness without end!

Mindy Doyle screamed with extreme terror and cowered in the corner of the basement as a seemingly endless stream of the eldritch, howling demonic Shaitan spirits infesting the room began to drift quickly towards her. I had just barely enough time to utilise my alien abilities in order to throw a quick orange-and-blue Algolitish energy circle of protection around the innocent maiden’s slender form before the grotesque phantasms were able to succeed in reaching her.

“It is no use, Daniel Rumanos!” shouted my dark-visaged opponent, between grotesque and utterly insane peels of his obscenely maniacal laughter. “You have lost! I have conquered! I! The Satanic Embassy is reborn! I, Matthew Mershon, am now Grand Master of the Order of the Shaitans!!”

Nonetheless, there happened to be something that the bloody occult wanker simply did not realise. I accordingly clutched the lapels of my old leather greatcoat and clearly spoke the words of a certain powerful evocation in ancient the Algolite language. It was a calling that included the invoking of the strength of the legendary Gargouellios or “Gargoyles” of the ancient Continent of Mu, they who opposed and battled the wicked Shaitans for ages undreamed of -- indeed aeons long before the very first primate ancestors of Man had even appeared upon the planet that you now know as Earth.

Then, in answer to my summoning, between Matthew Mershon and myself suddenly appeared another form: it appeared to be a ghostly apparition, the spirit of the very individual from whom I had appropriated the coat so long before -- Matthew’s brother, Reginald L. Mershon II!

“Brother Matthew, you little punk!” said the supposed phantom, dressed as of old in his carnie splendour, his features a better-looking version of his mad younger sibling. “I should have expected this sort of thing from you! You always were so frigging jealous of me!”

“Ronnie, I…” stammered Matthew Mershon in shocked astonishment, address his brother by the latter‘s childhood nickname. The Satanist’s concentration thus weakened, the terrible and ungodly spirits of the Shaitans of Eblis then began to swirl back to their other-dimensional abode.

“You are not ‘Grand Master’ of anything!” continued the image of the elder Mershon brother. “Never! You will join me now in Hell and find that I have an understanding arranged with its lord, the mighty Lucifer-Astaroth himself! Yes, even there you will find that I am your superior!”

With this, Matthew Mershon fell down quite dead upon the cellar floor, his own life-essence (that which mystics know as the “soul“) then going along with his wicked brother’s and their sickeningly-beloved Shaitans to the dark underworld of the damned -- forsooth that inter-dimensional goal set up by the Kosmikos specifically for the imprisonment of obscenely evil creatures such as this!

It was just breaking dawn as the girl and I left the now-deceased Matthew Mershon’s basement apartment. I had taken that accursed book, the horrid volume known to eternal horror as The Statement of the Shaitans, but had left the malefactor’s corpse for the police to find. I was quite certain that they would just take it for yet another Baltimore crack-house death or something along those lines.

Mindy Doyle and I then stopped for breakfast at a local café, and I was pleased to see that the poor young maiden appeared to be recovering as well as could be expected from all the grotesque and arabesque horrors that she had recently witnessed. She was of course a bit nervous and rather quiet, but appeared to be otherwise unharmed.

“I really am so very sorry that you had to be exposed to such things,” I told her. “I suppose most people are fortunate to be able to go through their lives never even knowing about the truly abominable creatures that lurk in this world.”

“I’ll be OK,” she answered with a weak yet nevertheless sincere smile. “You helped me and you saved me from those… those things. I guess that ugly guy would have taken over the world if we hadn’t been there, right?”

“Yes,” I said. “That is, hideously enough, indeed quite possible.”

“I really think you had better keep that old book, you know.”

“Indeed, that is a first-rate idea. I shall put it away in my collection of arcane and unusual artefacts, where I can be completely certain that it will henceforth do no more harm. In any event, I do fervently hope and pray you will be all right now and always, and that you shall not hesitate to contact me and to let me know if there is ever anything, anything else at all with which I may assist you.”

“I will do that. I promise,” said the dear little lass as she smiled bigger and then gave me a friendly kiss. “Dr. Daniel Rumanos… You are AMAZING!!”

So ended this bizarre and momentous case, it being indeed only one of so many in my long and incredibly adventurous career as a Scientific Investigator and Extraterrestrial Detective. You know my name:  RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS!!!

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN

THROUGH THE EMPIRES OF ETERNAL VOID


A NEW OUTER SPACE MYSTERY FROM THE TRUE WEIRD ADVENTURES OF DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS!!!

PART I

“According to the Chronology Calibration Scanner,” said I whilst gazing intently at the self-same instrument upon the control panel of my Space and Time Ship, “we are now at a period of history more than a million years in the future!”

“Holy Flapdoodle!” said my wonderful wife, who, despite the myriad adventures that we have had together across so many aeons of existence, has never lost her supremely marvellous sense of wide-eyed wonder. “We’re doing the Time-Warp again! But where are we going, love? To what planet, I mean?”

“Well, it appears the planet is one known in the record banks by the name of Manverkoss,” I replied. “Nevertheless, even the Kosmikos seems to know very little about it -- at least officially, of course -- but there seem to be hints and rumours of what appears to be some kind of fascist dictatorship upon this world arising in this era; one that would seek to wipe out or enslave the other inhabitants of the planet, before then possibly venturing out in an attempt to spread their totalitarian tyranny and racial hated across this galaxy!

“Our mission, my love,” I went on, “is to find and stop this horrendous uprising of fascism, and to help those whom it would seek to persecute!”

“Of course we will do that, babe,” she answered sweetly. “Helping people and saving them from horribly dangerous and disgustingly unholy evils --- it’s what we do!!”

My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos, Literary Illusionist and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the appearance of an human being -- indeed a tall, strongly-muscular gentleman with dark hair, strikingly handsome Anglo-Semitic features, and strangely-pale skin -- I am in reality far more than this. For I do carrying within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me various powers and abilities that appear as “magical” or “miraculous” to people of less-advanced cultures.

Although most Algolites keep to themselves, content to merely observe the goings-on of the rest of the Universe, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, I am one of a secret organisation among our people known as the KOSMIKOS, and am by this dedicated to aiding the innocent and to protecting them from any and all who would harass, harm, or exploit them.

I am greatly assisted in this by my stunningly-beautiful and eternally-youthful wife, Lady Katrina Olivia Rumanos. Originally an Earth-girl, indeed a maiden of the noblest Scottish ancestry -- tall and slender with gorgeous ginger hair, lovely azure-blue eyes, and a complexion the shade of purest alabaster -- she has been augmented by the Kosmikos with incredible powers of her own -- powers that enable her to assist me and to be my companion in my numerous weird and wondrous adventures -- our weird and wonderfully strange exploits across all of Space and all of Time; our awesome travels through the empires of eternal void!!!

Fortunately, our position enables us unlimited access to a DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress” and standing for Dimensional Transport Sphere), a fantastically-advanced vehicle by which Algolites facilitate travel throughout the vast reaches of all of Space and all of Time.

Forsooth, not even our status as the First Royal family of Daemonia, central planet of the Algolite systems, is of more importance than our ongoing crusade in the cause of justice, truth, and proper British manners. It is in consequence to this that we were currently on an exploratory expedition to a bizarre alien planet so very far distant from the world you know.

However, little could even we realise that, from the very moment of our arrival, we were being closely watched by a grotesquely-mutated alien race -- creatures of pure evil inhabiting a dark and strangely hidden city, far across the surface of the planet!!

PART II

“The radiation here is a bit high,” I said, reading the outlook on the control board. “It rather looks like the results of some long-ago use of atomic weaponry. Descendants of any survivors among the planet’s inhabitants would likely have had to evolve an inborn immunity. That sort of thing can take strange forms indeed: physical superiority in some cases, but in others, well…”

Even I could not repress a shudder at the unnameable implications of this.

“Is the radiation any danger to us, baby?” enquired the incomparably beautiful Katrina.

“Possibly,” I replied. “As you know, some forms of radiation are quite dangerous even to Algolitish constitutions. Still, we do have something to take care of that in this case, eh? ‘An ounce of prevention’, as the saying goes.”

I pressed some buttons and two café beverages (shaken, not stirred) appeared upon the near by table.

“Iced vanilla lattes!” cried Kat with unconcealed delight. “My favourite!”

“Of course, my love,” I returned. “As you know, I quite share your fondness for vanilla. They have been infused with the proper anti-radiation medicines.”

I picked up the drinks and handed one to my wife.

“Cheers, my beautiful one!” said I, raising my glass.

 “Awww! Cheers!” she replied sweetly, and we both drained our coffees with pleasure.

A porthole opened on the DiTraS vehicle and Katrina and I stepped out upon the surface of this alien world. It was a strange, desert planet, with only a few examples of harsh shrubbery to be seen in its seemingly nearly lifeless environment. I glanced back at our DiTraS, a model personalised for our own use as Agents of the Kosmikos, gleaming there under the planet’s twin suns. DiTraSes, though they usually appear in the shape of what some would refer to as the “flying saucer”, can be disguised to blend in with their surroundings via the use of what is known as anole circuitry. Ours, however, had gotten stuck in the form of a large “Roman column” some time before. Nevertheless, I saw no reason why it would matter in the current situation. No one seemed to be around to see, and the DiTraS certainly looked fine the way it was anyway.

I was wearing my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat, jungle boots, dark spectacles and safari hat, whilst Katrina was resplendent in a magenta-coloured dress, a matching short cape, and riding boots. 

“There doesn’t seem to be anybody here, love,” said Katrina.

“Indeed,” said I, pondering. “I hope we haven’t arrived in the wrong Time Sector. It can happen sometimes, in these little-explored regions. Still, let us explore a bit and see for certain, hmmm?”

We walked for a while across the planet’s surface, and were just about to conclude that there was nothing of any particular interest to be seen when he perceived several figures approaching from the horizon. As they moved closer, we saw that they were a group of two dozen or so humanoid people, tall and well-built, with blond hair, a bluish complexion, and round, grey eyes. Their clothing, though poor and worn in appearance, showed some definite evidence of grace and taste.

The seeming leader of this group, a man a bit older than the rest, approached us with what appeared to be an expression of some relief.

“Most respectful salutations to you,” said the man. “We have most fervently prayed to the Sky God that he would send someone to deliver us, and our hope rests in you, most noble-appearing strangers!”

“I am Daniel Rumanos of Algol,” I replied, “and this is my wife, Katrina.”

“We do promise to help you in any way possible,” added Kat. “Please do tell, what has anguished you so?”

The group seemed to smile a collective look of relief at our response as their leader continued:

“We are the Verkoss, one of two races inhabiting this, our planet Manverkoss. Many generations ago, we fought a long and terrible war with the other species, which are known as the Manver. Both peoples were greatly decimated by the horrible weapons that we manufactured. While we, the Verkoss, lost most of our technology as a result, our Manver enemies instead suffered hideous mutations, becoming creatures of extreme horror, psychological insanity, and physical degradation. The live within a domed city and come forth regularly to hunt us. Their goal is yet to eliminate our race, to exterminate and annihilate us so that the horrid Manver will exist as the sole rulers of Manverkoss!”

“That is truly a tale of woe,” I exclaimed. “Please, do tell us this city of the Manver can be found, and we shall do whatever is necessary to prevent your enemies from harming you further.”

A collective murmur of approval then began from the assembled Verkoss, but it was suddenly cut short when a female of their number screamed in terror.

“Look!” the girl cried out. “The Manver have found us! They are here!!”

The young woman was correct, for at that very moment there approached, hovering several metres over the planet’s surface, a dozen or so creatures of eldritch nightmare. They were each about the size of a man’s torso -- but it is there that any semblance to sane physicality ended. For these monstrosities were nothing more than persistently pulsating masses of disgusting tendrils, intertwined with cybernetic spirals of metallic material. Their flesh was a sickly yellow, and each of them had two ebon slits for eyes, nearly hidden by their repulsive, tentacular forms.

Suddenly, as the Manver swooped down upon the Verkoss, they shot an hideously powerful ray of red energy directly into the fleeing group, whilst exclaiming with odd, electronically enhanced voices:

“Eliminate! Eliminate!! ELIMINATE!!”

PART III

The hideously tentacled, sickly-yellow Manver swooped down with terrible quickness upon the helpless, scattering Verkoss, all the while blasting their horrid death-rays and screeching with grotesquely-shrill, electronically-enhanced voices:

“Eliminate! Eliminate the Verkoss race! ELIMINATE!”

Can you understand the terror, the horror of this?! I sincerely hope that you cannot, dear readers. However, if you can, it indeed may very well send you into trembling paroxysms if eldritch and unmentionably ghastly fear.

I glanced at my wife and saw her gorgeous blue eyes smouldering with righteous indignation. Together, we activated our own awesome powers, valiantly flying upwards directly at the attacking Manver creatures, whilst I cast forth bolts of my incredible orange and blue energies, and Katrina her most wondrous vermillion and violet fire!

The Manver attempted to turn their deadly rays upon us, but soon perceived that it had no effect. Overwhelmed by our defence of the Verkoss, after several Manver had been destroyed by our amazing abilities the remaining number of them turned and fled with astounding swiftness above the desert landscape of the planet.

I briefly considered the possibility of chasing the retreating Manver in order to conclude the confrontation, but then considered it better to see to the condition of the innocent Verkoss. Kat and I accordingly returned to the ground.

The Verkoss had scattered, and it is indeed sad to relate that some of them had been hit directly by the Manver rays and killed instantly. I soon found the Verkoss leader, who was rather taken aback but physically unharmed, and conferred with him, seeking information on what could be done to stop any further attacks from the wretched Manver.

The Verkoss leader informed me that the legendary domed city of the Manver could be found only by a treacherous trek through a tunnel into the large underground cavern in which it was situated. In the city was said to be the Manver power source, a central system that ran the cybernetic life support system by a wireless antenna to each Manver. If this could be found and deactivated, the mutated creatures would cease to survive.

Unfortunately, the precise location of the Manver city was unknown, having been lost to history long before, therefore disallowing the possibility of me using my Algolitish teleportation powers to enter it and to thenceforth destroy the power source. The aforesaid journey through the tunnel was the only way, and there were grotesque rumours of a gruesome monstrosity that guarded the way to the city; a creature known as the Shermonnor.

I accordingly readied an expedition to find the city, accompanied by a company of several of the most stalwart of the Manver men. The rest were left to bury their dead and to seek shelter against any further attack. Though she hesitated to even temporarily part we me, I insisted that Katrina stay to aid and protect them.

We shall not herein dwell upon the details of the entire journey across the desert wilderness and into the underground tunnel. Suffice to say that I and my Verkoss companions encountered several minor adventures along the way, but nothing -- absolutely nothing -- was allowed to prevent our purpose: to find the city of the evil Manver, and to destroy the power source of the latter, therefore preventing those disgusting mutations from continuing to pursue their genocidal intentions upon the Verkoss race.

(During our journey, the Verkoss informed me of various legends and traditions concerning the past of their world. It seems that at one time they and the Manver were of one great race, indeed the very “Manverkoss” for which the planet was named. This humanoid, originally green-skinned species eventually split into two warring political parties, eventually evolving apart into the yellow-hued Manver and the blue-complexioned Verkoss.

It is the radiation weapons of the final stages of these ancient wars that led in time to the horrid mutations of the Manver, both physically and mentally, into repulsive monstrosities of hideous appearance and profane, ungodly ethnic hatred.)

The tunnel was lit by a ghostly phosphorescence, and it is after the Verkoss men and I had penetrated deeply into the planet that we heard an uncanny sound coming from in front of us. An enormous, eldritch croaking noise. And then suddenly approaching us with a bizarre hopping run along the high-ceiled tunnel was an huge toad-like fiend; a monster of most horrible aspect and obviously quite deadly intent -- the SHERMONNOR!!

PART IV

The grotesquely obscene yellow caste of the Shermonnor, along with its slanted, darkly hateful eyes, bespoke of its origins as a genetic experiment of the Manver. They had bred the creature by unnaturally mixing traces of their own DNA material with an indigenous giant toad of the planet, and now used it as a guardian to their hidden city.

And now the horrid monster was racing down the underground tunnel, directly at the Verkoss and me, croaking through thick, flabby lips its hideous bawling bellow that quite eerily echoed about the rocky, high-ceilinged passageway.

My friends, do you recognise the incredible terror, the total and complete abject horror of this supremely demoniacal situation?!

I quickly sprang forward, casting a bolt of my mighty, seemingly miraculous Algolite energy directly at the horrid beast. It only succeeded in slowing the creature slightly, so primitive were its pain-receptors, but I continued in sending forth flashing volleys of power at the monstrosity. At last, the Shermonnor shuddered and, grotesquely, burst open with a splatter of most deplorably nauseating appearance and odour. The gigantic toad-thing, indeed that most freakishly-monstrous guardian of the entrance to the location of the darksome city of the Manver, was consequently destroyed.

I continued onward with the group of Verkoss men for only a very short time before the tunnel debouched into what was an huge cavern, which was in itself indeed numerous kilometres across. Centred in this most fantastically immense, toweringly lofty cave was our goal: the bizarre, black-domed forbidden city of the Manver!

It takes far fewer words to tell the remainder of this fantastic tale than would seem necessary to relate the incredible bravery of my friends, the noble Verkoss. Suffice to say that we found their way into the city and, deftly avoiding the unnameable hazards of any further direct encounters with any members of the horridly mutated Manver race, we finally managed to locate and destroy, by the use of my abilities and scientific knowledge, the power source. At this, we witnessed the the Manver, with their life-force thus severed, fell to the floors throughout their metallic city, now harmless and completely, entirely inactive.

It was soon after this that my beautiful Katrina and I found ourselves honoured as the greatest heroes in the historical annals of the planet Manverkoss, and a great celebration was held for us by the Verkoss in one of their desert camps. It is at this function that I presented a speech which would be an address of inspiration to the people of the Verkoss for all time to come.

“Soon, people of the Verkoss race, we shall have to leave you and continue our journeys to other worlds,” I spoke near the conclusion of his discourse, the lovely Katrina by my side. “The Manver are dead, and the Verkoss are now the undisputed rulers of Manverkoss!“

I was here interrupted by immense cheers and applause by the assembly of the great Verkoss people to whom we had become saviours.

“Be always strong, my dear friends,” I appealed. “The very future of your kind is yours to mould as you will. In time, the blessings of technology will again be yours, and no doubt, the noble Verkoss race will build a great civilisation, eventually adventuring forth intrepidly into the reaches of Outer Space. Remember to be always most refined and cultured in all of your dealings with the many other peoples of the Universe. Stand up for truth and justice, and for the ways of the Highest. Only thus shall you do honour to our memory, to the name RUMANOS, and to the name known throughout Time and Space as one of valour, fearlessness, gallantry, and courage -- the name of the KOSMIKOS of ALGOL!!”

My wonderful Katrina and I soon thereafter left the planet Manverkoss and travelled onward in our incredibly fantastic spaceship, the DiTraS. The Void was once again calling to us, and we accordingly blasted onwards through the unspeakably vast reaches of the Cosmos, among the Heavens, past the countless fields of the stars of infinite Space and Time, voyaging forever and ever throughout the Universe towards weird adventures anew!!!

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN