THE ADVENTURES OF DAEMON-STAR by Daniel Rumanos

CASINO GIOVE


The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
(Old Earth Saying)

Thedinald Tromfiss rubbed his strangely-small hands together whilst pondering his plans. They were especially tiny (his hands, that is, not the plans) considering that he was the usual rather large size of a Jupiterian male. Well over six feet in height and heavy of frame, Tromfiss’s skin was a dull orange colour and his yellow hair was combed forwards in a vain and blatantly-obvious attempt to hide his balding pate. He wore a business suit of his planet’s latest fashion.

Tromfiss was seated in his office at the very top of Casino Giove, the vast gambling resort he had built orbiting his native giant planet. The casino was, indeed, larger than many of Jupiter’s moons, but its construction had taken only a very small percentage of the real estate fortune that Thedinald Tromfiss had inherited from his late father.

However, the Jupiterian businessman known as Thedinald Tromfiss had far larger plans than being just a gambling and entertainment mogul. For the very strategies he was pondering this day were those that he believed would make him President of the United Provinces of Jupiter, this being arguably the most powerful political position in the Solar System. Although he had no previous political experience, Tromfiss knew he had a very good chance in winning the upcoming election. Moneys had been deposited quietly in the right places, and possible rivals assured that certain foibles of their own pasts would be noised loudly abroad should circumstances not go in favour of Tromfiss. Even the famous Jupiterian media had been bought off in order to silence all mention of Tromfiss’s rumoured connections to certain Planetist organisations such as the notoriously fascist “Jupiter First Militia”. In addition, scandalous accounts of Thedinald Tromfiss’s own predilection for Martian insectoid prostitutes and the so-called “copper showers” (a reference to the colour of the urine of natives of the red planet Mars) had been squelched.

The buzzer on Tromfiss’s desk interrupted his musings. It was the signal that someone had arrived to speak with him. He saw by that the light on the system was blue, indicating that the visitor was his wife, Meszlansszoya.

Tromfiss pressed the door open switch and his wife entered. She was a tall, willowy woman, decades younger than he was. Her pale blue skin alongside the deep purple hues of her hair and eyes showed that she was from the planet Saturn. Indeed, Tromfiss had appropriated Meszlansszoya as a “mail-order bride” a couple of years before. She was now one of the very few individuals who would be easily allowed past Tromfiss’s bodyguard and into his private office.

“Good morning, Meszlansszoya,” said Tromfiss, not bothering to rise from his chair as she entered. He always called her by her full given name, and never used any terms of affection. “What brings you here today? I have much business to attend to.”

Forsooth, seeing his beautiful wife anywhere but in the bedroom, or appropriately hanging on his arm for news photographers at events, was actually quite an annoyance to Tromfiss.

“We need to talk, Thedinald,” said the lady. “Things have come to a crisis.”

“Oh, there goes that whiney Saturnian drama again,” he replied with a scowl. “Can we just get this damned discussion over with? I need to go over the press release my writers have drafted announcing my campaign for the Presidency.”

“This will not take up much time,” she answered, reaching her hand into the diamond-studded purse that hung by the side of her bright-red dress. “It has been far too long coming already.”

Tromfiss stood up now as he beheld what Meszlansszoya was holding. It was a small yet very powerful type of ray-gun, of a style available only to Saturnian secret agents.

“You bitch,” exclaimed the evil businessman. “My advisors were correct. You are a spy for the damned government of Saturn!”

“My leaders sent me here to gather information on you, Thedinald Tromfiss,” she said. “They knew that your sickening passions -- your nauseating lusts could be used against you. For all this time, I endured your disgusting embraces for the benefit of my planet. You are an insane and dangerous man, and the secret service of Saturn has now given me authorisation to eliminate you, for the sake of the peace and security of the Solar System.”

With this, Meszlansszoya levelled the gun at Tromfiss’s head, but her finger trembled slightly on the trigger. It is not that she would hesitate to kill him, being a trained agent and also knowing first-hand that he very much deserved death. Nevertheless, the thought, the memory, of the numerous perversions and horrors of which she knew this man was capable abashed her with fear of him, if only for an instant.

That instant of hesitation was just long enough for Tromfiss to reach behind his desk and press a hidden button. A slight hissing sound was heard as something was released into the air of the room.

Meszlansszoya immediately coughed and the ray-gun fell from her hand, noiselessly hitting the thick carpet. Brown blotches suddenly appeared on her once-flawless skin, oozing black pus.

“This…” she stammered. “Is it really…?”

Ru-Ang Virus,” spoke Tromfiss, a grotesque smirk spreading across his face. “The ancient plague that nearly wiped out the damned people of Saturn millennia ago. Jupiterians are immune, of course, as are most other species.”

By now, the woman lay gasping upon the floor as the disease quickly spread throughout her body. She shook convulsively and her purple eyes rolled back in her head as life left her.

“Do you understand now, you gods-damned Saturnian whore?” queried the wicked entrepreneur, now shouting at the dead body of his wife. “You will not stop me from becoming President of the United Provinces! I am Tromfiss! I will make Jupiter great again! No one can stop me! NO ONE!!” …

*****

“Holy Flapdoodle!” exclaimed the girl, her lovely blue eyes flashing like pale sapphires. “We won again, love!”

This beautiful young woman, tall and slender, with gorgeous ginger hair and diaphanous skin like purest alabaster, was seated at a gaming table of Casino Giove playing “Red Spot“, a Jupiterian version of roulette. She wore an elegant white dress with a short matching cape and small riding-boots. Beside her, his tall muscular frame leaning back in a chair with seeming complete coolness, was a singularly handsome man with striking Anglo-Semitic features, clad in a dark silk suit and military-style boots, along with a leathern greatcoat, dark glasses, and safari hat.

Both were wearing swords, this being the right and custom, according to ancient traditions, of all noble-blooded visitors to the environs of Jupiter.

“Congratulations, my friends!” said the somewhat elderly, orange-hued Jupiterian who was the table’s game-attendant. “Sir and Madam have had quite a run of good fortune! Is this your first time at our casino, Mr….?”

Rumanos -- Daniel Rumanos,” I responded (for the man was indeed me), then indicating the girl beside me with, “and this is my wife, Katrina.”

“Aye,” added Kat, still smiling. “This is our first time here. It is such a wonderful holiday spot!”

“Marvellous!” added the Jupiterian. “You are very welcome. It’s just we don’t get many… Earthlings, is it? Their space program has had some funding problems, I hear.”

“I am a representative for Interplanetary Imports,” I lied. “So we get out a bit more than most… Earthlings.”

I briefly eyed the casino’s gaming floor. In addition to natives of Jupiter, there were blue-skinned Saturnians and Uranusites, six-eyed insectoid Martians, crustaceous dwarf Plutonians, snake-men from Draconis, furry Arcturusans, and members of a few other races among the patrons. They were playing the slots machines, card games, and various other contests of chance. Neptunian jazz played from the hidden speakers around the room, and a garish electronic poster dominating one wall advertised an upcoming appearance by “Mikkey Leitter: The Galaxy‘s Most Famous Frank Sinatra Tribute Artist“. The nearly-nude cocktail waitresses were all gorgeous blonde Venusians, their appearance similar to the Nordic type of human save for their obliquely-slanted eyes. Numerous potted trees and other plants, along with the artificial sunshine-like lighting of the huge room, lent an oddly forest-like aspect to the gambling establishment. 

“Does Sir wish to play again?” enquired the attendant, interrupting my thoughts concerning the patrons on the gaming floor.

“Indeed, put it all on the black 11,” I told him before turning to my wife. “I shall return in a few minutes, darling. I just want to visit the coffee-bar.”

“All right, babe,” she said sweetly as we briefly embraced. I then turned and strolled away from the table. As I was about halfway across the casino floor I heard another exclamation of delight from Katrina, indicating that we had again won.

I found the coffee bar and ordered an iced cappuccino (shaken, not stirred). The attractive young Jupiterian barista, whose nametag said “Falixxa” and whose tangerine-coloured skin and flaxen hair well highlighted her enchanting green eyes -- just as her tight, short-skirted barista’s uniform did her excellent figure -- gave me a nod of recognition and, in a sotto voce as she served my drink, said, “He is in his office. I’ll see that the way is clear.”

I drank down the coffee and exited the gaming room via the door beside the bar. Nary thirty seconds had passed before an alarm was raised, in a particular tone that informed security that someone had been observed cheating at one of the Red Spot tables.

There was the expected general tumult of voices as the patrons reacted to this with a mixture of annoyance and amusement. In the centre of this commotion, Katrina stood up and suddenly -- burst into flames!

Now, this fire did not burn her. Far from it, for it was the fantastic vermillion and violet flame that is hers to command. It sparkled around her sultry form as a lambent gleam of wondrous brilliance.

This sudden show of odd power had its result, however. Numerous other alarum bells began to sound, the sprinkler system was engaged (which had no effect whatsoever on the psychically-controlled Heaven’s Hell flames of Katrina Rumanos), and the gaming floor was soon enough crowded with the muckle numerous burly Jupiterians making up the well-armed security force of Casino Giove! …

My name is indeed Dr. Daniel Rumanos, True Weird Adventurer and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Although I have an human appearance, I am actually far more than this. For I do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL. Whilst most Algolites remain aloof from the affairs of the other species making up the vast Universe, I am an operative for an Algolitish secret service organisation known as the Kosmikos. The purpose of the Kosmikos is to covertly intervene in situations in which the safety and balance of Space and Time are threatened. Such was the case involving Thedinald Tromfiss, real-estate tycoon, founder of the vast gambling house known as Casino Giove, and would-be President of the United Provinces of Jupiter.

Tromfiss’s bid for the UPJ Presidency would have certainly gone far below the notice of the Algolite Kosmikos had it not been for his connection with certain Planetist organisations -- those hideous fascistic fanatics who wished to ban all immigration to Jupiter. Tromfiss had even promised, if elected, to build a barrier around the planet barring all non-Jupiterians from entering without special authorisation, adding that he would somehow strong-arm the government of Proxima Centauri into paying for it. Tromfiss, knowing he could never overestimate the stupidity of his supporters, intentionally confused the Proximites with certain Terrorists from the Seven Planets of Trappist-1, only because there was some slight and completely-coincidental similarity in their ethnic appearance.

Now, Tromfiss himself had no background in politics whatsoever and it was obvious that his courting of such extremists was simply a tool in his insane bid for power. He certainly, for instance, had no problem with having non-Jupiterian patrons at his casino, and was indeed funding his Presidential campaign from the monies collected there. This Casino Giove, which Tromfiss had advertised widely as “The Most Luxurious Entertainment Complex in the Galaxy” (even though it in no way compared to the resort areas of Galactic Centre), was actually the first gambling establishment in the outer Solar System to not be owned by the crime “families” of Pluto. Even this fact had given the unscrupulous Thedinald Tromfiss a certain “moral” veneer that he certainly did not deserve, this greatly increasing his standing in the polls.

In any event, the possibility of Tromfiss becoming President of the United Provinces of Jupiter had been judged by the Kosmikos as a threat to Galactic security. Master Emmos, our Chief Operative, had given me the assignment with a curt and cold “Eliminate the problem.” In other words, my mission was to assassinate Thedinald Tromfiss, and my wife and I had arrived at the Casino Giove establishment by use of my Chrono-Band, the ring that I wear on the third finger of my right hand that enables travel through Time and Space under the authorisation of the Kosmikos.

The government of the planet Saturn had been concerned with halting Tromfiss’s grotesque rise to power as well. However, they had failed in their attempt to stop him for reasons that at the time remained enigmatic.

It was the especial duty of my exquisitely beautiful and eternally-youthful wife, Katrina, to create a disturbance on the casino floor in order to decoy the establishment’s security there. Originally from Earth, a young girl of the most noble Scottish descent, Kat had been granted special powers by the Watchers in order to stand with me in the numerous and varied adventures to which my continuing tasks as a Kosmikos Operative do indeed take me.

The lovely lass known as Falixxa was actually our contact within the Jupiterian Intelligence Agency, working undercover as a “barista” at the casino coffee-bar. She was a student from the University of Ganymede who had been drafted by the JIA due to her profound abilities in the field of computer-hacking. She had already shut down the security cameras everywhere in the complex save the casino floor, and had programmed the alarum system to alert all of the security guards concerning Katrina’s sudden show of unusual powers, thus clearing my way through the remainder of the building towards the top-floor office of the evil Thedinald Tromfiss.

I accordingly made my way upwards. The lift system had been disabled, but I quickly used the side stairways, utilising my alien powers for increased speed as I passed the numerous levels of shops, restaurants, and hotel suites of the large Casino Giove complex. Finally, when I entered the waiting room outside the office of Thedinald Tromfiss, I encountered my first true obstacle -- and it was a large one indeed!

Standing before me was a being known as Prooitt. He was Tromfiss’s private bodyguard, the one who would not leave his post under any circumstances whatsoever. This individual was a hulking, massively hard-muscled Jupiterian male of seven feet tall, his shaved-bald head adding an even fiercer aspect to his already hideous countenance. He let out a low growl of horrid hatred upon seeing me enter and before I could react, landed his colossal fist directly in my stomach, sending me careening across the room to the far wall! …

Meanwhile, on the gaming floor, Katrina was keeping the casino security force quite well occupied. The other girl, Falixxa, had helped by shutting down all of the artificial lighting -- the only illumination now seen being the flashing flames of Lady Katrina Rumanos deftly deflecting the energy-weapons of the guards! She had even playfully drawn her sword as she faced them with a teasing smile.

“A redhead with a sword,” mused the old table attendant, who had found shelter behind a near by slots machine. “Security is going to need reinforcements.” …

I stood up and shook off the effects of the blow I had received from the bodyguard Prooitt. The colossal Jupiterian was already stalking forward, his massive arms outstretched in preparation to attempt crushing me. I quickly cast a bolt of my Algolitish energy directly at his bald, orange-coloured head. The bullet of power caused it to explode, and the yellow pulp of my foe’s brain-matter splattered against the wall and floor.

“Smashing Pumpkins,” said I, and then strode forwards to force open the door of the office in which was my objective.

As I entered his office I beheld the execrable Thedinald Tromfiss standing behind his desk. The curtain had been opened from the large window that dominated the wall behind him, and from it was seen the looming disk of the giant planet Jupiter itself framing his form.

“Daniel Rumanos of Algol,” sneered Tromfiss. “Even the damned Watchers must be jealous of my success to send their most royal-blooded assassin here.”

I ignored his taunts and readied a lethal wave of my energies to use upon him. Before I could properly release it, however, the insane Tromfiss reached down and pressed a switch behind his desk. I was suddenly beset with nausea as I felt my Algolitish powers drain from me!

“You bloody caitiff!” I said whilst beginning to double over in pain. “Is that actually…”

“Oh yes,” riposted Tromfiss. “I have had my headquarters enforced with airborne defences against all the gods-damned planetary spy networks known to have agents in the area. Ru-Ang Virus for Saturnians; Bubonica for Neptunians -- and so forth -- and, for you damned meddling Algolites -- Evaerlium!”

EVAERLIUM! A radioactive substance known to have a negative and debilitating effect upon the Watchers of the Daemon-Star. It is said that Evaerlium is made of remnants of the structure of the very edge of the known Universe at that point of which our people first, untold aeons ago, entered into physical existence from whence we had existed since before the beginning of Time as the Aeturnusians -- those beings of pure ecstatic light that are known to some as “Angels“. However, this is controversial. In any case, Thedinald Tromfiss’s fortune had enabled him to locate and purchase a portion of this exceedingly rare mineral.

Nevertheless, the powdered Evaerlium that Tromfiss had obtained was not of the strongest type. It sickened me and temporarily drained my powers, but I managed to keep consciousness and concentration upon my mission. I drew my sword from its scabbard, and threw it like a javelin directly at the midsection of the evil entrepreneur known as Thedinald Tromfiss. The sword pierced his vital organs, and with a slight gurgling sound he crumpled dead to the floor.

I reached behind the desk and pressed the switch to clear the room of Evaerlium. I then felt my strength immediately restored, and pulled my sword from the wretched corpse of Tromfiss, would-be President of the United Provinces of Jupiter, then wiping his sallow blood from the blade with my handkerchief.

“Yellow-hearted coward,” I observed before returning the sword to its sheath by my side.

I immediately teleported back to the gaming floor and collected my wonderful Katrina, who was still expertly holding the establishment’s entire security staff at bay. We utilised the Chrono-Band to escape the environs of Jupiter, our assignment complete.

As for the denouement of all this, the government of the United Provinces saw that Casino Giove was sold to an harmless local hotel chain, whilst the Jupiterian Intelligence Agency spread the false report, well-aided by the computer-hacking expertise of the smart and stunning Falixxa, that the assassination of Thedinald Tromfiss had actually been a gangland-style execution by Plutonian mobsters, this being the result of his supposed plans to expand his business empire into their territory. Forsooth, in the world of espionage, much as in gambling, it is best to keep secret who is actually holding the trump card.

DANIEL RUMANOS WILL RETURN IN “QUANTUM OF URANUS

GOBLINEYE


A Paranormal Espionage Thriller from The New Adventures of Daemon-Star

The young man sent a wave of ebony-black force upwards over the roofs of the shopping district in the neighbourhood of Charles Village in Baltimore.

“Bow down before me all!” he screamed. “I am the one gifted to rule over you! I am Hell-Man!”

“Hell-Man?!” said I incredulously, appearing on the roof behind him. “Isn’t that a mayonnaise?”

He whirled about to face me and, with a snarl of rage, shot forth a bolt of his horrid powers directly towards my person. I deftly dodged it and sent back a portion of my own inborn abilities in defence. They sparkled orange and blue as they were propelled towards him.

My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Supernatural Swashbuckler and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being; a tall, well-built and strikingly-handsome gentleman with noble Anglo-Semitic features; I am in actuality far more. For I am actually many thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the vastly-superior genes of the enigmatic Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous abilities and powers that appear as “magic” to Earthlings.

Whilst most Algolites live in isolation from the rest of the Universe, merely observing, I work as an operative of a secret organisation hidden within the government of our home-world of Daemonia. This organisation, known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department, covertly acts in order to prevent the efforts of the many and numerous negative forces that wouldst threaten the peace of all Space and Time. Under the direction of Master Emmos, our Chief Operative, I am tasked with missions upon Earth and elsewhere, all the time whilst living undercover as a professional stage magician/illusionist and paranormal fiction author in the city of Baltimore, Maryland.

This particular day involved the apprehension of an individual who was a member of one of the fraternities at Johns Hopkins University. This young man had come to the attention of the Kosmikos after having obtained an antique volume of occult teaching at the local Abnormal’s Bookshop. The book actually contained some potent and useable formulae handed down from some alien race that had visited Earth briefly during the Dark Ages, and this young man, Roland Richardson by name, had used them to achieve a certain amount of psychical ability. These capabilities had in turn been greatly enhanced when he had raped a drunken teenage girl at a weekend frat party, all the while chanting the old “magical spells” that he had memorised from the horrid book.

The added vigour of sexual energies had “done the trick”, endowing young Mr. Richardson with a frighteningly large portion of darksome, otherworldly power. He had, on this day, decided to publicly announce his ascendancy as ruler of the world or some such malarkey, naming himself “Hell-Man” and then unleashing a dangerous show of his newfound abilities upon the local populace. Fortunately, the Kosmikos had apprised me of these doings and I had shown up just in time.

“Why are you at Johns Hopkins, ‘Hell-Man’,” I mocked. “Shouldn’t you be more at home in the Mayo Clinic?”

My defensive Algolitish energies hit the possessed Roland Richardson painfully, and he howled in anger.

“Daniel Rumanos!” he stated with obvious hatred. “The powers within me have warned of your interference, ever-meddling Agent of Algol! But you will not prevent the coming of Hell-Man!”

“Oh, the coming of Hell-Man,” I scoffed. “So is that the mayonnaise then, you saucy bugger?”

“I will destroy you, Rumanos!” he screeched in fury. “I will destroy you!!”

Richardson then quickly sent another burst of darkling energies at me. Enraged by my words, he had done so without first properly concentrating. This was a serious error on his part, as the energy was then not of sufficient strength to be of any serious import, and I simply allowed it to hit me fully.

Then, before young Mr. Roland Richardson, the would-be “Hell-Man”, could generate any more bursts of power, I hit him with one more tremendous wave of my Algolite powers -- an onrushing shower of orange and blue radiance.

“I’ll have the deli mustard instead, thank you,” said I.

My power had the effect of both extinguishing the human life from Richardson and of exorcising the dark powers within him. He reeled and fell from the edge of the roof to the pavement fourteen storeys below whilst I quickly left the area. The official story would be that Roland Richardson, university student and fraternity member, had fallen to his death after a drunken escapade upon the building top. Anyone claiming to have seen evidence of anything else would be dismissed as mistaken and not mentioned in the official report put out by the Baltimore Police. (I myself would secretly visit the late Mr. Richardson’s dormitory room and quickly remove the occult text before anyone else could make use of it.)

Such was my encounter with the self-proclaimed “Hell-Man”. A minor battle indeed amongst those of my long and eventful career, but little did I know that I would soon afterwards be sent on a far more dangerous and phantasmagorical mission -- one of vast and unspeakably evil import in which the safety of the entire planet Earth was truly and hideously at stake!

It was the very night following my encounter with the miscreant known as Roland Richardson, and I was standing upon a tall turret of Rumanos Castle, the huge Gothic-styled edifice that sits atop a lofty escarpment to the north of Baltimore City and which serves as my mansion and fortress upon Earth. I soon found myself visited, as I had expected, by Quaddos, Psychic Weapons Specialist for the Kosmikos.

“How are you doing, Master Quaddos?” said I. “Is all well on the home-world?”

“By the Stars, Master Rumanos,” said Quaddos with a twinkle in his eyes. “I don’t think things have really changed on Daemonia for over sixty thousand generations!”

Quaddos is himself much more sociable that most Algolites, with a well-developed sense of humour. He wears the usual grey coverall-type garment of the Watchers, but with a bright yellow flower pinned to its otherwise austere lapel.

“I say, Quaddos, my next assignment must be something quite momentous for Master Emmos to send you to speak with me. I take it some sort of weaponry is involved?”

“Yes it is!” he replied, a note of seriousness entering the voice of the jolly old Algolite. “Something the presence of which would have made it to dangerous to send the details of your mission through the void. It involves… the GOBLINEYE!”

“The GoblinEye?!” I repeated in astonishment. “But that has been missing since Earth’s last Ice-Age!”

“Indeed it has,” he replied. “That ancient relic has itself the property of concealment. It is only because of its recent use by an human being that we know of its whereabouts at all.”

This artefact known as the GoblinEye, whilst appearing as an oval gem of a deep green colour no larger than could be held in the palm of an hand, is said to be an object of intensely-dangerous “occult” power. It is believed to contain the combined psychic essence of that ancient race known as the Kobolds or Goblins, a particular species of squat proto-humans, an early offshoot of the Neanderthals, that inhabited the far north of the European Continent before the rise of Homo Sapiens.

The Goblins, governed by a leader know as the Hobgoblin, a sort of combined military general and shaman, had achieved an incredible amount of psionic ability due to continual inbreeding of the best of their type -- only those with the intelligence and wherewithal to survive in the bitterly-cold darkness of the northernmost regions.

Now, this Goblin race died out before human civilisation as we now know it even began, themselves the victims of the mutating side-effects of their own breeding practices. The last Hobgoblin, obsessed with preserving some legacy of his kind, had managed to house their combined psyches within the oblong green gem known to darkest legend as the “Eye of the Goblins” or GoblinEye.

Following the extinction of the Goblins, the gem had vanished into myth, the only clue to its fate being a rumour that a Ninth-Century Viking longship captain had found and appropriated it during an expedition that had been blown off-course by a storm into the icy Arctic waters.

“But the GoblinEye, wherever it has been,” I said to Quaddos, “is said to be harmless unless it falls into the hands of one both totally insane and ambitious enough to use its power to seek world domination. You mean…”

“Indeed it has, Rumanos,” answered Quaddos, his usual smile turning to irony. “It has been activated by an individual known as Klarissa Emmalee Feck

“Oy, I think I’ve heard that name. ‘Klarissa Feck, psychic medium’ -- she was speaking on some late-night radio show recently. Claimed she was going to start a new line of ‘paranormal porn videos’ that would ‘take over the world‘. Obvious nutter fake, I thought.”

“She was only that… until now,” rejoined Quaddos ominously. “With the powers of the GoblinEye, nothing of this planet could stand in her way.”

Therefore was my mission from the Kosmikos: to find and stop the machinations of this Feck woman, and to retrieve or destroy the GoblinEye before its eldritch and demoniacal powers could be used for hideously nefarious purposes.

“Understood,” I told Quaddos. “Assure Emmos that my assignment has been received and accepted.”

“This is your imperative, Eleven,” he stated, using my operative number for emphasis before vanishing into the inter-dimensional void back to Algol. “Klarissa Feck must be destroyed.”

Before beginning upon the mission that I had been assigned, I accordingly conducted some research concerning this hideous woman into whose gruesome grasp the GoblinEye had fallen.

Klarissa Emmalee Feck (yes, that is actually how she spelled it, being of uneducated and mentally-deficient parentage. The surname had actually been Feucch, before her German peasant ancestors had degenerated into the American “white trash” they now were) was 28 years of age, though she had the appearance of being much older as the result to her lifetime of narcotics use. She was of medium height and much on the flabby side, though she -- as with so many of her horrid type -- liked to refer to her build as “curvy”. She wore heavy make-up (which still did not succeed in disguising her rather mannish facial features) and disgustingly low-cut blouses, the latter in order to display her revoltingly saggy cleavage. Short skirts, dollar-store stockings, and dreadfully cheap high-heels completed her whorish apparel.

Klarissa Feck had, approximately three years before this account occurs, declared herself a “psychic medium” via the internet, and had soon gotten the support of much of the redneck “ghost hunter” crowd, to which she offered her sexual favours in exchange for publicity. She was known to have group sex sessions with various “paranormal teams” in exchange for money, drugs, and a place to sleep. You see, Feck was technically homeless.

As for the GoblinEye, it had been passed down to her from one of her ancestors who had stolen it from the jewellery collection of the wealthy Rhinelander family to which the Feucchs had been servants in Germany before immigrating to the United States. The powers of the evil gem had lain dormant for centuries, awaiting the day when they would come into contact with someone possessing the combination of low intellect and utterly insane ambition necessary for them to gain control. Klarissa Feck was just such a person, and the baleful and eldritch forces hidden within the green GoblinEye had merged with her to such a degree that her complete annihilation had become absolutely imperative, in order to save the very planet from the influence of this revived psychic terror.

I ascertained that Klarissa Feck was currently residing in the area of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and it is to this at-once charming and bizarre Pennsylvania Dutch city that I travelled, accompanied by my beautiful and eternally-youthful wife, LADY KATRINA OLIVIA CROWLEY-RUMANOS. Katrina had originally been an human being, a beautiful young girl of noble Scottish descent. The Kosmikos, seeing the devotion we shared for each other, had gifted her with immortality and certain powers so that she could be my companion on many of the adventures to which I was assigned upon Earth and elsewhere. She is tall and slender, with gorgeous ginger hair, enchanting azure eyes, and skin the purest white of alabaster.

I was quite familiar with Allentown due to the Cabala School that used to be there, but it was not the nice downtown area I remembered to which we travelled in search of the obscenely execrable Klarissa Feck. It was rather upon the very outskirts of town in which we found her current temporary abode, in a squalid and mostly-deserted trailer park of a quite sickening and perverse aspect. Despite the chill in the air that overcast afternoon, the entire area was swarming with horseflies.

We approached the trailer that Feck was inhabiting. I was dressed in my usual dark-coloured silk suit, leathern greatcoat, military boots, and safari hat. Kat was wearing an elegant yet functional midnight-blue dress and matching short cape, along with small black boots.

The door of the trailer home opened and its actual official resident stepped out, a short and stocky hillbilly type of the kind unfortunately found as often in Pennsylvania as in the southern states. I knew him from my research as a certain Dennis Luedtke, aged 46, who had the unspeakably dubious “honour” of being Klarissa Feck’s current paranormal paramour. You see, Luedtke rather fancied himself a “ghost hunter” due to his own erotic attraction to the dead; he having been exiled from nearby Kutztown years before after having been found carnally violating the corpse of his then recently-deceased mother. To this day, the grave of the late Doris Luedtke, the woman whom had given birth to this rednecked necrophiliac, was viewed with a superstitious horror by the traditionally-Germanic citizens of the region.

Forsooth, even the local Amish population, usually so non-judgmental concerning the affairs of anyone outside of their own community, had banned the worthless and perverted Dennis Luedtke from patronising their shops.

More recently, Dennis Luedtke enjoyed fornicating with Klarissa Feck whilst the latter was unconscious due to the effect of the numerous illegal narcotics in which she habitually indulged. Her corpselike coldness appealed to his necrophilia. He even occasionally took photographs of himself in bed with her, proudly posting them on his Instapic and Tweeter social media accounts. One assumes with a decided shudder that this, though not yet displaying graphic content, was the origin of the “paranormal pornography” that Feck promised to soon unleash upon the public.

“Holy Flapdoodle!” exclaimed my lovely Katrina at the sight of Dennis Luedtke. He was indeed a grotesquely-humorous sight with his unkempt greyish-brown hair and scruffy beard, this along with his filthy sleeveless shirt and ripped jeans not concealing the numerous folds of loose skin that indicated he had once been even more overweight than he was at present.

“Bloody Hell,” said I. “I’m rather surprised that we don’t hear banjo music.”

“You two go away!” shouted Luedtke, his splayed eyes narrowing beneath his low forehead. “I be in love with Klarissa and she love me! She the best thing ever happened to me! Go away or I get my gun!”

We had no time to waste bantering with this subhuman idiot. I accordingly cast a bolt of my orange and blue Agolitish energy powers at him, just enough to quickly extinguish his useless existence. He fell to the ground a stone-dead pile of the same refuse that he had been in life.

It was then, before my beloved Katrina and I turned away from the corpse of Dennis Luedtke, upon which the swarming flies had immediately descended, that a tremendous burst of emerald-hued psychic energy blasted apart the trailer before us. It fell to pieces like a veritable cracker-box, and standing at the centre of its now-flat walls was the horrid, revolting, and decidedly ungodly woman that we had been tasked with facing, and she was indeed wielding the ancient, legendary powers of the Goblin Race. It was Klarissa Feck and, to our abject disgust, she was totally nude, her badly bleached-blonde hair blowing in the breeze created by the green-hued powers emanating from her.

“You have murdered my boyfriend,” she exclaimed in her shocking cackle, “and I will now wipe you out, Family Rumanos!”

Suspended from a cheap fake-gold chain about her neck, and partially hidden by the repulsive cleavage of her pendulous, sack-like breasts, was the GOBLINEYE!!!

Before we could react to this shocking display, the hideous creature known as Klarissa Feck shot a tremendous blast of her green-hued demonic energies directly towards Katrina and myself, sending us both sprawling uncontrollably upon the ground of the motor home park.

“Listen now!“ screeched the horrible and perverse woman. “Listen while Klarissa explains it all! You just hate me because you’re jealous of me, just like everyone else is! I’m a well-known psychic medium and ghost hunter, and now I’ll use my great powers to rule this world!!”

As the absolutely insane Feck rambled on, both Katrina and I had regained our feet. I was just readying a defensive burst of my Algolitish force, when I suddenly found myself being attacked from behind by a grotesque and supremely bizarre source. It was the swarm of horseflies, which were now also exhibiting a greenish glow, denoting that they too were possessed with preternatural powers from the GoblinEye!

The swarm of Goblin-powered horseflies, newly energised by feeding from the departing life-essence -- and corpulent flesh -- of the idiotic varlet known as Dennis Luedtke, quickly surrounded me. I heard an infernal, diabolical buzzing beyond anything known to the world of light and sanity. The ancient Kobold energies pulsated about me with their uncanny lime-coloured hue, and I had to generate a protective shield about myself, formed of my own orange and blue Algolite forces, in order to prevent the nauseating flies or their diabolic Goblin power from touching me.

Whilst I was thus occupied, the sickening slag known as Klarissa Feck concentrated her attacks upon my lovely wife.

“Now, Katrina Rumanos,” cackled the disgusting Feck in her astounding madness, “It’s between us! Hahaha!! Paranormal girl fight!! I wish I had my phone camera! It would do great on ViewTube!”

With this, Klarissa Feck cast another blast of Goblin power at Katrina, but it was met in midair by Kat’s own fantastic vermillion and violet fire -- the wondrous Mystic Flame that she wields as Heaven’s Hell!!

As the two forms of power clashed and emitted sounds of incredibly loud and echoed crackling, Klarissa Emmalee Feck grew increasingly angry.

“No, little girl!” she screamed irately. “Nonononononono!! You won’t defeat me! I’m Klarissa Feck! I’m famous! I’ve been on paranormal podcasts!”

“Holy Flapdoodle,” responded Katrina with a hint of amusement. “I am now completely convinced that you really are just utterly insane.”

It was only then that I, utilising my extraterrestrial energies, managed to break free from the swarm of possessed horseflies. I charged directly at the hideous Klarissa Feck whilst sending multiple blasts of power at her.

“Kat!” I shouted. “Target the gem; the GoblinEye!”

My wife immediately comprehended my purposes in this and we both focused our powers, my orange-and-blue Algolitish energy and her vermillion-and-violet flame, directly at the green, oblong stone that Feck wore on a chain about her unsightly neck.

“No, Rumanos!” shrieked Feck. “Even you, The Man Who Walks Between Worlds, can’t defeat me! I’m famous! I’m a well-known psychic! I’m Klarissa Fe…!”

“Shut up, harlot,” I interrupted her ridiculous tirade. “Nobody gave you permission to speak.”

It was at that moment when the combined powers of Katrina and myself caused the GoblinEye to burst into myriads of fragments as its baleful energies dissipated into the ether forever. The proximity of Klarissa Feck to this blast caused her to also disappear, vanishing totally out of existence along with the eldritch Goblin power with which she had so fully allied herself.

The body of the hillbilly scum once known as Dennis Luedtke had been almost totally eaten away by the horseflies that now had left the area, freed from the influence of the ancient Goblin essence. The only other evidence of what had happened that bizarre day was the remains of the trailer, which I hear that the Lehigh Valley Sheriff’s Department has since “explained" as the results of just yet another exploded meth-lab.

As Kat and I left the revolting trailer park that had once been inhabited by the nauseatingly repugnant and unspeakably perverse paranormal trollop known as “Klarissa Emmalee Feck, psychic medium”, we turned our minds towards far better things.

“You know, sweetheart,“ said I. “We should pay a visit to a very nice establishment I know in the near by town of Whitehall, where we can experience one of my favourite of the local customs.”

“What would that be then, my love?” enquired Katrina with her usual sweetness.

“It is known as smorgasbord!”

THE END

DANIEL RUMANOS WILL RETURN


MINARETS OF MERCURY


11 April 1980:

Dr. Lance Pennington wiped the perspiration from his forehead with the hem of his burnoose. The American professor of archaeology had thought it best to adopt Arabian-style clothing and to allow his beard to grow for this dig in that rugged mountain range of northern Israel that is known as Mount Carmel. Locating the exact position had been a nuisance, but Pennington had finally succeeded, basing his decisions upon local lore and legend as much as his own past academic research on the matter.

Professor Pennington surveyed the four fellahin, working-class Palestinian Arabs that he had hired, as they continued to labour in clearing the pile of large stones at the entrance to what he believed to be the long-lost tomb of the infamous 450 prophets of Baal that were defeated and slaughtered in the Ninth Century Before the Common Era by the biblical Prophet Elijah. The comparatively small research grant that he had received from Boleyn College of Maryland, coupled with the political problems of the region, had prevented the professor from obtaining more and better-quality assistants.

Despite the various difficulties that had beleaguered the expedition, Prof. Pennington had continued it with an enthusiasm that was beyond any academic zeal for knowledge and discovery. Indeed, it was as if some unseen influence was compelling the formerly rather bookish, middle-aged scientist towards a certain destiny, a future fate of mysterious and bizarre import.

Pennington glanced at the camels tethered near by and then back at the four workmen, briefly wondering which smelled the worse. His time spent in the Middle East had not been kind to his once-liberal notions of class equality, and he looked forward to being able to dismiss the fellahin commoners and then return to the world of educated academia with his discoveries.

“We have finished, effendi,” said one of the men. “It is cleared.”

With this, Prof. Lance Pennington walked over upon the burning midday sands and peered into the yawning cavity in the rock of Mount Carmel, indeed into the Stygian blackness of what he believed and hoped to be the tomb of the prophets of an ancient and abhorrent pagan god.

The professor motioned to the four fellahin to follow him into the tall, wide opening. The Palestinian peasants had already overcome any lingering superstitious fears by concentrating on the thought of the money they were being paid, which they could use to buy girls and hashish from black-market suppliers back in town. These lower-class types were not exactly observant Muslims, apparently thinking that their nominal dislike of the Israeli government was religious practice enough.

Therefore, Pennington and the four fellahin entered the cave-like opening, lighted by their hand-held electric torches. The professor examined the walls of the fissure.

“Yes,” he said to himself. “Definitely manmade. Carved out of the rock thousand of years ago, perhaps by the servants of Elijah himself. This is no ordinary cave!”

They continued to advance farther into what Professor Pennington by now was fully convinced to the very sepulchre of the evil prophets of Baal, where they had been entombed in ignominy after their defeat at the hands of the holy man of ancient Israel whom is so deeply honoured in the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faiths.

Finally, there in the darkness they came upon a grave-mound upon which was an idol; an idol carved in solid gold, eight feet in height and representing an obscene bull ox.

“I have found it,” announced Pennington with growing pride. “The tomb… The very tomb of the 450 prophets of Baal!!”

It is with this uttering of the name of that wicked heathen deity that it happened. The large golden idol suddenly sent forth a shimmering glow of horrid blood-red radiance from its beastly eyes -- a Luciferian luminosity that seemed to enter directly into the mind and consciousness of Prof. Lance Pennington. At the same time, a mass of loathsomely black fog-like substance drifted up from the grave-mound and entered the bodies of the four fellahin, cutting short the Arab curses they had been muttering in their shock. They immediately knelt down in blasphemous obeisance before the horrid idol -- and indeed before the American professor himself.

“He comes to us,” exclaimed Pennington in religious ecstasy whilst the eldritch crimson light played grotesquely about him. “The God of Storms! The Horned Lord of the Covenant! Fill me with your power, O Master, and return to this world! Soon you shall be free of the prison in which your jealous rivals placed you! Come to us, Master! Come to us -- BAAL!!” …

The name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Occult Investigator and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Although I have the physical appearance of an human being; a tall, muscular gentleman with strikingly handsome Anglo-Semitic features; I am in reality far more than this. For I do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the enigmatic Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous abilities and powers that appear as “magic” to Earthlings.

Whilst the vast majority of Algolites keep to themselves, only observing the goings-on of the Universe around them, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, there exists within the government of our home-world of Daemonia a secret service organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. This agency deals with things that would be a threat to the security of Space and Time.

As an operative of the Kosmikos, I reside upon planet Earth in an immense Gothic-styled structure, perched atop a lofty escarpment in the Roland Park neighbourhood to the north of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. I am greatly assisted by my beautiful and eternally-youthful wife MRS. KATRINA CROWLEY-RUMANOS. Herself originally an human being -- a tall and slender lass of noble Scottish descent, with gorgeous ginger hair, enchanting azure-blue eyes, and skin the pure white of finest porcelain -- she was made immortal and gifted with certain powers of her own by the Kosmikos, in order to be my companion in the many and numerous adventures in which we act as agents, both upon Earth and throughout the far reaches of Outer Space.

We had recently received a message -- sent by psychic transmission across the ninety-three light-years that separate Earth from the central system of the Watchers of Algol -- from Emmos, Chief Operative of the Kosmikos. The message revealed our latest assignment but was somewhat vague concerning the facts of it. It appears we were to travel back in time to the year 1980, to the campus of Boleyn College, a small educational institution in the town of Glen Burnie, Maryland.

My wife and I accordingly arrived on campus, appearing out of the void of the Inter-Dimensional Current through which we had travelled via the Chrono-Band, a ring I wear upon the third finger of my right hand and which is actually an incredibly advanced machine capable of travel throughout Time and Space itself (with the approval of the Kosmikos, of course). We materialised in a hallway of the college, I wearing my usual dark silk suit, military-surplus boots, black leathern greatcoat and safari hat. Katrina was clad in a lavender-coloured dress and matching short cape. The passageway was eerily illuminated only by security lighting, and we immediately perceived by the directory signs that we were just outside of the archaeology section.

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

“For good reason, my beautiful one,” I replied. “According to the psychic calendar of the Chrono-Band, it is now the 25th of December, 1980. The students and staff are on Christmas break!”

“Well, at least we shouldn’t have any interference in finding what we are looking for.”

“Hopefully not, sweetie. Master Emmos said it concerns some ancient artefact that one of the professors dug up in Israel. Apparently it is connected with the god Baal!”

“Baal!” said my wife with some astonishment. “That was an idol of the Canaanites, wasn’t it?”

“Yes indeed,” I replied. “Baal or Baalberith, the so-called ‘lord of the covenant’, an abhorrent deity to whom countless hideous blood-sacrifices were made. Nevertheless, the original Baal was something even worse than that. He was a rebel of the alien species known as the Akvarians, rulers of the galaxies now known as the Magellanic Clouds. Baal came to Earth about 4000 BCE, and attempted to set up an empire for himself with human beings as his subjects. He was a tyrant, and when his fellow Akvarians found him they sentenced him to lifetime solitary incarceration within a prison upon the planet Mercury. From thence, Baal continued to exert some thought-transference power upon his cult, but never succeeded in breaking free of his imprisonment… I don’t think!”

“So this assignment could have something to do with him attempting to be freed again?” enquired my lovely spouse.

“Could be, Kat,” I replied. “But I hope not. Baal was always totally insane, you see, and mentally powerful even among Akvarians. This is why he was termed the ‘god of storms’, his wrath being said to resemble a force of nature itself. In fact, it took the combined will-power of seventy-eight other Akvarians to succeed in imprisoning him!”

“Seventy-eight! Like the seventy-eight cards of the Tarot deck?”

“Quite right, my love! The Tarot is said by some to be a symbolic account of the struggle of the Akvarian police-force against Baal. The final building in which is his prison upon Mercury is shaped like what later became the minarets of the Muslim religion, from which the Faithful are called to daily prayer. Perhaps a memory of the precaution against the evil of Baal by continued devotion to the All-Merciful One.”

“Holy Flapdoodle!” exclaimed Katrina. This was not a reaction to my religious comments, but rather to what now stood before us, for we had by now walked into the main room of the Boleyn College archaeology section, and beheld something amazing. It was a tall idol made of what appeared to be solid gold, representing an horridly-obscene bull ox!

“Blooming Hell,” I said. “The representation of Baal himself, said to have been buried by the Holy Prophet Elijah after his defeat of that hideous cult at Mount Carmel!”

“Indeed, Dr. Rumanos,” said a deep and cultured voice from behind us. “But now the golden ox has been saved from ignominy, as indeed shall be the one that it represents.”

Katrina and I turned to face the speaker. It was a distinguished-appearing gentleman of middle years, dressed in a suit and tie. He was European but his burned-bronze skin showed that he had spent quite a lot of time in harsh sunlight.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” he continued. “I am Dr. Lance Pennington, professor of archaeology and discoverer of the tomb of the prophets of BAAL, who has now made me his Prophet Extraordinary!”

With this, I noticed the professor’s eyes begin to glow with an evil blood-red effulgence, as a similar glow now surrounded the horrid idol.

“You need to stop this madness at once, Pennington,” said I. “Why do you think we would allow this demonic deity to manifest itself here in a small Maryland college? Complete and total bull he is! What, he failed to get into OXford? So who are you playing then, the Wizard of Ox?”

“Your flippancy will avail you nothing, Rumanos!” the possessed professor went on. “As neither will the power of the Watchers! Our Lord BAAL the Storm-God awakens! He shall return and have his revenge! He shall ravage this world, and destroy all life upon it!!”

I had not noticed, whilst occupied with the professor, that his four servants -- swarthy-faced men in Arabian garments, indeed the same four fellahin that had worked upon the discovery of the tomb -- had entered the room and crept up behind us. Before I could react, they suddenly sent forth a blast of ebony-black energy directly at my dear Katrina, sending her lithe figure hurtling cruelly against the far wall of the room!!

Katrina recovered quickly, her amazing powers immediately manifesting themselves as she stood up and unleashed a blast of her fantastic vermillion-and-violet flame, that wondrous “mystical fire” that she wields as Heaven’s Hell!

The fellahin, which had surrounded Kat, were only momentarily halted. The ebon energies within them, indeed being the darksome essences of the 450 prophets of Baal, quickly reasserting themselves as the battle was joined between them and my lovely Katrina.

I would have of course come to my wife’s aid forthwith, had not the evil Prof. Lance Pennington used the moment of my having been distracted by the entrance of the fellahin to enact a certain atrocity of his own. For from the possessed professor then came forth a wave of crimson energy that surrounded me as a circle of powerful psionic force.

“Now behold, Daniel Rumanos,” proclaimed Pennington, “you have brought to us the very means by which our mighty lord Baal shall be freed from his six thousand years of imprisonment. Now the god of storms shall ravage the planet and people of Earth in his revenge! All life upon this world shall be destroyed!”

As Pennington stepped forward, I realised to my total and unmitigated horror exactly what it was that he intended. As the blood-red glow of the powers of Baal continued to emanate from him, I felt an hypnotic power enter my mind. I felt myself activating my Chrono-Band and Dr. Lance Pennington and myself vanishing into the void of the Space/Time Current. Our destination being one 48 million miles from Earth -- the very place in which the Akvarians had of old imprisoned the evil Baal. Our destination: the planet Mercury!!

Now, the exact limits of the powers of the ancient Akvarians -- their very name meaning “Great Ones” -- are not fully known. Suffice to say that their abilities were incredibly and astonishingly extensive. Realise that I do believe (and indeed must believe, for the sake of my continued sanity) that my own Algolitish mind-powers could have overcome the control that Pennington, utilising the Akvarian powers of Baal, had placed upon me. Nevertheless, he had succeeded in distracting me just enough to grab hold, and I now found myself hurtling through the Current and then materialising alongside the wicked professor inside the Minaret of Mercury.

The room in which we appeared was dark but gave the feeling of lofty height. It contained a breathable artificial atmosphere, the Akvarians having been similar to Earthlings in their need for oxygen-rich air. Before us was a large oval doorway, and Pennington immediately stepped over to this and pronounced a formula in the old Akvarian tongue, along with certain code-motions of his hand necessary to open the ancient locks of what was actually the door of a demoniacal gaol cell.

The door slid open and we entered the ancient prison cell itself. It was lit with numerous red lamps along the walls, lamps of Akvarian technology that had been burning for so many millennia. For indeed before us stood, as if awakening from an ages-long slumber, a monstrously-tall, grotesquely crimson-skinned being of a vaguely humanoid shape, having an immense and spherical head and its eyes glowing with that same blood-red radiance. Forsooth, I must indeed admit that even I could not manage to repress a decided shudder as I fully and completely realised that I was standing in the presence of the ancient “deity” himself, the last of the Akvarians, he whose wrath had long ago earned him the appellation “god of storms” -- BAAL!

Now finding himself freed from his imprisonment and at indeed at liberty to return to Earth, the evil Akvarian known as Baal turned himself fully towards us. By now the enthrallment that had been placed upon me had begun to pass, and I knew that the horrid being sensed this. Feeling he had absolutely no further use for either of us, the demonic deity unleashed an awesome charge of red-glowing power at Lance Pennington and myself. The professor, now of no purpose to his would-be god, was killed instantly.

At the impact of the evil Akvarian’s blast, I then felt myself slipping to the floor and into unconsciousness.

From this, Baal turned towards the far wall of the chamber. Upon it was a sort of golden icon, its size and form the same as that of the oxen idol, symbolically representing the fierce animalistic fury of the ancient deity. As Baal approached the icon, it began to glow with the same crimson radiance that had before noted the presence of Baal’s awesome Akvarian abilities. The diabolical Baal then stepped directly into the image and disappeared.

It was only the thought of my lovely Katrina, and the concern I had over her having to face the four fellahin alone back on Earth, that had permitted me to retain consciousness. Upon observing Baal step into the golden icon, I realised what it was -- a space conveyance of the old Akvarian type. Its powers, now activated with the release of Baal’s long imprisonment, had created a link with the other one upon Earth. The result was a trans-dimensional corridor through Outer Space that the evil one could use to travel back to Earth itself -- after which nothing upon that planet would survive his destructive wrath. The human race, indeed all life upon the planet Earth, would cease to exist in the year 1980. The future as we know it would indeed be totally and completely obliterated!

I knew I had but one slim chance to save all -- if I could reach Earth, the very room containing the golden idol there in that Maryland college, before Baal did. I concentrated and activated my Chrono-Band. Utilising its time-travel abilities was not an option, as these events were now temporally locked. I dematerialised from the Minaret of Mercury just as it began to crumble and fall down all around me. Now that its millenniae-long usage as the prison of Baal was at an end, its ancient structure was decaying and it would soon be only a pile of rubble, indistinguishable from the rest of the rocky surface of that barren planet.

I appeared back at the room in the archaeology department of Boleyn College. Baal had not yet arrived, though the crimson effulgence issuing from the idol bespoke of his approach. I beheld Katrina still battling the four Palestinian peasants with her amazing Heaven’s Hell powers. I added a blast of my own orange-and-blue Algolitish force to them and sent the fellahin cascading through the wall before turning back to the horrid idol. (My powers also caused the spirits of the 450 false prophets to be exorcised from the fellahin peasants, and they, having been fully possessed by these archaic essences, were now lifeless corpses.)

Standing before the image of that obscene bull ox, I spoke the words that I had heard the late Dr. Pennington speak in ancient Akvarian, but with one difference. I uttered them in reverse, along with making the averse forms of the hand-gestures that I had observed Pennington using to free Baal. The result of this was the switching of the polarisation of the neutronic stream, closing the exit from the idol to the space corridor upon which Baal was travelling. He was no longer able to transverse to Earth, neither to return to his now-destroyed erstwhile prison upon Mercury. This caused an overload of the ancient technology contained in the idol, as the numerous fiery sparks of darksome red indeed witnessed, before the obscene image itself simply split into pieces. Its olden powers gone, it was now merely the shreds of an archaic relic. As for Baal, he suffocated and died whilst trapped in the Space-transverse corridor, with no exit possible. Thus ended the last of the Akvarians, a final conclusion to the legacy of that once great race.

By now, Katrina had come over by my side and we embraced. No words had to be spoken concerning how exultant we both were to see each other safe, yet Kat managed to find the right thing to say anyway.

“Happy Christmas, my love!” she said.

“Happy Christmas, my sweet little Kitty-Kat!” I replied merrily.

We notice that the sparks from the idol had found the 1980s-style shag carpeting of the room, which had easily caught flame.

“Hmmm,” I pondered, “I remember hearing that this college did burn to the ground. We should go now, love.”

“I know, babe,” replied Kat as I activated the Chrono-Band to return us to our own time. “We wouldn’t want to be blamed for starting the fire.”

“No, we had enough problems with that sort of thing in 1871 Chicago!”

Laughing, we then vanished together back into the void.

THE END

YET NOT QUITE THE END…
DANIEL RUMANOS WILL RETURN IN “GOBLINEYE

YOU ONLY LIVE THRICE


A Paranormal Espionage Thriller from THE ADVENTURES OF DAEMON-STAR!!!

The girl screamed in mortal terror as the creature approached her. She had only gone out to purchase a bottle of orange juice at the corner store near her apartment in the Hampden neighbourhood of Baltimore, Maryland. This young lady, whose name was Sandra Hinsdale, was a student at the local Notre Dame University, this semester being her very first time away from her home back in Denver, Colorado.

Now, Sandra had heard all the usual tales about crime and violence in the city of Baltimore, and had armed herself with a container of pepper-spray as protection against the common muggers and street thugs. However, her hands were shaking far too much to even hold it, because the thing assailing her was no ordinary criminal. In fact, it was not even human. It was a monster as out of the most feverish of nightmares, a grotesquery of horror beyond all sane imagining!

Sandra, clad in shorts and her sorority shirt on this unseasonably warm evening, her long auburn hair tied back in a ponytail, had only just begun to cut through the small alleyway on her walk to the shop when this monstrosity appeared from the shadows, immediately cutting off any possibility of escape. It was well over six feet in height and bipedal, this latter description being its only similarity to the humanoid form. You see, it was a reptile.

The reptilian horror growled menacingly as it approached the terrified girl, vile saliva trickling from the corners of its alligator-like mouth, its huge clawed hands reaching out towards her. Sandra screamed again (though the sounds of loud music and merriment issuing from a pub two blocks distant stifled any chance of her screams bringing aid) and fell down in a semi-faint, which may indeed be the only thing that saved her from the grasp of the sickening creature. For in the moment necessary for the reptile to reach down toward the frightened lass, it was suddenly hit from the side by a blast of orange and blue energies that sent it stumbling backwards across the alley.

My name is RUMANOS -- DR. DANIEL RUMANOS -- Paranormal Secret Agent and Intergalactic Man of Mystery.  Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being; a tall, strikingly handsome gentleman with noble Anglo-Semitic features and long dark hair, I am in actuality no mere mortal. For I do carry within my blood the vastly-superior genes of the mysterious Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL, this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous abilities and powers that seem rather “magical” to the people of planet Earth.

Whilst the majority of Algolites keep to themselves, merely observing the goings-on of the other species of the universe, there exists a secret service organisation deep within the government of our home-world of Daemonia which is known as the Kosmikos or Cosmic Intervention Department. I am an operative of this agency, tasked with protecting the innocent beings existing throughout the Universe from any and all threats to the peace and security of Space and Time.

On this particular night, I had been tracking something horrid through the streets of the city of Baltimore. You see, far beneath this particular town there exists a system of tunnels, and within these same live some remnants of the terrible Lizard-Men of Lemuria, that race of imperial reptiles that ruled the planet Earth during prehistoric times. The civilisation of the Reptilians was destroyed in ages past by both direct and indirect intervention of the Daemonian Kosmikos, but some debased members of this ancient saurian species continue to exist in pockets across the planet. They have lost most of their intellect and now only live on as ravening monsters, occasionally surfacing to feed upon the flesh of human beings when their usual diet of rodents and fish lessens or becomes a bore. Such was the case this time, when the disgusting Lizard-Man attacked the young girl. Fortunately, my Algolitish senses had detected the creature in time as I stalked it through the city streets. Some strange interference had prevented me from finding the thing sooner, however, and I could not help but to wonder what that could be. Whatever it was, it was a bloody annoyance on this particular evening, as I had hoped to finish my mission and get home early. You see, it was my Birthday.

The young girl screamed again and fell into a swoon upon seeing my alien powers hit the Reptilian. The monster recovered more quickly than I had expected and roared terrifyingly as it turned towards me. I noticed a sort of pouch being worn on a rusted chain about the creature’s scaly waist. Did this contain whatever it was that had seemingly enhanced the monstrosity’s strength, and which had partially hidden it from my senses? Was it perhaps some relic of Lemurian technology? (Indeed, it is the existence of such things that has continued to make the city of Baltimore an attractant for so much eldritch weirdness over the years.)

I readied another wave of my Algolitish energies as the monstrosity charged towards me, its jaws hissing nauseating amounts of reptilian spittle. Nevertheless, before I could cast my bolt of energy at it, the thing suddenly reached into the pouch upon its chain and brought forth in its talons an odd lump of stone.

The Lizard-Man held up the stone before me and I swear I heard the reptile laugh, a horrible guffaw of mindless amusement as it saw the effect the stone had upon me. For this stone, this seemingly-innocent chunk of rock, was made of a substance known as Evaerlium -- a radioactive element that was believed long since eliminated from existence, and which can have the effect of draining a Watcher of their very powers!

I stumbled weakly as that Reptilian horror held the Evaerlium before me. I felt my abilities weaken and pass away from me and realised I was now helpless to fight the monster. There was only one chance, one hope of what I could do in order to recuperate my powers in time to destroy the reptile and save the girl. I looked at the ring upon the third finger of my right hand. It was the Chrono-Band that Master Quaddos, Psychic Weapons Specialist for the Kosmikos, had given me. I concentrated upon the ring and whispered some formulae in ancient Algolitish into it. With this, I disappeared from the world of present-day Earth into the swirling mists of the inter-dimensional Current that traverses all of Time and Space.

And so there, in that darksome alleyway in the city of Baltimore, I had left the helpless girl known as Sandra Hinsdale to the horrid clutches of the monstrous and ravenous Lizard-Man!! …

I drifted through the inter-dimensional Current, protected by the sphere created with the powers of the Chrono-Band. After a short while, I saw the grey mists change into a swirling kaleidoscope of colours as I journeyed deeper into the passageways of Time. For I knew that the only way to undo the harm that exposure to the Evaerlium had caused me was to literally find myself -- me at an earlier phase of my existence.

The weakness and sickness brought upon by the loss of my powers was something I could feel palpably. Fortunately, the Chrono-Band is programmed to work independently of my psychic commands when necessary. Eventually, the bizarre mists began to clear, and I heard the odd whispering, moaning sound of breaking forth once again into the realms of physical existence.

I then found myself standing in what appeared to be an immense carnival midway, surrounded by a plethora of gaudy displays, gaming areas, and food-stands. After a few moments of confusion, I realised where I was -- the Maryland State Fair -- with the clothing and hairstyles of the people patronising this event making it obvious that I had travelled back several decades.

I walked past the various vendors until I beheld what -- or rather whom -- I had hoped to find. He was dressed as I was, in a silk suit and military-style boots, but unlike me he was coatless. I had made no sound, but he turned around to look at me, and I saw his face -- my face -- as I had looked then. You see, when I had first come to live upon the planet Earth, among human beings, I had used an Algolitish process in order to Rejuvenate my appearance into that of a very-young appearing man. This allowed me to at least “age” somewhat normally (by human standards) for a while, therefore not inciting comment from the curious and superstitious Earthlings.

“Oy,” exclaimed the other me (whom I shall henceforth refer to in this account as The First Daniel in order to avoid unnecessary confusion), “it’s you -- I mean me -- isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I replied. “I should not be here, as you know, but circumstances have made it necessary.”

I explained to him as quickly as possible concerning my exposure to Evaerlium. I knew that he would likely forget most of our meeting as soon as I had left, due to the effects of having crossed my own Time-Line.

“What I need right now,” I continued, “is a Psyche-Bond; in order to heal the harm that the Evaerlium has done to me.”

The First Daniel agreed and we concentrated upon each other, briefly touching minds according to an ancient method of the Watchers. I felt my powers and health begin to be restored.

“Now that we’ve done that,” said the First Daniel, “is there anything you can do to help me? Come on, you know why I am here.”

Forsooth, I did. For this had been the very time in which I had been searching for the missing girl named Katrina Crowley -- she who would later become my beloved wife!

“Well, I cannot tell you many details of the future,” I replied.

“I know. The bloody Absolute Convention of the Watchers would be more than a bit ticked at that, eh?”

“Indeed! But I can advise you to walk in that direction, hmmm?”

With this, I motioned briefly towards a spot down the midway to a stand at the far end over which was a sign proclaiming “Doyne’s Pony Rides”.

“Thanks much! Oh, by the way, nice jacket,” the First Daniel proclaimed, admiring my leathern greatcoat as he began to walk briskly towards the area I had indicated. “I should get one like it!”

“Oh, I am quite certain you will,” I replied with a slight smile as I again activated the Chrono-Band and left my former self to continue with the exceedingly momentous adventure I remembered so well.

Once again in the Current, I concentrated upon my next destination. For contact with my earlier self had only begun to restore my powers. In order to complete the process, I realised I would have to find myself once again, still within my own past but somewhat later in my history than the time of the First Daniel.

I materialised in a sprawling industrial area that I recognised as being in south Baltimore. There was a strange odour in the air that I knew was more than the usual pollution. For this was the time in which I had only just defeated that horrid leader of the Cuevas crime family from the dwarf planet Pluto. This nauseatingly crustaceous creature -- that had been attempting to stir up a war between the planets Earth and Saturn so that it could then profit by selling armaments to both sides -- I had only managed to kill by luring it towards the Westport smokestack, and then using my abilities to deactivate the hovering transport device it was utilising, causing the alien horror to fall into the incinerator.

“All right,” a voice proclaimed from behind me. “Turn around slowly, and do not make any sudden movements.”

I did so, recognising this voice, despite its severity, as my own. As I turned, again recognised myself, now as I had been during the era of whom we shall term The Second Daniel. He (I) was again dressed as I was, including the coat this time, but had about him a very aura of suspicion and hardboiled distrust. I stood before him, still somewhat weak and sickly from exposure to the Evaerlium.

“I know what you appear to be,” continued the Second Daniel. “I also know you are just the kind of blooming illusion that miscreant creature and its allies may have created to decoy me! If you are me, you can defend against this,” (Here he generated a massive charge of orange and blue Algolitish power and prepared to use it against me -- something I knew that in my presently weakened condition I could not withstand). “Otherwise, you shall be destroyed!!”

You see, this particular era of my life which I have here chosen to term that of “The Second Daniel” was one in which I was living under an imposed delusion. Indeed, it was a delusion to which I had agreed in order to assist the Kosmikos in resetting the celestial timelines that had been vandalised by certain occurrences. Hence, my ominous attitude at this instance.

I had to think quickly as the Second Daniel prepared to blast me with Algolitish energies. In my present, still-weakened condition, I could not be assured of being able to endure this. Indeed, I had no idea what would happen if he hit me full-force. There is simply no precedent for such an incident.

“Think before you do this!” I urged. “Think and remember! Remember the words of Abdul al-Hazred!”

Forsooth, it was the very words of two verses by that mediaeval poet, he who was called “The Mad Arab”, that were to act as the trigger to free the Second Daniel’s consciousness from the aberrant misconception under which he was labouring in his then-current undercover mission.

“’That is not dead which can eternal lie,” he quoted in response, “’and with strange aeons EVEN DEATH MAY DIE’.”

As he spoke these last four words of the old Arabian poem, I saw a dawn of awakening upon his face. The orb of power that he had prepared against me dissipated as he again spoke:

“You mean… she is…” he said, his eyes glistening with moisture.

“Yes!” I replied. “Yes, she is! Katrina is alive!!! The Watchers have made her immortal so that she shall be with you forever! Together you shall always have the most amazing and incredible adventures as the Algolite Avengers and Agents of the Kosmikos -- both upon Earth and across the vast reaches of the Universe!”

“Strewth!” he exclaimed. “I should have known! Exactly the sort of assignment I would have agreed to in one of my bloody great ‘heroic self-sacrifice’ moods, eh?”

“Indeed, it is,” I rejoined. “Why is it always us?”

“So you actually are me from the future, then?”

“Yes, more or less. I’ve come because I need your help.”

I proceeded to fill him in concerning my exposure to the Evaerlium, and we performed the brief Psyche-Bond that, this time, fully restored my powers and abilities as a Watcher of the Daemon-Star.

“Oy vey, before you go,” enquired the Second Daniel, “I know I will forget anyway, but can you tell me…?”

“When we will see Kat again?”

“Yes, somehow, knowing that, even hidden somewhere deeply within my subconscious. Knowing when. That will enable me to deal with certain things.”

“Soon,” I assured him. “Very soon.” 

“Sorry about before. I’m a big bloke, and I hadn’t had me tea,” he said with a slight smile. “Be sure to give Katrina my love, hmmm?”

Always,” I stated, as I again began to dematerialise into the inter-dimensional mists of the Time/Space Current. …

Sandra Hinsdale had partially recovered consciousness. She could no longer scream, so great was the young girl’s terror, her horror, as the ravenous Reptilian approached her helpless form. She could only whimper softly in total abject fear as the hideous Lizard-Man opened its hungry jaws and lunged towards her!!

I reappeared from the swirling mists of the inter-dimensional Current just as the monster began to close its jaws. I was several yards away, but the interruption was enough for its primitive instincts to perceive my presence. It immediately turned away from its would-be meal of innocent human flesh and snarled in my direction. Then the horrid Reptilian began to reach its hideously taloned hand into the pouch containing the Evaerlium.

I quickly unleashing a wave of Algolitish energy directly at the horrible creature. My powers, now greatly enhanced due to my contact with my earlier selves, hit the scaly Lemurian Lizard-Man squarely and dissolved it and the Evaerlium (before it could again expose me to this substance) completely out of existence. In a few moments, it was as if the hideous Reptile had never even been there.

“What a croc,” I exclaimed.

I then went over and helped the girl to her feet. She was still shaking in fear and stammered --

“What… What happened? What was that… thing?!”

“Sorry about all that, miss,” I apologised. “It seems you inadvertently walked into a costumed rehearsal for my stage magic act. I’m Daniel Rumanos, the magician and illusionist.”

I thought it best to use one of my “cover” personas in order to explain away what the terrified young lady had experienced.

“You’re a magician?” she enquired, beginning to recover somewhat from her shock. “You mean like at children’s parties?”

“Something like that,” I lied. “This alleyway is just behind the theatre we use.”

Sandra accepted the explanation. After all, what else could it all have been? I escorted her safely to her near by apartment building and then turned towards my own dwelling, that being Castle Rumanos, the immense and imposing Gothic structure that exists perched atop a lofty escarpment in the posh Roland Park neighbourhood to the north of Baltimore City. I was late getting home and hoped my wife was not too worried about me. I knew she had been busy preparing a nice evening for me. As I said before, it was my Birthday.

As I returned home that night, walking through the huge doorway of the Castle, I attempted to remember how old I -- The Third Daniel! -- actually am. Around a billion, I should think, in Earth years -- give or take a few stray millennia.

Whilst musing on this, I strolled into the receiving-room and the lithe figure of my gorgeous and eternally-youthful wife MRS. KATRINA RUMANOS literally flew into my arms. She was wearing the pink-and-white Victorian-style gown that she knows is one of my favourites.

“Awwwww! I’m so glad you’re home, my love!” she said sweetly, her wondrous eyes flashing like bright-blue sapphires. “I missed you! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Let’s celebrate!! I’ve made a special dinner for you!”

“Scottish Kosher?” I winked.

“Of course!” she responded with a giggle, “And wait until you see all the gifts that have arrived for you from all over the Universe!”

“That is fantastic, my beautiful one!” I replied, as I  stroked her silky ginger hair. “Sorry I am late, Katrine alanna. I had some work to finish. I really do love you so much!” 

“I love you too, babe, and it’s all right,” said my lovely Katrina as she kissed me. “It is funny how time slips away sometimes, isn’t it?”

THE END OF “YOU ONLY LIVE THRICE, OR THE THREE DANIELS

DANIEL RUMANOS WILL RETURN IN “MINARETS OF MERCURY