THE ADVENTURES OF DAEMON-STAR by Daniel Rumanos

THE MAGIC OF DANIEL RUMANOS



I had just finished the show that night, doing my fantastic and amazing stage magic act at the luxurious theatre of the TropicLand Casino/Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, when a very beautiful young girl came backstage respectfully expressing the desire to see me. This is, in itself, a not at all unusual occurrence. I am, after all, a very handsome gentleman, and this coupled with my most astonishing performance of incredible illusion, legendary legerdemain, and professional prestidigitation brings me quite a plethora of admiration from the feminine set.


However, this young woman had decided to venture backstage for quite a different reason: She needed to speak with me in my capacity as DR. DANIEL RUMANOS: Occult Detective. The girl’s name was Selena Garcia, she was about 5’5” tall, dark hair, big brown eyes, with a gorgeous, slender figure. She said she worked at one of the local gift-shops in order to earn money for college. Certainly commendable, I must say.

But what had brought her to see me were her concerns over the unusual lights in the sky she had been seeing over the past couple of weeks. Strange, greenish flashes of illumination which no one else seemed to be noticing. She assured me she used no drugs or other substances which would cause her to see things that weren’t there, and I could tell by her manners and obvious intelligence that she was certainly not the type to make use of illegal narcotics. (I make no secret of the fact that I despise the use of such things, most especially the nauseatingly noxious weed known as marijuana.)

The lights had continued -- she told me -- night after night, as she walked home from work, and outside her window as she lay in bed. When she would look directly at the sky, they would stop, and there would be an impression -- just an impression, mind you -- that something had just ever-so-quickly moved away as she raised her eyes toward it.

I heard this tale from her, and wondered. It reminded me of a previous encounter, but one which I was certain would not be repeated, wasn’t I? You do understand?!

Still, I wondered.

As I listened to her story patiently and with much interest, I nevertheless was a bit distracted. I had not eaten dinner before doing the show and was therefore feeling a bit peckish. So I asked the girl if she would care to accompany me to an all-night sandwich shop with which I was familiar on the Boardwalk, where we could continue to discuss her problem and have a much-needed (in my case, anyway) bite to eat. She happily agreed.

We walked outside into the night and duly arrived at the aforesaid eatery, where I had a corned beef on rye and Selena had a salad. As we left, we continued to talk about her odd recent experiences as we strolled along the mostly-closed but still brightly-lit Boardwalk for which Atlantic City is so famous.

But suddenly the Boardwalk was plunged into darkness -- an unexplainable city-wide power-outage -- and we were left in the abrupt, Stygian gloom of that moonless night.

Before we could even react to this, a further -- and much, much more serious -- complication arose. A series of baleful, sickly-greenish lights flashed through the sky, and then seemed to settle into a circle around us. Selena grabbed my arm and held tightly to me, shivering with fear.

Then, appearing out of the gloom into that grotesque glow were several short, weirdly humanoid figures of a type I had thought I would never again encounter. They were green-skinned, with slight, skinny bodies and large heads. Their eyes were completely black and they had no visible nose and only a lipless slit for a mouth. Each of them was holding a rather formidable-appearing ray-gun aimed in our direction. We were surrounded and trapped.

As much as I logically wanted to deny it, I knew what they were. I also knew that the young girl was in greater danger than I had feared from these bizarre little creatures. For I knew what their sickening intentions for her actually involved, and I must admit that I quite shuddered at the thought.

They were Slozenirians!

*****

I immediately sent out a circular blast of my own occult energies in order to scatter the extraterrestrials. I then grabbed Selena’s hand and we ran down the Boardwalk away from them.

The Slozenirian creatures were in pursuit, and several blasts from their ray-guns came dangerously close to us before we had managed to outdistance them. Fortunately for the girl and myself, the planet from which these invaders derive has a much lower gravity than Earth, causing them to be rather hampered by the extra weight of this planet. It is also obvious from their appearance that they are just not quite built for feats of great physical endurance.

Selena and I then ducked into an alcove and went to rest for a moment behind an escalator between two of the local curio shops.

“What are those things, Dr. Rumanos?” she asked breathlessly.

“They are aliens from the distant planet Slozeniria,” I replied. “All of the females of their species were wiped out by a plague, and now they are attempting to kidnap human women to use in their breeding experiments.”

“Ewwwww!” said the girl in disgust at the idea.

“The thing is, I thought the last of the male Slozinirians were destroyed the last time I encountered them. I wonder how have these survived, and why they have appeared here at this particular time…”

Then I had a sudden realization: The Slozenirians had invaded Atlantic City, with their plot to abduct young women, mere weeks before the Miss America Pageant would be held in that very city!! Obviously, while protecting the beautiful Selena -- whom they had targeted as a preliminary -- was my first priority, this hideous invasion was only going to get much worse if I didn’t stop them -- and soon!

But how had they survived? I had seen what were believed to be the last of the Slozenirian species killed and their spaceship crashed, broken into pieces many years ago. Yet, I wondered…

However, my thoughts were soon interrupted by the flash of ray-gun fire mere inches from my head. The aliens had caught up with us!

The girl and I jumped on the escalator and quickly rose to the upper level of this section of the Boardwalk’s shopping area. The Slozenirians followed us, there being no time for me to muse at the humorous elements inherent in the sight of these strange, grotesquely alien creatures availing themselves of such prosaically human a technology as an escalator.

We continued to run through the upper shopping level. It is good that the late hour led to all of the shops being closed, as the danger to which any innocent bystanders would have been exposed would have been incredible and horridly extraordinary.

My goal was to attempt to lead the extraterrestrials to a safe stand-off area, were I could use my mystical powers against them. Finding somewhere where Selena would be protected in the meantime was an added problem. Obviously, she was what they were after. I was just in the way, according to their evil estimation.

Then, we came to the end of the balcony that served as the outdoor shopping mall, and I realized it was now or never. The wicked Slozenirians were close behind us and I threw myself in front of the young girl in order to protect her at all costs as I readied to pit my magical energies against their technologically fantastic ray-gun weaponry.

But, before such a bizarre fire-fight could ever occur, a further, horrendously heinous and phantasmagorical shock overtook us --

Above us, in the Empusan darkness of that east-coast sky appeared an huge, hideous Slozenirian spacecraft, of the type that can only politely be described as “cigar-shaped”.

I then heard Selena scream in total abject terror as the ship’s greenish tractor-beam lifted her up towards the obscenely-glowing alien craft!!

*****

I knew, of course, that I could not under any circumstances allow the Slozenirians to abduct the girl, so I took the only course open to me at the moment: I jumped up and out over the balcony-rail and directly into the path of the horrible alien tractor-beam ray. I immediately found myself also rising upward towards the hovering spaceship!

After a few brief moments of unconscious blackness, Selena and I found ourselves standing on the large bridge of the ship, surrounded by a dozen or so of the small but frightening Slozenirian creatures, all of them now on board. I noticed that a side-effect of the modified tractor-ray had removed the girl’s clothes and that she was now completely nude, shivering in distressing fear at her terribly horrifying situation. The occult properties with which my own overcoat is imbued had fortunately saved me from accidentally undergoing a similar indignity.

It was obvious from what I could see through the high-set, “porthole”-like windows that the ship had moved into Earth-orbit.

Suddenly, the group of aliens surrounding us parted and another figure glided through them. He was one of their own species, but his body was even smaller and more shrivelled than theirs, necessitating his use of a technologically advanced, floating “wheelchair”. His head was much larger, appearing grotesquely huge atop his strangely emaciated form.

“I am the commander of this vessel,” the creature stated in its oddly precise, emotionless tone. “We had not intended to transport a male of the species aboard; only the female being in any way necessary for the experiments by which we shall endeavour to replenish our dying race.”

“Your Slozenirian species is known to me,” I countered, “But I had thought that the last of your kind had already been destroyed.”

“Our ship was away on an extended scientific research mission when the plague ravaged our home-world. We then returned to find all of our females dead, and the last of the males having left the planet -- but they had provided information, in case of the event of our return, that suitable females could indeed be found on the distant world known to its inhabitants as Earth. We, as Slozenirians of the scientific caste, are of course all male.”

“Dios!” exclaimed Selena, recovering some of her naturally hot temperament. “Good result of your chauvinism, huh?”

“Our society discovered countless ages ago,” continued the alien commander, “that females are only suitable for breeding purposes, the preparation of necessary sustenance, and related activities.”

“The young lady is quite right, Commander,” said I with a grin, “Your unenlightened attitude has certainly put you in quite a predicament, hasn’t it?”

“It is no matter. Soon the area which you call Atlantic City will furnish us with the select females of your race, and we shall breed a new, superior genus of the once-mighty Slozenirian species.”

So I discovered that I had been correct in my supposition that the extraterrestrials were targeting the upcoming Miss America Pageant!! Oy gevalt!

“You cannot be allowed to do this, Commander,” I said. “I am quite certain that the people of Earth will not react at all kindly to the abduction of their innocent young girls.”

“There is nothing they can do to stop us. We are the superior Slozenirian species, and those females which are taken shall be genetically enhanced in order to bring them to a suitable level for breeding with us. We will begin with this one, which our instruments show to be of a physically and mentally high type despite unfortunately being an Earthling.”

The group of hideous Slozenirian creatures advanced towards the beautiful Selena, who backed away from them in total disgust and unspeakable horror. But there was nowhere to run.

I quickly generated a circle of orange and purplish psychic energy and put it around the helplessly nude girl so the ghastly aliens could not molest her. At this, the Commander visibly started, showing the first inkling of emotion since I had encountered him. His large, ebon eyes seemed to grow wider.

“The power you wield is identified,” he said. “It is the science of the Demonians of Algol, ancient enemies of the Slozenirian race. It is they who, eons past, took to sabotaging our experiments in what would have led to time-travel capabilities. It is also they who are most suspect of having willingly introduced the viral plague which has all but wiped out our people. In so using this energy you have shown yourself to be a mortal foe who must be destroyed. Your brain will now be split asunder by the superior intellect of Slozenirian supremacy.”

I then felt the creature enter my mind as a horribly powerful, eldritch force. My head suddenly erupted in utter, shocking pain as the Slozenirian commander sent his own violently strong and impressively formidable psychic energy in an evilly concentrated endeavour to totally shatter my brain!!

*****

I then quickly countered the Commander’s psychic attack with my own incredibly great and immensely magnificent mentalist powers, and we were soon locked in the hideous holds of mind-wrestling -- two vastly superior intellects, as far above the ordinary human mind as the latter is above the absolutely lowest form of unicellular organism, clasped in a battle for supremacy which -- at best -- only one of us could survive.

The excruciating pain in my head continued as the grotesquely evil Slozenirian attempted to overload my mind and to affect the complete psyche-physical link, but I soon managed to overcome his hold and reverse his effort. I then, finally, heard the creature screech in mortal agony as his brain ruptured and I knew that I had prevailed.

The Slozenirian commander then fell to the floor in horribly agonizing death as his large head split entirely open, with horridly viscid blood and revolting alien brain-matter then oozing profusely around his now-stilled form.

Without his influence, the other Slozenirians were now completely without purpose, their own extraterrestrial hive-mind shutting down and the entire crew of them immediately sinking into a most profound sleep -- indeed, a form of hibernation. Seeing that she was now safe from their assault, I then removed the energy field surrounding the still-nude Selena.

But then, the alien spaceship began to lurch horribly and quickly accelerate in a direct dive towards Earth, its engines themselves being a part of the very same Slozenirian consciousness which had now been severed by the Commander‘s defeat and death, subjecting the ship itself without any hindrance whatsoever to the planet’s gravitation pull!

The situation was far too crucial and immediate for me to take the time and remove the crystalline core of the ship’s warp-engines. I knew that when the ship reached a very short distance over the surface of the planet Earth it would be destroyed in what actually amounted to a nuclear explosion -- therefore endangering the lives of millions of innocent human beings.

There being no time to lose, I made a few quick but highly technically-advanced modifications and adjustments to the spacecraft’s control panel. I then grabbed the girl and, again using the strange powers that I so masterfully wield, quickly teleported us both back to Atlantic City.

The beautiful young Selena and I materialised again on the Boardwalk, it now being daylight, the area thickly thronged with tourists. I then quickly took off my coat and draped it around the naked girl, who couldn’t help giggling in what was indeed an unusual combination of embarrassment and relief that she was now safely returned to Earth -- saved, along with the more generalised feminine pulchritude of the Miss America Pageant, from the terrible threat of sexual harm from the wickedly immoral Slozenirian species.

(As for the doomed Slozenirian spaceship, I had sent it into time-slip to early in the 20th Century, where it would explode over a rather barren region of Siberia, therefore doing as little harm as was at all possible in the situation.)

It was assumed when I appeared on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City with the gorgeous (and totally nude) Miss Selena Garcia, that this -- as well as the brief “electrical outage” and the weird lights that some had noticed in the sky the night before -- was all a publicity stunt for my magic show at the TropicLand Theatre. It was accordingly held over there for several more weeks, to huge audiences and great critical acclaim.

And so, after having experienced her extraordinary break from normal life, the girl Selena quit her job at the gift-shop and instead became a breathtakingly lovely assistant in my amazing and astounding show of magic and illusion, the young lady making more than enough money by the time my local star booking was over to completely cover her tuition at the illustrious Columbia University, at which august institution I hear that she has, appropriately enough, decided to major in astrophysics, and is thus far meeting with a quite considerable amount of success.