***** A TRUE WEIRD ADVENTURES Espionage Thriller!!! *****

“There is indeed an alluring thread of mystery running through the silky lace lingerie of existence. My mission is to expertly isolate and unravel it in order to completely expose that which lies beneath.”

I must begin by confessing that I absolutely despised the thought of being anywhere near this bloody “Psychic Fair”. That such events exist in the Twenty-First Century, still catering to the superstitions found in only the lowest form of peasant, is bad enough. That it was being held in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, made it even worse, as that particular town tends to appeal to blooming idiotic enthusiasts of the American Civil War, which tend to be hideously lowbred “redneck” types. Of course, they all wish the Confederates had won, and tend to fantasise about having a collection of Negro slave-girls to sexually molest on a nightly basis. Revolting individuals, indeed.

However, the worse result of this Psychic Fair malarkey is the fact that a few of its participants have actually managed to contact something -- not something “spiritual”, as they ignorantly assert (either as abject con-artists or as actual believers), but rather those bizarre extraterrestrial beings that exist on the hidden edges of Time and Space, waiting for their chance to invade, conquer, and to indeed enslave the human race.

Such was the case with the execrable individual I was currently facing. His name was Teddy A. Roberts, originally from the small town of Emmitsburg, Maryland, and he was wearing a ludicrous “Musketeer” costume upon his morbidly-obese frame. He had been booked at the fair as a strolling entertainer, but had suddenly announced his intention of using the event as a springboard for his conquest of planet Earth. 

“I am the Solar Swashbuckler,” he abruptly proclaimed in a loud voice that echoed across the fairgrounds, “and you all will kneel down before me!”

With his announcement, a sudden discharge of uncomfortably bright light unexpectedly shone forth from Teddy Roberts, forsooth catching the attention of the crowd.

“I am the reincarnation of Donarree the Musketeer,” he continued, this being some Seventeenth Century individual who had been suspected of witchcraft, “and I bring you the true religion!”

It was then that I revealed my own presence at this ridiculous event, having until that moment appeared as merely an attendee, idly browsing the various displays on that sunny day, dressed in my usual silk suit, jungle-boots, leathern greatcoat, dark spectacles, and safari hat.

“Halt thee, Donna Rae,” said I. “You will cease with this unseemly display immediately. I am Daniel Rumanos of Algol, and I declare you to now be under arrest by orders of the Kosmikos!”

“No, Algolian!” he retorted in a decidedly mocking tone. “The Solarians have warned me of your interference! I deal in family-style entertainment! We know of you, you would-be heroic Hebephile and legendary arcane Casanova! I am their Solar Swashbuckler, and you will not go on living without our permission!”

So, the intelligence we had received was correct. This Roberts individual had in sooth contacted a rebellious faction of the Solarian race. The Solarians are a species of semi-corporeal beings that normally live upon the surface of the Sun. For the most part, they are peaceful and of a quite tranquil temper. Nevertheless, there are occasional uprisings among them of groups of individuals who wish to come forth from their proper Solar abode and expand across the planets. Apparently, they had perceived Teddy A. Roberts to be an easily-influenced disciple, and were using him in order to declare their horrid intentions to invade Earth.

“You will surrender immediately, Sun-worshipper” I responded calmly. “You will place yourself in my custody and the Solarian influence shall be removed from you, otherwise I am authorised to immediately assassinate you.”

"No no no NOOOOOOO, Daniel Rumanos!” screamed the Solarian-possessed Teddy Roberts. “You will now feel the mighty power of the new masters of this world!!”

And with this, Roberts suddenly sent forth an horridly concentrated burst of burning Solarian energy that hit me directly with a tremendous and intense heat, sending me careening out of control across the fairgrounds!!

In my headline flight I crashed through several stands advertising fake psychic mediums, various badly-printed books by self-published “authors”, and even some nonsense entitled “Gettysburg Ghost Gadgets”, a proprietor that furnished pseudo-scientific devices to the intellectually-challenged “paranormal investigator” types. Blooming imbeciles, the whole bloody lot of them. I also knocked over a refreshment stand labelled “Ye Olde Myst Coffee Room”, which was run by a trashy chav woman from Sheepstown, West Virginia, who attempted to make herself appear more “exotic” by donning ridiculous fancy dress and by inexplicably claiming to be a “Gypsy“. Bitch.

Nevertheless, I soon enough recovered my self-control and quickly turned back to once again stand face-to-face with the execrable Teddy A. Roberts, AKA the self-proclaimed “Donarree, the Solar Swashbuckler”.

“All right then, Dungaree the Muscatel,” I proclaimed to him. “That does it!”

And with this, I then cast forth a powerful wave of my own orange and blue-black Algolitish energies directly at the Solarian-possessed criminal. My force surrounded him as a shimmering sphere, fully trapping the extraterrestrial energies of the Solarian entities inside it along with his comparatively frail human form.

Having nowhere else to which they could escape in their elemental need to shed Solar heat, the flaming-yellow entities then proceeded to turn on each other -- and in sooth upon Teddy Roberts! He screamed and shrieked in extreme abject agony as his body was burned into a crispy husk, then reduced to mere cinders. Soon all that remained of the self-proclaimed “family-style swashbuckler” was but tiny pile of blackened ashes.

I released the power of my energy barrier and so set free the essences of the Solarians. No longer having the now-deceased Roberts as their host, they would immediately return to their appropriate place upon the Sun.

“Remember, everyone,” I expostulated in announcement to the surrounding spectators, who by now stood about quite gaped-mouthed in wonder, “exposure to sunlight causes damage to and premature ageing of the skin.”

Then, with another show of my own alien powers (knowing that any report of this incident reaching the local authorities would be dismissed as just another delusion of the moronic “occult” enthusiasts), I teleported out of the area. …

My name is indeed RUMANOS -- DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Although I have the physical appearance of an human being -- a tall, strongly-built gentleman with dark hair and strikingly-handsome Anglo-Semitic features -- I am in reality far more than this. For I do carry within my blood the superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL; this extraterrestrial heritage granting me numerous powers and abilities that appear “magic” or “supernatural” to the people of planet Earth.

The vast majority of Algolites, being as they are indeed Masters of all Space and Time, tend to live in isolation from the rest of the Universe. However, there does exist hidden deeply within the government of our people a secret service agency that is known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. The purpose of the Kosmikos is to covertly intercede in cases that threaten the security of existence anywhere throughout the incalculable reaches of Creation. Plausible Deniability and all that. I am an operative of this organisation, stationed upon Earth from whence I work undercover in many varied amazing and incredible adventures upon Earth and indeed throughout all the unknowable vastness of the Cosmos!!

My battle with the sickening individual known to infamy as Teddy A. Roberts and his Solarian Masters was but a minor skirmish indeed in comparison to a truly incredible experience in which I was soon after this involved, an amazingly bizarre adventure that led to me travelling to another world in the -- VENUSBALL!

It all started at teatime. My incomparably beautiful and eternally youthful wife, Katrina, and I were pleased to be hosting a quite distinguished guest that day at Rumanos Castle, this being our home located atop a lofty escarpment to the north of the city of Baltimore, Maryland.

Our guest was my old friend Sir Roger Westmore, the renowned and eminent Oxford sociologist.

“I say, Westmore,” said I as I poured him a cup of our highly-caffeinated Scottish-brew tea, “Capital to see you! So how is the lecture tour going?”

“Quite well, Rumanos old chap,” he answered. “I was rather pleased to see you both in attendance at my presentation at Hopkins last evening.”

“Absolutely, my good man. We most certainly would not miss it for worlds. I must say, however, you quite went over those students’ heads when you so skilfully and admirably defended the role of traditional heterosexuality in society.”

“Indeed, indeed,” returned Sir Roger with an obvious mixture of amusement and annoyance at the stupidity he had perceived to be present in even some supposedly well-educated human beings. “Good heavens, I believe that I even heard some of them begin to mumble something about ‘rape culture’ and other such foolishness.”

“I heard them,” added Katrina. “They say that about any fellow who behaves like a real man these days. You should be proud!”

“Thank you so very kindly, Lady Rumanos,” stated Sir Roger with a very proper and courtly bow of the head. “I have indeed noticed that you never see truly strong and attractive women believing in such things.”

Sir Roger Westmore, elegantly clad in his suit and tie, was indeed a true gentleman of the old school.  He was a lifelong bachelor, having dedicated his life to scholarly pursuits (along with the occasional cricket match). Now fifty, but as strong and active as a man half his age, he was tall and well-built, his dark hair only slightly greying at the temples.

“I must say, Rumanos, my old friend,” he continued, “it is actually quite nice to finally have the chance to see your wonderful home. I have indeed heard so much of your unusual adventures over the last several years.”

“Indeed,” I replied. “Quite a few of our exploits have now appeared before the public, though they are largely dismissed as fictional. In sooth, those who believe in the so-called ‘paranormal‘ are as a rule far too illiterate in order to even begin to understand the accounts, and the vast majority of others simply assume them to be merely works of fantasy.”

“I say, what incredible experiences you have had! Even voyaging, as part of your ongoing missions, into that last frontier of Outer Space! Exploring weird, previously-unknown worlds, meeting alien life-forms and extraterrestrial civilisations…” 

“If you gentlemen will excuse me for a minute…” said Katrina.

Sir Roger and I stood up as my wife left the room. She was going, I knew, to get the special treat she had insisted on herself preparing for tea that day.

As soon as Kat exited the area, as if it had in some way waited for this, a very unusual thing happened. Sir Roger Westmore and I were suddenly surrounded by a spherical ball of white energy, and I heard the unmistakable electronic sounds of it slipping, along with us, into the inter-dimensional vortex of Time/Space-Warp!

“I say, Rumanos,” exclaimed Sir Roger, “would you be so kind as to inform me as to what exactly is happening here?”

I must admit that I was quite impressed at his calmness at the matter. Verily, I am certain that most Earthlings of his time would well-nigh beshit themselves in any such situation.

“It is definitely some kind of space vehicle, Westmore,” I responded. “Wait a moment…”

I concentrated on the Chrono-Band, the ring I wear that is actually a piece of highly-advanced Algolite technology. As I suspected it would, it was partially responding to the motion of the sphere in which we had been abducted.

“According to this,” I continued, “our trajectory is towards a location that lies approximately forty million kilometres from planet Earth. I say, old chap, I say! This means of transport is in actuality none other than a rocket to Venus!”

“Good heavens, old man,” said Westmore. “But who would take us in such a manner -- and why?”

“I must admit I do not as yet know. It is not a type of Venusian technology from any of their known eras. We are indeed moving extraordinarily far through the Time-Stream as well, but the interface is, due to blockage from some type of energy field, not allowing me to see how far -- or indeed even in which direction! We could be going to the planet Venus in the days of its most incredibly-ancient prehistory, or perhaps to some distant age in its incalculably distant future!”

Then, the white “Venusball” began to slow down, and we soon materialised, at which the space sphere vanished from around us.

We found ourselves in a tunnel with rounded walls. It was of obvious artificial construction, and lighted by a hidden technological source. The air, which was breathable and Earth-like, contained a definite scent as of enticingly sweet perfume.

“I say, Rumanos,” my companion stated in enquiry, “are we actually on the planet Venus?”

(For sooth, I thought of saying something along the lines of “What else would it be then, a bloody pub or a dry cleaning shop?” but I decided to be polite to the intelligent -- yet quite understandably amazed at this juncture -- gentleman who was my dear old friend Sir Roger Westmore.)

“Quite right, Westmore,” I then replied. “Nevertheless, I still have no idea at all in what time, or indeed for what purpose we could have been transported here. The technology involved is not really like anything in the known history of the Solar System. Let us probe further into this mystery, shall we?”

We walked cautiously down the hallway of the antechamber-like corridor. The door at the far end of it slid open automatically as we approached.

We continued through and immediately beheld a wonder indeed. We had now entered a lofty chamber, elegantly lit and furnished with numerous couches and pillows, in sooth looking quite like a mediaeval Eastern seraglio. Lounging wistfully upon these cushions we observed a bevy of breathtakingly gorgeous young girls, all of them quite slender and blonde, their totally-nude skin of a dazzling whiteness and their eyes like shining sapphires.

Phwoar!” exclaimed Sir Roger, momentarily losing his usual sense of genteel decorum -- something that I could find perfectly understandable under the circumstances.

It was then that a long, erect shaft suddenly rose up from the floor. I could immediately perceive from its construction that it was a piece of alien computer equipment.

“Greetings to you,” came forth a pleasant but electronic voice from the metallic column. “Welcome to the world that you call by the name of Venus. You have been brought here as by what remains of our technology in order that we may request your assistance in a very important matter.”

“Salutations, Voice of Venus,” I rejoined. “I am Dr. Daniel Rumanos of the Daemonian Kosmikos. This is my friend, Sir Roger Westmore, Knight of the British Empire. How may we be of assistance to you?”

“Some years ago,” the computerised intonation continued, “the last of the males of our race were destroyed during a war with Mercurians. Our enemies were defeated -- and we are now protected from all further incursions by our energy barriers -- but sadly not before our own society and people were so shattered. There remain seventy-two females of our kind, as you can here see. You have been brought here that we may request your assistance in fathering a new race of the Venusian people. All of our females our quite youthful, of absolute virginal purity, and fertile or soon will be. The perfection of their lineage, along with your own origins from elsewhere -- though of genetic quality close to our own -- will nullify any possible harmful effect of the coming race having to resort to a certain degree of inner-procreation. We have an unlimited supply of food and other necessities, all that will be needed for the rebuilding of Venusian civilisation, and we believe that you will find your life upon our world to be a pleasant one.”

“Oh, that I can believe,” I said in earnest, whilst glancing at the roomful of temptingly teenage beauties. “Nevertheless, I am happily married, so it would not be quite appropriate. Besides, my being an Algolite could indeed lead to certain complications.”

“Your reasoning is noted,” said the electronic voice. “But what of you?” it went on, now addressing Sir Roger.

“I say!” he somewhat stammered. “Yes… yes, I will accept this challenge!”

“Now, Westmore,” I whispered as an aside to him. “I am sure you are up to this task, but consider. I can return to my own time and place, and shall inform Oxford that I will be completing the lecture tour in your stead, but I still have no way of determining in what era of Venusian history we actually are. Understand that if you do this it is rather likely I will never be able to return for you.”

“I comprehend, old chap,” he retorted whilst we shook hands in farewell, though I could tell his thoughts were more on the group of luscious adolescent lovelies. “But I cannot ignore such a delightfully challenge, eh? After all, I am an Englishman!”

Thus leaving the redoubtable Sir Roger Westmore upon Venus to do his duty with the seventy-two beautiful girls, I utilised the Chrono-Band to return to Earth by following the residue of the passage of the Venusball, and soon found myself back at tea in Rumanos Castle.

I knew that I would have to prepare a report to Kosmikos headquarters concerning this experience. Even though the results were positive, the ability of any alien technology to override the Chrono-Band could serve as a warning of possible flaws in the system -- flaws that our adversaries might possibly exploit as an inroad to a potentially-serious security breach.

Whilst I was still pondering these matters, my wife returned with a large plate of obviously-delicious cranberry scones.

“What happened to Sir Roger?” she enquired. “I’d hoped he would stay to try these with tea.”

“My love,” I replied, “it appears that Sir Roger Westmore will henceforth be getting his sweets elsewhere. Let us just say that he has finally been able to fulfil his long-time dream of penetrating the depths of Space.”

“Is he going boldly where no man has gone before?”

“Indeed,” said I whilst helping myself to a scone, “that would be exactly what he is doing.”