“Never forget that you are better than they are.”
(Saint Jerome the Hermit)
Jonnella “Jonni“ Morrissey, age 23, liked to refer to herself as “The Bitchy-Witchy”. Petite, slender, with dyed-black hair and pale skin, having multiple tattoos and body-piercings, she was borderline attractive in a rather trashy way. Originally a Cockney from the Stepney district of London’s East End, she had had come to America in her teens hoping for big-time stardom, the girl was now lead singer in a Los Angeles-based rock group (their music was self-described as “Goth-Punk-Grunge“) known as Dirty Goat, which had become the house band at an LA nightclub located on the Sunset Strip and called, appropriately enough, Lucifer’s.
What brought me to California that particular evening to see a performance of this Dirty Goat were reports that Miss Morrissey had, on several occasions, enthralled her audiences with displays of “magical” powers, and had begun to build what could ominously be referred to as a cult following.
My name is DR. DANIEL RUMANOS, Literary Illusionist and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Though I have the appearance of a strikingly handsome human gentleman with aristocratic Anglo-Semitic features and dark hair (which I have intentionally let go a bit grey of late in order to look even more respectable), I am, in reality, not a mere mortal at all. I am actually many thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the superior genes of the mysterious Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL; this heritage granting me numerous powers and abilities that appear “supernatural” to lesser beings.
Whilst most Algolites keep to themselves, content to merely observe the goings-on of the Universe around them, their intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, I am a member of a secret organisation amongst the elite class of our people, known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department. I thus have, for so many years now, made it my particular mission to use these gifts to defend the people of Earth from attack and invasion from unfriendly extraterrestrial races, mad scientists, and assorted similar threats.
However, I had some time prior to these specific events left Earth in order to explore the Universe in my Space/Time ship, the DiTraS. Only the summons that informed me of the breeching of the very Temporal Parameters I had left to protect that planet had forced me to return and, as I was to soon find out -- not a moment too soon!!
You see, it appeared, according to the report I had received from the Kosmikos, that the sudden and bizarre empowerment of Miss Morrissey had occurred exactly after this unexplained breaking down of the Temporal Parameters.
As I stood in the audience at Lucifer’s -- clad in my usual silk suit, greatcoat, panama hat, dark spectacles, and jungle boots -- I wondered about the secrets of this bloody Jonnella Morrissey person. Her appearance was not personally known to me, and yet there was something, something indeed, quite hauntingly familiar about her. It was something elusive, enigmatic, and actually rather grotesque. The “music” of Dirty Goat only succeeded in boring me immensely. It was nothing but mindless noise with lyrics based upon common semi-Satanic drivel. For something that was said to be at once Goth and Punk and Grunge, it just sounded a bleeding awful lot like Death Metal to me.
But then, whilst her guitarist played a solo turn, the young woman known as Jonni Morrissey strutted to the front and centre of the stage in her tight, black leathern cat-suit, and, to the absolute awe of her admiring audience, suddenly levitated directly upwards into the air!
At this juncture, I decided the moment had indeed come for direct confrontation. Unpunished displays of such power before groups of impressionable human beings are unspeakably dangerous in so many regards. I therefore immediately leapt up onto the stage and spoke into the public announcement system:
“Attention, Jonnella Morrissey. I am RUMANOS and you must now make an account of your actions!”
At a signal from Jonni, the band stopped playing and the audience continued to stand by in astonishment at what they had just seen. The girl descended to the stage before me and grinned wickedly, her intent green eyes fixed upon me with a bizarre mixture of amusement and disdain.
“Lord Rumanos of Daemonia,” she said, surprisingly using my Algolitish title, “you have been expected. It is quite interesting to see you again.”
“What do you blooming mean, ‘again’?” replied I. “We have most certainly never met before.”
“Oh, haven’t we? Surely I have not been forgotten, hmmmm?”
“I can assure you, I have no idea who you are, young woman. But I cannot allow you to enchant innocent people with whatever ‘paranormal’ abilities you possess.”
“Oh, you know who I am,” she continued. “I have waited long since our last confrontation. Waited for my moment. Waited… for this!”
And then Jonni Morrissey raised her hand and cast a bolt of hideously powerful orange and blue-black energy directly at me. It hit me painfully, but not as excruciatingly as the shock of the devastating knowledge that this amazing exhibit of alien force brought to me.
So then, the mysterious girl who called herself by the name of Jonnella “Jonni“ Morrissey, the Bitchy-Witchy, was not human. She was actually one of my own people, one of our immensely-powerful race of Space/Time Masters -- an Algolite!!
Do you realise the absolute screaming insane horror of this, my dear readers? The strange woman known as Miss Jonni Morrissey, the self-proclaimed “Bitchy Witchy” and “Gothic Punk Grunger” was actually an Algolite! Nevertheless, I still had to wonder: Which one?
In any event, I perceived that I had to move the ensuing confrontation between us away from this crowd of innocent onlookers. I accordingly sent an incredibly-powerful bolt of my own Algolitish energy directly at Miss Morrissey -- the impact of it causing her to be hurtled through the air and to crash through the roof of the nightclub.
I followed her immediately, levitating smoothly upwards into the night far over the city of Los Angeles. The lights of the city shone from below us, even as the myriad stars twinkled above in that clear California sky.
“Ah, Rumanos,” said Jonnella Morrissey when I had reached her. “This is just like old times, is it not? Remember?”
I looked into the girl’s face. I could still swear that I had never encountered her before, and yet… there was indeed something bizarrely familiar in her expression -- in that look of extreme hatred and total, unmitigated evil.
“You have shown me that you are one of our race; one of the Watchers of the Daemon-Star,” I stated. “Nevertheless, I am certain that I have never met you before. Your form is not known to me. Again, one who calls herself Jonnella Morrissey, I enquire: Who are you?!”
“You know who I am,” she again replied with excruciating offhandedness. “You certainly remember our battles, our fights on this world and others.”
“Long ago. Yes, I was indeed in a different form then -- albeit a human one, like this one is. It was then that I endeavoured to continue my lives-long programme to force our people, our high and mighty Algolite civilisation, on to even greater glories; to bring about our evolution into beings of pure ecstatic light! And then, THEN, I would lead them as the supreme and eternal ruler, and we would issue forth to work our will upon all of Time and Space!!”
I felt a cold chill of utter horror as her words brought back memories of the past, of my hazardous and supremely-terrifying confrontations with a most dangerous enemy -- one who was indeed the most notorious and infamous political criminal in all the vast annals of the aeons-long history of the Daemon-Star.
“It was in those days,” she continued, “before our now-legendary battles, that I poured so very much of my superior Algolitish sperm into this luscious young body. For in those days little Jonni Morrissey was just a juvenile ‘paranormal’ groupie and want-to-be rock singer; and I was, after all, perfectly possessing the body of the host of television’s Ghost Escapades, the now-late Zef Bazans. Ah, yes, the body of this girl absorbed so much of my DNA that I was able, after the destruction of my previous form, to draw my essence to it, and to totally possess young Miss Morrissey in order to continue my plans -- to prepare for my ascension to become the supreme rule of the Watchers of Algol!”
“The telegony,” I said, still in utter astonishment. “You really did use it to save your consciousness from destruction, you Time Molester! So you are, in actuality…”
“Yes! I am the one! The one who is the greatest of all in the history of the Watchers! The one who is hated only out of jealousy by our kind! I am the one! I am the one!”
“Yet you cannot be him! Gender-change is expressly forbidden by the laws of the Algolites! It is an hideously sinful abomination!”
This is indeed the case, though not for any homophobic or gender-biased reason. It is because of the horrid possibilities of what could occur with any being capable of both Time Travel and sexual reproduction. So horrible is the potential of this, that it is this very act that had resulted in the breaking up of that protective field of the Temporal Parameters.
“Such laws do not apply to me!” she then shrieked in answer to my accusation. “I am above all! The one -- the greatest one who shall soon rule all! I AM NEPHAL!!!”
Nephal. Well, blimming blooming bleeding Hell.
“Yes, Rumanos, yes!” continued the being now speaking through the form of Jonnella “Jonni” Morrissey with maniacal merriment. “I am the one! The one great, supreme, and immortal ruler of our Algolite Race! I am NEPHAL!”
As much as I wished it were at all possible to deny it, I knew that what she was saying was the truth. I could sense the presence of my old enemy. Nephal, forsooth the greatest political criminal in the vastly long history of the Watchers of Algol, had indeed at one time delivered himself from his punishment of perpetual imprisonment in solid rock by possessing the body of television “ghost hunter” Zef Bazans. Easily destroying the human soul of Bazans, Nephal had made the body his own and used it to continue his dark plans to force the evolution of our people into beings of pure energy, in its way returning us to the form of our Aeternusian progenitors whilst dangerously maintaining our physically-based sensations. To Algolites, whose own system of ethics forbids meddling with the natural cycles of the Universe, even to hint at the possibility of attempting such things is indeed a crime beyond any possible forgiveness.
In cooperation with the Absolute Convention of Daemonia, that highest ruling council of the Watchers, the Kosmikos and I had succeeding in defeating Nephal and his mad, utterly insane and diabolical schemes[*]. It was hoped that the evil consciousness of Nephal had been successfully scattered throughout the thirteen corners of the Cosmos, indeed dispersed among the immense reaches of Space and Time far beyond any possible repair.
[* The full chronicles of this are given in the accounts found in The Rumanos Files under the titles “Starfall” and “Fallen”.]
However, Nephal had now returned, having this time perfectly possessed the body of Miss Jonni Morrissey, a onetime fan and lover of Ghost Escapades TV host Zef Bazans. Yes, to my utter horror and disgust I had to admit that Nephal had returned and now he/she(!) was preparing to attempt a recommencement of the barmy scheme of creating completely non-physical Algolites and using them to rule over all other species of the Universe.
Do you understand the utter terror and disgusting depravity of this unspeakable, unnameable, and unnatural situation?!
“My secret following, the most blessed Cult of Nephal, await me on the home-world,” she proclaimed, “and now they shall assist the final transfiguration as I shall become supreme ruler of our people forevermore!!”
“You will not do it, Nephal!” I proclaimed to her. “I shall not allow you to return to Daemonia! You will not be permitted to change our people to suit your idea of ‘perfection‘! You will not be allowed to impose your iniquitous commands upon others!”
With this, I hit her with a profoundly powerful blast of my own bright-orange and blue Algolitish energies.
Nephal/Jonni Morrissey was forced backwards across the sky, but recovered all too quickly, throwing another bolt of her own energies at me. I was prepared for this, however, and managed to dodge it.
“You shall not stop me this time, Rumanos!” said she. “I have already prepared for my triumphant return to Daemonia! My will, bolstered by the psychic force of the adoration of the fans of Dirty Goat, has allowed me to do this…!!”
Suddenly, at Nephal’s summons appeared above us a large spherical vehicle glistening silver in the starlight. I recognised it immediately as a STraDi -- a primitive form of a DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress”) or Dimensional Transport Sphere, the Time/Space ship used by the Watchers. This, then, is what she had psychically built during her time as Jonnella “The Bitchy Witchy“ Morrissey, would-be rock star. Buggers.
Then, an even more hideous thing happened. Before I could even begin to protest, Nephal, there in the form of Miss Jonni Morrissey, took my face between her hands and kissed me full on the lips. Whilst I attempted to recover from the utter and complete disgust that I felt at this appalling and revoltingly unnatural abomination, Nephal flew upwards and entered the STraDi, activating its engines and dematerialising the craft into the Space/Time Current.
Therefore, I was left hanging in the skies above Los Angeles, California, as the wicked and evil Nephal travelled onwards to attempt her demoniacal plans in the home star system of our people: Algol.
“Sodding Nephal,” shouted I as the odd gasping and moaning sounds of the dematerialised STraDi engines faded from my hearing. “I would tell you what to go do with yourself, but you obviously already did that years ago!”
However, I knew that I had no time for such bizarre mental ruminations. There was still one slim chance left of my preventing the unmentionable Nephal from reaching Algol, and of stopping her from beginning what could very well amount to a reign of chaos among our illustrious people.
I flew quickly down to the corner of Hollywood and Vine, where I had left my own DiTraS travel machine, which is disguised in the form of a “Roman column”. Shooing away the inebriated prostitute that was leaning against it (and ignoring her offer to melt my popsicle, whatever the blazes that means), I entered the ship and dematerialised it.
Soon, in the café-like control room of my DiTraS, I had appropriately set the controls and was hurtling through the eldritch grey mists of the Space/Time Current -- in pursuit of the execrable Nephal. I saw her STraDi on the view-screen and prepared the only way now possible to stop her: temporal collision!!
If I could manoeuvre my DiTraS to occupy the same exact point of the Current as her STraDi even for one infinitesimal moment, she would then be stopped, her human body and travel machine destroyed. Nevertheless, it was also very probable, in fact quite all but certain, that this action would destroy my machine and me as well.
“Goodbye Katrina, my love, my darling wife,” I whispered as I prepared to ram my DiTraS into the rear of the evil Nephal’s STraDi. “Goodbye, Ehrich, my noble son, and my dear little daughter, Karen. I am so very proud of you. I know you will all understand why I had to do this. If I did not, the Universe would not be safe for you or for anyone else ever again.”
And then, contact happened between the two ships, and immediately all was darkness…
To my surprise, I woke up a short time later, on the floor of the DiTraS control room. I had an headache you would not blooming well believe, but I was unharmed. The circuitry of my ship had switched to minimal autopilot mode, and I soon enough set things aright. My own craft, of a much more advanced and sturdy type than Nephal’s, had survived the impact. As for me…
“Right,” said I. “I do sometimes forget that I am immortal.”
The other ship had been completely obliterated, and there was no sign of Nephal’s Algolitish consciousness within the Current. I hoped and prayed that it had this time been scattered beyond reconstruction to the farthest reaches of Cosmic Space and Time.
I prepared a psychic message, by my authority as an Operative of the Kosmikos, concerning the details of my encounter with Nephal and sent it through the Current addressed to the Universal Overseer of the Absolute Convention of the Watchers, and then returned to my headquarters on Earth for a much-needed rest. …
In the capital city of the planet Daemonia, central world of the amazing civilisation of the Watchers of Algol, the Universal Overseer, eminently respectable and venerable in his robes of office, delivered the psychic record that I had sent him to its intended place in the Secret Archives. The recording took the form of a tiny point of blue light, which could be held in the hand.
In the dimly-lit room of the library antechamber, the Overseer handed the recording to the Keeper of the Secret Archives.
“Be certain this psychic recording is properly preserved, Master Keeper,” said the Overseer. “It is of invaluable importance to the future of our Republic.”
“Yes, Master Overseer,” replied the Keeper.
The Universal Overseer then turned and left the Archives to return to his duties in the capital. He did not see the utterly wicked sneer that crossed the face of the Keeper as the latter slipped the recording into the pocket of his black coverall garment. It was in no event going to be added to the archival library for preservation.
The Keeper’s visage was one not recognised on Daemonia, but it was one that would be known to Earthlings who happen to be fans of old “paranormal reality television” shows. It was the face of ZEF BAZANS!!!
DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN