ALL THE TIME IN THE UNIVERSE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kitty cats!” I exclaimed joyously.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN