1:15 PM, 3 April, 20--; Historic Ellicott City, Maryland:

“I will kill you yet, Daniel Rumanos of Algol!” loudly exclaimed the hideous, crayfish-like alien as it hovered over Courthouse Drive. “I will chase you around the Kuiper Belt and among the moons of Jupiter and into the fiery heart of the Sun rather than let you escape!”

As I dodged the rays of potentially-lethal radioactive light emanating from the gun held in the creature’s clawed fist, I shouted its hated name at it in anger:


My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos. I use my “Magic” capabilities to defend the human race from alien invasions and mad scientists. I am Daemon-Star!! …

Horror in Howard County, as I fled from the alien monstrosity there in the small town known as Ellicott City!

Capo Cuevas was the head of the most notorious of the several gangland crime families originating on the dwarf planet Pluto[*]. The second of his (its!) name (“Cuevas” being the standard transliteration of what is better represented, from the original Plutonian language, as Q’vhazz), he was now seeking retribution against me for my having foiled a series of heinously-criminal plots that his lawless syndicate had instigated across the entire reach of the Solar System.

[* Much more on the background of the notorious Cuevas Crime Family is found in the _Weird Adventures_ account of one of their most outrageous schemes, an account of intrigue and espionage that is entitled “From Saturn With Love”. ]

Born in the uncanny ice-swamps of his dark world, the Cuevas is of a species of intelligent crustacean, about five feet in length. Due to the genetic experiments being conducted by the Plutonians, this new Capo Cuevas had membranous wings that he flapped to propel his flight.

Most recently, this Capo Cuevas had attempted to bring his obscenely felonious plots to the planet Earth, utilising a mutated type of the psyche-sensitive Yuggoth Fungus of his home-world. When it became obvious that in order to accomplish this I would have to be eliminated, the horrid creature had hatched a dastardly offending series of attacks upon me, which I had managed to successfully fight through only after a long and exceedingly-dangerous progression of defensive measures.

The attacks had taken the form of Cuevas using the demoniacal Fungi to generate grotesquely-analogous duplicates of some of my own former foes. These blasphemously-created beings (that had, as an odd side effect, an extremely excessive and annoying assonant alliteration addiction) were known as the Spooky Spiral, the Crystal Cauldron, the Wingo Warning, the Rizak Revenge, and the Hartley Horror. I had soundly defeated them all; much to the consternation of the Cuevas Crime Family, and this had all led to the Capo himself swearing personal reprisal upon me.

“You will die, Daemonian!” hissed the crawfish-countenanced alien gang boss whilst unleashing another terrifying barrage of ray-gun fire. “You will die! You have interfered with our plans for the last time!”

I -- wearing my usual silk suit, leathern greatcoat, jungle boots, sunspecs, and safari hat -- ran around the old building of the Ellicott City District Courthouse and took shelter behind a monument on the far side of the parking lot. The monument was some sort of very bad modern art representation of a thin, vaguely feminine figure with its head bowed as if in mourning. A plaque at the base of this statue identified it as a depiction of Gracie McCumass, this being the name of a local chick who had allegedly committed suicide some years previously, presumably as the result of depression after having been harassed on the internet. That she had actually been murdered in order to cover up her torrid affair with an area Assistant State’s Attorney is a fact known to very few and spoken of by even fewer. Forsooth, the slut and the shyster. The irony of there being a monument to this McCumass bitch so near the court location is indeed beyond all sane comprehension.

“You cannot hide from me, you meddling Algolite!” screeched the Cuevas creature as he again pulled the trigger, the ray squarely hitting the statue, completely blasting the monument out of existence. As I turned and continued my flight from the enraged Plutonian gangster, I mused over the fact that the local government would now have to come up with some other ludicrous way to memorialise bleeding Gracie the Lawyer-Groupie. Perhaps they could enact some ridiculously unconstitutional “cyber-bullying law” or some such legislative nonsense. Whatever makes the fools feel better, I suppose. Whatever it takes to make them not have to take actual responsibility for the unmentionably-depraved conduct of certain elected officials.

However, let us return to detailing my harrying attempts to elude the attacks of the otherworldly killer crustacean, the disgustingly-nauseating and revoltingly-repellent Capo Cuevas of Pluto!

Now, it is in truth quite unlikely that the rays of the Plutonian gun could have actually killed me, due to my superior Algolitish abilities. Nevertheless, it would have definitely incapacitated me for quite some time, long enough for the Cuevas Family to establish their criminal enterprises upon Earth and to begin using the planet as a centre of racketeering in this part of the Galaxy.

I therefore continued to dodge the blasts of finely-focused light in hopes of eventually tiring out the Cuevas creature enough that I could return fire and hit the crustaceous monstrosity with enough of my own extraterrestrial energies to destroy him.

As I ducked amongst the automobiles of the lot, I noticed the door of the courthouse open and an uniformed police officer charge forth waving his nightstick. His big Irish face was florid with rage.

“Stop in the name of the law!” he yelled as he ran. “Stop this disturbance immediately!”

Not having seen the Cuevas, who was hovering now about a furlong above us, the burly policeman ran towards me. Long before the confused officer could reach me, however, Capo Cuevas flew directly over him and proceeded to drop a sprinkling of greyish-green Fungi from the pouch of this substance he carried.

The falling Fungus immediately halted the cop in his tracks and instantly enveloped him in its horrible influence. Within seconds, his entire body had been covered with the phantasmagorical alien growth and its influence had taken its ghastly affect upon his mind.

“I see you there, Daniel Rumanos!” said the voice of what had once been an officer of the law. His accent had changed to that part of the United States of America known as the Southern Midwest, and its intonation had taken on a note of the most unspeakable evil and unholy hatred. “It’s been a long time and I’ve come back to get my revenge! I’m Bobby Zoeller! Just call me the Paranormal Police! The Zoeller Zeitgeist!”

Do you recognise the unspeakable horror, indeed the ungodly terror of this situation, my friends? For the sake of your sanity, I actually pray that you do not!

The psychoactive Plutonian Fungus had caused the policeman to become possessed by a mental analogue of the evil Bobby Zoeller, one of my most notorious old enemies. This Zoeller (or Soeller) had, before his demise, been a disgusting, completely amoral Satanist and Ku Klux Klan leader who, whilst under the influence of an alien force disguised as a fallen angel, had attempted to spread chaos across the USA. I had only managed to defeat him after a long series of bizarrely-perilous escapades that continue to be amongst the most harrowing of my long and storied career[*].

{*For the full and truthful details of the odious criminal enterprises of Bobby Zoeller, see the _Weird Adventures_ account entitled “SPECTRAL, or Goth Odyssey”.]

“You heard me, Rumanos!” again exclaimed the Fungi-possessed cop. “I’m Bobby Zoeller, and I’m goin’ to kill you!!”

He then levelled the police nightstick towards me and sent forth a blast of darksome energy, in sooth a Fungus-copy of the phantasmal and demoniacal powers that the original Zoeller had at one time wielded.

I quickly set up a temporary defensive shield of my own bright orange and blue Algolitish power to deflect the blast. It only lasted a second, but that was long enough for me to turn and flee in the other direction, holding onto my hat, confusing the Fungi-soaked cop for a few moments.

I hoped to figure out a way to reverse the effects of the Fungus without having to cause harm to Howard County’s Finest, you understand.

He soon got his bearings and continued his pursuit of me, however. Unfortunately, we were now entering the quaint “downtown” shopping district of Ellicott City’s Main Street. I had attempted to avoid this area so far in order to avoid exposing any innocent citizens to danger from my battle with the Cuevas (who had, by the way, now gone to hide amidst the rooftops of the Main Street shops whilst its Fungus copy of Bobby Zoeller attempted my destruction).

At this same time, at the further end of the same block, a beautiful young girl exited the “EC Sweet Delights” dessert shop with a sugar-cone of cherry ice cream. The lass was of a good height, slender and perfect, fair-skinned and rosy-cheeked, with chestnut hair and enchanting eyes the colour of emeralds. She was wearing a white blouse and powder-blue skirt along with a blue sweater and fashionable sneakers.

I perceived that she was directly in the possessed cop’s line of fire.

“Run for your life!” I shouted in warning to her.

She looked up from her ice cream cone and her pretty eyes grew wide with shock as she saw me, closely followed by the fungus-covered officer, approaching her. She stood still.

Just in time, I grabbed the young lady in my arms and ducked into a passage between the shops leading to an alley. She dropped her ice cream cone as we barely missed being hit by another blast from the powers the Bobby Zoeller analogous policeman wielded from his billy-club. Fortunately, he passed by the way we had gone, his own burst having momentarily blocked his view. I heard the sound of his large shoes continuing down the street away from us.

“What is happening?!” cried the girl. “I can’t even… What was that? Who are you?”

“I am Doctor Daniel Rumanos. That was a police officer who has been influenced by a Fungus from Outer Space,” I informed her. “What is your name?”

“Lisa,” she said. “Lisa Garnier. Are you saying this is some kind of invasion, Doc?”

“Something like that, Lisa, yes,” I said. Now, I do not at all relish being referred to as “Doc”, but I have certainly been called much worse things by far less attracted people, so I let it pass.

“So, you’re one of the good guys then?” the gorgeous girl enquired with a slight smile.

“Well, I do try my best,” I  told her. “Now, Lisa, stay right behind me in the shadows. I need to check something.”

I surreptitiously peered out from the corner and looked in the direction the policeman had gone. To my surprise, he was no longer under the Fungoid influence. It appears that he had encountered two young men who were holding hands whilst exiting one of the local antique shops. Homosexuals, you know. Apparently, some alien bio-chemical technology can be overcome by the natural disgust that police officers feel for sodomites. The cop was now soundly beating nine shades out of the bloody pair of them with his nightstick.

“All right, Lisa,” said I, turning back to her. “We are safe from that particular threat, at least.”

“That’s good, Doc,” said the cute teenager with relief before she then looked upwards, suddenly distracted by something approaching fast from directly above us. “But… What’s that thing?!!”

I looked up and beheld Cuevas of Pluto, who had just begun his descent from the adjoining roof, his hideous wings spread behind him, and his deadly ray-gun aimed directly at the innocent little damsel!!

The beautiful Miss Lisa Garnier, aged fourteen, had just gone out from her parents’ nearby home that spring day, it being the last of her Easter break from school, for an ice cream cone. She was now in danger of becoming “collateral damage” in the efforts of the hideous Cuevas crustacean from Pluto to destroy me.

Like Hell.

“Hold on tight!” I warned the lass as I pulled her close to me, the horrid alien gangster still fast descending upon us, its gun at the ready.

I concentrated and, utilising my own innate and otherworldly abilities, teleported us away from the alley. We re-materialised in a near by semi-wooded area, close to a bridge overlooking a stream. A sign close by proclaimed it the “Tiber River”, but I knew that we were not in Rome. Being that some early surveyor had noted that the valley in which Old Ellicott City now sits is surrounded by seven hills, someone had thought it exceptionally clever to name the stream the Tiber. Oh well.

“Cool!” exclaimed Lisa. “How’d you do that, Doc?”

“Algolitish mentalist powers,” I answered. “An entering of the inter-dimensional gateways between… Look, we do not have time for me to give you a lesson in extraterrestrial technology right now.”

“Oh great,” said the teenaged beauty with a smile of mock crossness. “What you going to do next, spank me?”

“Later, perhaps,” I quipped. “Work before recreation.”

She giggled. “So, what’s that thing that attacked us? It looked like a big old crawdad.”

“It is a criminal crustacean from the dwarf planet Pluto, known as Capo Cuevas. The scourge of the Solar System.”

I rarely use my teleportation capabilities during times of battle. They use up considerable energy, and I had hoped to reserve all I had for a final strike against the Cuevas as soon as I saw its defences down. Notwithstanding, now having to protect the teen damsel complicated matters.

Suddenly, an hideous but now all-to-familiar voice rang out from the sky. The Cuevas had located us.

“You will not escape me, Rumanos!” shouted the Plutonian. “You inconvenience me! You inconvenience me and I will eliminate you!”

“Run!” I exclaimed, taking Lisa’s hand as we ran over the bridge. The alien mobster flapped his leathery wings and pursued us, with shots of his deadly ray-gun ringing out over the woodland. I believe that only the environment of planet Earth aided us in escaping his aim, indeed the increasing warmth of this early-spring day and the brightness of even this hazily-sunny afternoon being quite unusual to the physiology of the Cuevas -- what with having been spawned in the subzero ice-swamps of his distant and darkling home-world.

Then, Lisa’s foot hit a loose board on the bridge, causing her to stumble and fall as her hand slipped from mine. I skidded several paces way from the girl and heard her scream. She was so far unhurt but, before she could regain her footing, the Capo Cuevas was hovering directly over her.

It was then that I heard the alien criminal laugh hideously as he sprinkled the bizarre Yuggothian Fungus over the helpless maiden. Its greyish-green eldritch horror settled over her figure.

The Cuevas flew upwards in order to safely view the results of his latest outrage, and as the poor wee lass regained her feet -- now covered with the alien Fungi -- I wondered which of my horrendously-dreadful and unspeakably-dangerous past enemies would now be manifesting within her!!

“Now I have you, Algolite!” announced the unspeakable Cuevas as he hovered above us. “I turn your friends to foes!”

I watched in abject horror as the alien Fungi completely enveloped Lisa, its sickly substance now covering her entire form.

However, it is then that something singularly-wonderful happened. The eldritch Fungus suddenly fell away and vanished, dissolving into nothingness as if repelled and destroyed by a force far stronger than any nigrescent evil. I looked at the girl and beheld her clean and untouched by the Fungi from Yuggoth, there being no sign whatsoever of its disgusting greyish-green influence as I looked into the clear, lovely emerald eyes of Miss Lisa Garnier.

“Lisa?” I queried. “Lisa, are you all right?”

“I…” she said. “I’m fine, Doc.”

I glanced upwards and saw the disgusting criminal creature, that proverbial thorn in my flesh known as Capo Cuevas, aloft by the flapping of his horrid membranous wings. His repulsive face was still and motionless in momentary shock that his outrageous plan had failed. I took the opportunity and cast a bolt of my bright orange and blue powers at him. The burst hit the repulsive alien gangster squarely in the centre and shattered his crustaceous form, killing him instantly. His remains fell in pieces to the river below, and his ray-gun landed with a clatter on the wooden bridge.

I walked over and retrieved the gun, carefully removing its charging-cartridge before then securely secreting both in one of the voluminous pockets of my coat.

I returned to Lisa and saw that she was smiling sweetly. I must admit that I was a bit amazed and even somewhat confused at what had occurred.

“How did you resist the Plutonian Fungus?” I wondered. “It can only be overcome by extreme positive emotion, like that policeman’s righteous indignation at sodomy. But surely, you could have been experiencing nothing but fear and loathing at the attack.”

“Don’t you know, Doc? I think it was… I mean… because I like you,” she blushed.

“Ah,” I exclaimed in sudden realisation at the beautiful young girl’s interesting explanation. “Well… Good heavens!”

I considered that I would have to engage in an extended series of deeply-probing experiments on the effects that the hormonal responses of an adolescent human female have on extraterrestrial biology. However, there would be plenty of time for that later, and I knew that I would have a willing and enthusiastic subject.

“I say, my dear, it appears that you have lost your ice cream cone,” I said. “I shall buy you a new one, if you will allow me that honour. I think I would quite enjoy a ‘French Vanilla’ myself.”

“It’s a date, Doc!” exclaimed the nubile nymphet happily as she took my arm and we began the brief stroll back to town. Along the way, as I pondered these fantastic and indeed extraordinary events, I could not help but to muse aloud the following quotation:

“’The men don’t know, but the little girls understand.’”

“What’s that from?” wondered Lisa. “One of the great philosophers?”

“Indeed so,” I jested playfully. “His name was William James Dixon.”

Daniel Rumanos shall return.