Owly screamed in pain as he hit the brick wall. I immediately reached out and grabbed him again by the throat, yanking him back and threatening to again bash him against the unyielding pavement of that dark Baltimore city alleyway.

“One more chance, scum,” I warned him. “Tell me the name of the organisation you work for or I swear by the Stellar Trinity you shall die in extreme pain.”

“No!” he screeched. “No! I can’t tell you that! I can’t! They’ll kill me!”

The man known as “Owly” -- so nicknamed due to the wide, staring eyes of his pale, pockmarked face -- was thin and about forty years of age. He was clad in a black t-shirt, ripped blue jeans, and sneakers. I had already lifted the small handgun he had concealed in his waistband and deposited it in a near by sewer grating.

I was of course dressed in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, military boots, panama hat, and one of my favourite opera capes. That very night I had tracked Owly, a local street hustler and pimp, to his usual neighbourhood hangouts in the city’s red-light district known as “The Block”. Owly was himself unimportant, but word on the street was that he had over the last few months become a contact for a much larger group, a criminal syndicate that intended to control all vice in the city of Baltimore. More so, it was an organisation that was also said to have a shadowy connection to the area’s infamous occult underground and to be empowered to conjure certain extraterrestrial forces as protection.

“It is either them or me, filth,” I informed Owly. “I guarantee that if you do not give me their name, then your death will be agonising beyond belief.”

With this, I cast him down hard to the pavement. He gasped and shuddered until he got his breath back enough to speak.

“They have powers,” he groaned. “Powers to call up… things. Terrible things.”

“And you think that I do not?” I rejoined, again lifting him up and throwing him back down. “I am growing quite impatient with you, scum. Tell me their name, now!”

I then kicked him hard in the stomach. By now blood was flowing profusely from his nose and mouth, and his voice was growing weak. He was obviously suffering from numerous ruptured internal organs as a result of my efforts as well as from his years of drug use, and I knew he was not long for this world. Knowing I needed to get the information from him forthwith, I bent down to listen closely to his answer.

“Okay…” he murmured. “Okay… I’ll tell you…”

He then paused, obviously attempting to overcome the fear inside him; the fear of the obscene criminal society to which he had sworn loyalty.

“Well?” I said, lifting him up again and looking straight into his grotesquely wide eyes. “What is their name?”

“FKR,” he gasped. “They’re called FKR… eff-kay-arr…”

“Your use to me is now ended, you ungodly filth,” I informed him.

“No!” he screamed, seeing my intention. “You promised! You promised if I told you that you would let me live!”

“I made no such promise, Owly,” I answered him. “I simply said you would not suffer much pain.”

Then, with a lightning-fast karate chop to his Adam’s apple, I mercifully ended his life.

I left Owly’s corpse in a rarely emptied garbage dumpster there in the alley. As I left the area, I briefly mused as to how many rats would feed from it before the remains were taken to the incinerator, unnoticed, with the rest of the trash. …

My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Extraterrestrial Espionage Agent and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am in fact several thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL -- the most intellectually-advanced race in all of the known galaxies, whose technology is so sophisticated it often appears to be “magic” and “miraculous” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites tend to keep to themselves, preferring to live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe and thus merely observing the goings-on of the myriad races of the vast reaches around them, I am an Operative for a secret organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department, tasked with maintaining peace and order throughout the farthest reaches of Space and Time. You know, “plausible deniability”, and all of that sort of thing. It is our ongoing mission to defend the weak, the unfortunate, and the innocent from those who would harm or exploit them.

Currently assigned to Earth, I protect its people (both upon their planet and across the eternal void) from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Magister Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as from alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. Assisted by my friends -- the beautiful Miss Millie "The Girl From Beyond" Drake and our catlike robot, Kit-10 -- I am the living icon of Algol on this world. I am a Knight of the Eternal Spires. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia. I am the stellar swashbuckler.

I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …

Returning from my questioning of Owly, I parked my canary-yellow Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”) in the garage beneath the downtown Baltimore skyscraper in which is my headquarters. I took the lift to the official top floor of the building, then triggered the hidden switch on the wall that opens the door to the small spiral stairway leading to the secret suite of rooms hidden within the structure’s golden trapezoidal roof.

I entered the main room of headquarters, a chamber filled with computer equipment along with numerous alien artefacts that I have collected in my long and storied career. Seated behind a near by table, idly thumbing through a pop-music magazine, was a beautiful teenage girl with luxurious chestnut-coloured hair, lovely violet eyes, sun-kissed skin, and luscious red lips. She wore a tight, short, royal blue dress that only served to highlight the soft curves of her enticingly petite-and-perfect young figure.

“Hi, Daniel,” she smiled, looking up from her magazine. “Did you get the information?”

“Indeed I did, Millie,” I informed her. “It took a bit of persuading, but fortunately I was up to the task.”

“I bet you were,” giggled the girl, Millie Drake, she who is my assistant and indeed so much more. “So, what are they called?”

“They are known as FKR. I have heard whispers of that name before, but the connection was not made until now.”

“‘FKR’?” repeated the lass. “Does that stand for something?”

“Not actually,” I responded. “It is supposed to appear to be an abbreviation for some German title or some such, but in reality it is just used as a vaguely-obscene cover moniker.”

“So what do we know about them?”

“We now know from Owly’s activities that they are interested in taking over all prostitution, illegal pornography, and related vice crimes in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. That would be bad enough, hmmm? Nevertheless, what really concerns us is FKR’s alleged connections to the occult underground. That would explain why they are interested in Baltimore. As you know, the area is built over the ruins of a certain outpost of the lost city of Atlantis, and the energies lingering here from the ancient Atlantean technologies are an aid to the conjuring of certain alien forces.”

I then looked over to Kit-10, our mobile personal computer that resembles nothing more or less than a small mechanical cat. As usual when we are not out and about on assignment, she was resting near by the computer banks.

“Kit-10,” I said, “please access the main computer system and extract all data on the criminal syndicate known as FKR, along with all pertinent connected information.”

“Of course, s--,” replied the robotic feline in her simulated but pleasantly-feminine voice. “Accessing information now.”

(It should be noted here that Kit-10, amongst her other catlike characteristics, is possessed of the total inability to openly show respect to anyone, the closest she ever comes to it being her tendency to address me by a slight “s--” sound -- for “sir” -- and Millie by “m--” -- for “ma’am”.)

“Just condense the data, Kit-10,” I told her. “We only need to know some facts concerning the group’s origins and actual purpose.”

“The criminal syndicate known as FKR,” said the computerised kitten, “has its origins in several occult societies that once flourished in northern Europe. They are also rumoured to have ties with white supremacist and neo-Nazi ideologies.”

“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed Millie Drake. “Nazis!”

“FKR is also said to be especially dedicated to the ancient Germanic god known as Loghe,” continued Kit-10. “The syndicate leader is said to have certain superhuman powers due to being partially possessed by this pagan deity.”

“Loghe?” said I. “That is an heathen god of fire that was remembered in the Norse mythologies as Loki, the god of evil.”

“But does it really even exist, Daniel?” queried Millie.

“After a fashion, love,” I explained. “You see, Loghe was one of the ruling class of the Wotan Star System, and they did indeed come to Earth and visit the northern part of the European Continent at one time, very long ago. Loghe’s older brother, Torr, was leader of the expedition, and there was apparently some sibling rivalry between them. The other Wotanians left Earth, but Loghe stayed behind to continue their research into certain seasonal changes. He is said to have been able to warm the atmosphere and trigger an early thaw, hence his being remembered as a ‘fire god’, hmmm?”

“So what happened to him?”

“Eventually, Loghe, without the other Wotanians to supervise him, became rather a dictator. He enslaved the Nordic people for several generations. In time, his influence faded as his physical form decayed, but he is said to have never really died. The Wotanians, like most advanced Space-faring races, have a strong psyche-mentalist presence.”

“So do you think these FKR people will be trying to revive him?” shuddered the lass.

“It seems likely that that is their purpose,” I pondered. “The sexual energies of the vice crimes are probably being stored for utilisation in a conjuring of Loghe. Kit-10, do we have information on the current leadership of FKR?”

“We do, s--,” returned the robot. “It is unverified but there are photographs available.”

“Put them up on the main view screen.”

A photo then appeared on the monitor. It showed a decidedly ugly, bald-headed man who yet seemed to have a certain intelligence in his hard unyielding gaze.

“This man is known as Goring,” announced Kit-10. “He is said to be the current leader of the FKR syndicate, with a long criminal history in sex trafficking, distribution of illegal pornographic material -- for the which he operates the ‘dark web’ internet sites known as LayPal and NetFux -- and related vice offences. He has made himself immune to prosecution by payoffs, blackmail, and intimidation.”

The picture then changed to one of what appeared to be a very large, dark-haired man, his face one of utterly cruel brutality.

“This one is called Maximilian,” continued the robotic puss. “He is rumoured to be the organisation’s top-level security officer and enforcer, personally responsible for the deaths of over two dozen men.”

As the photo then faded from the screen, I thought deeply on the information received, and about what steps needed to be taken.

“We need to get on this right away,” I said. “There are a few places around town where I can ask if anyone has seen these two individuals. If they are indeed here, they would have had to do business in certain sectors.”

“Can I come with you, Daniel?” pleaded Millie Drake. “I’d really like to help.”

“Of course, love,” I acquiesced, “but be careful and stay close to me, as this could be a quite dangerous mission. You had better tag along too, Kit-10. We could have need of you.”

“Of course, s--,” agreed the little robot.

“Come along then,” I said as I headed to the door. “It is almost sunrise, so we can stop for some breakfast before continuing our investigation, hmmm?” …

On that same eldritch night, in a secret location somewhere in the city, two men sat in a furnished office having a discussion -- forsooth a discussion that would be of extreme importance to my attempts to destroy the obscene criminal organisation for which they were the leading agents.

“I appears we have a new enemy,” said the first -- a short, bald headed man of decidedly ugly visage, yet obviously possessed of a keen intelligence. He sat behind a large wooden desk and was dressed in a rather outdated style of business-wear. His voice betrayed a German accent, and on his lapel was a pin on which was engraved the horrid symbol of the swastika. “We need to eliminate him. Your size and strength will come in handy, Maximilian.”

“Whatever you say, Goring,” replied the other, himself an hulking monster of a man, black-haired and cruel of countenance, clad in a dark polo shirt and slacks. His voice was like unto a sepulchral Teutonic growl.

“The one we serve has revealed the information to me,” announced Goring. “Our new enemy is the Algolite agent known as Doctor Daniel Rumanos. The one we serve will guide us to his location that he may be destroyed.”

“I look forward to choking the life from the meddler,” grinned Maximilian. 

“He will be destroyed, and then nothing will stand in the way of FKR dominating the Baltimore underground,” said the man known as Goring, standing up in pride from behind his desk and glanced at an antique sword displayed on the wall behind it. “Then we can reveal our true purpose -- to perform the final conjuring that will bring back the power of Loghe himself, so that we can spread our influence and our control over the entire planet Earth!”

As he spoke, Goring’s eyes began to glow with a strange, otherworldly radiance -- a blood-red effulgence of obvious alien origin! …

The morning sunlight was somewhat obscured by a cloudy, low-hanging haze as I drove Millie and Kit-10 to a diner in the Inner Harbour area and found a parking space for Lizzie in the lot just outside of it. We left Kit-10 in the car and entered the restaurant.

We then ordered breakfast. Millie had the blueberry pancakes, whilst I enjoyed the Belgian waffles along with side orders of scrambled eggs, turkey bacon and hashed brown potatoes. We both drank orange juice and shared a large pot of highly-caffeinated coffee.

“This is so nice, Daniel,” smiled the girl. “The food is good here.”

“Quite so, Mills,” I agreed. “One thing these all-American diners know how to do well is a big full breakfast, hmmm?” …

Outside, a black automobile of late-model German manufacture entered the parking lot. Its windows were darkened and its occupants were unseen until they emerged from the vehicle. The driver was the hulking Maximilian, and with him was Goring, that leader of the FKR syndicate himself.

As the two men went into the restaurant, they did not notice Kit-10’s catlike head turn slightly from her vantage point in Lizzie. …

I had just paid the bill for our meal and was leaving a generous gratuity for the waitress. Millie had gone to the ladies’ room and I settled back in my seat to await her return.

Then suddenly he was upon me. A man grabbed me by my collar and lifted me up from the seat, quickly throwing me to the floor before I could even react. I looked up to see the giant looming over me, and recognised him as Maximilian, the notorious FKR enforcer.

“Hi there, Algolite,” he sneered with a sadistic gleam in his eyes. “The one we served helped us to track you down, and I have orders to break you.”

I have often pondered how the seeming need to boast whilst one should be fighting is an oft-encountered failing of such types as this. When he was delivering the final word of his announcement, I delivered a kung fu kick to his groin, causing him to retreat a couple of steps and to bellow in pain.

He recovered very quickly, and lurched to-wards me in anger. Fortunately by then I had regained my feet, and I swerved to the side, executing a quick wrestling move to send him over my shoulder. He crashed into a near by table that was fortunately not in use.

Maximilian again recovered with amazing speed, and ran directly at me with his huge hands outstretched.

By now Millie Drake had emerged from the powder room, and she screamed in horror when she saw what was happening. The other patrons of the restaurant had scattered and stood off to the sides in fear and confusion. No one was then in the way when Goring suddenly picked Millie up and threw the petite lass over his shoulder.

Maximilian had managed to grab at my throat, and only my thumb to his left eye had prevented him from choking me. We now stood grappling, my strength against his. From across the diner I could see Goring attempting to abduct the furiously struggling girl.

Kit-10 then entered the establishment and, seeing my predicament first, began to move over to-wards where my fight with the huge Maximilian was occurring.

“Kit-10!” I called to her. “Help Millie!”

This distraction was just enough for my opponent to gain an advantage, and he delivered a fist to my face that sent me flying to the back of the diner. I landed on the floor just short of the plate glass window overlooking the harbour.

Kit-10 had turned to pursue Goring as he abducted Millie Drake. The poor wee lass had by now fainted away from fright as the villain exited the front door of the diner with the robotic cat in pursuit.

Outside, Goring hurried to his car whilst carrying the now-unconscious girl. Kit-10 emerged from the restaurant and fired a blast of her nose-laser at him. Of course, she was careful to not hit Millie, and this necessary precaution caused her to miss striking Goring, the laser ray hitting the pavement just below his feet. Before Kit-10 could again fire, Goring tossed the girl into the automobile and took the driver’s seat, slamming shut the door and immediately starting up the car and turning it to exit the lot.

As the vehicle zoomed away, Kit-10 fired another laser shot at the car. It seemed to strike underneath, but did nothing to stop the automobile from racing away at top speed into the city, soon losing itself amongst the traffic.

Millie Drake had been kidnapped!! …

I was prepared when Maximilian leaped over the table on top of me. I had my foot ready and kicked him hard to the chin as I slid out from underneath him. Then, before he could recover, I reached down and heaved up his huge bulk, propelling it through the plate glass window. He smashed through the windowpane with a resounding noise of shattering glass. His form then hurtled through the air and soon fell with a gigantic splash into the harbour. I do not know if the man had been rendered unconscious by my efforts, or if he just could not swim, but he soon sank under the water to his death in the deeps.

“Maxed out,” said I.

I then ran out into the parking lot and hurried over to Kit-10, quickly sizing up the situation.

“Did you get the license number of their car?” I enquired of her.

“Of course, s--,” responded the mechanical kitty, “but I have already checked it according to all available records and it appears to be fraudulent.”

“By the Eternal Spires!” I swore in disgust. “It would be. We need to find a way to track down that vehicle and save Millie.”

“My laser did manage to do some damage to the automobile’s underside,” announced the little robot. “The vehicle should now be leaking motor oil.”

I peered out across the parking lot to the street. There was indeed what appeared to be a broken line of oil stretching away into town.

“Excellent work, my dear friend!” I told Kit-10. “Now, we must hurry!”

The robot cat and I then boarded Lizzie and sped away, following the line of leaked motor oil through the winding streets of Baltimore City. …

Having soon arrived at the secret lair of FKR, Goring had deposited the still-swooning Millie Drake on his desk, quickly tying up the girl’s wrists and ankles with shipping cord. He then took the ancient sword from the wall and stood over her.

“A shame,” said Goring as he gazed at the beautiful young girl. “You would fetch quite a price on the street market. But the one we serve, the mighty god Loghe, will have you as a blood sacrifice in stead. That will enable his power to become completely manifest, that I may use it to rule this world!”

With this, the evil Goring raised the sword up and pointed its cruel blade directly to-wards the helpless girl, whilst chanting an horrid heathen prayer in an archaic proto-Germanic tongue.

As he proceeded with this the room around him began to be filled with a blood-red radiance -- this denoting the presence and growing power of the terrible alien god! …

I parked Lizzie out front of the small office complex to which the trail of motor oil had led. The black car was parked just outside of an unmarked but obviously occupied suite. I pondered that Goring must be planning some incredible show of power in order to not hide his whereabouts any better than this.

I hurried to the entrance with Kit-10 close behind me. The lock yielded quickly to my escapology skills and we entered the building. There was no one in the outer room, but I heard the sound of a low chanting coming from the adjoining chamber. It then became obvious to me what was occurring.

Then, just as I was about to rush into that room in my attempt to save Millie Drake from an unknown but obviously horrible fate, I suddenly found myself blasted off my feet by a wave of heat -- forsooth a surge of rushing fire of not completely physical origin.

“It is the power of Loghe,” I muttered as the blood-red psychic flame enveloped me. “The fire god is being summoned!”

Whilst the searing paranormal heat continued to surround me, I felt my consciousness beginning to slip away.

Do you see the complete and total terror, in truth the utter and absolute horror of this situation, my dear readers? Miss Millie Drake, my assistant and my love, was about to be sacrificed to the alien deity known as Loghe -- in an attempt by the international felon known as Goring to gain superhuman abilities that he could then use to create the greatest criminal empire of all time -- and I was being prevented from stopping this mad outrage by the extraterrestrial power of the supposed god; an immensely heated psychic fire that even now was surrounding me and causing me to lose conscious awareness!

“You must retain consciousness, s--,” said Kit-10, who had retreated slightly so the fire would not overheat her circuitry. “The force of the fire does have a degree of heat, but it is manifest by way of a mentalist projection, not a physical reality.”

The sound of my robotic friend’s voice was just enough for me to focus on, enough for me to use to break through the heat and flame and to force myself into the office chamber. I entered just in time to see Goring with the horrible ancient sword poised over the frail, helpless figure of Millie Drake. The girl had recovered from her faint and now screamed in absolute mortal terror at realisation of the peril she was experiencing.

The robotic cat had now entered the room and stood beside me.

“Kit-10!” I called to her. “The sword!”

The computerised feline aimed a blast of her laser and hit the horrid weapon, sending it flying through the air, out and away from Goring’s grasp. Whilst this was happening, I vaulted over the desk and then gave him three hard punches to the gut, nose, and jaw. He stumbled backwards and collided into the red flame that was still surrounding the chamber.

I heard Goring shriek in pain and outrage as the psychic fire covered him.

“No, Loghe, no!” he bellowed. “I am your servant! I am… !”

It was then that Goring, that horrible criminal, international pimp, and top syndicate crime boss, died in agony. His charred remains fell to the floor as the flames then faded away to nothing. Within seconds, it was as if he had never existed.

I turned and quickly released Millie Drake from her bonds, then taking the trembling little lass into my embrace.

“All is now well, my love,” I assured her. “Goring has failed in his service to Loghe, and the alien god has claimed the right of revenge.”

“Oh Daniel,” sobbed the girl in relief. “I’m so glad you made it! I was so afraid, but knew you would be here!”

“Always, my dear little Mills. Fortunately, I had Kit-10 to help me track down where you had been taken -- and to help me get through that psychic flame!”

“Thank you too, Kit-10,” added Millie.

“Of course, m--,” returned the metallic pussycat.

From outside we now heard the sound of approaching sirens.

“Sounds like the Baltimore Police Department has arrived, hmmm?” I said. “They will have traced us from the diner via the city’s security cameras, and will no doubt have quite a few questions about what has been going on. I shall talk to our old friend, Captain Hurley, and explain matters. I am sure they will then be quite relieved to hear that the horrible vice crime syndicate known as FKR has now been broken."



The man ran down the city street in haste, glancing behind him to ascertain if he were being pursued. For now, he saw no one.

He was tall and blue-skinned, as is the appearance of most inhabitants of the planet Uranus. He wore a business suit not much different from the type found on many worlds. Around him the floating capital city of his world was quiet, and far above several of its moons were visible in the night sky.

Suddenly, a beam of light hit near the man’s feet, barely missing him. Realising he had indeed been detected, he quickly altered his course, ducking down an alleyway.

“Run all you want, you miserable traitor!” called a rough voice from behind him. “You can’t escape The Corporation!”

The alley the man was running through soon debouched into a main thoroughfare. Seeing a metal post-box on the street corner, he took a large envelope from his jacket and deposited it therein, then continuing his fleeing in a different direction.

When his pursuers -- three men in dark clothing all carrying blaster-pistols -- emerged from the alleyway, they saw him running across the street. They spread out and hurried to ambush him from all sides, and he soon found himself surrounded.

The man stopped and stood still, resolving himself to his fate as the others approached with their guns aimed directly at him.

“This is it, traitor,” said the first of his pursuers. “The Corporation has ordered your execution.”

“It does not matter now,” said the man. “What your wretched Corporation is doing to our planet will be exposed, and your degradation of Uranus will be avenged.”

“Not going to happen,” replied the other with a smirk. “We have protection. The Corporation has something that will assure our dominance over this planet. The government will bow before us, and the people will tremble in fearful obedience when they see what we have. Kill him!”

And with this, all three of the pursuers activated their blaster guns, and the man only let out a brief shout of pain before the energy beams completely obliterated him. …

My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Extraterrestrial Espionage Agent and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am in fact several thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL -- the most intellectually-advanced race in all of the known galaxies, whose technology is so sophisticated it often appears to be “magic” and “miraculous” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites tend to keep to themselves, preferring to live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe and thus merely observing the goings-on of the myriad races of the vast reaches around them, I am an Operative for a secret organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department, tasked with maintaining peace and order throughout the farthest reaches of Space and Time. You know, “plausible deniability”, and all of that sort of thing. It is our ongoing mission to defend the weak, the unfortunate, and the innocent from those who would harm or exploit them.

Currently assigned to Earth, I protect its people (both upon their planet and across the eternal void) from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Magister Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as from alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. Assisted by my friends -- the beautiful Miss Millie "The Girl From Beyond" Drake and our catlike robot, Kit-10 -- I am the living icon of Algol on this world. I am a Knight of the Eternal Spires. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia. I am the stellar swashbuckler.

I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …

It was to a shimmering area on the outer reaches of the Space/Time Current that I had been summoned, having first heard the far-off trumpeting sound that signified the calling of a secret meeting between Agents of the Kosmikos, that espionage organisation of my people, the Watchers of Algol. I was dressed in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, military boots, panama hat, and one of my favourite opera capes.

A moment later, a rather elderly gentleman with grey hair and lean aesthetic features suddenly appeared before me. He was wearing a silver coverall garment on his thin but commanding frame.

“Greetings, Master Emmos,” said I, recognising him as our Chief Operative.

“Greetings, Master Rumanos,” he replied. “I trust you are well.”

“Quite so, sir,” I replied. “I pray you are the same.”

“I am well. The Kosmikos has received intelligence concerning certain occurrences on the planet Uranus. There is a group known as ‘The Corporation’. It conceals itself as a business conglomerate, but its leadership has plans to incite a violent overthrow of the planet’s government and then to establish a dictatorship. An envelope containing documents exposing this plot was mailed to the Uranian Chancellor. It is believed that the Corporation employee who sent the information was then murdered.”

“Understood,” I said whilst pondering this information. “Could not the agencies of Uranus deal with the problem?”

“Not directly," replied Emmos. “There are certain political controversies involved, and the Chancellor needed to make sure that the operation was not revealed to the public. It is feared that a subculture of radical sympathisers to The Corporation could aid them in violent acts of sedition. That is why we are now involved in the case. We now need you to find out exactly what we are dealing with so the Uranians can take appropriate action before the situation escalates. You will be transported to the capital city of Uranus immediately after this meeting.”

“Will my trainee operative be assisting in this assignment?”

“You will find Mistress Drake nearby,” he assured me. “I trust you will be prepared to brief her quickly concerning the antecedents of this Uranus mission.”

“Of course,” said I. “I assure you I am quite adept at both briefing and debriefing her.”

“This is no time for levity, Rumanos,” admonished Emmos with a disapprovingly raised eyebrow at my perceived ribaldry. “Be sure you realise that this operation is imperative. Notwithstanding its own significance, it may have links to other matters of extreme importance.”

“Understood, sir.”

With this, Master Emmos vanished and I soon found myself standing on a city street corner. I looked around and beheld that the writing on the signs was of the Uranian language, and knew that I had indeed been immediately transported to the planet in question. Above me the Sun shone, much more dimly than it does upon the planet Earth, yet still brilliantly in the blue-green sky.

I realised I was in a sort of alleyway, and then immediately began walking to-wards the far end of it, from which I could hear traffic noises signifying it to be a more active thoroughfare. I hoped that it was indeed the correct direction where I would meet Millie Drake and fill her in concerning the details of our mission.

Suddenly, a beam of light hit the wall next to me. I recognised it as the flash of a blaster gun and it had missed me by mere millimetres. Someone was trying to kill me!

I ran quickly down the alley and turned the corner just as another blast hit near my feet. It was indeed a main street of the Uranian capital city, quite busy with automobiles and blue-skinned Uranian pedestrians. Buildings towered on both sides, the tallest of which was a skyscraper topped by a large radio antenna. On the building was a neon-type sign declaring it to be the central offices of The Corporation.

Several metres down the sidewalk I beheld Millie Drake. I knew that she would be considered a target just as I was.

“Millie!” I shouted as I ran to-wards her. “Look out!”

The girl is exceedingly beautiful, petite and perfect with chestnut-coloured hair, lovely violet eyes, sun-kissed skin, and a wide sensuous mouth with luscious cherry-red lips. The tight, short, hot pink dress she wore only served to highlight the elegantly-soft curves of her enticingly-slender and definitely very young figure.

I was very pleased to see that Millie had not been brought here alone. With her was Kit-10, our mobile personal computer that resembles nothing more or less than a small mechanical cat.

I grabbed the girl and shielded her from being caught in the blaster fire. I then quickly glanced back and saw my attackers. There were three of them, all of them being Uranian men in dark suits.

“Kit-10!” I called out. “Stun them!”

Before the men could again fire, the robotic feline went into action, hitting them with the beam from her nose-laser. Two of them quickly fell down unconscious, but the third then retreated, though Kit-10 did manage to hit his blaster-gun and send it flying from his hand. He quickly turned and ran around the corner, shouting behind him as he did.

“You cannot win, Kosmikos Agent!” he said as he disappeared back into the alleyway. “The Corporation has something prepared for you! Something big!!”

“Thank you, Kit-10,” I approved. “Good shooting as always. They should be out for  awhile, hmmm?”

“Of course, s--,” replied the computerised puss in her simulated yet pleasantly-feminine voice.

(It should be noted here that, along with her other catlike characteristics, Kit-10 is possessed of the total inability to openly show respect to anyone. The closest she ever comes to it is by addressing me by a slight “s--” sound -- for “sir” -- and Millie Drake by “m--” -- for “ma’am”.)

Millie was trembling in fear as I continued to hold her close.

“Daniel, what’s happening?” she cried. “Kit-10 says we are on the planet Uranus and that we were brought here by the Kosmikos, but that she wasn’t given any other information.”

I quickly informed the girl concerning the details of our mission, and of the intelligence the Kosmikos had received concerning the nefarious activities of The Corporation.

“So they murdered one of their employees for exposing them,” she said, “and now they’re trying to kill us?”

“Indeed so,” I replied. “They are completely dedicated to bringing about a dictatorship in which The Corporation will be unchallenged rulers of the planet.”

“But what could make them so crazy?” enquired the girl. “To go so far as that? It just doesn’t really make any sense.”

“Political extremists never do, but I suspect there is another factor involved here. Something from outside The Corporation’s immediate concerns that is helping them in their plans, though likely for reasons of its own.”

By now, we had walked over to the unconscious forms of the two men. I took the transonic turnscrew, an highly-advanced scientific instrument somewhat resembling a writing pen, from my pocket and set it to scan their biological systems.

“By the Triple Star!” I swore upon looking at the resultant readouts. “It is even worse than I feared! These men are under the influence of… “

“Danger approaching, s--,” warned Kit-10.

Millie saw the thing before I did. She saw it and screamed. I whirled around and looked. At first I saw nothing, for what was approaching was not a other mere danger on the city streets. It was in the sky. For at that moment, descending over the city was an horror unimaginable, a thing of nightmare and of utter irredeemable insanity, in sooth a being beyond anything seen in the darkest and most horrifying of nightmares.

It was like unto an amorphous blob, a sickly blue-green of hue, miles wide and covered all over with a sickly unwholesome mass of writhing tendrils. As we watched, for the moment transfixed in complete and absolute revulsion, the thing reached its disgusting feelers down to-wards the very streets of the capital city of Uranus. The people who were still on those streets then  began to shriek and bellow in supreme and unmitigated terror as they beheld this horror, this hideous and unholy monstrosity, this complete and absolute madness.

“Millie,” I said whilst taking the girl’s hand, “run.”

Millie Drake and I hurried into one of the street’s other side alleys with Kit-10 close behind us.

“Just stay still back here, love,” I warned the girl. “I need to assess this situation carefully if we are going to find a solution.”

“Daniel, what is that thing?!” queried the frightened lass.

“It is what is known as a Uranusite or Elder Thing,” I informed her. “They were the original indigenous inhabitants of this planet, gigantic beings that ruled this world for aeons until their society irrupted into civil wars. The resultant conflicts were so extreme, as the giant monsters battled each other for supremacy, that they are what led to the orbital axis of Uranus being shifted sidewise as it is to this day. The wars led to the end of Uranusite civilisation, as such things so often do. Modern Uranians, as you have seen, are an humanoid race descended from Saturnian colonists. The Elder Things are now largely extinct, although a few of them are indeed rumoured to still exist near the core of the planet. They have lost their intellect and are now just mindless animals.”

“But why is it here now?”

“It is what the Corporation employee warned us about,” I explained. “You see, the Uranusites respond to certain radio frequencies, so The Corporation has used a signal to bring it here, both against us and as a show of power.”

“Of course!” exclaimed Millie. “That radio tower! They’re broadcasting something from there that brought it here!”

“Indeed,” said I.

“Is there a way to shut it down?”

“We will have to get closer. I may be able to utilise the transonic to…”

Then my words were interrupted by Millie Drake’s screams. The Elder Thing had lunged its tendrils under the city by using the sewer system, and now one of its horrid feelers had suddenly burst forth from and quickly wrapped itself around the girl’s waist and was now dragging her away from me to-wards the gutter! …

At that same time, in the building housing the business office headquarters of The Corporation, the Chief Executive Office of that particular body was engaged in a conversation from his office -- forsooth, a conversation with something that spoke to him from a video screen.

“Those agents of the Algolite Kosmikos are here as you said would happen,” said the blue-skinned Uranian CEO as he sat in his desk-chair clad in his finely-tailored business suit. “The Elder Thing has been sent to deal with them.”

The thing on the screen was like unto a crayfish just over a metre in length. It sat in a metallic chair and its horrid red eyes glared evilly as if to pierce directly through the monitor.

“Those meddling Daemonian spies!” spat the creature. “They have interfered with the business of our Five Families of Pluto in the past. The one called Rumanos is himself personally responsible for the assassinations of my own father and grandfather. We must not let them succeed in stopping our plans.”

“I am sure there is no need to be concerned, Capo Cuevas” replied the CEO, vainly attempting to reign in his nervousness. “I am certain the Elder Thing will be able to take care of them.”

“If the Uranusite does not stop them then our deal is ended,” announced the Plutonian. “Do you understand me? It is ended! We cannot have your incompetence leading to things like this. We have supplied you with the cadebium to aid in assuring the obedience of your employees, yet the information still leaked out!”

“That could not be helped. He was apparently immune to the effects of the drug. But we did manage to eliminate him before he could do any further damage, and…”

“I will not listen to excuses, Uranian! We made the deal with you to aid in your taking over your planet’s government, that in exchange our own activities in the system would go unbothered by the Uranian authorities. Shipments of cadebium have been coming to Uranus long enough that many members of the population, including your employees, should have been completely under its thrall. This would have assured the success of your planned insurrection. In stead, you have failed in aiding its distribution and now we see the outcome. This is the last chance you are getting. Destroy the Daemonian meddlers or we will leave you to face all alone the consequences of your sedition and terrorism against the government of your own planet!!” …

I aimed the transonic turnscrew at the tendril that was dragging Millie away. The setting slowed the thing down just slightly but did not stop it.

“Kit-10!” I called.

The little robot was already in position, and fired a blast of her nose-laser that hit the tendril, causing it to quickly let go of the girl and retreat into the sewer.

I ran to Millie Drake and she fell into my arms still shaking with horror.

“Oh my goodness!” sobbed the girl. “That was so horrible! Thank you for saving me, Daniel.”

“Always, my love,” I assured her.

“Thank you too, Kit-10,” added the lass.

“Of course, m--,” replied the mechanical cat.

“Now is there a way we can get to the radio antenna?” queried Millie.

“We can but try, love,” I answered. “The Uranusite seems to have been brought here mostly as a sign of dominance by The Corporation -- a ploy to bring fear. Fortunately, that tendril was only a small part of it. Neither the transonic nor Kit-10’s blaster would have much effect on a larger section of that monster. If we can get down the street to the Corporation Tower without being again detected by it, we might have a chance. Mills, hold on to my hand and stay close, and we shall see if we can go down the sidewalk without attracting the thing’s attention, hmmm? You keep close by, Kit-10.”

We indeed continued on the sidewalk after emerging from the alley, attempting all the while to stay in the shadows, hopefully away from the awareness of the horrible Uranusite --- that hideous Elder Thing that even now loomed gigantically in the planet‘s sky, with its terrible tendrils thrust under the city through every available orifice. We had just reached the building next to the tower belonging to the corporation when all hell suddenly broke loose.

With the sounds of concrete bursting, an huge horrid mass of the Elder Thing’s feelers quickly broke through the pavement directly beneath us. Before we could even react, Miss Millie Drake, Kit-10, and I found ourselves shoved upwards, propelled to-wards the sky amidst the grotesque conglomeration of alien tendrils!!

Do you perceive the most extreme and completely unadulterated terror, in sooth the most supreme and totally unmitigated horror of this situation, my dearest friends and indeed most loyal readers? The young girl, the robotic cat, and I were now being raised upwards by the horrible writhing tendrils of the Uranusite -- that supremely hideous Elder Thing that is feared and shuddered about in the absolute darkest and indeed most horrifying tales that are to be found in that planet’s ancient history; in truth, that giant monstrosity and creature of complete and all-encompassing fear and terror, the very existence of which seems to speak of the total screaming madness and utter unhallowed insanity that all-to-often seems to underlie -- like an unsanctified basis upon which more wholesome things were then constructed -- the very foundation of Creation itself!

We continued up and up, until we had almost reached the height of the roof of the skyscraper next to the one on which was the radio antenna. Little Millie Drake was screaming in absolute total fear as I desperately held onto her in my attempts to keep her safe.

“Millie,” I said to the girl, “hold on tight and when I say ‘jump’, you jump with me.”

“I will, Daniel,” replied the lass.

“Kit-10, stay with us. Now, Millie -- jump!”

We then suddenly propelled ourselves across the space between the tendrils and the top of the building, landing on the rooftop roughly but none the less safely.

“Are you all right, love?” I then enquired concernedly.

“Yes, I’m fine,” replied Millie Drake, still trembling but bravely controlling her fear.

“What about you, Kit-10?”

“Systems undamaged, s--,” responded the little robot.

For the moment the Elder Thing, its animalistic instincts confused, had again forgotten of our existence. I looked across to the building next to us, the Corporation skyscraper on which was the antenna. The gap between the buildings was just too far to attempt crossing.

“Daniel,” began Millie, “are we close enough to change the frequency like you said?”

“We should just barely be,” I answered as I fetched the transonic turnscrew from my jacket. “We can but try.”

I aimed the device directly to-wards the radio antennae and activated it. In a few moments, a slight alteration of tone could be detected in the slight current from the antenna.

“That should do it,” I pondered. “Just… now!”

Suddenly, the hideous Uranusite began to shudder and shake and to withdraw all of its feelers from the city streets.

“Millie! Kit-10!” I called. “We need to get down the fire escape!”

We ran quickly down to street level just as the Elder Thing wrapped all it tendrils around the building that housed the business offices of The Corporation. …

Inside the building, the Chief Executive Officer of The Corporation shrieked in fear as the room around him -- in truth the entire edifice -- began to violently quake. He had no time to even rise from his chair before the roof fell in on him and ended his life. …

As Millie, Kit-10, and I watched from the comparative safety of street-level, the Uranusite gripped the skyscraper in its horrible feelers, causing the structure to totally collapse into a pile of dust and rubble, on top of which were the warped and twisted remains of the radio antenna.

It was then that the Uranusite, that horrendous Elder Thing from the planet’s darkest times, moved away from the city and then, with a sudden flash of eldritch blue-green light, the monster disappeared over the horizon.

“It is going back to its home in the planet’s inner atmosphere,” I explained. “We must pray that it and its kind are never again called up to threaten the people of Uranus.”

“What did you do to it exactly?” asked Millie Drake.

“I used the transonic turnscrew to switch the polarisation of the radio transmission. In stead of calling the Uranusite, the signal became a challenge to fight, causing the thing’s animalistic instincts to make it reach out and destroy the source.”

“So The Corporation’s plans are finished,” said Millie. “Everything is okay now, isn’t it?”

“It is true that their evil plot to become dictators of this world is now stopped,” I rejoined, “but there is still another factor threatening this and other civilisations within the Solar System.”

“What do you mean, Daniel?” queried the girl.

“You see, when I scanned those unconscious employees of The Corporation, it showed that they were under the influence of cadebium, a very dangerous narcotic drug that is ingested by the user either through smoking it or eating it. Cadebium is both physically and psychologically addictive, and opens the user to easy domination by outside influences. It is exported to the outer planets by criminal elements headed by the Crime Syndicate of the dwarf planet Pluto.”

“Oh my gosh!” exclaimed the lass. “So The Corporation were using this drug to make people follow them so they could take over Uranus?”

“Indeed so,” I affirmed. “I really need to have to have a talk with Master Emmos about taking the activities of the Plutonian gangsters under serious consideration for future surveillance and possible sabotage. As for now, we shall have to go and speak to the Uranian Chancellor. After he is informed as to the facts of the matter, I am certain the planetary government will be able to handle things here from now on. Then our mission on this planet will be complete.”

“What are we going to do then?” queried Millie Drake with a look in her beautiful eyes that I know so well.

“Then, my dear little Mills,” said I whilst pulling the giggling girl close to me, “we can signal the Kosmikos to return us to Earth -- where it is almost Valentine's Day, and I indeed have a quite necessary debriefing for you, hmmm?”



Pastor Jack Caldwell sat behind his well-polished desk in his office at Calvary Baptist Church. The church, located as it was in the Manchester area of Baltimore County in the state of Maryland, was of the “fundamentalist” type, vigorously preaching against the presumed evils of liberalism, feminism, and homosexuality. As part of this, they also ran a school, rather prosaically yet presumptuously named Calvary Baptist Academy, part of the “Accelerated Christian Education” programme which teaches that scientific facts such as evolution are all part of a great lie, forsooth a grand conspiracy against All-American conservatism and “family values”.

As he eyed the visitor in his office, Pastor Caldwell (himself an austere, aesthetically-thin, grey-haired man clad in a dark suit and tie) could not repress a slight shudder. There was something about this man, this “Mr. Chrysostom” who had breezed into his office offering papers proving himself to possess a proper schoolteacher’s college degree. There was something powerful about him, something downright otherworldly.

“Well, your papers are impressive enough, Mr. Chrysostom,” said Caldwell. “Yes, we could use you here at the school. Having an accredited teacher here would help get the State Board of Education off our backs. Those ungodly tools of Satan.”

The man known as Mr. Chrysostom chuckled as he sat in the chair across from the pastor.

“Indeed so,” he said darkly. “All of this world are tools of something. All are under some… influence.”

With this, Mr. Chrysostom turned his deeply hypnotic eyes to-wards his host. “Chrysostom” was a man of middle years, his face still showing signs of handsome distinction despite being marked with the results of seeming lifetimes of extreme profligate wickedness. His hair was long and dark, his face decorated with a thin moustache and goatee. He was wearing a silk suit of ebon black.

“Yes, well,” continued Pastor Caldwell, “as I said, we’d be glad to have you. But it is the summer break, you know. You say you have some work to offer the church until the next semester begins?”

“Indeed I do, Pastor,” returned Chrysostom (actual the evil intergalactic villain, Don Wingus). “I am currently engaged in some research and could make quite good use of one of your schoolrooms -- as laboratory space, more or less. The results of my endeavours would then be available to you and the church.”

“Results?” queried the clergyman. “What are you expecting to achieve?”

“Power, my good man,” responded Wingus, his eyes now showing forth with an irresistibly-mesmerising glare. “Supreme and eternal power over all of Creation.”

“Yes, the Lord said we were supposed to have that. Dominion over the Earth and everything.”

“Quiet right, and now, with my research, we shall! For my research will put us into contact with an artefact, an antediluvian jewel that shall bring us total domination of this planet. You will be privileged to assist me in obtaining it. It is arguably the most powerful object ever to grace this reality. It is the very key to mastery over Time itself!”

“What is it called?” queried Jack Caldwell, now deeply under the hypnotic spell of the Algolite criminal.

“It is known as -- The Lemurian Lapidare!!” …

My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Extraterrestrial Espionage Agent and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am in fact several thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL -- the most intellectually-advanced race in all of the known galaxies, whose technology is so sophisticated it often appears to be “magic” and “miraculous” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites tend to keep to themselves, preferring to live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe and thus merely observing the goings-on of the myriad races of the vast reaches around them, I am an Operative for a secret organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department, tasked with maintaining peace and order throughout the farthest reaches of Space and Time. You know, “plausible deniability”, and all of that sort of thing. It is our ongoing mission to defend the weak, the unfortunate, and the innocent from those who would harm or exploit them.

Currently assigned to Earth, I protect its people (both upon their planet and across the eternal void) from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Magister Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as from alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. Assisted by my friends -- the beautiful Miss Millie The Girl From Beyond " Drake and our catlike robot, Kit-10 -- I am the living icon of Algol on this world. I am a Knight of the Eternal Spires. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia. I am the stellar swashbuckler.

I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …

Under the golden trapezoidal roof of a skyscraper in downtown Baltimore City, I sat at my workbench making adjustments on a device that resembled a large writing pen, but which was in reality an highly-advance scientific instrument. I was clad in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, and military boots.

“So, what exactly are you doing to the transonic turnscrew?” enquired Millie Drake, who stood near by unwrapping a piece of chocolate that she then popped into her mouth. The girl is exquisitely beautiful, with luxurious chestnut hair, lovely violet eyes, sun-kissed skin, and luscious red lips. The tight, short, royal blue dress she wore only served to highlight the soft curves of her petite-and-perfect figure.

“Just a few upgrades, love,” I informed her. “Some new software. I hope it all works, as it has been quite a while since the old transonic has undergone any real maintenance, you know.”

The chamber in which I was working contains a rather large collection of artefacts, both alien and some from different periods of Earth’s history, things that I have collected in my long and storied career as an operative of the Kosmikos of Algol. Not the least of these is my DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress” and standing for Dimensional Transport Sphere), one of those combination Spaceship/Time-machines available only to the use of our people, the exterior of which is disguised to look like a Greco-Roman “Ionic” or “Corinthian” column.

At the other end of the chamber, busily monitoring some electronic readouts, was Kit-10, our mobile personal computer who resembles nothing more or less than a small mechanical cat.

“Local disturbance, s--,” suddenly interrupted the mechanical feline in her artificial but pleasantly-feminine voice. “Sudden energy surge detected.”

(It should be noted here that, along with her other catlike characteristics, Kit-10 is possessed of a complete inability to openly show respect to anyone. The closest she ever comes to it is by referring to me by a slight “s--” sound -- for “sir” -- and to Millie Drake by “m--” -- for “ma’am”.)

“What kind of energy, Kit-10?” said I, looking up from my work with interest.

“Accessing databanks,” answered the robot. “Confirmed. Energy is Lemurian, of the type utilised during the First Human Empire. It is currently detected in the Manchester area of Baltimore County.”

“By the Stellar Trinity!” I swore, standing up in haste and slipping the transonic turnscrew into my pocket. “We need to get over there right away!”

“But who could be using Lemurian energy?” enquired Millie.

“One shudders to think,” I responded whilst grabbing my panama hat and opera cape from the near by hallstand.  “Kit-10, you stay here and continue monitoring the readouts. Come along, Mills. We have work to do!” …

In the schoolroom of Calvary Baptist Academy that had been converted into Don Wingus’s laboratory, that villain now stood with Pastor Caldwell and one other. The other was a young man, tall and heavy-set, his distorted features marking him as a mentally-deficient, likely due to inbreeding. He was wearing jeans, a rather yellowed plain t-shirt, and beaten-up sneakers.

“Howard,” said Caldwell. “Move Mr. Chrysostom’s cabinet over to where he wants it.”

“Yes, Pastor,” obeyed the retarded man who then shuffled over to his assigned task.

“So, this Howard,” enquired Wingus. “You say he is your younger sister’s son?”

“Umm, yes,” answered the clergyman nervously. “We believe he was punished by God for being born… out of wedlock.”

“No doubt,” smirked Wingus. “Excuse me a moment.”

Don Wingus then went over to the tall cabinet that Howard had moved into place. As he approached, a porthole-type opening appeared in the object and Wingus walked through it -- this “cabinet’ being, of course, the villain’s disguised DiTraS.

Inside, Wingus went to the large counter that stood at one end of the tavern-like control room. He already had two long cables connected to it, and now stretched them out through the door of the ship to the centre of the schoolroom laboratory, placing the other ends of them -- which were readily pulsating with a strange eldritch glow -- upon a small circular table that had been set up there.

“Do you have some kind of protection with you?” enquired Caldwell. “I mean in case some ungodly sinner tries to interfere.”

“Of course,” grinned Don Wingus whilst he briefly then exposed the handle of the sleek laser gun concealed in the pocket of his suit-coat.

“Good to see you exercising your God-given right to bear firearms,” approved the pastor.

“Now is the time for the summoning to begin,” then announced Wingus to the others. “When you see something beginning to appear on the table, concentrate upon it, and add your mental power --whatever it may be -- to the manifestation.”

“Yes, Mr. Chrysostom,” agreed Caldwell. “We obey your commands.”

The idiot Howard also nodded in agreement, his mouth hanging open in wonder.

With this, Don Wingus -- alias “Mr. Chrysostom” -- stared intently to-wards the platform on which he had placed the cables and, his voice raised in a chant, began the incantation:

“By all the powers within me and by the energies of Time itself I do now summon forth the appearance of the Lemurian Lapidare! I do call upon this stone to send itself here from its place in the most ancient temple! By the authority of my Daemonian heritage, I do summon forth the mightiest of jewels that I may use its powers to control the force of Shenaskah!”

As he spoke the words of evocation, a sound like the winds of a typhoon began to be heard in the chamber, coupled as it was by the appearance of dark swirling clouds around its perimeters. Then, upon the table an object started to come into view. It was like unto a dazzling jewel, purple and black in colour, about the size of an hand. As the summoning continued, it gradually became more and more like a solid object.

“Now, Shenaskah, come!” cried the evil Don Wingus as the chaotic forces continued to swirl around him. “Hear me, Devourer of Time! By the powers of the Lemurian Lapidare I do call you forth! Hear my summoning and come!”

And with this, a figure began to appear in the room -- a figure as unto an huge dark mass, an ebony shape like a man clad in a shapeless robe of total blackness.

“Yes, come to me, Shenaskah!” continued Wingus amidst peals of his totally insane laughter. “Come to me and bring me your power!!” …

There was a drizzling midsummer rain as Millie Drake and I arrived at the parking lot of Calvary Baptist Church in our canary-coloured Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”) and made our way to the adjoining school building. There was a sound as to like a mighty wind coming, oddly enough, from inside.

“That sound…” shuddered Millie. “What is it?”

“It seems the invocation of the Lemurian forces is indeed underway,” I explained. “We have no time to lose.”

The transonic turnscrew made quick work of the schoolhouse locks and we were soon inside, hurrying down the corridors to-wards the chamber from which the bizarre noise was emanating.

We burst into the room and beheld the swirling dark forces that had been summoned, along with the grey-haired older man and mentally-retarded younger one standing off to the side in obedience to the one who had performed the horrid incantation. As we entered, our sudden presence disturbed his concentration and caused the forces in the chamber to lessen. The image of the stone and the phantasm of the ghastly figure vanished. All that was left was an echo of the wind, and some vestiges of the powers that continued to drift around the area.

The villain turned to face me, a look of annoyance on his darksome visage. Of course, I recognised him immediately. I recognised him as my oldest and most bitter enemy, the most heinous criminal in all of Time and Space.

“Don Wingus!” I exclaimed. “I should have known. So you did escape from the Battle Lords.”

“Well, it is Doctor Roman Nose and Daemonia’s Junior Miss,” mocked Wingus, an evil grin spreading across his features. “Welcome back to school. Reading and writing and arithmetic and all that. I would offer you one of those free school lunches, but I am certain you have already given the little girl there something hot and creamy for dessert.”

“Wingus, you despicable fiend!” I protested, ignoring his obscene taunts. “To what use are you putting Lemurian energy? You know that it is unstable from this range, and could ravage the very fabric of Time!"

The grey-haired man suddenly broke into our conversation.

“You need to stop talking to Mr. Chrysostom disrespectfully,” he stated to me. “I’m Pastor Jack Caldwell, and he is our most accredited teacher here at Calvary Baptist Academy.”

“‘Chrysostom’?” I repeated, still addressing Don Wingus. “Well, of all the confounded arrogance! Using the name of a saint to cover your evil deeds, along with forged education credentials. Well, I am putting a stop to it.”

“Not this time, Rumanos,” laughed the villain. “Not this time. You see, I have already made contact. I have used the control panel of my DiTraS to contact the Lemurian Lapidare, having found that this location is on a direct Time-ricochet to its energies.”

“The Lemurian Lapidare? Why, that is an object actually dating back to the time of the Kaiju, which was later discovered and utilised by the humans of Lemuria to overthrow the Reptilians.”

“Yes, which it did by harnessing the power of the inter-dimensional being known as Shenaskah. That is the one I am calling forth.”

“Shenaskah?” queried Millie Drake. “Isn’t that one of the Time-Devourers?”

“Indeed it is, love,” I told her. “The most powerful and dangerous of them. They are creatures that exist on the outer edges of reality, and which maintain their existence by absorbing leakages of Time.”

“A form of sustenance that gives them unspeakable powers,” interrupted Wingus. “Powers that I now intend to harness, that I may utilise them to conquer all of Creation!”

“The energies of Shenaskah are total chaos, Wingus,” I told him. “You will not be able to control him.”

“Ah, but I shall. I shall. As I said, I have already made contact with the Lemurian Lapidare, and shall transmit its powers across the aeons that I may use them to put even Shenaskah at my command.”

“You will do nothing of the sort,” I insisted. “Thank the Triple Star we arrived here in time to stop you. We will…”

Just then, I was hit from behind by a powerful blow. It was the young retarded man, who had crept up behind me when I was distracted by talking to Don Wingus. I found myself crumpling to the floor in pain.

“Good work, Howard,” approved the villain. “Keep Rumanos restrained whilst I continue with the working.”

The man known as Howard then grabbed me and hoisted me upwards. He was incredibly strong. Fortunately, I managed to shake off the pain and delivered a knee to his groin. He bellowed in agony and relaxed his grip. This enabled me to step back and deliver a punch to his face that sent him careening across the floor. He cascaded into one the areas of energy that were still swirling about. As I watched, he shuddered and shook as his form began to alter. He quickly became bent over and his hair fell out. His face became wrinkled and dry, his body weak and aged. He soon fell down in death and his corpse quickly rotted away to a skeleton, then to a mere pile of dust that soon enough itself disappeared.

“The residual energies from the Time-Devourer,” I said. “We Algolites are immune to them, but that is their effect on humans.”

It was then that I heard Millie Drake scream and whirled around to see what was menacing her. It was Don Wingus, who had her in his clutches, one arm wrapped tightly around her midsection whilst his other hand held his laser-gun to her head.

“One false move, Rumanos,” warned Wingus, “and the girl dies. Having already made contact here with the Lemurian Lapidare, I now intend to take the invocation of Shenaskah into the Time Current. That shall greatly strengthen its effects.”

As he spoke, the villain made his way to-wards his DiTraS. When he reached it, he threw Millie to the floor and quickly passed through the door to his control room. The cables were then instantly withdrawn and the porthole closed. This was immediately followed by the strange gasping moaning sound of his Time-ship engine as it dematerialised. Within a moment, the cabinet-like DiTraS had faded away.

The remnant of the dark powers in the room now disappeared. Pastor Caldwell still stood to the side, looking on in disbelief at all that had occurred as I ran over to see to Millie Drake.

“Are you all right, love?” I questioned concernedly as I helped the poor wee lass to her feet.

“Yes, I’m okay, Daniel,” she assured me. “But... he got away?”

“Indeed so. He has taken his ship into the Time/Space Current, in order to more fully complete the calling of Shenaskah and gain the horrid creature’s power.”

“Oh my gosh…” shuddered the girl. “Now there’s nothing we can do to stop him!”

“Well, that is not quite correct, my dear,” I counselled. “Just watch.”

I fetched the transonic turnscrew from my pocket and held it up, activating a certain setting. Immediately, the sound of another DiTraS engine -- that of our own -- was heard and the familiar column materialised in the chamber.

“That was the upgrade you made earlier!” cheered Millie.

“Quite so,” said I. “It will only work this one time, though. The software is just too advanced for this old device, and has already threatened to overheat it. But let us hurry and catch up to that nefarious renegade, before he succeeds in his horrible plans!”

(The coincidence that the upgrade was so useful so soon was one of those things that would be unrealistic in a work of fiction, but this is a truthful account of actual happenings.)

With this, Millie and I hurried through the porthole-like doorway of our DiTraS into the control centre, which resembles and old-style café or tearoom. I soon enough activated the controls, and took the ship directly into the inter-dimensional Current.

I turned on the scanner screen above the console, and it immediately showed the swirling grey mists and multihued spirals of the Time/Space Current itself. Directly ahead of us, we could see Don Wingus’s ship speeding along through the vortex. A moment later, the image changed and the face of Wingus himself appeared upon the screen, sneering at us from his own control room.

“Oh no, Rumanos,” he snarled. “No no no. You are not going to prevent this from happening. You do not have a chance. I am already in mentalist contact with Shenaskah by use of the Lemurian Lapidare, and now I intend to complete the invocation!”

“Daniel, what can we do?” cried Millie Drake.

“I have an idea, Mills,” said I, “but it is rather dangerous. If we can only catch up with him.”

I manipulated the controls of our DiTraS whilst the voice of Don Wingus proceeded with his unholy summoning of the Time-Devourer.

“Come to me now in full, Shenaskah!” he chanted. “Come to me and grant me your mighty powers. The powers to speed up Time itself, or to slow it down, the powers to control the life-spans of mere mortals! Oh great Shenaskah, come and make me one with the forces you have so long absorbed!”

“We need to go faster,” I told Millie. “We need to catch up to him.”

“What are you planning to do?” enquired the lass.

“If we can just reach him, we can create a Time-Collision. Ram our DiTraS into his and cause a temporal paradox.”

“I get it!” cried the girl. “We would be occupying the same exact space at the same exact time.”

“Quite right, love. Thus we would create an impossibility that would cause the engines of both ships to momentarily shut down. It is incredibly dangerous, though. If we do not reach the correct chronological speed, our ship could be torn to pieces upon impact, before we achieve true Collision.”

“Oh my gosh, Daniel! Look!”

I glanced up at the view-screen. Wingus was by now laughing maniacally, having completed the unhallowed calling, and I beheld the form of Shenaskah appearing before him as like unto a vast black cloak of unnameable darkness.

“Yes, Shenaskah!” exulted the villain. “Yes, devourer of Time! I feel your powers flowing through me! Enter my very essence and make me supreme over all!!”

“He has done it,” I admitted. “Don Wingus has begun to merge himself with the powers of Shenaskah the Time-Devourer.”

“Then that means…” trembled the voice of Millie Drake. “We’re too late!”

“That is correct, Rumanos!” shouted the evil Don Wingus from the scanner screen. “You are too late! The powers of Shenaskah are mine, and you have failed! You have failed!”

“Not quite,” said I. “Not quite. Millie, my love, hold on!”

I flipped a switch on the console and the control room started to lurch and warp around us. The engines made an immense grinding noise that soon escalated, rising in pitch into a scream. At the same time waves as of extreme heat and equally extreme cold seemed to pulse through the chamber.

“Keeping on,” I said. “Keeping on. Making contact… Now!!”

Their was an incredible shudder and a noise like an explosion in Space and Time itself. I looked up at the scanner screen and saw Don Wingus, still in his own control room, which had by now been rocked as had ours. Amidst the chaos of this very warping of reality, I beheld the dark form of the Time-Devourer surrounding Wingus as he bellowed in outrage.

“No, Shenaskah, no!” he shouted. “Nooooooo!”

“What’s happening?” asked Millie as she held tightly to the safety straps of the central console.

“The creature has been removed from his control by the shock of the Time-Collision. Unless Wingus can programme his DiTraS to leave the Current immediately, it may succeed in absorbing his ship utterly. Look!”

By now, the scene had shifted to one that showed the villain’s cabinet-like spaceship racing through the Current. It was now again separate from ours and the image of Shenaskah had grown larger from eating the seepages of Time caused by the collision. As we watched, the DiTraS of the evil Don Wingus entered into the phantasmal form of the Time-Devourer, vanishing suddenly and completely. A moment later, the image of Shenaskah, now satiated, slowly faded away.

“That did it,” I told Millie as our ship now returned to its normal functioning. “The thing has returned to its proper place, safely outside of known reality.” …

A few moments later, the DiTraS materialised back in the schoolroom and Millie and I soon emerged from the porthole.

“We just have to check and see if all is well here, Mills,” I told her, “and then we can leave in Lizzie.”

“But what about the DiTraS?” she queried.

“Watch and see,” I responded.

The ship’s engines then engaged, and the Time/Space machine again faded from view.

“Oh, I see!” said Millie. “You programmed it to automatically return to our HQ.”

“Quite so,” I affirmed. “It was a safeguard of the new software, so if it were ever hacked, the DiTraS would come back safe and sound. It was programmed to initiate, unless I disabled it by use of a pass-code, whenever you or I had not been on board the ship for a minute or so.”

“Excuse me, sir,” said the voice of Pastor Jack Caldwell from across the room.

Millie Drake and I walked over to him.

“All is well now, Pastor,” I told him. “The evil that threatened your church, and the demoniacal villain who held you in his power, are now gone.”

“Thank you,“ he said, with tears beginning to flow from his eyes. “But I wonder… All that I have done… I wonder if it can be forgiven.”

“It was not your doing, Pastor,” I assured him. “You were overcome by the hypnotic abilities of Don Wingus, as many innocents have been before you.”

“It’s not just that, kind sir,“ he went on. “I have committed… other sins. Including when I was younger… against… my sister.”

With this, Pastor Caldwell cast his eyes downwards in shame. I knew that he was thinking of Howard, and of the inbred young man’s unspeakable origins.

“Do you think…” he continued, “Do you think the Lord will forgive me?”

“I believe so, Pastor,” I told the worried clergyman, answering him according to his own belief system. “Do repent and also resolve to forgive others, never again judging people for being different from you, or for living their lives as they were created. Then I am certain he shall forgive you. After all, you are talking about the one who forgave those who crucified him.”



Of the origin of the Replicants of Leknii there is much that is shrouded in legend, supposition, and at times intentional mistruth. Such is not surprising concerning that hideous race of cybernetic horrors, that horrid group of unspeakable cyborgs who seek to convert all humanoid races to their own unfeeling, emotionless, pitiless kind. It is generally enough to know that they must be avoided and, when possible, destroyed before their unholy attempts at assimilation can come to any fruition.

However, for the sake of the proper spread of scientific information, the facts concerning the Leknii Replicants are as follows.

The planet Lekni or Leknii was an Earth-like world found orbiting a yellow star within the Spiral Galaxy 8675309. Its dominant humanoid species had achieved the level of industrial civilisation and moved on to electronics and related technologies when it all occurred; the series of events that would lead to the development of the horrible Replicants.

It seems that the planet Leknii was becoming horrendously polluted by industrial waste, the very air beginning to become well-nigh un-breathable. Politicians, scientists, and activists of all stripes argued about the ramifications of this development for quite some time, but nothing was ever really done to halt the increasing climate change, or the continuing sicknesses that plagued the people of Leknii due to their constant exposure to pollution.

When the time came that it looked like it would be too late to save the planet from the folly of its ruling species, a group of researchers into the burgeoning field of cybernetics announced that they had formulated a solution. Body parts affected by the unhealthy air could be replaced, one-by-one, with mechanical parts that were in no way harmed by the pollutant materials choking the very atmosphere of the planet. In addition, these cybernetic enhancements would leave the people of Leknii strengthened and improved, a veritable superhuman species with no reason to fear ordinary disease or illness.

There was one drawback, however, that at first caused the population to baulk at the idea of replacing their flesh with robotic implants. It seems that the resultant operations would cause all emotions to cease. The new Leknii race would be without feeling, without empathy, and without love. Family would mean nothing. Romance would be gone forever.

Nevertheless, something then occurred to stop all opposition to the notion of the people becoming unfeeling cyborgs. A certain member of the legal profession, as part of her campaign for the office of International Prosecuting Attorney, announced the position that accepting the cybernetic implants would also cause all sexual crimes to end. There would be no rape, no molestation of children, no such offences of any kind. The Leknii people would be sexless, and all of the felonious activity that had always gone hand-in-hand with fleshly sexuality would be a thing of the past. Slogans like “Believe Women!” and “Save Our Children!” became the order of the day, and the people soon enough accepted the idea of having their very body parts replicated with cold, harsh metal.

Those few who continued to appose the idea were termed perverts and deviants and their voices were soon enough quashed. From that time forward, there was no opposition amongst the citizenry of the beleaguered planet to the rise of what would become known to infamy as the Replicants of Leknii.

Therefore, the Leknii people soon became cyborgs, their forms being that of tall silver men, their faces like unto expressionless masks. Then the inevitable happened. With no recourse to love and happiness remaining to them, the Replicants replaced the same in their cold mechanical hearts with desire for the one thing that was left --- power!

Interplanetary travel was developed, and the Leknii Replicants flew forth in their efficient Spaceships on a mission to find other humanoid species to forcefully make into their own horrid metallic kind. Throughout the galaxies they wandered, looking for any that could be assimilated, converted to the cold steel of cybernetic being. In so doing, the technologies of the conquered planets were added to that of the Leknii, in time developing their systems into programmes that automatically upgraded to overcome any perceived weakness.

It was when all this came to a crisis point that the Replicant Wars began. Humanoid species and their allies came together to stop the encroaching terror of the Leknii Replicants. Even my own people, the Watchers of Algol, secretly violated their own rules of non-interference in order to assist in the final Replicant War (this despite the fact that our own psyche-spiritual essence makes us immune to cybernetic assimilation).

The conflict at last came to an end when a group of genetically-enhanced soldiers from Earth’s far future were brought back in Time to battle the Replicants. Defeated, the remnants of the Leknii race retreated into the darkness of Interstellar Space, to wait and plan for a possible new strategy.

Then, when they were thus so largely forgotten, the Replicants conceived of their greatest plot, a scheme that could make them far more dangerous than ever before. For it was then that they decided to pursue the knowledge of that which had finally defeated them -- the supreme technology of Time-travel itself!

It was this ploy, and the horrifying ramification of it, that led to a new era of conflict with the Replicants; forsooth, a quite different form of conflict in which I was now to play a part. …

My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Extraterrestrial Espionage Agent and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am in fact several thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL -- the most intellectually-advanced race in all of the known galaxies, whose technology is so sophisticated it often appears to be “magic” and “miraculous” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites tend to keep to themselves, preferring to live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe and thus merely observing the goings-on of the myriad races of the vast reaches around them, I am an Operative for a secret organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department, tasked with maintaining peace and order throughout the farthest reaches of Space and Time. You know, “plausible deniability”, and all of that sort of thing. It is our ongoing mission to defend the weak, the unfortunate, and the innocent from those who would harm or exploit them.

Currently assigned to Earth, I protect its people (both upon their planet and across the eternal void) from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Magister Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as from alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. Assisted by my friends -- the beautiful Miss Millie "The Girl From Beyond" Drake and our catlike robot, Kit-10 -- I am the living icon of Algol on this world. I am a Knight of the Eternal Spires. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia. I am the stellar swashbuckler.

I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …

Seated behind the steering wheel of my canary-coloured Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”), I drove us to our destination there in the hills of Frederick County, Maryland on that pleasant autumn day. I was clad in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, military style boots, panama hat, sunspecs, and one of my favourite opera capes.

Seated beside me, Millie Drake was enjoying the music from the sound system I had recently installed in the car, which at this moment was playing the Chuck Berry classic, “Sweet Little Rock ’n’ Roller”. Millie is an exceedingly beautiful young girl, petite and perfect with rich chestnut-hued hair, enchanting violet eyes, sun-kissed skin, and a sensuously-wide mouth. The tight, short, bright-orange dress she wore only served to highlight the soft curves of her slender teenage figure.

Also with us was Kit-10, our mobile personal computer that resembles nothing more or less than a small robotic cat.

We were on our way to an appointment to meet with a certain Professor Abdullah, a research scientist who had contacted me concerning his discovery of something in some meteoric rock uncovered in the Arctic tundra. Little did we know the extreme horror, in truth the supreme otherworldly terror, to which this meeting of scientific colleagues would ultimately lead. …

At that same moment, in an alien Spaceship orbiting far above the planet Earth, that race of horrid cybernetic men known as the Replicants of Leknii waited and watched in their computerised control room.

“All is going as planned, Controller,” said one of them, its voice an emotionless electronic whir. “The Algolite agent known as Doctor Rumanos is approaching his meeting with the human scientist, Abdullah.”

“That is excellent,” said another, the bronze highlights upon its silver metallic form indeed marking it as the leader of this Collective. “Abdullah owes his very life to us and will do as we have ordered. Doctor Rumanos will be forced to assist us in our conquest of the secrets of Time-travel. Prepare to enter the atmosphere. It will aid us to show the Algolite what level of technology we have now achieved.”

“Yes, Controller,” obeyed the other, as it began to programme the controls of the ship for landing. …

We found the research centre, located as it was at the end of a narrow road several miles off the highway. 

“So he really does his research here alone?” enquired Millie Drake as we parked Lizzie behind the old house.

“Professor Abdullah is known in the scientific community as a bit of a recluse,” I informed her, “so it was no surprise to find him working here, far away from others.”

We knocked on the door (there was no bell) and were soon enough met by the professor himself, a somewhat-elderly man of Middle Eastern descent; short, bearded, and wearing a white lab-coat. We exchanged the usual pleasantries as Abdullah showed us into the building and I introduced him to Millie and Kit-10. Neither the girl’s youthful loveliness nor the appearance of the mechanical feline seemed to in any way startle the old scientist.

“So you say you have discovered some unusual element amongst meteoric fragments, hmmm?” I enquired.

“Yes, Doctor,” replied Professor Abdullah. “There is a sample upon my laboratory table, if you wish to examine it.”

I looked at the substance he indicated. It was a minuscule amount of powder that seemed to glow with myriad-coloured lights as I glanced over it.

“By the Eternal Spies!” I swore. “Professor, that looks like…”

I took the transonic turnscrew, an highly-advanced instrument resembling a large writing pen, from my pocket and used it to scan the powder.

“It is!” I exclaimed in wonder. “According to this, it indeed is Liddellium, that exceedingly rare substance that can be utilised to power Time-travel engines!”

“And it came to Earth in a meteor?” asked Millie.

“Apparently so,” I answered. “Liddellium is known to be found on occasion buried deeply in certain asteroids. So some of it could just possibly…”

“Danger, s--!” interrupted Kit-10 in her computerised yet feminine voice.

(It should be noted here that Kit-10, along with her other catlike characteristics, is possessed of a total inability to openly show respect to anyone. The closest she ever comes to it is by referring to me as “s--“ -- for “sir” -- and to Millie Drake by “m--” -- for “ma’am”.)

I turned around quickly and beheld Professor Abdullah aiming a .45 handgun directly at us!

“Professor Abdullah,” I said whilst Millie clung to me in fear. “What is the meaning of this?”

“Certain associates of mine are now arriving,” he explained, “and have asked me to detain you in order that you may play a part in their plans.”

“Daniel, look!” exclaimed Millie, indicating what could be seen from the window of the lab.

Approaching from the sky was a disk-shaped interplanetary craft, which soon enough made a perfect landing just outside the house.

“That’s a Mynver ship!” trembled the girl.

As we watched, an opening appeared in the side of the Spacecraft, and three tall silver men emerged from it. Of course, I recognised what they actually were immediately.

“So the rumours circulating within the Interstellar intelligence community are true,” I said “The Leknii Replicants are now using ships of Mynverkossian design!”

The professor continued to train his pistol upon us as the Replicants marched to-wards the building. I realised that we were surrounded and outnumbered, and that no recourse seemed available.

“Now, Doctor,” said Abdullah, “the Leknii Replicants will speak with you concerning their plans. Only if you do as you are told can I guarantee your safety -- or that of the girl. You will assist the Replicants in calibrating the Liddellium to power their ship’s engines. The secrets of Time-travel shall be theirs!”

“Why, Professor Abdullah?” I enquired “Why would you do it? Why would you sell out the very future of the human race to these cybernetic monsters?”

“Some time ago, I suffered an accident in my laboratory,” he explained. “An electrical surge in some equipment I was using to separate rock fragments entered my body and caused my heart to stop. It was then that the Leknii appeared and saved my life. They replaced my heart with a mechanical one, a product of their technology. In gratitude, I now assist them in their plans.”

“So you are a cyborg like they are?” queried Millie.

“Not quite,” replied the old scientist. “I am not part of the Leknii Collective, but I do carry their technology literally as the very core of my being.”

“Professor, you have no reason to feel gratitude to-wards those cybernetic terrors,” I told him. “If they saved your life they did so with a reason. They did so only so they could use and exploit you. It is all they know. They have long ago removed all emotion from themselves and know nothing of compassion. They will…”

It was then that the Replicants reached the building. They entered with a show of power, an unnecessary full-scale attack obviously meant to intimidate, at first blasting their way though the front door with one of the energy weapons built in their arms. Then one of them easily ripped the interior door to the laboratory off its hinges with its powerful metallic hands.

“Make no attempts at resistance, Kit-10,” I told the robot cat. “Your nose-laser will have no effect on them at this point.”

Three of the Leknii entered the lab, the one with bronze highlights on its silver form taking the lead. It stepped forwards to-wards me, raised one of its hands, and swatted me across the room with a single swipe.

I crashed against some equipment on the far side of the chamber, then struggling to regain my feet and to shake off the pain of the huge cyborg’s blow. As I did, I beheld the shimmering lights of numerous matter transit beams on the floor just in front of me. From these there then appeared ten or so metal creatures looking like robotic rodents. I recognised them as Repli-Rats, those service robots of the Leknii that contain a poison that they can inject into a victim by attaching to his or her neck -- a poison that can cause sickness, disability, and death. The horrid little things moved around my feet, obviously guarding me.

“You have done well, Abdullah,” the Replicant Controller told the old scientist, who had by now pocketed his .45. “We shall keep our agreement, and you shall live as you are when the rest of humankind is destroyed or assimilated.”

Millie had fallen to the floor in an half-faint when the Controller had hit me, and the cyborg now lifted her up, holding her cruelly with its grip on one of her frail wrists.

“Doctor Rumanos of Algol,” said the head Leknii, “the element known as Liddellium has already been added to the engines of our Spaceship. You shall now assist us in calibrating it to the control systems. You will offer no resistance, and will make no attempts at deception. Any sign of your disobeying this order will result in the immediate death of this girl. Is this clear to you?”

“Quite,” I replied, gritting my teeth to hold back my anger and disdain. “Do I have your assurance that she will be let free and left unharmed?”

“The child is Algolitish and therefore unsuitable for conversion. Her fate is as such of no concern to us. She will be freed when you have completed the task assigned to you.”

“Let us get on with it then.”

“Daniel, no!” exclaimed Millie Drake, her eyes wide with horror. “Don’t do it! Don’t help them!”

“Silence, girl,” ordered the Controller. “His affection for you is well-known and shall guarantee his cooperation. Transit beam activate!”

The shimmering light then surrounded the Replicants, Millie Drake, Professor Abdullah, and myself, taking us on board the ship, which then straightway flew upwards, heading into Space!

In the laboratory, Kit-10 then found herself left alone with the Repli-Rats, the horrid little creatures then surrounding the robotic pussycat on all sides. …

We stood in the control room on board the Replicant Spaceship, the monitor screens showing that we had moved into high Earth-orbit. The Replicant Controller still held Millie Drake in its cruel grip, with Professor Abdullah standing near by. The other two Replicants stood guard, whilst still others were at work on the control systems surrounding us.

“Begin your task,” the Controller addressed me. “Perform the necessary programming to calibrate the Time engine capabilities, and remember that any attempt at deception will result in this girl’s immediate death.”

“Yes, you have made that quite clear,” I responded whilst moving over to the Control systems panel. “The recalibration shall only take a few minutes.”

I began entering the appropriate codes into the system, as the two guarding Leknii turned to face me, watching closely for any sign of subterfuge. …

Back on Earth, Kit-10 was surrounded by the Repli-Rats. They began to advance to-wards her menacingly.

“Do not approach,” warned the robotic cat. “This unit is aware of your capabilities to chew into metallic systems. Be assured that I am able to defend myself as required.”

Despite this, the silver rodents continued to close in on Kit-10. She responded with a blast from her nose-laser, at first a warning shot that hit the floor near the things. Most of them backed off slightly, but one that had moved around behind the metal feline suddenly rushed to-wards her. Kit-10 quickly whirled around and hit the Repli-Rat with another laser blast. The thing stopped and was held motionless for a moment, before it suddenly disintegrated into countless microscopic shards -- a safeguard for all Leknii technology when it is threatened with imminent destruction, in order to prevent any cannibalisation of their parts.

Kit-10 then turned back to face the rest of the Repli-Rats. The continued to surround her, but kept themselves at a safe distance.

“Stupid creatures,” stated the mechanical puss. …

Aboard the Spaceship, Professor Abdullah was addressing the Leknii Controller.

“You wouldn’t really harm that poor girl, would you?” he asked quietly. “To treat her like this, it is… inhuman.”

“The Leknii will not be questioned by you,” replied the Replicant. “Your emotions are nothing to us.”

“But…” stammered the scientist, “I thought better of you than this. You saved my life. I would have died that day from the accident in my lab, if not for you.”

“We can end your life in an instant, Abdullah,” warned the Controller. “The mechanical heart that keeps you body alive is controlled by us and can be stopped at any time.”

“What!” exclaimed the scientist. “You said before that I was not connected to the Collective!”

“Professor,” I said to him, whilst still working at the control board, “you are not part of the Replicant group-mind, but all Leknii technology is connected in some sense. They have you at their mercy.”

At this, Professor Abdullah turned his eyes downwards in realisation and in shame.

“All right,” said I, turning away from my work on the controls. “It is done. The Liddellium is now fully integrated into your engineering systems, and shall respond to all commands from the control panels.”

A strange sound had just now spread across the ship, a sound like unto an eerie far-off whispering. It was the evidence of the engine upgrade to Time-travel capabilities, a connection to the inter-dimensional Current.

“That is excellent,” responded the Controller. “Now nothing can stand in the way of our total domination of Time and Space. We shall change the outcome of the Wars, and the Leknii shall then move on in full-force to convert all suitable humanoid races.”

“You will keep your agreement to let the girl go?” I enquired.

“Yes,” replied the Replicant, “but first we must be assured that she is of no threat to us. Your guidance from her life must end, and we must be assured that you, Doctor Rumanos of Algol, shall no longer exist to interfere with our plans.”

At this, the two guarding Leknii approached and raised their arms, aiming the deadly energy weapons directly at me. I heard Millie Drake scream in utter horror as she realised what was happening. Having used me as needed, I was now to be disposed of. It was then that the Leknii Controller gave the order:

“Destroy him.”

“Wait!” shouted Professor Abdullah. “You can’t do this! He helped you!”

As he spoke, the old scientist removed the handgun from his pocket and emptied it into the two Replicants who were threatening me. The bullets could cause no harm to their metallic hides, but they turned and fired their energy weapons on the professor. After the flash of the deadly blast, Professor Abdullah then fell to the floor in death. There was a burst of sound as the artificial heart in his chest disintegrated into shards.

Whilst this occurred, and the Replicants thus otherwise occupied, I removed the transonic turnscrew from my jacket pocket and aimed it at the control panel. …

Back in the now-late professor’s laboratory, Kit-10 continued to be at an impasse with the Repli-Rats. They had not approached, and stayed at a wary distance, but she realised that she could not blast all of them before they could succeed in reaching her.

Then the robotic cat noticed something. The small amount of Liddellium that had been left on the lab table had begun to glow brighter and brighter, its multihued lights reflecting around the room. Kit-10 extended the sensor from her forehead to-wards the element. When it made contact, a strange whispering sound was heard in the lab and the Repli-Rats then began to shake and shudder, continuing this way for a few moments until they all suddenly just disintegrated into microscopic pieces. …

On the orbiting Spaceship, the Leknii Replicants also commenced to shake and shudder. The Controller that had been threatening Millie Drake now released its grip on her, and the lass hurried into my arms. As we watched, the horrid cyborgs all then exploded into countless microscopic bits.

“Oh my gosh!” cried Millie. “What happened to them?”

I smiled and reached a hand to the control board, flipping a small lever upon it.

“Kit-10?” I queried.

“Of course, s--,” returned the voice of the metal feline from the panel.

“Liddellium in a psyche-sensitive element, hmmm?” I explained to the girl. “I managed to link what was calibrated to this ship’s engines to the portion that was in the laboratory on Earth. I then signalled Kit-10, via the transonic, to make contact. The resultant threat was judged unsolvable by the Leknii systems, and caused them to self-destruct as per their usual protective protocol.”

“But what about the ship?” questioned Millie concernedly.

“I managed to delay its destruction by a minute or so, but we should hurry, hmmm?”

I manipulated the controls to activate the matter transit beam, and Millie Drake and I transmitted off the Spaceship in a shimmering light a split second before the craft itself disintegrated into pieces. …

A moment later, the girl and I appeared back in the laboratory.

“Good work, Kit-10,” I praised. “The Replicants are finished.”

“Awww, she’s such a good kitty cat,” giggled Millie.

“This unit is not a cat, m--,” replied the robot.

I walked over to the lab table and looked where the Liddellium had been. It was gone, its essence used up by the psyche-electronic link to which it had been subjected.

“I say, Mills, my sweet little rock and roller,” I teased the girl, “after we have deactivated this lab equipment, what do you say to going out for a couple of hamburgers? There is a ‘1950s-style diner’ in Fredericktown that I hear is quite nice.”

“Gosh, that sounds great!” cheered the lovely lass.

“You too, Kit-10,” I added. “It should give you an opportunity to rest your systems, hmmm? Fortunately, the technology there includes no cybernetic creatures -- humanoid or rodent -- to threaten us. In stead, they have something much more pleasant -- a well-stocked juke box!”