THE GIRL FROM BEYOND

“She looks like she’s about twelve,” muttered Officer Jon Chesterfield to himself as he watched the girl walk down the street on that foggy evening.

Chesterfield, an handsome, sandy-haired man in his early thirties, had parked his Baltimore Police Department squad car behind an old dumpster in order to watch the young girl. He had been keeping an eye on her for three evenings in a row, and had noticed how she always appeared at the same time, shortly before sunset, carrying a white paper bag, and then entered a vacant lot there in the city’s Remington neighbourhood.

The girl was very beautiful, with luxurious chestnut-coloured hair and enchanting violet eyes, her lips hot-pink. She was dressed in a short, purple dress that served to show off her slender pubescent legs. Officer Chesterfield vainly attempted to ignore the throbbing in his groin as he watched her.

Attempting to keep his mind on his duty, Officer Chesterfield had determined that this time he would follow the girl and find out where she went behind the tall wooden fence that enclosed the vacant lot. After all, he had convinced himself, she is likely some missing and exploited child that is being taken advantage of by one or more sexual predators. Yes, Jon Chesterfield told himself, he was just being a good, upstanding police officer by following the girl.

He watched as she disappeared into the lot, her slim figure easily slipping between a slight gap in the fence. Chesterfield got out of his police car and quietly walked over.

The vacant lot had at one time belonged to a used car dealership, and was very large. Unable to find an opening in the fence, Officer Chesterfield used his nightstick in order to pry two of the slats apart, just far enough to permit his entry.

The policeman’s first thought upon entering the lot was that the girl had just vanished. There was nothing in sight behind which she could be hiding. Then he realised there was something there after all. Something odd indeed. Something totally incongruous.

At the centre of the lot was something resembling a column -- exactly the sort of column that Chesterfield had seen in a film about the Roman Empire. He walked over to the column, wondering what it could be doing here.

Chesterfield walked around the column. There was no sign of the girl. Where was she? She could not have just disappeared -- could she?

Intrigued, Officer Jon Chesterfield stretch out his hand to touch the column. To his surprise, it was strangely warm, warm like a motor in idle mode, and he felt a steady vibration emanating from the thing.

“What the hell?” whispered the police officer.

Officer Chesterfield then carefully put his ear up to the column. He heard a humming noise, the sound of something that he could only think sounded like -- an engine! …

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 “miraculous” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe, 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. “Plausible deniability”, and all that.

Currently assigned to Planet Earth, I protect its people from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Master Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. I am the living icon of Algol upon this world. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia.

I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …

“Who are you then, hmmm?” I enquired as I stepped through the fog. “What do you want?”

At this, the uniformed police officer whirled around and almost reached for his gun. He stopped himself and then just looked at me in wonder.

“Sorry to startle you, officer,” I continued, clad as I was in my usual finery (including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet dinner jacket, and one of my favourite opera capes), “but that is my property, hmmm?”

“What exactly is going on here?” queried the cop. “I’m Officer Chesterfield of the Baltimore Police Department. Who are you, and what is this thing?”

“My name is Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” I returned, “and, as I said, this ‘thing’ is my property.”

“Daniel, is that you?” came a female voice from within the column.

“That’s it, isn’t it?” said Chesterfield. “You have that little girl trapped in there!”

“I assure you a do not ‘trap’ little girls, officer,” I told him. “Now, if you will kindly step out of my way, I have work to do.”

“‘Work’?” enquired the policeman. “‘Work’ where? In that thing?”

“Yes, my good man, ‘in that thing’. Now, step out of my way, hmmm?”

“Oh no,” he insisted. “I’m taking you into the station! You’re under arrest!”

“How utterly ridiculous,” I exclaimed. “On what charge?”

“Suspicion of kidnapping,” he said, “and possible child sexual abuse.”

“Nonsense,” I retorted. “Complete and total nonsense.”

Just then, a round “porthole” type of opening appeared in the side of the column. I made a move to step into it, but Officer Chesterfield suddenly thrust me aside with his nightstick and rushed in ahead of me. I quickly recovered and followed him through the porthole.

I stepped inside into a large chamber that was decorated to look somewhat like a café or tearoom. The girl was standing next to the “counter”, upon which she had put down the bag.

“Millie,” I said to her, “it appears we have a visitor.”

“Oh, that’s just the cop who’s been following me around for the last three days,” she stated unconcernedly. “He thought I didn’t see him. By the way, I did pick up that egg foo yung you wanted for dinner.”

I turned to look at the Officer Chesterfield. He was standing wide-eyed at the sights around him.

“What the hell is this place?” he asked breathlessly. “We were outside in the middle of that abandoned lot! There was nothing like this there! What the hell?!”

“Now, calm down, old chap,” I consoled him. “I did try to keep you out, but you insisted.”

“But it just looked like a… a…” he stuttered.

“A Roman column, I know. But it is really something else entirely.”

“I guess you might as well tell him, Daniel,” offered Millie.

“Officer Chesterfield,” I stated, “the young lady’s name is Millie Drake, and you have come aboard our spaceship!”

“What… ?” stammered the cop. “‘Spaceship’? What the hell? That’s crazy!”

“It’s called the DiTraS,” Millie explained. “That is short for ‘Dimensional Transport Sphere’.”

“You see, officer,” I added, “the inside of our ship exists in a different dimension than the outside, hence the size difference.”

“But, why does it look like a coffee-shop?” queried the officer.

“Oh, just my choice of themes, you know,” I answered. “Some of the people of our civilisation have become quite enamoured of your Earth café culture.”

“Your ‘civilisation’?” he repeated. “So you saying you’re from Outer Space?”

“Quite so,” I assured him. “Millie and I are part of an advanced extraterrestrial culture known as the Watchers of Algol. Our technology is far beyond anything you have seen before.”

“Yes,” added the girl. “Our home planet is ninety-three light years from yours.”

“Your ‘home planet’?” said Chesterfield incredulously. “You expect me to believe this?”

“My good man,” I said, “it is no concern of ours what you believe. You forced your way on board when we were here performing an investigation.”

“An investigation onto what?”

“Into certain signals that have been detected in this area,” explained Millie. “Signals that seem to be travelling through time from the past.”

“Oh, so now you’re going to tell me some craziness about time travel as well?” asked the police officer, rolling his eyes. “It just gets worse and worse.”

“Indeed,” I said, “the DiTraS is perfectly capable of travelling through Time as well as Space.”

“Daniel, look!” Millie suddenly interrupted, indicating a readout upon the counter -- which is actually the control panel of our spaceship.

‘Ah, that is it then!” I stated. “Our instruments have tracked the temporal source of the signal! I say, it is from approximately ten-thousand years before the common era!”

Suddenly, the entire ship shuddered and shook, and a deep gasping, moaning sound began to echo across the interior.

“What the hell is that?!” exclaimed Chesterfield.

“The engines are engaging!” said Millie. “We’re being taken into the Space/Time Current!”

“By the Triple Star!” I swore. “The DiTraS is remotely seeking the temporal location of that signal!”

“Doctor, do you mean… ?” stammered the policeman.

“Yes indeed, Chesterfield,” I assured him. “We are travelling back in Time! But to where?!”

We all experienced a certain sensation of dizziness due to entering the Space/Time Current so suddenly. Nevertheless, Millie and I both continued our attempt to explain matters to Jon Chesterfield. Fortunately, the stalwart police officer seemed to be starting to accept things as they were.

Millie activated the view screen above the controls, and it did indeed show the swirling grey mists and multi-hued spirals of the inter-dimensional Current through which we were travelling. I made some attempts to calibrate the control system, but it was being remotely controlled, most likely by the Kosmikos of Algol, that interstellar secret service organisation for which I am a semi-official Operative.

Finally, we heard the sound of the engines again, as they initiated re-materialisation at our new location.

“We’ve landed,” announced Millie Drake.

I looked at the readout on the control board.

“Yes, we are indeed just over ten-thousand years before the common era of Earth civilisation,” I said. “According to this, we are in the north-eastern part of the Continent of Africa!”

“Daniel,” said Millie excitedly, “that means we are in Ancient Egypt!”

“Yes, ‘ancient’ indeed,“ I agreed. “In fact, thousands of years before the first known dynasty of the pharaohs! Let me see if I can get an outside view on the screen.”

I adjusted the video controls, and there appeared on the screen a sight like unto what would be found at a tropical resort, with many tall palm trees and other colourful foliage.

“That doesn’t look right,” chimed in Chesterfield. “Egypt is a desert, isn’t it?”

“It is in your time, old chap,” I informed him, “but in this era, its climate was still much more humid and the land was lush with vegetation and animal life.”

“Can we go outside?” enquired Millie.

“I suppose we should,” I said. “We have to see what has brought us here. There have always been rumours of an advanced civilisation existing in Egypt long before the First Dynasty. Could that be it? Anyway, stay close to me. That means you too, Chesterfield, and do see that you leave your weapons behind! I will not have any accidents happening!”

I opened the porthole and the three of us stepped out. It was indeed warm and tropical, with many colourful birds flying overhead and perched in the trees, their strange cries filling the air with an indescribable music. I also perceived the sound of lapping water, obviously from a large near by river.

“We are along the banks of the Nile,” I announced. “No sign of human habitation as yet, but it cannot be far if that signal was indeed from here.”

“Daniel, look!” interrupted Millie.

The girl was pointing upwards, over the trees. There was an huge, looming structure, miles distant, of which we could see the pointed summit. It seemed to be made of pure glass, and the sunlight was reflecting brightly from it in all directions.

“Isn’t that a pyramid?” offered Chesterfield. “I mean, if we really are in Egypt.”

“Yes,” I pondered. “Yes, I believe it is. Fantastic! So the theories were correct, and the Great Pyramid of Giza was indeed built far earlier than is generally accepted. As you can see, it was covered with highly-polished, reflective stone. It would it visible for many, many miles around, and even from Space!”

“But what was it for?” asked the police officer. “Surely not just a tomb, like people think?”

“Could that be where the signal was coming from?” pondered Millie.

“Yes, that indeed seems likely,” I said. “Of course! The Ancient Egyptians -- or ‘Khemites’ as they were called -- were said to have had a priesthood that preserved some of the technology of Atlantis. The passageways within the Great Pyramid were then indeed arranged like the circuitry of a radio transmitter!”

“But why?” enquired the lass. “Who were they trying to contact?”

“Perhaps just anyone who could receive them,” I speculated. “Just to see if there were other civilisations out there, I suppose. Typical human curiosity, hmmm?”

“Doctor!” Chesterfield suddenly exclaimed. “Somebody else is here!”

Emerging from the foliage were several men. They were strongly-built and bronze-skinned, with noble aquiline features and shaven heads, dressed in garments that looked like a form of peplum tunic. The one who seemed to be in charge had a sword in a leathern scabbard. He stepped forward to us.

“I am Prince Suth of Khemet, Commander of the Royal Guard,” he announced, his dark eyes narrowed with suspicion. “You are unknown to our realm. From whence do you come?”

“Greetings, Prince Suth,” I said. “We are travellers from a far away land, and we come in peace.”

“‘Travellers’?” he repeated warily. “You will be taken before the king. Come with us and show no resistance.”

We marched along with them down a path through the trees until we came to a city, vast and gleaming with stone structures. The local citizens eyed us as we passed. Men and boys were especially interested in Millie, but respectfully kept their distance. We finally came to a large palace at the centre of town and were taken inside, down a long passageway until it opened into a lofty chamber decorated upon its walls with jewelled ceremonial masks, spears, and swords. At one end of it was the royal throne.

“Hear me, O King,” intoned Suth. “These strangers have been found trespassing upon our realm. The claim to be travellers who come peacefully.”

“And you have brought them here as if under arrest,” answered the king from his throne. “Really, Suth, I do wish you would learn some tolerance for strangers. You are my brother, but we are so much different.”

The king was kindly of countenance, clad in a garment similar to his subjects, but replete with gold and silver jewelled necklaces, bracelets, and rings on all of his fingers.

“I am King Asir of Khemet,” he continued, turning to us. “If you are friends of our land, then you are welcome here.”

“Your majesty,” I said with an appropriate bow. “We do come in peace to your glorious kingdom. I am Doctor Daniel Rumanos of Algol, and this is my companion, Miss Millie Drake. That is our friend, Officer Chesterfield of Baltimore.”

“Asir, my brother,” interrupted Suth. “I do not trust these strangers. There have been rumours of sedition following the untimely death of your wife, our queen. These foreigners may be spies from a nation that would benefit from your majesty’s death or dethronement.”

“What would you have me do, Suth?” enquired the king with some annoyance. “Have them imprisoned or executed just for being strangers to our land? That would be an act of tyranny for which we would not want Khemet known.”

I saw Prince Suth start to grip his sword, but he restrained himself before answering.

“According to the traditions of the realm,” he said, “they should be tried by… The Guardian!”

“Oh, very well,” acquiesced King Asir, passing his hand over his face as if in shame.

With this, Suth made a sign to the royal guard, and two of them went to a large side passageway in order to open the wide ornate curtain with which it was draped. We then immediately heard the heavy breathing of what was obviously a very big beast, and Millie clung to me in fright even before it appeared.

When it did appear, it proved to be far more bizarre than anything that we could have expected. It was like unto an enormous lion, larger than any usually found upon the planet, yellow in colour and with a rich mane of ebony-black. Nevertheless, it was the thing’s head and face that were the most horrible of all, for they were as that of an ape or primitive man, huge and grotesque in their simian anthropomorphism. The creature roared -- a monstrous sound that shook the building to its very foundations.

“What the hell?!” exclaimed Chesterfield.

“Daniel,” shuddered Millie, “isn’t that… ?”

“Yes,” I said. “The Sphinx.”

Do you see the horror of this, my friends? That huge monstrosity was none other than the original of the Sphinx, that fabled creature of ancient myth and lore!

I took a device resembling a writing pen from my pocket and held it up to-wards the monster, activating the gadget for a certain function. A whirring sound came from the device, and the gigantic Sphinx suddenly just sat down on its haunches and started to give forth with a sound of contentment like a cross between a cat’s purring and the happy humming of an happy child.

“Doctor,” said Chesterfield, “what’s that thing you’re using?”

“It is called the transonic turnscrew,” I informed him, “it is an highly-advanced piece of technology, and I have just programmed it to emit a signal to the Sphinx’s brain, keeping the animal docile. What a fascinating beast it is. Obviously a relic of the old Atlantean genetic experiments.”

“King Asir!” then exclaimed Suth. “The leader of the strangers has enchanted the Guardian! This is an affront to the Realm of Khemet! The strangers most be executed for this impertinence!”

“Uncle Suth, stop it,” suddenly came a female voice from the back of the throne room. “Can you not see that the Guardian likes them? Father, I pray you give the strangers their freedom!”

We all turned to see the girl who had entered. She looked to be about Millie’s age and was quite beautiful, bronze-complexioned and with hair like shiny liquorice, dressed in a garment similar to what the men wore, except with a bare midriff showing off her slender adolescent loveliness.

“The Princess Neptys is correct,” affirmed the king. “The strangers have passed the test of the Guardian and are now welcome here.”

“Thank you, my father,” smiled the princess.

“Of course, my beloved daughter,” answered King Asir. “I would like to hear more from these strangers, to learn of the lands from which they come and to… and to…”

Then the king suddenly fell to the side, sliding off the throne onto the floor.

“Father!” cried Princess Neptys in fright as she ran to him. “Oh, Father, what is the matter?!”

I noticed that Suth had by now suddenly exited the room.

“Your highness,” I said to the princess with a bow. “If I may be allowed to examine him. I am a doctor, after all.”

“You are a healer?” enquired the royal lass. “Can you help him?”

“I do promise to do all I can,” I said as I hurried to examine the now-unconscious king.

His breath was short and uneven, and I noticed grey patches forming upon his skin.

“What is wrong with him, Daniel?” asked Millie, who had accompanied me to the side of King Asir.

“Why, it looks like the effects of some kind of poison,” I said. “Could something have been slipped into his food or drink?”

“All his food is only handled by our trusted chef,” answered Neptys, “and even he is watched by a guardsman.”

“A guardsman under command of Prince Suth,” I suggested. “Princess, if you do not mind my asking, is this similar to the way your mother died?”

“Yes,” she affirmed, choking back tears, “she took sick and died within one day.”

We had by now laid King Asir on some pillows at the foot of the throne, and covered him with some silks.

“It is best not to move him,” I said. “I believe he has been affected by some poisonous berries known to be found in this region. They have a detrimental effect on the kidneys. However, I should be able to mix up an antidote. I will just need a…”

“You will do nothing, stranger,” said a voice from behind me, a voice I recognised as that of Suth. “With my brother the king now… indisposed, I am in command here.”

I turned and beheld Suth with his sword drawn, a troop of guards behind him.

“Uncle Suth, no!” exclaimed the Princess. “As long as my father lives you cannot command the guards to do anything against his orders, and he said the Doctor and his friends were to have freedom here.”

At this, the guardsmen backed off several paces. Prince Suth’s face grew livid with anger.

“King Asir is weak,” pronounced Suth as he raised his sword. “He must die for the preservation of our realm -- and so must his offspring!”

Suth then rushed forward and began to bring his blade down savagely to-wards the helpless figure of Princess Neptys!!

At the last second, before the sword could reach the defenceless girl, it was met with the blade of another. Jon Chesterfield had taken one of the ceremonial swords from the wall and was using it to defend the beautiful princess from her treacherous uncle, Suth!

“Your friend is a brave man,” said Princess Neptys, her eyes wide with admiration.

“Oh, I can assure your highness,” said I, “Officer Chesterfield here is known in his own land as ‘Baltimore’s Finest’!”

“Do they teach fencing at the police academy?” whispered Millie to me.

“As an elective,” I said. “Now, if I can just have a few crucial ingredients, I should be able to prepare a diuretic that should cure the king of his illness.”

As Chesterfield and Suth battled, various liquids and herbs were brought to me by the palace servants, and I soon finished the proper antidote and applied it to King Asir’s lips.

Jon Chesterfield proved a fine combatant, but it finally appeared that Suth would have the best of him, having backed him into a far corner of the chamber. Then, an amazing thing happened. The monstrous Sphinx, that had been docile since our encounter, suddenly sprang up and, with a roar as of animalistic indignation, it reached out one of its enormous paws and struck Suth to the floor, the beast’s mighty claws tearing open the villain’s skin and killing him instantly.

“The Guardian has made judgement!” announced Princess Neptys. “Uncle Suth has received the punishment due to him for his plot against our king!”

The rest is easily told. King Asir recovered and returned to ruling the land of Khemet in peace. Chesterfield received a truly wonderful reward for having defended the realm -- he was offered the hand of the beautiful Princess Neptys in marriage and the command of the royal guard. These he accepted, and therefore decided to stay behind in Khemet -- forsooth Egypt thousands of years before the earliest historical records -- whilst Millie Drake and I returned to the DiTraS to resume our travels in Space and Time. …

After a final audience with King Asir, Millie and I had taken our leave of the royal family of Khemet and had made our way back to where the DiTraS had landed, there in the tropical clearing beside the Nile. We stood for a few moments viewing the Great Pyramid as it loomed in the distance.

“I read a book about Egypt when I was little,” said Millie. “I remember the names of some of the gods they worshipped. Daniel, could they be… ?”

“Could Asir be Osiris and Suth his evil brother Set?” I said. “It seems possible, although those could be very commonly-found names in African antiquity. Still, who knows? It is indeed quite possible.”

“They must be extremely important, if the Kosmikos sent us here to make sure that King Asir lived,” stated the girl. “Are all the pharaohs descended from them or something, do you think? Ramses and King Tut and all that?”

“Maybe not the pharaohs, love,” I returned, “but it appears that someone is indeed descended from the family of Asir -- forsooth, someone even more important to the history of Earth.”

“What do you mean?” questioned Millie. “Who?”

I reached into my pocket and took out an object.

“King Asir gave me this in private,” I explained, “as a present for having preserved his life. It is a symbol of the Priesthood of the Pyramid.”

The object was a disk of pure gold, on which was carven a six-pointed star inlaid with precious stones of various colours.

“Oh my God!” exclaimed Millie. “That looks like… the Star of David!”

“Yes, indeed,” I agreed. “You see. The Priesthood here are monotheists, not pagans at all. They are the people of the One True God. Therefore, it seems the royal family of Khemet are the ancestors of the biblical Patriarchs -- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve Tribes of Israel. Also of David and Solomon, and the rest of the Judaic line of kings.”

“That’s wonderful, Daniel!”

“Indeed it is, Mills, my love. Nevertheless, for now, let us return to our ship, where some leftover egg foo yung awaits us!”

And with this, we entered the DiTraS, and there was soon heard the strange gasping, moaning sound of its engines, as the ship dematerialised and we went on to new adventures.

***** DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN IN “MAGIC CARPET RIDE”

THE FINAL GAME

“I am convinced that only with a girl not older than fifteen I can experience delight and it is worth giving my life for.”
(Valentin Samsonov) …

Matt Macklin parked his dingy grey van outside of Happy Hills Middle School and waited. Macklin, age thirty, was short and obese, clad in jeans and a t-shirt that advertised some trashy “doom metal” band. His hair and scruffy beard were the colour of excrement.

Upon his left bicep was a tattoo of three interlocking triangles.

As he watched the various students exiting that public school there in the Rosedale area of Baltimore County, Matt Macklin found his hand straying to his crotch. It was the young boys that attracted him. Not that he was a “paedophile”, mind you. That specific predilection would have been far too refined for him. Macklin was attracted to boys and men of all ages. He was a closeted but ardent homosexual of the type that would have at one time been burned alive for his unnatural desires.

Nevertheless, Matt Macklin concentrated on his mission. He knew his master would be angry if he allowed his thoughts to wander away from that which he had been assigned to accomplish. For what Macklin was waiting for, according to his master’s commands, was not a boy. It was a girl.

His master had said that this girl was just the type. Just the type that his master’s enemy would find irresistible. Just the type to use as bait in order to trap and ensnare that enemy in something that would finally be the end of him.

Macklin’s master had looked through the school records of so many local students in order to find the one, and was certain this one was it. Even the girl’s name was perfect, his master had said. Her name was “Lalita”.

Just as Macklin thought upon this, the girl came out of the school. She was thirteen years old, tall for her age, a true beauty with auburn hair and blue eyes. She was dressed in a short blue skirt and a pink tank-top. On her legs was a pair of candy-striped stockings.

Matt Macklin jumped out of his van and approached the girl.

“Hey, Lalita,” he said. “You want a ride home?”

“Umm, no thank you, sir,” answered the girl warily. “I just live down the street, so I can walk.”

“No, your mom said I should drive you,” Macklin lied. “Get in the van.”

A look of fear then entered little Lalita’s beautiful eyes. She was going to turn and run away, but it was already too late. Matt Macklin had by now grabbed her and covered her mouth and nose with a washcloth. The girl slipped into unconsciousness as the chloroform took effect.

Holding the girl in one arm, Macklin opened the backdoor of his van and thrust her inside. He closed and locked the door and then quickly returned to the driver’s seat. He started up the motor and quickly left the vicinity of Happy Hills Middle School.

Matt Macklin smiled a smile of sick accomplishment. He knew his master would be pleased. …

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 “miraculous” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe, 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. “Plausible deniability”, and all that.

Currently assigned to Planet Earth, I protect its people from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Master Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. I am the living icon of Algol upon this world. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia.

I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …

I had been off-world for a while, seeing to my friend Millie Drake’s enrolment at Daemonia Academy. Millie, a beautiful young Hollywood starlet who had only recently discovered her own Algolite heritage, had been in wonder as I showed her around a few of the sights of our home planet. She had then stayed to take the entrance exams whilst I returned to Earth in order to check on other concerns. As proud as I was of young Millie Drake, and especially at her own determination to matriculate at my own alma mater, I already missed her terribly and looked forward to the next time I could see her, feel her, hold her in my arms.

I had returned to Earth in my Time-Space vehicle, the DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress” and standing for “Dimensional Transport Sphere”) and had immediately discovered a message that required my attention. It was an email from Dr. Jacob Morantz, the retired archaeologist and now special collections curator at the Walters Art Museum. He claimed that a certain rare item had recently been stolen from the museum’s collection, and that he believed it was something within my particular area of expertise.

I left my headquarters, located as it is in the golden  trapezoidal rooftop of a downtown Baltimore City skyscraper, and drove to the museum in my canary-coloured Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”).

Clad in my usual finery (including a frilled poet shirt and purple velvet dinner jacket), I entered the office of Dr. Morantz and was greeted by him. He was a quiet, elderly gentleman, one who had obviously devoted his life to the collection and preservation of antiquities from around the world. He was dressed in a plain grey suit, the tie loosened.

“Thank you for coming by on such short notice, Dr. Rumanos,” he said as he motioned me to a chair.

“No problem at all, Dr. Morantz,” I affirmed. “I am honoured that the Walters would enquire after my opinion on the matter. So now, what is this antiquity that has been stolen?”

“It is a certain red stone that was found some decades ago in the ruins of a Toltec temple,” Morantz informed as he sat behind his desk. “It does not seem to be of their manufacture, however. The stone was obviously an object of worship and extreme veneration by that Mesoamerican people. Here is a photograph of it.”

Morantz handed me a postcard-sized photo of a stone deep blood-red in colour. It was on a table next to a slide-rule that showed the object to be about eight inches in length.

“By the Stars!” I exclaimed. “That appears to be one of the Crimson Crystals of C’sem 6! Surely you have not had this on display to the public here?”

“We did at one time,” he answered. “But it was removed after numerous patrons claimed that it sometimes seemed to glow with an odd light of its own. Some of them even complained of seeing strange visions after viewing it.”

“Visions of what?” I queried.

“Well, of spiders,” replied Morantz. “Just fleeting glimpses of very large spiders.”

‘Ah, that would serve to confirm that is indeed from C’sem 6,” I said. “That is a planet many light-years distant. It is a volcanic world, and the eruptions sometimes thrust material into Space. The stone probably arrived on Earth meteorically.”

“But what of the strange glow?” asked the old archaeologist. “The spiders?”

“The crimson planet known as C’sem 6 is indeed inhabited by a species of large arachnid,” I informed. “They have developed intelligence due to the influence of the radiation present in the planet’s rocks. Now, a very few of the stones found on C’sem 6 are said to be of particularly extreme power, even supposedly allowing those who exceptionally connect with them to transport bodily across Outer Space and to travel to other worlds.”

“Incredible,” exclaimed Dr. Morantz. “Absolutely incredible.”

“So, you say the crystal has been stolen? When did this happen?”

“It was burgled from the auxiliary storage room just two nights ago. Here, I have the security camera footage.”

Dr. Morantz then turned the computer monitor on his desk to-wards me. On it was video footage of a dimly-lit room in which was shelving containing many boxes and items. As I watched the recording, a figure was seen to enter the room. It appeared to be a tall man dressed entirely in black, an hood obscuring his features. I could not suppress a cold chill at the realisation that there was something bizarrely familiar about the figure’s movements. He walked over and briefly rummaged through the shelves, soon taking one object from them. I could tell from a brief glimmer of red light that it was indeed the crimson crystal.

As the dark figure then exited the room, he turned his face slightly to-wards the camera, briefly revealing his features. His countenance was as of a man of middle years, still handsome despite being marred with the marks of lifetimes of extreme profligate wickedness. His hair was dark, and his face was decorated with a thin moustache and goatee. Most of all, his eyes shone with a weirdly-hypnotic effulgence.

Forsooth, it was a visage that I knew all too well.

“Don Wingus!” I exclaimed. “I should have known. So he did escape from Damballah.”

“Who is this person, Dr. Rumanos?” enquired Morantz.

“He is none other than the most notorious outlaw in all of Space and Time,” I informed. “He is an utterly insane miscreant who will stop at nothing to establish his own dictatorship over all of Creation. If he intends to use the powers of the Crimson Crystal of C’sem 6 in his designs, then this world -- along with many others -- is in extreme peril!”

“Can he be found and the Crystal recovered?”

“That is what I must see to,” I proclaimed as I stood up to hurry from the office. “Thanks for the information, Dr. Morantz. I shall let you know, as soon as I possibly can, what happens.” …

At that same time, in a location elsewhere in the city of Baltimore, the intergalactic criminal known as Master Don Wingus stood in a chamber that had been decorated in antique Victorian splendour. He was clad in a suit made of black silk, and he stood before a table upon which was the Crimson Crystal of C’sem 6 itself.

Wingus focused his mesmerising gaze upon the crystal, concentrating deeply. In response, the red stone began to glow with an eldritch light, a pulsating effulgence of phantasmagorical and otherworldly power.

Then, on the other side of the room, a certain thing began to coalesce into physical appearance. It was more than a metre wide and an horrid ebon-black in hue. It was covered with short, bristly hairs and possessed eight horrid eyes and eight legs.

“Welcome, Ambassador of the Ruling Rachadnis of C’sem 6,” said Don Wingus when the horrible creature had come clearly into view. “All things are going as planned. I have prepared the trap for the only one who could oppose us, Dr. Daniel Rumanos. All will be ready for your invasion, and for the complete fulfilment of our designs.”

“This is good,” answered the thing, its voice an high-pitched shriek of unholy madness. “Your assistance will be rewarded. Soon, the Rachadnis will overrun this planet. Then we will go on to other worlds. The Universe will be ours!”

The horrid monstrosity shook as of with evil glee as it spoke. The thing was a living nightmare. It was a giant spider!! …

After leaving the Walters Art Museum, I had immediately returned to my headquarters and initiated a scan for alien technology in the area. I was soon rewarded with results. There was something emanating from an address in the city’s Hampden neighbourhood, a psyche-physical pulsation that likely indicated the presence of the Crimson Crystal itself. I accordingly drove Lizzie to this location forthwith.

It was evening when I arrived. The Sun was setting in Baltimore, and a forebodingly-unnatural darkness already seemed to hang over the city.

The address turned out to be that of something called “Yoga Tree Baltimore”, yet another of those trendy hipster establishments that claim to teach Eastern mysticism to individuals with far too much time and money on their hands.

It was past business hours and the door was locked. I took the transonic turnscrew (an highly-advanced scientific instrument somewhat resembling a writing pen) from the pocket of my jacket. The lock yielded to it in less than a second, and I quietly entered Yoga Tree Baltimore.

I took out my small electric torch in order to see my way around the place’s darkened front room. It was typically-decorated with posters showing the chakras and various yogic positions, along with others offering ridiculous feel-good affirmations that would be recognised as absolutely-ludicrous by any actual Tibetan monk.

Suddenly, I heard a plaintive cry from the back of the shop.

“Help me…” sobbed a faint female voice. “Please, somebody help me…”

I opened the inner doorway and entered the large storage room behind the shop. I found it to be incongruously decorated with antique 19th-Century furnishings, but that was far from being the strangest thing about this room.

It was lit by a central radiance coming from its centre, where there was a table on which was one object -- the Crimson Crystal of C’sem 6 itself. However, it was what this red glow revealed that was most truly bizarre.

Behind and above this table was an huge spider-web, stretching from the ceiling to the floor and from one wall to the other. In this web was caught a beautiful young girl, an exquisitely lovely teen, slender and perfect with rich auburn hair and skin of the purest white. She was wearing a pink tank-top and a short blue skirt. On her legs were candy-striped stockings that ended just above the knee, exposing the tempting flesh of her thighs.

“Please... help me…” she repeated faintly.

“Worry not, love,” I consoled. “I shall free you from this outrage.”

I took the transonic turnscrew from my pocket and held it above the strands of the webbing around the girl. When she began to come free, I lifted her out from it carefully in my arms, then carrying her across the room away from the horrid web.

“Thank you,” she gaped as I laid her down, propped up against the corner of the wall. “I don’t know how I got here. Some guy kidnapped me from school. I think he drugged me. When I woke up, I was in that… thing. Is that really a spider’s web? How can… How can it be so big?!”

Her soft blue eyes were innocent and plaintive, and the cherry lips of her wide, sensuous mouth served to intensify the feelings of protective desire I was feeling for this ravishingly-gorgeous young maiden.

“Just try not to worry,” I soothed. “I am the Doctor, and I am here to help. What is your name, love?”

“Lalita,” she answered.

“Well, Lalita -- and that is a beautiful name that certainly suits a truly beautiful little girl like you -- I promise I shall  do all I can to keep you safe.”

“I believe you, Doctor,” she smiled faintly as I helped her to her feet. “But… what’s going on here?”

“Well, just to explain quickly,” I said, “you see that glowing red stone? It is called the Crimson Crystal of C’sem 6, and a certain very evil person is obviously using it to bring the Rachadnis, a species of giant spiders from another planet, here to Earth.”

“Ewww!” shuddered the girl. “Why would anyone want to do that?”

“I suspect they want power,” I explained. “Power to take over this world and rule it for themselves. To subjugate the human race and use them as slaves. He has joined himself with them in his own lust for such power.”

“But what do I have to do with it?”

“I am not certain,” I answered her. “Perhaps you were just put here to…”

“To keep you busy, Dr. Daniel Rumanos,” interrupted a rough male voice from behind us.

I whirled around and faced the speaker. It was a man of about thirty years of age, short and obese, with his hair and scruffy beard the colour of excrement. He was clad in black jeans and a t-shirt promoting some trashy “doom metal” band. There was a tattoo on his left bicep, an horrid tattoo of three interlocked triangles -- in sooth, a symbol that I recognised as the hallmark of the most dangerous terrorist organisation in existence.

“You are an agent of Spectral Paranormal!” I exclaimed. “You are a lackey of Don Wingus himself!”

“My name is Matt Macklin,” proclaimed the man, “and Master Wingus has given me special powers to destroy you!”

And with this, the man known as Matt Macklin moved with a speed superhuman and struck me with his fist -- a blow that sent me reeling to smash against the far wall of the chamber, bashing the back of my head against the unyielding plaster.

I then beheld Macklin bounding to-wards me, and I heard Lalita scream as I began to sink into unconsciousness. 

As soon as Matt Macklin was within striking distance, I ended my feint and kicked to-wards his stomach, delivering a series of Daemonian jujitsu blows to him. They had some effect, but not as much as they would against most human beings. He still managed to get in a few punches back at me, showing a strength beyond the norm.

“Your strength has indeed been augmented,” I said. “Wingus has given you temporary abilities above those of an Earthling.”

“The Master has blessed me with his majesty,” intoned Macklin, his sick eyes filled with unholy devotion. “He has filled me with his glorious essence and…”

“All right, all right,” I interrupted in disgust. “I do not want to hear the details of your unnatural liaisons with that perverted villain. It is an abomination, an infernal mockery of all that is pure and good!”

“You are homophobic, Daniel Rumanos,” accused Macklin. “The Master tells me about your obsession with little girls. That is why we brought this one here to lure you to your doom!”

I glanced over and saw that Lalita was huddling in fear against the wall. The Crimson Crystal of C’sem 6 continued to glow its eldritch glow, filling the room with its grotesque illumination whilst my fight with Matt Macklin continued.

The light from the stone caused me to think of the fact that the shop’s own lighting was not on. I made a quick glance at the switch on the wall near me, and then manoeuvred around so that it was just within my reach.

Macklin made another charge to-wards me and, just before he could reach me, I unleashed a kick to his stomach, sending him reeling across the room directly to-wards the target I had intended. He hit it full force. It was a jumble of exposed wiring from the establishment’s electrical system.

Before he could disentangle himself, I turned on the light-switch. The resultant illumination was barely noticeable alongside the phantasmal glow of the Crimson Crystal, but the electricity had its effect. Matt Macklin shrieked in pain and then fell silent as the resultant power surge took the life from his body. He slid to the ground, dead from the shock.

“An electrifying performance,” said I.

I ran over to Lalita and the beautiful little girl fell into my arms, still trembling with abject fear.

“It is all right, love,” I told her. “I just need to find a way to drain the power from the alien stone and then all will be safe. If there were only some way to absorb it that would not be lethal, and…”

Nevertheless, things were not going to be even that simple, for at that very moment, the glow from the Crimson Crystal suddenly intensified and a swirling red radiance filled the room. Lalita and I were surrounded by it, and I then felt a sensation of transportation through my body.

“Doctor!” exclaimed the lass. “Doctor, what’s happening?!”

“We are being taken from Earth!” I said. “The power of the Crimson Crystal is transporting us through an inter-dimensional corridor to transverse the depth of Interstellar Space. We are being taken to another planet!”

The sensation of transport then faded and I looked around, with the poor girl still clinging to me in fear. As our new surroundings became clear, I had to guard against showing my own horror at the situation in which we now found ourselves. We were in an immense cavern, glowing blood red from the Crystal that had been transported with us. The cave was filled with webbing, and at its centre was a spider at least thirty metres wide, its eight long horrid legs quivery with malignant life, and its terrible eyes focused upon us.

“Welcome to C’sem 6, Rumanos of Algol,” announced the thing, its voice a thing of high-pitched echoing madness. “I am the Ruling Rachadnis and you are now our prisoner. The planet Earth will now be ours, and you cannot resist us. Then, we will go on to conquer other planets, solar systems, galaxies. This is our inescapable snare -- this is our Worlds Wide Web!!”

Around the gigantic arachnid was a brood of other spiders, and then I beheld, approaching from the side, the figure of a man in a black silk suit.

“You will not stop the Rachadnis, Rumanos,” he said, his voice one I knew far too well. “I have made a deal with them, a deal that assures my position as co-ruler of Earth and the other planets of its system. A deal that includes your total and ignominious defeat!”

And then this individual, the intergalactic arch-criminal known as Master Don Wingus, laughed a laugh of unspeakably demoniacal madness!

“‘Come into my parlour,’ said the spider to the nympholept,” Wingus went on in mockery. “I knew you could not resist hurrying to save the cute little damsel in distress.”

“You are mad, Wingus, utterly mad,” I announced. “These spiders will not prove trustworthy. They will destroy you as they would ravage worlds.”

“It will not work this time, Rumanos,” retorted the villain as we stood face-to-face, “We have played the final game, and you have lost!”

I then hit him with an unexpected upper cut to the chin, sending him sprawling on the floor. Before he could recover, I took the transonic turnscrew from my pocket and aimed it at the Crimson Crystal.

“I am switching the stone’s polarisation,” I explained whilst activating the transonic device. “All the power that it has emanated will now be drained back into it.”

I then heard the Ruling Rachadnis scream in pain as its strength began to be drained into the Crimson Crystal. The monstrous spider’s body began to shrivel up and die.

“Lalita, stay behind me!” I shouted. “There will be a backlash when the Crystal fills with energy! It will release a fatal burst of radiation, but I should be able to absorb it and keep you safe. You will then automatically be transported back to Earth!”

“Alone, you mean?” queried the girl concernedly. “Without you?”

“That is the only way, love,” I affirmed. “The radiation will prove deadly to even my Algolitish physique. You will be safe, though, and that is what matters.”

“No, Doctor, no!” she shouted back. “Don’t kill yourself for me! I’m just a little girl! I don’t matter! Please don’t die, Doctor!”

Then something extraordinarily odd occurred. Don Wingus looked at us, at the beautiful Lalita and at me, then he looked at the Ruling Rachadnis. He beheld the horrid creature with which he had allied himself, now shrinking away in defeat, and a sudden look as of realisation came across his features.

“Stand aside, Rumanos,” said Wingus, as he moved to stand directly in front of the Crimson Crystal. “Old friend, this is my concern.”

It was then that the backlash happened. The spiders were by now dead, all the energy of their very selves drained into the red stone, and its radioactive content was overloaded. The radiation suddenly rushed forth out of the Crystal, and I looked on as Don Wingus absorbed the full force of it into his body. It was too much for even him, and I saw Wingus wince and shudder in extreme pain before his entire form simply dissolved -- dissipating away into nothingness as if he had never really existed.

As Lalita clung to me, I reached out and grasped the now-powerless stone, straightway secreting it in my pocket. The sense of transport then returned, and we found ourselves travelling back down the inter-dimensional corridor to-wards Earth.

Within seconds, the girl and I had returned safely to the backroom of Yoga Tree Baltimore. I looked down at the lovely lass, the beautiful Lalita, as I held her still-trembling figure in my arms.

“It is all over, love,” I assured her. “The Rachadnis brood is now extinct, and Earth is safe… for now!” …

After a welcome meal of cheeseburgers and vanilla ice cream at a local all-night diner, Lalita and I had ridden in Lizzie to a point overlooking the city, were we could be alone. It was now after midnight, and I looked up and beheld the stars, bright and wondrously stretched across the sky.

‘So, which one are you from, Doctor?” enquired the girl. “Which star, I mean?”

“You see that blue one rising far above the horizon?” I indicated. “The one that appears to be winking? That is it -- Algol, the Daemon-Star.”

“It’s so beautiful,” she said. “Hey, could you take me there some day?”

“Perhaps so, love,” I replied. “Perhaps some day. As for now, I must return the Crimson Crystal to the Walters Art Museum in the morning. It is harmless now.”

“So what happened, really?” she asked. “Why did that Wingus guy sacrifice himself to save you -- after you had saved me and everybody else?”

“I am not certain, really,” I confessed. “He was mad, after all, but maybe it was more than that. Perhaps he realised the true horror of the life that he had made for himself and just could not take it anymore. Perhaps he just remembered our old friendship, and had a moment of nostalgia. I suppose we will never truly know.”

“I thought you were going to say that he was secretly your evil brother or something,” said Lalita.

“Not quite, love, not quite,” I corrected her. “Nevertheless, as Algolites you could say we shared a type of familial relationship. Our minds were part of the same linked matrix of Time/Space computations. We were like two parts of the same being.”

“Doctor, I don’t really understand that,” said the lovely little lass with an embarrassed smile.

“To put it another way,” I attempted to explain, “Don Wingus was an amalgamation of my own dark side. He was a product of my own ignoble desires and impolite thoughts. He was created out of all that I rejected -- hate, intolerance, bigotry -- in order that I might stand for universal love and peace.”

“Oh, okay,” said the girl as she turned her lovely eyes to look into mine. “I think I know what you mean. He was like the Devil. But then… who does that make you?”

I thought it best not to answer, and in stead focused on the beautiful young girl, her gorgeous little figure, her rich auburn hair and beautiful blue eyes, her sensuous cherry lips…

“Anyway, he was the bad guy, and you’re the good one,” she continued with a smile. “Well, I’m glad I’m here with you!”

“I am glad you are here with me too, Lalita, my love” I said as I pulled the dear little lady close for a kiss, the first of a thousand we would share on that night of enjoyment. “Very glad, indeed.”

***** DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN IN “THE GIRL FROM BEYOND”

THE VIOLATION

I left my canary-coloured Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”) in the parking garage below Dulles International Airport and hurried with all possible haste to-wards the terminal. There was no time to lose.

Dressed as I was in my in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt and purple velvet dinner jacket, I took the lift up several storeys and then proceeded down a long corridor. I then stopped short in front of the automatic door leading into the ramp to the terminal gateway. It had a sign on it that was marked “Out of Order”. I knew that there was absolutely no time left for me to go back and find another means of entrance.

I took the transonic turnscrew -- an highly-advanced scientific instrument somewhat resembling a writing pen -- from the pocket of my jacket, then aiming the device to-wards the broken doorway. Within a second, the door was repaired, and opened before me. As I walked through it, I removed the sign and crumpled it up, tossing it in the next garbage receptacle that I passed along the way.

The terminal was quite crowded, with long lines standing in wait for the necessary security checks before being allowed to board their flights. I rushed past them all in my hurry to get to the gate where the passengers were already disembarking from the seven-hour flight from Los Angeles. I fervently hoped that I was not already too late.

I peered through the crowd looking for her, knowing that her fine, wondrously-petite figure would perhaps be hidden behind the other passengers. I was just about to become a bit anxious when I saw her and I felt my heart leap with joy  -- and forsooth, with love.

There she was. Oh -- By the Stars! -- yes, there she was. She was even more beautiful than I remembered, slender and absolutely perfect with rich chestnut hair and enchanting violet eyes. Her skin was gorgeously sun-kissed from her time in southern California, and I thrilled at the sight of the hot-pink lips of her wide, sensuous mouth. She was wearing a short electric-blue dress that showed off her stunningly-faultless adolescent legs -- the same legs the touch of which I had so longed to feel during the months she had been away.

When she saw me, her already gorgeous face lit up with a look of wondrous happiness and of desire, a strikingly-lovely smile brightening her countenance beyond any possible description of ravishingly-ideal attractiveness.

And with this, the exquisitely-beautiful young actress Millie Drake ran down the ramp from the gateway into my waiting arms. …

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 “miraculous” to lesser beings.

Whilst most Algolites live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe, 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. “Plausible deniability”, and all that.

Currently assigned to Planet Earth, I protect its people from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Master Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. I am the living icon of Algol upon this world. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia.

I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …

I drove Millie Drake to-wards downtown Washington, DC, trying my best to keep my eyes on the road whilst my thoughts kept straying to her gorgeous preteen pulchritude.

“I’m so glad to be back,” she said sweetly. “We just finished the last shots of the film yesterday, and I got a flight back as soon as I could.”

“I am so glad you did, Millie,” I told her. “I really have missed you, you know.”

“I missed you too, Daniel,” she purred. “So what are we going to do in DC? I’ve never been here before, so it’s really exciting!”

“Yes, ‘Our Nation’s Capital’ and all that,” I agreed. “I booked a nice hotel suite for us, and I am certain you will love it. It is at the Four Seasons.”

“Oh my God, yes!” exclaimed Millie in approval.

“Tomorrow, though,” I continued. “I have an appointment at the Frazier Industries corporate location.”

“The computer firm?” she enquired.

“Yes,” I answered. “They are the top supplier of computer equipment in North America. It is said they are even giving the Japanese a run for their money. However, that is not why I am visiting.”

“What is it then, Daniel?” queried the girl. “Something mysterious?”

“Rather so,” I acquiesced. “There is a scientist there named Dr. Vincent Tobias. He is a psychiatrist, and has developed something called the ‘Emotion Stimulator’, a device that he claims can generate emotional reactions remotely in any human subject.”

“Wow!” she exclaimed. “But isn’t it kind of strange for him to be doing that kind of work at a computer parts factory?”

“Indeed it is, love,” I said. “Indeed it is. That is what I want to investigate.”

“You mean ‘we’, don’t you?” teased the gorgeous girl. “I want to go with you.”

“Well, if you insist, Mills,” I smiled. “I hoped you would not mind so mixing business with pleasure.”

“Oh, I don’t mind,” said the little beauty as she laid her lovely head on my shoulder. “I’m sure we will also have a lot of pleasure.”

We checked into the Four Seasons Hotel and were soon enjoying the dinner I had ordered from room service -- porterhouse steak and lobster tails with baked potatoes and side salads, accompanied by hot buttered rolls and the finest champagne.

After dessert, which was an excellent chocolate mousse, Millie was feeling a bit dizzy-headed from the sparkling wine, it being a new experience for her. I picked the beautiful young starlet up in my arms and carried her into the bedroom.

I undressed the girl slowly, savouring every soft curve of her pristine pubescence with my hands -- her lovely legs, her perfect hips, her budding breasts. I savoured the tingling sensation of the vestiges of the champagne in her mouth before laying her down on the bed and penetrating her sweet little girlhood. I made love to her deeply, fully, passionately. She cried softly in ecstasy, biting her lower lip as if against the most exquisitely pleasurable pain.

I pulled out and returned to her mouth. She was more awake now, and accepted me eagerly. Just before I finished, I took my superhuman manhood out and pointed it at her face. Some of my extraterrestrial ejaculate splashed across her lips.

I was glad to be able to show her this experience in such a luxurious hotel suite. In order to book it, I had had to call in  a favour from a local friend of mine, a gentleman who lives in a certain white house on Pennsylvania Avenue. Even then, it had not been easy, as the Four Seasons was fully booked due to its currently hosting an FBI convention. …

At that same time, at the headquarters of Frazier Industries, Dr. Vincent Tobias was in one of the conference rooms. He was a man of about sixty, grey haired and serious of countenance, clad in a white lab coat and wearing thick spectacles.

“All is going as planned, Controller,” he stated to another. “The Emotion Stimulator is ready and will be unstoppable when we release its power. The population will be totally under its control, and nothing will stand in the way of your converting them.”

“That is excellent,” said the other, its voice an emotionless electronic whirr. “We are waiting in the proper locations around this population centre, that all will be prepared when the machine is engaged. Our Prime Ship is approaching the planet with all necessary reinforcements. The people of Earth will be converted, and all of this planet will become as we are.”

With this, the figure stepped out from the shadow in which it had stood. It was nearly seven feet in height, looking like a metallic man, silver with bronze highlights. It was a Leknii Replicant!! …

The next morning, Millie Drake and I arrived at the Frazier Industries headquarters, located as it was on the outskirts of Georgetown. She had changed into a purple dress that matched my jacket. I amused myself for a few moments, making faces and waving at the security camera as Millie laughed, before we were buzzed through the entrance doorway.

We were met in the reception hall by Dr. Vincent Tobias. Nobody else seemed to be at the facility, which was as quiet as a tomb.

“Thanks for coming by, Dr. Rumanos,” said Tobias as we shook hands. “I was honoured to hear of your interest in my work. I’ve heard of some of the assistance you’ve given the forensics lab of the Baltimore Police Department.”

“Yes,” I acquiesced, “I have been involved in investigating some of their… stranger cases.”

“Well, you should be interested to know then,” continued Dr. Tobias, “that the Emotion Stimulator I have developed will revolutionise law enforcement even more than it will psychiatric care. In fact, it will make police, as we know them, to be superfluous.”

“A fascinating idea, Dr. Tobias,” I mused, “but I must say, a rather dangerous one.”

“Not at all,” he continued as we walked down the hallway to-wards the main laboratory area. “My device, when properly duplicated and put into positions around the world,  will give us total remote control over human emotions. There will be no conflict, no anger, no passion-driven disputes; and therefore no crime.”

“It doesn’t sound like there will be any fun, either,” chimed in Millie.

“My young friend has a point,” I agreed. “Without passionate emotion, will you not be robbing people of love and other strong yet positive sensations?”

“I do not think I will be ‘robbing’ them of anything,” retorted the psychiatrist. “I will be giving them the chance to live lives without fear, without emotional pain and anxiety. I will, in short, be converting them into a new form of life, a superior form without the things that have made this world noisy and fretful. I will be creating a new level of being.”

We had by now entered the main laboratory and stood before the Emotion Stimulator. It was a large rectangular box of shiny metal, covered with numerous control buttons and switches and topped by dual antennas.

“Fascinating,” I said whilst examining the device. “Why, some of this technology looks positively unearthly. I would almost say it resembles…”

“Daniel, look out!” I heard Millie cry out. But her warning was too late.

I felt a great pain in the back of my head. I managed to turn slightly as I slumped to the floor. Before I passed out, I saw Dr. Vincent Tobias standing over me with a crowbar in his hand. …

I awoke to a feeling of nausea. Opening my eyes, I found  myself in a small room lit by a single light bulb hanging from the centre of its ceiling. I struggled up to my feet and looked around. Upon one wall was a video screen. As I looked, it switched on and I saw Dr. Tobias back in the laboratory.

“Hello again, Dr. Rumanos,” he said. “The walls of your cell are laced with Evaerlium, as was the metal of the crowbar I used to knock you out. Yes, I know it is a radioactive element detrimental to your Algolite kind. I could not be certain of finding a way to kill you, so imprisoning you was the next best thing. You cannot escape.”

“Tobias,” I said, struggling against the waves of pain I felt. “Evaerlium is a very rare element. Where could you have obtained it?”

“Oh, my benefactors brought some along when they arrived,” he informed. “They knew you would be attempting to interfere, and made it available so that you could not.”

“By the Triple Star!” I swore. “Your ‘benefactors’ -- are they… ?!”

In answer to my query, the camera angle zoomed out to reveal the Replicant Controller standing next to the insane psychiatrist.

“You cannot do this, Dr. Tobias!” I told him. “The Leknii Replicants would assimilate the human race, turning everyone into unfeeling cybernetic monstrosities, just as they are!”

“Indeed, they will take away all pain and suffering,” rejoined Tobias. “They will make this world an emotion-free place of quiet and safety.”

“On the contrary, Tobias, on the contrary! What you are speaking of is a violation of all that is truly good about the planet Earth! The Replicants will take away all that makes the human race great! Love, passion, determination…”

“Oh, that reminds me,” he went on. “In order to further assure that you will make no attempt against us…”

The camera angle then again changed. In the corner of the lab room, I saw Millie Drake tied to a chair by ropes. She was in a swoon of fear. I had hoped against hope that they had just forgotten her. That she had somehow escaped. But no…

“Dr. Tobias, no!” I shouted. “Let the girl go! She has nothing to do with this! She is just a child! Let her go and do not harm her!”

“Your girlfriend will be unharmed as long as you do not attempt to escape your cell or oppose us in any way,” said the madman. “Otherwise, her life will be terminated immediately.”

“If you harm one hair on that little lady’s head, Tobias,” I intoned, “I swear by the Spires of Daemonia I will find a way to claw my way out of here with my bare hands and will rip both you and that silver Leknii terror to shreds!!”

“No chance of that, Dr. Rumanos,” said Tobias calmly. “It is already too late. The Replicants are in hiding throughout the District of Columbia, and the Controller here is preparing to release them.”

“It is prepared,” droned the Replicant Controller in its emotionless monotone. “They are being released now. Soon our Prime Ship will be entering the atmosphere.”

“A Prime Ship?” I repeated in horror. “That will have thousands of Replicants on board…”

“And to assure that the people of this city will show no resistance,” continued Tobias, “we have the Emotion Stimulator…”

With this, the mad scientist known as Dr. Vincent Tobias turned on the device, adjusting its controls to a certain frequency.

“Tobias!” I insisted. “Tobias, what are you doing?”

“I have programmed the machine to emit a wave of absolute cringing fear to the population,” he explained. “No one, not even law enforcement or military forces, will be prepared to do anything except to calmly agree to conversion by the Leknii.”

At this pronouncement, the video screen changed to show various security camera angles from around the city of Washington. I remembered that the fact of Frazier Industries being the top supplier of such cameras had made this possible.

The first angle showed a manhole cover being thrust up from the ground as if it were made of cardboard. From the sewer issued forth a Replicant. Then another, and another.

Several other cameras showed Leknii Replicants marching down the streets and sidewalks as they emerged from their hiding places around the city.

The view then changed to the various monuments and government buildings of Washington, DC. The Replicants were everywhere, absolutely everywhere -- a complete and seemingly-unstoppable invasion right in the very centre of the most powerful nation on the planet.

I shuddered in eldritch disgust and extreme trepidation as I beheld what was next. A thing of unspeakable terror. It was a group of Replicants marching down the steps of the Capitol Building!!

Can you perceive the absolute unmitigated horror of this? The Leknii invasion force was right there in the heart of the capital city of the most powerful nation on Earth, and the human race was powerless to stop them due to the influence of that device known as the Emotion Stimulator!

“Replicant Controller, listen to me!” I insisted, still talking through the video screen of my cell. “The Kosmikos will not sit still for this! When they see what you have done here, they…”

“You are the only Kosmikos agent assigned to this planet,” answered the Controller. “We will have this world before any action can be taken. Resistance is useless. The human race will be converted, and the planet utilised for the manufacture of Leknii technology.”

From the corner of the room, Millie Drake was recovering somewhat from her swoon.

“Kosmikos…” she whispered. “Daemonia… The Triple Star…”

“Dr. Tobias,” I said, turning my attention to-wards the scientist. “Did you hear what the Replicant said? They will turn Earth into one large factory for the manufacture of their ships and weaponry. It will not be the quiet, peaceful place you imagine. It will be a centre for the making of weapons of war, of conquest, of death. No beauty, no love, no peace. It will be like their home-world was. A wasteland of industrial pollution, uninhabitable by any but their cybernetic kind!”

“What!” exclaimed Tobias. “He’s right! You didn’t mention this before, Controller! I thought you would just eliminate emotions; the ones that cause pain, suffering, sadness, depression. The things that so plagued the patients whom I’ve spent my life trying to cure. In stead, you would turn our planet Earth into a world of cold steel and polluted air! I can’t… I won’t allow you to do that!!”

With this, Dr. Tobias turned back to the Emotion Stimulator, shutting down the controls. Seeing this, the Leknii Controller raised its arm and sent a flashing energy burst into the psychiatrist, causing him to crumple to the floor in death.

It was then, at that supreme moment of decision, that something truly wonderful happened; in sooth, something more wondrous and fantastic that anything that I could have hoped for on that fateful day. For it was then that Miss Millie Drake suddenly stood up from her chair, her bonds falling away to nothing. The beautiful young girl then faced the Replicant Controller directly and raised one of her frail hands to-wards it -- sending forth a powerful wave of bright orange and blue energies directly at the metallic monstrosity!!

“By the Stars! Millie!!” I exclaimed as I watched the view-screen in wonder. “That is pure Algolitish power! I did not transfer it to you! The Evaerlium would have blocked any mentalist link that I could have forged anyway!”

As I watched, the Controller shattered into countless tiny shards. The screen switched back to the views around the city, and I beheld that the Replicant invasion force was similarly disintegrated, a safeguard of their type that is triggered upon defeat, in order to prevent any cannibalisation of their technology.

I then heard the security locks of the facility click open. Realising I was now free, I opened the door from my cell and made my way down the corridors back to the laboratory.

I found Millie standing alone in the centre of the room as if in a daze. There was blood flowing profusely from her nostrils. I took a large, canary-coloured handkerchief from my pocket and gave it to her to staunch the blood. At the same time, I helped her into a near by chair.

“Daniel, what did I do?” she sobbed. “It hurts. Oh my God, it hurts.”

“I know it does, love,” I comforted. “Believe me, I know.”

I then turned quickly to the computerised monitoring system of the laboratory, attempting to activate a video scan of the area of Space immediately surrounding Earth.

“They said that there was a Prime Ship approaching the planet,” I said. “It will have thousands of Replicants on board, completely unaffected by the defeat of the smaller invasion force we have just seen. It is far beyond anything the human military could deal with. They must be stopped! But how?”

An image then appeared on one of the video screens that only served to confirm that all I feared was indeed true. It was a live image of an huge Leknii rocket-ship, and it was already entering the atmosphere of Earth in its direct course to invade the planet!

“That is the second biggest Replicant ship I have ever seen!” I exclaimed at the sight of this.

I then noticed the lifeless corpse of Dr. Vincent Tobias lying upon the floor near to the Emotion Stimulator. It gave me an idea.

“I truly hope you have atoned for your sins, Dr. Tobias,” I said. “You meant well, after all -- and you may have provided us with just the thing necessary to defeat the Replicant Prime Ship!”

I ran over to the Emotion Stimulator and began to program the controls.

“The Leknii Replicants do have an organic humanoid component,” said I. “If I can set this device to interfere with their emotional control, and then boost the broadcast signal so it can reach their ship…”

I took out the transonic turnscrew from my jacket pocket and aimed it at the Emotion Stimulator.

“Ah, that should do it!” I exclaimed. “Yes, the signal should reach their ship in a few seconds, and then…”

I looked at the view screen that showed the Prime Ship. It started to waver and then suddenly it began to turn.

“It is working!” I said. “The Leknii should be feeling a complete lose of purpose as their emotions go wild. They will forget their mission and…”

I watched the screen as the Leknii rocket-ship began to accelerate away from Earth.

“They have reversed course and are heading directly to-wards the Sun at top speed!” I stated. “The extreme gravity should work to smash them up!”

There was then a flash of light on the screen as the Replicant Prime Ship exploded into countless shards.

“Yes!” I cheered. “They have broken up! The Replicants are destroyed and Earth is safe from their invasion!”

I turned back to Millie Drake. She had recovered somewhat. Her beautiful eyes were clear and there was a faint winsome smile on her lovely young face. She handed back my handkerchief. It was stained with her blood. I kissed it like an holy relic before returning it to my jacket pocket.

Mille Drake then stood up and I held her tightly, comfortingly, lovingly, as she trembled slightly in my arms. …

Later that evening, Millie and I were back in our suite at the Four Seasons, seated on the sofa after having enjoyed a welcome repast of spaghetti and hot coffee. I scanned her thoroughly with the transonic turnscrew.

“The system is showing that you now have a fully Algolite physique,” I informed her. “All bodily functions are proper to one who is fully a Watcher, most likely Daemonian or Daemai. However, the specific powers you manifested should not return. They were a one-time thing to signify the activation of your apparently-Algolitish heritage. Except in a very few circumstances, only members of the Absolute Convention can have such powers, due to their link to the Outermost Barrier. They were at one time available to Kosmikos operatives as an auxiliary function, but proved to be far too dangerous. None the less, love, you are now as much of a Watcher of Algol as am I!”

“But how, Daniel?” she enquired. “If I’m an alien, how did I never know it? How did I get here?”

“I have never met your parents, Millie,” I confessed. “Can you tell me about them?”

“I… I don’t know,” stammered the lass. “I can’t… I can’t remember my parents. I just remember being an actress and meeting you when you were asked to be technical advisor on that local science fiction film I was in.”

“Yes, I remember. It was as if I had always known you somehow.”

“I felt the same way,” agreed Millie. “Like I knew from the first moment that we would… be together.”

“It was an Algolitish meeting of minds,” I explained. “The unique mentalist abilities of our people; the legendary psychic contact of the Watchers.”

“But who were my family then? Even if they were Watchers of Algol, why can’t I remember them?”

“Well, it could be…” I stopped in sudden realisation. “Of course! Your surname! ‘Drake’! As in DRACO! Millie… you are most likely a descendant of one of the twelve lost spies who infiltrated the Draconian uprising and then had to go into hiding in unknown parts of the Universe. They would have even had to mentally mask their essences, and to alter their DNA in order to avoid detection. They disappeared; never heard from again -- until know!”

“Twelve lost spies?” she queried. “Twelve? That’s my age, you know. Could that have something to do with it?”

“Possibly, since that is the age that you physically appear to be. But realise, Millie, that as an Algolite you are actually ageless. You could really be any age whatsoever, and you need never appear any older than you do right now. Actually, the sudden manifestation of your extraterrestrial heritage was likely the result of our… activities here last night.”

“You mean you popped my Algolite cherry?” giggled the girl.

“Do not be vulgar,” I smiled. “It would be more proper to say that I initiated your Algolitish puberty.”

“Oh my God!” she exclaimed. “This is too much! It’s scary in a way, but it’s also so… wonderful!”

“Indeed it is, Mills, my dearest,” I agreed as I took the lovely little lass into my comforting arms and kissed her luscious hot-pink lips.

“I love you so much, Daniel,” she admitted sweetly.

“I love you too, Millie,” I said whilst gazing into her gorgeous violet eyes.

“I’m so happy,” she cooed. “But it’s all so much. I can’t go on just being a ‘movie star’ after knowing this! What should I do now?”

“You will have much to learn; much to experience; indeed, much to remember,” I counselled. “It is an entirely new world for you. All of Space, all of Time. I promise to always be there to help you, my love. As Watchers, the crossroad of eternity and infinity is our playground, and also our responsibility. Millie Drake -- you are an Algolite!!!”

***** DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN IN “THE FINAL GAME”