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”

SHUT UP AND DANCE

It was long after midnight when the strange light streaked across the sky over the city of Baltimore, Maryland. No one paid any particular attention to it as it splashed into the waters of the harbour just offshore of the Locust Point neighbourhood. It was just one of those late night happenings that go unnoticed in a city already beleaguered by crime, violence, and corruption.

Shortly after this, Casmir Grimsom strolled out of the backdoor of a local “all ages” discothèque known by the name of “Shut Up and Dance”, as the neon sign on the building’s façade proclaimed. He was the club’s owner, middle-aged and dark-haired, clad in a polo shirt and slacks.

Cas Grimsom was annoyed at having to put up with being a nightclub entrepreneur in order to earn a living. The joint had been denied a liquor licence by the city due to Grimsom’s criminal record (some charges related to possession of narcotics many years earlier). He had thought this meant the enterprise was doomed until the club’s disc-jockey, Vince, had made the suggestion that they just not serve alcohol and make the disco open to patrons of all ages. Having no other options, Grimsom had agreed to this.

Of course, Cas Grimsom had assumed that Vince liked the “all ages” idea because it would facilitate his meeting young girls. He had been disillusioned of this one night when he discovered Vince in his DJ booth with his trousers down around his ankles and an underage boy kneeling in front of him. But whatever.

Grimsom walked down to the waterfront, glad to be away from the pulsing music and flashing disco lights of the club. He was worried about expenses, and realised that once again profits had only barely been enough to pay expenses for the month.

It was when Cas Grimsom was musing over whether he should get back into the narcotics trade when he was distracted by something odd. He noticed that just offshore, from deep under the waters of the Baltimore Harbour was a pulsating light far stranger than anything that any discotheque had ever seen. It was a sickly, pale sea-green in colour, and seemed to move with a bizarrely-organic life of its own.

Grimsom stood at the very edge of the water and squinted in an attempt to see what it was. He noticed a disturbance at the surface of the harbour, as if something were about to emerge. Then, Casmir Grimsom, former drug pusher and now struggling nightclub owner, knew an horror beyond anything from this world -- an horror of eldritch darkness and of something out of the unspeakably vast gulfs of Space. For at that very moment a long tapering tentacle merged from the water and wrapped itself around his throat. Before he could even cry out, Grimsom’s body was devastated by a powerful electrical charge that took his life away. The hideous tentacle then dragged him into the harbour, his corpse disappearing quickly beneath the surface. …

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 ran down the sidewalk in downtown Baltimore, holding the transonic turnscrew -- an highly-advanced scientific instrument somewhat resembling a writing pen. I was chasing a homeless person, a scruffy, grey-bearded man in rags who was possessed by Shaitans.

Now, the Shaitans are disembodied life essences of the race of evil beings that once inhabited the now-lost planet Eblis, which had orbited in the area of what is now the belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. They had been active recently as a side-effect of the activities of my archenemy, Don Wingus, in his attempts to harness the powers of a certain other ancient evil. The details of this plan, and of the things I had to do in order to stop it, are found as a part of that entry in my case-files which is entitled “Voodoo Child”.

Following the abatement of the plans of the wicked Wingus, I had been left with the task of cleaning up the remaining Shaitan spirits, after tracking down the several individuals who had suffered cases of possession from them. This homeless beggar was the last of them.

So there I was, hurrying down the street chasing an hobo whilst clad in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt and purple velvet dinner jacket. I had programmed the transonic turnscrew with a recording of the proper exorcism sequence to cast out the evil spirits, and now aimed it directly at the afflicted individual before activating it.

The man shuddered and then fell to the ground. I then beheld a stream of ebon-black entities exit his form, letting forth a cacophonous howling sound before vanishing into the void. The exorcism was complete.

I checked on the poor homeless chap. He was asleep, snoring steadily as if in just another alcohol-induced stupor. The few passers-by who had even noticed our brief melee had already returned to their own concerns. It was just another evening in the big city.

I immediately walked back to the parking garage where I had left my car. I paid the attendant and got into the vehicle, my canary-coloured Edwardian roadster affectionately known as “Lizzie”. Another assignment awaited me, an assignment concerning a possible alien ship splashing down in the Baltimore Harbour just offshore of the Locust Point area. My instruments had detected its presence the night before, but had been unable to determine the ship’s origin. Was it a potentially-hostile force, an invasion, a group of extraterrestrial conquerors intent on enslaving or wiping out the human race? This is what I had to determine and, if so, take appropriate actions to protect the planet Earth from any menace.

I appropriately drove Lizzie to-wards the establishment closest to where the alien ship had been detected, a discotheque that went by the name of “Shut Up and Dance”. …

At that same time, in the cellar below the dance club, old Reuben had come to work early. Reuben, the elderly African-American man who did janitorial duties there, usually did not come in until it was near closing time. He had arrived sooner this night in order to enjoy a supper of fried chicken wings that he had picked up at a local Chinese take-away.

Reuben had just sat down to his meal, with the loud dance-music of the club clearly heard from overhead, when he noticed something odd. There was a strange flashing from the near by electrical room. He got up to investigate.

What Reuben beheld when he walked through the door of the electrical room was bizarre indeed. It was the disco’s owner, Cas Grimsom, standing with his hands grasping a mass of exposed wiring and allowing the energy to flow directly into his body!

“Mr. Grimsom!” exclaimed old Reuben. “What’s you doin’? You can’t do that! You’ll be hurtin’ youself!”

Grimsom then let go of the wiring and turned to face Reuben.

“Whuuuh…” stammered the old man. “What’s wrong, Mr. Grimsom? What’s that in you eyes?!”

Grimsom’s eyes were indeed glowing with a sickly sea-green effulgence as he reached forth his hands and grasped Reuben’s head between them. The old janitor let out a brief scream of pain before the electrical shock from Cas Grimsom’s hands took the life from him. …

I entered Shut Up and Dance, finding it to be the common type of teen discotheque that have remained in existence since their heyday in the 1970s, the only real change being the addition of laser-lighting to the usual flashing strobes. The music was a throbbing, bass-heavy rhythm accompanied by synthesisers and the occasional funky guitar, overlaid with vocalisms filled with a preponderance of heavy breathing and numerous sexual innuendos.

There were fewer than twenty patrons. A smattering of them were girls, but they were mostly men and boys of a decidedly homosexual caste. Some were on the dance floor, others lounging around the bar or tables.

I walked over to the bar and sat down next to a particularly attractive young girl with dusky hair. The bartender came over, a rather grotesque bottle-blonde whose tight black dress only served to highlight the fact that she was way past her expiration date.

“I shall have a vanilla cola,” I said, “and please give the young lady another of whatever she is having.”

“Oh, thank you,” said the girl, tilting her head with a look of joyful surprise. “You’re so thoughtful.”

The lass was exceedingly lovely, apparently of Middle Eastern origin, with honey-coloured skin and deep tawny eyes. Her hair shone like licorice in the flashing disco lights. She was barely in her teens, and the short, navy-blue dress she was wearing showed off the slender curves of her newly-pubescent figure.

“No worries, love,” I replied. “I am Dr. Daniel Rumanos. Just call me ‘Doctor’.”

“I’m Jasira,” she replied in her sweetly-accented tenor.

The bartender brought our drinks; the girl’s being a grape soda.

“‘Jasira’, did you say?” I addressed the lovely teen. “That is a beautiful name.”

“Thank you,” said the nymphet, sipping her drink with her luscious cherry-red lips. “It’s Jasira Ibrahim. My family is from Turkey, and my parents and I just moved here a couple of years ago. My dad is Muslim and my mom is Christian, so we had to leave our old country to escape bigotry.”

“Understandable,” I sympathised. “Religious persecution is particularly unpleasant. In fact, of all the reasons that humans employ as excuses to hate each other, I have always thought the worst to be disputes over how to properly address the Almighty.”

“So, you’re a doctor?” Jasira queried. “Are you a physician? A scientist?”

“Actually, I am an extraterrestrial secret agent here on a mission to investigate a possible invasion of your planet by hostile alien forces,” I confessed.

“You’re funny,” giggled the girl. “I like that.”

Just then, we were interrupted by a man coming up behind us. He was middle-aged, dark-haired, and rather pale of complexion. He was clad in a grey polo shirt and black slacks.

“Welcome to ‘Shut Up and Dance’, kids,” he addressed us with what appeared to be a rather forced smile. “I’m the owner, Cas Grimsom. I hope you have a good time tonight.”

“Oh, thank you, sir,” replied Jasira.

‘Yes, thanks for your hospitality, Mr. Grimsom,” I added. “This seems like a very interesting establishment you have here. I…”

Whilst addressing Grimsom, I had turned to face him, Upon beholding me thus, his countenance had fallen somewhat, and from his eyes had briefly flashed a weird sea-green glow. Without uttering another word, he quickly turned and walked away.

I turned back to my drink and resumed chatting with the girl, all the while secretly contemplating the implications of the oddity that I had just experienced.

A few minutes later, there was a sudden power outage. The music ceased and the room was plunged into darkness save for the red glow of the emergency exit signs. I heard the patrons utter groans of disappointment as they made their ways to the door.

I turned back to the girl, but she was gone as well. I felt a feeling of disappointment, as I had hoped to get to know her much better. Nevertheless, I supposed it was good that she had left, as I perceived that there was danger here, danger that I alone would be prepared to face.

I took a small electric torch from my pocket and began to explore the now-quiet nightclub. The bartender and whatever other staff the establishment employed had apparently exited as well. I was just about to begin making a scan for alien technology when it happened.

For it was at that very moment the door leading to the disco’s basement area burst open, broken clear off its hinges by the shambling otherworldly horror that emerged from it. The thing was about four feet tall and five in width. It had slimy flesh of a sickly sea-green hue, and at its top and centre glowed one great eye fully as large as an human head. From it waved eight horrid tentacles, writhing continuously in obscene eldritch animation.

I stood there as this hideous alien horror continued to creep to-wards me!

“So, who might you be then?” I addressed the creature. “Squid Vicious? The Octodad? Ah, I know! Grimsom the Jegrodis!”

“You know of our kind?” suddenly responded the monstrosity, its voice an indescribable low-pitched screech.

“Enough to know that you must be finally losing that interminable war with the Dojjolye,” I replied. “Nothing else would bring you to Earth. Your ship was damaged in battle and you crash-landed here, hmmm? Your race feed upon electricity. That is what brought about this power outage, eh? You planned to absorb enough to then go back and share with your comrades who are repairing the ship.”

“You are correct,” affirmed the Jegrodis. “Your knowledge proves that you are not of this planet.”

“I am Dr. Daniel Rumanos of Algol,” I admitted. “You recognised me as not being a local when you were disguised as the owner. Yes, I know that you Jegrodis have rudimentary shape-shifting abilities. I also know you have to kill the person first in order to create a psyche-physical mockery of their DNA sequence. Your unexpected encounter with me disturbed your concentration, causing you to shift back to your natural appearance.”

Just then, the door of the disc-jockey booth burst open and a very young and nearly-nude boy emerged from it. He struggled into his clothing whilst running out of the front entrance of the club. Behind him was a man in his mid-thirties, tall and thin with sandy hair. He was shirtless, and strolled non-chalantly out of the booth whilst buckling the belt of his jeans. He was facing the wrong direction to see the monstrous Jegrodis.

“Oh, hi. I’m Vince, the DJ here,” he lisped. “What’s going on with the power failure? Is it… ?”

By this time, Vince had turned just enough to observe the octopoid alien. The pederastic DJ then shrieked a brief shriek of utter terror before the deadly tentacles reached out and grasped him, fast filling his form with an electrical charge that left him a charred, blackened corpse. …

Unbeknownst to me, at that same moment was occurring something that would have an effect on my future, forsooth an effect of lasting and ongoing importance. For at that time, in a secret location somewhere in the State of Maryland, a scene of bizarre consequence was occurring.

Upon the wall of the room, which was furnished in antique Victorian splendour, was a symbol made up of three interlocking triangles -- the horrid sigil of that occult terrorist organisation known to ungodly infamy as Spectral Paranormal!

Before this unholy sign was seated a man in a large chair resembling a throne, He was dressed in a black satin suit also of 19th Century fashion. His face was like unto one of middle years, still showing signs of handsome distinction despite being marred with the effects of lifetimes of absolute profligate evil and wickedness beyond all sane imagining. His hair was long and dark, and his countenance was decorated with a thin moustache and goatee. Most of all, his pale eyes shone with the look of an irresistibly hypnotic gaze.

“Master, what is your will?” enquired the one attending him, a short, rather obese man of about thirty, his hair and unkempt beard both the colour of excrement. He was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt advertising some trashy “doom metal” band.

“My will concerns you, Matt Macklin, my servant,” returned the evil one, his voice dripping with absolute satanic arrogance. “It concerns a part you shall play in the upcoming plan, the plan that shall at last bring about that for which Spectral Paranormal was founded, and that shall establish my absolute power for all of eternity.”

“Oh yes, Master! I hear you and obey.”

“Drop your trousers and bend over, Macklin. The time has come for you to receive my glorious essence.”

“Yes, Master!” exclaimed Matt Macklin as he hurried to obey. “Oh yes!”

“Soon the final game will begin,” intoned the dark lord, as he unzipped himself and took his position behind Macklin. “The girl-loving pervert Daniel Rumanos shall be destroyed, and I, Master Don Wingus, will at long last take my rightful place as supreme ruler of all existence!!” …

Back at the discotheque, I stood still facing the horrid Jegrodis. The thing was glowing its sickly green electric glow after having killed Vince the resident homosexual disc-jockey.

“Jegrodis, I am giving you one chance only,” I insisted. “You and your kind must stop this outrage and leave the planet Earth in peace. I cannot allow you to continue to drain its energies and murder its inhabitants.”

“You cannot stand against our power,” claimed the monster. “I have discovered that this world has much of the resources we require. When I return to my comrades, we will inform Jegrodis Central Command of this fact. Soon entire battalions of our warriors will be here, and we will use this world as a feeding place and as a base from which we will achieve final victory over the accursed Dojjolye Star Empire!”

Suddenly, from the bar area came to noise of shattering glass.

“Bismillah!” came the sound of a feminine voice as Jasira Ibrahim slid out on the floor from behind the bar. She had been hiding there since the beginning of the power outage, but had slipped from her crouching position on a wet spot of spilled beverage, thus upsetting a line of glasses as she attempted to reach out and steady herself.

Jasira then looked up and fully beheld the Jegrodis for the first time. The poor wee lass let forth a scream of absolute horror as the creature’s eight slimy tentacles reached their deadly lengths out to-wards her!!

Do you perceive the terror, the extreme unnameable fear of this situation, dear readers? That alien monstrosity, the electrified octopus-like horror known as a Jegrodis, was reaching out its potentially-lethal tentacles to-wards the helpless young girl!

I took the transonic turnscrew from the pocket of my jacket and straightway aimed it at the Jegrodis. As I activated the proper setting, the horrid monstrosity shuddered and quaked, its unspeakably-dangerous tentacles stopping mere inches from the terrified damsel. The glow from the creature then gradually subsided, and I saw the thing begin to shrink away into nothingness until all that was left of it was a viscid puddle of slime upon the dance floor.

The lights of the discotheque then came back on as I ran over to Jasira, taking the girl comfortingly into my arms as she sobbed quietly.

“It is all right now, love,” I assured her. “I switched the polarisation of the neutronic stream, draining the power from the Jegrodis and putting it back into the electrical system of the club.”

“Doctor, you were telling the truth!” cried Jasira. “About aliens and all that! I thought… I thought you were joking!”

“Oh, I never joke about alien monsters,” I told her. “Well, I do sometimes make fun of them a bit. It helps to take the pressure off.”

The lovely young lady laughed slightly at this, and I knew that she was going to be fine.

“Why did you stay, Jasira?” I enquired.

“I don’t know,” said the little teenage beauty. “I guess I just… I wanted to be near you.”

At that moment there was a sound. It was a sound as of the high-pitched wine of an huge engine, combined with the splashing sound of something emerging from the water.

“What is that, Doctor?” asked the girl.

“That, love, is the Jegrodis ship emerging from the harbour,” I explained. “I cannot allow it to escape or they will just go elsewhere to drain electricity -- and likely also to murder more innocent people!”

“But what can you do?” asked the gorgeous Arab girl. “Do you have a way to stop them?”

I looked up at the disco lights and a thought straightway occurred to me.

“Of course!” I realised. “The possibility is all right here! If I can manage to combine and boost the energy of these lights amplified by stimulated emission radiation sequencers, I can then proceed to focus them into the equivalent of a laser cannon! It will be a bit crude, but it should just work!”

I lifted the transonic turnscrew to-wards the ceiling, activating it to fuse together the power of the various laser-lights and to increase them by a forced rerouting through wires to the filaments of the largest disco bulbs.

“Now, I just have to set it to focus directly upon the alien ship,” I said, changing the transonic to another frequency. “Ah, done! We had better leave the building, Jasira. Just in case they get a chance to fire back!”

I took the girl’s hand in mine and we ran out the front door into the city night.

“Doctor, look at that!” shouted the little beauty as she beheld what was occurring above the Baltimore Harbour.

Steadily rising higher above the water was an huge rectangular shaped object, glowing with its sickly sea-green hue.

“The Jegrodis ship,” I affirmed. “It is in range, so the laser should be activating any second now!”

From the neon sign proclaiming “Shut Up and Dance” there now shot force a bright, sharply-focused laser beam that hit the Jegrodis spaceship. The craft soon exploded with a loud crackling noise and a tremendous flash of light. The glare then quickly cleared, showing that the ship had been completely obliterated. The only sounds were the cries of a few annoyed seagulls.

“A direct hit! Well, that should certainly be the end of that,” said I. “Strange creatures, the Jegrodis. Their ships are like massive fish-tanks… or rather, octopi-tanks.” 

“Doctor!” suddenly cried Jasira with distress. “I can’t see! I’ve gone blind!”

“Worry not, love,” I assured her. “It is just a temporary effect from seeing the flash from the ship exploding. My Algolitish vision prevents me from suffering the same. It should clear up if you just blink a few times.”

She did so, fluttering her lovely eyelashes until her eyes focused upon me.

“Is it all right now?” I queried.

“Yes,” she answered with a sigh of relief. “I can see again now.”

I looked closely at Jasira Ibrahim and noticed something new, something that was now different about the beautiful Arabian girl.

“I say, your eyes have changed colour,” I informed her.

“Huh?” she stammered. “Really?”

“Yes, it is a more permanent effect of the flash,” I explained.

“What colour are they?” she enquired.

“Blue,” I answered. “I must say, it is quite fetching. Though you are indeed a ravishingly-lovely young lady in any event.”

With this, little Jasira smiled a wonderful smile and put up no resistance as I pulled her close, right there at the waterfront on that fateful night. The teen beauty put her arms around my neck and trembled with pleasure whilst I clasped her gorgeous young figure against me and passionately kissed her hot, cherry-red lips. …

***** DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN IN “THE VIOLATION”

VOODOO CHILD

I had gotten a call from my special friend, Miss Kitty Parn. Her neighbours had asked her to look after their son, four-year-old Billy, whilst they spent the evening at the cinema. Kitty had been happy to oblige, and had begun the evening by doing her homework whilst the young boy slept. However, the relative peace of the young girl’s first job as a babysitter was suddenly ended when she went to check on her charge -- and beheld him levitating several feet above his bed!

This, along with an ungodly odour that smelled like a mixture of rotten eggs and excrement, and a strangely far-off howling sound, convinced Kitty Parn that something quite out-of-the-ordinary was indeed occurring. The girl had immediately telephoned me, knowing from some former adventures we had experienced together that I was one of the few who would have any idea how to deal with such strange phenomena.

I hurried over to the suburban home located in the Timonium area of Baltimore County, driving my canary-coloured Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”) and dressed in my usual finery -- including a frilled poet shirt and my favourite purple velvet dinner jacket.

Kitty Parn had met me at the door. She was even more beautiful than I had remembered; petite and perfect with rich auburn hair and eyes the deepest shade of blue; her skin as the purest white of alabaster. She was clad in a cream-coloured halter top and powder-blue miniskirt. After warning her to stay in the living room, I entered the young boy’s bedroom and began speaking the appropriate rite of exorcism. You see, I had immediately recognised young Billy’s trouble as the latest of a series of possessions I had been encountering recently; possessions by the Shaitans, those disembodied spirits of the horrid race of beings that had at one time inhabited the now-lost planet Eblis. Exactly why this series of Shaitanic infestations was occurring I had as yet not determined. It was as if it were a side-reaction to something; something big and horrendously dangerous on levels physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Something approaching. Something that had as yet not revealed its true import.

Billy rose up and glowered at me, his eyes glowing ebon-black with the force of the demoniacal control. I spoke the final words of the ancient exorcism formula:

“By the power of Allah-ha-Shem, the Maker of Worlds, I do cast you out!!”

With this, the hideous host of black Shaitan spirits issued forth from the lad, and, giving forth a noise like unto the baying of a thousand infernal curs, immediately vanished -- condemned by my rite to the inter-dimensional prison that is known as Hell or Gehenna. 

“Weird adventures in babysitting,” said I.

After the last echo of this horror had faded away, I checked on Billy. He had returned to normal and was sleeping peacefully. I covered him with his blanket before returning to join Kitty Parn in the living room.

The girl was watching television (some animated children’s show) whilst munching on popcorn out of a large plastic bag. She turned around expectantly when I entered, a look of intrigue in her lovely eyes.

“Did you do it, Doctor?” she enquired. “Are they gone?”

“Yes, love,” I assured her. “The demonic forces have been exorcised, and all is now well.”

“Cool!” she exclaimed. “Will you sit down now and watch TV with me?”

Unable to resist the exquisitely lovely tweenager, I took a seat on the sofa. Kitty immediately slinked herself onto my lap.

I kissed the girl softly a few times on her cheek and neck. She giggled and I felt her warm figure move slightly as with increasing desire whilst she sat against me. I took a piece of popcorn from the bag and held it in front of her pretty face, focusing on the cherry-red sweetness of her luscious lips.

“Here,” I teased. “Let me put this in your mouth.”

“That’s what you always say,” smiled the little beauty. …

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 was still cuddling with Kitty Parn, kissing her softly on her lovely lips whilst my hands explored the slender curves of her pubescent pulchritude, her bare skin glistening in the light from the television whilst my desire again firmly arose, when something being said on the broadcast suddenly grabbed my attention. The programme had changed, and it was now some local news show about happenings at an inner city church.

“The atmosphere is exciting here at West Baltimore Covenant Church tonight,” announced the thin, suit-wearing African-American newsman. “We are waiting for the excavation that will in just a few minutes uncover this wall, behind which is rumoured to be relics of a former congregation’s delving into the dark arts of voodoo!”

“Wait a minute!” I said, suddenly tearing myself away from what was obviously turning into another passionate embrace with the girl. “Did he say ‘voodoo’?!”

“Earlier today,” continued the announcer, “we spoke with Reverend Sematerie, the current pastor of this church. We asked him about his opinion, as a man of the cloth, about the strange magic said to have once been practiced here, which is said to have involved the worship of a mysterious ‘serpent-god’.”

The broadcast then changed to a pre-recorded video of a microphone being held up to the face of a man in a clerical collar. His countenance was as of one of middle years, his visage still quite handsome despite being somewhat marred with the effects of lifetimes of extreme profligate wickedness. His hair was dark and rather long, and his face was decorated with a thin moustache and goatee. Most of all, his pale eyes shone with a diabolically-hypnotic gaze.

“Hey, isn’t that…?!” stammered Kitty

“Don Wingus!” I verified. “So he did escape from Edalpo. I should have known he had something to do with the recent increase in demonic activity!”

“We do not believe in voodoo,” stated Wingus in his guise as Rev. Sematerie. “Such things have no power in the world today. However, I am sure the little archaeological dig we have helped to fund will be of great enjoyment for your viewers. We hope they will remember it was brought to you by West Baltimore Covenant Church, Charm City’s most truly dedicated…”

“I need to get over there right away, Kitty!” I said, interrupted the fake pastor’s spiel as I stood up and quickly retrieved what I had removed of my clothing, having to extricate it from the tangle of the girl’s discarded skirt and top. “I do not know as yet what exactly Wingus is up to, but his evil must be stopped! I…”

“Hey, what they hell is going on here?” shouted an angry male voice from the front door. This query was accompanied by a woman’s scream.

I turned and beheld the man and woman, obviously little Billy’s parents having returned early from their cinema outing and shocked to find an unknown man in their home where they had only left the young girl to look after their child -- the same young girl who was now lying nude upon their sofa! …

At that same time, at west Baltimore Covenant Church, the news broadcast had continued.

“And the excavators are breaking through the wall now,” said the newsman. “Soon we will see if the secret room really contains evidence of voodoo worship and…”

His voice was suddenly cut short by an uprising of wind and rain, a sudden squall with near-hurricane like conditions. The broadcast would have to stop, and it would be officially attributed to one of the small but severe sudden storms that sometimes occur in the Mid-Atlantic region. …

Nevertheless, the true cause of this tempest was something else indeed. For at that moment, in a secret and lofty cellar beneath the church, was gathered a group of worshippers; worshippers not of any deity of goodness but rather worshippers of unspeakable satanic evil. There were twelve of them, and they all wore black, hooded ceremonial robes as they stood before a stone altar upon which were numerous black candles and an incense burner upon which were heaped unlawful herbs.

Standing before them all was Don Wingus, alias “Rev. Sematerie”, clad in his own black ceremonial vestment upon which was embroidered an inverted pentagram.

“Come forth, O great one!” chanted Wingus as he spread out his hands in unholy supplication. "Come forth, O serpent god and grant me thy power! Come forth, ancient dragon of lore! I, Master Don Wingus, by my rights do call thee to come forth! Come forth, horned snake from a distant star! Come forth, O Damballah!!”

It was then that all hell broke loose, the storm outside being a mere side-effect. For in this chamber, above the altar of blasphemous madness, began to be descried the nebulous shape of a gigantic serpent, glowing with an ebony-blackness beyond any darkness known to the world of rational sanity!

Looking upon this, the evil Don Wingus laughed a mirthless laugh of triumph and of unnameable wickedness.

Then, it was over as quickly as it began. Outside of the church, the news crew had already left the area when the storm subsided. In the secret chamber, the image of the horrid serpent faded from sight.

“The Lord Damballah has blessed us with his image,” announced Don Wingus to his followers. “He will return later tonight at our second summoning. That he may stay and bless me with his supreme power, we must prepare an offering for him! Hear me and obey!”

“We hear and obey, Master,” repeated the cult. “We hear and obey.” …

Kitty and I had hurriedly dressed and exited to avoid questioning from Billy’s parents. The girl had insisted upon staying with me, despite the dangers of my mission. She had more dreaded having to face her own family if they heard about what had occurred, and thought it would be best to stay away for a while until things calmed down over the matter.

We raced in my car, Lizzie, to the inner city area of Baltimore. It was just around midnight, and the particular neighbourhood to which we were going was rather deserted at this hour, due to concerns about street crime.

“So, what is it, Doctor?” Kitty asked along the way. “What is this voodoo thing about?”

“The ‘voodoo serpent god’ is Damballah,” I explained. “In reality, Damballah is an extraterrestrial, one of the Snakepeople of the constellation Draco. Many aeons ago, Damballah led an uprising among the Draconians, believing that they should leave behind their peaceful ways and become conquerors, as legend said their most distant ancestors had been. He had a dream of establishing an empire across the Galaxy. My people, the Watchers of Algol, of course opposed this. A network of twelve spies was sent from our planet, disguised as Space-going traders, to infiltrate and sabotage the rebel Draconians led by Damballah; but they found more than they bargained for. It appears that Damballah had managed to reactivate within himself some ancient serpent powers found deeply in the psyche of his race. They were dangerous and incredibly potent ‘psychic-spiritual’ abilities, forsooth abilities that the Draconians had suppressed by their philosophy of peace. The Algolite spies were nearly discovered, and, in order to keep Damballah from finding a way to integrate our technology into his own powerbase, and unable to return to Algol without alerting the serpent of our opposition to him, they gave up their own inherent powers as Watchers and went into hiding, scattered throughout the Galaxy. They have never been heard from since.

“Following this, the Draconian government secretly partnered with the Absolute Convention of Algol to defeat the Damballah rebellion. All of his cohorts were killed in the ensuing battle, but Damballah himself escaped. We later ascertained that he had come to Earth and set himself up as the ‘serpent god’ later remembered by so many religious traditions: The Midgard of the Norsemen, the Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs, and the one of the Afro-Caribbean voodoo traditions. After a time, his influenced waned. We hoped he was dead, but it has always been known that he could have just been in a slumber, a slumber lasting for many thousand of years. As such, Damballah would by now be near the end of his natural lifespan anyway, and would be looking for someone to whom he could pass on his power.”

“Oh  my God!” exclaimed the girl. “Do you think that Don Wingus is trying to become that person? "

“Horribly enough, that is likely the case,” I replied. “If my old foe Wingus has discovered the slumber-place of Damballah beneath that church, he could very well be planning to acquire the serpent-power as part of his own bid to conquer the world!”

Just then, something bizarre occurred. Lizzie’s engine suddenly sputtered and died!

“What on Daemonia!” I exclaimed. “What could have happened to overcome the special modifications I have made to Lizzie? Her engines should be invulnerable to anything.. Well, anything from this planet!”

“Do you think this ‘serpent’ thing could have affected her?” queried Kitty.

“It seems likely, love,” I said. “Here, let me check.”

I left the driver’s seat and opened the car’s bonnet, then taking the transonic turnscrew (an highly-advanced scientific instrument resembling a writing pen) from my pocket, I did a quick engine scan.

“Yes, that seems to be it,” I announced. “If I can boost the fuel intake through the auxiliary guidance circuitry, I should be able to repair…”

“Doctor!” suddenly exclaimed Kitty, who had stayed in the passenger’s seat. “Look out!”

I stood up straight and whirled around just in time to behold several individuals in black, hooded robes approaching us down the city street. Before I could react, one of them raised his hand and sent forth a crimson blast of energy directly at me!

In immense pain from the intensity of the sudden attack, I felt my consciousness start to slip away.

“That is the power of the alien mind parasite that Don  Wingus formerly introduced to some of his followers,” I said to myself, attempting to stay awake. “A few of them must have survived, and are now part of this ‘voodoo’ cult.”

Forcing away the pain and making myself stand erect. I aimed the transonic turnscrew at the cultist who had blasted me, then activated a certain setting on the device.

The cultist, along with two of his cohorts, shuddered and cringed. I saw their faces begin to rapidly age.

“I have been ready for this since my last encounter with the mind parasite,“ I told them. “The transonic is tuned to the frequency with which it has attached itself to your brains. As I force it through its natural life cycle, it tales you with it to old age and death.”

The faces of the three cultists soon rotted away into skulls, and then I soon saw their entire bodies crumble away into dust.

Nevertheless, there were a couple of other cultists who had not been among those affected by the alien parasite. One of these had sneaked up behind me and was just about to deliver a blow to the back of my head. I turned just in time, delivering a Daemonian jujitsu move that sent him crashing to the ground unconscious.

“Kitty,” I said, “we need to…”

I stopped short in horror when I saw the empty passenger’s seat. I looked around frantically in all directions, but there was no sign of her. Kitty Parn was missing!!

Do you recognise the extreme terror of this situation, dear readers? That helpless young girl, the beautiful Miss Kitty Parn, was gone -- obviously having been kidnapped by members of the voodoo cult of Damballah!

All was quiet on the street as I straightway drove my car, having quickly finished the repairs, to the location of West Baltimore Covenant Church. The huge neo-Gothic edifice of the building loomed before me as if itself part of some eldritch dread from another time.

I parked Lizzie and entered the church, finding its interior to be only dimly lighted by a few streetlamps shining through the stained-glass windows. I began to look around, searching for a passageway, an hidden door, something, anything that could serve to give me entrance into whatever hidden ceremonial chamber Don Wingus, alias “Rev. Sematerie”, was utilising for his horrible attempt to raise up the Draconian horror known as Damballah. This was the ritual of satanic fear that I hoped to prevent -- especially since I realised that the cult had kidnapped Kitty Parn in order to make the poor wee lass take an important (if unwilling) part in that hideous and utterly-mad ceremony!

As I explored the interior of the church, I was suddenly aware of the presence of a force, a power otherworldly. I felt it rising and seemed to hear around me a sound as of the hissing of serpents, and to feel the sensation as of the coils of these creatures surrounding me! …

Below the church, in the hidden ritual chamber, Don Wingus resumed his unholy chant as the power continued to grow around him. The remaining members of his cult stood in obeisance, all of their attention focused at what was on the altar -- young Miss Kitty Parn, helpless and in a swoon, as Wingus held aloft over her form a cruel ceremonial dagger!

“O great Damballah,” intoned the villain, “accept this sacrifice and come forth to grant me thy power! O serpent god of the magic of voodoo! Lost greatness of the Draconians! By the blood and life of this child I do bring thee forth!!”

And with this, the evil Don Wingus plunged the sacrificial knife to-wards the heart of the defenceless young girl!!!

Just in time, the form of little Kitty slid off the altar, causing the ritual blade of Don Wingus to clatter uselessly upon its stone surface.

I held the girl in my arms (having pulled her by her leg) and felt her start to revive from her swoon.

“Doctor,” she gasped, “what happened?”

“Fortunately, I was able to follow the presence of the serpent power to this location,” I told her, “and not a moment too soon!”

“You have done nothing, Rumanos,” sneered Wingus as the powers continued to swirl around the satanic chamber. “Damballah shall still come forth! He will just be angry that you have deprived him of the proper offering! The calling has been effective, for the hour is three, and you know what that means!”

“Time to go cruising for eighth graders?” I supposed.

“No, you nympholeptic nuisance,” snarled Wingus. “Not three PM; three AM! Ayy-Emm! The true ‘witching hour’!”

“Of course. The time that most humans are asleep, therefore clearing the psychic ‘airwaves’ for the most effective inter-dimensional callings.”

“Exactly! Now, listen and see, as Damballah comes forth!!”

Indeed, at that very moment the rising power reached a crescendo, and, coming into view above the blasphemous altar was the hideously-nigrescent shape of the serpent god himself! The phantasmagorical form grew strong and clear, and then the dark, deep, hissing voice of Damballah himself filed the chamber.

“Who has dared to call forth the greatest of the Draconians?!” he bellowed. “I am Damballah, and I may only be summoned by one worthy to receive my power!”

“It is I who have called thee, O great serpent god,” announced Wingus, "I, the Reverend Sematerie, leader of the rites of voodoo! I, Master Don Wingus of Algol!!”

“You are in truth not of this planet,” returned Damballah. “You are superior to them and indeed could use my power wisely.”

“I would use it as thee did; to rule over all.”

“That is the correct statement,” approved the Draconian serpent. “However, there is another here who is not of this world. Perhaps he would wish to have my power?”

“No!” I exclaimed, knowing it was obviously me to whom he referred. “I do not want the power! Why can you not leave the people of Earth in peace, Damballah? Why must you have someone to continue your attempts at conquest?”

“Because it is what I am!” retorted the horror. “I am the serpent god, bringer of the Draconian Empire, which must endure forever! The dissolution of my physical self is near. I must pass on my power that my imperial greatness shall go on!!”

“Then you will give thy power to me?” enquired Don Wingus expectantly.

“Yes,” affirmed Damballah. “My power -- the power of the serpent god of Draco -- shall be yours!”

“Damballah you cannot do this!” I insisted. “You cannot give the Draconian power to this execrable individual!”

“You would dare to oppose me?!” spat the serpent deity. “I am Damballah! You have already robbed me of the proper offering, and now you would stand in the way of the transfer of power?! That shall not be! For this insolence you now must die!!”

Then something unexpected occurred; something amazing; in sooth, something absolutely wonderful. For at that crucial moment Kitty Parn suddenly ran out from where she had been sheltering behind me.

“No, don’t do it!” screamed the girl. “Don’t hurt the Doctor! He is a good man and he is my friend! I love him! Please don’t hurt him! Take me as a sacrifice if you want, but please don’t hurt the Doctor!”

“What is this?!” shouted Damballah. “This little one would give her life to save another?! That is against all of the most ancient principles of Draco!! This world has become infested with the same contagions of ’love’ and ‘kindness’ as mine did! I have no place here! I have no place… anywhere! No! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”

Straightway, at this declaration, the black powers of the serpent imploded upon Damballah. I hurriedly put my arms around Kitty and held her close, using my Algolitish physique to shield her from any backlash of the phantasmal energy. There was a boom like the tolling bell of another world, as of the final passing of a most hoary and ancient evil, and the hideous snake-god then quickly blinked out of view.

The chamber was silent as I looked around. There was no sign of Wingus and his followers.

“What happened, Doctor?” queried Kitty.

“Well, you did, love,” I smiled at the pretty preteen. “Your willingness to sacrifice yourself for another was too much for the evil of Damballah to bear. He simply self-destructed, taking the cult members with him into permanent oblivion.”

“What about Don Wingus?”

“I am not certain,” I pondered. “As an Algolite, it is possible he could have survived the implosion, as I did; and as you did due to my shielding you. None the less, Wingus has weakened some of his Algolitish powers over the centuries by certain misdeeds, so it is also possible that he was swept away along with the humans.”

“I hope so,” said the lass. “He was a bad man. I hoped we’ve seen the last of him.”

I looked at the exquisitely beautiful tweenager, the lovely Kitty Parn. I reached over to stroke her silky hair and kissed her on her luscious hot lips.

“I say, Kitty, it is almost sunrise,” mused I. “What say you we take Lizzie over to the Baltimore Place Hotel? They have an excellent buffet, and after we regale ourselves of that we can check in to their best suite for a much-needed rest.”

“That sounds cool, Doctor,” giggled the girl. “You don’t really want to rest though, do you? After breakfast, wouldn’t it be even better to use the hotel bedroom to get back to more of what we were doing on the sofa earlier?”

“Of course, love,” I agreed as the sexy little lady and I left the church hand-in-hand. “That, after all, is truly the only real magic!”

***** DANIEL RUMANOS SHALL RETURN IN “SHUT UP AND DANCE”