"You have done nothing wrong and I would urge you to start acting like it. Go outside, head high. Not as an escaping convict. Go to parties. Deal with it." (Jeffrey Edward Epstein) ...
Millie Drake stood in the café-like control room of the DiTraS happily munching on an apple. The girl is exceedingly-beautiful; petite and perfect, with sun-kissed skin, luxurious chestnut hair, lovely violet eyes, and a wide, sensuous mouth. She was wearing a short, tight, purple dress that only served to highlight the soft curves of her slender young figure.
The DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress” and standing for Dimensional Transport Sphere) is one of the incredibly-advanced combination Spaceship/Time-machines only available to our people, the Watchers of Algol. The interior exists in a different dimension and is much larger than the exterior, which resembles a Greco-Roman “Ionic column”.
I stood near by at the control panel, clad as I was in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, and military boots. My panama hat and opera cape hung on a near by coat-rack.
“Well, the Kosmikos needed us to do a check on this area of the Universe,” I said, “but so far there does not seem to be anything of concern here.”
“Where are we exactly?” queried the girl between bites of her fruit.
“The Tian-Sipes Spiral,” I told her. “Hmmm. Why does that ring a bell? Something I wanted to remember about it. Something that is not on any of the official records.”
“Maybe you can ask Kit-10,” suggested Millie.
“By the Stars, my memory is getting terrible lately,” I continued. “I cannot remember what I was supposed to remember, hmmm? Kit-10, do you have any relevant information of the Tian-Sipes Spiral in your database?”
“Negative, s--,” replied the pleasantly-feminine voice of our mobile computer who resembles nothing more or less than a robotic cat. “Only the galaxy’s size and Spacial coordinates.”
(It should be noted here that amongst Kit-10’s other catlike characteristics is her total inability to openly show respect for anyone. The closest she can come is by addressing me as “s--”, for “sir”, and Millie as “m--”, for “ma’am”.)
“Was it something dangerous?” enquired Millie.
“Oh, I hope not,” I confessed. “These occasional memory blockages are common for Time travellers, but still quite annoying. You know, I really think that we should…”
Suddenly, I was interrupted by a warning signal from the control console.
“What!” I said. “According to this, the DiTraS is experiencing dimensional disassembly!”
“Gosh, Daniel!” cried the girl. “Doesn’t that mean we will… ?”
“Yes, the ship will be torn to pieces! I am shutting down the aethereal link in order to minimise damage to the cognisant circuitry, but hold on, Mills! We are in for a bumpy ride!”
With this, the DiTraS began to shake and shudder, and the very air around us seemed to begin to rip apart. Millie held onto the console, whilst I continued an attempt to stabilise the controls and Kit-10 magnetised herself to the floor.
“Spires of Daemonia!” I swore. “I just remembered what it was about the Tian-Sipes Spiral! It is the location of the planet… !”
It was then that the pressure of the forces causing the dimensional disassembly overcame me, and I lost consciousness.
Millie Drake fell to the control room floor, as did I, whilst the inter-dimensional construction of the DiTraS was apparently torn to pieces. …
My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Extraterrestrial Espionage Agent and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am in fact several thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL -- the most intellectually-advanced race in all of the known galaxies, whose technology is so sophisticated it often appears to be “magic” and “miraculous” to lesser beings.
Whilst most Algolites tend to keep to themselves, preferring to live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe and thus merely observing the goings-on of the myriad races of the vast reaches around them, I am an Operative for a secret organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department, tasked with maintaining peace and order throughout the farthest reaches of Space and Time. You know, “plausible deniability”, and all of that sort of thing. It is our ongoing mission to defend the weak, the unfortunate, and the innocent from those who would harm or exploit them.
Currently assigned to Earth, I protect its people (both upon their planet and across the eternal void) from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Magister Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as from alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. Assisted by my friends -- the beautiful Miss Millie Drake and our catlike robot, Kit-10 -- I am the living icon of Algol on this world. I am a Knight of the Eternal Spires. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia. I am the stellar swashbuckler.
I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …
I awoke lying on the floor with a splitting headache. I attempted to look around but my eyes were bleary and blurry. It was impossible for me to tell if I were still on board the DiTraS or elsewhere.
“Millie?” I gasped. “Can you hear me? Are you all right? Kit-10, are you here?”
I saw a figure approaching me. It was vaguely feminine in shape, as far as I could ascertain with my blurred vision. The figure seemed to have chestnut-coloured hair, but it seemed taller and heavier than Millie Drake, and was wearing a dress that seemed darker.
“Yes, Daniel, it is me” said a voice (was it actually Millie’s? There was something different about it, albeit something familiar). “It’s me. It’s Millie. Your mind is confused from the dimensional disassembly, since you were in closest contact to the controls when it happened, so things might look and sound a bit strange to you. But gosh, it really is me!”
I attempted to stand up, but was not as yet able to do so.
“So we are still in the DiTraS control room?” I enquired. “Where is Kit-10?”
“Oh, she was damaged in the crash, but you can repair her later. We need to get the DiTraS fixed first. Daniel, I need you to give me the complete access codes so I can initiate the sequence to reverse the damage.”
“The access codes?” I stammered. “Why would you need… ?”
“Quick, Daniel, tell me the codes!” she insisted. “Oh my gosh! I need to enter them right away before the disassembly becomes a Temporal fact!” …
Elsewhere, the real Millie Drake regained consciousness upon a rocky landscape. She stumbled to her feet and glanced around, then up at the blue-green sun of this alien world.
Then Millie looked around again and noticed several figures approaching her. They were men dressed in garments rather like those of Europe’s Middles Ages.
“Greetings,” said the one who seemed to be in the lead. “You need to get to shelter before the Pingatos attack!”
“The Pingatos?” asked Millie. “What are they?”
Before the girl could receive an answer to this query, the sound of animals roaring was heard and she turned her head to see several grotesque, hairy creatures approaching. They were taller than any human being and deep red in colour, with hands and feet ending in long talons, and each of them had five horridly-staring eyes set just above the level of its hugely-toothed jaws. …
“Oh gosh, you should hurry and tell me the codes, Daniel!” the woman who claimed to be Millie Drake continued. “Hurry before the DiTraS is destroyed!”
By now, my vision was clearing and I looked around the chamber. It was large and filled with scientific equipment, including parts of a DiTraS of a different design than mine.
I then looked back at the woman. I could see her clearly now, and it certainly was not Millie. This was a woman of indeterminate age, with noble aquiline features, clad in a black dress that resembled a shroud. As I looked at her, she removed the wig she had been wearing to reveal her own dark hair. Her ebon eyes glared at me with a look as of hatred mingled with bemusement.
“So we meet again… brother!” she sneered, her voice now in its own mocking tones, an admixture of authoritative command and absolute unholy madness.
“Oh no…” said I as I rose to my feet. “The Nemesister!” …
Back outside, the horrible creatures continued to menace the locals whom Millie had encountered.
“Pingatos!” said the man as the monsters approached the group. “We must run!”
He grabbed Millie by the arm and took her along with the group to a near by hut, located as it was on the outskirts of a small village.
“Those things!” said the lass. “What are they?”
“Those are Pingatos,” the man said again. “They are her servants. She sends them to harass us when we go looking for food; to frighten us into continued obedience to her. They have killed any of our people who have not run away from them.”
“She? Who do you mean?’
“How do you not know? I mean, of course, she who is the Supreme One of Lerych!”
“Lerych?!” cried Millie Drake in astonishment. “Oh my gosh, that’s what Daniel was trying to remember! The Tian-Sipes Spiral is the location of Lerych -- which is the planet ruled by the Nemesister!”
“Quiet! Please be quiet!” responded the Lerychian man. “It is forbidden to speak the other names of the Supreme One. How do you not know this?”
“I’m not from around here. I’m from… another world.”
“That is impossible. Only the Supreme One is from another world. That is why she is the Supreme One.”
“No, that’s not true,” corrected Millie. “She is lying to you to keep your people servile. My name is Millie Drake. Dr. Daniel Rumanos and I are from the same planet as the Nemesister. She is a renegade of our people, a criminal. We thought she was defeated once, but she must have found her way back here. We know she uses your people as subjects of horrible experiments. She must be stopped!”
“These are dangerous things you say,” said the Lerychian. “If our people knew this, they might think we could rise up and resist the Supreme One.”
“Well then,” said Millie with a cunning smile. “Maybe we should tell them.” …
In the chamber that was the Nemesister’s laboratory, I continued to confront the villainess.
“So that is it, hmmm?” said I. “You had disassembled your own DiTraS in order to utilise parts of it in some experiment. It is coming into close proximity with this that caused mine to give out false readings and then crash. I was separated from the ship as a side effect of the supposed dimensional shift, hmmm? But what happened to Millie and Kit-10, and where is my DiTraS itself?”
“Oh, we would know all those things by now if you had given me the access codes, brother,” responded the evil Algolite woman.
“Do not refer to me as ‘brother’!” I shouted. “Of course, you attempted to trick me into giving you the codes so you could use your Temporal and Spacial circuitry to draw my DiTraS to yours -- no doubt only so you could then utilise my ship to add extra power to whatever criminal experiment that you are here conducting!”
“As irately judgmental as ever, I see. The extra power of your ship would have helped to quicken it, but that is not a necessity. The experiment I am here conducting is a thing of exquisite beauty. It is an unprecedented opportunity to alter the nature of Time itself!”
“By the Stellar Trinity!” I swore. “What wretched insanity are you babbling about?”
“Have a look,” responded the Nemesister with unabashed pride whilst she activated a view-screen over one of the computer terminals. “That is an asteroid that is passing close to Lerych.”
I looked at the object on the monitor. It was a typical asteroid or planetoid, rocky and barren, except for one incredibly different thing. It was glowing with a strange multicoloured shine that sparkled and glittered in the darkness of Space.
“Is that what I think it is?” I enquired in astonishment. “It looks like what is only referred to as ‘weird matter’.”
“Yes, that is exactly what it is,” affirmed the evil woman. “An extremely rare element. In fact, this may be the only sample of it in existence that is not under the direct supervision of the Absolute Convention of the Watchers.”
“Weird matter is indeed said to have particular properties that aid in the manipulation of Time,” I said. “Nevertheless, it is unstable and too difficult to control.”
“Nonsense! I have the means to control it right here.”
“Of course! That is why you disassembled your DiTraS. You intend to use its power to somehow affect the weird matter.”
“Oh much more than that,” smiled the Nemesister evilly. “Much more indeed. I will utilise the power of my DiTraS engines in a certain juxtaposition that shall send a temporal wave to shatter that asteroid into non-existence.”
“By Daemonia! But that would cause the weird matter to explode outwards across the Time-stream and… !”
“Yes, exactly! It will send the Universe back to the beginning and recreate it in my image!”
“Madness!” I shouted. “Absolute screaming madness! You know, of course, that as an Operative of the Kosmikos I cannot allow this!”
“Oh, of course,” she mocked, “but I already have prepared for any ridiculous show of heroism. Pingatos! Come to the aid of your mistress!”
And with this, several of the huge, hairy monstrosities strode into the room and came directly at me!!
“Some example of the local fauna that you have mutated and made into your servants, hmmm?” I mused as the creatures surrounded me.
“Quite right,” agreed the Nemesister. “Oh, I usually only employ them to keep the natives in check, but they are also useful against a meddling Kosmikos agent. Do not worry, though. I do not intend for them to kill you. They are only here to assure that you do not interfere with my experiment.”
“Ha!” I exclaimed. “Are you now pretending to be merciful? Do not bother. I know such things are not in you. You have been nothing but evil since the day of your birth, and there are very few beings I would say such a thing about!”
“Mercy? Oh, of course not. Mercy is for fools and weaklings. No, I want you alive for another reason. I want you to watch; to watch helplessly whilst my experiment is undertaken. To watch and be constrained from interfering when I -- the Supreme One; the Mistress Nemesister -- recreate the Universe and become the One True Goddess!!” …
In the village of the Lerychians, Millie Drake had become quite the welcome guest. Realising she was another of the race of their own “Supreme One”, they had quickly grown in admiration of the young lady. Her beauty and her youth, along with her obvious intelligence and profound kindness had forsooth impressed them beyond measure.
“You need to rise up and be free,” Millie had told them. “You are not meant to be slaves, not to the Nemesister or anyone else. Together your people can overcome her and take back Lerych as your rightful planetary inheritance! You should go and deal with it now! I will go with you, and we can conquer all obstacles!”
(Much later, Millie told me that she felt my presence on the planet, and knew that she would find me with the Nemesister, ready and willing to aid the Lerychians against the villainess. That is what gave the wee lass such courage and conviction to thus inspire an attempt at a great revolution on Lerych.)
Therefore did the people of Lerych assemble an army to cross the wasteland to the strange stone and steel structure that housed the hideous laboratory of the Nemesister. Millie Drake indeed went with them, she being their source of inspiration. It was all she could do to keep them from carrying her on a litter as token of their extreme admiration of her. In stead, she marched along with them, protected on all sides by the Lerychian men who were now determined to end the tyranny of the so-called “Supreme One” -- that horrid mad scientist and renegade Watcher known to eternal villainous infamy as the Nemesister!!
Then, as the army approached the Nemesister’s location, a large group of Pingatos came forth from it and charged directly to-wards them. How could they possibly stand before such monstrosities? Indeed, it appeared that the great revolution of Lerych would be halted before it had even properly begun! …
There inside the laboratory, I stood under guard of the Pingatos whilst the wicked Nemesister readied her experiment -- in sooth, an experiment that I realised could indeed very well succeed in destroying the Universe as we know it, and then in recreating it with all of Time and Space under the despotic control of that horrendously-evil Algolite woman!
“All is now prepared!” she announced in utterly-insane exaltation. “The focusing mechanism is in place, and all I need do is press this button and the energy wave shall be unleashed; the energy wave that will streak across Outer Space to shatter the asteroid, and thus unleash the weird matter that shall recreate the Cosmos in my image!!”
Whilst I watched in absolute abject horror, unable to interfere (I had left my transonic turnscrew in the DiTraS), the Nemesister focused the machinery on the asteroid as it appeared on the monitor, and her hand moved to-wards the firing button.
“Now is the time!” she continued, her voice a cackling cacophony of madness. “Now I shall become the Creator -- the Supreme One indeed -- the One True Goddess!!!”
Is it even possible? Is it possible for you to comprehend the extreme demoniacal horror of this situation? As I stood there, seemingly helpless in the custody of the monstrous Pingatos, the Nemesister prepared to consummate the experiment that would destroy the Universe as we know it!
She continued to concentrate on the focusing mechanism. It appeared to be more complicated than she had let on, keeping the system aimed directly to-wards that small asteroid that was hurtling through Space past the planet. Nevertheless, she then once more stretched forth her hand and prepared to press the button that would fire the energy wave to destroy the asteroid and forsooth take all of Time and Space with it!
Just then, as her finger touched the button, there was a disturbance in the building, as if a large group of people -- in truth an army -- had suddenly entered. It was too late for the Nemesister to withdraw her hand. She pressed the button and the energy was unleashed. I heard the crackling sound as it shot through the atmosphere.
“What was that?” shouted the Nemesister as she turned away from the controls in anger. “What was that noise that distracted my concentration?! This is unacceptable! Someone must suffer for this outrage!”
I glanced to-wards the view of the asteroid on the video monitor. As I looked, the bright orange and blue Algolitish energy that she had unleashed streaked by the asteroid -- missing it to then dispel harmlessly in the emptiness of Space.
It was then that the Lerychian army charged into the room. I was both amazed and relieved to see young Miss Millie Drake amongst them -- along with a group of Pingatos that were marching beside the army obediently!
When the Pingatos that had been guarding me beheld this, they moved over and joined the others, standing along with the army of Lerych in revolution against the unspeakable tyranny of that villainess, that madwoman, the Nemesister!
I hurried over and thrust the evil Algolite woman away from the firing mechanism, then quickly programming a sequence to disable the system so it could do no further harm.
Millie Drake broke from the army’s formation and ran into my arms.
“Oh Daniel!” she cried with tears now gushing from her beautiful violet eyes. “I knew you would be here! I came with the Lerychians when they decided to revolt against her!”
“Of course, my love,“ I said to her, “and I see that the Pingatos also recognised you as a far better example of the Algolitish femininity that they had been mutated to obey.”
The Nemesister herself was cornered and, for the first time, I saw a look of fear enter her eyes.
“No, you cannot do this!” she shrieked. “I am the Supreme One! The Nemesister! You cannot rebel against me!!”
Whilst saying this, she had taken a small device like a remote control from a pocket of her dress. She activated it and suddenly several pieces of the scientific machinery from around the chamber popped out of existence and another object appeared, looking rather like an old upright clock from Earth’s British Regency era.
“It’s her DiTraS!” said Millie.
“Yes, she has reassembled it,” I added. “Look!”
The Pingatos had now separated from the ranks of the Lerychians and were rushing to-wards the Nemesister, obviously with the intention of ripping that grotesquely-wicked woman to shreds!
The Nemesister ran to-wards her Time-Spaceship and disappeared through the porthole-like opening that had appeared in it. None the less, before she could close the aperture, the horrid Pingatos rushed in after her.
Whilst the sound of the ship’s engines engaged, we heard the Nemesister shouting in terror from within, along with the savage roars of the Pingatos.
“No! No!” she screamed. “You cannot do this to me! I am your mistress! I am the Supreme One! I am… !”
Then, after one final gurgling shriek of pain and outrage, there was silence as the Nemesister’s DiTraS faded away, taking her to her doom.
This was immediately followed by another sound, this also the noise of an Algolitish engine. It was, however, now the familiar gasping moaning tones of my own Time/Space machine as it materialised in its usual disguise as an Ionic column.
“The DiTraS!” happily exclaimed Millie. “Ours, I mean, this time! But where is Kit-10?”
“Worry not, Mills,” I consoled her. “The ship’s automated safety programmes moved all living organic matter -- that being us -- out of its immediate danger. Kit-10 would have been kept there as part of the machinery, so I am certain we will find her safely on board.”
Millie and I spent some time speaking to the people of Lerych, urging them to create a free, independent society for themselves, and promising to return and visit them some day. We then entered the DiTraS and I activated the controls to take us back into Outer Space.
“I knew you would find us, Kit-10,” I said to our catlike computer friend “The DiTraS was not really torn apart. It was an illusion caused by being in such close proximity to the Nemesister’s ungodly experiments. The ship stayed in Space, and you, Kit-10, were able to continue its course to reunite with the DNA readings of Miss Drake and myself.”
“Oh my gosh!“ exclaimed Millie. “It’s just like those old stories of lost cats always finding their way back to their owners, even when they’ve moved far away!”
“This unit is not a cat, m--,” complained the little robot.
I was by now busy entering some instructions into the DiTraS communication system.
“I have sent a coded subspace message to the Kosmikos to collect that asteroid and to secure its weird matter under safekeeping,” I then explained. “It should be no more trouble, so we can safely go on about or business, and…”
I was then suddenly interrupted by a signal from the console.
“Oh gosh, not again!” cried Millie Drake. “What is it this time?”
“Why, it is a message from Earth,” said I, checking the display. “In fact, it is from General Gorton-Steward, hmmm? I left him an interstellar relay mechanism with instructions to contact us in case of a certain emergency.”
“Daniel,” said Millie concernedly, “does this mean what I think it does?”
“I fear so, love,” I replied as I reset the DiTraS directional coordinates, “and we need to get back to Earth right away!!”
***** DANIEL RUMANOS AND MILLIE DRAKE SHALL RETURN IN “U15 STRIKES BACK”