FOREVER MAY NOT BE LONG ENOUGH

I stood on the platform of the alien spaceship, its clear domelike top allowing a view of myriads of stars against the eldritch dark. Near by stood my own Time/Space vehicle, the DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress” and standing for Dimensional Transport Sphere), in its usual outside appearance like unto a Roman column.

“I can assure you their cooperation,” I said. “The verdict of surrender will be announced before you arrive.”

“Our Voa species will then be masters of your world,” answered the alien, its voice like an electric current. “You are reconciled to this contingent?”

“Most definitely,” I assured the being. “The Watchers of Algol have stood by in complacency for far too long. It is time for their society to be overthrown.”

The alien being to which I spoke was as unto a shimmering argent light, a presence both palpable and imaginary, both real and as like a fleeting thought. I stood before it, dressed as I was in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, military-style boots, panama hat, and one of my favourite opera capes.

“Then we are agreed,” said the alien. “The Voas will enter Daemonia by way of the beams we have detected.”

“Yes,” I complied. “Those are the beams with which my people keep watch over all of Space and Time. They are not aware of your presence only because of the unique properties of the Voas.  Your ability to travel along any wavelength via psychic transfer is unknown even to us.”

“We can only travel in that fashion individually. We will need the energy shield open on your planet before our ships can enter its atmosphere.”

“Do not be concerned,” I replied. “I shall see that the shield is opened. There will be no resistance to your conquest of the Algolites.”

“You can assure us of the complete cooperation of the Absolute Convention?” queried the Voa.

“Yes. They will do as I tell them. There will be no resistance. You have my promise and complete assurance that Daemonia shall be yours to command. The Watchers shall bow before you, and all of the powers of the society of Algolites, including complete mastery over all of Time and all of Space, shall belong to the Voas!” … 

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 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 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!!! …

In the centre of Daemonia City, the vast Citadel of the Watchers of Algol, a strange gasping and moaning sound was heard as my DiTraS materialised into view just outside of the office currently being used by the acting chairman of the Absolute Convention. A moment later, a porthole-like opening appeared in the column and I stepped out of it.

I walked quickly across the hallway and pressed the button, causing a bell to ring upon the large, ornate doorway that was found there. Soon afterwards, the door opened and I entered the room. An elderly, serious-faced man was coming out from behind the massive desk at the chamber’s centre, on which was some computer equipment. A monitor screen, currently not activated, dominated the wall behind the desk.

“Greetings, Master Conventioneer,” said I. “I have not seen you since my days at the Academy.”

“Greetings, Master Rumanos,” returned the old Algolite, clad as he was in the multi-coloured vestment robe of his office. “In those days I was a teacher, and you one of my pupils. Times change, do they not?”

“Indeed they do, my old schoolmaster. Indeed they do.”

“The Absolute Convention has deliberated over your claims as we received them from your subspace transmission. We have decided that they are indeed valid.”

“Yes,” I agreed, deftly throwing my hat to land on the head of a bust of Sesomos, the legendary founder of Algolite society. “I am the fulfilment of the ancient prophecy that an Operative of the Kosmikos would one day lead our people as Universal Overseer. I claim this right of office by virtue of my family name, RUMANOS, which is found in the very phrasing of the old manuscript, it being spelled out by the initial letters of the words ‘He shall lead us to the future’, as it appears in the archaic dialect.”

“Yes, well…” faltered the old man’s voice a little. “There was a bit of opposition from the city librarian concerning that particular interpretation, but the Convention sees nothing amiss in it.”

“Then I am to be made Overseer?”

“Immediately. As you know, we have dispensed with all official ceremony as unnecessary and illogical. The position is yours, and the proper documents have already been ratified. The vestments of office are ready whenever you should wish to don them.”

“They will not be necessary,” I replied. “Such things are illogical, as you say. I do accept the office and swear to uphold its powers to the best of my ability as a Watcher of Algol.”

“Then it is my duty,” said the old Watcher with a bow, “on behalf of the Absolute Convention, to welcome you as Universal Overseer. Long may you hold the office, in peace and harmony throughout all of Space and Time.”

“Thank you, Master Conventioneer. It is in service of that very peace and harmony that I must make an immediate proclamation.”

“A proclamation, Master Overseer?” enquired the old man.

“Indeed. By my executive powers, I now declare that the Watchers of Algol do surrender control of our government and all dependent systems to our new masters.”

“Our new masters?” repeated the Conventioneer with an unusual show of emotion.

“Yes, Master Conventioneer,” I announced. “Welcome -- The Voas!”

And with this, the shimmering forms of three of the alien beings appeared there in the office.

“We are the Voas,” confirmed the headmost of the aliens in its bizarre electrical voice. “We are the new rulers of Daemonia and of all the systems of the Watchers of Algol. We are the masters of the Daemon-Star.”

I saw the old Algolite swallow hard in his efforts to not protest.

“Worry not,” I told him. “All will stay as it has been on Daemonia. I shall officially remain in the supreme position as Universal Overseer, and the Watchers shall not be forced into any actual utilisation of their power. It simply will be available to our new masters for their own campaigns of conquest elsewhere. As I said, my old teacher, worry not.”

“I understand,” confirmed the Conventioneer with a knowing glance. “Master Overseer, what are the demands of the Voas?”

“They need for us to lower the energy shield surrounding the planet,” I informed him. “It is a necessary step in order for their spaceships to be able to enter our atmosphere.”

“But surely they are already here.”

“We can travel along any wavelength,” said the Voa, “but our ships are necessary in order to go past the speed of light. Otherwise, our energies would be dispersed.”

“The shield will be opened for your ships to enter the atmosphere of Daemonia,” I assured the alien. “It will be done as soon as the proper protocol sequences can be performed.”

“Then we will return to our ships and await that time,” said the energy being, as it and its comrades then vanished from view.

“I shall leave it to you to make the necessary announcements to the rest of the Absolute Convention,” I told the old man. “Get on it right away.”

“Yes, Master Overseer,” said the Algolite as he moved over to the computer area.

“Oh, and Master Conventioneer…”

“Yes?”

“There is a student at Daemonia Academy,” I said. “A girl named Millie Drake. She is Algolitish only by ancestry and actually spent the earliest part of her life on the planet known as Earth. The child is therefore an outsider and has no place in our society.  She is to be banished from the city immediately and left to spend the remainder of her days in the wastelands.”

“But, Master Overseer,” replied the old man with a tone of outraged shock entering his voice, “there is no precedent for such treatment in our history. All who are of Algolite blood are considered Watchers of some level. Even if this young student was born outside of our systems, she is…”

“I am hereby setting a precedent for it,” I insisted, raising my voice in command. “It is an executive order!”

“Yes, Master Overseer,” said the Conventioneer. “The child shall be banished immediately.”

“Oh, and have the highest chef prepare a meal for me, hmmm?” I said, with a certain whimsy now entering my tone for the first time since our conversation here in the office chamber had started. “All of this has left me quite famished.”

“Certainly, Master Overseer,” replied the old man with a sideways glance. “Worry not.” …

A short time later, a gorgeous young girl stood outside of the city as an entrance gateway clanged shut behind her. She had luxurious chestnut-hued hair, sun-kissed skin, lovely violet eyes, and luscious pink lips. The short, tight, purple dress that she wore -- in lieu of the Academy uniform that had been taken from her -- served to show off the soft curves of her slender, barely-pubescent figure.

The girl looked out over the scene open before her; the vast, orange-coloured expanse of the surface of this central planet of the Watchers, as it was under the seemingly-eternal blue light of Algol and its two companion stars.

With a look of determination on her beautiful face, Miss Millie Drake began her trek across the outer wastelands of Daemonia. …

“Will there be anything else, Master Overseer?” asked the young Algolite man, clad as he was in the blue uniform of a citadel staff member, who had brought my meal.

“No thank you, Chamberlain,” I replied whilst sitting behind the desk. “This will be quite enough.”

With a respectful bow, the young man then exited the room.

“I say, Master Conventioneer,” I said to the old man, who had remained in the chamber to finish the necessary business arrangements, “would you care to try some of this steak? It is from a rather fleshy bovine-like beast found on the Dojjolye home-world.”

“No thank you, Master Overseer,” said the Algolite as he adjusted some control mechanisms around the near by view-screen. “I have no appetite at the moment.”

“A shame, old chap,” said I as I began to attack my meal with gusto. “I assure you it is quite tasty. You should eat more. You are looking a bit thin, but I suppose indulgence in culinary delights is not exactly top priority around here, hmmm? A shame, I say again. I say, old chap, have you ever had Martian chop suey?”

“No, Master Overseer, I cannot say that I have.”

“Oh, you should try it sometime. It is flavoured with the thick green saliva of that insectoid race. An unforgettable taste that is, I can assure you.”

“I am certain it is, Master Overseer.” 

“Of course, I am also a great lover of Saturnian pasta, not to mention the vegetable dip from Proxima Centauri, served with warm roundbread. Plutonian pizza is quite good as well, if one need something more quickly prepared and do not mind that it is served cold.”

“I have completed all of the password protocols,” announced the old man. “We should soon have clearance for the energy shield to be opened, but it may take some time for it to come completely down.”

“That will not be necessary, Master Conventioneer,” I said whilst taking a sip of the golden-hued Daemonian wine that had been served with my repast. “The Voas shall only need a small gap in the barrier in order to enter the atmosphere. I few kilometres wide will do.”

“Understood, Master Overseer.”

“All is going as planned,” I assured him as I returned to my food. “Ah, Venusian vanilla mousse for dessert! My favourite!” …

Far out on the wastelands of Daemonia, Mille Drake had come to the top of a hill that led to a wide plateau-like expanse. She gazed across the area at the nine figures who were approaching. They were tall and clad in robes of pure shining white, and their steps seemed to glide across the ground as if their feet did not touch it.

“I am Mistress Millie Drake of the Watchers of Algol,” said the girl as the nine unknowns came within a few metres of her. “From the Family Rumanos, whose DNA has blessed me, I bring greetings to those who are Forbidden.”

As the nine approached, their faces were seen as peaceful and serene, having a beauty beyond that of mere appearance, unmarked by any sign of gender or ethnic difference. The countenances were of indescribable perfection and seemed to originate beyond anything of physical existence.

“We are those who are Forbidden,” said the central of the nine, with a voice as a choir of sparkling musicality. “We accept your greetings and give the same to you, Mistress Drake, and to the Family Rumanos.”

“It is with supplication that we have requested your help,” announced Millie Drake.

“Your entreaty has been heard, and it shall be granted.” …

Back in the executive office, I had finished my meal and now leaned back in my chair with my feet up on the desk.

“Now, Algolite girls tend to bite their lower lip when you do that,” I went on. “Earth girls, on the other hand…”

“The gap in the shield is now opening, Master Overseer,” interrupted the old Conventioneer.

“Very good,” said I, standing up from the chair and idly stretching. “Put it on the monitor view-screen that I may see the historic entrance of the Voa ships to our world.”

Upon the monitor then appeared the clear sky of Daemonia. There was a certain blur as the gap area opened in the clear energy shield. Within a few seconds, three specks appeared in that sky. Three specks that grew larger until their true appearance was seen. They were the three ships of the Voa invasion, and they began to descend to-wards the surface of the planet!

Do you perceive the absolute cosmic terror of this, readers? For the first time in the ages-long history of the Watchers of the Daemon-Star Algol, our society was being invaded from beyond -- invaded by the bizarre energy-beings known as the Voas, who intended to utilise our knowledge and technology in order to extend their conquest into all of Time and Space!

“The moment is here,” said I. “The new masters of Daemonia have arrived.” …

Out on the wasteland, Millie Drake looked upwards to the approaching ships of the Voas. She then nodded to the nine figures that stood before her.

As one, the nine raised their hands to-wards the sky. Within seconds, a sparkling wave of bright orange and blue light erupted from them and shot upwards.

The energy hit the Voa spaceships and surrounded them completely. They halted in their course downwards and shuddered with the impact of the sparkling power than had been wielded by the nine unknowns. Then the three ships exploded into smithereens, totally wiped out of existence by the powers that had been unleashed upon them. …

Back in the office, I observed the destruction of the Voas upon the view-screen. The ships exploded silently and then the sky was again clear.

“Yes!” I cheered, clapping my hands together. “She has done it! What a fantastic little marvel that girl is!”

“Master Overseer,” said the old Conventioneer. “So this was indeed all a subterfuge of yours against the Voas?”

“Of course, my old teacher, of course,” I assured him. “I had to make them believe that I had betrayed the Watchers. Sorry I could not tell you the facts, but as you used to say at the Academy whenever you gave the students a particularly perplexing assignment, ‘Worry not’.

“Now,” I continued, hurrying over to the computer equipment, “if I can hack into the residue of their light-speed signature, I can trace it back to their home planet and put a Time-loop on them…”

I made some quick adjustments to the controls of the system, concentrating on the data that I obtained via the monitor readout.

“Done!” I announced. “We can now be assured that the Voas shall never invade Algol -- or anywhere else -- ever again!”

“And the energy shield?” enquired the Conventioneer.

“I have entered the sequence to again close the gap in it.”

“But, what happened?” queried the old Watcher. “Where did that strange energy come from? And how was it ever so powerful to immediately destroy the Voa ships?”

“Oh, I think someone should be here in a moment to help explain that, Master Conventioneer.”

Just then, there was a slight flash of light on the other side of the chamber as the lovely form of Miss Millie Drake materialised into view.

“Oh, Daniel!” exclaimed the lass as she ran into my embrace. “I’m so glad to see you!”

“As I am to see you, my little Daemon-Starlet,” I returned. “Did the nine unknowns return to their hermitage on Demulus?”

“Yes, they did,” answered Millie. “As soon as the alien ships blew up, they said a farewell to me and vanished!”

“Do you mean… ?” interrupted the Conventioneer in disbelief. “The Forbidden Angels? The Retro-Aeternusians? That is who you employed to stop the Voa invasion?”

“Indeed we did,” I said. “Those special beings, one of whom is born in every hundred generations of the Watchers, who retain a certain amount of the powers of our Aeternusian forbears. It is the energy of the Outermost Barrier, the very edge of the known Universe by which our earliest ancestors first came into material existence. It is a power beyond even that which can be occasionally wielded by the Absolute Convention, due to its own link to the Outermost Barrier. Now, in order to avoid any possibility of their abilities being improperly exploited, the Forbidden usually live in complete seclusion on a small outer planet of our system that is known as Demulus. However, the Kosmikos, having known of the invasion plans of the Voas for some time, contacted them to aid us. You see, we did not know the location of the Voa home-world, and so had to allow them to come here before we could locate it and take appropriate action.”

“Incredible,” said the old man. “So young Mistress Drake here met them in the wastelands?”

“Quite right, and a perfect job she did of it. I had asked Millie to assist with this when we were travelling together some time ago. She was the only one who knew the full details of the operation aside from myself and the Chief Operative of the Kosmikos, hence the necessity of ‘banishing’ her from the city. She had a matter transportation device with her the whole time, hidden down the front of her dress, and so was never in any real danger.”

“Well, the Absolute Convention, indeed all of Algolitish society and perhaps the Universe at large, owes you both an incalculable debt.”

“Thank you, Master Conventioneer,” said Millie. “It was an honour to serve my people.”

“And we are indeed your people,” announced the old Watcher with a respectful bow to the young lady. “Your status as a Watcher of Algol is forever assured.”

“Oh, that reminds me,” I said. “The time has come for me to resign my office as Universal Overseer. However, as my last usage of executive power, I command that an election be called to choose my successor. No longer should our society be leaderless.”

“That is a wise decision, indeed, Master Rumanos,” said the elderly Algolite. “You have shown great wisdom.”

“I had good teachers, Master Conventioneer,” I said. “I had good teachers.”

“Daniel,” whispered Millie in my ear, “can we talk about something in private?”

“Of course, love,” I told her, then turning back to the old man, “Master Conventioneer, we will run along now so you can get to whatever needs to be done for the election and other necessities. Goodbye!”

“Goodbye, Master Rumanos,” he replied, “and to you, young Mistress Drake.”

“Goodbye, Master Conventioneer,” returned the girl with a curtsy.

I quickly retrieved my hat, and then Millie and I then went out to the corridor, where the DiTraS was waiting.

“So what did you want to talk about, sweetheart?” I enquired.

The young lady laid her dear little head against my chest as she answered:

“It’s just that I don’t really want to stay on Daemonia anymore. Oh, I love the Academy and learning about my heritage as an Algolite; but I miss travelling and seeing other places, you know? I miss helping people and, most of all, I miss… you.”

“So, are you saying you want to leave with me right now?” I queried. “To see Earth again, and so many other worlds?”

“Yes!” she exclaimed. “I want to go with you and travel throughout all of Time and Space! I love you!”

“Quite right, Mills,” said I whilst I held the beautiful little girl in my arms. “After all, here on Daemonia, all we have is forever, and forever may  not be long enough for me to show how much I love you.”

With a beautiful smile on her luscious lips, Millie Drake then reached up to kiss me before we entered the DiTraS. Soon after, the odd sound of its Space/Time engines was heard as our ship dematerialised from view. …

Elsewhere, in a dark chamber far beneath the citadel, the young chamberlain approached a figure dressed in a shroud of pitch black, its face covered by a thick veil. Behind the figure was what appeared to be an antique floor-standing clock.

“I have it, Supreme One,” he announced with an obeisant bow. “I managed to take it from the Convention chambers when I delivered a meal to the Universal Overseer.”

The chamberlain handed a small electronic device to the figure, who took it and concealed it in an hidden pocket of the voluminous black shroud.

Then the mysterious figure turned to the clock, in which an entrance door like a porthole opened. The figure then turned around and reached up its hands to lower the veil, revealing the face of a woman of undetermined age, with dark hair and eyes of ebony black, her features noble and aquiline.

“Will my departure be suitably masked?” she enquired, her voice at once haughty and tinged with madness.

“Yes, Supreme One,” affirmed the chamberlain. “The gap in the barrier has not yet completely closed, and your Time-engine signature will be covered by admixture with that of Master Rumanos, whose ship is now leaving the planet, just as his arrival was used to mask yours. I can assure you that neither he nor the Absolute Convention have any knowledge of your presence here.”

“Excellent,” said the woman. “You have done well, my servant. With what I have here obtained, my experiments shall enter a new era of greatness and magnitude.”

“Thank you, Supreme One,” returned the young Algolite with another bow. “It is an honour to serve you, Mistress Nemesister.”

And with this, the woman stepped into the clock, the porthole closing behind her. Moments later was heard the unmistakable gasping and moaning sound of a Time/Space engine as the disguised DiTraS dematerialised into the void.

***** DANIEL RUMANOS AND MILLIE DRAKE SHALL RETURN IN “INTO THE NIGHT”