Of the origin of the Replicants of Leknii there is much that is shrouded in legend, supposition, and at times intentional mistruth. Such is not surprising concerning that hideous race of cybernetic horrors, that horrid group of unspeakable cyborgs who seek to convert all humanoid races to their own unfeeling, emotionless, pitiless kind. It is generally enough to know that they must be avoided and, when possible, destroyed before their unholy attempts at assimilation can come to any fruition.
However, for the sake of the proper spread of scientific information, the facts concerning the Leknii Replicants are as follows.
The planet Lekni or Leknii was an Earth-like world found orbiting a yellow star within the Spiral Galaxy 8675309. Its dominant humanoid species had achieved the level of industrial civilisation and moved on to electronics and related technologies when it all occurred; the series of events that would lead to the development of the horrible Replicants.
It seems that the planet Leknii was becoming horrendously polluted by industrial waste, the very air beginning to become well-nigh un-breathable. Politicians, scientists, and activists of all stripes argued about the ramifications of this development for quite some time, but nothing was ever really done to halt the increasing climate change, or the continuing sicknesses that plagued the people of Leknii due to their constant exposure to pollution.
When the time came that it looked like it would be too late to save the planet from the folly of its ruling species, a group of researchers into the burgeoning field of cybernetics announced that they had formulated a solution. Body parts affected by the unhealthy air could be replaced, one-by-one, with mechanical parts that were in no way harmed by the pollutant materials choking the very atmosphere of the planet. In addition, these cybernetic enhancements would leave the people of Leknii strengthened and improved, a veritable superhuman species with no reason to fear ordinary disease or illness.
There was one drawback, however, that at first caused the population to baulk at the idea of replacing their flesh with robotic implants. It seems that the resultant operations would cause all emotions to cease. The new Leknii race would be without feeling, without empathy, and without love. Family would mean nothing. Romance would be gone forever.
Nevertheless, something then occurred to stop all opposition to the notion of the people becoming unfeeling cyborgs. A certain member of the legal profession, as part of her campaign for the office of International Prosecuting Attorney, announced the position that accepting the cybernetic implants would also cause all sexual crimes to end. There would be no rape, no molestation of children, no such offences of any kind. The Leknii people would be sexless, and all of the felonious activity that had always gone hand-in-hand with fleshly sexuality would be a thing of the past. Slogans like “Believe Women!” and “Save Our Children!” became the order of the day, and the people soon enough accepted the idea of having their very body parts replicated with cold, harsh metal.
Those few who continued to appose the idea were termed perverts and deviants and their voices were soon enough quashed. From that time forward, there was no opposition amongst the citizenry of the beleaguered planet to the rise of what would become known to infamy as the Replicants of Leknii.
Therefore, the Leknii people soon became cyborgs, their forms being that of tall silver men, their faces like unto expressionless masks. Then the inevitable happened. With no recourse to love and happiness remaining to them, the Replicants replaced the same in their cold mechanical hearts with desire for the one thing that was left --- power!
Interplanetary travel was developed, and the Leknii Replicants flew forth in their efficient Spaceships on a mission to find other humanoid species to forcefully make into their own horrid metallic kind. Throughout the galaxies they wandered, looking for any that could be assimilated, converted to the cold steel of cybernetic being. In so doing, the technologies of the conquered planets were added to that of the Leknii, in time developing their systems into programmes that automatically upgraded to overcome any perceived weakness.
It was when all this came to a crisis point that the Replicant Wars began. Humanoid species and their allies came together to stop the encroaching terror of the Leknii Replicants. Even my own people, the Watchers of Algol, secretly violated their own rules of non-interference in order to assist in the final Replicant War (this despite the fact that our own psyche-spiritual essence makes us immune to cybernetic assimilation).
The conflict at last came to an end when a group of genetically-enhanced soldiers from Earth’s far future were brought back in Time to battle the Replicants. Defeated, the remnants of the Leknii race retreated into the darkness of Interstellar Space, to wait and plan for a possible new strategy.
Then, when they were thus so largely forgotten, the Replicants conceived of their greatest plot, a scheme that could make them far more dangerous than ever before. For it was then that they decided to pursue the knowledge of that which had finally defeated them -- the supreme technology of Time-travel itself!
It was this ploy, and the horrifying ramification of it, that led to a new era of conflict with the Replicants; forsooth, a quite different form of conflict in which I was now to play a part. …
My name is RUMANOS -- DOCTOR DANIEL RUMANOS, Extraterrestrial Espionage Agent and Intergalactic Man of Mystery. Even though I have the physical appearance of an human being, I am in fact several thousands of years old and do carry within my blood the vastly superior genes of the legendary Watchers of the Daemon-Star ALGOL -- the most intellectually-advanced race in all of the known galaxies, whose technology is so sophisticated it often appears to be “magic” and “miraculous” to lesser beings.
Whilst most Algolites tend to keep to themselves, preferring to live in elitist seclusion from the rest of the Universe and thus merely observing the goings-on of the myriad races of the vast reaches around them, I am an Operative for a secret organisation known as the KOSMIKOS or Cosmic Intervention Department, tasked with maintaining peace and order throughout the farthest reaches of Space and Time. You know, “plausible deniability”, and all of that sort of thing. It is our ongoing mission to defend the weak, the unfortunate, and the innocent from those who would harm or exploit them.
Currently assigned to Earth, I protect its people (both upon their planet and across the eternal void) from the hideous manipulations of the arch-villain known as Magister Don Wingus and his occult terrorist organisation, Spectral Paranormal; as well as from alien invasions, mad scientists, and indeed all manner of menace. Assisted by my friends -- the beautiful Miss Millie "The Girl From Beyond" Drake and our catlike robot, Kit-10 -- I am the living icon of Algol on this world. I am a Knight of the Eternal Spires. I am the sword of justice from the planet Daemonia. I am the stellar swashbuckler.
I am -- THE DAEMON-STAR!!! …
Seated behind the steering wheel of my canary-coloured Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”), I drove us to our destination there in the hills of Frederick County, Maryland on that pleasant autumn day. I was clad in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, military style boots, panama hat, sunspecs, and one of my favourite opera capes.
Seated beside me, Millie Drake was enjoying the music from the sound system I had recently installed in the car, which at this moment was playing the Chuck Berry classic, “Sweet Little Rock ’n’ Roller”. Millie is an exceedingly beautiful young girl, petite and perfect with rich chestnut-hued hair, enchanting violet eyes, sun-kissed skin, and a sensuously-wide mouth. The tight, short, bright-orange dress she wore only served to highlight the soft curves of her slender teenage figure.
Also with us was Kit-10, our mobile personal computer that resembles nothing more or less than a small robotic cat.
We were on our way to an appointment to meet with a certain Professor Abdullah, a research scientist who had contacted me concerning his discovery of something in some meteoric rock uncovered in the Arctic tundra. Little did we know the extreme horror, in truth the supreme otherworldly terror, to which this meeting of scientific colleagues would ultimately lead. …
At that same moment, in an alien Spaceship orbiting far above the planet Earth, that race of horrid cybernetic men known as the Replicants of Leknii waited and watched in their computerised control room.
“All is going as planned, Controller,” said one of them, its voice an emotionless electronic whir. “The Algolite agent known as Doctor Rumanos is approaching his meeting with the human scientist, Abdullah.”
“That is excellent,” said another, the bronze highlights upon its silver metallic form indeed marking it as the leader of this Collective. “Abdullah owes his very life to us and will do as we have ordered. Doctor Rumanos will be forced to assist us in our conquest of the secrets of Time-travel. Prepare to enter the atmosphere. It will aid us to show the Algolite what level of technology we have now achieved.”
“Yes, Controller,” obeyed the other, as it began to programme the controls of the ship for landing. …
We found the research centre, located as it was at the end of a narrow road several miles off the highway.
“So he really does his research here alone?” enquired Millie Drake as we parked Lizzie behind the old house.
“Professor Abdullah is known in the scientific community as a bit of a recluse,” I informed her, “so it was no surprise to find him working here, far away from others.”
We knocked on the door (there was no bell) and were soon enough met by the professor himself, a somewhat-elderly man of Middle Eastern descent; short, bearded, and wearing a white lab-coat. We exchanged the usual pleasantries as Abdullah showed us into the building and I introduced him to Millie and Kit-10. Neither the girl’s youthful loveliness nor the appearance of the mechanical feline seemed to in any way startle the old scientist.
“So you say you have discovered some unusual element amongst meteoric fragments, hmmm?” I enquired.
“Yes, Doctor,” replied Professor Abdullah. “There is a sample upon my laboratory table, if you wish to examine it.”
I looked at the substance he indicated. It was a minuscule amount of powder that seemed to glow with myriad-coloured lights as I glanced over it.
“By the Eternal Spies!” I swore. “Professor, that looks like…”
I took the transonic turnscrew, an highly-advanced instrument resembling a large writing pen, from my pocket and used it to scan the powder.
“It is!” I exclaimed in wonder. “According to this, it indeed is Liddellium, that exceedingly rare substance that can be utilised to power Time-travel engines!”
“And it came to Earth in a meteor?” asked Millie.
“Apparently so,” I answered. “Liddellium is known to be found on occasion buried deeply in certain asteroids. So some of it could just possibly…”
“Danger, s--!” interrupted Kit-10 in her computerised yet feminine voice.
(It should be noted here that Kit-10, along with her other catlike characteristics, is possessed of a total inability to openly show respect to anyone. The closest she ever comes to it is by referring to me as “s--“ -- for “sir” -- and to Millie Drake by “m--” -- for “ma’am”.)
I turned around quickly and beheld Professor Abdullah aiming a .45 handgun directly at us!
“Professor Abdullah,” I said whilst Millie clung to me in fear. “What is the meaning of this?”
“Certain associates of mine are now arriving,” he explained, “and have asked me to detain you in order that you may play a part in their plans.”
“Daniel, look!” exclaimed Millie, indicating what could be seen from the window of the lab.
Approaching from the sky was a disk-shaped interplanetary craft, which soon enough made a perfect landing just outside the house.
“That’s a Mynver ship!” trembled the girl.
As we watched, an opening appeared in the side of the Spacecraft, and three tall silver men emerged from it. Of course, I recognised what they actually were immediately.
“So the rumours circulating within the Interstellar intelligence community are true,” I said “The Leknii Replicants are now using ships of Mynverkossian design!”
The professor continued to train his pistol upon us as the Replicants marched to-wards the building. I realised that we were surrounded and outnumbered, and that no recourse seemed available.
“Now, Doctor,” said Abdullah, “the Leknii Replicants will speak with you concerning their plans. Only if you do as you are told can I guarantee your safety -- or that of the girl. You will assist the Replicants in calibrating the Liddellium to power their ship’s engines. The secrets of Time-travel shall be theirs!”
“Why, Professor Abdullah?” I enquired “Why would you do it? Why would you sell out the very future of the human race to these cybernetic monsters?”
“Some time ago, I suffered an accident in my laboratory,” he explained. “An electrical surge in some equipment I was using to separate rock fragments entered my body and caused my heart to stop. It was then that the Leknii appeared and saved my life. They replaced my heart with a mechanical one, a product of their technology. In gratitude, I now assist them in their plans.”
“So you are a cyborg like they are?” queried Millie.
“Not quite,” replied the old scientist. “I am not part of the Leknii Collective, but I do carry their technology literally as the very core of my being.”
“Professor, you have no reason to feel gratitude to-wards those cybernetic terrors,” I told him. “If they saved your life they did so with a reason. They did so only so they could use and exploit you. It is all they know. They have long ago removed all emotion from themselves and know nothing of compassion. They will…”
It was then that the Replicants reached the building. They entered with a show of power, an unnecessary full-scale attack obviously meant to intimidate, at first blasting their way though the front door with one of the energy weapons built in their arms. Then one of them easily ripped the interior door to the laboratory off its hinges with its powerful metallic hands.
“Make no attempts at resistance, Kit-10,” I told the robot cat. “Your nose-laser will have no effect on them at this point.”
Three of the Leknii entered the lab, the one with bronze highlights on its silver form taking the lead. It stepped forwards to-wards me, raised one of its hands, and swatted me across the room with a single swipe.
I crashed against some equipment on the far side of the chamber, then struggling to regain my feet and to shake off the pain of the huge cyborg’s blow. As I did, I beheld the shimmering lights of numerous matter transit beams on the floor just in front of me. From these there then appeared ten or so metal creatures looking like robotic rodents. I recognised them as Repli-Rats, those service robots of the Leknii that contain a poison that they can inject into a victim by attaching to his or her neck -- a poison that can cause sickness, disability, and death. The horrid little things moved around my feet, obviously guarding me.
“You have done well, Abdullah,” the Replicant Controller told the old scientist, who had by now pocketed his .45. “We shall keep our agreement, and you shall live as you are when the rest of humankind is destroyed or assimilated.”
Millie had fallen to the floor in an half-faint when the Controller had hit me, and the cyborg now lifted her up, holding her cruelly with its grip on one of her frail wrists.
“Doctor Rumanos of Algol,” said the head Leknii, “the element known as Liddellium has already been added to the engines of our Spaceship. You shall now assist us in calibrating it to the control systems. You will offer no resistance, and will make no attempts at deception. Any sign of your disobeying this order will result in the immediate death of this girl. Is this clear to you?”
“Quite,” I replied, gritting my teeth to hold back my anger and disdain. “Do I have your assurance that she will be let free and left unharmed?”
“The child is Algolitish and therefore unsuitable for conversion. Her fate is as such of no concern to us. She will be freed when you have completed the task assigned to you.”
“Let us get on with it then.”
“Daniel, no!” exclaimed Millie Drake, her eyes wide with horror. “Don’t do it! Don’t help them!”
“Silence, girl,” ordered the Controller. “His affection for you is well-known and shall guarantee his cooperation. Transit beam activate!”
The shimmering light then surrounded the Replicants, Millie Drake, Professor Abdullah, and myself, taking us on board the ship, which then straightway flew upwards, heading into Space!
In the laboratory, Kit-10 then found herself left alone with the Repli-Rats, the horrid little creatures then surrounding the robotic pussycat on all sides. …
We stood in the control room on board the Replicant Spaceship, the monitor screens showing that we had moved into high Earth-orbit. The Replicant Controller still held Millie Drake in its cruel grip, with Professor Abdullah standing near by. The other two Replicants stood guard, whilst still others were at work on the control systems surrounding us.
“Begin your task,” the Controller addressed me. “Perform the necessary programming to calibrate the Time engine capabilities, and remember that any attempt at deception will result in this girl’s immediate death.”
“Yes, you have made that quite clear,” I responded whilst moving over to the Control systems panel. “The recalibration shall only take a few minutes.”
I began entering the appropriate codes into the system, as the two guarding Leknii turned to face me, watching closely for any sign of subterfuge. …
Back on Earth, Kit-10 was surrounded by the Repli-Rats. They began to advance to-wards her menacingly.
“Do not approach,” warned the robotic cat. “This unit is aware of your capabilities to chew into metallic systems. Be assured that I am able to defend myself as required.”
Despite this, the silver rodents continued to close in on Kit-10. She responded with a blast from her nose-laser, at first a warning shot that hit the floor near the things. Most of them backed off slightly, but one that had moved around behind the metal feline suddenly rushed to-wards her. Kit-10 quickly whirled around and hit the Repli-Rat with another laser blast. The thing stopped and was held motionless for a moment, before it suddenly disintegrated into countless microscopic shards -- a safeguard for all Leknii technology when it is threatened with imminent destruction, in order to prevent any cannibalisation of their parts.
Kit-10 then turned back to face the rest of the Repli-Rats. The continued to surround her, but kept themselves at a safe distance.
“Stupid creatures,” stated the mechanical puss. …
Aboard the Spaceship, Professor Abdullah was addressing the Leknii Controller.
“You wouldn’t really harm that poor girl, would you?” he asked quietly. “To treat her like this, it is… inhuman.”
“The Leknii will not be questioned by you,” replied the Replicant. “Your emotions are nothing to us.”
“But…” stammered the scientist, “I thought better of you than this. You saved my life. I would have died that day from the accident in my lab, if not for you.”
“We can end your life in an instant, Abdullah,” warned the Controller. “The mechanical heart that keeps you body alive is controlled by us and can be stopped at any time.”
“What!” exclaimed the scientist. “You said before that I was not connected to the Collective!”
“Professor,” I said to him, whilst still working at the control board, “you are not part of the Replicant group-mind, but all Leknii technology is connected in some sense. They have you at their mercy.”
At this, Professor Abdullah turned his eyes downwards in realisation and in shame.
“All right,” said I, turning away from my work on the controls. “It is done. The Liddellium is now fully integrated into your engineering systems, and shall respond to all commands from the control panels.”
A strange sound had just now spread across the ship, a sound like unto an eerie far-off whispering. It was the evidence of the engine upgrade to Time-travel capabilities, a connection to the inter-dimensional Current.
“That is excellent,” responded the Controller. “Now nothing can stand in the way of our total domination of Time and Space. We shall change the outcome of the Wars, and the Leknii shall then move on in full-force to convert all suitable humanoid races.”
“You will keep your agreement to let the girl go?” I enquired.
“Yes,” replied the Replicant, “but first we must be assured that she is of no threat to us. Your guidance from her life must end, and we must be assured that you, Doctor Rumanos of Algol, shall no longer exist to interfere with our plans.”
At this, the two guarding Leknii approached and raised their arms, aiming the deadly energy weapons directly at me. I heard Millie Drake scream in utter horror as she realised what was happening. Having used me as needed, I was now to be disposed of. It was then that the Leknii Controller gave the order:
“Wait!” shouted Professor Abdullah. “You can’t do this! He helped you!”
As he spoke, the old scientist removed the handgun from his pocket and emptied it into the two Replicants who were threatening me. The bullets could cause no harm to their metallic hides, but they turned and fired their energy weapons on the professor. After the flash of the deadly blast, Professor Abdullah then fell to the floor in death. There was a burst of sound as the artificial heart in his chest disintegrated into shards.
Whilst this occurred, and the Replicants thus otherwise occupied, I removed the transonic turnscrew from my jacket pocket and aimed it at the control panel. …
Back in the now-late professor’s laboratory, Kit-10 continued to be at an impasse with the Repli-Rats. They had not approached, and stayed at a wary distance, but she realised that she could not blast all of them before they could succeed in reaching her.
Then the robotic cat noticed something. The small amount of Liddellium that had been left on the lab table had begun to glow brighter and brighter, its multihued lights reflecting around the room. Kit-10 extended the sensor from her forehead to-wards the element. When it made contact, a strange whispering sound was heard in the lab and the Repli-Rats then began to shake and shudder, continuing this way for a few moments until they all suddenly just disintegrated into microscopic pieces. …
On the orbiting Spaceship, the Leknii Replicants also commenced to shake and shudder. The Controller that had been threatening Millie Drake now released its grip on her, and the lass hurried into my arms. As we watched, the horrid cyborgs all then exploded into countless microscopic bits.
“Oh my gosh!” cried Millie. “What happened to them?”
I smiled and reached a hand to the control board, flipping a small lever upon it.
“Kit-10?” I queried.
“Of course, s--,” returned the voice of the metal feline from the panel.
“Liddellium in a psyche-sensitive element, hmmm?” I explained to the girl. “I managed to link what was calibrated to this ship’s engines to the portion that was in the laboratory on Earth. I then signalled Kit-10, via the transonic, to make contact. The resultant threat was judged unsolvable by the Leknii systems, and caused them to self-destruct as per their usual protective protocol.”
“But what about the ship?” questioned Millie concernedly.
“I managed to delay its destruction by a minute or so, but we should hurry, hmmm?”
I manipulated the controls to activate the matter transit beam, and Millie Drake and I transmitted off the Spaceship in a shimmering light a split second before the craft itself disintegrated into pieces. …
A moment later, the girl and I appeared back in the laboratory.
“Good work, Kit-10,” I praised. “The Replicants are finished.”
“Awww, she’s such a good kitty cat,” giggled Millie.
“This unit is not a cat, m--,” replied the robot.
I walked over to the lab table and looked where the Liddellium had been. It was gone, its essence used up by the psyche-electronic link to which it had been subjected.
“I say, Mills, my sweet little rock and roller,” I teased the girl, “after we have deactivated this lab equipment, what do you say to going out for a couple of hamburgers? There is a ‘1950s-style diner’ in Fredericktown that I hear is quite nice.”
“Gosh, that sounds great!” cheered the lovely lass.
“You too, Kit-10,” I added. “It should give you an opportunity to rest your systems, hmmm? Fortunately, the technology there includes no cybernetic creatures -- humanoid or rodent -- to threaten us. In stead, they have something much more pleasant -- a well-stocked juke box!”
***** DANIEL RUMANOS AND MILLIE DRAKE SHALL RETURN IN “FAST TIMES AT CALVARY BAPTIST”