Pastor Jack Caldwell sat behind his well-polished desk in his office at Calvary Baptist Church. The church, located as it was in the Manchester area of Baltimore County in the state of Maryland, was of the “fundamentalist” type, vigorously preaching against the presumed evils of liberalism, feminism, and homosexuality. As part of this, they also ran a school, rather prosaically yet presumptuously named Calvary Baptist Academy, part of the “Accelerated Christian Education” programme which teaches that scientific facts such as evolution are all part of a great lie, forsooth a grand conspiracy against All-American conservatism and “family values”.

As he eyed the visitor in his office, Pastor Caldwell (himself an austere, aesthetically-thin, grey-haired man clad in a dark suit and tie) could not repress a slight shudder. There was something about this man, this “Mr. Chrysostom” who had breezed into his office offering papers proving himself to possess a proper schoolteacher’s college degree. There was something powerful about him, something downright otherworldly.

“Well, your papers are impressive enough, Mr. Chrysostom,” said Caldwell. “Yes, we could use you here at the school. Having an accredited teacher here would help get the State Board of Education off our backs. Those ungodly tools of Satan.”

The man known as Mr. Chrysostom chuckled as he sat in the chair across from the pastor.

“Indeed so,” he said darkly. “All of this world are tools of something. All are under some… influence.”

With this, Mr. Chrysostom turned his deeply hypnotic eyes to-wards his host. “Chrysostom” was a man of middle years, his face still showing signs of handsome distinction despite being marked with the results of seeming lifetimes of extreme profligate wickedness. His hair was long and dark, his face decorated with a thin moustache and goatee. He was wearing a silk suit of ebon black.

“Yes, well,” continued Pastor Caldwell, “as I said, we’d be glad to have you. But it is the summer break, you know. You say you have some work to offer the church until the next semester begins?”

“Indeed I do, Pastor,” returned Chrysostom (actual the evil intergalactic villain, Don Wingus). “I am currently engaged in some research and could make quite good use of one of your schoolrooms -- as laboratory space, more or less. The results of my endeavours would then be available to you and the church.”

“Results?” queried the clergyman. “What are you expecting to achieve?”

“Power, my good man,” responded Wingus, his eyes now showing forth with an irresistibly-mesmerising glare. “Supreme and eternal power over all of Creation.”

“Yes, the Lord said we were supposed to have that. Dominion over the Earth and everything.”

“Quiet right, and now, with my research, we shall! For my research will put us into contact with an artefact, an antediluvian jewel that shall bring us total domination of this planet. You will be privileged to assist me in obtaining it. It is arguably the most powerful object ever to grace this reality. It is the very key to mastery over Time itself!”

“What is it called?” queried Jack Caldwell, now deeply under the hypnotic spell of the Algolite criminal.

“It is known as -- The Lemurian Lapidare!!” …

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!!! …

Under the golden trapezoidal roof of a skyscraper in downtown Baltimore City, I sat at my workbench making adjustments on a device that resembled a large writing pen, but which was in reality an highly-advance scientific instrument. I was clad in my usual finery, including a frilled poet shirt, purple velvet suit, and military boots.

“So, what exactly are you doing to the transonic turnscrew?” enquired Millie Drake, who stood near by unwrapping a piece of chocolate that she then popped into her mouth. The girl is exquisitely beautiful, with luxurious chestnut hair, lovely violet eyes, sun-kissed skin, and luscious red lips. The tight, short, royal blue dress she wore only served to highlight the soft curves of her petite-and-perfect figure.

“Just a few upgrades, love,” I informed her. “Some new software. I hope it all works, as it has been quite a while since the old transonic has undergone any real maintenance, you know.”

The chamber in which I was working contains a rather large collection of artefacts, both alien and some from different periods of Earth’s history, things that I have collected in my long and storied career as an operative of the Kosmikos of Algol. Not the least of these is my DiTraS (pronounced “DYE-tress” and standing for Dimensional Transport Sphere), one of those combination Spaceship/Time-machines available only to the use of our people, the exterior of which is disguised to look like a Greco-Roman “Ionic” or “Corinthian” column.

At the other end of the chamber, busily monitoring some electronic readouts, was Kit-10, our mobile personal computer who resembles nothing more or less than a small mechanical cat.

“Local disturbance, s--,” suddenly interrupted the mechanical feline in her artificial but pleasantly-feminine voice. “Sudden energy surge detected.”

(It should be noted here that, along with her other catlike characteristics, Kit-10 is possessed of a complete inability to openly show respect to anyone. The closest she ever comes to it is by referring to me by a slight “s--” sound -- for “sir” -- and to Millie Drake by “m--” -- for “ma’am”.)

“What kind of energy, Kit-10?” said I, looking up from my work with interest.

“Accessing databanks,” answered the robot. “Confirmed. Energy is Lemurian, of the type utilised during the First Human Empire. It is currently detected in the Manchester area of Baltimore County.”

“By the Stellar Trinity!” I swore, standing up in haste and slipping the transonic turnscrew into my pocket. “We need to get over there right away!”

“But who could be using Lemurian energy?” enquired Millie.

“One shudders to think,” I responded whilst grabbing my panama hat and opera cape from the near by hallstand.  “Kit-10, you stay here and continue monitoring the readouts. Come along, Mills. We have work to do!” …

In the schoolroom of Calvary Baptist Academy that had been converted into Don Wingus’s laboratory, that villain now stood with Pastor Caldwell and one other. The other was a young man, tall and heavy-set, his distorted features marking him as a mentally-deficient, likely due to inbreeding. He was wearing jeans, a rather yellowed plain t-shirt, and beaten-up sneakers.

“Howard,” said Caldwell. “Move Mr. Chrysostom’s cabinet over to where he wants it.”

“Yes, Pastor,” obeyed the retarded man who then shuffled over to his assigned task.

“So, this Howard,” enquired Wingus. “You say he is your younger sister’s son?”

“Umm, yes,” answered the clergyman nervously. “We believe he was punished by God for being born… out of wedlock.”

“No doubt,” smirked Wingus. “Excuse me a moment.”

Don Wingus then went over to the tall cabinet that Howard had moved into place. As he approached, a porthole-type opening appeared in the object and Wingus walked through it -- this “cabinet’ being, of course, the villain’s disguised DiTraS.

Inside, Wingus went to the large counter that stood at one end of the tavern-like control room. He already had two long cables connected to it, and now stretched them out through the door of the ship to the centre of the schoolroom laboratory, placing the other ends of them -- which were readily pulsating with a strange eldritch glow -- upon a small circular table that had been set up there.

“Do you have some kind of protection with you?” enquired Caldwell. “I mean in case some ungodly sinner tries to interfere.”

“Of course,” grinned Don Wingus whilst he briefly then exposed the handle of the sleek laser gun concealed in the pocket of his suit-coat.

“Good to see you exercising your God-given right to bear firearms,” approved the pastor.

“Now is the time for the summoning to begin,” then announced Wingus to the others. “When you see something beginning to appear on the table, concentrate upon it, and add your mental power --whatever it may be -- to the manifestation.”

“Yes, Mr. Chrysostom,” agreed Caldwell. “We obey your commands.”

The idiot Howard also nodded in agreement, his mouth hanging open in wonder.

With this, Don Wingus -- alias “Mr. Chrysostom” -- stared intently to-wards the platform on which he had placed the cables and, his voice raised in a chant, began the incantation:

“By all the powers within me and by the energies of Time itself I do now summon forth the appearance of the Lemurian Lapidare! I do call upon this stone to send itself here from its place in the most ancient temple! By the authority of my Daemonian heritage, I do summon forth the mightiest of jewels that I may use its powers to control the force of Shenaskah!”

As he spoke the words of evocation, a sound like the winds of a typhoon began to be heard in the chamber, coupled as it was by the appearance of dark swirling clouds around its perimeters. Then, upon the table an object started to come into view. It was like unto a dazzling jewel, purple and black in colour, about the size of an hand. As the summoning continued, it gradually became more and more like a solid object.

“Now, Shenaskah, come!” cried the evil Don Wingus as the chaotic forces continued to swirl around him. “Hear me, Devourer of Time! By the powers of the Lemurian Lapidare I do call you forth! Hear my summoning and come!”

And with this, a figure began to appear in the room -- a figure as unto an huge dark mass, an ebony shape like a man clad in a shapeless robe of total blackness.

“Yes, come to me, Shenaskah!” continued Wingus amidst peals of his totally insane laughter. “Come to me and bring me your power!!” …

There was a drizzling midsummer rain as Millie Drake and I arrived at the parking lot of Calvary Baptist Church in our canary-coloured Edwardian roadster (affectionately known as “Lizzie”) and made our way to the adjoining school building. There was a sound as to like a mighty wind coming, oddly enough, from inside.

“That sound…” shuddered Millie. “What is it?”

“It seems the invocation of the Lemurian forces is indeed underway,” I explained. “We have no time to lose.”

The transonic turnscrew made quick work of the schoolhouse locks and we were soon inside, hurrying down the corridors to-wards the chamber from which the bizarre noise was emanating.

We burst into the room and beheld the swirling dark forces that had been summoned, along with the grey-haired older man and mentally-retarded younger one standing off to the side in obedience to the one who had performed the horrid incantation. As we entered, our sudden presence disturbed his concentration and caused the forces in the chamber to lessen. The image of the stone and the phantasm of the ghastly figure vanished. All that was left was an echo of the wind, and some vestiges of the powers that continued to drift around the area.

The villain turned to face me, a look of annoyance on his darksome visage. Of course, I recognised him immediately. I recognised him as my oldest and most bitter enemy, the most heinous criminal in all of Time and Space.

“Don Wingus!” I exclaimed. “I should have known. So you did escape from the Battle Lords.”

“Well, it is Doctor Roman Nose and Daemonia’s Junior Miss,” mocked Wingus, an evil grin spreading across his features. “Welcome back to school. Reading and writing and arithmetic and all that. I would offer you one of those free school lunches, but I am certain you have already given the little girl there something hot and creamy for dessert.”

“Wingus, you despicable fiend!” I protested, ignoring his obscene taunts. “To what use are you putting Lemurian energy? You know that it is unstable from this range, and could ravage the very fabric of Time!"

The grey-haired man suddenly broke into our conversation.

“You need to stop talking to Mr. Chrysostom disrespectfully,” he stated to me. “I’m Pastor Jack Caldwell, and he is our most accredited teacher here at Calvary Baptist Academy.”

“‘Chrysostom’?” I repeated, still addressing Don Wingus. “Well, of all the confounded arrogance! Using the name of a saint to cover your evil deeds, along with forged education credentials. Well, I am putting a stop to it.”

“Not this time, Rumanos,” laughed the villain. “Not this time. You see, I have already made contact. I have used the control panel of my DiTraS to contact the Lemurian Lapidare, having found that this location is on a direct Time-ricochet to its energies.”

“The Lemurian Lapidare? Why, that is an object actually dating back to the time of the Kaiju, which was later discovered and utilised by the humans of Lemuria to overthrow the Reptilians.”

“Yes, which it did by harnessing the power of the inter-dimensional being known as Shenaskah. That is the one I am calling forth.”

“Shenaskah?” queried Millie Drake. “Isn’t that one of the Time-Devourers?”

“Indeed it is, love,” I told her. “The most powerful and dangerous of them. They are creatures that exist on the outer edges of reality, and which maintain their existence by absorbing leakages of Time.”

“A form of sustenance that gives them unspeakable powers,” interrupted Wingus. “Powers that I now intend to harness, that I may utilise them to conquer all of Creation!”

“The energies of Shenaskah are total chaos, Wingus,” I told him. “You will not be able to control him.”

“Ah, but I shall. I shall. As I said, I have already made contact with the Lemurian Lapidare, and shall transmit its powers across the aeons that I may use them to put even Shenaskah at my command.”

“You will do nothing of the sort,” I insisted. “Thank the Triple Star we arrived here in time to stop you. We will…”

Just then, I was hit from behind by a powerful blow. It was the young retarded man, who had crept up behind me when I was distracted by talking to Don Wingus. I found myself crumpling to the floor in pain.

“Good work, Howard,” approved the villain. “Keep Rumanos restrained whilst I continue with the working.”

The man known as Howard then grabbed me and hoisted me upwards. He was incredibly strong. Fortunately, I managed to shake off the pain and delivered a knee to his groin. He bellowed in agony and relaxed his grip. This enabled me to step back and deliver a punch to his face that sent him careening across the floor. He cascaded into one the areas of energy that were still swirling about. As I watched, he shuddered and shook as his form began to alter. He quickly became bent over and his hair fell out. His face became wrinkled and dry, his body weak and aged. He soon fell down in death and his corpse quickly rotted away to a skeleton, then to a mere pile of dust that soon enough itself disappeared.

“The residual energies from the Time-Devourer,” I said. “We Algolites are immune to them, but that is their effect on humans.”

It was then that I heard Millie Drake scream and whirled around to see what was menacing her. It was Don Wingus, who had her in his clutches, one arm wrapped tightly around her midsection whilst his other hand held his laser-gun to her head.

“One false move, Rumanos,” warned Wingus, “and the girl dies. Having already made contact here with the Lemurian Lapidare, I now intend to take the invocation of Shenaskah into the Time Current. That shall greatly strengthen its effects.”

As he spoke, the villain made his way to-wards his DiTraS. When he reached it, he threw Millie to the floor and quickly passed through the door to his control room. The cables were then instantly withdrawn and the porthole closed. This was immediately followed by the strange gasping moaning sound of his Time-ship engine as it dematerialised. Within a moment, the cabinet-like DiTraS had faded away.

The remnant of the dark powers in the room now disappeared. Pastor Caldwell still stood to the side, looking on in disbelief at all that had occurred as I ran over to see to Millie Drake.

“Are you all right, love?” I questioned concernedly as I helped the poor wee lass to her feet.

“Yes, I’m okay, Daniel,” she assured me. “But... he got away?”

“Indeed so. He has taken his ship into the Time/Space Current, in order to more fully complete the calling of Shenaskah and gain the horrid creature’s power.”

“Oh my gosh…” shuddered the girl. “Now there’s nothing we can do to stop him!”

“Well, that is not quite correct, my dear,” I counselled. “Just watch.”

I fetched the transonic turnscrew from my pocket and held it up, activating a certain setting. Immediately, the sound of another DiTraS engine -- that of our own -- was heard and the familiar column materialised in the chamber.

“That was the upgrade you made earlier!” cheered Millie.

“Quite so,” said I. “It will only work this one time, though. The software is just too advanced for this old device, and has already threatened to overheat it. But let us hurry and catch up to that nefarious renegade, before he succeeds in his horrible plans!”

(The coincidence that the upgrade was so useful so soon was one of those things that would be unrealistic in a work of fiction, but this is a truthful account of actual happenings.)

With this, Millie and I hurried through the porthole-like doorway of our DiTraS into the control centre, which resembles and old-style café or tearoom. I soon enough activated the controls, and took the ship directly into the inter-dimensional Current.

I turned on the scanner screen above the console, and it immediately showed the swirling grey mists and multihued spirals of the Time/Space Current itself. Directly ahead of us, we could see Don Wingus’s ship speeding along through the vortex. A moment later, the image changed and the face of Wingus himself appeared upon the screen, sneering at us from his own control room.

“Oh no, Rumanos,” he snarled. “No no no. You are not going to prevent this from happening. You do not have a chance. I am already in mentalist contact with Shenaskah by use of the Lemurian Lapidare, and now I intend to complete the invocation!”

“Daniel, what can we do?” cried Millie Drake.

“I have an idea, Mills,” said I, “but it is rather dangerous. If we can only catch up with him.”

I manipulated the controls of our DiTraS whilst the voice of Don Wingus proceeded with his unholy summoning of the Time-Devourer.

“Come to me now in full, Shenaskah!” he chanted. “Come to me and grant me your mighty powers. The powers to speed up Time itself, or to slow it down, the powers to control the life-spans of mere mortals! Oh great Shenaskah, come and make me one with the forces you have so long absorbed!”

“We need to go faster,” I told Millie. “We need to catch up to him.”

“What are you planning to do?” enquired the lass.

“If we can just reach him, we can create a Time-Collision. Ram our DiTraS into his and cause a temporal paradox.”

“I get it!” cried the girl. “We would be occupying the same exact space at the same exact time.”

“Quite right, love. Thus we would create an impossibility that would cause the engines of both ships to momentarily shut down. It is incredibly dangerous, though. If we do not reach the correct chronological speed, our ship could be torn to pieces upon impact, before we achieve true Collision.”

“Oh my gosh, Daniel! Look!”

I glanced up at the view-screen. Wingus was by now laughing maniacally, having completed the unhallowed calling, and I beheld the form of Shenaskah appearing before him as like unto a vast black cloak of unnameable darkness.

“Yes, Shenaskah!” exulted the villain. “Yes, devourer of Time! I feel your powers flowing through me! Enter my very essence and make me supreme over all!!”

“He has done it,” I admitted. “Don Wingus has begun to merge himself with the powers of Shenaskah the Time-Devourer.”

“Then that means…” trembled the voice of Millie Drake. “We’re too late!”

“That is correct, Rumanos!” shouted the evil Don Wingus from the scanner screen. “You are too late! The powers of Shenaskah are mine, and you have failed! You have failed!”

“Not quite,” said I. “Not quite. Millie, my love, hold on!”

I flipped a switch on the console and the control room started to lurch and warp around us. The engines made an immense grinding noise that soon escalated, rising in pitch into a scream. At the same time waves as of extreme heat and equally extreme cold seemed to pulse through the chamber.

“Keeping on,” I said. “Keeping on. Making contact… Now!!”

Their was an incredible shudder and a noise like an explosion in Space and Time itself. I looked up at the scanner screen and saw Don Wingus, still in his own control room, which had by now been rocked as had ours. Amidst the chaos of this very warping of reality, I beheld the dark form of the Time-Devourer surrounding Wingus as he bellowed in outrage.

“No, Shenaskah, no!” he shouted. “Nooooooo!”

“What’s happening?” asked Millie as she held tightly to the safety straps of the central console.

“The creature has been removed from his control by the shock of the Time-Collision. Unless Wingus can programme his DiTraS to leave the Current immediately, it may succeed in absorbing his ship utterly. Look!”

By now, the scene had shifted to one that showed the villain’s cabinet-like spaceship racing through the Current. It was now again separate from ours and the image of Shenaskah had grown larger from eating the seepages of Time caused by the collision. As we watched, the DiTraS of the evil Don Wingus entered into the phantasmal form of the Time-Devourer, vanishing suddenly and completely. A moment later, the image of Shenaskah, now satiated, slowly faded away.

“That did it,” I told Millie as our ship now returned to its normal functioning. “The thing has returned to its proper place, safely outside of known reality.” …

A few moments later, the DiTraS materialised back in the schoolroom and Millie and I soon emerged from the porthole.

“We just have to check and see if all is well here, Mills,” I told her, “and then we can leave in Lizzie.”

“But what about the DiTraS?” she queried.

“Watch and see,” I responded.

The ship’s engines then engaged, and the Time/Space machine again faded from view.

“Oh, I see!” said Millie. “You programmed it to automatically return to our HQ.”

“Quite so,” I affirmed. “It was a safeguard of the new software, so if it were ever hacked, the DiTraS would come back safe and sound. It was programmed to initiate, unless I disabled it by use of a pass-code, whenever you or I had not been on board the ship for a minute or so.”

“Excuse me, sir,” said the voice of Pastor Jack Caldwell from across the room.

Millie Drake and I walked over to him.

“All is well now, Pastor,” I told him. “The evil that threatened your church, and the demoniacal villain who held you in his power, are now gone.”

“Thank you,“ he said, with tears beginning to flow from his eyes. “But I wonder… All that I have done… I wonder if it can be forgiven.”

“It was not your doing, Pastor,” I assured him. “You were overcome by the hypnotic abilities of Don Wingus, as many innocents have been before you.”

“It’s not just that, kind sir,“ he went on. “I have committed… other sins. Including when I was younger… against… my sister.”

With this, Pastor Caldwell cast his eyes downwards in shame. I knew that he was thinking of Howard, and of the inbred young man’s unspeakable origins.

“Do you think…” he continued, “Do you think the Lord will forgive me?”

“I believe so, Pastor,” I told the worried clergyman, answering him according to his own belief system. “Do repent and also resolve to forgive others, never again judging people for being different from you, or for living their lives as they were created. Then I am certain he shall forgive you. After all, you are talking about the one who forgave those who crucified him.”