In a calm meadow on the planet known only as “Gammani” a small village suddenly erupted into flame. The Conigli inhabitants fled for the hills. This was not the first time, that “the Settlers” had moved their inhabitants. The Conigli had been fighting these powerful beings for years now. And they lost every battle. The Conigli looked like harmless rabbits, if rabbits stood eight feet tall and carried machine guns. But their primitive machine guns were no match for a group of super powered humanoids who had appeared from some other world.
A woman with a fiery red head stood behind a blue field of shimmering light. With another squint of concentration she managed to ignite the field around the Conigli remaining in resistance. Soon the bullets stopped flying, and the blue-haired man next to the fiery haired woman opened his eyes and smiled, and the shimmering field dissipated. The air around the field made a thunder clap as the field was dissipated.
“Well done Pira.” The stout blue haired man said to the shapely pyrokinetic. Then turning to a hidden figure he said, “Aridalla, will they be safe here now?”
“Yes, Malloc. The Conigli have been driven into the wilderness. It will take them nearly a century to rebuild their forces. By then, our new colonists will be well established in this shattered world.” Said a mysteriously female voice from under a hood and cloak. “I sense this world was nearly identical to our lost homeworld, at one time. But the inhabitants of this world destroyed themselves. It is time the Humans took this world back from the horrible mutations which they created.”
“Aridalla, your ability to see into time has definitely been a priceless gift to us. Even if you may not see the exact future, in this world we have learned much from your ability to read the past.” A man the size of a small child in a leather jerkin and dagger bowed to the hooded woman. He had appeared from the underbrush undetected.
Aridalla didn’t seem surprised, or even turn to the half-man. “Perhaps now that we have secured part of this world, we may see some joy. Too many of my visions are full of pain and sorrow.”
“That is what we all wish.” Pira nodded her head solemnly.
“Torbin and Masheik are ready to return to our world and obtain humans willing to found our little colony. I only wish we could have found a better world to live on.”
“Midge, this world contains many fabulous secrets that we will never touch. But the colony will. They will find and rebuild this planet to grandeur. If we find another world worth saving we will try to save the rest of the human race, but for now, this world must suffice.” Midge didn’t like Aridalla’s lack of exposition. He wanted to know it all, but he knew the danger involved in knowing your future.
“Come let us prepare the gateway.”
“Ultimate blood! I love ultimate blood!” shrieked Bloody Beth. “I am the Ultimate Vampyre!”
“Whatever!” Artemis let loose a volley of arrows. Each one aimed perfectly at the heart. The shots pierced and the Ultimate vampire screamed and fell to the earth.
“Gee, she didn’t even put up a fight!?” Frisbee said disappointed. He walked past the vampire to find Paragon. His mangled corpse lay on the ground. Breaking a wooden chair he rammed a wooden stake through his heart. “Seems kinda pointless, we save him for a year and then he dies again!?”
Paragon’s corpse began to smolder as it crumpled under the curse of vampirism.
“Aren’t all vampires supposed to crumple into dust when they die?” Esper said pointing to the Ultimate Vampire.
“I don’t know. Until a few minutes ago, I had always presumed they were a myth.”
Suddenly the corpse of Bloody Beth jerked back to life. Its eyes shot red and widened. “Hahahahaha!! I have tasted of eternal life! The Ultimate Life! The Ultimate Blood!” The vampire jumped up and grabbed Frisbee by the head and torso and bit deep into his neck. His entire body fell limp as he was nearly decapitated by the force of the bite. Blood spurted everywhere. The remainder of the Delta Squad fell back aghast. Two of their comrades fallen and they had scarcely done anything.
“Is there any way we can kill that thing!?” cried Blacklight. Reaching to the shadows he ripped at the vampiress, but she only absorbed the darkness and smiled wildly in ecstasy.
“Hahahaha! Is this my only opposition!? Something I already control!?” Then turning to Blacklight she pointed a finger and the shadows leaped and encircled the hero. Blacklight suddenly was propelled backward crashing into the wall. His figure stiffened as it hit then slumped slowly down the wall. A wave of shadows swept over him.
Shield ran to his friend’s side, but the shadows around Blacklight snarled and leapt up at him like a rabid canine. He withdrew from Blacklight and the cold shadows fell away. “You monster!! We shall destroy you!” he yelled with defiant rage.
“No! You cannot! There is only one way I can be destroyed!! And none of you are capable of doing it!” The vampire’s dress encircled her like hypnotic snakes. The air was cold, but the blood was hot and steaming in the stale basement air.
Suddenly Artemis was overcome with fear and threw her weapons to the ground. She could think of nothing more than to run and flee and hide. She ran headlong into the wall, and clawed at the brick wall behind her. It was hopeless! She was trapped! Suddenly her nervous system collapsed and she fell limp to the floor.
Esper, who stood quiet in the background, suddenly grasped her forehead and screamed in agony. “Nooooo!!!” Bloody Beth just smiled as wave of psionic backlash extinguished Esper’s consciousness.
Panic surged through the remaining Deltas as they backed away from the terror approaching. Thoughts became raw as the vampiric fear-paralysis settled into the room like a cold heavy weight. It was hopeless to resist.
“Soon I will make you all my slaves. Then you will help me capture the rest of the Delta Squadron. Embrace eternal death!”
“Well if we are about to die at least tell us how you may die.” Blackfoot mustered as he felt himself drowning in a paralysis he was already too familiar with.
“Fine… I will grant your a last request.” Bloody Beth gazed deep into Roger Price’s eyes. He could not move. Not that he was a paraplegic, but rather because he was mesmerized by the seductive power of the vampiress.
“I cannot die any longer on this world, because I would have to be struck by a radiation and sunlight patterns different from the sunlight produced here from our sun. Even if it were not the middle of the night, I will now be able to walk in bright sunlight and be fine, because the mix of light is wrong due to the enhanced power I have gained from the Ultimate Blood.” Bloody Beth strutted up to the armored Blackfoot. She stroked his armored chest. “Take off your helmet.” Blackfoot complied.
“Of course even if I was exposed to this type of sunlight I would have to somehow be obliterated such that I could not regenerate in it.” Bloody Beth stopped short of sinking her teeth into her dazed victim to think. She really was invulnerable. “And the only way to obliterate me… uh… gee, I have no idea… my regenerative abilities are beyond any known phenomena… I suppose I would have to have something disrupt the very fabric of reality and shred me, of course that would not kill me… just set me back… I would then have to be exposed to intense heat and that alien sunlight… hee hee hee…”
Bloody Beth smirked. “You will be my second vampiric minion.” She turned and opened her mouth wide exposing her fangs.
Suddenly the fabric of reality shredded around and in Bloody Beth. Before she could blink even more her being was scrambled and a portal opened in the exact position of where she was standing. From within the portal a strong sunlight shone. The pieces of Bloody Beth boiled and sizzled like bacon, eventually shriveling up to nothing.
Immediately Blackfoot stepped back, and the remainder of the Delta Squadron jumped into action as if they had never been scared of anything.
A two foot tall man stepped through the portal.
“Eeew! Look at the mess!?” Midge commented as the last pieces of Bloody Beth were wisped through the portal in the form of some type of sulfurous gas.
Blackfoot aimed his weapon at the small form cautiously and said, “Friend or Foe?”
“That depends on whether or not you like freedom and new worlds, or whether you are into slavery, oppression, and all that evil stuff…” Midge said comically. He showed no fear of the weapon.
“We are the Delta Squadron. We fight oppression.” Waterfall said approaching with open arms.
Midge looked her up one side and down the other and smiled. “The Delta Squadron!? Didn’t you guys all get killed by Bloody Beth?! Oh great! Aridalla is not going to like this, somehow we have moved a year or two in the past. What year is it?”
Before Blackfoot could answer Aridalla came through the portal. “That was our plan, Midge. By combining Torbin and Malloc’s abilities Masheik was able to hypothesize that it was possible for them to create an actual time gate. It not only travels through space, but time as well. Of course we did need a bit of luck,” Aridalla explained. Turning to the Delta Squadron she said soberly. “We have to come back in time to get colonizers. In a year this planet will be destroyed and nothing my time seeing abilities have seen can avoid this calamity. It simply will happen. “
“How?” Esper said inquisitively as she dragged herself from the floor.
“Our sun will explode. It is already very unstable. It is a reason that so many of you have been gaining super powers…” Aridalla talked quietly and then concentrated. “Even as I reveal this to you, I can see into the future. I can still see that this planet is destroyed.”
Esper closed her eyes, then as if she was peering directly into the hooded woman’s mind she opened them suddenly and placing her hand over her mouth gasped audibly. Nodding she stepped back unquestioningly.
A shapely fiery red head stepped through the portal. Pointing to the last quivering blob of what was once Bloody Beth she winked and it burst into flame and vapor. “That is the last of Bloody Beth…” Aridalla nodded.
“Did we come in time to save Paragon and Frisbee? Are we in the proper time?” Pira said with wide eyes. Midge sniffed indignantly as if he was insulted because he was not let in on the entire plan.
“I am afraid zey are beyond savink!” It was Dr. Headzhrinker. He was examining the mess of the two dead heroes.
“Where did you come from?” Shield said confused.
“Frizbee’z and Paragon’z emergenzy beacons vass activated. But I haf com too late.” Dr. Headzhrinker shook his head with disappointment.
Another figure emerged from the portal. “Let me have a look at them.”
Aridalla approached the female who was dressed in a long white lab coat. “Are they salvageable, Masheik?”
“Barely. I think that I can revive Paragon, but it will require me to completely replace his body with cybernetic implants. At least, from what I can tell, his brain is still fully intact. Frisbee here is practically brain-dead already. I think that he must have been hit a lot harder from the vampire. I would suggest that reviving him would not be very beneficial to anyone, especially to Frisbee.” Masheik attached a flashing metal ball to the side of Paragon’s neck, and it levitated. “I need to get him to my lab. If I don’t hurry he will become nothing more than the Ultimate Vacuum Cleaner…” She disappeared back through the portal with the floating remains of Paragon.
“Blackfoot.” Aridalla returned her attention to the Delta Squadron. They didn’t know quite what to think. “I know this is a bit overwhelming, but we need you to round up as many peaceful citizens of this planet as you can and prepare them for transfer to this planet we have prepared for.”
Blackfoot nodded. He was still a bit dazed but he thought he understood. His planet was about to be destroyed and there was nothing he could do about it. All he knew is he had to save as many innocents as possible…
“You must do this without the notice of any of the Baron’s troops noticing. We have saved your life for this mission. You must not fail us.” Aridalla stuck him with a piercing gaze. “Do you understand?”
“Yes, Ma’am.” Blackfoot said hesitantly. He was not sure if he was allowed to speak. “May I ask a question?”
“Speak, but be quick about it. Torbin cannot hold this portal open for much longer. We will have to return to you tomorrow, but Midge here will remain with you.”
Midge smiled and winked at Waterfall.
“Who are you?” Blackfoot asked exasperated.
“We are heroes from your world, who saw the end of this world as you know it. We banded together to form a special task force. Its main objective was to save this world’s population in some form. During the next year the Baron will start some hideous experiments on humans. We will be the result of these experiments. Do not tamper with the Baron, you must save the people of this planet, not him. He will get his own in the coming future.
‘While on earth we had different names. We had codenames like you. We were supposed to be the future militant force for the Baron, but I saw a future destined to destruction. It was Midge here who found our deliverance. He was on the edge of being destroyed when Torbin, the fellow holding open this gate, materialized out of nowhere and saved him. One by one, we were secretly lifted from the Baron’s grasp. I was only half a year old when I was saved. The Baron used his hero Time Bandit to accelerate our growth into full adults. We call him Malloc. We chose to not use our codenames, since they remind us of a dark time of slavery.”
“A half year old!? That means you have not been born yet!” Blackfoot was stupefied.
“That is correct. It is confusing, I know.” Aridalla simply continued. “You must not tamper with the Baron’s experiments. I doubt you could find them, but if you did, you might interfere with my birth. And the rest of our abductions. Before we escaped from this place I visited this basement in hopes of unlocking some secrets of the Ultimate Man that were hidden in the past. He and your entire Squadron had become Vampiric slaves to Bloody Beth. I saw this battle in the past, only it didn’t end with us moving back through it. That is how I knew how to relate the exact timing to save you… I saw you die. I saw your friends each lose their lives. I figured with Midge’s luck we could actually save you guys and maybe this whole plan will work…”
Aridalla ducked into her hood. The portal became a little less bright. “I cannot say anymore. I have already tainted the future too much. We will return to you in a day.” With that the portal closed behind Aridalla… The one that would be known as “Visionary.”
Pira looked over the patient that Masheik had placed in her underground medlab. Masheik was an inhabitant of Gammani, who had placed herself into voluntary stasis, just before “The Calamity” which apparently destroyed or mutated all humans and life on the planet. She had been unaffected, except that her memory was shady in spots. The Settlers all treated her with respect, and she was the master of technologies that made most of their heads spin so she was more than useful.
Still, for some reason, Aridalla avoided Masheik. She avoided most everyone, because at times she would say things that would cause them to act uncertainly or alter their futures, but she was most careful about Masheik.
Pira sat gazing at the mangled Dirk Darringer. This was the legendary one that had done so much and then ended up squandering his powers in pettiness. Pira could not help but have pity on him, for he warranted the Ultimate Pity.
“Can you warm up that flask of water for me?” Masheik broke Pira’s gaze with the question.
“Sure.” Pira half looked at the flask and the water was instantly boiling. Heating things to burning temperatures was quite easy to do if the thing was not alive, and had a low boiling point.
“What is salvageable?” Pira said a bit disappointed looking at the Ultimate Man’s quite frail appearance. He looked as if he had been dead for a year or something.
“Um… not much. Mostly his head… Maybe some of his internal organs and tissues… I suppose. But eventually most everything will need to be replaced.” Masheik was a scientist, and Paragon was her experiment at this moment. She felt nothing for the subject. Pira could never be so cold.
“It is a shame. He has some nice features,” Pira said not thinking.
“Well, I doubt he will be capable of much ‘Love and affection’ once we have him all pieced together again, so don’t get your hopes up.” Masheik said smiling.
Pira smiled back. “That’s okay… That Shield guy, and Silverhawke both looked quite nice as well.”
“I will agree with that hypothesis!” Masheik said returning a wry smile.
“I am zorry I haf to do dis!” Dr. Headzhrinker winced as he drove the stake through Frisbee’s chest. He had been bitten by a vampire, and although the vampire was gone, Frisbee might have risen as an independent vampire and that was not permissible.
“I’m hungry, anybody got any pizza?” Midge said bored.
“Pardon me if I don’t feel like eating…” Waterfall said wiping back the tears. Frisbee had been like a brother to her, and now he was a smoldering mass of corrupted flesh.
Midge shrugged his shoulders and walked into the conference room.
“Smooth move… That’s one thing I have never been lucky in… Love.”
Blackfoot looked around the conference room. His entire plan to overthrow the Baron and Lady Mary Lu were set at naught. In one fell blow he had been informed that his planet was doomed and if he wanted any of his race to survive they had better act fast.
“What evidence do we have that these guys are telling us the truth!?” Shield said suspiciously.
“By the fact we didn’t paste you guys to the wall?” Midge said indignantly.
“Hah! I doubt that you could…”
“That is enough!” Blackfoot interrupted. “We cannot afford to fight among ourselves. Whether we fight the Baron or not, we have too much work to do!” Blackfoot turned to Esper who was sitting in a chair with an icepack on her forehead. “What did you make of this Aridalla?”
“She is sincere. She is hiding something about the future she comes from.” Esper said looking at Midge. Midge hated telepaths. “Something terrible, and in fact, she may not be hiding it but trying desperately to forget it.”
“What of her story of the planet being destroyed?” Blackfoot said.
“She is sincere. I caught a glimpse of the future she saw. And while I cannot use her powers or interpret all the visions she saw, I feel as strongly as she, that this star which we call our sun will explode in a little more than a year from now.” Esper was deadly serious. Esper seldom joked.
“For a snoop, you got one thing right,” Midge said crossing his arms. The debate was over. The mission was clear.
“Okay, well, it looks like we have an enormous amount of work ahead of us.” Blackfoot said peering at a map of the earth spread out on the table around which they sat.
“I will divide up the Squadron. All two hundred members will participate. Find anyone that will come. Tell them to bring as much of whatever they can find. We will have to contact Aridalla and tell her where they can open gates to transport the colonizers once we find them.” Blackfoot looked around the room. The enormity of their task was starting to sink in. It looked all but hopeless.
“And above all, we must act without the Baron’s knowledge!”
Paragon tried to open his eyes. He had been so close to death so many times, he was beginning to get used to the idea that perhaps he already was dead, and he was just experiencing periodic moments of life. For some reason his eyes did not behave the way they should. Suddenly his eyelids opened but in the back of his head he could hear a little motor whining.
Looking down, he could no longer see his body nor could he feel it. He could not feel his face, nor the air touching his eyes. Something was dreadfully wrong, like he was in a dream, only he knew he was awake. Suddenly a woman in a white labcoat walked by and then looking Paragon’s direction she smiled and began to speak.
“So! Our patient is conscious!” Masheik said with a bit of excitement.
“What have you done to me!?” Paragon strained to say. The words did not come. Rather they were broadcast on a speaker in an alien tone.
“I am sorry, but about the only organs I was able to save were your brain and your ears.” Masheike held up a mirror. In it was a brain suspended in some fluids in a vessel resembling a human head, and some ears attached to some wires which were attached to the brain. “I am sorry I had to wake you in this state but I feared keeping you sedated for much longer. Your brain would have probably become more like oatmeal.”
“My brain and my ears!?” Paragon was appalled, shocked, disgusted and scared spitless all at once. “What kind of scientist are you!?”
“Well you didn’t leave me with much to work with!” Masheik said a bit offended at her patient’s lack of gratitude.
“How will I be the Ultimate Lover!? The Ultimate Man!? Without my Ultimate Body!?”
“Well, I personally think you are highly overrated as it is. I mean, granted I only saw what was left of you, but if you are the Ultimate when men are concerned, I am afraid the human race would have died off long ago for lack of excitement,” Masheik said unconcerned.
“Gee, there really must have not been much left of me…” Dirk said disappointed. “So am I destined to remain a brain and ears for the rest of my existence?”
“Well, in the flesh, I suppose. Although your ears will probably give out in a couple years. Then they will have to be replaced with cybernetic parts as well.” Masheik continued to work. “But we will fit you with the best in robotic bodies and parts. I suppose since you are awake now, you can help me pick out some of these robotic attachments! So… What do you want to look like?”
“Oh goody,” Paragon said sarcastically.
To be continued…
Next issue: Chapter 21: Stretching the World Wide Web, or “Brain Fever” by Michael Friedman
Well, there you go. I was going to completely destroy the planet and start everything over, but then I thought… well, that is a bit too mean. I was pretty nice I suppose… I mean I only killed two characters. I must work on my viciousness. My original story idea had a lot more fuzzy bunnies in it… and I didn’t even get to the race of buxom mutate Amazons. Oh well…:) So, anywho I think I left plenty of leeway for the other writers to enjoy. I left plenty of openings for new plot developments, betrayal and if you like one side of the story or the other you can spend time writing areas you want. Gammani is a new planet, which ought to provide the writers with lots of potential for creative exploration.
For your writing convenience, and if you want to add something to this go ahead. The “Settlers” each have a code name with the exception of Masheik. (Don’t add to the Settlers, but you may add to the Gammani list since there is now an entire new world to explore.)
Gammani Easy World Reference:
- A world once ruled by humans. Apparently there was some type of holocaust called simply “The Calamity” resulting in terrible mutations, and creation of hideous beings and hundreds of newly sentient races. The advanced technologies of the past have been lost by the overgrown wilderness and assimilated by many mutate breeds that seek to rule the now tumultuous world.
- The Conigli
- A race of mutate rabbits. They stand about 8 feet tall from ear to paw and tote machine guns. They are hostile to most every other race, and are rather prolific (they reproduce like… um… rabbits!). They have a suicidal nature much like lemmings only they prefer to take someone with them when they die.
- Pira (Pyrate)
- A powerful pyrokinetic. She is capable of igniting any flammable material, which is not living instantly. It takes extreme concentration, but she is capable of generating enough heat to melt even the strongest metals given enough time. Naturally she is a shapely fiery red head.
- Malloc (Time Bandit)
- Has the ability to generate stasis fields, which appear to slow the passage of time. He can use this ability to form forcefields as well by freezing the air solid in time, such that it becomes a solid wall. Malloc can accelerate time in fields as well. This causes things within the area to move at accelerated rates. However they also age, decompose, or whatever at accelerated rates. He is a well-built blue-haired man.
- Aridalla (Visionary)
- Is capable of seeing into time streams. She has powerful postcognitive abilities to see into the past with clear visions. Her visions of the future see possibilities. The only problem with seeing the future is that when she makes a statement of what she sees, it will invariably alter the future that she sees. She keeps herself covered in case even her very expressions may give something away to the outcome of the future.
- Midge (Leprechaun)
- Is only 2 feet tall, but is shaped as a normal man. He is extraordinarily lucky. Beyond the point of ridiculous. He has a tendency to walk directly into a conflict just to test his luck. Midge is expert at camouflage and lives to drink strong alcoholic beverages. Some tend to think that his luck is even more powerful when he is drunk, but it is probably just a side effect of the fact that he needs his luck more to stay alive when he is inebriated. His luck seems to be more powerful when it is not forced or controlled.
- Is a scientist that was found on Gammani in a stasis tube. She does not remember much of the old times, since she was not defrosted correctly, but she is expert in very advanced sciences that were once commonplace on Gammani. Not much is known about her except that she desired to help the group reestablish humans as the predominant colony on Gammani. She wears a long white lab coat and tends to enjoy science more than relationships.
- Torbin (Portaller)
- Is capable of making distant gateways for instant travel from locations many light years apart. He is the means with which the settlers were able to come to Gammani. Torbin is large in stature, but is quiet and withdrawn. Torbin can open a portal but does so blindly. Torbin does not require oxygen or food and is quite invulnerable to most things. Torbin has a large number of planets that he can travel to and has found experimenting with his powers of travel, but Gammani is the only planet that he has found in which his friends may live. Torbin is very old, and claims to not remember from which planet he was born, nor what happened to his race. But mention of the subject tends to make him sad and even more withdrawn. He is very committed to saving the human race.
Delta Squadron Writer’s Guide.
Remember that the Delta Squadron has about 200 members. Currently it is secret and hidden to the Baron’s knowledge. (or at least that is what we know… there could be some spies or something I suppose…:)
- These are my comments. (WReam’s)
- These are Arsenal’s comments… He gave more detail on these characters.
- Artemis (Diana)
- Archer chick. A bit of a witch. Hates men. (Which makes sense since the Greek goddess did too)
- No powers, relies on archery prowess. Full name Diana la Rocha. Her arsenal of arrows include broadheads and explosives
- Blackfoot (Roger Price)
- Leader of Delta Squadron. Typical Iron man clone. Armored dude.
- Paraplegic ex-cop. Leg braces enable hyper-running capabilities.
- Killed by Bloody Beth. So you don’t have to worry about him, but he was a British wisecracker of types. A bit too cocky, and that is why he is dead. Bit by a vampire, but since the host vampire died, it has been taken care of…
- energizes Frisbees which explode on contact, deadly aim. And although I’m not surprised he’s dead, think that he’d be best as the Squadron’s “punching bag”, always getting beat up, but not killed.
- Doktor Headzhrinker
- stereotypical German-accented doctor perhaps a bit quackish…
- Also comic relief.
- a 20 year old male. Powers unknown to me.
- Primary abilities are a personal force field, ala Skids, but with better control. Also skilled with weaponry.
- I have no idea who this is, just someone in the squadron
- Timothy Hoagland (feel free to change this name), flies thanks to artificial wings he invented himself. Somewhat of a tinkerer.
- sleek 16 year old girl, powers unknown to me.
- Jessica Dixon, daughter of a man and a mermaid (or so she claims), think Aquagirl.
- unknown to me, sounds like a female character but I don’t know
- Telepathic, telekinetic, psychometric, and empathic powers.
- sounds like a male character, but I don’t know who it is
- He (you were right about that part) has shadow powers similar to Shadow Lass of the LSH. No name given.
- Now a brain with no body…
You forgot Robyn Leighton (lie-ton), Blackfoot’s former police partner and his second-in-command. Also, feel free to introduce as many characters as needed, I did indicate the Squadron had 200+ members.
Any writers that wish to block copy and chunk out new members of the Delta Squadron may do so by just appending to this Writer’s guide. Also add more races and creatures to the Gammani Writer’s Guide.