The Wonder Worlock: How Green Grows My Garden? Part 1
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
October 24, 2012 18:13 | Updated: 33 weeks 5 days Ago
October 24, 2012 18:13 | Updated: 33 weeks 5 days Ago
(Cover by Israel Huertas and Jasmin Steele)
Like a comet with a powerful, crackling tail, the bright object hurls through darkest space, the black stuff of our own universe. Along the rim of the Mephistoff Nebula and then into a small solar system it heads, exuding energies off any scale.
As it breaks through the atmosphere of a lush, jungle-filled world, the sound is nearly deafening. But then the object arrives with an almost soundless landing that belies its travel fury, smoke clearing from a glade of tropical plants to reveal the galactic guardian known only as … the Wonder Worlock!
This is the world known as the Shirewood II, the home of the former virus that once plagued the universe known as Plantagenous Rex, now a simple gardener and one of the most powerful entities in the cosmos. The Wonder Worlock helped cure this galactic germ and, ever since, the two cosmic titans have been working in cooperation with Queen Arema, ruler of the undersea races of Oceanus, and with noted geneticist Mayrah Rand of Goff-lair to populate this new world with one of the oldest races in the quadrant: the Intz.
“Mayrah, Mayrah!” the warrior shouts as the Goff geneticist runs out of her lab, several Intzlings following almost hastily along like baby ducks after their mother. “I have not heard from Plantagenous in awhile and I was worried …”
“Ease your burdens, my friend,” Mayrah says. “Our Plantane friend is off with the Elves, exploring their new world in Null Space in hopes of improving plant life here in our reality.”
“I tell you, with all this dimension-hopping both he and I do of late … not to mention Traven and his Star Blazers … it is hard to remember which universe I call home.” <relieved laughter>
That was weeks ago.
PART THE FIRST
Behold, the blackness that is Null Space!
The earliest origins of Null Space are unknown, even to the Wonder Worlock, but rough estimates place its height of science and art over 1.5 million years ago. It is believed that around that time the Null Space began ceasing expansive progress and contracting to a central nexus. Some of the most powerful and influential races faced destruction and sought to preserve their lives.
One of the more aggressive races at this time were the Irains. The bipeds explored much of Null Space, and eventually began to seed many of the planets with their “spores of life.” Their final mission, however, went awry.
A debris field had begun forming around Irain, which was at the very heart of Null Space. The universe had begun pulling itself back towards its center and planets crumbled under the increased pressure. One of the last remaining Irain ships careened off a large chunk of rock and crashed on the desolate planet of Ahmed. The ship's engines dead and food processors destroyed, the Irain captain ordered the release of their life spores. Life slowly began to evolve on the planet.
Farther from the core of Null Space, other cultures thrived. One culture had gone so far as to cover half of their planet with a giant city, and then developed an artificial brain for it. The city, Hatoo, even began to develop a sense of self-preservation and drove the inhabitants out of its boundaries, building up greater defenses to prevent them from returning.
Farther still from the core, the world of K’tor also flourished. It was the first recorded world beyond Irain that faced obliteration at the hands of this Yo-Yo Effect, roughly 10,000 years ago. Unlike Irain, whose gravitational force became greater than could sustain life, K’tor's sun was pulled toward the nexus. This caused the planet's several moons to shift their respective orbits and wreak havoc on the planet itself. As 20,000 beings left K’tor in a great space ark, the sun exploded with the fury of a supernova, substantially damaging their ship. All but 500 of the crew died and the navigational systems were destroyed, eliminating all hope of finding a new planet to call home.
One of the planets the Irains spored, Bellthazar, developed in a more barbarous manner. The inhabitants grew very large and powerful, and even the meek among them were stronger than an ordinary human. While they did progress technologically, their advances were at least partially driven by war. But they apparently began to experience the Yo-Yo Effect and several millennia ago they took their cities underneath the planet's surface. A sole entrance now exists and is known only to the Bellthazarans themselves. They established a quiet monarchy and became very reclusive, only venturing into space on rare occasions.
Sentient life eventually developed on Ahmed. A lone goat-like creature emerged from the primordial marsh 1,000 years ago, and began to reason. A frail creature, he used his superior intellect to avoid larger predators and soon stumbled upon the Irains’ derelict ship. Inside the craft, he donned a helmet in an attempt to warm himself. The helmet in fact had recordings of all the Irain technology and culture, and the creature was able to deftly assimilate all of it.
He took the power from discarded life canisters and created a Cosmic Cane, capable of granting the wielder great power. Taking the name Bil’gruph, he set out to not only right those who wronged him, but to ensure that no one should ever harm him again. Bil’gruph forcibly took control of his immediate sector of Null Space, and became both king and tyrant.
Behold, the blackness that is Null Space … today!
Inside the darkness can be seen several Dyson spheres, megastructures originally described to terrans by the human Freeman Dyson. Such “spheres” are systems of orbiting solar power satellites meant to completely encompass a star – in this case, a black star -- and capture most or all of its energy output.
Dyson speculated that such structures would be the logical consequence of the long-term survival and escalating energy needs of a technological civilization (such as that which eventually evolved off the world-city Hatoo) and proposed that searching for evidence of the existence of such structures might lead to the detection of advanced intelligent extraterrestrial life.
Dyson was correct. In this instance, the Dysons are in negative space and absorb negative energy from a dark star. Within several of the spheres are enviroments of differing kinds, and to one of those environments did Plantagenous Rex months ago send the Elves of Everwhen. They were later joined by their leader, Alf, whose time-traveleing collective now make this their home, in hopes of not again breaking the space/time makeup of the Wonder Worlock’s universe.
Weeks ago, the cosmic entity Plantagenous teleported to Null Space, to visit Alf’s people, who have always had an ethereal link with the population of Intz the Plantane is shepherding. He is in hopes of improving plant life both on the world of Shirewood II, where he and the Intz live, and also throughout his reality.
<Bamf> “Ho, Elves of Everwhen! It is I, Plantagenous, your friend and friend of the Great Old One Tokeen, here to assist your needs and explore the new world of your collective!” His voice echoed through the megastructure, and then a glow caught the Plantane’s eye.
“Alf? Alf, is that your wondrous stick I see glowing in the darkness?” Plantagenous yells. “Where are your people? Where is the rest of the collective? I feel no positrons from those you have gathered together to be the Elves of Everwhen! Alf? Alf!”
A cautious gardener these days, not the virus to his universe he was once, Plantagenous approaches the glow in the dark with the haste of an Intz – slowly. His great eyes perceive an unfamiliar shape attached to the glow, and he can hear the Wonder Worlock in his mind telling him to use his great cosmic might to raise both his physical and psionic shields. He does so, as he rounds a corner and comes face to face with the strangest alien he has seen in his life – and that is indeed a lengthy time.
“Where is my friend Alf, creature? How came you to these Dysons that are under my protection and the residence of the Elves of Everwhen?” Plantagenous questions, as the rod with the glowing ball of light is sharply brought across his large nose, causing unexpected pain since his shields are raised.
“By the Sageus Fl’kbug Plant of Ceta Alpha V! What manner of creature are you?”
“Why, m’lord, I am Bil’gruph, late of the planet Ahmed, and I love my veggies, especially after a souffle of timer-cooked elf. The last one, the one with the grizzly bones -- Alf, was it? Oh, he near and filled me up all by himself, m;lord; one of great, great power, that one. But it soon became obvious they were little more than a school of fish, ones that enjoyed hopping into other ponds and asking the natives to join their little school. All I had to do was use my Cosmic Cane to bend their time-spanners, and as I ate one, I ate them all. Funny, that?”
“Nay, not funny at all!” Plantagenous shouts.
Then, at the Plantane’s command, the tendrils of a hundred plants from worlds surrounding the two figures seem to abruptly grow wild, ensnaring the goat-man in their grasp. One of those plants, a seeming Null Space cousin of the Sageus Fl’kbug, therein begins to yawn open its venomous jaw like some great abyss, threatening to swallow Plantagenous whole!
The Null Spacer stamps his cane against the floor of the Dyson, and wave after wave of cosmic energy, like the explosion of a thousand thousand suns, withers and then evaporates the plants on the vine. And the effect is not lost on the plant-like Plantagenous, who rewraps himself in shields strong enough to withstand a nova.
“Fie!” Plantagenous says, hurling sharp thorny structures which have, of a sudden, grown out of his arms. The projectiles strike true, causing the goat-being to scream out in pain. The glow of the Cosmic Cane changes color as barbs of fire shoot out machine gun-like, but are repulsed by the strong shields of Plantagenous.
“I do not know your cause or concern, mammal-thing, but know that Alf and his kindred were under the protection of Plantagenous.” He then dives forward, shields strong and thorn-gloves sharp and protruding like a bayonet. As the beings clash mano-a-mano, the Plantane again screams, “Plantagenous Rex!”
Plantagenous raises his weary head, trying to remember why the hell he is even in another universe. Before him is the dead body of Bil’gruph, late of the planet Ahmed. Very late. The poisons of the Null Space cousin of the Sageus Fl’kbug apparently slower, it took the goat man sometime to succumb to the effects.
As he rises, for some reason Plantagenous does not understand, he reaches for the Cosmic Cane lying at the feet of Bil’gruph. And suddenly, his facial composition changes.
Imagine, the spirit in Plantagenous’ body thinks, a whole new universe to conquer, and now more power than ever to get there! A whole universe ready to bow down to Bil’gruph of Ahmed … or should I say Plantagenous?
TO BE CONTINUED …