The Wonder Worlock: Viva Las Vargas, Part 1
Posted by: Byron Brewer, Managing Editor
August 25, 2011 18:17 | Updated: 1 year 42 weeks Ago
August 25, 2011 18:17 | Updated: 1 year 42 weeks Ago
WW VIII: Viva Las Vargas!
The Wonder Worlock soars among the stars of his own universe en route to the world of the Shirewood II. His former foe, Plantagenous, has these days become absolutely obsessed with peace and quiet there, and with his lush garden. Living side-by-side with Plantagenous is the troll-like Intz Tokeen, who has begun a new genetics experiment for Queen Arema, ruler of the Oceanus mer-people. It is Tokeen’s goal to, with the aid of Plantagenous, recreate the Intz population.
The sentinel of the spaceways has not heard from Tokeen as is usual, and this has him concerned.
That was weeks ago … !
PART THE FIRST
Even in the volcanic and dry desert landscapes of the other-dimensional world of Threlkel, as on Earth, there are some places that are worse than others. Imagine Death Valleyat its driest or Siberiaat its most harsh. Those would be the garden spots of Threlkel, a small world that serves as the seat for a mighty extended empire.
On Threlkel, their “Siberia” of threat is the Forbidden Zone. It is a vast frozen tundra far from the active volcanoes of the cities and citadels of this barbaric yet scientific society. The Forbidden Zone is where vicious and horrific experiments were once performed by those perceived to be scientists of the day. Tales of the torture chambers there are legendary, and are used today for mothers to get their children to bed swiftly at night.
No, today the Forbidden Zone has a population of one. She is Marlee, former wife of Threlkel’s great ruler Traven. She committed the most blasphemous treason against her own world in order to wear a crown. Only a last-minute change of heart saved her life. Now this would-be queen rules a 9x9 cell where she spends every day damning herself for her stupidity.
But, unbeknownst to the android guards who keep watch over this vast area and the security cams placed hither and yon for safekeeping, Marlee also has a secret, a secret that was her payment from the Olympian scientist Java Lyn for her services: his world’s Ruby of Reality. With the right mental focus, the legends say, the stone can make all your wishes come true. Java has had it for years and, being a man of science, never gave it a second thought.
But Marlee, whose family dates back generations to the gypsy hordes of Threlkel, regards her precious secret well.
In my hands, she thinks, this little stone will make the boom darts used by the Founders during the Great Solar Wars seem as the arrows the children of Traven utilized in their yard games each afternoon. O Traven, how could you betray me like this? I do not blame you, my love. I blame that wizard under whose thrall you fell ... that-that Wonder Worlock!
Dimensions beyond the planets that make up the great Threlkel Empire lies the Ghost Sector, a pocket dimension virtually unto itself where for centuries, as they figure time, the Neptunians have imprisoned their most dangerous criminals – evil doers whose goal was not the mere robbing of a thrift center but the destruction of their world, their society. And among them, the greatest of these is Vargas.
The Neptunians are of an ancient underwater world, but being such has not hindered their innate curiousity about life among the stars. So generations ago, they left behind the waves and underwater wonders to explore those bright and shining lights above the waters’ surface, and in so doing crafted magnificent space ships which carry metric tons and tons of water … water like that of the planet Earth … because that is the atmosphere in which Neptunians exist. They are water breathers, riding highly sophisticated aquariums through the heavens.
But the Neptunians have a present-day fear, even greater than Vargas, sentenced to the Ghost Sector eons before those great space ships of water rose from the tides and pursued that which beckoned beyond. No, the spaceborn water-breathers are in real danger: extinction! Inbreeding has become rampant among the species, as has genetic decay. Without the discovery of some water world like their own, and soon, the Neptunians may go the way of the Sh’zam.
That was before the Wonder Worlock aided the Neptunian Gar and his great ship’s five-year mission to find such a world.
Even now Neptunian ships, not reunited with their fellows for decades, are in orbit around the world of Oceanus. There, the ruler of a great undersea kingdom, Queen Arema, welcomes these hue’aurad’Gar – these friends of Gar – as tests by scientific cadres from both populations have demonstrated that the Neptunians are indeed a match to Oceanus genetic compatibility.
The future looks bright for both these worlds, and that does not hold well with Vargas, whose pocket dimensional prison allows scrying access to all things Neptunian … especially good things, thought at the time of his sentencing a fit punishment.
“Great Horn of the Hereafter! Why must I watch this endless dribble, this play ‘pon things that are instead of the way they should be?” Vargas asks to no one in particular in the Ghost Sector. “‘Twas I that began the expansion of inbreeding among our kind, a great advancement in our society, I still believe, to extract all the negative aspects of our species and to distill that into a Master Race, one ready to conquer the universe! Not explore to see how other fish-folk and air-breathers do things differently.
“Ahh, look, my own descendent, Skrill … actually serving under Captain Gar, whose mission is to reverse that which my aides after my imprisonment did so well. Skrill, your great-granddaddy curses you from the nether-world, from this endless phantom zone into which my own people have fish-bowled me. I …”
Then throughout the dimensions is felt a great explosion! The corners of time and space fold in on each other as dimensions overlap and co-mingle. None of this is felt on farway Threlkel, but the Ghost Zone is rockin’ like a 1950s night club!
As the Olympian scientist Java Lyn meets his seeming doom at the hands of a nuclear weapon following a battle with the Wonder Worlock, the resultant explosion has changed the landscape around some areas of the dimensional cosmos.
And the former scientist-turned-conqueror known as Vargas finds himself intangible no more, although he is still imprisoned … in the body of his own descendent – Skrill of the Great Neptunian Navy – and on the planet Oceanus!
After many delays, the Wonder Worlock has finally arrived on the world of the Shirewood II … and he does not like what he sees. There are no physical or psionic signs of his friends, the great Intz Tokeen or former foe Plantagenous. He shutters a bit, this celestial sorcerer, as he wonders what could possibly have taken the telepathic Intz or the powerful Plantaine unawares, if such is the case.
It is then, while searching for Tokeen telepathically, that he makes the discovery. He had wanted to know how Tokeen’s project for his ruler, Arema of Oceanus, was going. Here before him was the answer!
Six new baby Intz, taken from the genetic materials of the elder Tokeen in hopes of repopulating the species on this new world after Plantagenous and the virus he once was killed the Shirewood.
The Oceanus Six?!thinks the mage.
Around the six neglected baby Intz can be felt by the Wonder Worlock the undeniable remnant of a familiar species: sea salt! But this is from no Oceanus visit, as from the also-frequent check-ins by Queen Arema. No, this sea salt is definitely Neptunian, and also familiar to the mage.
Skrill?!!the Wonder Worlock thinks in puzzlement.
The sirens sound for the first time in ages along the landscape of the frozen Forbidden Zone. Robo-guards check the only inhabited cell and find it empty.
Marlee, former queen of Threlkel and former wife (No. 47, for the record) of King Traven, has escaped! And with her, although no living soul knows it, Olympia’s fabled Ruby of Reality.
Now we shall see what kind of “space-bending” that evil hi’jod’aarvkthcan do … that Wonder Worlock! is Marlee’s soul thought as the Ruby’s power and her own will whiz her along the outskirts of the Great Goff Empire, certainly on a collision course with the mage … because that is what the ruby’s mistress has demanded.
As Marlee reaches the ceded territories of the Goff, the Wonder Worlock is set to depart the Empire’s Throneworld of Goff-lair. His young friend Rand, captain of the New Hope, has recently returned from the planet N’Moy where his second-in-command, Tral-Faz, was honored along with the Faz family. The young captain is overjoyed at the wizard’s visit.
“It is nice to see you resting, Rand,” the Wonder Worlock says. “A captain on leave is very rare for the Goff, and I am glad you learned the need for R&R from our friends, the Kriks. And your mother has a very nice home here.”
“She has taken care of our family all of her long life,” Rand says. “She thinks I am caring for her these days, but that is untrue. She still cares for me.”
“I appreciate her watching the six Intz. Having had no contact with either Tokeen or Plantagenous, I would know little to nothing about their care. Very nice coincidence your mom is also one of the most famous geneticists in the quadrant.”
“She will take good care of them, you can be assured.”
“One last question to you, Captain of the New Hope,” the Wonder Worlock says in a half-blustery manner as an admiral might speak, which stirs bad feelings in the young officer’s stomach.
“Uhh, yes sir?”
“Captain Rand … do you never take off your uniform? You have been on leave for 10 days following the N’Moy ceremony – I mean, at your mom’s house – and you still have your non-dress one-piece on. You are captain, and you are the only one who wears a necktie on your ship! Do you ever loosen it?” The dark image under the Wonder Worlock’s cowl forms a smile, unknown to Rand.
“Er uh … not really …?”
“Never mind,” huffs the mage. “We will loosen you up good when I return, boy, hopefully with Tokeen and Plantagenous.”
The young captain is confused as the mage departs for the world of Oceanus in a puff of smoke and a quiet whisper of imploding air.
Rand looks at himself in a reflectoid sphere, smiles and tightens the black shipmaster’s knot in his necktie even tighter.
TO BE CONTINUED …