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PHANTACEA Phase One # 2
- Ian Bateson artwork, 1985 -
Devil Land versus Demon Land
-- from Warpoc-2
© copyright Jim McPherson, 2003
The War of the Apocalyptics
- Ian Bateson artwork, 1978 -
Thalassa D'Angleo (Sea Goddess) cleanses Damnation Isle
-- from Warpoc-3
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|Bulk of page written: Spring 1997|
1. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Mindtap"
2. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Devil Wind"
Things a bit slow for you in the other three web-serials? Not to worry. You can always return to Apocalyptics for action. It is a War after all and, unlike many a war, this one almost never lets up.
Romaine Kinesis escapes confinement on the other side of the Island. Using his mastery of Gypsium, he flies to the launch site just as it is about to be launched. Maxwell tries to stop him using his long-range, dart-firing air-rifle. He misses just as Samarand accelerates the countdown. From behind him, something blows Max through the shattered observation window and towards the tarmac far below. Just before he rescues his friend, Kinesis sees two creatures, -- couldn't call them human --, at the window. They've three eyes!
WORLD unleashes Kamikaze Kaligula just as the Express is launched. The two crafts collide. And vanish! Those on the Express find themselves in a dark, star-speckled place. The stars are coming at the Express. The biggest one is a single disembodied eye. Its pupil is a mouth. It speaks. Then it swallows the Express in its entirety. Then, -- well, you get the picture. And the chapter's not even half over yet.
Vayu Maelstrom, Devil Wind, comes through the Cathonic Dome and catches up with Rom Kinesis on his astonishing Gypsium sky sled, which has teleported him all the way to the Aleutian Island Chain in the Far North Pacific. Cosmicar Four comes out of nowhere and crashes on Damnation Island. Aboard it are six decathonitized devas, -- and no one else.
Something has happened to the seven Cosmicompanions who should have been aboard the Cosmicar and therefore should have been available for the devils to possess. That was the point of the Rhadamantine Scheme after all: to break decades-, sometimes even centuries-cathonitized devas out of the Sedon Sphere.
Maelstrom disposes of newly-christened, -- but seemingly not for long --, Doc Defiance and follows the Cosmicar to the Aleutian Atoll. Antaeor Thanatos, Demon Land, is waiting for Devil Wind and the two go at it as only devas can. Who has the Thanatoid found on this desolate, completely deserted islet that he can possess?
The answer is, -- The Damnation Brigade!
3. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Advent of the Apocalyptics"
So who are the Damnation Brigade? A better question might be who were the Damnation Brigade, -- because they have been thought dead for a quarter century almost to the day, Sunday, November 30, 1980. First things first though. They hadn't been dead, not exactly, as their leader, Cerebrus, attempts to explain to Devil Wind.
Their minds had been ripped out of their bodies right here, on Damnation Island, which was why they named themselves so melodramatically. It seems their bodies had, well, gone one place and left their minds, their spirits, behind in a state of only occasional consciousness; in what also might be described as Limbo. Now they were back, body and soul, and only wanted to be friends. If one could be friends with a blue-skinned devil with three eyes, a glowing topknot, and who kept himself aloft in a whirlwind of his own conjuring, that is.
Vayu Maelstrom is definitely not interested in friendship, not with two of the ten members of the Brigade at least. Even though they only have two eyes, he is convinced Airealist and Sea Goddess are Thanatoids, the same as Demon Land. They certainly have their talismans, the Aerod and the Water Wand. Have their names too, Aires and Thalassa. What they don't have is any inkling of their true origin. Maelstrom knows this because he can read minds. So can Cerebrus, though he has never come across a devic mind before.
When the Whirling Nucleoid goes for their power focuses, he unwittingly provokes all the members of the Brigade. And what a group they are too, -- arguably the greatest supras who ever lived. Lived, died, and lived again, make that. Six of them are not entirely themselves however. Are the Primary Apocalyptics, War, Death, Disease, and Disaster, the two-headed nearly mindless flying horror known as the Vultyrie, and, back for more punishment, Demon Land aka Antaeor Thanatos.
Devil Wind is devastated. Literally. More, he is slaughtered, massacred, obliterated, torn limb from limb, burnt to a crisp. Just about everything but killed. As Demon Land proved by coming back, by possessing OMP, Obadiah Melvin Power, devas do not die easily. They do possess sentient shells easily, however. And, soon, Airealist, Sea Goddess, the Untouchable Diver, and Radiant Rider, -- Gloriella D'Angelo, who was brought up with the Terrible Twins, considers them her brother and sister even though they are thirteen years older than her, not that they look it, and were adopted by her parents --, are facing their six fellows in the form of Mars Bellona, Mater Matare, Carcinogen the Leper, Headless Ramazar, Demon Land and the monstrous Vultyrie.
Oh yes, Matare, Mother Murder, a four-armed, snake-haired cross between Medusa and Kali, is visibly, and heavily, pregnant, -- with fourth generation devazurs like the Thanatoids of Lathakra.
And why couldn't the Apocalyptics possess the Diver and the three Angelics? Well, the Diver's Brainrock-blessed, the same as the devils. As for the Angelics, Maelstrom might have been right about Aires and Thalassa; might have missed the fact that Gloriel was just as likely a Thanatoid. When it comes right down to it, most human beings do not have rainbow hair!
Not that the possibility that the four members of the Brigade might be two-eyed devas matters much to the Apocalyptics and their two allies. Unlike Devil Wind, decathonitized devas will kill.
4. The War of the Apocalyptics:"Homecoming"
Sea Goddess did the trick, spoke the words of Xuthros Hor and got rid of the Apocalyptics, -- without sacrificing her six possessed fellows in the Damnation Brigage. Or did she? No matter! She couldn't do much else, not Thalassa D'Angelo. Wilderwitch could, though. Except she daren't take any of the others through between-space on her Anthean Agates. Even though a quarter century had passed since they were thrust into Limbo, Faceless Strife might still be out there, in there; haunting Samsara, the Grey, Shadowland, the Weird, whatever you wanted to call between-space. There was also the chance that Superior, the White Witch or Morrigan, might have booby-trapped the Grey. Superior had not been particularly well-disposed to Wilderwitch and her friends twenty-five years ago and, like Strife, might still be around.
She returned before midnight with a great deal of information. For example, Loxus Abraham Ryne, Cerebrus-David and Psycho-Saul's father, was still alive and, despite being eighty years old, had apparently lost none of his faculties, riches, or authority. This was not exactly great news. Along with Harry Zeross aka Ringleader and Psycho, the patriarch of the Illuminated Faith of Xuthros Hor and the Head of the Alliance of Man had been the one most responsible for getting rid of them a quarter century earlier. Still and all, her news was hardly all bad. There had been no sign of Strife between-space, no indication that Superior, Morgianna Sarpedon, was still active, and no evidence that supranormals even existed any more. Plus, Crimefighter Central was still in tact. No one had touched the treasure trove of gold bullion they had secreted there. Which meant the ten of then, -- they all counted Raven's Head as an equal partner --, were wealthy beyond their wildest imaginings. The price of gold had not just gone through the roof in twenty-five years; it was well on its way to Mars.
She had returned with a few things besides news however. She brought them supplies, camping gear, and, oh yes, a float plane. That night, as Sundown and Raven's Head left Damnation Island and began to fly towards Vancouver, the others slept comfortably: Wilderwitch with Jervis Murray; Cerebrus with Sea Goddess; the Diver, Obadiah 'Old Man' Power, Airealist, and Radiant Rider by themselves. The next morning Aires flew the plane to Anchorage whereupon they took commercial flights to Vancouver via Seattle. How did they get the money? The Diver stole it of course. Not to worry though. They'd pay it back. With interest!
Once in Vancouver, the Damnation Brigade split into two groups. OMP, Gloriel D'Angelo, and the Elemental Twins, her adopted siblings, went up to Grouse Mountain and got into Crimefighter Central, which lay beneath it. Promtly re-christening it Hideaway Damnation, they set about restoring some semblance of cleanliness to their subterranean headquarters. Meanwhile, Cerebrus, the Diver, Murray, and the witch stayed in the city organizing a line of credit, -- Cerebrus doing most of the work by brain-baffling various bankers and overriding their computer systems mentally. The four downtown rented rooms in the Hotel Vancouver, a place with a lot of memories for them all. While the other three slept, Cerebrus curled up with a desktop computer and tapped into computer systems across the globe.
That night, the Apocalyptic of Plague appeared beneath Big Shelter!
5. The War of the Apocalyptics: "Cerebrus David Ryne"
So how did Cerebrus end up with a metal headplate wired into his brain and a raft of psionic supra-talents the likes of which might make even the infamous Magus Maxius verdant-envious were he still alive? David Ryne was no Summoning Child like the Elemental Twins, Jervis Murray, John Sundown, or Yehudi Cohen. He had never been exposed to Satan St. Synne's devil-ray in 1943, like Gloriella D'Angelo, and was obviously no witch like Wilderwitch. Nor was he a warlock, -- not like some said his long dead cousin, Jesus Mandam, had been. No, young Ryne was entirely human, which certainly wasn't the case with Raven's Head or, given what little they had learned about him on Damnation Island, may well not be the case with Obadiah Melvin Power either.
As it happened, Magus Maxius, Maxwell Dre'Ath, did have something to do with it. So did the Untouchable Diver and Andrew 'Android' Dulles, the supranormal codenamed Mr. Automatic. But that wasn't until years after he was shot in March 1939. Shot by Sagitta, who was promptly shot in turn by none other than her husband, the other Silver Arrow Assassin, Sagittarius.
And why would Nester Hyperenor shoot his beloved Artemis nee Zeross? Had to do with Angus Dre'Ath, Maxwell's father, and Donar Lancz, the Teutonic Templar. Actually, it had more to do with Gloriel's maternal grandfather, Sedon aka Satan St. Synne. Of course all that's ancient history in 1980. Doesn't stop Cerebrus thinking about it though. Doesn't stop him thinking about father Loxus and twin brother Saul either. Fortunately he doesn't think out loud. Might disturb the Diver, -- as if anything could disturb him. Yehudi Cohen once slept through the Atomic Bomb going off over Hiroshima.
Good thing he was mostly intangible at the time. Double good thing for Obadiah and Corona Power. It was the Diver who rescued them from Ground Zero. Remarkably they were physically unharmed, -- only their minds were damaged. Neither had any idea who they were let alone where they came from. Still didn't; at least OMP didn't. Corona had been mind-wiped a couple of years before Limbo. Possibly by Faceless Strife.
Cerebrus did not just think about the past. With his desktop computer, a quite splendid invention he had to admit, he was tapped into computer systems throughout the world. Was researching the present. Was quite a lot of research to do too, even for someone with his mental capacity. One sleepless night would only scratch the surface of what had gone on in the quarter century they'd been stuck in Limbo. He hardly came up empty however.
What intrigued him the most was this Signal System organization. The old corpse, Sedon St. Synne, was now a hundred and something years old. Nevertheless, even though the only reason he was still alive in Palo Alto California was because of a life-support system based on Mandam's designs, he was somehow at its head. System's titular leader was Simon Lancz, the son of Donar and Valfreya nee Volsung. Simon's wife was involved in it as well, -- and his wife was Tereza D'Angelo, Gloriel's now over-forty, one-time 'baby' sister. Which of course made Tere Sed-son's grandaughter too. Not good news, a second generation Lancz and a third generation St. Synne working together. Didn't need to be a genius, which Cerebrus definitely was not, or a mind-reader, which Cerebrus certainly was, to figure out there would be problems there.
Not only were two of Rider's natural sisters and her youngest brother still around; not only did the two once-girls have a plethora of children of their own; Glory's parents had kept on kicking and ticking as well. Raphael and Sophia would be in their eighties by now, or damn near, while her lone daughter, Estrella, Star Dark, was approaching thirty; was fully five years older than her own mother. As for his father, like Wilderwitch said, the great man was a hale eighty. What she didn't say was that he had engendered two additional sets of twins in the intervening years. And the latest pair, the fourth, had been born of Oriani Zeross, Ringleader's now relatively recently deceased sister!
Radiant Rider and Cerebrus weren't the only ones with family still around either. The Diver's wife, Rachel, two of their four children, and OMP's Corona Power were just some of the closest ones he located. Corona was surprising. She'd been dying of cancer a quarter century ago; presumably still was, he supposed. Her daughter, Crystal, was not OMP's kid. She was St. Synne's, from the days some suspected she was Faceless Strife. Of course some suspected Wilderwitch was Strife as well. She wasn't but someone definitely was, -- Countess Ramona Avar, Ryne's third wife and the mother of his third set of twins. Back during the war, when Sedon was Satan and she was only in her mid-teens, Ramona had been St. Synne's 'plaything'. As usual, it seemed the old corpse was at the heart of everything but was the head of nothing.
Cerebrus figured he knew who the real brains behind Signal System were: Shelter, Styx, Sharpshooter, and Sasquatch. Theirs were codenames of course but 'Shooter's was a dead giveaway. Had to be Thaddeus Hyperenor, the lone offspring of the Silver Arrow Assassins. And that, not St. Synne, was why he kept flashing back to when he was shot at the age of ten, or thereabouts, and how he eventually acquired his headplate. However, as he ascertained via his scans, the main problem with this hypothesis was that Thaddeus was killed in 1968, -- on tiny Trigon, a three-peaked Islet in the Aegean Sea not all that far away from Crete, to the south, and Santorini, to the east. Five others were supposedly killed there at the same time. Sure they were, he snorted to himself.
Two of the five were Kadmon Heliopolis, -- wasn't there an Adam Kadmon in some obscure-for-Gentiles Jewish text? --, and Chthlonius Tiecher, who people suspected was the Diver's son by another long gone supra, one Fisherwoman by codename. In his research, he couldn't be sure either of them hadn't stayed dead but he was as sure of the identities of the other three as he was of this Sharpshooter. Shelter had to be Echion Sangati, Styx would be Capnan Udaeus, while Sasquatch was Rathegar Pelorus. He was thinking Helios, the Malantheus, the Black Rose of Anarchy, and the Trigon Spartae. But what made Cerebrus so sure? Shelter's fixation on knives, fangs, just like his father, Etzel Sangati, for one thing. And the nicknames of two of the latest Manimalians, Jackrabbit and Grizzler, for another.
Manimalians! In this day and age? Was true. And who brought such dreaded, deadly, Blood Beast were-creatures back to life? None other than Bruce Dre'Ath, likely Magus Maxius' son by Rebecca nee Maxwell, and Gloriel's other still living sister, Anna Maria. Where were they, -- Grizzler and Jackrabbit? In Oakalla, the provincial prison in Burnaby, only a few miles away from the Hotel Vancouver. Maybe that's why Fate freed them from Limbo; maybe there's another War of Supranormals about to start. Only, unless he acted instantly, it would not be as secret as the last one, theirs, which lasted from roughly January 1938, when the Society of Saints first went into action during the semi-legendary Shootout in the OK Colosseum, and December 1955, when they, the Last of the Supranomals but for Ringleader and Strife, were thrust into Limbo.
Detaching himself, his headplate, from the desktop, Cerebrus called for the Diver, who was in Rome way back then but was still a week or two shy of realizing his Summoning Heritage at the time. Where was the man? Where were Furie, who had actually been on that inaugural foray of the so-called Saints in 1938, and the witch, who would have been just a kid forty-two years ago? He far-spoke up the mountain to Aires, Airealist, Gloriel's adopted brother and another of the original Saints.
There were Manimalians out there again, -- but the Damnation Brigade would not encounter them; not now and, chances were, not ever. Though they as yet knew it not, they had their own private war to fight. In Big Shelter, Unmoving Byron had finally noticed that one of his Nucleoids was missing. Somewhere else, not necessarily halfway across the Pacific off the shore of Centauri Island, someone was smiling. And, in Temporis, Carcinogen the Leper awaited his fellows!
As Airealist was long distance communicating with Cerebrus, Radiant Rider attacked him without warning. Even if he knew nothing about Great Byron, the Smiling Fiend, and what had become or was becoming of the Apocalyptics, one thing Ryne did know was that Air would not be attacked twice. Not without retalliating!Top of Page
The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 1-5
The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 6-9
The War of the Apocalyptics Chapters 10-15
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