The Super Wizard From Space #8

"The Secret Of The Silver Skull Machine, Part 3" by

The Super Wizard From Space and the Hermit Wizard From Space
were trapped in an asteroid belt by a swarm of gigantic

As it's fellow drones circled uniformly, one particularly
grusome space-bee broken from the formation. It was as
massive as any of the drifting asteroids, it's gigantic
yellow black body big enough to drag smaller free-floating
rocks behind. It's four crystal clear wings gave choppy
strokes and rapid rotations, providing quick and flexible
movement in the blackness of space. But the front of it, in
place of eyes or mouths or any sort of face at all, a dozen
fat, short, black tentacles writhing in the general
direction of it's prey.

The tentacled space-bee let out scented transmissions to the
damaged rocket-ship behind their circular blockade. "Leave
now, octopuszz. We have what we want, you are no longer

"Y'all don't have ta tell Pete twice," was the crackling
staticy reply. The rocket-ship made a wide turn and left the
vicinity, moving clumsily deeper into the solar system on
what remained of it's navigation systems.

The hermit wizard stood and yelled out after the retreating
rocket-ship, barking madly in angry radio waves. "Damn you,
Cephalo Pete! Damn your hide!"

 From the formation, another buzzing shape made a haphazard
move, streaking toward the hermit wizard. It's entire front
half was dominated by a single oversized bloodshot eyeball
and it's spear-lengthen stringer was like a missile, a glint
of purple toxin at the barbed point.

The hermit wizard outstretched both hands in the air in
desperation, creating a protective domed shield of pale blue
light around the asteroid he stood on. But he froze in
horror as the fast-moving space-bee tore through it as if it
was cotton. It was impervious to his powers! It knew his
name! They all knew his name!

"Move, Gavrilo!" said the Super Wizard From Space as he flew
with great speed across the surface of the asteroid. He
tackled the stunned hermit wizard and zipped them both away
from the rocky surface, barely dodging the space-bee's
charge. The stinger embedded into the rocky surface, burying
deep into the stone with a vicious series of cracks. Drops
of the purple toxin seeped into the cracks with a hiss.

The remaining space-bees broke their circular pattern,
attracted by attack pheromones, and started diving into the
asteroid field.

Gavrilo regained his senses. When released by his companion,
he wrapped himself in a light cocoon to fly under his own
power. They dived between the tumbling space boulders,
trying to use the larger ones as cover and thinner areas as
hiding places.

"Queen Buzz's Monster Bees!" shouted the super wizard to
Gavrilo, pointing back at the eyeball space-bee as it freed
itself from the rock. "Watch out for their poisonous sting!"

They saw a terrible transformation happen to the asteroid as
the cracks filled with purple liquid. The shape of it became
longer. One end stretched out in a pointed pole. Orifices
cracked open at the other end. Stone legs broke free from
underneath and opaque glass wings unfolded from above. The
new stone monster seemed confused for a moment, but it too
took to the scent of the attack pheromones and began

"I... I didn't think it was actually true! They're
lycanthro-bees!" exclaimed Gavrilo.

Two of the smaller drones, each with magificent
rainbow-coloured fish fins rather than wings, spotted the
pair of wizards and made a bee-line toward them. "Stay
behind me," warned the Super Wizard From Space as he
clenched his fist. A solar fire started within his palm,
spitting orange licks from between his fingers. As the
finned pair turned their spears downward, the super wizard
snapped his arm, letting the blast of flame unroll like a
whip. The fire blasted in the blinding arc of a solar flare,
the fusion fire vaporizing the attacking pair instantly.

The rest of the swarm easily spotted the flare and changed
course. They raced toward the source from all directions.
The super wizard barely had time to wave his hands in the
air above him, forming an egg shaped shield around himself
and Gavrilo.

Multiple stingers stabbed at the shield, hardly penetrating,
but the purple toxin seeped into it's pale light. As it
spread, the shield took on a sickly red blue tint. The
energy shield started to bulge at the edges, taking on a
frighteningly familiar shape.

"No," the Super Wizard From Space said under his breath. He
spread out his fingers wide, feeding the shield more pale
light. The ghostly crown hovering over his head glowed
brightly as it mixed in with his own science sorcerous
powers, burning away the poisonous transformation. But as
the super wizard burned away the purple toxin from one part
of the shield, the swarm stung at other places. Infection
and burn and infection and burn.

"They're going to get through," said Gavrilo in panic.

"No," said the super wizard through gritted teeth. "I have

"I think can make it to the planet while they're distracted
here... I can still beat Pete to the Silver Skull Machine!"

"No!" demanded the super wizard, flinging pale light at the
shield frantically to burn away creeping toxin. "I have
this! You have to stay."

"I can blind the one with the big eye and slip through! I
can use the machine to fix all this! I can use the machine
to save you!"

"Gavrilo, no! You have to stay! This isn't about me..."

The hermit wizard stopped listening, focusing entirely on
the unnatural gaze of the one space-bee's oversized pupil.
It drew readied it's speared stinger, preparing to thrust
the deadly point back at the light shield. Gavrilo closed
his fist and let out a blue-white flare in a snapping arc at
the space-bee's gigantic eyeball. It screeched and danced
about chaotically, trying to avoid the fiery fate that had
claimed it's fellow drones.

It needn't have worried. The arc passed over it without
causing any damage whatsoever. The hermit wizard's whip-like
fusion fire snapped through the asteroid belt, blasting
scars and melting boulders, but the knowledge of Gavrilo's
name protected the space-bee from the power.

Wrapping himself in light, Gavrilo drilled through the
shield and past the blinded space-bee and raced out beyond
the asteroid field. He didn't risk a glance back. He ignored
the radio wave shouts of his fellow super wizard and the
pheromone-laced battering of the swarm still trying to
pierce the shield. Instead he tried for more speed as he
found the rocket-ship's fading trail, following it into the
solar system.

Deep into the system's gravity wells toward a familiar
looking planet. A planet briefly revealed in the
data-cylinder's holographic map! Almost there!

Coming through the atmosphere, flying at gigantic speeds
over the surface, Gavrilo recognized abandoned cities and
architectural ruins that that he had only ever seen in
sketches and history books. These were definitely the right
types of buildings! Almost there!

Flying past overgrown fields and cracked highways, he
approached a vast mountain range with an artificial valley.
Gently falling to the surface, he could make out dusty walls
of what used to be some sort of research centre, the remains
marked with long forgotten alphabets. But nearby was a
massive strip-mine, gouged out of the earth in a long single
rectangle. A giant grave, excavated and emptied. King
Argentum's grave! Almost there!

Gavrilo landed by the main building of the alien research
centre, he could see the rocket-ship. It seemed to have come
in hard, suffering from melted thrusters and destroyed
navigation systems, finally gouging into the surface and
crashing to a stop against the research centre. Lights
flickered weakly and the airlock door was limply hanging

No, was he too late? Had Pete made it out? Climbing into the
rocket-ship, he cast a yellow halogen glow out in the dark
corridors, searching compartment by compartment for the
octopus alien. "Pete, are you alive in here?"

As he moved up the main hallway toward the rocket-ship's
cockpit, Gavrilo heard the faint metal clicking eight
ray-hammers being pulled back on eight loaded ray-guns. He
had just enough time to flare his yellow glow fully at the
cockpit before taking cover in a hallway nook. A blinded
complaint sharply came from behind the co-pilot's seat as a
series of wild ray-beams ricocheted down the hallway.

"Codswallop, Gavrilo! I cain't see!"

"That's the general idea, you ambushing son-of-a-scallop!"
spit back Gavrilo. He could keep the overly bright light in
the general direction of the cockpit, effectively denying
Cephalo Pete a clear shot, but the nook he was backed up
into didn't provide much cover. Worse, he was badly
outgunned, his powers as useless against the octopus alien
as they were against the space-bees.

But he saw a glint of bloodly ink wetting the floor of the
cockpit, and he could swear there was a troubled rasping
behind Cephalo Pete's swearing and shouting.

"You two wrecked my ship!" Cephalo Pete threw back. "I could
barely nurse it here all the way hereabouts afore all the
landing equipment done gone belly up on me! You coulda
killed me!"

"Well, you shouldn't have tried to pick us off at the pass!
Those weren't warning shots you were throwing in our warp

"You shouldn't have cracked wise 'bout my mother!" More
ray-beams came crazily down the corridor. Even blind, the
shots were coming frighteningly close. It was only a matter
of time before Cephalo Pete scored a lucky shot.

"I'm sorry about that," the hermit wizard admitted. "I
shouldn't have said anything."

"We was partners for all them space-years, looking for proof
about the silver skull machine. Looking for that damn map. I
figured you of all sentient beings woulda understood about
regrets. About mistakes you thought couldn't been taken

Gavrilo couldn't say anything.

"Well we're here now, Gavrilo! This here's that lost planet
under our suckers! That there's the silver skull machine,
just inside that there mess of a building outside! A real,
honest-to-space-betsy time machine! A way to get back to
that fishing vessel and save my deep departed mother! A way
to get back to one of them cosmic crowns and have the power
to do whatever I want! A way to change everything! A way to
fix everything!"

Gavrilo frowned. "Fix everything, Pete? Like ambushing me
like a rat? Like selling out my friend to Monster Bees?" He
had a shiver down his spine at the sudden thought. "Goddamn
Monster Bees, Pete! You know what their sting does? What
their venom changes you into? And you traded my friend to
those things! I don't have any trust left for you!"

There was a wheezing sickly cough from the cockpit, and the
sound of spitting blood before Cephalo Pete said back, "Your
friend's fate is on your own head. We didn't know you'd
rustle up any help."


"You heard me fine, you whiny bastard," Pete said. "That
swarm wasn't there to ambush him. That swarm was there to
ambush you!"

A thunderous buzzing suddenly filled the air followed
quickly by the sound of wrenching metal. The rocket-ship
shook fiercely as the hull suddenly gave way. Gavrilo could
only watch as a spear-like stinger made of purple-tinted
light tore through the cockpit, through the panels and
instruments and tossed-together cover, and through Cephalo

The alien octopus screamed in pain he was slammed around the
cockpit, impaled on the massive stinger. Clawed legs peeled
open the rocket-ship like an aluminum can, and the Hermit
Wizard From Space watched as the space-bee flew up into the
air with it's poisoned prey.

A monstrous space-bee, the size of an asteroid and made
entirely of purple-tinted shield energy.



Whew, this one is being emailed out at about a quarter to
midnight. Just barely made the Tuesday. Next week's episode
may be a little late, as I have a busy couple days ahead of
me, including a visiting guest. However, I hope to still be
able to make my weekly schedule.

This issue clocks in at approximately two thousand words
(not counting these notes), about five hundred words more
than I originally wanted. But I couldn't a good place to
break it up nor any content to cut out. So rather than force
it, I'm posting it at this length. I'm still determined that
most future issues remain short though!

I had a chance to run this arc and some ideas for future
arcs past a friend, despite my initial never-plot-ahead
gameplan. I was getting tripped up on where I was going with
this and how I was going to move forward with the whole
tournament shtick. With luck, this will make the next few
arcs link together smoother.

As for this arc, join us (hopefully) next week for the
stunning conclusion!

Wil Alambre, follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wilalambre