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14. Centauri Island: "Dragon Fires"
Thanks to the Man on the Moon, all hell's broken loose all over Planet Earth. On Centauri Island matters aren't much better, -- though here 'all hell' has a more concrete form. Isn't mind-beams. Is, well, -- the title kind of gives it away, doesn't it? And it's not like we haven't been expecting them either.
It's now Saturday, December 6, 1980. Those of you who have already read 'War of the Apocalyptics' know what happens on Devaray, Tantalar 6, 5980. Which means Hush Mannering, who goes by the name Pandora or Dorothy Dodgson in 'Centauri', should not be as delighted as she is at her tremendous triumph over the fatman's so-called Untouchables.
As for Cromwell Necator and his fellow 'protectors', the albinos we've learned to refer to as Valhallans, they seemed to have vanished altogether. Presumably, Wednesday's mission being a success and the Island thought secure, they simply returned to from whence they came, -- to Hell, the now-free-again Loxus Ryne reckons only slightly facetiously. If only he knew, eh?
Mind you, he half-does. Then, come Sunday, he half-doesn't. Mostly because the man who hinted at the existence of this Hell, Big Shelter, doesn't recall hinting at it. That man is Dr Hiyati Samarand, the Island's chain-smoking overseer. Among other things. Many another thing, as everyone will have figured out by now. Then he dies. Not before the aforementioned untouchables, but for Connie Lindquist and George Hannibal, do though.
They weren't the only ones. What about Sean Smythe, his fellow Doubleman, Johann Schmidt, Dolph Dulles, the fatman, and even Hush herself? Can't say but, back to the Valhallans (who don't die, -- primarily because they already are), it turns out they aren't Prince Translav's Glomen, as had been suspected back in Houston.
The Little Prince is around Centauri Island, however. He's working for WORLD then he's working for Ryne then he's ... Ah, but that doesn't happen until Monday. Unless it's Tuesday. Actually, come to think of it, the title doesn't give away much of what goes on in this chapter after all.
Needless to say, it wasn't!
15. Centauri Island: "Seventeen Signallers"
I should say something like 'they're baaack!' but, other than Shelter, Signal System's Silver Signallers have seldom appeared bodily in 'Centauri Island'. Were mentioned early on though and did pop in for a brief visit in the 'Damnation Brigade' stages of 'War of the Apocalyptics'. Whereupon they were promptly played the fools by Cerebrus, Dervish Furie, and the Elemental Twins.
Are a lot more of them this time around though. Are, this chapter's title notwithstanding, eighteen of them in all. If you know your Signallers then you know that's not an S-Number. Which forbodes ominousness. (Certain cynics amongst PHANTACEA on the Web's vast and ever-enlarging audience might suppose it indicates upcoming cannon-fodder as well but, I can assure you, that's an abominable untruth.)
By the way, I should mention it's now Monday, December 8, 1980, and that I was premature in announcing many of the deaths I reported last time up. Most of them die today. In the interests of end-Nineties political correctness I should also note that, when Hush Mannering remarks on 'homo solidarity', the perpetually-seemingly seven year old isn't talking about gay rights.
Returning to the Damnation Brigade and, more specifically, to the Elemental Twins, -- recall that one of them survived the War of the Apocalyptics. Primarily, other than on Damnation Island, this was because Sea Goddess did not participate in it.
Was not so much left behind as declined to leave with the rest of them. Subterfuge, as is more thoroughly told in 'The Trigregos Gambit', had brought her, well, -- here!
Was it? Rather, had it? The Signallers still think the Damnation Brigade are Callion Clones of the last ten members of the King's Own Crimefighters; that the real ones, their templates, died on Christmas Day 1955; and that the Sea Goddess they encountered in Vancouver was therefore some sort of fake.
Whatever, whoever, she was in reality Bullet-brain, aka Sharpshooter, Shooter, Shoot and, just conceivably, Thaddeus Hyperenor, -- the son of the Silver Arrow Assassins featured in 'Helioddity' and also, in his own way, in 'Ringleader's Revenge' --, could have shot her.
Would have first had to shoot her through Marsh, one of the Island's security men, and chose not to do so. Wasn't that he wasn't a cold-blooded killer or even that he only killed those he was paid to kill. Was more a matter of wanting all ten within target-distance before he started firing.
Wouldn't happen. Not now, not here, not on (nor 'in') 'Centauri Island'. Thanks to House Head, who was a homicidal maniac, however, Shooter would soon be shooting away at will. Make that at Tyrtod!
For the sake of charity, if not clarity, let me conclude that the jury's still out on that. It's true I didn't bring Signallers to Centauri Island just so they could become cannon fodder. Have to admit I brought them there so they could become Shark Food.
Up to you to prove me wrong, Shoot!
16. Centauri Island: "Hell's Horsemen"
Can't say I didn't warn you, Shoot.
Finally Tiw's day, as opposed Tyr's day, is here, -- the, without exaggeration, cataclysmic conclusion to 'Centauri Island'. That's it then. End of Story. Kaboom! (Actually I think the exact word is BLAM!)
No more anyone else either. At least not on Centauri Island. So, what's left? More to the point, other than he never stops, why is Daemonicus still smiling? Isn't he overdue for a comeupance?
The embodiment of darkness, of evil, of Ahriman, of Aryanman, of Hades, of Pluto, couldn't have won, could he? Not again. No more so than Crystallion or Sharkczar.
Guess that's why there's two more books in the 'Launching of the Cosmic Express' Tetralogy yet to end.
Centauri Island Chapters 1-5
Centauri Island Chapters 6-10
Centauri Island Chapters 11-13
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